LIFE IS THE PRELUDE, DEATH IS THE BEGINNING
In between the three weeks it took conceiving and finalizing this article, three deaths occurred. One of a friend’s mother who apparently took ill and passed on, the second, the tragic death of a fellow Corp member after a ghastly train mishap, and the third, of a world-renowned physicist who expired at the age of 76 having lived 55yrs longer with a motor-neuron disease that beset him at 21.
I hereby crave your indulgence to devote a moment of earnest attention to the reading of this article. To gain full insight into the weighty message here, you’ll have to follow carefully my train of thoughts.
This script is dedicated to the sweet memories and living legacy of the late Madam Omotayo Ibrahim, Corp Member Nneka Odili and Scientist, Stephen Hawking.
We shall meet again, forevermore.
“To make the best of your life, you must never forget two truths: First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached. Ask God to help you see life on earth as he sees it.” – Rick Warren; THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE.
A cursory glance at life would reveal a lot to any observer. With the frills of time and the exotic wonders of life expounded in the utter vastness of nature, one may be steered to believe that life is indeed our destined paradise.
A privileged diver in the Hawaiian deep is overwhelmed by the supreme splendor of marine activities that surround him. An explorer traversing wild Congo is lost in wonderment at the sight of wildlife at its immaculate best: of assorted birds and their kinds; of beasts brutal, meek and their conducts; of brook channels and landscapes and sunbeams and thick jungles; picturesque backdrops that no man touring in these realms would hastily recover from, or ever recover from.
And yet, how minute those details are in the grand scheme of things! There is the sprawling wilderness and the sweltering heat of the Sahara Desert. There is the arctic supernaturalism saturating the North Pole, Alaska. There is the galactic cosmic presence of the Space Beyond superintending our planet even! There is the one, and far too many wonders of our world for any observer to argue that life is indeed man’s destined paradise.
And he could argue further! He could make a case for man and the opulence of life he daily creates for humankind. Abounding are the many works of man on earth. Innumerable are the far-reaching accomplishments spread across all four corners of the globe. Historical architectural chefs-d’oeuvre like the Colosseum of Rome, Christ The Redeemer in Rio De Janeiro, Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Statue of Liberty in New York, The Taj Mahal in India, The Basilica of the Vatican City remain as abiding evidences of man’s telling progressions in the past epochs.
IN THE PAST Century alone, human innovations have ranged from Antibiotics, Radio, Television, Personal Computers, The Internet; close-knit intermediate influencers – to Automobiles, Airplanes, Rocketry, Submarines, Nuclear Powers; gigantic world-shaking constructs that’s fast-tracked the life-living to a New Phase. To be alive at this point in time is to be right at the epicenter of humanity’s game-changing experience on earth.
THE 21ST CENTURY: ROBOTICS. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. GENETICS DEVELOPMENT. NANOTECHNOLOGY…
Even with all that grandeur, the arguers most valid notion of a paradisaic earth would be thus conveyed, “The affinity that bonds man together and the byproducts thereof reverberates more acutely than the sum total of all world attractions and natural phenomena.” For – Love, Amity, Joy, Company, Wit, Intellect, Creativity, Enterprise, Difference, Pleasure, Ecstasy, Gratification, Desire, Growth, Leisure, Rest, – embodies amidst us the eternal making of the human fabric; life-defining intangible substances that shape our external designs.
In view of all these arguments thus listed, a solid case would have been laid on ground.
The supposition however, winning as they come, would be widely off the mark of course. No right-thinking person would readily conceive the possibility of such Utopian observation when confronted by daily ills and struggles that confounds the beatitude. The outlook of an eternal existence on earth is unthinkable in the face of the myriad imbalances that permeate our world.
For all the glory that is manifested through nature, there is the unforeseen undercurrent of real calamity coursing through the heart of earth, building up lava till tipping point. For all that is adorable in animals, there’s the fiendish proclivity to dismember ruthlessly at a change of whim. For all that is godly in man, lurking beneath the veneer is a heart that is desperately wicked.
Although, evil and death are separate realities, it can be rightly deduced that evil portends death, and therefore, all that is evil or has evil in it is death ultimately.
Also read: A Present Condition of Time
Thus, we enter into the crux of the subject – Life is the prelude; Death is the beginning. DEATH IS THE BEGINNING. Like the first pages of an epic book, we are brought in into the thick of a storyline whose beginning and unfolding we know naught truly; whose multilayered volumes of veiled narratives pertaining afterlife are only intimated to us in the Holy Books. Death, in this context, presupposes the flipping of the reading of the final page in the prologue to the blank page that intersects the book’s CHAPTER ONE – from where the real story begins.
Death can only be the beginning for those little kids in Syria whose journey through life is hastily cut short. And for Melchizedek who lived almost a thousand years on earth, death was only the beginning too. For the rich and the poor, the tall and the short, the white and the black, the woman and the man, the good and the bad, the Greek and the American, the believer and the non-believer….DEATH IS ONLY THE BEGINNING.
You are roused to ask, “A beginning into what?” A beginning into the supremacy of an existence where life is not time-bound, nor the spirit of being a mortal time-bomb. Life is but for a moment; death is but for an occasion. That I am chosen and you are chosen to live a life is for a reason, the death of which is not only the changeover but the continuation into a GREATER REASON.
Life, then, is not some great property that must be overly celebrated (even for all it represents); rather, life is as a great visitor from another world that should be hospitably welcomed, reverenced even. To value life more than its true reality is to lose sight of death, its inevitable departure. Life is ultimately passing, and every second spent longer should serve as an awakening reminder that we too shall soon expire.
On a final note: Life does not take precedence over death, death takes precedence over life. Life is the playground, death is the return transit. Death is the end of human life, not the finality of spirit being. Death is the occasioning and transport into a spiritual existence from whence the BEGINNING ORIGINATES. DEATH IS THE BEGINNING.
SOME PROFOUND SCRIPTURES ON LIFE AND DEATH
- “LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.” Psalm 39:4.
- “Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous unto me; for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” Ecclesiastes 2:17.
- “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14.
- “What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” Psalm 89:48.
- “A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” Ecclesiastes 7:1.
- “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war, neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.” Ecclesiastes 8:8.
- He’ll swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth; for the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 25:8.
- “That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21.
- “For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” 1 Corinthians 15:21.
- “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” 1 Corinthians 15:26.
- “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory.” 1 Corinthians 15:55.
- “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” Hebrews 2:14.
- “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelation 1:18.
- “And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” Revelation 21:6.