UI – Part 421 – The Physical World Matters
After this Life
For the major religions, Christians (over 2.2 billion) and Muslims (1.5 billion), the afterlife or hereafter is important. As believers who have been assured salvation life after death, an eternal life, with God is possible. That is the Spiritual world. What about the Temporal world, the here and now?
At the end of August 2016 on this Blog-site was an article on the Muslim Afterlife (read more). Referencing that posting it was written, “In Islam it is not this life, but the afterlife that is the focus of their attention. We are born to this world for a reason, but the Imam’s immediately dismiss trying to understand living for today and preach, at the earliest grades, and to mothers and fathers, that dying acting for Allah, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ is the purpose of a believer.” This leads to all kinds of confusion, to include those that have been convinced that being a martyr for Islam, fulfilling a role in achieving the Islamic goal of a world all for Allah, via a form of suicide mission paves the way for a life in paradise. I disagree with this notion, even from an Islamic perspective, as it suggests murder, murder of self is just as sinful as murdering another person.
Suicide is not the answer. It may be an escape from this life. If the trauma of life is so difficult such an exit may find forgiveness, but in unusual circumstances. That of an Islamic suicide bomber taking the lives of kafirs, Muslims and many innocents is not heroic, godlike, god sanctioned, or a pathway to the afterlife in paradise. Hell awaits.
For the Christian, as noted by Nancy Pearcey, her book, Saving Leonardo, “The doctrine of physical resurrection means that the physical world matters. It matters to God and it should matter to God’s people” (pg. 56). Yes, the physical world does matter. Do not be more prepared to leave it that to stay. The effort is to have a worldview that makes paradise on earth possible.
Creation was not intended to have time, space and earth to enable humans to live, the perfect set of conditions established to enable life, scientific biological life, to then simply destroy it all and start over. Creation was not an error.
God’s Heaven on Earth
Jesus was not a myth. The incarnation of Christ had a purpose. It enabled man to know God. Jesus was not an artist’s rendering, an avatar, a manifestation of someone’s imagination. Jesus was a real being who walked, talked and lived among humans. His father was God, thus God the Father. But he was more, so much more. His death was witnessed by those who knew him. As at an open viewing of a recently deceased friend or loved one, those that pass the casket know what they see. Their dead relation. Jesus dead body was seen by guards and others who could readily identify him. Pontius Pilate wanted his men to insure Jesus was dead. Those that knew who he was provided that assurance. Jesus body was put into a tomb. The Roman authorities placed guards at the entrance to protect this burial site from any possible funny business. They risked being severely punished, death, if the tomb was disturbed. Never did they suspect a body could be raised from the dead. That was unimaginable. Then it happened. Jesus rose from the dead and walked among hundreds and hundreds, witnesses to his resurrection.
There were 12 apostles. There lives were transformed from their time with Jesus. There were more than 12 if you account for those considered to replace Judas. All knew Christ well. The Quran suggests a conspiracy to remove the body, not fully dead, and create the story of the resurrection appearances they experienced. The apostles did not lie. From Wallace J. Warner’s book, Cold-Case Christianity: A Homicide Detective Investigates The Claims of the Gospels, “I am hesitant to embrace any theory that requires the conspiratorial effort of a large number of people, over a significant period of time, where there is little or nothing to gain by their effort” (pg 43/290). He discusses other concerns that thwart the Islamic, and other, conspiracy claims, such as “the Jewish authorities took many precautions to make sure the tomb was guarded and sealed….people local to the event would have known it was a lie….the disciples lacked the motive to create such a lie….(and) the disciples transformation following the…resurrection is inconsistent with the claim….How could their own lies transform them into courageous evangelists?” In addition, there are “no examples of large groups…having the exact same hallucination” of an event, such as the resurrection, as some claim it was a vision. And more than one group hallucination on more than one occasion of the same image is not rational. Even a skeptic, the disciple Thomas, was convinced of Christ Risen. And finally, “If the resurrection was simply a hallucination, what became of Jesus corpse? The absence of the body is unexplainable….”
The evidence supports Christ as God-incarnate. Read Warner’s book. It is not by blind faith that we believe. Have questions. Have doubts. Study. Explore. The facts present themselves. Spending 40 days with the disciples in a resurrected state was to provide “convincing” proof. I am a convicted Christian. I sincerely accept that God wanted peace on earth, as it is in heaven. That is why he sent his Son. We have the only example to follow that provided hope and joy while on earth for those who are filled with the Holy Spirit, assured too of their salvation and life eternal. It may not, however, always be peaceful in heaven. The forces of evil, the devil, are at work, the fallen angel, in an effort to see who controls mankind. The tempter, the father of lies, or the lover, the father of Jesus. You choose.
The Lord told us how to pray. In Matthew we are given the Lord’s Prayer. “Our Father, who art in heaven, hollowed be they name. Thy will be done. The Kingdom come, on Earth as it is in Heaven….” Yes, on earth as it is in heaven. The prayer was not “Thy will be done on earth so we may be with you in heaven as quickly as possible.” It is not what we do to achieve eternal status. It is what Jesus did for us. Know this and your life here and now will be brighter.
Your heaven somewhere, what we may all be looking for, is right here. It is here. It is now. And if not, it can be. Where there is hope and joy there is heaven on earth. In the absence of it, then maybe the only chance is the afterlife. If that is how you believe, then know you are being deceived. Where there is no hope, no joy, there is only hatred, bitterness and darkness. Where there is hope and joy the spirit of the Lord has fallen upon you as you have embraced the saving grace of Jesus.
God is With Man
God “is out there, or up there, and by that, we mean that he resides in a dimension of reality outside our own, or something like that,” written by Jonathan Parnell, Pastor, his article Where is Heaven on Earth? (read it for yourself) From Revelations 21:1-2, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.” Those spiritually connected to Jesus, pastor Parnell writes, “inhabit the dimension of reality in which he reigns. We are in that sense, in heaven with him….at the same time we are here” (on earth). Our spiritual identity is there, in heaven with him, while our temporal identity is here, with his spirit dwelling within.
The conclusion to Pastor Parnell’s article reads, “While so many are looking for that rare moment, for that bedazzling glimpse of the other world, the truth is that the other world, in part, is already here. The real miracle…(is) the miracle of a new life at work in us….”
Let the Spirit fall on you and your eyes will open with hope and joy to see what God has provided and offers everyday right here and now. Love god, love neighbor. Peace will fall upon everyone regardless of race or creed.
Grace and Peace.