A couple of times in recent history I’ve encountered Christians who have used the sentence “you’re going to be dead a lot longer than you’re going to be alive” as a way of referring to the fact that heaven (or hell) is forever.
Christians have said it when responding to the popular book, “The Secret.”
One of the finest spokespeople for intellectually defensible Christianity has said it when responding to the likes of Sam Harris. This example frankly shocked me.
I just don’t know why Christians say this at all. They cannot possibly believe it. The language suggests a complete rejection of the physical world in our eternal future, beginning with the point of our death. Our experience will be of heaven or hell forever and ever, and we will always – always – be physically dead, living on only in a disembodied afterlife. Hence, we are (physically) alive for a short while until we die, but we will be dead forever after that, and so “we’re going to be dead a lot longer than we will be alive.”
But Christianity has literally never taught this. This denies the resurrection of the dead. If the resurrection of the dead is true, then we will be dead temporarily, but alive forever. Now, I’m not accusing the many Christians who use this careless phraseology of actually denying the resurrection of the dead – but why use language that does precisely this? Why say something so confusing when it reflects the opposite of what all Christians actually affirm? Please stop.
- “God of the Living” – William Tyndale and the Resurrection
- “Can These Bones Live”? is up at Afterlife
- Episode 023: Imagine There’s No Heaven
- Did Jesus preach hell more than heaven?
- Episode 032: In Search of the Soul, Part 4