“When I die, just burn me to dust because that’s it. This life is all there is. ” Whether it’s in a Hollywood film or in conversation with a secular materialist, the idea is that the “primitive,” false hope that there is bodily resurrection from the dead no longer holds in today’s high tech age. We now have access to Big Data. We no longer need the false hopes that held in the childhood of humanity.
In 2013 physicist Stephen Hawking speculated, “There is no God…. There is probably no heaven, and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe, and for that, I am extremely grateful.” This sounds so progressive, but actually the Jewish Sadducees argued that there was no life after death or resurrection in the first century.
During Jesus’ last week in Jerusalem before His death, they came to Him with a story—a story they believed proved how absurd belief in the resurrection is, but they made a bad mistake. They asked the one person who actually does know what happens after death.
"Some Sadducees came to Him (a Jewish group who contested the idea of resurrection life) and questioned Jesus, ‘Teacher, Moses wrote to us that if a man died leaving a wife with no child, his brother should take his brother’s wife and raise up seed for his brother. Now there were seven brothers. The first took a wife. Then he died and left her childless. The second and the third also took her. So did the seventh. Like the others, he too died and left the woman childless. Finally, also she died. So, in resurrection whose wife will she be, all seven had her as their wife?’
Jesus responded, ‘The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, but those who are considered worthy of the age to come and the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage. They no longer die, for they are like angels. They’re the sons of God, sons of the resurrection. But concerning the question about whether or not the dead are raised: Moses reported in the burning bush event, ‘The LORD is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ Now God is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live in Him.’
Then some of the religious legal experts responded, ‘Teacher, You have answered well!’ For no one else dared to question Him further.” Luke 27-40
Jesus’ argument is not based only on the present tense of the statement, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” but the fact that this is the formula of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12, 15, etc.) that was passed down to Isaac and Jacob. These Jewish patriarchs died without possessing the land, seeing their ‘seed’ become like the sand and the stars, and bring blessing through the Messiah to all nations. Therefore, they have to be raised from the dead so they can live the fulfillment of God’s promise. Their future resurrection, and ours, is not only rooted in the eternality of God, but also in His dependability to keep His promises.
LORD, help Stephen Hawking realize that his very ability to perceive that there is a Grand Design, discern the math that begins to describe it, and to be grateful is Your gift, not the gift of impersonal, material, energy forces
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