IT was written by Solomon the king centuries ago, and it is of course true today: ‘There is a time to be born and a time to die’ (Ecclesiastes 3, 2).
William Shakespeare, hundreds of years later, was a little more poetic about the inevitable in his play ‘As You Like It’.
‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.’
The conclusion of this soliloquy brings the reader down to earth with a bump. ‘Last scene of all, that ends this strange eventful history, is second childishness and mere oblivion, sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.’
Morbid? Fatalistic? Possibly, but also a clear touch of realism.
Shakespeare’s own twin son died in tender years, so without doubt the playwright himself would have had good reason to reflect on the brevity of life.
We observe that the day of an individual’s can be predicted with reasonable accuracy.
Not so the day of one’s death, usually. It is often sudden and unexpected, even tragic.
We say that ‘our days are numbered’ while the self-preservation instinct kicks in and we do everything possible to postpone our moment of departure. No escape, though.
A magazine article recently came to my attention with the title ‘Would you want to know your date of death?’. The paragraphs that followed described a new test which forecasts how long our lives are likely to be.
My computer would not allow me to access the company in Spain to discover more about the service they offer. Maybe just as well.
The New Testament also has a comment to make, somewhat alarming for those who are not prepared. ‘Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment’ (Hebrews 9, 27).
Such a statement takes the whole thing into another dimension. God, depicted in the Bible as the great Judge, will require from each of us a statement not only concerning how we have conducted our lives in this world, but also as to our relationship with his Son, Jesus Christ.
What do you think? Is it credible? Any questions or quibbles, please get in touch. firstname.lastname@example.org.