In this world, it SEEMS that death is linear, ie horizontal. You make a passage through time, the body gradually malfunctions, and eventually it dies. This seems to mean that death is the final result of life, at the end of a long road.
But let's consider for a moment, that perhaps death is not linear, but vertical. You don't become more dead by moving sideways, you become more dead by moving DOWNWARDS, away from God who is life.
If a person is closer to God, they are closer to life. They are high on life. If they are more distant from God, they are closer to death. They are removed from the present, riddled with guilt and lost in time. This is irrespective of the age of the body.
When someone enters into sickness they are entering into death. "Sickness is but a little death". But, if the sickness is healed, what does that mean? It means they have resurrected a little. They have moved closer to God who is life. Death has, for now, been surmounted. We do in fact move in and out of death, or rather UP AND DOWN between life and death, as we move in and out of avoidance of God.
Anyone who is young, or who is old, can be said to be more or less alive, not based on the age of the body in time, but upon whether the mind is close to or more distant from love. God is love, God is life, God is health and wholeness. If you are closer to that, you are more healthy in the mind, and this will result in a healthier body. Some people even become more healthier "later" in life.
Advancing upwards towards the light, is resurrection. Resurrection means "a return to life", suggesting a temporary absence or lack of life. A person can quite easily dip down towards hell, at some point in their life, hit rock bottom, and then return upwards. And in this upwards motion there is a resurrection and a healing. Life is restored, health is restored. The person is less dead than they were. They are more filled with the life of God. "Miracles mean life and God is the giver of life."
The Course asks us to "swear not to die". It is asking us to swear not to move down into death away from life, or into the ego away from God. It isn't simply pointing at you causing the body not to die at age 90, it's telling you to stop killing it at all ages. Even that it may be in near-permanence for an indefinite time.
We need to think of death not so much in physical terms but in mental terms. A "more dead" mind is one filled with ego, fear and separation. An attacking mind is certainly not in-line with life. A heavily sick mind is half dead already. An attacking mind is also very much more prone to express sickness and attack the body, making it symbolize its distance from health and life. Remember "the sick are merciless and in contagion do they seek to kill", because in sickness we are defending against life.
Death therefore really doesn't so much have anything to do with the linear progression of time, or how old the body seems to be. It is much more, and perhaps only, to do with how vertically a person becomes closer or more distant from life itself. If we remove ourselves from harmony, peace, love, sanity, harmlessness, we are removing ourselves from health and vitality as well. We are darkening our light and attacking our bodies. The ego worships the "God of sickness" who is against health and against life itself, so the more ego-filled we are the more dead we are.
A destructive mind is a deadly mind. A constructive mind is a resurrective mind. Regardless of what happens to the body, or whether perhaps it is laid down or exited or disappeared, if the mind of the person in the body is filled with life and light, the body is much less prone to destruction, decay, damage or death. It has been infused with a higher vibration of order and sustaining of life, making it much harder for degradation to take hold. And a mind free from guilt completely CANNOT suffer. "The guiltless mind cannot suffer. Being sane, it heals the body, for it cannot conceive of illness." etc
This may explicitly account for the cases of "incorruptible bodies" of some saints, whereby even though their soul/mind has left the body behind, the presence of LIFE and light and spirit, working through that body, infuses it with continuation. With life-supporting vibes. Or rather, attacks it much less, and so it is not left with an imprint of death and destruction. This causes it to remain in health and avoid decomposing because as an "energy pattern" or "thought form", it is a thought of life and not a thought of destruction. A thought FROM a living mind.
Death has to be considered vertical, in fact, because we know that death is a manifestation of fear. "All forms of sickness even unto death are physical expressions of the FEAR of awakening." Therefore death, which is the same as sickness, and all forms of sickness of the body, all malfunctioning, is really nothing to do with linear causes at all, and only to do with vertical causes. A fearful mind attacks the body and destroys it by pushing it away from heaven towards hell. A loving mind heals the body and maintains it in perfect health by lifting it up in ressurection.
