Saturday, January 14, 2012

What Happens After Death?

There are few questions that have a definite answer, but no one knows definitely what it is. What happens after death? This mystery fascinates us. We talk about it, write about it, argue about and still there is no real answer. People believe many different things about death and what follows death. Reincarnation of our spirit as another living creature is one such belief. This belief can be found in many cultures across the world. Some people believe in becoming one with the universe the spirit or soul joins the cosmos that connects all things. Many people believe in an after life. The details vary on religious beliefs and individual perspective, but it usually involves an accounting with the God of the universe and going to heaven or hell. Still others believe that we get one shot at life. When the body dies the soul and spirit dies as well and it is the end of that individuals existence. These are some of the main views of what happens after you die. The interesting thing about all of these beliefs is that everyone believes they are right, but know one can really describe what it means or looks like unless of course there is nothing after death and then there is nothing left to describe.
In my store we carry a variety of inspirational books ranging from self help to interesting quotes to inspiring stories. One of our best selling inspirational books is "Heaven is For Real." It is the story of a boy who says he went to heaven while the doctors operated on his body. He knew details about circumstances that he had not witnessed and gave descriptions of some of the things he saw while in heaven. People love buying this book, it gives them a glimpse into a world that is shrouded in mystery.
I too wonder what will actually happen after death. On a semantics level I believe that we are eternal beings and that the soul lives on after the body dies. I believe that we will either spend eternity in the presence of God which most people term heaven or we will spend eternity in the total absence of God which would be hell. What exactly heaven and hell look like, I have no real idea only speculation.
My favorite view up to this point is C. S. Lewis's description in the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Battle. As the title suggests there is an epic battle and then there is what comes after. He describes a place with no pain only joy. A place where everything tastes better and is more beautiful than anything seen to this date. It is a place of wonder. He describes it as a journey. The characters walk and then run further in. Following the summons to journey deeper into this fabulous land. The farther they journey the more beautiful it becomes, the more real it is. The characters find that instead of seeing the end of the world they were all the time living in a shadow land, a mere imitation of the real thing. I love the last couple chapters of that book and the contrast of the dirty, messy, fearsome work of battle with peace, serenity, and adventure of waking up in the real world at last.
What happens after death? None of us can say for sure. I found this quote that pretty much sums it up for me.
"Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come."-Rabindranath Tagore


  1. thanks for your thoughts Kristin! I appreciate your honesty. What store is it that you work at?

  2. This is a key question. For if we have a life 10,000 years from now, then that should affect how we live today.

    The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis is an allegory about a journey from hell to heaven, and is a very interesting book for those who haven't read it. Kristin, don't some of your comments above come out of this book?

    By the way, have you read that book about the boy? Are you allowed to read the books when things are slow?

  3. Espi, I work at a gift shop in the airport. Dad, I have read The Great Divorce and was thinking a little bit about it, but all my comments were actually based off of The Last Battle. C. S. Lewis' view largely comes from Plato's philosophy about everything being a shadow of the perfect item of itself.
    I haven't read the book about the boy. I saw an interview with him once, but I don't actually know what he says. We are not allowed to read at work, for that infraction there is zero tolerance.

  4. You guys are very philosophical in looking at this. I guess I'm more black and white in my thinking. For me, there is no doubt. I'm going to be with Jesus Christ when I die. (I Corinthians 15; Philippians 1:21,23)As the apostle Paul said, I have this faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life that God promised from before time.

  5. I completely agree with you, Mom. I believe I will be with Jesus as well, but what does it mean to be with him. There are infinite number of things that can happen or you can do while being with someone. What does that actually look like?