God Said Man Said

Science and Getting Ready to Die

Man is terrified by death. Down through time, he has spent considerable time attempting to escape it, to explain it, or to mollify its fear. When you die, the things you possess and cherish are not yours anymore. Your house is not yours. Your car is not yours. Your money is not yours, even your pants are not yours. Someone else will possess them. Death is a serious issue and dealing with it is mandatory. Everyone will participate.
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Science and Getting Ready to Die

Article#: 1351

The beginning of the world’s darkest hours may have arrived, but childlike faith can turn the darkest night into noonday. Just prior to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for the born-again, the world will be in an ominous, terrible state.  Wickedness will have come to the full.  It will be ripe for judgment.  Jesus said as the days of Noah were, so shall be the condition of the earth just prior to His return.  Genesis 6:13:

And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

Genesis 6:5:

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The redeemed will sit in the center of this grand and horrendous finale and our childlike faith in Christ Jesus will alone be our strength and buoyance. 

Get four 3x5” index cards and write one of the verses that follow on each one.

1. Romans 8:28:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

2. Proverbs 4:18:

 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

3. I Thessalonians 5:18:

          In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

4. Matthew 28:20:

and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


During these very dark times, these verses, and many others, are your promises that today will be the best day of your life and tomorrow will be better.  The times that are the darkest for mankind are the times for the redeemed to shine with the greatest brilliance.  Take these marvelous cards and put them by your car keys or someplace where you will often see them; each time you see them, stop and read them.  They will be power and great comfort to your soul. 

Have you been redeemed?  Have you been born again?  Are you prepared to meet Jesus Christ in the clouds?  Make your peace with God today.  Click onto “Further With Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God.  Now for today’s subject.    

GOD SAID, Psalms 90:10-12:

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

GOD SAID, Ecclesiastes 7:2:

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

GOD SAID, Hebrews 2:14-15:

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

GOD SAID, I Corinthians 15:53-57:

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 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.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

MAN SAID:  When you die, you just end and return to the dirt.  There is no God and consequently, no fear of judgment.  You just end. 

Now THE RECORD.  There is a burgeoning, relatively new field in psychology called Terror Management Theory (TMT) that deals with the “terror of our impermanence.” 

Man is terrified by death.  Down through time, considerable time was spent attempting to escape it, to explain it, or to mollify its fear.  Before modern-day embalming, the thought of being buried alive was given serious consideration.  Many who had died and were buried had a string tied around a finger which was hooked to a bell where the graveyard attendant could hear ringing, if, in fact, an unfortunate individual was taken for dead and buried alive.  According to D. Teresi, author of The Undead, clues on how medieval people established death are found in the papal camerlengo.  The following paragraph is from the book The Undead:

This post was established sometime between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries with the office holder’s duty expressly to ensure that the pope was indeed dead before burying him.  Following the ancient Roman custom of conclamation, the camerlengo calls out the pope’s Christian name three times.  “The silence of the dead bears the answer that is sought,” declares Greg Tobin in his book, Selecting the Pope: Uncovering the Mysteries of Papal Elections, which bears the imprimatur of Monsignor Robert J. Wister, a professor of Church history at Seton Hall University.  According to him and other sources, the camerlengo then taps the pontiff’s forehead with a silver hammer or drapes it with a cloth.  The use of the hammer is unsubstantiated.   Perhaps it is meant as a means of provoking a pain reflex.  The camerlengo’s colorful history and strange duties are entertaining to research and read about but difficult to pin down.  Were I a pope or a person of similar importance, I would very much like to employ a camerlengo.  When he declares the pope to be dead, the camerlengo’s job ends.  [End of quote]

A commentator made a sobering statement.  He said that when you die, the things you possess and cherish are not yours anymore.  Your house is not yours.  Your car is not yours.  Your money is not yours, even your pants are not yours.  Someone else will possess them.  Death is a serious issue and dealing with it is mandatory.  Everyone will participate.  Ecclesiastes 8:8:

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

This is GodSaidManSaid feature article 604 that once again confirms the perfect inerrancy of the Word of God found in the Holy Bible.  These features are archived on this site in text and streaming audio, and every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one.  Thank you for coming.  We are honored by your visit. 

