I want to refresh the logic here on something. Our American culture stoutly militates against the truth.
Creation is not fallen; mankind is fallen. We were designed to be eternal creatures, placed in a Garden where not much else lives forever like that. We ate from the Tree of Life. But by tasting the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, we lost access to the Tree of Life. We died that day, in the sense that death became a part of our existence.
So now we have mortal flesh. A part of that mortality is a radically different perception of Creation. The parable language of the Creation story breaks down if you try to make it literal — it’s not that we physically left the Garden of Eden, but that our souls departed a life where we had full communion with the natural world. It’s not a literal place, but a condition. We aren’t capable of actually perceiving reality as God made it; we are stuck with relying on our intellects and sensory data. Those aren’t enough to tell the whole story.
But we are born with that crippling perception tied to our mortality. So we experience time and space as restraints, for example. And instead of being managers of God’s Garden, we are forced to experience the mortality that is natural to the rest of the Garden. Except for us, it’s not “natural” — and some part of us knows this. It’s frustrating and it ensures we know that we are under the curse.
God placed the Flaming Sword of Truth at the entrance to the Garden. In less symbolic language, He has placed within our reach a revelation of His divine nature so that we can return to some measure of our lost eternal perception. It’s a halfway measure that gives us a taste of what we should have been, and what we will be sometime in the future when the Lord comes to restore all things to their intended place. The Flaming Sword of revelation obviously means dying, but death is a symbol on multiple levels. You can embrace the Sword by choosing the death of this fleshly perception, and awakening the heart-mind we all have. The heart-mind is the faculty that perceives moral reality, more or less as God made it.
But we are still caught between these two kinds of existence. We still have the flesh, but we become dimly aware of eternal reality. We can exercise the truth we know from the heart, but we still have to struggle against a very powerful resistance from the flesh. This is very annoying, very wearing on our souls. It’s supposed to be that way. It’s supposed to make you long for the Garden of Eden again and the Tree of Life.
Our life in this flesh is not precious. Do you not see how the mythology of our Western Civilization has filled us with some kind of greedy, fearful hoarding of time and this miserable fleshly existence? That damned Western epistemology, the assumptions about the nature of reality that reject revelation and God’s truth, that demand we shut off the heart-mind and listen only to the fleshly perception — do you see how it perverts everything? Life in this flesh is not precious! It’s a hindrance to our divine eternal destiny. We should be eager to break free from the flesh and experience unhindered full communion as eternal beings back in the Garden.
The only reason we remain here is because, once the Flaming Sword has entered our lives, we are supposed to participate in what it does. We share the revelation with others; we seek to help awaken the heart-mind awareness of others by showing off our freedom and joy, even as we live in this flesh. We aren’t fearfully clinging to this existence; we are rightfully rather bold about pushing the envelope of what keeps us alive, ready to pass on to Eternity. We trust our heart-mind awareness to point out the obedient limitations so we don’t sin by jumping the gun and leaving this life too early. We have a mission calling, so we persevere in the name of our God.
In the meantime, a part of the Flaming Sword is sharing it with others who have the same heart-mind awareness. It’s a taste of divine communion to bind ourselves together under that revelation, to seek the comfort and support of others as we endure this sad existence. And we mourn when someone else gets to go free and we are still stuck here. We mourn the loss of that sweet fellowship, not their passing. We celebrate their release from this flesh.
So we don’t get riled up when folks we don’t know die. We can understand how much it hurts those still alive who loved them, but death is not a tragedy. It’s release, the final goal to which we are all working so hard for Christ. And mass death events from natural disasters don’t upset us; that’s no punishment from God. It’s their final release. The punishment is living this awful life under the Curse. We can have joy in this life, but it’s a taste of something beyond. Whether any of them actually had favor with God and entered eternity as His children is another question, one we actually cannot possibly know. The most we could possibly know is whether it seems to us someone exhibits the joy of heart-led living.
So pretending it’s a tragedy if they haven’t embraced Western cultural Christianity is just goofy arrogance. Ditch that sentiment. The only tragedy in death for an individual we know is if they appear to die without having experienced heart-led birth into that moral awareness. That’s a separate issue from whether they “went to Heaven.” We need to shatter that bad mythology about “being saved” and “going to Heaven” — those phrases never meant in Scripture what they appear to mean in American Christianity. People who die before the Return of Christ are ushered into the household of God. Some are His children and they get to rest until human history has run its course. Others are there as His enemies, and it’s not at all pleasant for them.
But it only gets worse for His enemies once the final restoration comes. It’s a tragedy we cannot possibly comprehend, and so long as we are in the flesh, we have no way of knowing anything about it. We have Scripture loaded with symbolic imagery of what that’s all about, but that’s just proof we can’t comprehend it. So there’s not a damned thing we can do about that, and while the Bible says that, Western readers insist that there is a procedure that’s pretty much the same for everyone. That’s the perverted thinking due to reason and myths like democracy. Whatever it is that makes us children of His household, it’s like birth and DNA — it’s unique and totally individual to each of us.
So while we live in this fleshly body, longing to get out of it, a part of our swinging that Flaming Sword of truth around is our kindness and compassion. Not “being nice” as Westerners define it, but as the Bible defines compassion. We invest as much expertise in helping people die as we do how to live. We want to usher them across the boundary into Eternity, waiting on God to signal in our hearts what’s the best way to do that. Sometimes it’s supporting this life a little longer and better, which typically means helping them harvest the fruit of heart-led communion with Creation. But if it seems in our hearts that we know they are dying, let’s help them do that with grace and compassion.
Preserve human life? Sanctity of life? No, damnit! Preserve the mission; that’s all this life is for in the first place. The mission comes first and human survival is a minor concern. Divine justice takes precedence over survival. If an infant is aborted, that one goes to Heaven right away because the full impact of the Curse is delayed until some invisible point of development in the consciousness of the soul. In fact, we can’t even come up with a proper image of it because our brains insist on thinking of time as a boundary, which it isn’t. We can’t know when the Curse takes hold, but we can see it later in how a young human acts. But until then, children are innocent and go to rest with the Heavenly Father at death. He’s the only one who knows where the boundaries are on that.
Stop investing emotional sorrow in the death of a fleshly mortal body; death is just nature. Be sorry you don’t have their company any more, if you enjoyed it. And if you don’t miss them, be mindful at least that someone somewhere probably does miss them. You can’t poke the Flaming Sword into someone’s life without being sensitive from the heart about their perceptions of things. Ditch all that manipulative language about people’s feelings; that’s a false trail. Be aware of how you can help or hinder their progress toward the heart-led way, but their feelings don’t account for much. Nor do yours, in that sense.
Don’t fear death. Be mildly sympathetic to those who do, but make it clear you don’t share their dread. This fallen, cursed existence in the flesh is not precious. It’s only so useful as it helps bring glory to God so that folks will go looking for the Flaming Sword and leave this life for Eden.