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Evidence For Life After Death
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The problem of evil poses a gruesome reality of injustice in our world. Is it not injustice when one man is born into utter poverty (albeit undeservedly) and dies in it whereas another is born with a silver spoon (albeit undeservedly) to enjoy every luxurious privilege of this life?
Some people have it easier than others. Others do not come out of their pain and misery, despite persistent prayers and efforts to be delivered from the clutches of pain and injustice.
So some people never receive justice in this world.
How is this existential reality a tenable proposition to all those who do not receive justice in this time and age?
Unless justice is offered to every soul that suffers the consequences of injustice in this world, this world and the God who created this world cannot be good.
But God is good. God ought to be good. That is the very definition of God.
A good God would render justice (in any form and to every soul) that has been treated unjustly in this world.
Life after death – a perfect life, devoid of pain, misery and any form of injustice – is a perfect solution and an appropriate corollary of injustice.
how can we be certain of life after death?
Christian philosopher J.P Moreland thus enlightens us of the evidence pertaining to life after death:
The case for life after death consists in empirical (observable) and nonempirical (theoretical) arguments.
The empirical arguments are two: near-death experiences (NDEs) and the resurrection of Jesus.
A sufficient body of evidence exists for the view that people have died, left their bodies, had various experiences, and returned to their bodies. Attempts to explain NDEs as natural phenomena fail in those cases where the disembodied person gained knowledge about things miles away (e.g., conversations of family members). One must be cautious about theological interpretations of NDEs, but their reality is well established. Some argue that, even if true, NDEs provide evidence only for temporary existence beyond death. Strictly speaking, this is correct. However, if biological death does not bring the cessation of consciousness, it is hard to see what could do so after death.
Jesus' resurrection is defended in other articles in this Bible. Suffice it to say here that if Jesus rose from the dead, this qualifies Him to speak about life after death because His resurrection provides evidence that He was the Son of God and means that He returned from the afterlife and told us about it.
The nonempirical arguments divide into theistic-dependent and theistic-independent ones.
The former assume the existence of God and from that fact argue for immortality. If God is who He says He is, the case is proven beyond reasonable doubt. Three such theistic-dependent arguments are especially important.
The first is two-pronged and argues from the image and love of God. Given that humans have tremendous value as image bearers and God is a preserver of tremendously high value, then God is a preserver of persons. Moreover, given that God loves His image bearers and has a project of bringing them to full maturity and fellowship with Him, God will sustain humans to continue this love affair and His important project on their behalf.
The second argument, based on divine justice, asserts that in this life goods and evils are not evenly distributed. A just God must balance the scales in another life, and an afterlife is thus required.
Finally, there is the argument from biblical revelation. It can be established that the Bible is the truthful Word of God, and it affirms life after death. For this to be an argument, rational considerations must be marshaled on behalf of the Bible's divine status.
Two nontheistic dependent arguments exist for immortality. The first is a three part argument from desire: (1) The desire for life after death is a natural desire. (2) Every natural desire corresponds to some real state of affairs that can fulfill it. (3) Therefore, the desire for life after death corresponds to some real state of affairs-namely life after death-that fulfills it.
Critics claim that the desire for immortality is nothing but an expression of ethical egoism. People do not universally desire it, and even when they do, it is a learned, not a natural, desire. Further, even if it is a natural desire, sometimes such desires are frustrated. Thus the desire argument is not necessarily a strong argument, but nonetheless it does have some merit.
The second argument claims that consciousness and the self are immaterial, not physical, and this supports belief in life after death in two ways: (1) It makes disembodied existence and personal identity in the afterlife intelligible. (2) It provides evidence for the existence of God. This, in turn, provides grounds for reintroducing the theistic-dependent arguments for life after death.
The argument for consciousness being nonphysical involves the claim that once one gets an accurate description of consciousness-sensations, emotions, thoughts, beliefs - it becomes clear that it is not physical. Conscious states are characterized by their inner, private, qualitative feel made known by introspection. Since physical states lack these features, consciousness is not physical.
The case for an immaterial self is rooted in the claim that in first-person introspection we are aware of our own egos as immaterial centers of consciousness. This awareness grounds intuitions that when one has an arm cut off, has a portion of one's brain removed, or gains or loses memories and personality traits, one does not become a partial person or a different person altogether.
While these two arguments provide some grounds for belief in an afterlife, they are far from conclusive. At the end of the day, the justification of belief in life after death is largely theistic dependent.
Extracted from the Apologetics Study Bible.
J. Warner Wallace of Cold Case Christianity in his article entitled
Are There Any Good Reasons to Believe in Heaven (Even Without the Evidence from Scripture)?
another perspective to the certainty of life after death
There Are Good Reasons to Believe God Exists
While this may seem controversial to those who dismiss the existence of God out of hand, there are several lines of evidence supporting this reasonable conclusion. The reality of objective moral truths, the appearance of design in biology, the existence of a universe that has a beginning and the presence of transcendent laws of logic are best explained by the existence of God.
There Are Good Reasons to Believe God Is Good (In Spite of the Problem of Evil)
Skeptics sometimes point to the problem of evil (in one form or another) to argue against the existence of God (or His good, all-loving nature). But when examined closely, the presence of moral evil, natural evil, Christian evil, “theistic” evil, or pain and suffering fail to negate the existence of God, even as they fail to blemish His righteousness.
There Are Good Reasons to Believe Humans Have Souls
In addition to this, there are many good reasons to believe humans are more than simply physical bodies. The arguments from private knowledge, first-person experiences, part-independency, physical measurements, self-existence and free-will make a powerful, cumulative circumstantial case for the existence of our souls.
There are Good Reasons to Believe Souls Are Not Limited to Physical Existence
While our physical bodies are obviously limited to their physical existence and cease to function at the point of material death, there is no reason to believe the immaterial soul is similarly impacted. If we are truly “soulish” creatures, our immaterial existence can reasonably be expected to transcend our physical limitations.
There are Good Reasons to Believe a Good God Would Not Make Justice, Satisfaction and Joy Elusive
All of us, as humans, yearn for justice, satisfaction and joy. These are good goals and ambitions. A good God (if He exists) would make these expectations attainable for His beloved children.
There are Good Reasons to Believe Complete Justice, Satisfaction and Joy Are Elusive in Our Temporal, Material Lives
Our daily experience demonstrates a simple reality, however: justice is not always served here on Earth (bad people often get away with their crimes), and while we continually pursue satisfaction and joy, we find they are fleeting and elusive.
There are Good Reasons to Believe a Good God Would Provide Complete Justice, Satisfaction and Joy in the Eternal Life He Offers Beyond the Grave
If these worthy desires for justice, satisfaction and joy are unattainable in our material existence, where could they ultimately be experienced? If God has designed us as dualistic, “soulish” creatures, these innate desires could eventually be realized in our eternal lives beyond the grave. If a good God exists (and there are many sufficient reasons to believe this is the case), the expectation of an afterlife is reasonable. Heaven is the place where God will accomplish everything we would expect from Him and everything we (as living souls) desire.
So be calm; there is life after death! Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.
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