Do You Die When You Die?

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Feb 14, 2018
Some neuroscientists (not all) believe that all of human experience resides in the biological activity in our brains. They hold that when that activity ends, consciousness ends and the existence of our "self" ceases. Following this end of consciousness, our lives and actions can only be evaluated based on human-created criteria, and from that point on we no longer have accountability for anything done In life except in the opinions of other people.

Another view is that in addition to our brain activity, our "self" also consists of a non-physical element. This non-physical element is assumed to continue after the death of our bodies. In other words, after we "die" our consciousness and sense of self will continue.

If you hold to the die-when-you die view, you may decide you want to "live well", so as to be remembered in a positive way, or instead that within a few generations you will be forgotten so the way you live does not really matter.

But if our "selves" continue after physical death what will it be like for us after our bodies die? Various religions (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Chrisitanity) each have a view of what the after-death experience will be.

Christian belief is based on the Bible and Jesus' teaching regarding the afterlife, and is unique in that our state after death does not depend on what we have done.

The essence of the Christian message is that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God's perfect standard. God has provided Christ as a perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. If we recognize and admit that our behavior was wrong and place our faith in Christ for forgiveness, God will then view us as having Christ's perfect behavior and we will not be held accountable for our sins.

There is also a clear statement in the Bible about what behavior is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and the consequences of indulging in unacceptable behavior.

Unacceptable behavior includes wickedness, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, gossip, insolence, pride, boasting, etc.

Acceptable behavior includes: Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. Do to others as you would like them to do to you. (Both of these lists are examples and are not exhaustive lists.)

An honest assessment will reveal that we all have done things which were wrong and have not done all that is right. Yet this is the standard. If we have all failed, where does that leave us?

The Bible also says that we can see how God makes us acceptable to him. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God's standard. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins. God sent Christ to be our sacrifice. Christ offered his life's blood, so by faith in him we could come to God.

Well, so what? People who have made up their minds one way or the other are unlikely to be swayed toward either view.

But for those still undecided, I say this: recognize and admit that you have done wrong and not lived up to God's perfect standard. Decide and tell God that you regret that wrong behavior and that you want to stop behaving in ways that are not pleasing to him. Tell Jesus that you believe that he died so that your sins may be forgiven and that you trust him with that forgiveness.

If this is confusing, here is an example of what you might say:

"Jesus, I admit that I am a sinner and have done many things that don’t please you. I am sorry, and I ask you to forgive me. I believe that you died on the cross for me, to save me. I come to you now and ask you to take control of my life; I give it to you. From this day forward, help me to live every day for you and in a way that pleases you."

Understand that this is simply an example. There is no magic formula of words which you can recite to be acceptable to God. What is necessary is that you have faith in God through Jesus Christ. Faith is to believe in and put your trust in.

If you prayed this prayer or something like it then I rejoice with you. You have become a new person. I encourage you to begin reading the Bible. You may want to acquire a printed Bible but there are many online Bibles which you can read for free. One example is Bible Hub: Search, Read, Study the Bible in Many Languages. A good place to start would be the Book of John. Find a local Christian church so that you can be encouraged by and learn from other believers.

If you did not pray and put your faith in Jesus today, and have questions, I still encourage you to begin reading the Bible and visit a local Christian church where you can learn more about what it means to put your faith in Jesus.
Thanks for the post Bill, very encouraging. :)
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