Throughout my time researching the issues surrounding death and the afterlife, it has occurred to me that people have mixed feelings about where the dead presently exist (or, don’t exist). However, I may have underestimated just how important this particular issue is for many people.
For the moment, never mind the question as to whether or not it would be preferable for the deceased to have to watch the living. That will be the topic of my next blog (part two). Right now, the focus is on those of us who are alive in this world.
It is extraordinarily difficult to lose those who are closest to us; no doubt about it. In fact, there may not be anything more difficult to endure. For some, there is great comfort in the thought that their lost loved ones are in a “better place.” While they no longer fill our lives with joy, we can at least believe that they live in a place of peace and comfort. This is particularly true for those who have had to watch a mother, a sister, a brother, or any other close friend or relative, suffer until his or her exit from this world.
More than simply existing somewhere as disembodied spirits, it is often believed that our loved ones may even be watching over us, observing our daily lives. That, too, is a source of comfort for certain people.
While that sentiment is certainly true for some, there is of course another side to this issue. There seem to be at least as many people who have the opposite perspective. For them, the prospect that their deceased friends, family members, or acquaintances, are tracking their every move provides no comfort or solace. Instead, it offers an almost paralyzing sense of dread: a haunting, debilitating feeling of discomfort.
The reasons for this should be obvious—not everyone in the world is a kind, generous, and caring person. Some people are rotten to the core, and are not really worth remembering. Worse, some people may not even deserve to be remembered (if we can help it).
This is a hard pill to swallow, but swallow it we must.
We all know a widow or widower who had a tumultuous marriage, and is now attempting to move on with his or her life. We all know someone who had an abusive father, or a vindictive, controlling mother. We might know someone who is scared to enter into a new relationship, sell their home, change locations, or make any number of other decisions, out of fear that a deceased person would not approve of it.
“Will Sam understand if I date again?” “Is Sharon upset that I did not visit her grave this week?” “What would mom think if I sold the house that she and dad built?” The list could go on and on.
We know these people, or perhaps we might even be one of these people. This is the other side of the coin.
I can only offer my “2 cents” on this issue. Through researching all of the biblical evidence available to us, as well as issues like near-death experiences (NDEs) and communicating with the dead, I have concluded that deceased human beings do not exist anywhere at present. They are not in heaven, experiencing a life of bliss. They are not suffering in hell, either. Most importantly, the dead are not watching us. They are not there to praise our good deeds, nor are they around to condemn our perceived mistakes and failures.
Dead means dead: gone, deceased . . . the absence of life.
I am also quick to add that all people will one-day stand before God, and that He will decide our appropriate rewards or punishments. This will occur at Christ’s return. The dead will live again, and will someday be in one of the places people assume—and falsely, I believe—they are currently living in.
In the end, I have made this case through the entirety of The Death Myth, and it is up to each reader to decide whether or not my view makes the best sense of things. As for me, I do not spend one second of my life thinking about what the deceased are doing, or what they may be thinking about me personally. I certainly remember them, but I do not worry about them. To me, nothing good can come from a preoccupation with the dead.
The good people who have passed from my life would rather me spend that time focusing on God or my living family and friends, anyway.
Of course, it is also up to each reader to assess the implications of either worldview. Do you find joy in thinking that the dead are watching you, or do you find liberation in the thought that they are not?
I suspect that every person may answer that question a little differently.
Thank you for reading! If you found this blog interesting, you can purchase The Death Myth by clicking here.