Recently I was discussing death with a friend of mine and we were talking about the differing views on what happens to us when we die… This whole thing may sound a bit morbid but last week I gave a talk which included a section on Christian anthropology which examines the Christian view of what it means to be man. This is a question which resonates in both matters of life and in matters of death.
For an atheist, man has no more meaning or importance than a rock. We’re just matter, not spirit. Ontologically speaking, man really has no more intrinsic rights or value than a waterfall, horse, or asteroid! Quite sad! Christians, however, hold the HIGHEST view of man (higher than ANY other religion in the world) in that Christianity is the only religion that teaches their God became man! Not only does God do this, but He does it so that we can share in His nature like He shared in ours!
Coming back to the immortality of the soul, I was asked: “Even if we did have a soul, how do we know it is immortal? Why does it have to live beyond the death of the body, that is, how do we know it lives on after death?”
I believed the answer came from the question. You see words like “beyond” and “after” imply time. True enough our bodies are in space and time but our spiritual souls are not. In reality our spiritual souls are more “real” than our bodies because they are NOT broken into parts and spread out across space and time. They are higher up on the “teleological food chain” so to speak. In other words, the body is to the spiritual soul what a square is to a cube. Our spiritual souls are not in space and time, therefore the death of the body in space and time would have no impact on the existence of the soul.
What I’m getting at here is that if one believes that they have a spiritual soul, then the immortality of that soul is intrinsically connected to it. If the soul is not immortal than there really is no soul there at all.