The Meaning of Death – The Ides of March


Today is the whatever anniversary of the most famous political assassination in history.

Stephen Hawking is dead, dead as a doornail.

That’s sounds horrid.

It is.

The story is, during the short hours of a stay of execution, Oklahoma City Bomber, Timothy McVey, accepted Christ as his Savior.

These past few months I’ve lost several friends.  I mourn their passing.  I miss them.  Right about now I’m truly ticked with one of them.  I do not lament their death.  There is a reason.  They all died knowing Christ as their Lord and Savior.  They are with our Lord in Heaven.  They are with their loved ones who died in Christ.  They shall know eternal life.

Oh, I know, this is terribly politically incorrect.  You know what?  Frankly, I don’t give a rip. It is what I believe.  Fortunately, I’m not the only one who believes this way.  It’s like this.  I truly believe Salvation in Christ is a miracle.  It must be.  I’m a total, cold-blooded cynic. There is no possible way I can believe what I do, without that miracle.

The cynic doesn’t allow for it.

It is a miracle.

This morning, I mentioned something about Hawking’s passing on Facebook, lamenting the fact that he died without Christ.  A very wise friend, who is a minister, chided me, saying he had until the last moments of life to accept Christ.  That is true. There goes that miracle again.  If Hawking did, at the last minute, accept Christ, it was a miracle.  But – in keeping with the horrifically anti-Christian theme of his life, I’m not quite sure if it happened that way.

Stephen Hawking, for all his brilliance, had nothing but abject contempt for faith. It was a nasty kind of contempt, the kind the great, late Carl Sagan never showed.  There are rumors Sagan may have sought a last minute reprieve with the Lord.  I truly hope they are true.  He was contemptuous of religion, but he was also fascinated by it.  Hawking, for all his brilliance, had shown, over the  years,  nothing but absolute contempt, almost hatred of it.

Nothing is more finite than the total death of not only the body, but the soul.  There are many versions of what Heaven is.  To me, Hell is to be removed from the presence of the Lord.  I can’t think of anything worse.  To have one’s soul extinguished, never to be in the presence of the Lord is eternal damnation.

It is horrific.  To think that the brilliant mind, one for the ages, is totally completely dark, for eternity, is not even a reason to celebrate his life, but to truly mourn. I am missing my friends.  There is a friend I can’t contact with a question I had this morning.  I can’t visit with my cousin.  There is a beautiful smile I will never again experience – not in this life.  I will see that smile when I am with the Lord.  There is that promise.

But – I cannot understand the poetry of the celebration of the man’s life.  He is not up there in the clouds, in the heavens.  His soul has been lost.  It is truly a time to mourn.  How can we celebrate the life of a soul who never knew Christ?