I remember hearing D.A. Carson state that the taboo topic in our culture is DEATH. People are comfortable talking about all sorts of other things (sex, politics, etc.), but things get awkward when death is brought up.
We recently talked about death together at our meetup discussion group. The first question we thought about was this: Is human death a normal part of human existence? Why? How did you come to this conclusion?
We had a fruitful discussion. In my own thinking I would say that it is worth contrasting two opposing worldview views on this question of death, a question that is also related to life: the secular (atheistic) worldview and the Christian worldview
THE SECULAR WORLDVIEW
A SECULAR WORLDVIEW, held consistently, would hold that human life on our planet is an ACCIDENT of impersonal forces, time and chance. There is no personal reason for humans on this planet, we exist and are alive because of an accident of Darwinian forces. Death, thus, is just the normal part of history. In fact, one day, all humans will die out and be forgotten. Death then is not a tragedy, but a natural process in an impersonal universe marching on in a purposeless direction.
Nonetheless, even the secular man or woman cannot help but revere life and abhor death. I would argue that this tendency reveals an inability to consistently live out secular worldview, and thus is a clue that it I not true to reality.
A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW
A BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW would argue that human Life is a GIFT from a person God who is the source of all life. We, as humans, are His Creation made in His image—and created for a purpose. Human death is a break from what is normal and what ought to be: we were created to live and not die.
Death is the consequence of God’s judgment on humanity—He warned that the day we sinned against Him we would die, and thus entered spiritual and physical death into the world (Genesis 2:17). Though God judges humanity for their rebellion and sin through death, He is also gracious and promised a way for life through Jesus Christ, God the Son. Jesus never sinned—and thus did not deserve to die—but in love paid the price for our sins against God—by dying on a cross in our place (Rom 5:8). He rose again physically from the dead on the 3rd day and shows a power over death. All who trust in him are saved from spiritual death now and eternal death (hell) at the resurrection. Because a Christian believes this is how reality really is, we revere life and abhor or are grieved at death. We believe this is the rational and moral thing to do and in line with our reality actually is.
Considering these two approaches, one may be tempted to argue that the Christian view is irrational and unscientific. But the Christian would argue that God has given us testimony through the Scriptures which confirm the truthfulness of this worldview of life, death, and reality. This truth is further confirmed in the resurrection of Jesus. And thus, it is rational to revere life—because it is not an accident, but a gift designed by God—and it is rational to grieve over death—death is not natural, but a tragic consequence of sin.
In reality, the secular man or woman who reveres life or abhors death would be the one who embraces an irrational position. Because, if life is an accident, why celebrate or revere it? If death is just natural, why fight against it or be grieved by it? The only reason would be an irrational reverence for life and abhorrence for death. Or, perhaps the secular worldview is not actually how reality is.