Posted inForthright Magazine

Some misconceptions about life after the death of the body

BY GERALD COWAN ─ The world’s notions about what follows the death of the body are often foolish fancy, wishful thinking. But there is some truth to be had — from the book of God, the Bible.

There is the universal blessing after death theory. Many people claim to have died or nearly died, and then returned to the land of the living with a report of what it is like “on the other side” of death.

Dr. Kathryn Kubler-Ross wrote a book in which she chronicled many such reports. The reports are remarkably similar: a bright and happy world of peace and pleasure. Nothing to fear; something for everyone to anticipate without dread – an afterlife shared by all other immortals.

But nothing is said about judgment, retribution, or punishment for the wicked. This big lie is not from God, and not from his word of truth. It is from the big liar, Satan, John 8.44. But people believe it, because they want to believe it.

Another big lie, just as popular as the universal blessing concept, is the second chance for salvation after death theory. The human mind provides the rationale for it. Here is how the argument is usually presented: Natural intelligence is offended by the only one chance idea:

  • “It is unreasonable to think we have only one life and only one chance to get it right for eternity.”
  • “Life is difficult. We make mistakes. We are always learning. Surely our present existence is just a trial spin, and ought not to be regarded as final in any way.”
  • “We are just going over the course now, discovering the snags, and learning how to manage ourselves. When we enter the next world we will surely have an opportunity to apply what we have learned in this world.”

It sounds so reasonable to many, and they want to believe that it is true. But there is no truth in it!

Both the universal blessing after death and the second chance after death theories are based upon a faulty estimate of the nature, scope, and power of God’s love and goodness. Notice again how the argument is presented:

  • “A good God would never let any of his children suffer eternally – and it is an outrage, a blasphemy to say that he would or could do so, if He is truly good”.
  • “A good God who loves us all must and will find some way to save all.”

Some people are sure that he has done so by simply trading away the life of Christ for all other human lives.

A furor was caused when a denominational leader claimed on TV that “God does not hear the prayers of Jews.” The community was shocked! How would anyone dare to say such a thing?

A newspaper editor replied, in print: “If God does not honor equally the prayers of all people – Jews, Christians, and Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims, and pagans too – then who needs him? Who wants him?”

What does all this mean? It seems to imply that God must not meddle in man’s morals. Let each man do whatever seems right to him, and let God just see to it that all people end up with the same eternal blessings.

Why would anyone pray for anything if that were the case?

All such errors ignore a basic fact of life: conduct has consequences, in every aspect of life, including religion and morality, Galatians 6.7-8. In a moral universe every violation of law deserves its penalty. Obeying law is praiseworthy, deserving reward. Wishing it were not so will not change anything, now or forever – especially not in religion.

God “hears” approvingly only the prayers of those who are seeking to find and know him and be faithful to him. He rejects the prayers of all (including Christians) who do not intend to depart from their sins, John 9.31; Acts 10.34-35.

Gerald is a retired evangelist who publishes the ezine “Personal Periodicals” on a regular basis. To receive them, send him an email.


Forthright Staff
Latest posts by Forthright Staff (see all)