“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Credited to Benjamin Franklin, this oft-repeated quote conveys foregone conclusions. While some may delay or avoid paying taxes, most eventually pay up or risk jail time. For example, Al Capone may have avoided conviction for many crimes, but he could not escape the IRS.
Death, however, is unavoidable for everyone… except for soap opera characters. I cannot count the times someone “died,” disappeared from the plot for a time, then miraculously reappeared later in the script. Sometimes the resurrected person turns out to be a previously unknown twin, a doppelganger, or a con who used plastic surgery to post as the lost loved one. If the original actor is unable or unwilling to reprise the role, the change in looks results from plastic surgery, witness protection, amnesia, etc. (almost any plot could work) or isn’t addressed at all since changes in actors or actresses is fairly common. Fans may expect that their favorite villain or hero who “died” could return in the future through the use of this common storyline, especially if the body wasn’t recovered… or somehow disappeared when the coffin is opened.
Soap opera writers have no end to their creativity in keeping characters alive if needed for additional twists and turns to the drama. While some storylines may mimic experiences viewers may have faced, this one stretches the limits. As Franklin stated, death is a certainty for everyone.
Hope, for the Christian, comes from our belief in resurrection. Scripture records limited accounts of resurrection: (Lazarus (John 11:1-44), Widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11-17), the Shunamite’s son (2 Kings 4:20-37) and others. These were rare occurrences – certainly not the fairly common event from soap operas.
But with the resurrection of Jesus, everything changes. What was rare is now a certainty. Death will still come, but so will resurrection and eternal life.
“Brothers and sisters, we want you to know about people who have died so that you won’t mourn like others who don’t have any hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose, so we also believe that God will bring with him those who have died in Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13–14, CEB)