“Was it you ‘mid the fire and the ember? Were you there to bedevil and beguile?
See, your face isn’t quite as I remember, but, I know, that wicked shape to your smile.
Bury me as it pleases you, lover, at sea or deep within the catacombs,
but these bones never rested while living, so, how can, they stand to languish in repose?”
(Where is Your Rider, The OH HELLOS.)
Today I want to jump right into a rather unusual topic for blogs.
This began for me by thinking of one of the shows I’ve given my patronage too, that is RWBY.
I have my issues with it, but last year’s season brought some new ideas to the table.
Namely, one episode that raised the question: Is it okay to want people to come back from the dead?
You know, as much as people like to tell you that we’re all entitled to our own opinion, and that we don’t need to talk about it if we have differences, and that we should focus on our strengths, yada yada, I never see so much engagement online or in real life as when it becomes about a moral or religious question (if they are really different, which I doubt.)
A lot of people’s comment on this episode is that death must be accepted and why should one person get what millions of people do not get.
Some people think, it’s no big deal, can’t gods (or God) being people back to life with a snap of the fingers, why not just do it?
Some say, the person has to be worthy of being brought back. It gets real twitchy at that point.
Well, as Christian, I found this debate rather interesting. All religions address the idea of life and death, most of them address the idea of whether people can be brought back to life.
Egyptian and Greek Mythology famously contain myths about trying to bring back dead people or dead gods.
What’s funny too, is that almost every religion gives some reason why people must die and stay dead.
And most modern interpretations of the issue feel the need to justify why people must stay dead.
Even though, strangely enough, the idea that resurrecting people is possible is everywhere. Even through time travel, as the least magical or mystical way to achieve it (sort of).
Have you ever thought about it?
The great writers I’ve read have all encouraged me to think more seriously about ideas that are common to almost all people. Why do we dismiss the things everyone wants, everyone thinks about, as wishful thinking?
It would be more sensible to ask, if this desire shows up everywhere, like hunger and thirst, shouldn’t there be a reason for it?
Grief itself is proof of it’s own strangeness.
Grief is universally shocking. That’s one of the first emotions of it. When we lose someone, even a pet, even a plant, we are stunned.
Even in war times when it was likely, we are surprised.
And we wish it didn’t have to be so.
So when it comes to the idea of raising the dead, it seems to taunt us in a way.
Shows, especially anime and magic-based shows, are very fond of bringing up the issue almost in mockery of the bereaved.
Like bringing back characters who we wish could stay alive, but in ways that make it impossible to be happy. They come evil, they come back because of some terrible crime, or they come back but don’t remember who they were.
That dream of resurrections isn’t truly achieved.
And usually the other characters have to let them go back to the afterlife. If there is one on the show or in the book.
In myths, the idea of bringing back loved ones tends to backfire. Like, you’re messing with nature.
Odd, considering resurrection is actually a part of nature.
The process of reproduction is basically a resurrection in of itself. Let alone the stories all of us have heard or read of recoveries that don’t make sense, out of body experiences, people coming back to life after being declared medically dead.
Death is the most unnatural part of nature.
At least if you believe the Bible.
Skeptics might look at the Bible and declare that death is part of the ecosystem, that we could not survive as a species if we did not die, if animals did not die.
But they assume two things, one, that the ecosystem we have now is the only one we could have.
Two, that the world is the same as it always was, which the Bible claims is not true, that at one time our resources were far greater.
Lastly, though the skeptic may laugh at this, it’s a bit stupid to think that God who made all things could not replenish the earth if we exhausted our resources. He already does that.
The same with death, really. If things do get worse over time, it really doesn’t matter. The bible says God renews youth like the eagles.
So that death happens is strange. But that it is irreversible would also be strange.
Why on earth would it be?
Death, according the Bible, is the offspring of Sin. No sin=no death. The God who could remove sin could remove death also.
We still die, naturally.
Christianity, it’s been pointed out, would be a hopeless religion if Jesus did not raise the dead.
It’s odd that the thing many religions are afraid of, and modern writers tend to treat as an abomination, as a weakness of the person who refuses to let go, the Bible treats as barely an inconvenience.
In both the old and new Testament, raising the dead requires less time and effort than climbing a mountain; phases people less than the voice of God; and barely even shocks them, after the initial amazement.
Elijah raised a boy from the dead, I think Elisha did also, Jesus raised at least three on record, probably more, Peter raised one. Paul presumably was raised from teh dead by God. And Jesus Himself of course.
