Saturday, 12 May 2012
The debate on the existence of eternal life is nothing new. Even the Book of Job, thought by many to be the oldest book in the Bible, poses the question: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure. . . . If a man dies, will he live again? (Job 14:1-2, 14, NIV)
Like Job, we have all wondered about this question. From the moment we realize that death is real, that there is an end to this earthly existence, we wonder what happens next.
Do we simply cease to exist? Does our life just end, leaving our body to rot in the grave?
Or does our soul continue to exist and wander body-less throughout the universe?
Or does our soul come back in a reincarnated state as another person . . . or perhaps an animal . . . or a tree . . . or a rock?
If there is indeed life after death, then what is that life like? Will I be me and will you be you? Will we all be together in some paradise? Or will there be different places for different people . . . a good place and a bad place, a heaven and a hell?
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey of the U.S. religious landscape a few years ago and they found that most Americans believe in life after death. About 75 percent of Americans believe in an afterlife, and about that same number believe there is a heaven where people who have led good lives are eternally rewarded. And I suspect that nearly everyone who believes there is a heaven and a hell thinks they will surely be one of those who go to heaven.
What about you? Do you believe in life after death? Do you believe in heaven? Do you believe you will spend eternity in heaven? Why? On what do you base that belief?