What we call health then, cannot be described in terms of linear happenings. We have to think of it as a question of whether you are close to heaven (thus to order and harmony), or whether you are closer to hell (thus to disorder and disruption). The body symbolizes and represents where the mind is at, in its vertical alignment. "The mind, being sane, heals the body." "A damaged body shows the mind has not been healed." This is a vertical axis of life vs death, not horizontal.
This also corresponds perhaps to aging. If we think of aging in terms of horizontal time measurements, we are maybe missing the whole point, because horizontal aging is an ILLUSION. Yes the body can transform into various states of what we might call maturity over time. But whether or not the body is healthy or sick is nothing to do with its age. It's more to do with how the mind is using that body at a particular time. Because "what you use the body for it becomes to you." When used for attack it becomes sick (dead), and when used to bring God's word it CANNOT be sick or die - it's too close to life.
So we could say that when a person's mind is closer to the light, the body is held in a state of health and healing. It symbolizes eternal life and immortality. It is free from pain, from scars, from damage, and represents harmlessness. The healed mind heals the body and cannot conceive of illness. It forces the body into a resurrected state, by the extension of love through it, lifting it out of suffering. Light, love, life, from above, shines downwards, and lifts upwards. A light-filled body cannot age or decay or become sick or die beacuse it is infused with POWER. Vertical life overrides horizontal death.
"Miracles fall like drops of healing rain from heaven (downwards from above) on a dry and dusty world where starved and thirsty creatures come to die. And all around the signs of life spring up (upwards from below)."
Life, progressing from death to life, as in vertical resurrection, is a vertical movement towards God. Towards truth. Towards innocence. Towards guiltlessness. Since "sickness is but another form of guilt", and sickness cannot EXIST without guilt, the removal of guilt from the mind (as in moving upwards towards the light) causes the body to represent a higher frequency or order, and thus health. A higher mind is a more POWERFUL mind and it is filled with holiness and healing.
In fact as ACIM teaches, as the mind move upwards towards atonement, it is moving towards health and wholeness. And it enforces the body into a symbolic representation of that. It takes on "the power to represent an endless life." So at the pinnacle, the body is suspended in light and higher "vibration", free from attack, free from guilt, free from psychological torture. And this effectively leaves the body in a state of symbolic immortality. ie that it cannot become sick at all, and it has no death in it. Its appearance can also then be modified at will, to represent any age or gender or form. It becomes transparent and light and is not pulled down into suffering or the lower vibrations of decay.
So we really need to realize that in ACIM Jesus talks of sickness and death and health on a VERTICAL axis. Is mind high, or low. It it close to the light, or hiding in darkness. It is moving upwards towards God and atonement and LIFE, or is it moving downwards into sickness, damage, attack and destruction. The minds constructive powers have to be reinstated in order that it can take power OVER sickness and death, which really means, to RISE ABOVE IT, by moving the mind into a higher state, and therefore abolishing exposure to anything lower. Death is the lowest state and is simply "out of reach" for an enlightened mind.
We, all of us, on this planet, right now, are in various states of life vs death. We all need resurrection. Any measure of sin or guilt or attack or fear in the mind IS a state of removal from life. It IS a rejection of life and of health. Any movement into ego is a movement into choas and disorder and malfunction and failure. And death IS failure. It is a failure to live, a failure to be in the light, and represents the fear of God. Perhaps it's fitting to consider that death ends in the ground, while ascension takes you into the heavens.
"Very simply, the resurrection is the overcoming or surmounting of death. It is a reawakening or a rebirth; a change of mind about the meaning of the world. It is the acceptance of the Holy Spirit's interpretation of the world's purpose; the acceptance of the Atonement for oneself. It is the end of dreams of misery, and the glad awareness of the Holy Spirit's final dream. It is the recognition of the gifts of God. ****It is the dream in which the body functions perfectly****, having no function except communication."
"The resurrection ***is the denial of death***, being the ***assertion of life*** Thus is all the thinking of the world reversed entirely. Life is now recognized as salvation, and pain and misery of any kind perceived as hell. Love is no longer feared, but gladly welcomed. Idols have disappeared, and the remembrance of God shines unimpeded across the world. Christ's face is seen in every living thing, and nothing is held in darkness, apart from the light of forgiveness. There is no sorrow still upon the earth. The joy of Heaven has come upon it.
Here the curriculum ends."