“The fate of the soul– to whom we entrust it, where it will go when we finally sleep when the game is at an end– has always been the greatest question.”- John Ortberg
In Chapter 21 (“The King Has One More Move”), the concluding chapter of When the Game is Over, John Ortberg presents four views of the greatest question:
- Ignore our mortality. Writing in The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker states we spend our lives ignoring, avoiding, or repressing one irrefutable fact. We’re going to die. In other words, we keep trying to have it all without graves. Or, as Woody Allen once said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.
- Hide our mortality. Today, Pastor Ortberg notes, we give kids lots of biological information about how babies arrive. Yet, kids hear that grandpa is sleeping in a beautiful garden with flowers.
- Outsmart mortality. Think cryonics, health clubs, new diets, better medications.
- Accept our mortality. Consider the following inscription on Mel Blanc’s (voice of Porky Pig) tombstone: “That’s all, folks!”
Finally, in Rumors of Another World: What on Earth are We Musing?, Philip Yancey notes our very response to the reality of death signals that God created us for something more:
“Nature treats death as a natural occurrence, the foundation of the all-important food chain. Only we humans react with shock and elaboration, as though we can’t get used to the fact. . . . We act out a stubborn reluctance to yield to this most powerful of life experiences. . . . In a way unique to our species, we are not fully at home here. As a symptom of that fact, we feel stirrings toward something higher and more lasting.”
Thus, Jesus insisted death itself wasn’t allowed the last word. The King has one more move!
Today’s question: How do you witness your answer to the greatest question? Please share.
Note: the annotation for When the Game is Over appears on Thursday, August 23rd
Tomorrow’s blog: “Creating healthy internal boundaries”