What does your worldview say about death? Is it natural and necessary? Is it just the end? And more importantly, does that match your experience with death?
We live in a strange time of inconsistencies. The recent Planned Parenthood scandal has highlighted this reality. The prevailing worldview of our culture is one of secular naturalism. According to a naturalistic view of the world death is natural and necessary. In fact many would argue that death is better than life if that life will be hindered in some way. Hindered either by an unplanned pregnancy or by a disability that we deem would so significantly diminish the quality of life that it is better to end the life now. And yet, most people who have watched or read commentary on any of the undercover Planned Parenthood videos released respond with disgust. Which is why so many (including those in the White House) have avoided the videos altogether. However for those that have watched the videos, the moral reflex of disgust is right. It is right even if everything in our culture would seek to suppress it to the point of no longer feeling disgust and simply push death away. And herein lies the inconsistency for the naturalistic worldview. Death is necessary, it is natural, it is what it is, but we simply don't want to know anything about it.
But if this is true, why do we weep at the death of a friend? Or at the death of countless babies we have never met? Why was the loss of a child through miscarriage one of the most painful experiences that my wife and I have ever had? Why did I cry so much at my grandfather's funeral? You see my experience betrays the naturalistic worldview of our secular society. My experience tells me that there is something profoundly wrong and broken with the universe and that death is the greatest evidence of this brokenness. We can deny it all we want, but it still comes and sooner or later it challenges us to the very core. If life is just random than why do I feel that death intrudes like a burglar?
Death is actually one of the things that most confirms for me that the Christian worldview is true and that the Bible accurately describes the world in which we live. It explains for me the experience that I have of death. It is not natural but in fact the most unnatural experience for creatures made in the image of God to live in a harmonious relationship with him and each other forever. In Genesis 2:16-17 after creating Adam God says:
Because of Adam and Eve's sin, death has entered the world and broken everything. If you have ever felt the deep pain of death, this is why. It is not the way it is supposed to be in the universe. No other worldview accounts for death in a way that actually describes my experience. If I adopt a naturalistic and humanistic worldview I must forfeit the right to weep at the funeral of a friend. For death, survival of the fittest, is good. It moves the human race forward and allows new freedom, growth, and genetic advancement. It feels so absurd to write that sentence, but it is the logical outcome of a culture that embraces death for the weak in order that the strong may be stronger. Life is either something that happens randomly and therefore its end cannot be mourned or it is something profoundly sacred that must be protected. Let each person challenge his or her worldview to see that it actually makes sense of the world. And if it doesn't than what good is it? What good is the lofty intellectual naturalism so prevalent today on the day of death?
But we must press deeper. It is not only that we experience death as an intrusion, but that we ourselves in our sin are the cause of this intrusion. Adam and Eve's rebellion against God and our inheritance of this (we would have done the same!) and following in their footsteps has caused this brokenness. If we are to challenge the death around us we must first look in the mirror at the sin in us.
The New Testament confirms for us that death is an intrusion caused by our sin in Romans Chapter 6 and includes the glorious promise that the Bible brings in response to death:
While we live in a culture that embraces but cannot explain death, the biblical worldview declares for us an explanation and a solution to death: Jesus. Jesus Christ came into the world to take on sin and death. To bear the punishment that our sin deserved: death. And in doing so he has removed all the strength of death so that any and all who run to him can have their sins forgiven and the sting of death removed. And he promises to return and once and for all right all wrongs in the world and make all the sad things come untrue. In that day there will be life for all who trust in this glorious and returning King.
So in the end, the Christian worldview has the best explanation for our experience with the greatest enemy to humans: death. And it does so through Jesus who embraces death for us and swallows it up with his resurrection life. In light of this reality, all life must be valued and protected.