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Author Topic: I Don't Understand Death  (Read 860 times) Average Rating: 0
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JamesR
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« on: July 05, 2012, 06:28:31 PM »

Three primary questions followed by a lengthy explanation and clarification of my questions.

#1) If Jesus defeated death then why do we still have to die via Baptism?

#2) If Baptism is our personal death and resurrection into the new life, then why do we still have to die physically someday?

#3) If Jesus defeated death, then how is death still the final enemy and why does it still affect us?

I don't understand it. I do understand that death and mortality were introduced to humanity after the Fall. The reason being that Theosis became impossible as sin--more specific, the human nature which was polluted by sinful cravings--acted as a barrier between humankind and godliness. As a result, death was unfortunately the consequence of this tragic event--since godliness is the only source of Life, and since godliness became impossible for us to achieve after the Fall, Life itself--which is only found in godliness--also became separated from us and impossible to attain. Thus, the only alternative was Death. Sad

However, not all was lost. Even in these unfortunate circumstances, death was not entirely bad--because in a strange way, God was able to use it to our mercy. Death was merciful because it ended all of our potential to sin and even further tarnish ourselves. We went to the 'Place of the Dead' where we would no longer sin and harm ourselves, and we waited there until God enacted His master plan.

The Incarnation, Crucifixion & Resurrection were the solutions to this problem. God--being merciful and loving to us--would NOT allow us to remain under the dominion of death forever. He is not the god of the dead but the God of the living. The time had finally arrived and it was now time for death to (no pun intended) meet its death. God made Theosis/Deification possible again through the Incarnation--that is, by assuming flesh and thus redeeming the human nature just as Adam tarnished it. Then, he went on to face death itself during His Crucifixion, and finally, at His Resurrection He destroyed death itself and opened all of the graves.

But why does it not seem so? If Jesus defeated death then would not it logically follow that we do not have to die anymore? On second thought, I have considered the possibility that maybe Jesus did not die so that we would not have to die, but died so that the affects of our death would be positive opposed to the negative sting that death used to carry. For example, instead of having to wait around in the place of the dead forever, we can be with God and the Saints and assume our Deification.

The death that we have to face is our Baptism. Ironically, Baptism is our own personal death of death. Through Baptism, our deathful (if that is even a word) state dies, and we then enter into a new state of life in Christ, with Christ and all of the Saints.

But that still leaves one final question that I do not understand; why do we still face a physical death if Baptism was our death and if Jesus defeated death? All of us are still going to physically kick the bucket someday. Unless of course, the Second Coming occures sometime in our lifetimes. But what are the odds of that? And how about the people who have died after Jesus' Resurrection but before the Second Coming? Like my miscarried sister, members of our family, the Saints, Apostles etc, Big Pun, President Kennedy etc? Why did they all still have to die? Many of these people I listed as examples were even Baptised, so why did they all still have to die a physical death? Why are we (Most likely) going to have to die a physical death if we were Baptised, which--I had always thought--was precisely our death and Resurrection?
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2012, 07:00:48 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.

We can't be reborn physically until we die physically. Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

Jesus defeated death by being raised from the dead. We will physically participate in that resurrection along with all of creation at the second coming when corruption shall put on incorruption and mortality shall put on immortality.

Jesus didn't die so that we wouldn't have to, but so that he could raise us up from death, which we believe will happen at the second coming. Corruption cannot inherit incorruption.
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2012, 08:13:13 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.

Didn't we already die at our Baptism and get Resurrected?
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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2012, 08:30:23 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.

Didn't we already die at our Baptism and get Resurrected?
No.
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« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2012, 08:32:59 PM »

In regards to #3:

"Christian thought, from the outset, denies that (in themselves) suffering, death, and evil have any ultimate value or spiritual meaning at all. It claims that they are cosmic contingencies, ontological shadows, intrinsically devoid of substance or purpose, however much God may--under the conditions of a fallen order--make them the occasions for accomplishing his good ends.

Perhaps no doctrine strikes non-Christians as more insufferably fabulous than the claim that we exist in the long melancholy aftermath of a primordial catastrophe: that this is a broken and wounded world, that cosmic time is a phantom of true time, that we live in an umbratile interval between creation in its fulness and the nothingness from which it was called, that the universe languishes in bondage to the "powers" and "principalities" of this age, which never cease in their enmity toward the Kingdom of God.

