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What happens when we die?

by Dr.Arsenio Esteras, Jr  
2/25/2009 / Christian Living


An immobile, breathless and unconscious human individual is declared dead by a declaring authority when the objective evidence or vital signs of human life are no longer appreciable. Such clinical vital signs of human life include the blood pressure, respiratory rate, heart rate, the reaction of the pupils of the eyes to light, and peripheral pulses among others. Death from the clinician's parameters is basically the complete shutdown of human bodily senses. It happens not only to all human persons but to other lower forms of animal as well. Thus, it is bound to happen to all forms of terrestrial life. It is a universal terrestrial occurrence.

Pieces of physical evidence gathered around the globe thru international print, broadcast and internet media disclosed, in no uncertain terms, that immediately after death, the body of a dead person undergoes or takes either one of two realities: the reality of corruptibility which is the rule or the reality of incorruptibility which is the exception to the rule. Take note that the reality of corruptibility happens not only to the dead bodies of human beings but also to other lower forms of earthly life. On the other extreme, the reality of incorruptibility is exclusive to the body of a person that was pronounced or declared dead. No lower forms of earthly animals such as the orangutan or the gorilla have been reported to have undergone the reality of incorruptibility. As of the present time, the incorruptibility process is limited to the creature created in the image and likeness of GOD and that is the human person.

From a strictly Biblical perspective, the reality of corruptibility is rooted in the Book of Genesis that narrates the creation and eventual fall of Adam and Eve. It began with the ingestion of the fruit of death that transformed them in a flash to human beings. It was confirmed by the Creator who is GOD in His divine anger and justice with the curse of natural death: "for you are dust, to dust you shall return". Obviously, making GOD angry is a very crippling lethal mistake. Recall too that prior to the visitation of GOD in the divine Person of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, there was no narrative in any of the books of the Old Testament that mentions incorruptible bodies of dead prophets or patriarchs. The only incredible story about the body of a prophet was the manner of exit of Elijah from this terrestrial world. "Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind." (2 Kings 2:11) He was not covered by the curse of natural death that GOD imposed. Hence, on the basis of Scriptural wisdom, Elijah was not human.

The reality of incorruptibility happened "anno domini". It became a reality after the visitation of GOD in the divine Person of the Messiah. Among the beneficiaries of the reality of incorruptibility of these contemporary times include the Russian Orthodox 14th century monk named Sergei of Radonezh, the uneducated and sickly lady pauper from Lourdes named Bernadette Soubirous and latest addition to the very, very short list is Padre Pio of Pietrelcina whose intact incorruptible corpus was exhumed in 2007 and is now displayed in his native homeland in Italy as an icon of the divine mercy of GOD.

The text of the plausible gospel basis of the reality of incorruptibility follows: "I solemnly assure you, if a man is true to my word, he shall never see death."(John 8:51) It was a solemn assurance. It was not a joke. It came out directly from the lips of the Rabbi. Therefore, it cannot be a meaningless gimmick or a lie. He is not the "father of lies". Christian authorities pass it off as a mere and pure rhetoric by the way they profess and propagate their faith. Of course, the death that the Son of Man was referring to was the curse of natural death that the Father uttered and imposed face to face in the beginning of time upon the wayward ancestors of humanity. He cannot be referring to any human definition of death because He was not human even for an instant. He did not listen to the ancient serpent. He kicked its butt as often as He encountered such beast and its minions while He walked a portion of this earth upon His glorious visitation. He allowed doubting Thomas to touch and not just to see the nail marks and the stab of His resurrected body that is not a ghost. Remember that Adam and Eve became human because they listened to the ancient serpent. They did not kick its butt. They licked it because they even defended frontally the dastardly demonic acts they committed at the back of their Creator when they owe nothing at all to the ugly monster even the dust from where they were animated for all eternity.

A review of any well written biography of the recipients of incorruptible divine bodies would readily show that they were persons bestowed with certain divine supernatural gifts and the life that they lived were simple but extraordinary that was considered by some all-knowing skeptics as bordering on insanity and absurdity and even scandalous from a purely human viewpoint. They were ostracized by a certain segment of the human populace that witnessed their extraordinary life. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina was prevented for a span of time from presiding over the Eucharistic celebration in public. Bernadette was maligned and was likewise deprived the Eucharistic meal for a time. Her extraordinary acts were even branded as money-making ventures because she belonged to a family almost as poor as a rat. All things said, they caught the attention of GOD at some point in their terrestrial life that they were gifted with divine supernatural gifts that translated upon their demise from this miserable world to an incorruptible body, the emblem of salvation. They are the recipients of the divine mercy of GOD. They are definitely spared of the divine justice of GOD. They are definitely and unarguably well-placed in the kingdom of GOD. Obviously, pleasing GOD is establishing an eternal friendship with Him body and soul and not just the soul.

In the case of the bodies of the human being that took the opposite road often travelled or the reality of corruptibility, the human flesh returns to the clay or dust from where it was, by origin, animated for eternal life while the spirit or soul that animated the clay or dust returns to its rightful Owner or Master who is, none other than, GOD the Creator. Satan the Impostor that was vanquished and thrown out of heaven at the outset cannot send its minions to fetch the soul that separated from the decomposing corpse unless GOD wills it. As a conquered foe, Satan has no right whatsoever over the soul. The soul belonged to GOD as its Creator. It has no indebtedness whatsoever to Satan even the intellect that it ceded to it that made it human. Everything belongs to GOD. Satan has nothing at all. It has no diabolic right over the creature of GOD. It was just given the dust for it to eat all the days of its life.

The soul, after it has left its rotting remains, retains the image and likeness of GOD and its intellect and will. The only thing that was lost was the cursed human flesh. It is almost like an angel. The huge difference is that the soul carries in its being its sins, its human mindset and whatever love it has for GOD. The angels carry no sin. Its mindset is angelic. Its love for GOD is not suspect.

Right after natural death, the soul does not know its way outside the earth. It is like an infant once again in that realm. It cannot go to hell even if it wills because it does not know how to get there either. If it decides not to follow its guardian angels because of its strong earthly attachment it then becomes an earth-bound spirit. If it follows its guardian angels, it will face its Creator upon His pleasure and the soul will be subject to the final disposition of its Creator. Whether it becomes an angel or a demon or whatever, it is up for the GOD to decide.

What happens when we die? Either the body rots or not. It is a truism that for every rule there is always an exception. During the days of Noah, God decided to kill all living beings by drowning. The common cause of death then was asphyxiation by drowning with the exception of Noah and his family. They belonged to the exception rather than the rule. Several years after the Ascension of the Son of Man to heaven from the Mount of Olives all the apostles whom He left died a martyr's death with the exception of John the beloved who was said to have died in isolation in an island named Patmos. He likewise belonged to the exception rather than the rule. Today, it is an undeniable fact that all of us will have our bodies rot, stench and decompose at death. Again, whether we like it or not, there are exceptions to the rule. The exemplars of exception over the rule include the body of a Capuchin friar named Padre Pio, the corpus of a Russian Orthodox Christian named Sergei and the female body of an uneducated pauper from Lourdes named Bernadette. Their incorruptible bodies are on exhibit in separate places as icons of exception to the rule. Their incorruptible bodies can be visited anytime. The truth is staring us on the face and is right under our very noses. Believe it or not!

Peace to everyone!

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