Friday, September 3, 2010

Who Wants to Live Forever?

A common side-theme in a lot of fiction about immortality is taken as the main message in the novel and film “Tuck Everlasting.” The basic idea is that immortality is a curse. The family in the story that cannot die is presented as not being really alive. They might as well be rocks, according to the father. One of the sons in particular had gotten to the point where he was actively trying to be killed. He was in terrible suffering because his wife and children, who were not immortal, had all died.

Therein lies the sticking-point for immortality in this world. We live in a fallen world full of suffering and death, and of course no one would want to be the exception to the rule in that sort of world. However, life eternal does not have to be terrible. Even the Tuck family in the story is shown to experience life on a better level than the average person. If it weren’t for the world in which they live, their curse would be a desirable gift.

So, here and now, death is a gift. The Bible even presents it as such after the fall. God, in chapter 3 of Genesis exiles humanity from the garden once they sin—not primarily as a punishment, but as protection. In the garden humanity had access to immortality in the form of the Tree of Life and God did not want Adam and Eve to be stuck in immortality as sinners. His plan to redeem humanity depended on the fact that death would reign in this world.

So here on earth, death may be a gift; in eternity things will be much better.

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