It doesn’t even seem to stun these people.
What’s hilarious, if you’re comparin it to how we treat the subject in myth and ficiton, is that when the dead are raised in the Bible it’s never for them. Never based on what they deserve.
Because, you see, if they were in heaven, they are far better off, and it’s ridiculous to talk of deserving to return to this messed up world.
If they were in hell, clearly they didn’t even deserve earth.
Nope, every time it’s for the bereaved. The very thing RWBY, other shows, and myths all decry as the worst reason to resurrect someone, is the only reason the Bible does so besides just straight up God-force, like when Ezekiel brought a whole valley of bones to life, and saints resurrected after Jesus died. (Google it.)
Jesus raised Lazarus for the sake of his sisters, Peter raised Dorcas for the sake of her friends, Elijah raised the son of the woman who sheltered him for her sake.
Is it selfish to wish people back from the dead then?
That’s the idea behind telling people “Why should you be any different from anyone else?”
Funny thing is, the Bible abhors that idea.
The Bible’s question to all men and women is always “Why shouldn’t you be different from everyone else?”
“All men die, few men ever really live”–Braveheart
Why should you sin, and die, like all men? Why not seize onto the offer of Christ, as anyone who reads His word is given the chance to do?
Well, the goal of Christianity is that we will all be saved and so share the same fate, but at the very least, you yourself should be saved.
When you consider that life is the normal state of things, it is not remarkable to want people back from the dead. Death interrupted them.
One zany anime has coined this feeling exactly, you probably can guess, if you’re an anime person, that I mean Dragon Ball.
Dragon Ball classically treats death as an inconvenience that is remedied multiple times even for the same character. People joke that death has no consequences on that show, like that’s a downside.
But the Bible teaches exactly that. “O Death, where is your sting?”
The idea most ridiculous to most people is that death does not have a sting anymore, that it could be a nuisance, not a tragedy.
But, hell is the tragedy. Our bodies dying is a inconvenience.
Before I end this, I suppose I should answer the question as to why people still die.
Christians, specifically, since we are the ones who claim we will live forever.
The best answer I have, and I am no expert, is what Paul says about the corruptible putting on the incorruptible.
The body, because we’ve had it while sinners, is corruptible. Many health issues come for sin, a lot of death comes from sin. Jesus, in a mortal body, died.
Mortal bodies pay the price of sin, whether it’s the person’s who has it, or someone else sinning against them.
After all, if they did not, sin would be a minor problem also, or men would at least treat it as such.
But, when we die, as Christians, the Word says we change this body for a new one. We are not ethereal spirits floating through space, we remain ourselves. Our body is a tent, Paul says, one we will upgrade eventually. The body is the last part of oneself to be redeemed form death.
The reason is, God starts form the top, Spirit, Soul, Mind, and Body is the least important part.
That’s to the best of my knowledge.
Yet, if Jesus had not raised the dead, I’d be foolish to trust that idea. WE must know resurrection is possible before we can trust ourselves to be resurrected after we die.
see, the Faith of the Christian all comes down to this: Are we willing to be resurrected into a different world? Are we willing to leave earth and accept heaven?
It sounds like anyone would, but heaven is scary. IT’s unfamiliar. There have been christian hesitant to go there.
Some people joke about going to hell because all their friends will be there.
Well, that may be, but it wouldn’t comfort you.
Hell is as unnatural to us as heaven, the only difference (other than torment) is that Heaven is not isolation, and so we will have help. While Hell is isolation, utter and total. And if you know of people there, it only make it worse. (See the story of the man who asked Abraham to warn his brothers not to go there.)
It’s a smaller matter to be raised to lif eon earth, that’s a return to an old form, but to be raisedin heaven, it’s going to be different.
That’s why old stories and new stories often do not go far enough. They ask if we should want the dead to be raised, but they never ask if we should want the dead to come back stronger and better than before.
(Except Dragon Ball, that old show really just hit it by accident, didn’t it?)
Lastly, this is one example of a very real truth: That Christianity is not about accpeting thins as they are.
It is about knowing things are not the way they should be, and doing soemthing about it.
IT is dangerous how much the idea of acceptance has crept into the church, and the culture around it. Sure, we should accept people initially as they are.
But we should not accept that thins will never change, because they will. It’s just a matter of whether it’s for the better or worse.
Either you are moved by the world, or you move it yourself. Archimedes had the right idea.
Until next time–Natasha.