We were all shocked to hear about the death of Whitney Houston. Before her, Amy Winehouse died. What about Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley? They all died in the prime of their lives.
There are scores of talented people who died before their time. We, the ones who are still alive, make comments like: 'The world is so much poorer without them' or 'A cedar has fallen.' What we usually don't discuss, because it is probably too painful, is whether they invested in eternity?
Perhaps they thought that money and success freed them from what ordinary mortals are bound to face, and that is Divine judgement after death.
There are three ways in which God has revealed Himself to man:
- General revelation through the creation. God displays His Divinity and glory in nature. The sheer vastness of the universe and the complexity of life points to His miraculous power.
- Special revelation through the Bible.
- Man's conscience.
We want to give some examples that people know instinctively that there is a God. In the Old Testament, in the garden of Eden, Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and its effects manifested soon afterwards. Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:2-15). He knew it was wrong. When God confronted him, he immediately retorted that he was not his brother's keeper. Yet he grasped that God's judgment was fair, because he understood good and evil. In the New Testament in Romans 2:14-15 it is written that people without the law have a law in themselves, because it is written on their consciences. It means that a person without the special revelation from God, still knows what is good and what is evil. Does that mean that the good atheist is exempt from God's judgement? No, atheism is very much a modern thing. It was seldom found in 'uncivilized' tribes. Atheism is often based on evolution, and evolution gives enough witness that it is anti-Creator and therefore anti-Bible. Many of the foremost atheists of our time like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, PZ Myers, W Provine, and many others, know about the Bible. Many even went to church as youngsters. The important thing is that nobody will ever be able to claim that they did not know about God. Whether through special revelation in the Bible, natural revelation through nature, or the inner voice of one's conscience, all people know there is a God.
Coming back to Houston and the others. Did they invest in God's eternal kingdom? We don't know and we have no right to judge. Can we learn a lesson from their lives? Yes. Superstars are often addicted to either alcohol or drugs. Johnny Cash was an example. When he was so popular, he fell into the trap, but recovered and still lived a full life after that. The moral of the story is: people were not made to be worshipped. Worship belongs to God alone. There are countless examples, especially in the entertainment world, who fell from grace because they couldn't handle the adoration and became arrogant and demanding. We trust that the message that comes out of their untimely deaths will not go unnoticed: don't live only for this life, even if you are famous and successful. You never know when you will die and will have to give an account of your life on earth.