There is little that we know about death other than it will come. And it will come. We also have little control over our death, other than we may hasten it if we so choose or we may labor to live longer through nutrition and exercise. But what comes after our last breath gives us concern. Is death the end? Or is it the beginning of a new life? Do we stop thinking? Or do we start thinking differently?
Certainly, during life, we have our senses to entertain us. We watch television and movies. We listen to music on the radio or on our i-Pods or i-phones. We enjoy lobster and steak. We sniff flowers. We stroke the soft hair of our favorite dog.
Let me admit right up front that I don’t know what will happen after death. Nobody does. There are many who will tell you that they have faith that certain things will happen. But the truth is they don’t know either.
But don’t dismiss faith just because you can’t prove the belief is true. Faith, by definition, is a belief that something is true, not that you can prove that it is true. Faith may be all that you can take to death’s door. You may leave your senses behind and still be thinking. Of course, if you are not thinking after death, then this entire discussion is moot. Death is the end. Nothing matters at that point. Faith would be irrelevant. But if you are still thinking after death without your senses to entertain you, you will be locked into your thoughts, which may not be a good thing.
Sensory deprivation is a known form of torture. Without our senses, our minds wander through nightmarish territory with no boundaries on where our thoughts may carry us. If you fear heights, you can expect to transport yourself to the highest points, teetering over a precipice. If you are claustrophobic, you can expect that you will be thinking about being squeezed into a tight compartment with no way out. You will be your own worst enemy and create your own hell for as long as you are thinking, which could be an eternity.
So, if you are still thinking after death, you better have faith… in something. And it better be a powerful, unshakeable faith. Only through faith can you withstand the chaos that might await you if you are still thinking after death.
One of the most interesting faiths to me is Christianity because it covers all the bases. If you truly believe in Jesus as your savior, then if you are still thinking after death, you will not only see Jesus, but your sins will be forgiven. You will not be thinking about the bad things that you did during life. You will not be thinking about your phobias. You will only be thinking about Jesus, who will lead you to your new life after death.
Jesus explained this process in John 3:3-21. Jesus stated, “… no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” He explained this by comparing being born again of the Spirit to being like the wind blowing wherever it pleases. He continued, “You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.”
Jesus may have been describing the portal to death where only the spirit, which is like a wind, can carry you into a new kingdom. We must allow the wind or Spirit to carry us to its destination, not ours. God’s will be done, not ours. We must let our rebellious spirit stay behind in our prior world and allow the Spirit to move us through a narrow passage way into the new world. It would be like being born again, but not into the human world from whence we came, but into the Spirit world where we can’t detect its origin or destination. You can only provide the faith to the Spirit that transports you into the kingdom of God. Without both faith and the Spirit, you cannot be born again.
The faith of little children far surpasses my insignificant faith, which is clouded by my experiences of deception and lies in the human world. And others are like me… confused by the negativity that clouds our hearts, hiding the disappointments of life that can also weaken our faith.
How can we have faith in Jesus, who will lead us to God’s kingdom, if we don’t have complete trust in Him? How can we have complete trust if we are attempting to do this just to avoid sensory deprivation or hell itself? How can we have complete trust if we never had met Jesus before? How can we trust this person because everybody we met in our world was trying to get something for themselves?
Does Jesus have an agenda? Yes, but His agenda is only to help us squeeze through the narrow portal to the kingdom of God. We must accept His kindness and generosity and unconditional love, which does not come from our world; it comes from His. Only those who are born again can understand and receive this gift.
We must be born again to better prepare for our certain death . Once our faith has merged with the Spirit, we can talk to Jesus and get to know Him before death, so we will trust Him completely and follow Him to the new kingdom. Many people say that they are born again, but these are merely words. The average person, who goes to church, prays to God with ritualistic words, tries to be a good person by doing good deeds, and reads the Bible, is not going to have any better chance of reaching God’s kingdom than a murderer.
The last comment goes against the grain of religion. I must be a madman to make such a comment. Yet, it is my vision of death on Judgment Day. It’s not your deeds that are measured on this day. It’s not your attendance at church that determines whether you make the grade. It’s not the scales of judgment in our world that apply. It’s not a preponderance of good in your heart. It’s truly a pass-fail test.
You must enter a new world, where you must completely turn your thoughts over to Jesus. You must stop driving the car and turn the wheel over to Jesus. Can you do that? That requires a trust that you may not have. That requires a relationship with Jesus that you must develop during your life. You must develop and nurture that trust before you die or it will not be sufficient.
Even though this is my vision. The Bible supports much of the vision. Jesus reminded us of the difficulty in this journey in Matthew 7:14 when He said, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus taught us in the Beatitudes that we must purify our thoughts along with our actions. This was because our thoughts will be our actions in the next life. Only those with pure thoughts and powerful faith will reach the kingdom of God.
So, if I believe that sensory deprivation is the hell that awaits the non-believers… the ones who do not have a strong enough faith to weather the tornadoes of chaos that would separate them from their beliefs, am I believing in something fictional just to avoid chaos? Good question.
The answer may surprise you. Even though I believe that sensory deprivation is the source of hell, I separate that from God’s kingdom. Life without God makes no sense to me. In fact, life would be quite absurd without God. All the beauty of creation in life… DNA, complex systems like eyes, the unlikely marriage of relativity and quantum mechanics… points directly to a creator. The fact that it is beyond our comprehension also points to a creator.
And what better test for us to endure than to be given free will to make decisions during our short stay on earth? And these decisions are made without a visible judge. God is invisible to us, so many will make poor decisions based on what is best for them personally. There is no better test of your ethics than to examine the decisions you made when you thought nobody was looking.
It is a brave new world in God’s kingdom. But it requires much more than we can even imagine to enter this new world. Since we know nothing about it, we have to place ourselves in the hands of Jesus to take us there. We cannot even imagine the kingdom of God because we have nothing to compare it to on earth. We have no ability to create it in our thoughts, so we have to give it to God or we will never reach it. And this requires us to place our heart and soul at the feet of Jesus, trusting Him no matter what happens next. And we can expect surprises on Judgment Day that will test our faith and the Spirit. But we must not fail. Because failure will be hell.