Thursday, May 22, 2008

Immortality + Spirituality

Some author was quoted in a magazine recently as saying, “I want to achieve immortality, not through my writing, but in actuality.”

What this woman apparently doesn’t realise, at least according to Jesus, is that she IS immortal. Her essence, her character, her soul will live on into eternity. According to the Bible, we are spirit beings inhabiting physical bodies. These physical bodies are essential to our training for the next stage of our lives. Why physical bodies? Why perishable bodies? Why bodies that are destined for decay when our souls are to live on into forever? I can’t presume to know the whole answer but it seems that death, tragedy, sickness, suffering and loss are inherent to the development of our soul’s character. This development of the soul’s nature or character is dependant upon the world being exactly the way it is, with all the seemingly unfair events that take place. Suffering is indispensable to our Creator’s plan. In fact He saw it as so important that even He, no, especially He when He was on earth in the form of Jesus lived and died in a manner that was grossly unfair. That was His plan. While we can’t possibly understand all the details now, it is obvious that this life and our response to this life is in preparation for the roles that we will play in the next stage of life.

Not least of the ways in which pain and loss develop us is in our decision to either follow God, or reject Him. Many a person has completely missed the designed role of suffering in this stage of life and has become enraged at h/his Creator. Those people become so incensed at perceived injustice that they demand the removal of God from any and all thought. Many a person who claims to not believe in God says to Him when disaster strikes, “See! This is why I refuse to believe in you.” Many a person who claims to not believe in God has said, “If He existed, I would refuse to worship or even acknowledge Him on the grounds that suffering in the world exposes such a God as evil.”

Once our allegiance to God has been established, our minds are able to "see" that the Bible is rife with explanations of how and why difficulties, tragedies and loss are a necessary part of our spiritual growth. Again, our Creator’s own birth into poverty, torture, and death is central to these explanations. Even more so is His resurrection in power and glory essential to show to all that there is indeed a next stage to life. The power of the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead will also raise us from the dead. Some will ascend to everlasting glory with Jesus. Some will be cast into everlasting separation from Jesus. Both destinations are simply the end result of the choices made during this life.

Upon acceptance of God’s plan for our lives, upon an agreement to join forces with our Creator, our spirit or soul is infused with the supporting, strengthening, guiding, correcting and counselling Spirit of our Creator. Our perspective on life is radically changed. Verses like, “Those who wait upon the Lord are like Mount Zion, secure and stable through any circumstance” and “Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will rise up on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” and “In all life’s tragedies we are more than conquerors” describe this transformation. When this born again experience takes place, the soul within the human being embarks upon an adventure and training program of eternal proportions. Exciting, exhilarating, thrilling, and bracing don’t begin to describe the ride that envelopes the person who has had h/her eyes opened to the spiritual reality that is the Christian faith.

In fact, Christianity is the culmination of all that is spiritual, for it originates in the reality of a Spiritual Creator from Whom all other realities have their origin.

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