Life and Death in Nature

122Since the beginning of mankind, man has had to confront the inevitable reality of death.  Man has a natural survival instinct which makes him protect his life by avoiding danger, seeking shelter, seeking nourishment, seeking treatment from disease, etc. However, no matter how much we try to protect our lives and no matter what religion we follow, we have no guarantees as to how long we might still have.  The only thing that is guaranteed is that one day we will depart this life as we know it.

One of the most profound questions that mankind has been trying to answer is whether there is another life after death.  Most religions have some kind of belief in life after death. Atheists do not believe in life after death and they claim that a dead person simply ceases to exist; his body disintegrates and his soul vanishes. Skeptics of the afterlife claim that there is no evidence of life after death.  As Christians, the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead has provided evidence and assurance that death has been defeated and that one day all will rise just as our Lord Jesus said, “For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth–those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:28, 29)

Moreover, evidence of life which emerges after death surrounds us, we can see it in nature. Consider the seeds that fall off the fruits of a tree.  They become dry and hard.  They are buried in the soil as if dead. However, after some time life sprouts out in the form or a green stem which gives out leaves and grows into a tree that yields flower and fruit. Unless the seed is buried, it will not yield life. Jesus Christ teaches in the Gospel of John, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” (John 12:24)

Every fall we are reminded that life is close to its end and that there is no escape from death, then spring arrives and life bursts out once more. During the dark cold winter days, we do not lose hope because we know that spring is near. In the same way, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ fills us with hope and anticipation of eternal life and takes away the fear of death. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” (John 11:25)

Another example of life coming out of death is the caterpillar which builds a cocoon around itself and stays inside for more than two weeks after which a hole is nibbled in the cocoon and out comes a beautiful butterfly! The caterpillar transitioned into a different form of life; its life as a caterpillar ended and its life as a butterfly started. It has been transformed from a crawling, tree climbing, 12-legged pest, into a majestic flying butterfly. Similarly, in the resurrection we will acquire glorified bodies that will live forever.  Our Lord Jesus Christ said that we will be like angels, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:25)

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