Life after  DeathPocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics             Chapter 11     Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
The Six Basic Theories       of the AfterlifeMaterialism: Nothingsurvives. Death ends all ofme. Seldom held before theeigh...
Paganism: A vague, shadowysemiself or ghost survives andgoes to the place of the dead,the dark, gloomy Underworld.This is ...
SHEOL—in OT thought, the abode of the dead.Sheol is the Hebrew = of the Greek hades, whichmeans “the unseen world.”Sheol w...
However, God is present in sheol (Ps. 139:8;hell, nkjv). It is open and known to Him(Job 26:6; Prov. 15:11). This suggests...
Reincarnation: The individualsoul survives and is reincarnatedinto another body. Reincarnationis usually connected with th...
Pantheism: Death changesnothing, for what survives death isthe same as what was real beforedeath: only the one, changeless...
Immortality of the soul: Theindividual soul survivesdeath, but not the body. Thissoul eventually reaches itseternal destin...
Resurrection: At death, thesoul separates from the bodyand is reunited at the end ofthe world to its new,immortal, resurre...
Resurrection: At death, thesoul separates from the bodyand is reunited at the end ofthe world totwonew,  The last its  arg...
The argument from the       soul’s simplicityMajor Premise: what is notcomposed cannot bedecomposed. A molecule canbe spli...
Minor Premise: the soul is notcomposed of parts - it has noquantifiable parts as the bodydoes - you can’t cut a soul inhalf...
The argument from the soul’s    ability to objectify the bodyMajor Premise: if there is apower of the soul that cannotcome...
The argument from the soul’s    ability to objectify the bodyobjectify |əbˈjektəMajor Premise: if there is aˌfī|power of t...
The argument from the soul’s    ability to objectify the bodyMajor Premise: if there is apower of the soul that cannotcome...
Minor premise: I can know mybody as an object only because Iam more than my body. E.g. Iknow a stone as an object onlybeca...
The argument from two       immaterial operationsMajor Premise: if I performoperations which are notoperations of my mater...
Minor premise:1. Thinking as distinct fromexternal sensing or internalsensing (imagining)Proof: our thought is not simplyl...
2. Deliberate, rational, responsiblewilling, as distinct from instinctiveliking, desiring or feeling.Proof: if willing is ...
The antimaterialist self-       contradiction argumentMajor Premise: acomputer is not reliable ifit has been programmedby ...
If materialism is true thenthe soul is just the brain -there is no spirit, no souland no God - then theprogramming of the ...
On this basis materialismcannot be true - if the brainis nothing but blind atomsthen why should we trustwhat it tells us a...
The argument from ultimate             justiceJustice is often not done in theshort term on earth, so either,1. Justice is...
So a desire for justice is only thesame as any other physical desire,for food etc. It does not revealanything of how thing...
So a desire for justice is only thesame as any other physical desire, “If there is nofor food etc. It does not revealanyth...
Pascal’s wagerBefore we looked at this asan incentive to believe in God- it is not a proof - but it canalso be used as an ...
Pascal’s wagerBefore we looked at this asan incentive to believe in GodThe wager proof - but it can- it is not a argument ...
Pascal’s wagerThe wager argument doesn’tprove life after death justsuggests it is sensible tobelieve in it.Mk 16:16 - is i...
Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument - precious to you laySuppose someone terriblyand is not a proof for the...
Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceSupposeayou for searching for that...
Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceof God but a help for searching fo...
Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceof God but a help for searching fo...
Place it with God - and even if he doesn’t you lose nothing.Place it against God - if he does exist, you lose everything. ...
The wager should not coerce belief- but can be an incentive to searchfor God - it can motivate the prayerof the sceptic:“G...
The wager should not coerce belief     "Ask, and it will be- but can be an incentive to searchfor God - to you; seek,praye...
The argument from sehnsucht     (longing)|ˈzānˌzoŏ kh t|Major Premise: every realinnate desire within uscorresponds to a r...
Minor premise: there existswithin each one of us a desirethat nothing in this life cansatisfy, a longing (sehnsucht)that d...
Conclusion: there is more tolife than this, there is eternallife.Ultimately complaint aboutsomething shows that therecan b...
The argument from loveInspired by Gabriel Marcel - itis less “tight” than others butdeeper - it depends upon“seeing” not o...
2. Love is not blind - it has‘eyes’ and it reasons - e.g. Whois best for you a person wholoves you more but is lessbright,...
3. Love sees the intrinsic valueof the beloved - this goesbeyond what they can do - youbecome indispensable whensomeone se...
5. Why couldn’t this morally intolerablesituation be real? Because itf it were thenreality (ultimate, universal, cosmicrea...
6. Therefore either moralvalues are groundless orpersons are not dispensed withand we all live forever.The eye of death se...
“Insofar as you advance inlove, you will grow surer ofthe reality of God and of theimmortality of the soul.This has been t...
The argument from Christ’s          resurrectionWhat would be the best evidencefor life after death? Probablyseeing and to...
Apologetics, Kreeft chapter 11: Life after death
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Apologetics, Kreeft chapter 11: Life after death

