Dying, Death, Resurrection and Eternal Life as in the Bible

Dying and Death are part of our human existence. However, already in the Old Testament we can find the hope that God can create new life. Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead at Easter is the foundation of our hope to be raised one day and to be united with him in eternal communion.

The fact that we human beings have to die is one of the basic realisations of biblical anthropology (1. Moses 3,19, Psalms 90,5-6). He who like Abraham dies “an old man and full of years” (1. Moses 25, 7-8) can be grateful. However, very often, death comes at the wrong time: children die, war destroys lives, disease and hunger kill human beings.

According to the Bible, death is the interruption of all relationships –with other human beings (Psalms 31, 12; 88, 19) as well as with God himself (Psalms 6, 6; 88, 11-13). Therefore, “sin”, understood as a selfish departure from God and our neighbour, leads to the loss of life (Romans 6, 23a).

Since God is just, there will be a Judgement of the living and the dead (2 Corinthians 5,10). God will right all the wrong in the world. This is the hope particularly of those who are victims of violence and injustice. For all Christians, the Last Judgement is the ultimate limit before which they have to answer for their actions. Eventually, their actions will be judged for the love they have shown to the most vulnerable of society (Matthew 25, 31-46). Of course, at the Judgement, Christ will not only be the judge, but, above all, our mediator and saviour, as emphasised in particular by the Apostle Paul (Romans 8, 31-34).

God can raise the dead back to life. In a vision, the Prophet Ezekiel (Chapter 37) describes how the Spirit of God breathes new life into the dead. For Christians, the raising of Jesus from the dead is a reason to hope that, one day, they too will rise again (1 Corinthians 15). The Gospel of John (5, 24) goes even further, affirming that death has no longer power over those who trust in Jesus.

When this Resurrection will occur is a question the Bible deliberately leaves open (1 Thessalonians 4, 13-18).  However, that everyone then will live in eternal communion with God is the great certainty Christians can have (The Apocalypse of John 21, 1-7).