We'll Understand It Better By And By


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We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.

By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we'll tell the story how we've overcome,
for we'll understand it better by and by.

- We'll Understand It Better By And By. Charles Albert Tindley.


I remember, long ago, singing this hymn in church. In it, assurance is given to the believer who is currently confronted and confused by all the mysteries of life that he will one day receive all of the answers to all of his questions - once he steps into the next life.

It's a common belief, not only for Christians, but for practically everyone who thinks that there will actually be a next life to step into - the belief that all will be revealed in the afterlife. The belief that, after we die, all questions will be answered.

Writing to the church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul said it this way:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (I Corinthians. Chapter 13. Verse 12. KJV)

But where's the evidence for this? How do we know that in the next life (assuming there is one) we will have a total understanding of the universe which we now lack? Do we get smarter after we die? Is the act of dying equivalent to a degree in cosmology?

Let's look at something we know, and then extrapolate:

When we were children, there were many aspects of the adult world which were mysterious to us. Upon reaching puberty, although physically an adult, did we suddenly learn everything there was to know about adulthood? Of course not. As we grow older, we learn new lessons which each passing year teaches us. Really becoming an adult is a process, not a product. It is a journey, not a destination.

So too, it would seem that life after death (if there is life after death) will not bring an end to mystery. True, some of the questions which befuddle us now will finally be answered (the chief one being "Is there life after death?") but I would like to think that there will still be questions for which we must strive to seek the answers. If not, then it's going to be a very boring afterlife indeed.

If there is one, that is.