Monday, October 13, 2014

Science Confirms Life After Death; Should Christians / Theists Rejoice?

               A few days ago, on 7th October 2014, “The Telegraph” reported an intriguing study in afterlife (life after death), “… scientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted. One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines...”1 Apparently experts agree that this study concurs with the emerging thoughts in resuscitation medicine about death and its reversal.

            Also recently, a team of psychologists and medical doctors associated with the Technische Universität of Berlin claimed that they have proven existence of life after death. 2 Therefore, studies into afterlife are not a recent phenomenon; much has been discussed and debated.

            There is widespread unbelief in God and afterlife among a vast majority of scientists.  Astrophysicist Dr. Hugh Ross offers an intriguing insight into the reason behind scientists’ unbelief in afterlife. 3  

            He reckons that 45% of scientists believe in God and afterlife, and offers a distinction between scientists belonging to life sciences and physical sciences. While the percentage of unbelief in God and afterlife is a miserable 5-10% among life-scientists, a vast majority of physical scientists believe in God and afterlife.

            There exists a huge disparity in the numbers of life scientists (3 million) and physical scientists (e.g. 12, 000 research astronomers). A vast majority of 12,000 research astronomers (physical scientists) in this world, who believe in God and afterlife, pale in comparison to the vast majority of the 3 million research biologists (life scientists), who do not believe in God and afterlife.

            Dr. Hugh Ross also provides a fascinating reasoning to the unbelief of the life scientists. The life scientists study the day-seven of creation (the day God rested from creation, which extends to the present day) whereas the physical scientists study the first six days of creation (the data of the past).

            This is an excerpt of his reasoning, ““On the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Gen 2:2, NIV). God’s rest on the seventh day carries great theological significance (e.g. establishing the Sabbath), but it also helps clarify the nature of the creation days. The author of Genesis closes each of the first six days with an "evening and morning" but not the seventh day. Passages such as Psalm 95 and Hebrews 4 declare that we all have an opportunity to enter God’s rest, implying that the seventh day extends to the present time. Long creation days integrate well with evidence from creation. During the first six days of creation, as Psalm 104 explains, God created animals, caused them to go extinct and then created new animals. On the seventh day God ceased His creation of new animals, and today, the day of rest, we see evidence only of variation and extinction.”4

            Why do I mention the fact of unbelief of the vast majority of scientists in afterlife? It’s because one can expect a series of rebuttals (sense or nonsense notwithstanding) to the recent affirmation of afterlife by science. 

            So the question we ask is if we, as Christians or theists, should rejoice when science affirms the biblical truth of afterlife (heaven and hell).

            Christians have often appealed to modern science to corroborate biblical truth, and in our context - the afterlife. Dinesh D’Souza, the author of Life After Death: The Evidence, posits the evidence of afterlife through String Theory.5 He says, “…revolutionary discoveries in the past 25 years suggest that there is dark matter and dark energy that make up 95 percent of all the matter in the universe. All materialist generalizations about matter are immediately rendered partial, because how can you claim to know something if you've seen only 5 percent of it?

            Scientists now posit through string theory the presence of multiple realms, multiple dimensions. One of the implications of the big bang is that space and time had a beginning, and that space and time are properties of our universe. If that's true, then outside our universe or beyond our universe, there would be different laws of space and time, or no space and no time.

            The idea that our universe may not be the only one and that there may be other universes operating according to different laws is now coming into the mainstream of modern physics. So the Christian concept of eternity, which is God outside of space and time, is rendered completely intelligible. It opens up possibilities that would have seemed far-fetched even for science fiction a century ago.”

            Most surely there is no problem whatsoever in appealing to science to corroborate biblical truths. Although we respect and appreciate science for all its developments, science does not and cannot arbitrate theological truths for the simple fact that science is not omniscient.6

            Let alone theology, science does not even offer an adequate explanation to the everyday aspects of life. Do we eat butter or not? 7 Science is yet to offer a decisive conclusion. We do not reliably know what actually happened to the 227 passengers and 12 crew members aboard Malaysian airlines MH370 that virtually disappeared into thin air. All that science offered us was a speculation based on a possible satellite communication that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

            Alongside science, yet another element cannot arbitrate theological truths. When we consider contemporary Christianity, we necessarily have to include the gross heresies of Christian cults, liberals and postmoderns. Some heresies of these so-called progressive thinkers, who in actuality redefine biblical truths maliciously to suit their personal preferences, preclude the possibility of heaven and hell. Hence, when we consider contemporary Christianity, these heretics exclude themselves from the historic Christian comprehension of afterlife that most definitely includes literal, physical and eternal realms of heaven and hell.

            The historic Christian doctrine of afterlife is aptly summarized by Dr. William Lane Craig, “When a person dies, his body lies in the grave until the return of Christ. The souls of those who belong to Christ are drawn into a closer, more intimate fellowship with Him in this disembodied state. We really don’t know what this disembodied existence is like. It’s possible that souls in this disembodied condition project mental images of each other and themselves as bodily, so that they can relate to one another. The souls of unbelievers, by contrast, enter into a state of conscious torment and separation from God which is called Hades. When Christ returns, He will bring with Him the souls of the departed believers, and their remains will then be raised from the dead and transformed into glorious, powerful, resurrection bodies, and their souls will be reunited with their bodies. After appearing before the judgment seat of Christ for rewards, they will then be ushered into the new heavens and the new earth. Unbelievers will also be raised from the dead and reunited with their bodies, and then after being judged by God, they will be cast into hell.” 8

            Simple aided reasoning reasonably establishes the existence of afterlife:

            1. God should be and is an uncaused maximally great being.

            2. So God should live transcendentally outside space-time coordinates and immanently [within us]. In other words, God is an eternal being.

            3. Because God is a maximally great eternal being, by sheer entailment, HE should create human beings, know us before our birth, and sustain our existence.

            4. God then should not only sustain our existence in this temporal world, but should provide a means of a continued or an eternal existence post our temporal existence in this world. Provision of an eternal existence is the most logical sequence to a temporal existence, which perfectly completes the purpose of creation. (The doctrine of Annihilationism posits a horrendous blemish in divine creation.)

            5. Therefore afterlife - an eternal life with God in heaven or without God in hell - is indeed reasonable.  

            Christians subscribing to and assimilating the doctrinal comprehensions of Historic Christianity celebrate God’s revelation through HIS eternal Word – The Bible. Affirmation or denial of biblical truths by science and the liberal and postmodern cults, which maybe heartwarming or heartrending, should not play a definitive role in a Christian’s life.

            It does not matter if a vast majority of the scientists do not believe in afterlife. It really does not matter when cultic, liberal and postmodern Christians maliciously redefine the Bible to deny the presence of heaven or hell or even posit universalism. All that should matter to us is God’s revelation to us through the Bible, and God’s establishment of his revelation through the promptings of HIS precious Holy Spirit. 

            Having said this, a Christian lives by faith while [divinely] aided-reason and science merely complements his faith. The Bible univocally calls for faith in a Christian, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith (Romans 1: 16-17, NASB, Emphasis Mine).

            Let nothing come between God and us – neither science nor anything. While we praise God for science and scientists, we do not allow science to dictate our faith in God. There is life after death. Amen.


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