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The Big Question: Would Life Have Meaning Without Death?

Is it life’s finite quality that makes it purposeful? Would life continue to have meaning without death? Here are ruminations by authors, pastors, professors, and big thinkers on this profound question.

Life, as we understand it, is in some ways determined by how finite it is. Our time on earth is limited; we all face death. But is it life’s finite quality that makes it purposeful? Or something more? In so many words, would life continue to have meaning without death? Here are ruminations by authors, pastors, professors, and big thinkers on this profound question.

An hourglass; Getty Images

1 of 6 Trust and Seek Meaning

Douglas Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary

“Death limits life. The clock is ticking. It encourages us to number our days and seek meaning. Death is an intruder that entered when humans turned away from God. But God turned to us through Jesus Christ, whose resurrection offers eternal life to his followers. Thus, death loses its sting for those who trust the Savior.”


Three blue eggs in a nest; Getty Images

2 of 6 A Preparation for Life

Benjamin Franklin

“Life is rather a state of embryo, a preparation for life; a man is not completely born till he has passed through death.”

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A door cracked open with light streaming through; Getty Images

3 of 6 The Beauty of Resurrection

Reverend Thomas Lynch and Barbara Mariconda, co-authors of After the Diagnosis…A Guide for Living: The Transformative Power of Love During Sickness, Dying, and Death

“We’re all born into a fragmented world and spend our lives longing for love. We can glimpse joy, but the nature of life prevents us from ever fully experiencing it. Death is a doorway to something greater and the promise that we will finally achieve wholeness and oneness with all that is. This is the beauty of the Resurrection. So, paradoxically, it is death that allows our deepest desires of the heart to be fulfilled.”


An autumn scene with changing leaves; Getty Images

4 of 6 Provides Meaning

M. Scott Peck, psychiatrist and author

“It is death that provides life with all its meaning.”


A dock overlooking a sunset over water; Getty Images

5 of 6 How Faith Fills the Space

David Gibson, Director of Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University

“Death gives meaning to life by giving our earthly existence an end point. Eternity is a mystery, and faith fills the space between this lived reality and that undiscovered country. But let’s not focus only on our own salvation. Instead, let’s think about giving meaning to the lives of others. In doing so, we would transform the meaning of our own life, and death, and perhaps the lives and deaths of others.”


The sun breaking through clouds; Getty Images

6 of 6 New Kind of Life

Dr. Scott Hahn, author of Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body

“Many writers over the centuries have seen how futile and meaningless it would be to merely extend human life endlessly. But Christ came to give a new kind of life. This eternal life of communion with God in the company of the angels and saints will never grow stale. So the answer is completely reversed. It is this new life in Christ that now gives meaning to death.”

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