What Happens After Death?

There are three great questions that humans have asked through the ages: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? It is striking to me that people have assumed, or at least hoped, that there is something more than our brief time on earth—some greater cause, some purpose, some destination. Most worldviews and religions attempt to answer these questions. The Christian worldview believes that God has revealed himself and such answers in the divinely inspired book, the Bible. In our church, we have been studying the book of 1 Corinthians and our next passage is 15:20-28. In vv. 20-23 Paul explains that all those who belong to Christ will be resurrected because Christ was resurrected. He is teaching on the resurrection because the believers in Corinth were disagreeing on how to answer the last big question: What happens after death? Some were claiming that there is no life after death (v. 12). In vv. 12-19, Paul argues that such a claim is logically inconsistent with the Christian faith.

God reveals that there is life after death. This truth is now connected to another great truth: Christ will gain total victory over all his enemies. Paul is arguing that there must be a resurrection because we know Christ will defeat all enemies and one of his enemies is death. Therefore, the resurrection of the dead is part of Christ’s final victory over all enemies (vv. 24-28).

For those who do not believe in Christ, this claim provides a motivation to make sure that he has honestly and carefully selected his worldview. It is possible to critically evaluate the various worldviews based on logic and evidence. This particular claim of a future event cannot be thus evaluated, but the Bible and other claims of Christianity can. Consider your position carefully, because if the Bible is right about this, there will be life after death, and you certainly do not want to be an enemy of Christ in the end.

For believers, this truth is a reminder that we cannot live short-sightedly. We must lay up treasures in heaven instead of on earth (Matt 6:19-21). And we must live without fear, having full knowledge of the final and total victory of Christ in the end.