“God …has planted eternity in the human heart…” (from Ecclesiastes 3:11)
I find it intriguing that in every culture, past and present, backward or forward-thinking, educated or illiterate – there is a prevailing belief in an afterlife. Human beings have always held on to the notion that death is not the end of our journey – that there is something waiting for us “beyond the veil.”
This is most curious because there is really nothing in this life that would cause us to expect some kind of life awaiting us after we breathe our last breath here. Everything that we observe about death tells us that it is permanent. We cease to breathe. We die. They put us into the ground (or reduce us to ashes). End of story.
So why is it that we cannot accept that it is the end of the story?
Another thing: why does nearly everyone who has ever believed in the afterlife, also believe that it is a far better place to be? You hear it all the time, at funerals… “They have gone to a much better place.” How do we know that? And why do we all nod our heads in agreement? The afterlife is never seen as the same old kind of existence, except that it lasts a lot longer. It is always better. Eternal. Perfect. Full of joy, and peace… and (usually) beautiful beyond words to describe it.
Sure, there are variations of understanding about the what the afterlife will be (depending upon the culture) but I am not aware of a single culture that ever held to the belief that when you die… that’s it… there is nothing beyond the grave.
Many have tried to explain this afterlife phenomena, logically. Perhaps, it is just wishful thinking. Or those who have had so little joy in this life need to believe there is another chance for joy “on the other side.” Or maybe it is the product of the “powerful” – who desire to continue their life of power on another plane/realm of existence.
But none of these answers can explain why eternity weighs so heavily in human minds and hearts. We have virtually no proof of it’s existence – but we believe anyway. In spite of everything our experience tells us…
If we will accept it, the Bible tells us why human beings have always been so enamored with the afterlife. God has placed (planted) eternity in our hearts. He hardwired it into us. He set it in us to remind us that there is more to this life than this life. And to remind us that He is a God who dwells in eternity.
And at the heart of His hope for us, is that we will spend our afterlife with Him. Everything He has done for us (through Jesus) was to ensure that we can be with Him forever.
He put within us the need to yearn for life beyond the grave… and He made a way for all of us to discover the fullness of that promise.
This is the central message of the Bible.
Does this prove God’s existence? No. But it is another clue, another piece of the puzzle, that reveals a compelling bit of evidence that has been right there in front of us all along.