Christianity Death in Christianity

Updated 15th May 2016

Christianity Death in Christianity

Sumbitted by Morna Simpson

Advisor on Christianity to Faith and Fire

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” John 11:25-26.

For Christians, God is the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Christian beliefs about life after death centre around what is written in the bible about Jesus, the Son of God.

Christians believe that God the Son, known as Jesus, came down to earth to make right the relationship between God and humanity. This relationship had been made bad due to sin: actions which separated people from God. In doing this Jesus was born to a woman named Mary, was fully human and fully divine at the same time. Jesus met humanity in their cities, towns and homes; he felt their pain and experienced their day to day struggles. As God on earth, He was without blame or sin. Even so, He was put to death on a cross, blamed for crimes He had not committed. Christians believe this death was a sacrifice; God the Father (Creator, Father in heaven) sacrificed God the Son (Jesus) or allowed Him to die so that Jesus would pay the price for the sin of humanity. This sacrifice acted as a bridge between God and His people; the wrongdoing or sin that stood between people having a right relationship with God was no longer an issue as Jesus had paid the price for that.

After Jesus died on the cross, three days later He rose again: this act is known as resurrection. Obviously, this does not tend to happen in everyday life. Christians take this as proof that Jesus was really the Son of God and also as a sign of what awaits us all after death: everlasting life. For Christians this life is only the beginning, after which we will return to God, our Father in Heaven and live with Him for eternity.

Jesus’ Resurrection, and ultimate Ascension (“After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.” Acts 1:9) up to heaven shows Christians three things about life after death:

1) Humans have a body and a soul – after death their body does not work in the same way: it dies, the soul separates from it and lives on. (“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a saviour from there, The Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21.) 2) Belief in God means that people will have eternal life, with God. (“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.) 3) Heaven is a place where God is, a paradise where all who believe will ultimately dwell. (“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1.)

The above is generally considered to be a universal truth which all Christians hold in common.

Christians who mourn the loss of loved ones take comfort in the belief that they will meet again in the next life and that they are with their Father in heaven. Christians who are preparing to die can take comfort from seeing their loved ones in the next life, and believing that they are going to be with God their Father in heaven: the next life will be one where there is no pain or unhappiness, only love.

Blessing:

May the eternal God Bless and keep us, Guard our bodies, Save our Souls And bring us safe to the heavenly country, Our eternal home, Where Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reign, One God for ever and ever. Amen

Taken from The Church of England Common Worship,

https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/pastoral/funeral/attimeofdeath.aspx

Accessed on 27th November 2013

All Bible references are taken from the New International Version.