As a Chinese in Asia, the concept of Buddhism Nirvana where the fires of desire, aversion, and delusion are extinguished, is not foreign. This is nothingness, in Chinese we call it 空 (kong1) which can also be translated as emptiness. There are many stories of men and women who at one point in their lives decide to take the vow and go on this pursuit of nothingness to attain Nirvana. All their desires, dreams and hopes vanished into thin air. Ties with family and friends are cut too.
When there is no purpose in life, there is no reason to live – nothingness.
Living or dying holds no meaning – nothingness.
The existence of a person bears no significance – nothingness.
This sounds like a walking corpse straddling between life and death. The appeal of nothingness is escapism. A state of nothingness means one cannot feel anything, including pain, disappointments and other negative undesirable emotions and stresses. It gives a seemingly valid reason to bail out of life, putting aside all responsibilities. Perhaps it is a suicide of the soul.
Is this how life is meant to be?
Doesn’t life consist of a spectrum of experiences – laughter & tears, excitements & disappointments?
How is life defined without these?
What does it mean when Jesus Christ tells us to die to self? Isn’t it similar to extinguishing our fires of desires, aversions and delusions? People have told me that dying to self is like a dead dog not affected by its surroundings. This also means that this dead dog is unable to react to what is good. Sounds like a walking zombie to me.
Dying to self is only half-truth. Jesus Christ died on the cross, but this is only half of the truth. Living only by this half of the truth represents a powerless and pathetic faith that is dead. The other half of being “alive in Christ” is less emphasised. Here are a few key scriptures about being dead and alive.
Romans 6:11 “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.“
Romans 8:10 “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.“
Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.“
Dead in this context is to sin, and also our flesh nature, not dead to God’s design of a human to think, feel and live. How is it that a state of nothingness is a goal? Nothingness is nothingness, it will never satisfy or fill. What deception to get into this goal that amounts to nothing? To be dead scripturally is to “kill” the sinful nature, the very thing that makes us dead. The way to do it is not switching off into nothingness and shutting out God and all His blessings. It is achieved by being alive in Christ. Human is not able to let go of something without grabbing hold of another. Trying forgetting something and the harder you try, the more it will come to mind. Same as the sinful nature, the more we consider it, the more it consumes us. Filling our lives with Christ is the only way to flush out sin. Only Christ is able to kill sin and be victorious over it. As we run towards Christ, we run away from sinful nature that results in death. This end is far from nothingness. It is FULLNESS. FULLNESS to the MAX. 🙂