I sat in the lounge of my college dorm with a dozen other guys. Our Thursday night tradition of pancakes had brought us together. This pancake night we had invited a theology professor to our floor for an evening of Q&A.
The deal was simple, we feed him carbs and sugary syrup, and in exchange we get to ask him whatever questions plagued our curious minds.
Midway through the evening his response to a question bothered me. Something didn’t fit quite right with my expectations.
I spoke up, “But what if I want to die because I know that I will get to heaven?” There was nothing suicidal about this comment. As a naive college student, I didn’t fear death. A part of me felt like I should anticipate it as a means to an end.
He replied simply, “Death is not natural. This is not the way it is supposed to be. It is not good.”
I pushed back on his reply “But it is death that gets me to heaven and the presence of God. How could that not be good?”
He replied with the same refrain, “Death is not good. It is not the way it is supposed to be.”
Few moments in my life have reshaped a whole framework of thought in a single conversation. My dialogue with that professor substantially rearranged my thinking about the nature of death in our world. The 21-year-old me had no real experience with death.
In the six years since that conversation, death has scarred my life and I understand on a deeper conscious level his response.
Death is a cruel and unfair enemy. It steals and destroys so much of what is good in this world.
I can never again call good what is evil. Indeed, death is not natural. Death is not the way it is supposed to be.
(Just yesterday I ran across this article on Fathom Magazine. It offers an engaging perspective on death)