In eating from the tree of which God said, “In the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17 NASB), Adam actualized the specter of death. This specter has been part of the human condition from then till now. In place of fearing death, the Christian worldview provides a realistic view of death and a way to overcome the fear of dying through resurrection and relationship. Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the 𝘉𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘈𝘯𝘴𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘔𝘢𝘯 broadcast and the 𝘏𝘢𝘯𝘬 𝘜𝘯𝘱𝘭𝘶𝘨𝘨𝘦𝘥 podcast, notes that unlike contemporary culture, the Christian perspective on death is eminently realistic. Postmodernity seeks to deny death by driving it into the closet, trivializing it by treating it irreverently, or circumventing any thought of it through the use of clever clichés. Christian theology, however, provides a more realistic perspective: death is the enemy. Death is the unnatural rending of the body from the spirit and, as such, should be regarded as a curse. Though death continues to be our last enemy, resurrection has removed its sting. By viewing death with eternity in mind, believers no longer “grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (1 Thessalonians 4: 13–14). Just as the metaphysical reality of death is removed through the reality of resurrection, the psychological reality of death is relieved through the deepening of relationship between redeemed and Redeemer. Put another way, an ever-deepening relationship with Christ is key to overcoming the psychological fear of death. Believers throughout the ages have viewed death realistically. On the one hand, death is viewed as the enemy, an enduring reminder of the consequences of sin. On the other, death is viewed as a foe defeated through resurrection and an ever-deepening relationship with Christ, who is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20).
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