Removing death's mystery
For many years, in spite of a strong desire to unravel the mystery of death, I could find no explanation that was logical. Death as a kind of abracadabra that made everything instantly all right seemed to me incompatible with justice.The case for oblivion was insupportable because I felt intuitively that consciousness, or some aspects of it, must be permanent. Death as a mystery failed to satisfy reason. And the notion of a transmutation of matter into a spirit seemed wildly superstitious.
At this point I came upon Christian Science. I had not gone very far in my search into Science before I realized the mystery of death can't be removed without understanding life. And life can only be understood by understanding God, who ism eternal Life. Mary Baker Eddy's n1 description of death in this context helped open my eyes:
n1 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
"Death. An illusion, the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life.
"Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being." n2
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 584.
The Bible roused me with, "To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace." n3 Christ Jesus proved the powerlessness of death by his resurrection. He showed that spiritual-mindedness is living strength.
n3 Romans 8:6.
The continuity of life, then, requires of us continuity of spirituality. Spiritual growth, accomplished here, has its reward in health, freedom, holiness , both here and hereafter. When spiritual achievement is paramount in our lives , we are challenging the belief of death. We can exclaim with the Psalmist, "I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord." n4
n4 Psalms 118:17.
The real man never dies.
Does this mean wem don't have to die?
Deathlessness is attainable. But at the stage of spiritual development where most of us find ourselves, it's admittedly problematic. Yet with full confidence in our true being and in its sustainer, God, we can move in the direction of an ever clearer grasp of what Life is and our unity with the divine source. Mrs. Eddy puts it this way: "To say that you and I, as mortals, will not enter this dark shadow of material sense, called death;m is to assert what we have not proved; but man in Science never dies. Material sense, or the belief of life in matter, must perish, in order to prove man deathless." And later she adds: "I insist only upon the fact, as it exists in divine Science, that man dies not, and on the words of the Master in support of this verity, -- words which can never 'pass away till all be fulfilled.'" n5 One must approach human life and death with realistic hope, divine logic, and a growing grasp of the continuity of real existence.
n5 Unity of Good,m pp. 40, 43.
Death neither transports us miraculously to heaven nor plunges us precipitately to hell. Heaven and hell represent states of consciousness, not localities. The necessity, here and hereafter, is for us to yield to the divine demand of perfection in Christ. The removal of the superstition that death ends all suffering and need for further progress puts wholesome pressure on us to honor Life now, through moral and spiritual living.
What we don't learn of Life now, we must learn later. What we don't understand now, we'll understand later as we grow into fitness to perceive and prove spiritual reality, which includes no death at all. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. Psalm 9:7,8