By Beryl Hollis
How Conditional Immortality Truths Release from Hindu Fears
- There are not going to be millions of rebirths. Because man does not have an immortal soul, he cannot be re-born into this world.
To the Greek Socrates, death was a gain; to the atheist, it is a total loss; to the Hindu, “it all depends”- it all depends on his deeds during this life.
We avoid the Greek Philosophical meaning of “soul”, nor do we base our teaching on the Hindu Vedas, Upanishads, or religious epics, but on the Bible, which is the inspired and infallible word of God. I recollect being told that when Pastor Geo. Brown first came to Auckland, many Christians searched the Scriptures for every reference to soul, some even staying up all night with their concordances. They were sure they would find some reference to “immortal soul”. Not finding any, they were convinced and embraced the doctrine of Conditional Immortality
To the Christian, death is an “enemy”, but not an enemy to be feared, because it is to be destroyed b Christ. ” The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor 15:26)
- Their future is not based on karma, not on deeds good or evil, not on virtue, alms-giving, or austerity, but on faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Advent Christians we teach that the final destruction of the wicked and the unbeliever is in the lake of fire, which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)
For the one with faith in Christ, however, his future is everlasting life:” Verily,verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life. (Jn 5:24)
However the reult of our deeds, we must not forget that there are rewardsand losses, according to 1 Cor 3:11-15.
- Salvation is not nirvana. Nirvana, remember means becoming one with the Absolute, thus escaping forever the cycles of rebirths. Nirvana means a waning, a fading away. The Christian does not believe in a pantheon of gods, he does not believe in polytheism with a supreme Absolute god. We have one God, omnipotent, omnipresent, all-wise, holy, true, infinite, the only immortal One (“who only hath immortality” 1 Ti.6:16) He is love. Because of that love God sent His only begotten Son, the sinless One , to be the only effectual sacrifice for sins, and through Him to grant forgiveness and immortality to us who believe. Our hope, through Him, is not a fading away, an extinguishing of individual existence, but a blessed eternal future with Him, in the place He is preparing for us even now.
- Sacrifice is necessary, but it is the sacrifice already made on the Cross by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Sin is not the failure to do caste duties, but it is disobedience to the one, living God, and results in the wages of sin, death. But Christ is our Saviour.
In Hinduism a Saviour does not exist. Salvation from the cycle of rebirth must be gained through one’s own efforts. But Jesus Christ is the Savious who took our sins in His own body on the tree (1 Pe 2:24). No further sacrifice is necessary. (So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many” Heb9:25)
Through His blood we are washed from our sins ( 1 Jn1:7), and receive the eternal life which was denied to Adam in the Garden of Eden because of his sin.
- The spirits of the dead do not haunt us. Recognition of the fact that man does not have an immortal soul to hand around a house after death is a release to both Christiand and Hindu. For the Hindu teaches that the spirit of a dead man will become a ghost and haunt the living if the prescribed ceremonies are not properly carried out.
Unfortunately even Christians may believe the spirits of the dead hang around the house where someone died. A special fear is of the spirits of the people who have committed suicide. The Advent Christian teaching of Conditional Immortality releases from these fears.
In death we are unconscious. We realise that there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave (Eccl. 9:10). “In that very day his thoughts perish” (Ps 146:3,4)”For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks (Ps 6:5).
Because we do not have immortal souls, we cannot haunt the living after death. The Christian is asleep in Christ, but fallen asleep in the knowledge that Christ, at His coming, will raise him or her from the dead.
- The ceremonies at death have no bearing on the future of the one who has dies. Incidentally, in India Christians always bury the dead. I do not know of any Christian who cremates in India. Because there are some Hindus who do bury, and bury north to south for some religious reason which I don’t know. Christians made a point of burying east to west, to prove to Hindus that they have no faith in the Hindu perceptions. However this a minor point. In funeral after funeral in our Advent Christian churches, 1 Thess. 4:13-18 becomes an important Scriptural passage. The resurrection of Christ, and His power to resurrect those who believe in Him, in the future, becomes as important a truth to us as it was to the apostles and to the early Christians. It is through the resurrection that we will be able to experience our salvation, and immortality and everlasting life become realities. The whole person, not just a separate oul, will be saved. Christ’s resurrection is the first fruits of the great harvest to come (1 Cor. 15:23. Dr. Dean points out in his book “Resurrection- His and Ours”, that all Christian doctrines are based, of necessity, on the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ’s Second Coming now becomes an important article of our faith, also. he comes to raise us from the dead. It is then that the corruptible puts on incorruption, the mortal puts on immortality and death is swallowed up in victory (1 Cor 15:54).
The Hindu coming to Christ is released from his own personal fears about reincarnation. No longer does he have the fear of an innumerable series of re-births hanging over him. Salvation is something positive – a salvation from sin and from the consequences of sin, brought about through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.