The cosmos, then, is divided between two kingdoms, that of God and that of death. And while God must triumph, death remains mighty and terrible until the end--it remains, in fact, the "last enemy that shall be destroyed." At the heart of the Gospel, of course, is an ineradicable triumphalism, a conviction that the will of God cannot ultimately be defeated and that the victory over evil and death has already been won...But it is also a victory, we are assured, that is yet to come. For now, we live amid a strife of darkness and light, falsehood and truth, death and life. This world remains a field where the wheat and the tares have been sown side by side, and so they must grow till the harvest comes. Until then, as Paul says, all creation languishes in anguished anticipation of the day when God's glory will transfigure all things."

- David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea
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« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2012, 08:57:03 PM »

That quote just made me purchase that book alone.

Hart is an awesome writer.
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 09:00:55 PM »

He writes like a dorky egghead.

I like it.

A lot.
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« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 09:01:26 PM »

It's a fantastic read. Short but brilliant.
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« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2012, 09:03:43 PM »

He writes like a dorky egghead.
A dorky egghead.

What is that
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« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2012, 09:09:04 PM »

He writes like a dorky egghead.
A dorky egghead.

What is that

My extensive humility prevents me from answering this question. That is all.
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« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2012, 09:14:49 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.
Didn't we already die at our Baptism and get Resurrected?

Not physically.
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« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2012, 09:37:52 PM »

You didn't just quote The Eastern Orthodox Theologian TM, did you?
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« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2012, 09:39:43 PM »

Is that his official title?
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« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2012, 09:48:04 PM »

Ha!
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« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2012, 09:48:17 PM »

I've learned in my years there are just some things you gotta shrug your shoulders to and say "I dunno".

What was it like before you were born?  (when he knew you before he form you in the womb) - I dunno
What is it like right after you croak?  I dunno
Are there really ghosts?  I dunno

Lots of unanswerable questions.  Sometimes its better to have peace with the unknown.

Like would you really want to know the exact time, place, and where you will die?
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« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2012, 10:52:16 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.
Didn't we already die at our Baptism and get Resurrected?

Not physically.

Now you sound like a Protestant trying to downplay the Sacraments by viewing them as metaphoric.

EDIT: Oh come on can't someone give me a lengthy, direct answer? I hate when I go all out and people respond only with one or two sentences.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 10:55:44 PM by JamesR » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2012, 11:26:45 PM »

We can't be reborn or "born again" in Christ in this life until we die.
Didn't we already die at our Baptism and get Resurrected?

Not physically.

Now you sound like a Protestant trying to downplay the Sacraments by viewing them as metaphoric.

EDIT: Oh come on can't someone give me a lengthy, direct answer? I hate when I go all out and people respond only with one or two sentences.

Is everything real physical?
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« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2012, 12:09:27 AM »

Quote
#1) If Jesus defeated death then why do we still have to die via Baptism?

#2) If Baptism is our personal death and resurrection into the new life, then why do we still have to die physically someday?

#3) If Jesus defeated death, then how is death still the final enemy and why does it still affect us?

"Today, hell cries out groaning:
My power has been trampled upon.
The Shepherd has been crucified and Adam has been raised.
I have been deprived of those whom I ruled.
Those whom I have swallowed in my strength I have given up.
He who was crucified has emptied the tomb.
The power of death has been vanquished."

Death has been defeated in the sense that it's power over us is no more. It is aloted to man to die once; and then the resurrection. Whereas before, we would not be resurrected, however, Christ through his action, makes this possible for us.

Among its salvaic properties, baptism is also the symbol of the old man or old self dying and a new life in Christ starting.
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« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2012, 12:10:33 AM »

Is everything real physical?

No. But if it does not affect us in any direct, physical way then it becomes irrelevant to us since we are physical creatures. Spirituality without physicality is impossible for humans since we are both physical and spiritual creatures that use the two natures in accordance with each other.
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« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2012, 12:12:52 AM »

Quote
#1) If Jesus defeated death then why do we still have to die via Baptism?

#2) If Baptism is our personal death and resurrection into the new life, then why do we still have to die physically someday?

#3) If Jesus defeated death, then how is death still the final enemy and why does it still affect us?

