The Bible teaches that human life is decisive and wholly unrepeatable. Each human being, as God's image-bearer, is unique. We are responsible to God for our actions in the here and now. Death is not a transfer to a possibly higher existence depending on our behaviour on earth. The wicked, rich man in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus could not return to earth again. The Bible says: "...it is appointed to man once to die, but after this the judgment" (Hebrews 9:27).
The Christian confesses that God's justice prevails. He may not be able to understand God's ways, but he believes that all things "work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28). God's grace works even in the worst of circumstances. Suffering has meaning in the light of the cross of Christ. And we may not take retribution for injustice into our own hands. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" (Rom. 12:19).
The future blessedness of believers is not merely the continued existence of the soul. The believer looks forward to the resurrection of the body. He shall become like the risen and ascended Christ. "When he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2).
~ Johan D. Tangelder