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Change Not Annihilation

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April 17, 2009|12:02 pm

Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?' (John 11:25–26 NIV)

One thing that I notice immediately is the mysterious relationship between blood and life. God had instructed Israel about this link. "The life of a creature is in the blood," God said, "and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life" (Leviticus 17:11). This instruction concerning blood and the atonement was at the very heart of Israel's religion and her relationship with God. The blood was considered mysterious and sacred. Israelites were never to ingest blood.

The second thing I note is the relationship between sin and death. As human beings, we do not know all there is to know about death. There are religious groups who claim to believe in the annihilation of the human soul and the end of all existence. (Annihilation means to withdraw something from existence.) In the scriptural account of creation God made something out of nothing. But there is no instance in Scripture where God reverses the process of creation and calls an existing thing back into nothingness. Nor is there the concept of annihilation in nature. It is hard, then, to understand why some people want to introduce annihilation into the kingdom of God.

Matter can be-and regularly is-changed. But matter cannot be annihilated. If I strike a wooden match and let it burn to ashes, I can pinch the remaining ash into a smudge on my fingers, but I have not annihilated the elements that were in that match. They merely changed form. Part of the match went up in smoke. Part of it turned to ash. The part that became gaseous continues to possess invisible form in the atmosphere.

Prayer
O Christ, I believe You are the Son of God, the resurrection and the life.

Thought
Death brings change, not annihilation. The resulting change is an eternal one-forever in the presence of God or forever separated from Him, forever living or forever in the state of dying.

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