Jason Dykstra, M.D., makes a living in the medical field. Part of his job is diagnosing illnesses or problems in the human body, and after years of mentoring college and high school students he has diagnosed a problem with most people’s perceptions about the afterlife. Using his research skills, knowledge of the Bible, and experience as a mentor and medical professional, Dykstra has written a comprehensive book addressing questions about the afterlife:
Healing Hereafter: Finding Rational and Refreshing Answers for Why We’re Here and Where We’re Headed.
“Students and their parents would ask me questions [about the afterlife] and I would write them down. After a few years I had a lot of them,” Dykstra says. These scraps of paper were the seeds that would eventually grow into his book. “I noticed there was lots of confusion, but also lots of interest about the afterlife. It motivated me to put answers together, fill in the gap, give people a product to eliminate doubt.”
To fill in the gaps Dykstra wrote his entire first draft using primarily the Bible as his guide. Only after a draft had been written did he turn to outside sources: scholars, literary authors, christian and secular. The myriad of sources gave him “a balanced perspective about what people had encountered” already about the afterlife. Being a part of the secular medical field also exposed him to different questions than he would have encountered by only being in a Christian environment.
When asked what this book, in a nutshell, is about, Dykstra answered “this book is about making sense of God’s plan for human destiny in a way that brings closure and doesn’t leave questions unanswered. A way that makes people excited and motivated to believe and follow this God.”
The book is for “anyone who is disgruntled with a faith that seems too simple; a long-term Christian who has doubts; a new Christian who has questions.”
One detail Dykstra noticed during his research was the layout of other books on the afterlife. Many of them “have chapter titles that are not very descriptive. They are organized by topic instead of a natural progression of questions.” To remedy this ungainly way of reading about the afterlife, Dykstra wrote his book in a way that is “answer based instead of topical based.” This is evident when looking at the table of contents. The book is divided into nine parts, with each part containing chapters talking about similar questions. The chapter titles are the questions, making it easy for someone to scan the table of contents for a question and flip to that chapter.
Chapter questions include:
Why is the biblical God a trinity, and why does he have a perfect nature that never changes?
What exactly is a sinful nature, and why would a human have one?
Is there only one time or more than on times humans are judged by God in regard to their eternal fate?
What is the biblical origin of hell, and how did the Bible’s original audience understand and describe it?
“I wrote it as I myself thought about it, and how another reader would want to read it,” Dykstra says. This reader friendly organization is one of the unique aspects of the book. Another useful tool Dykstra included is a “quick read” version of the chapters in one of the appendices. This is a very detailed and thorough book, so having a “quick read” version at the back can be helpful for reviewing, skimming, or just seeing what the book is about.
The title of the book, Healing Hereafter, is a link to Dykstra as a physician. It tells people that “there needs to be healing to people’s perceptions about the afterlife.” Dykstra felt that healing himself as he researched and wrote the book. He says, “I didn’t believe a quarter of the material before I started writing. I didn’t reject it, I just didn’t have good answers to a lot of the questions in the book. It motivated me to finish. These questions fed my own desire to know God more. I hope my journey mirrors a reader’s journey.”
All proceeds from the book will be donated to four charities: Bread for the World, International Justice Mission, Bethany Christian Services, and Compassion International. The book will not only bring healing to the reader’s perceptions of the afterlife, but will bring healing to those in need in this world.
Healing Hereafter can be purchased on Amazon.com.
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