It is truly important to consider, and if possible, to know, what happens
to us after we die. Some, who believe we are just accidental physical systems
in an ultimately meaningless universe would have us believe that we have
no existence after we die. Our personhood is finished as we become dead,
rotting meat. This view generally equates mind with brain, and denies the
existence of the spiritual world. In this view, your brain activity is
just a product of physical laws. “Your” decisions are outcomes of the laws
of physics. Don’t congratulate yourself if you have this view. If you are
right, you only have this view because of the way certain particles just
happen to react with each other.
Two main theories are proposed in the modern world as alternatives to
this view. One is reincarnation – the other is spiritual existence and
eventual resurrection. There are also those who believe in physical resurrection
but do not believe that human beings have a spirit that can exist apart
from their body. I have written a few remarks on this view here.
An interesting note: A great book to read on this subject is by Dr Maurice
Rawlings, and is called “To Hell and Back”. He is a heart surgeon who resuscitated
a number of clinically dead people whose experiences were … interesting.
He discusses a lot of interesting things related to Near Death Experiences
(NDEs) in that book.
Rawlings noted that a lot of people had hellish NDEs. Actually these
people were clinically dead, not just “nearly dead”. Secular psychologists
have tried to downplay the importance of these hellish NDEs and instead
like to focus on the NDEs which are all sweetness and light. I personally
think that an NDE which teaches that the “Supreme Being” accepts all people
without judgment is just a lie from Satan. Its a clear contradiction of
the teaching of Scripture for a start. Maybe you do not believe in the
existence of Satan or hell, but Jesus Christ taught something very different.
I mistrust spirits which teach a different doctrine to what Jesus taught.
Jesus was in a better position to tell us the truth than people are today.
Christians are exhorted by God to test the spirits, to see if they are
from God. Not every spiritual experience is true. Some of them can be the
“good” side of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” – which is still
as deadly and poisonous as anything else the devil offers.
We will leave aside for the moment the many reports of people being
raised from the dead in Christ’s name. I believe that this can and does
happen, but you’d probably have to actually meet people who saw it or to
whom it happened, as I have, before you would consider the possibility
of such a thing. Let us go instead to the matter of Christ’s resurrection.
The evidence for the physical resurrection of Christ is far more powerful
than most people realise. The
link above outlines just a few of the basic arguments that help us
Christians claim that Jesus Christ not only died for our sins, but also
rose physically from death as proof that God had truly accepted His sacrifice.
According to the Christian teaching, we too will all rise from death one
day. Some to everlasting life, and others to everlasting shame and contempt.
If there is good historical and testimonial evidence for the resurrection
of Christ, then we have powerful reasons for accepting it over the popular
theories of reincarnation. It also provides evidence of the possibility
that we too will rise from death at the end of the age.
Reincarnation appeals to us because it offers another chance. It is often
associated with the so-called “law of karma”. That law basically teaches
that what you experience in this life – whether good or evil – is a result
of the good or bad deeds in a previous life.
There are many contradictory versions of reincarnation. Some say we
come back as animals, or used to be animals. Others ignore that aspect
of traditional Hindu teaching and lead people to believe we go from one
human incarnation to the next. But there was a time when human beings,
even life itself, did not exist on the planet! So where did we all come
from then? And how does an animal or a micro-organism for that matter earn
“good karma” so that it can come back as something more advanced in the
“next life”? There are a lot of unanswered questions here. Perhaps someone
well-versed in Hinduism can give me the teaching on some of these issues.
I encourage you to read my article above on this subject by following
A note on the Issue of the Immortality of the Soul (more correctly, of
The Bible declares however that we are spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians
5:23) and that, for a Christian, to be absent from the body is to be present
with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8. In Philippians 1:23 Paul says he had a desire
to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. He did not say that he had
a desire to die and be non-existent until the resurrection. He had a desire
to be with Christ, not to lose time. This Scriptural information harmonizes
with hundreds of testimonies from Christians of being outside their body or
seeing paradise. It may not fit with the words of Ecclesiastes “The dead know
nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), but then again, Ecclesiastes was written only from
the perspective of what may be known “under the sun”. The rest of the verse
says, "and they [the dead] have no more reward" (which denies the
doctrine of eternal rewards for God’s people). Try building your doctrines on
that! Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon in his later years as a backslider,
and like the Book of Job, contains the sayings of men with less than perfect
knowledge. Ecclesiastes also says that “All is vanity” and “Money is the answer
for everything” – things which are only true when you take God out of the picture.
I’d prefer to give the teachings of Paul priority when forming my theology,