Is death a choice or fate?
Life is inextricably bound up with death,
Humanity faces the ultimate dolemma, the end of evrything and after this, the unknown.
Where there is life there is death. In fact if there was no death, there would be no life. Life and death are inextricably bound up together. Within a closed and changing environment where there is competition for resources and adaptation, there has to be death in order to have life. It is the order of the cosmos that in order to create something, something else has to be destroyed. Death is thus fated. It is the ultimate end of all things in a cosmos of change where at least one thing changes into another. Where life becomes choice is only insofar as that in some instances we can choose when to die. Otherwise, to wait it out, it is fated that all should die. The Bible extends this to include, after this the judgment. In the Vedas and Buddhism, that judgment is mediated in reincarnation based on karma in a parallel to whatever one reaps, they sow. Life is a force, pure and simple and something of a primal law analogous to gravity. Life requires a lot more conditions to manifest than gravity that is more of a mass-distance-quantity relation. The conditions for life don't always exist, whereas gravity is much more universal.
Though life as a whole is seemingly eternal, individual lives are not. The continuance of life is mediated by meiosis and mitosis; fusion by sexuality and division. Division is a process that occurs at the cellular level and so does sexuality in the beginning with fusion, but this goes on to grow into complex multi-cellular beings. In all of this, individuals die, but life passes through the generations and maintains an eternal quality this way. This is also the means life has to evolve to adapt to a changing environment. Life has been on Earth for at least 3.8 billion years by current calculations. Within that time, life has gone through tremendous change.
The Earth has been through at least five major extinction events due to a changing earth, which resulted in changing life. This is another form of death and currently, the sixth great extinction event is under way, driven by our lust for energy. Extinction is the ultimate form of death and it is estimated that 99 percent of every species that ever lived on earth throughout its long history is now extinct. Extinction is the ultimate death from which there is no resurrection. Within the history of the human species there have been many thousands of extinctions. None of these species will ever come back. Death in all these cases is fate and final.
On earth, much of life is mediated by photosynthesis. Otherwise, energy derived from sulfur and heat drives some forms of life where sunlight does not penetrate. Life by and large as we know it is totally sun dependent. Therefore, alterations to or even the death of the sun spells the death of much of or all of life as we know it. We have had brushes with this in recorded history via volcanic global dimming. One event brought down the mighty fourth dynasty of Egypt. A long drought followed after the super volcanic explosion that was felt as far as India. The other, more recently, brought down the Roman Empire and Teotihuacan. Many Asian civilizations also collapsed and much of this was documented in world literature of the period. In all cases, many millions died and the living envied the dead. The volcanoes involved were Santorini and Krakatau. Through global cooling as the after effects, almost everyone went hungry due to agricultural collapse and substantial parts of populations died in battles for diminished resources and starvation. New civilizations arose out of the ashes. Some of them were Islam and the Mayan warrior cultures.
In this world life is mediated by death in eat or be eaten. Herbivores eat plants, killing them in the process of turning the essential nutrients into themselves. Carnivores feed off the herbivores in the same process of assimilation of others into one's self. Parasites abound that feed off the living, usually not killing them, but making them weaker prey for predatory carnivores. Scavengers live off the dead that die from old age, starvation and disease that are missed by the carnivores. The average person eats an amazing number of animals in their lifetime. There are a host of parasites that live off us. It used to be that predators preyed on people as often as any other animal, but we have put an almost complete stop to this except in the undeveloped world where people are still seen as a good meal. In times of climatic duress, even people prey on each other for food. It has already happened in recorded history.
All life depends on energy availability in order to function. Sources of energy are not constant, but fluctuate and sometimes widely and wildly. The simple axiom here is if there is no source of energy, there is no life. But life has evolved to take advantage of a number of energy gradients. Sunlight is not the only source of energy. Deep sea vents provide energy through sulfur chemistry to drive life. Early life that still lives with us in the form of stromatilites uses other means to drive living processes than photosynthesis. Other forms live on methane and produce oxygen as a waste gas. But even here, temperatures must be right, and a blockage and/or lack of sunlight will stop everything except the sea vents.
The greatest mysteries of all is that there is something rather than nothing and that we are born into this context and are aware of it, ourselves and our own mortality. For us in this existence, the cosmos is very real and solid, even though we have the scientific understanding that everything is primarily empty space penetrated by electromagnetic fields and that this has a dual manifestation. The cosmos is more about relationships than solid bits. It is this very construction that allows things to manifest and fade out. No matter what theory one believes in, even the very cosmos that we live in has a start. If follows that it will also have an end and theory also agrees with this. Death is as fated as life.