Death, the great equalizer of all mankind, the enemy that is feared by all at some point during one’s lifetime. Yes, some may welcome it, but most will do whatever it takes to avoid it. For as well all know, life is short but death is forever. So since the beginning of time, we have done whatever we can to avoid this enemy, this plague and our ultimate plight, which all of humanity must face, death.. Throughout history mankind had been trying to “cheat” death. Either by making deals with the devil for eternal life, deals with God for the same, seeking the fountain of youth, developing new technologies to extend human life, exercise, diet, medication, you name it, we will try it, find it, create it or offer ourselves in religious worship with one ultimate goal and that is to beat death. For the thought that this life on earth is it and nothing more almost seems like a cruel joke. Let’s face it, life even with its ups and downs is a wonderful gift and when push comes to shove none of us really wants to lose it. A poem that is used at many a funeral to bring comfort to the hearers that their loved one hasn’t died is called “Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep”. It states: Do not stand at my grave and weep; I am not there, I do not sleep. I am a thousand winds that blow. I am the diamond that glints in the snow. I am the sunlight on ripened grain. I am the gentle autumn rain. When you awaken in the morning’s hush, I am the swift up lifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there, I did not die. ---- Mary E. Frye. The author is creating for the reader an image of how death isn’t really final. That the one who has died is in fact not dead at all instead they are everywhere, that the soul has transcended the physical body and can be anywhere or anything. For as the author states “Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there, I did not die”. It is a common interest in the various religions as to what happens to the soul after death. Even the philosopher Socrates believed that living a good life here on earth one can acquire life after death. Even without religion, one can concentrate on their life here on earth, strive to live it well and have it lead to eternal happiness. As Socrates stated “I have been saying for some time and at some length that after I have drunk the poison I shall no longer be with you but will leave you and go and enjoy some good fortunes of the blessed” (Plato pg. 56). It appears from what Socrates said that he did not fear death due to blessings he believed he would receive in the afterworld. Is there life after death? Is there a paradise where the weary soul receives rest? Where good fortune is given to those who reside there? Is death the end or just the beginning of a fantastic and never ending journey of one’s soul? Questions about the afterlife, heaven and hell are the very questions that have stirred great debates throughout the centuries, as well as, much concern and angst as one goes through life knowing that eventually the life they have will be no more and they too will have to face the ultimate question is there life after death? So in mankind’s pursuit to not have to deal with death and its finality, I am going to look at the Christian point of view that offers the Christian an answer as to what happens to the soul after the death of the physical body. For in Christianity it is taught that though there is a physical death, the soul of the individual will spend eternity in either paradise or hell. That the soul never truly dies but lives on ad infinitium. In the Christian teaching the Apostle Paul states in the New Testament “Listen, I will tell u a mystery! We will not all die, but we will be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (1st Corinthians 15:51). To the Christian once the body has died the soul will live on. That our life...
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