Men are terrified by their impermanence, their certain end, and their new field of Terror Management Theory is attempting to assuage these fears.  Michael Wiederman, a professor of psychology at Columbia College, in the July/August 2012 issue of Scientific American Mind, pursues these issues in an eight-page feature titled “Mortal Thoughts.”  It should be no surprise to lovers of God’s Word that academia’s latest and greatest discoveries inadvertently certify the supernatural authorship of the Bible.  Thousands of years prior to carnaldom’s arrival to truth, they discover that God’s Word is already there espousing truths only the maker Himself could know.  Professor Wiederman will be this week’s confirmation of Holy Writ.  Several excerpts of his article follow.  Before the professor’s words, allow us to lay down word definitions from the Oxford Dictionary:

  • Existentialism: philosophical theory emphasizing the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining his or her own development.
  • Extrinsic: not essential; originating or operating from without.
  • Intrinsic:essential.

Now, Mr. Wiederman:

More recently, this apparent disagreement among different disciplines, common enough in new fields of research, has given way to a deeper understanding of why our thoughts about mortality sometimes help us and sometimes do us harm.  One essential determinant of how we handle the subject appears to be whether our life goals are material or idealistic.  The effect of mortal thinking on behavior also seems to depend on whether death is at the top of our mind or hovering just beyond our consciousness.  Still, the duality of helpful and harmful effects echoes one of life’s central conundrums: we cannot deny that someday we will die, so how are we to keep this paralyzing truth from paralyzing us? 

In one of my favorite cartoons, by Eric Lewis, a man lying on his deathbed says to his attentive wife, “I should have bought more crap.”  The dying man’s regret is a tour de force of deflection and misdirection, the opposite of what we expect of a man looking back with rue.  For most of us, a near-death experience or the death of someone we know prompts us to take stock of our life in a good way.  This certainly was true for my father, and it is precisely the effect that existential therapists count on as they try to help their clients confront mortality and shift their life onto a more meaningful path.  Typically, the shift is from extrinsic values and goals, such as material success, towards intrinsic ones, such as matters of the soul or spirit.

The beneficial effect works the other way around, too.  People who pursue intrinsic goals have more success in heading off anxiety associated with death than those who chase material things.  In 2009, Alain Van Hiel and Maarten Vansteenkiste of Ghent University in Belgium published their survey of older adults (with an average age of 75).  The elders who reported having fulfilled more of their intrinsic goals were the least anxious about death and most satisfied with their life.  In contrast, respondents who reported the greatest attainment of extrinsic goals indicated the most despair and the least acceptance of death. 

Intrinsic life goals and the creation of meaning appear to be central to coping with our mortality.  William S. Breitbart and several colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City recently published the results of an intervention with patients coping with advanced stages of cancer.  The patients were randomly invited to participate in one of two groups that met once a week for eight weeks.  The first group, which focused on social support, facilitated discussions about day-to-day concerns and ways to cope with them.  The second group focused on the sources of meaning in life.  At the end of the eight weeks and again at a two-month follow-up, members of the group focused on the meaning in life showed substantial increases in their scores on measures of meaning, peace, and faith, along with decreases in anxiety and desire for death.  The members of the group focused on social support showed no statistically significant changes. 

These surveys suggest that people who have an abrupt encounter with mortality tend to seek meaning in life, and those who pursue meaning in life can handle mortality more easily.  People also seem to use systems of meaning to block awareness of their mortality, clinging to aspects of their life that provide connection with social structures.  How this protective shield might work is the focus of the burgeoning field of Terror Management Theory.

It seems that mortality salience (meaning prominent, conspicuous) uniquely motivates people to bolster their religious beliefs. 

So what does all this tell us about how we might manage our fear of mortality?  If brushes with death help people worry less about it and devote more energy to the things that give deeper meaning to life, then focused thinking about death might help the rest of us. [End of quote]

Man seeks another way.  Jeremiah 2:13 reflects the dilemma:

For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

The solution to the fear of death is not Terror Management Theory.  The solution is a person.  John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 3:16:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

The solution is born-again.

John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

When one is born-again, the fear of death is swallowed up by victory—eternal life in Christ Jesus.  Death is simply a door to Revelation 21:1-5:

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.

When man arrives at the truth, he will always find that those of childlike faith in the Word of God are already there.  God’s Word is true and righteous altogether—a place to build a life that will last forever. 

GOD SAID, Psalms 90:10-12:

10 The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

11 Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

GOD SAID, Ecclesiastes 7:2:

It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

GOD SAID, Hebrews 2:14-15:

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

GOD SAID, I Corinthians 15:53-57:

53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54 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.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

MAN SAID:  When you die, you just end and return to the dirt.  There is no God and consequently, no fear of judgment.  You just end. 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

Teresi, D., The Undead, Pantheon Books, 2012

Wiederman, M., “Mortal Thoughts,” Scientific American Mind, July/August 2012

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