RIP: Can The Dead Hear?
MANY PEOPLE claim ownership of a parcel or parcels of land and boast about it. But who owns the earth itself? God is the only Being who claims ownership of the earth, saying “The earth is the LORD's and everything in it…” (Psalm 24: 1). Land owners and every living thing that dwell on the earth die, but God lives eternally. Man, whether educated or uneducated, rich or poor, theist or atheist suffers death. Death is a mystery which man finds very difficult to fathom.
Science has prolonged many lives, but at the same time shortened several others. Science preaches that bodily exercise can immensely lengthen man's life span on earth, and God's Word admits it, but says exercise profits little (1 Timothy 4: 8). To God, being godly is the key; godliness is better than walking, jogging, skipping or engaging in other forms of bodily exercise.
In one of his teachings which was aired on Spirit FM, a popular Kumasi-based Christian channel, Prophet Kakra Baiden advised his church members and all listeners to undertake regularly bodily exercises to help improve their health. The man of God said he considers the little profit exercise gives to the human body as very important and would not joke with it. And his opinion is apt.
Interestingly, a little over a year ago, a lawyer friend of mine came to my office with a rich businessman, who operated hotels in Kumasi. During the meeting, a comment was made which inspired the rich man to share his opinion about the relevance of regular exercising. He specifically advised the lawyer to exercise regularly, considering his age. And the lawyer thanked him.
However, a few months later, the lawyer visited again with a bad news that the rich man had passed on after a short illness. Death is a mysterious enemy. Man is unable to tell when it will lay its icy hands on him; it disrupts the dreams of both the old and young, male or female. As we sat and pondered over the mystery of death, I asked the lawyer to share with me his understanding of death.
He gladly said, “Death is the end of life.” And his answer was right from academic perspective. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines death as “The ending of a particular person's life.” But is death really the end of life? The scholarly opinion in the dictionary seems to suggest a disbelief in the message of life after death. It also suggests that man is merely bodily.
It is sad that many people, especially, the educated have bought into the deception that there is no life after death. Friend, there is a greater reason to believe that there is life after death. Death is not the end of life. Do not be deceived by philosophies of atheistic men. Understand that many a philosopher do not understand the mystery of death so their opinions are not final. There is a superior possessor of infallible knowledge – God.
His Word teaches that man is both bodily and spiritual. Man is a spirit being, and lives in a body. It is the spirit which gives life to the body. In other words, the spirit of man is the life of man. The spirit and life are one. We know by the Holy Scriptures that, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17: 11, ESV).
And in the book of James 2: 26, the Bible says, “… the body apart from the spirit is dead.” These living truths expose the weakness of the definition of death quoted above. Correctly, death is the separation of the spirit of man from the body of man. This is called physical death, that is, destruction has occurred to the body, but the spirit is alive. And we know that we cannot see spirit beings with our physical eyes because they are incorporeal or immaterial.
I am amazed at people who do not believe that spirits exist unless they see them. Their unbelief amazes me because these same people say they have wisdom, knowledge, understanding and even discernment. Now, can any man see wisdom or understanding sitting or squatting somewhere? No, it is not possible, yet they believe they have these things. A person who believes there is wisdom must also believe there are spirits, and most importantly God.
Death is not the end of life. There is life after death, that is, the spirit of man lives on. The belief in the existence of man's spirit after physical death is not superstition, but a reality. Many will not appreciate the relevance of the gospel of Christ Jesus until they die. The biblical account of the death of the rich man and Lazarus tells it all. The rich man wanted an opportunity to warn his unbelieving brothers about life after death, but there was no way he could.
He was told his brothers have ministers of the gospel preaching the Word of truth to them in the newspapers, magazines, and on television, radio and the Internet. They should listen to them and believe in Jesus Christ for the eternal salvation of their souls (Luke 16: 19- 31).
The prevalent intellectual hypocrisy and deception in the world are not unknown. If death is the end of life, and there is no life after death or the spirit of the dead cannot hear, why do the same unbelievers speak to the dead while mourning? Do they tell the dead to, “Rest In Peace” (RIP) for nothing? Can the dead hear?
FROM James Quansah, Kumasi