Thursday, August 12, 2010

Funeral Questions

I have heard it said that at every funeral there are two questions we ask ourselves. One question is why? Why did this death happen? Why didn't God prevent it. Why all this pain and suffering.

The second question is, "Is it true?". When we look death in the face we ask ourselves is this great story of salvation really true? Is it just something we tell ourselves to fell better?

It occurs to me these questions answer each other. We ask why because we know that death is not meant to be. There is something deep in our souls that tells us the world is broken. Certain things are just wrong. Death is at the top of the list. The interesting thing is that if evolution was the only answer to where we come from this question makes no sense. Not that evolution is not an answer but as Christians we say there is a deeper answer to where come from. When you deny the deeper answer then there is just no reason to find death unacceptable. Evolution embraces death as a way to remove inferior traits from a species or even inferior species from an ecosystem. What is offensive about that? The fact that we feel death is not meant to be is itself a rejection of atheism and the culture of death that goes with it. We are lovers of life precisely because our creator is a lover of life.

So what about the why question? Well, if death and pain was not normal then there would be nothing remarkable about the fact that we cannot accept them as natural. That somehow we feel the world is broken. That somehow someday it will be fixed. That feeling of brokenness cannot be pleasant. It needs to be a deep, powerful pain that goes beyond the loss of social stimulation directly connected with loosing a person we know. If we didn't get soul-sick we might never know we have souls. So there is a partial answer to the why question in the sense than asking why causes us to embrace God. The full answer cannot come until the brokenness of this world is redeemed. But the question tells us more than an answer ever could.

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