Death and God

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How do you “explain” to an elderly man (lifetime member although inactive for many years) that God is not to blame for his wife being literally on death’s door? What do you say when he asks why is God doing this to us? Is He punishing us for not going to church all these years? Is this His way of repaying us back for coming back to church these last few months?

Hubby has been at the hospital almost nonstop for last 24 hours with a member as they sit with the wife. He is having a hard time talking to this man who is watching his wife of over 50 years slip through his fingers and doesn’t know what to say. I said don’t say anything at all… just let him grieve and let him talk. I told him to ask this man if he wanted a blessing of comfort.

I’ve run out of ideas..

17 thoughts on “Death and God

  1. One of the highest tenents of Buddhism is that there is suffering in the world. It is caused by our attachment to things (and people).

    The first step toward enlightenment is to accept that all things are impermanent. Acceptance is the key.

    Everyone has their time here.
    We do not get to choose when that time ends.

    Have hope. Endure. Accept.

  2. oh in our heads we all know we are going to die.. well except me of course… but knowing it in your head and knowing it in your heart is not the same thing.

  3. Kim: I’m confused by your comment, “For the most part, neither does God.” However, what you’re looking for here is help, not debate, so don’t squander your time in propping up arguments. I think this man needs a testimony that God loves him and his wife. I hope his own prayers and possibly the blessing you suggested will be ways he can obtain that testimony.

  4. “for the most part, God does not choose when we die.”

    I guess I don’t understand how you came to this conclusion.

  5. My conclusion is based on my interpretation of Matt 5:45.

    “[He] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

    My intepretation is that God allows nature to be indiscriminative toward us. The sun doesn’t shine on only the righteous, it just shines. The rain doesn’t fall on only the wicked, it just falls.

    Same goes for illness, old age, and so on.

  6. But the rain doesn’t fall, and the sun doesn’t shine, without God’s power organizing the universe. In this respect at the very least, he “maketh” these things to happen.

    Having the power to intervene and change something, and choosing not to intervene and change it, is making a choice. So even if what you say is true, and God is simply letting nature happen, he’s still choosing to let it happen rather than change something. In this way, at the very least, I think he is choosing when it is time for each of us to die.

  7. Mary: Yes, I know that neither you nor Kim is saying God CAN’T choose the time of our dying. I’m just saying that, assuming Kim’s view of things is completely correct, God is still choosing through his nonintervention as much as by his intervention.

    Kim: I’m also slightly surprised that you don’t go for a more literal interpretation of Christ’s statements: He MAKETH his sun to rise, and he SENDETH the rain seems rather different from “he watches the sun rise and sits back while the rain falls.”

  8. “[If] God is simply letting nature happen, he’s still choosing to let it happen rather than change something. In this way, at the very least, I think he is choosing when it is time for each of us to die.”

    More accurately, he would be choosing when we don’t die. If he is not directly causign a death, then I do not see how he is choosing the moment when we die.

    “He MAKETH his sun to rise, and he SENDETH the rain seems rather different from ‘he watches the sun rise and sits back while the rain falls.'”

    And “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” is different than “he MAKETH his sun to rise, and he SENDETH the rain”. God doesn’t just make the sun shine, but he makes it shine on everyone. He doesn’t just send the rain, but he sends the rain on everyone.

    That being said, Jesus was well known for his allegorical teachings, so I would not be quick to put too much literal interpretation between the actions “send” and “make”.

  9. I don’t necessarily advocate a literal interpretation–I just see you advocating literal interpretations, or interpretations you say are literal, quite often. You did this, for example, in saying that God himself conferred the priesthood on Aaron, rather than having his Prophet Moses do so. You also said you were using a more literal interpretation of D&C 1:38 than I was.

    It’s really not a point of argument. I’m not saying you’re wrong. It just surprises me.

  10. ok back to my original question.. how do you explain to a distraught person that God is not doing this to punish them for being inactive?

  11. Well, the short answer is: you can’t.

    It’s equally hard to prove the blessings of tithing, or the existance of Gods.

    What it comes down to is that this individual has to get past this feeling of personal guilt for the death of another, and begin to accept and cope.

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