Afterlife There was a woman who had been diagnosed with cancer and had been given three months to live. Her Dr. told her to start making preparations to die (something we all should be doing all of the time.) So she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what she wanted to be wearing. The woman also told her pastor that she wanted to be buried with her favorite bible.
Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly. “What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply. “This is very important,” the woman continued, “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say. “That shocks you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked. “Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the pastor.
The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and functions where food was involved (and let’s be honest, food is an important part of any church event; spiritual or otherwise), my favorite part was when whoever was clearing away the dishes of the main course leaned over and said, ‘you can keep your fork’. It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming. When they told me to keep my fork, I knew that something great was about to be given to me. It wasn’t Jell-O or pudding.
It was cake or pie, something with substance. So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: “Something better is coming, so keep your fork.” The pastor’s eyes were welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She knew that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently that there is something better coming. Life after death must certainly be a prized possession that is well worth the wait. Something with such tremendous value must be that of hard work, loyalty, and the utmost dedication to “earning a spot on the list. The afterlife can be a very confusing topic. If it even exists; What is it? Where is it? When would we be taken? Is their judgement for separation? Who will go where? Since we are human beings, imagining or even going as far as entertaining these questions is nearly impossible.
The near idea of an afterlife is far from our grasp. Buddha, Confucius, and other so-called ‘wise men’ have taught their own ideas concerning life or ‘occurrence’ at and or after death. Where does this wisdom come from? In whom may we put our trust to find the truth? With what point of reference does the truth become truthful? All of us are found looking for life, whether we find it in the “truth” will decide our eternal existence. After all, without the truth, we might still have an afterlife; it’s just a matter of where. ‘Life’, according to Webster’s New World Dictionary, is defined as the way or manner of living.
It is also thereafter described as another chance given to one likely to lose. ‘Life’, to us, is undeniably existent. On the other hand, is death undeniable? Will its occurrence be secure in our minds as well as our hearts? The woman’s heart in the preceding story was one with security on “a better place”. She lived her life in a manner that her faith was her comforter and ‘gift’ given to her. Life and death could both be considered mysteries.
Yet with a good mystery, good detectives are there. Many authors and theologians have contemplated and written on the many beliefs of the afterlife. Let’s look at them now. Can the manner in which we carry out our lives effect even the occurrence of death? Some of us feel that another chance given to us would be cherished and not ever lost. Feeble are our minds to believe or even think this.
The Greek doctrine of God’s grace has effected theology in the idea that “immortality is not inherent in human beings (Pinnock, 252)”. Clark Pinnock, author and theologian, agues from 1Timothy 6:16 that God alone is immortal. According to Pinnock and Erickson, life is mortal unless God chooses immortality for you. So what then? Hurry, hurry, be on your best behavior for God, he’s coming back and we don’t want it to be with vengeance! Just about anyone who has sought for living eternity most likely has attempted to earn his or her way into heaven. In Romans 3:22, the bible says “In faith comes the righteousness from God”.
We can all be righteous through faith. “Every human being,” says C. S. Lewis, “is in the process of becoming a noble being; noble beyond imagination. Or else, alas, a vile being beyond redemption (Lutzer, 9).” Lewis describes to us that all humans have immortality, it is just the matter of where they lead it. There are no ordinary people. It is immortals that we are surrounded by in every day life; “immortal horrors or everlasting splendors (Lewis, 18-19)”.
On the other hand, believe it or not, the mortality of humans is also a strong belief of many. Annihilation, ‘the act of reducing to nothing’, is the term we give to the complete cessation of life, both of the body and soul. Therefore ending life with solely an occurrence at death (Irving, 15). Ma …