Life is not separate from death. it only looks that way. The Blackfoot are the source of this Native American wisdom. And Jesus offers glimpses of what that continuing life is like when he awakens Lazarus ” (NRSV 11:11). And the young man from Nain (NRSV Luke 7:14). And Jairus’ daughter (NRSV 8:50-55).
CS Lewis gave us a more contemporary metaphor, one that uses linear dimensions. Since we exist, he said, “to be taken into the life of God,” we need to have a more accurate picture of what that spiritual life is (Mere Christianity 126). He then described a one-dimensional straight line that becomes one of four lines in a two-dimensional square and then part of the six squares that make up the faces of a three-dimensional cube. And yet, that first straight line is never lost even when it becomes integral to something much greater. As Lewis explained: “In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways—in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.” (126)
That, to me, is why Jesus could talk directly to Lazarus and the young man from Nain and Jairus’ daughter. They did not “leave behind” their individuality. It didn’t die when the body died. (Drawn from “Turning Aside to See,” chapter 43. ©️2011)