The Death Of Jesus Christ; Its Physiological Significance -- By: William O. Ayres

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 044:174 (Apr 1887)
Article: The Death Of Jesus Christ; Its Physiological Significance
Author: William O. Ayres


The Death Of Jesus Christ; Its Physiological Significance

William O. Ayres

Was it like an ordinary death? The two thieves could not die, and were killed by the soldiers. Was Jesus Christ killed by the agonies of the crucifixion? Have we reason to believe that any other human death has ever occurred in the same way that this occurred? These are very momentous questions and they are worthy of the most scrutinizing study that we can give them. We will follow them in three lines of thought:

I. The physiological principles which are involved.

II. The claims which Christ makes for himself.

III. The facts as they occurred at the time of his death.

I. The Physiological Principles

Without discussing at all the absolute nature of life, we are fully entitled, in the present state of our knowledge, to assume that it has in itself an inherent persistence of continuance which necessarily insures its duration, until it is destroyed by forces exterior to itself. Of itself it is self-existent. Be its mode of commencement what it may, it is doing its own special work, and it ceases to exist only when external forces destroy it.

We find but one law of life. The same principles and rules prevail from the most simple and undifferentiated types of vegetable life to man, the most differentiated of all; and we may

take man alone as our illustration, having this advantage in so doing, that we can appeal to historical experiences and to our own personal consciousness. For while man, by his intellectual, his cerebral, nature is utterly beyond all other animals, and entirely separated from them, yet he is as truly and fully an animal as any quadruped of them all, and it is his animal nature alone which we are now to consider, for that alone is subject to the laws of life, and of course to the event of death.

It is within our experience, it is a part of our consciousness, that no man has control over his own life, either to hold it or to loose it. We feel well assured that it may pass from us at any minute, for we have no mastery over the details of our environment, and what a moment may bring forth no man can foretell; but we are fully as well assured that it does not depend on our own choice to say, “Now I will die,” and with that the physical end will come. This we know to be utterly beyond the range of our ability. Many and many a one in anguish of soul, or even in frightful agony of body, has longed for death and has prayed for death—has begged for death at, say the physician’s hands (hands inexpertus loquor) and always because the power to lay down one’s own life was not...

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