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Athanasius the Confessor (296 - 373) plainly explains the Christian understanding of death and answers a few questions about God in the process:

"Some may ask, why did God not manifest Himself by means of some other, nobler part of creation than mere man - such as the sun or moon or stars or fire or air? The answer is this: The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. He put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him and did not vitiate the value of His appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it."

In a similar vein, the English poet John Donne (1572 - 1631) would beautifully encapsulate these prose in one of the poems he wrote as Dean of St. Paul Cathedral in London:

Holy Sonnet No. 10: Death Be Not Proud

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

     


''The Incarnation of the Word of God'' (Jesus People Magazine, 1973)

''The Incarnation of the Word of God'' (Jesus People Magazine, 1973)

''The Incarnation of the Word of God'' (Jesus People Magazine, 1973)

''The Incarnation of the Word of God'' (Jesus People Magazine, 1973)

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