The Death of Death: An Antidote to Atheism

Mar 31, 2020 by

by Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch:

Christianity offers us everything during this time of crisis – atheism offers us nothing:

While I was out for a walk this morning, I prayed about what I might next write on, and various ideas converged. The weather itself was ideal: blue skies, sunshine, slight pleasant breeze, 23 degrees. Just the most perfect weather to take a walk in. Normally one could say that such conditions would lead you to not having a care in the world.

But of course we are not living with normal conditions. Coronavirus is all around us, and so many have already died from it (31,000 thus far). How many families, friends and loved ones are now grieving over the death of someone because of COVID-19? Right now this absolutely ideal weather (in Melbourne at least) brings little comfort to them.

But death of course is a reality for us all, and every day people die for all sorts of reasons. Whether because of old age, or accidents, or murder, or various diseases, death is an absolutely certain condition that we all must face. This contrast between a beautiful day and the grief of so many led my mind in various directions.

What came to mind right away was the title of a famous work by John Owen (1616-1683), the English Puritan theologian, church leader, and Oxford academic. I refer to his classic 1647 work The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. J. I. Packer’s much more recent 20-page introduction to it is itself a classic exposition.

But then I thought of simply running with one well-known passage of Scripture, and offering a bit of commentary on it. In 1 Corinthians 15 we find the important discussion by the Apostle Paul on the resurrection of Christ. The last five verses (1 Cor. 15:54-58) are these:

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Incredible words – and words that all Christians cling to and adore. But they are the words that we all need – especially at a time like this. However, not all want them. Indeed, I still keep getting angry atheists coming to my site, mocking me and my posts. Many are serial pests – trolls who keep coming back to attack me and hate on me.

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