Jim Govatos: ‘Resurrection’ and our life-after-death obsession

Jim Govatos

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I just read that the new ABC drama “Resurrection” led the pack in terms of viewership for Sunday night TV on March 9. The premise of the show is that someone who has died miraculously returns from the dead in order to help people work through unresolved issues and grief.

I find it curious that the viewing public is still enamored with people returning from the dead even though we live in a post-Christian society, with the entertainment industry leading the way in skepticism about Christianity. While we can wander away from Christ, we can't wander away from the question his life and death answered: Is there life after death?

The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes observes: “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

Nearly every culture that has ever existed has embraced some version of an afterlife. Even our hyper-materialistic 20th Century toyed with science fiction story lines in which people came back from the dead, sometimes as zombies, sometimes as reincarnations. Even when we deny an afterlife it seems we can't stop thinking about it. It's in the human heart.

The Ecclesiastes passage reminds us that human knowledge, at least in the realm of eternity, is limited. When we don't know, the urges of the human heart will cause us to use our imaginations to dream about what we hope for and desire, or even fear. And so, we will continue to fantasize about what might be or could be. And the entertainment industry will continue to feed our curiosity.

About a month from now we will be celebrating Easter, when Jesus conquered the grave. Throughout history millions of Christians have not just placed their hopes of his version of eternity, they have bet their lives on it. They have understood that because of Jesus' death and resurrection, those who believe in Him can experience a resurrection where there will be no more crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). As a pastor, I have seen the power of this understanding played out in funeral homes around the world. Like everyone, Christians grieve the loss of loved ones. But behind their tears is a conviction that God himself will one day wipe away those tears. It's a story worth a second look because in the end, eternity is not what we make of it, but what God has made of it. Just sayin’.