Death is a ‘passage’

Apr 23, 2018 by

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I object to J. Nelson Kraybill’s implication that using the word “passed” to refer to a loved one’s death reflects an “aversion to death” (“Let Me Sleep Till Christ Returns,” April 9). In my experience growing up in the deep South, using “passed” in this context is merely a dialectal difference among American English speakers that in no way denies, or reflects an aversion to speaking about, physical death.

George A.F. Knight, in his discussion of Psalm 119, says that in the Greek view the difference between life and death is biological, while in the Hebrew view it is moral. We can see this in Deut. 30:15-19, where Moses tells the people he has set before them life and death: If they obey God’s commandments, they will live; if they refuse to listen, they will perish. Perhaps saying Christians have “passed” from this life to the next is more appropriate than emphasizing their biological death.

Frances K. Griffin
Stillwater, Okla.

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