Dr. Who: Final Episode Review
The double episode finale asks, "what happens when we die?"
Another dramatic season of Doctor Who has finished and what a way to end! (warning: this article contains spoilers).
All throughout Season 8, Doctor Who has been dealing with major themes, in particular the running theme of the afterlife. In most episodes, we saw characters die and wake up face-to-face with the evil “Missy”, in a place she called “the promised land”. All this came to a head in the double episode finale where Danny dies and ends up in what is thought to be the afterlife.
In the first half, he is uploaded to a data cloud where he is quizzed about his life before he returns to his old body that is upgraded to a Cyberman suit. All this raises big questions: what really happens when we die? Will we just be floating souls in a cloud? Will we return as something else? How does it all end?
Many comments are made about the afterlife in these two episodes, but to find the truth we must look to God’s word. As we do, three things become clear.
1. The reality of death
As evil Missy enters, people start getting killed, even fan favourites. Similarly, as you look around our world or just turn on the news, you will not be able to miss the reality of death. Some of the observations made in Doctor Who are that everyone is “scared of dying” — so much so, that it is the “most fundamental fear in the universe”. Death is one thing we all face and we are powerless to stop it ... and everything we go through points us to this truth. That is scary! Death is such a stark reality that Missy says “from the moment we pop out we are rotting”. This is the same truth shown to us in James 1:15 and Romans 8. Our whole world is under the curse of sin and is decaying. Death cannot be escaped!
2. "Man is destined to die once and after that face judgment".
This is the truth found in Hebrews 9:27. We only die once and that is our end. There is no coming back as a Cyberman (thankfully!) or anything else for that matter. Our unavoidable death marks the end of this life. We will then go to answer to our creator, although it won’t be a charismatic A.I. like in Doctor Who. We face the judgement of God and will have to answer for the way we have treated Him. God is the one who will determine our eternal destiny, and our sin and failure to love God as we ought means we deserve to face his wrath.
3. The promise of life
Our impending death and the judgement of God leave us with a scary cliffhanger… but we don’t need to wait a week to discover hope. The only chance we have of avoiding punishment for our sin is found in Jesus. Just being a good person won’t be enough to save us. We need Jesus because he is the one who has taken the punishment for sin that we deserve.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). So now, we have a great promise of life. If we believe in Jesus as Lord, then we receive eternal life in a new, physical and perfect creation (Revelation 21) with new, physical, sinless bodies (Philippians 3). Life forever with God! The alternative is worse than being an exploding Cyberman — eternal punishment and separation from God.
So as we ask the big question of life we are faced with the problem of death. What do you think will happen once you die? The Bible is clear:
“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him.” (John 3:36).