Most every religion attempts to address the reality that one day our life will come to an end. We humans are curious by nature and are inclined to wonder what will happen to us when that day arrives. Our fascination with death is one of the major reasons humans have embraced religion. Dr. Bruce P. Baugus, associate professor of philosophy and theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, states in an article he wrote for Ligionier Ministry’s Table Talk magazine, “What becomes of us after death is a cardinal doctrine of nearly every religion, and it is ordinarily considered decisive for how we ought to live this life in preparation for what follows.” Christians believe that what we do in this life counts forever.
C. S. Lewis once observed that our longings run deeper and reach further and aspire to things far higher than anything ready at hand can satisfy. Dr. Baugus tells us that eternity is in our hearts and people who stifle this feeling and instead focus on the material world and the pursuit of temporal pleasure will lead an empty life. We ask ourselves is this life all there is? That’s one of our concerns theologians call “the big questions.”
Dr. Baugus opines that “no matter how vigorously one denies the afterlife, however, the sense that there is more than this present life stubbornly persists..so stubbornly that Immanuel Kant, who denied anyone could know such a thing, nevertheless conceded that we must a least believe in a an afterlife in order to live right in this life.” This sounds like a corollary to Pascal’s Wager, doesn’t it?
Jesus Christ told us that we humans are not only inclined to believe in an afterlife but to believe in our future resurrection as well. Dr. Baugus tells us that it is impossible to make sense of Christ’s life work and teaching without presupposing we will live somewhere forever and that “somewhere” is either heaven or hell. Jesus often spoke of these two states and emphasized how important it is to keep this actuality in mind as we live out our lives. He asserts that our destiny does not depend on our good works, but depends solely on our belief in him as our Savior, the second member of the trinity. “I am the resurrection and the life, whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” That’s the blessed assurance Christians should have. Dr. Baugus concludes his article with the most important question of all: “Do you believe this?”