“Have you contemplated your death?” Olivia Newton-John was once asked by an interviewer due to her long illness and reoccurring battle with cancer.
In the wake of the Grammy award winner’s passing, her perspective on death promoted by that question has resurfaced from a 2021 podcast interview, “A Life of Greatness.”
“We all know we are going to die . . . I think we spend our lives denying it,” Newton-John responded. “It’s extremely personal. I find it hard to put into words,” she added. “I feel we are all part of one thing. I have had experiences with spirits or spirit life and felt the spirit world and have heard things, that I believe there is something that happens.”
“It’s almost like we are parts of the same computer and we go back to the main battery,” she further opined. “I don’t have a definite definition of what it is. I think there is a great knowingness out there [and] we become part of it. I hope that the energies of the people you love will be there . . . I think all of the love will be there.”
“I’m sort of looking forward to that,” Newton-John added, “not now, but when it happens.”
In spite of her fame, her four Grammy Awards, her five number-one hits, and sales of over 100 million records it’s apparent that Olivia Newton-John did not have a clear grasp on life and death as it relates to the afterlife.
“What happens when we die?” This is a question that every rational person has contemplated. Yet, it is one about which so many are groping in darkness.
Through the years philosophers have pondered various forms of these three questions.
What is my origin?
Why am I on earth?
Where am I going?
These subjects that reflect who we are, our purpose in life, and our eternal destiny are of great significance and demand our examination. Fortunately, the Bible, God’s Word, offers us insight and direction.
#1 God is the giver of life.
We are created in His image. And after His likeness. (Gen. 1:26-27). Man is a dual being. Body and spirit. When God breathed into Adam’s nostrils “the breath of life,” he became a “living being,” with a soul that will never die.
You and I exist because God willed that it be so. Indeed, He’s the giver of life, and it is in Him, as Paul expressed to the Athenian philosophers, that we “live and move and have our being.” Or as the Psalmist expressed God’s involvement in life, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light” (Ps. 36:9).
#2 Our purpose in life is wrapped up in God’s eternal plan and good pleasure.
The Bible teaches that we were made for God’s pleasure (Ps. 35:27; 147:11; 138:4). You and I exist in order to bring honor and glory to our Creator. From the beginning, God planned to send His Son into the world to redeem us and reconcile to Himself a people for his own pleasure. The book of Ephesians, especially chapter 1, speaks to this plan “before the foundation of the world.”
Life, therefore, is not an accident. It begins with God. And it finds purpose, significance, and fulfillment in following His Divine design for us. To belong to Him. To develop a relationship with Him. To be a part of His spiritual family. To become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. To use our gifts to serve Him. And to share His message of light and love to a world lost in sin.
#3 Death is a part of life and the transition into eternal life.
Too many people are living what Francis Schaeffer called the “line of despair” which he associates with existentialism. That there is no logical answer to the dilemmas or life and death and that everything is “chaotic, irrational, and absurd.”
The Bible says, “It is appointed to man once to die” (Heb. 9;27). When my Mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, she looked at me and said, “Well, we’re not put on this earth to live forever.” Indeed.
The Bible teaches that death is a separation of the body from the spirit. That the soul lives on in eternity. The scripture is clear. We can reside in only one of two places– Heaven or Hell.
The way to prepare for the afterlife is to know God. Understand His revealed will. Accept Jesus as Lord. Obey His Word. And daily walk as His disciple.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life–life in all its fullness” (Jn. 10:10).
Will you come to Christ? Live for Him? So that you can die and be with Him?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman