Many have pondered why people fear death. Leo Tolstoy felt the answer lay in the contradictory nature of human consciousness. In his essay "Life ," Tolstoy describes feelings about death as the conflict of two inner voices:
"'I shall cease to be; I shall die; all that which I value in life will die,' says one voice to a man.
"'I am,' says another voices; 'and I cannot die, and I ought not to die. I ought not to die, and I am dying.'"
Then Tosltoy notes: "Not in death, but in thid contradiction lies the cause of that terror which seizes upon a man at the thought of death of the flesh: the fear of death lies not in the fact that man dreads curtailment of his animal existence, but in the fact that it seems to him that that will die which cannot and must not die." n1
n1 Quoted in Lift Up Your Eyes: The Religious Writings of Leo Tolstoym (New York: The Julian Press Inc., 1960:, p. 217.
The human predicament is that we sense bothm an "I am" that know it cannot die as well as an "I am" that feels mortal. We hope the first is true, but fear the latter is, since death seems inevitable. Is there a way to understand this paradox?
Christ Jesus' parable of the tares and wheat is helpful in resolving this seeming dualism of human consciousness. n2 The wheat in his parable can be compared to that sense of "I am" which knows it cannot die. This is spiritual sense. It comes from God and tells us that He is the only Life forever.
n2 See Matthew 13:24 - 30.
Humanity has only the faintest awareness of this true sense of Life. All we may know of it now is our feeling that consciousness and good oughtm not to end. Unfortunately, what seem to dominate most human thought are the tares, the material sense of "I am" that testifies through the physical senses that we are matter organisms -- sinful, sickly, and doomed to nonbeing at death.
Which sense of life is true? In Christ Jesus' parable, it is the tares that are destroyed. "Let both grow together until the harvest," the husbandman says, and then, "Gather ye together first the tares, and . . . burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. n3 The true consciousness of existence, of "I am," can never be taken from us. It comes from God and is as eternal as God.
n3 v. 30.
As we gain an ever-growing sense of our spiritual selfhood (and this requires patience and faith), we will begin to understand that consciousness cannot possibly end with the experience called then. Through spiritual sense, we come into that consciousness which is the perfect image of the great I AM, divine Life itself.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: "The inharmonious and self-existent. These opposite qualities are the tares and wheat, which never really mingle, though (to mortal sight) they grow side by side until the harvest; then, Science separates the wheat from the tares, through the realization of God as ever present and of man as reflecting the divine likeness." n4
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p.300.
Jesus said the harvesttime is already. Now is the time to learn that God is ever present. Now is the time to prove man reflects the divine likeness. When material sense says, "I hate," let spiritual sense say, "I love because I reflect God, who is Love." When the physical senses say, "I am sick," we can affirm with understanding, "I am well because God made me well. Health comes from God, not matter."
For every evil, selfish, and ungodlike "I am" of material sense we can affirm and live the truth of being: "I am God's perfect reflection. I cannot be unlike Him." This brings healing and reformation. And it ultimately defeats the fear of death because we realize more the more that our true life comes from God and can never end. DAILY BEBILE VERSE We shall not die. Habakkuk 1:12