What if there was an eternal paradise the other side of death waiting for us to enjoy? Would that change the way we view things in this life? If someone goes to a better place would that lessen the tragedy of their passing? Surely it would. We would still grieve deeply the loss of a loved one but we would also rejoice in their gain. A life cut short would have jumped the queue to the fun fair. Would it make us more reckless knowing there is a bouncy net beneath us to catch us when we die?
But what if death was as bad as it seems? Or what if things got worse after death? What if there was a fire outside of the frying pan. Would we fight death with all means possible and endure even the worst that this world has to offer rather than fall into the torment of the next. Would we not hope for or search for some solution? Some salvation?
What if it was just more of the same? Would that be better or worse than it is now? What would it be like to live forever in a world like this one, experiencing at one time or another the best of it and the worst of it. Would we weary of it or find endless distraction and delights in it?
Or what if there was really nothing after death. Nothing at all. No consciousness, no existence, no being. What effect would that truth have on our lives now? Would it suck out all meaning. If I cease to exist after death, what if we all one day will not exist, if even the universe dies in a slow heath death then what is the point? The only way forward would be to construct an assortment of temporary made up meanings because its impossible to live without any. We would live as if there was meaning but be haunted by the fact that there was none.
So is it better, worse, similar or nothing? What if we didn’t know? Would we try to find out? How would we do that? A strategic investigation would surely start with one of the front runners in the truth game like Jesus. Going on an alpha course might therefore be a good idea. Or reading the bible, or calling out to Jesus to help you if he is there.
If paradise awaits us beyond the grave then the temptation is to get there as soon as possible. There are many wonderful things in this life but many painful things too. Who would not, at the drop of a hat, trade in this life for the next. The apostle Paul felt that but it was balanced by an understanding that there was good reason to stay this side of death for a little longer. Our love for Jesus makes us both homesick to be with him in the future, but zealous to serve him in the here and now.