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On Entering Eternity

Body & Soul

Death is a revealing of God, in fact that is by far the greatest happening in death.  How often do we look that far ahead, or consider seriously what we have to expect in death.  We take it for granted, at least generally, but rarely think of it.  Yet it opens a way of life that lasts forever.  Life here will soon end for all of us, as we read daily in the death notices, or see at a funeral as the remains of someone we know is lying there lifeless and cold.

That body must soon be buried, because decay sets in, so short is its life.  If the grave were opened again some time later we would find little left of that body which received so much attention in life, where its needs and desires, and its many pleasures and comforts were so sought after.  So often are these fleshly desires our goal, too often even at the cost of the life of God in us, sin is committed and this most important life of all is destroyed.  Repeatedly we endanger that divine life, and even drive it away in sin, seeking rather the goods of this body which will soon die and rot in the grave, instead of those of the soul which will live forever.


Grim Reality of Judgment of God

The grim reality of judgment by God, with its eternal consequences of Heaven or hell is seldom faced and little prepared for.  The world is so fleeting, so temporal, and so unable to satisfy our true needs.

The greatest goods it has to offer are only a weak reflection of eternal goods in Heaven.  Earthly goods come from Him Who is infinite Good.  If there is any good on earth, it can only come from Him Who made it good, and then He must be infinitely more good.  What fools then men must be to forget about Him Who created all goods.  What fools men must be to spend a lifetime here seeking more and more of these limited goods and rarely thinking about, much less seeking, the goods which last forever.


What happens in death?

"He remembers that we are but flesh, a breath that goes out and does not return" (Ps.77-39).  But what happens in death?  What of this unknown beyond us?  Of course we know that this body stops functioning and rots away not long after.  All signs of life cease immediately, breathing stops and the organs of the body stop their work.  This is the obvious part;  everyone sees it.

But is that all there is?  What happens to the rest of human nature, that which is not so obvious to onlookers?  While the body rots in the grave as any animal, what happens to the rest?  Man can do things which an animal cannot do, such as reasoning, speaking, writing, expressing ideas, spiritual actions;  therefore, he must be more than a mere animal.  There must be in man something at least as spiritual as these spiritual actions mentioned.  With the body only, we are merely animal with only animal powers.  The great many works of art, music, architecture, philosophy, literature and the many intricate works of man, could then never be.  Then too there could never be a life after death, for all life would cease at death.


The Soul

But we know there is a soul from constant experience with it, as well as by divine revelation, and that it is spiritual, so its life goes on after the body dies.  This reality which we know by experience, as well as from divine revelation, is called the soul.  What happens to the soul in death?  Since it is spiritual it does not die as animals which are material, die, or the body dies, but it lives on, and in fact normal death does not affect the soul at all.  Our mind and will are both spiritual, and of the soul, as are their actions. 

So our consciousness with all that we are and have learned remains:  our free will with its choosing, its loves and its hates, also live on;  the personality which was ours in life lives on with its attitudes and inclinations.  So, by far the most important part of our being is not affected by death, but remains as it was.  Our feelings which are of the body die with it, as do our appetites, our passions and sensations.  But our soul lives on, and what is far more important, it lives forever.