Death, Dying, and Future Hope

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How did evil arise in the perfect universe created by God? Some Christians say that imperfect humans can never fully understand a perfect and all-knowing God. That is true, but some questions go to the very nature of our relationship with God. Did evil arise because part of God is evil? Perhaps our perfect universe was not so perfect? While God tells us in Genesis how evil entered our world as a result of the decisions of Adam and Eve, how did evil enter the heart of the serpent (Satan) who tempted them to embrace evil? Let's jump into our study of the Bible and see what we can find has been revealed to us by our loving Father in Heaven!...

Imagine you are Satan. You have rebelled against God and you and your allied angels have been (or are about to be) tossed out of heaven. What do you do? We know from Revelation 12:7-9 that Satan engaged in an actual battle with God. The Bible uses the words "war" and "fighting." Why would Satan do that? The obvious answer is that Satan wanted to rule heaven - or at least some part of it. We also know that Satan tried to lure the newly created humans into rejecting God in favor of him. Why would he do that? The humans, unlike the angels, had no power to fight God. Was Satan's motive to insult God? Perhaps Satan thought that causing humans to enter into sin would make them like him (and the other fallen angels), and God would make a way to reconcile them all? What Satan managed to accomplish was to trigger death among humans, and in the process create death for himself and his fallen angels. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more!...

When you think of traffic laws, I expect that you do not want a police officer pulling you over and giving you a ticket. But, you believe in firmly enforcing the traffic laws against others. Right? What about life after death? You would love to live eternally, but there are a lot of people who you are rather sure should not be allowed to engage in evil forever. What does the Bible say on this topic? Do humans have an eternal nature? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn more!...

Why do you remain a Christian? When I've considered turning away what stopped me was the thought of living life without God. Central to my life is knowing that God is with me in every challenge. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:19 "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." I don't agree. Even without a hereafter, I have been immeasurably blessed in this life by God's companionship. Know that I've taken Paul's words out of context. His context is that we have been captured by a lie if heaven is not real. In context, Paul's statement aligns with my gratitude for God's presence. Jesus is real. His resurrection is real. His companionship with us is real and will continue forever if we choose. Jesus is at the heart of Paul's argument about the hereafter. What did God's people believe before Jesus came? Did they believe in an enduring companionship with God? Let's turn to that this week in our continuing study of the Bible!...

The Bible records Old Testament prophets who raised the dead to life. The New Testament tells us that Jesus raised the dead to life, and that Peter and Paul did also. What purpose do these resurrections serve? Those who were raised to life appear to have died later. Why is that? On the other hand, we have Moses who was raised to life, and he appears to be immortal because he is seen again a thousand years later. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn regarding these extraordinary miracles!...

In 2004 I attended the National Religious Broadcasters convention and saw an advance copy of Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ." When I returned to my hotel I fell on my knees in sorrow for my sins and gratitude for what Jesus did for me at the cross. Although I own a copy of that movie, I've never watched it again because it is so emotionally wrenching. Think about that. What Satan did to Jesus, and what Jesus voluntarily accepted, is so awful I don't even want to watch it again. Our Bible study this week is not about the horror of Jesus' sacrifice, but rather what this plan for our salvation says about our Lord and how we should respond. Let's dive into our study!...

I am not a baseball fan. The games seem slow and endless. No doubt many readers will disagree. Imagine a baseball game (or football, or hockey, or boxing) that never ended. Would you be satisfied with that? Apply that thinking to the contest between good and evil. If the righteous dead immediately go to heaven, why would we need a resurrection? If the answer is that you need a body in heaven to go with your spirit, why can't that body be supplied to you in heaven? It is not as if you are getting your decayed body back. There is a "victory" logic supporting the idea of soul sleep that we will explore this week. That victory starts with the resurrection of Jesus. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible!...

Logic was an important class in college. It taught me that certain kinds of arguments were fallacies - defective ways of thinking. Logical fallacies can be recognized by patterns of arguments. This week we consider one of the great religious fallacies: that discrimination is a bad thing. We know this is a fallacy because we discriminate all the time regarding important and unimportant things. When you chose your spouse did you discriminate? How about when you applied for a job? What about this morning when you decided what to wear? Central to Bible-based thinking is discrimination and central to the gospel is that God discriminates when it comes to eternal life. But does God discriminate to exclude humans from the opportunity for salvation? How can we be sure? Let's dive into our study of the Bible to explore the truth!...

Whenever I have to argue before a court I try to think of all the questions that I am likely to be asked by the judges. I carefully consider what is the best answer, and then I practice that answer. The goal is to avoid being asked a question I have not considered and then, when the pressure is on, trying to come up with a persuasive answer. We should do the same when it comes to our Christian beliefs. We need to consider the hard questions and carefully construct a solid compelling answer. Just as with everything else, the Holy Spirit guides me into the best thinking. For our study this week, let's team up with the Holy Spirit, consider the hard questions about the state of the dead, and explore solid Biblical answers!...

Do people seriously think about hell? How many books and movies have characters who say, "See you in hell?" If the speaker truly believed hell was an eternally burning fire, that statement would not be made casually. If it is eternal torture serious people would make it a very high priority to avoid hell. Instead, most people (including me) think in terms of missing out on heaven. And what does hell say about God? The gospel story is that God is more than fair to humans when He gave up Himself to allow us to choose eternal life. Can "more than fair," also be more than unjust? Seventy-years of sin deserves eternal torture? Let's dive into our Bibles and see what it has to say about hell!...