Grenz on Death
As you may have guessed I've been preoccupied with school, work and family life these days. Sadly, this leaves little room for the blogging. Since I can't seem to find a spare moment to pick up the several blogging projects I've left hanging, I thought I'd perhaps post random tidbits from some of the reading I'm doing now days. That way I don't have to think too hard. ;-)
P.S. for any of you Facebook friends of mine I've recently posted some pics and videos from my latest mountain adventure. Good stuff.
Our ability to reflect on our own death brings to light the deeper dimension of this phenomenon. Not only is death the cessation of biological function, it marks the end of personal life. In this way, death calls personal existence into question. As the termination of a person's life, death speaks as it were the final word. Death, so it seems, undermines all our attempts to find meaning for our own lives. In the end, we all die. Whatever significance we may have constructed for life is abruptly breached. As the psalmist declared, "What man can life and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave?" (Ps. 89:48).
The dark shadow that death casts across personal life suggests that life is a meaningless absurdity. This was the conclusion of the Preacher: "all share a common destiny — the righteous and the wicked, the good an the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not" (Eccles. 9:2). They all "join the dead" (v. 3).
In death, therefore, we face an enigma more problematic than the cessation of the function of a biological organism. We are confronted with a crisis of meaning produced by our inevitable death. As Ernest Becker poignantly observed, "The irony of man's condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive."
Does our Christian faith commitment shed light on the phenomenon of death: Does death carry and genuine significance, or is it indeed the ultimate absurdity?
Stanley Grenz - Theology For the Community of God