One writer asked, “Where do words like ‘immortal’ come from?”
There are similar questions. Why is it murder to kill a man and not a cow or a cat? Why would we not throw out the lifeless body of a loved one with the Monday morning trash?
Instinctively, even the ancient heathen civilizations based their beliefs on something better and beyond the broken existence we now have. The pyramids still stand as evidence of man’s quest for some sort of immortality.
If this instinct or natural knowledge is present among those who do not know Christ, then how infinitely more certain is the hope of those who know that Jesus has redeemed us to God by His blood and has defeated death by His resurrection?
The church father Augustine once prayed: “O God, Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.” What a neat and comforting thing! God made you and me not just for the here and now but for the hereafter. He engineered us with eternal genetics. What a rebuke to the small-souled evolutionist who sees himself, his wife and children as accidental blobs of genetic goo, as descendants of slimy reptiles and tree-climbing apes.
Human beings are unique. All other creatures fit their circumstances. Nothing in fish or ducks or dogs soars beyond their environment. “Foxes have holes,” said Jesus, “and the birds of the air have nests.” But He who had not where to lay His head, who became poor that we might become eternally rich, who gave up the glory of His world to make that glory ours – He has created us with immortal longings that can only be satisfied when we are brought to faith in His living and doing and dying and rising for us.
Holy Scripture promises that we shall rise up to hold death in holy contempt. We shall shout in victory over the grave. Knowing and believing this today, we shall stand firm. We shall let no heartache of this life move us. We shall give ourselves fully to the work of the Lord. We shall hold to His word that nothing we do for Him shall ever be for nothing. We shall, in the words of the old poet, John Donne, triumphantly mock the last enemy:
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so,
For, those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me…
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more, Death thou shalt die!