"Today, hell cries out groaning:
My power has been trampled upon.
The Shepherd has been crucified and Adam has been raised.
I have been deprived of those whom I ruled.
Those whom I have swallowed in my strength I have given up.
He who was crucified has emptied the tomb.
The power of death has been vanquished."

Death has been defeated in the sense that it's power over us is no more. It is aloted to man to die once; and then the resurrection. Whereas before, we would not be resurrected, however, Christ through his action, makes this possible for us.

Among its salvaic properties, baptism is also the symbol of the old man or old self dying and a new life in Christ starting.

That makes sense. But could you clarify on the Baptism more? I don't understand why we need to physically die once if Baptism is supposedly the death of the old self.
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« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2012, 12:55:44 AM »

Is everything real physical?

No. But if it does not affect us in any direct, physical way then it becomes irrelevant to us since we are physical creatures. Spirituality without physicality is impossible for humans since we are both physical and spiritual creatures that use the two natures in accordance with each other.

That is just simply wrong.  Just as I can burn my finger without my soul being burned, so too can I receive a spiritual benefit without a physical change.  Tell me: Does reception of the Eucharist benefit one spiritually?  If it does, then explain to me how, in your world, something so powerful that it takes away all sin and impurity, can not heal cancer?
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« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2012, 10:58:18 AM »

Is everything real physical?

No. But if it does not affect us in any direct, physical way then it becomes irrelevant to us since we are physical creatures. Spirituality without physicality is impossible for humans since we are both physical and spiritual creatures that use the two natures in accordance with each other.

That is just simply wrong.  Just as I can burn my finger without my soul being burned, so too can I receive a spiritual benefit without a physical change.  Tell me: Does reception of the Eucharist benefit one spiritually?  If it does, then explain to me how, in your world, something so powerful that it takes away all sin and impurity, can not heal cancer?

Everyone survives death. The question is what will be the disposition of your soul after you "die"
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« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2012, 03:41:44 AM »

EDIT: Oh come on can't someone give me a lengthy, direct answer? I hate when I go all out and people respond only with one or two sentences.

Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.
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« Reply #23 on: July 07, 2012, 06:44:52 AM »

Oh come on can't someone give me a lengthy, direct answer?

It's longther than my other posts in this thread and relates to death, resurrection, and baptism.

The physical effects of the fall include being subject to corruption and death and having bodily desires disordered. There are lines in the Psalms reflecting this in our bodies such as "I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up" and "My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass". And Paul writes "But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members". And not just the human race, but also the creation that mankind was intended to be the head of as Paul writes "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body". We await the undoing of this at the return of Christ when "the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" and "we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth" accomplished by the power of His own resurrection from the dead. This is why Jesus said "I am the resurrection, and the life" and it is written "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory", that Christ "shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself", and "Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him". Jesus, as the author and source of life, had to be crucified and raised from the dead in order to restore us to life because we are unable to do it ourselves as the Psalms say "What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?".

While we await the resurrection of the body, we are given the opportunity in this lifetime to have our spirit renewed in Christ by being baptized into His death and raised up in newness of life, and to repent of our sins and be conformed to Christ. It is in Christ that we are united with God as He Himself said "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved" and "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". It is in baptism that we are born from above after being buried in the likeness of Christ's death. This is why it is written  "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ", "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all", and "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ". It is in baptism that we are received into God's covenant as His people as it is written "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead". But baptism is not the end of Christian life, but the beginning, where we are introduced to having a right relationship with God that must be continued in through daily self examination and repentence, walking in the Spirit, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and struggling against the lusts of the flesh in order to grow and mature in becoming conformed to Christ. We are to do this in this life because it is written that all "shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" and "For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting".
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« Reply #24 on: July 07, 2012, 11:11:08 AM »

That makes sense. But could you clarify on the Baptism more? I don't understand why we need to physically die once if Baptism is supposedly the death of the old self.
In Baptism, you are baptized into Christ, who reigns in the Kingdom of Heaven. This age that we are currently in, with its fallen kosmas (order) is violently opposed to the Kingdom of Heaven, which is at hand mysterically but is also on its way in the Age to Come ("thy kingdom come").

So in this fallen age, your soulish body, which belongs to this age, still has to be sown corruptible, so that it can be raised a spiritual body in the Coming Age.

"...we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body." -Romans 8

"That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another." -1 Corinthians 15
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