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Based on Pocket handbook of Christian apologetics (2003) by Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli. This is a course taught at LTCi, Siliguri.

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Apologetics, Kreeft chapter 11: Life after death

  1. 1. Life after DeathPocket Handbook of Christian Apologetics Chapter 11 Peter Kreeft & Ronald Tacelli
  2. 2. The Six Basic Theories of the AfterlifeMaterialism: Nothingsurvives. Death ends all ofme. Seldom held before theeighteenth century,materialism is now a strongminority view inindustrialized nations. It isthe natural accompanimentof atheism.
  3. 3. Paganism: A vague, shadowysemiself or ghost survives andgoes to the place of the dead,the dark, gloomy Underworld.This is the standard paganbelief. Traces of it can be foundeven in the OT Jewish notionof sheol. The "ghost" thatsurvives is less alive, lesssubstantial, less real than theflesh and blood organism nowliving. It is something like a"ghost image" on a TV set: apale copy of the lost original.
  4. 4. SHEOL—in OT thought, the abode of the dead.Sheol is the Hebrew = of the Greek hades, whichmeans “the unseen world.”Sheol was regarded as an underground region(Num. 16:30, 33; Amos 9:2), shadowy andgloomy, where disembodied souls had aconscious but dull and inactive existence (2Sam. 22:6; Eccl. 9:10). The Hebrews regardedsheol as a place to which both the righteous andunrighteous went at death (Gen. 37:35; Ps. 9:17;Is. 38:10), where punishment is received andrewards are enjoyed. Sheol is pictured as havingan insatiable appetite (Is. 5:14; Hab. 2:5).
  5. 5. However, God is present in sheol (Ps. 139:8;hell, nkjv). It is open and known to Him(Job 26:6; Prov. 15:11). This suggests thatin death God’s people remain under Hiscare, and the wicked never escape Hisjudgment. It is apparent that Jesus emptiedthat portion of sheol where the righteouswere waiting until redemption’s completion(Luke 23:43). Sheol gives meaning toPsalm 16:10.
  6. 6. Reincarnation: The individualsoul survives and is reincarnatedinto another body. Reincarnationis usually connected with thenext belief, pantheism, by thenotion of karma: that after thesoul has fulfilled its destiny, andlearned its lessons and becomesufficiently enlightened, it revertsto a divine status or is absorbedinto (or realizes its timelessidentity with) the divine All.
  7. 7. Pantheism: Death changesnothing, for what survives death isthe same as what was real beforedeath: only the one, changeless,eternal, perfect, spiritual, divine,all-inclusive Reality, sometimescalled by a name ("Brahman") andsometimes not (as in Buddhism).In this view—that of Easternmysticism—all separateness,including time, is an illusion.Therefore, in this view, the veryquestion of what happens afterdeath is mistaken. The question isnot solved but dissolved.
  8. 8. Immortality of the soul: Theindividual soul survivesdeath, but not the body. Thissoul eventually reaches itseternal destiny of heaven orhell, perhaps throughintermediate stages, perhapsthrough reincarnation. Butwhat survives is anindividual, bodiless spirit.This is Platonism, oftenconfused with Christianity.
  9. 9. Resurrection: At death, thesoul separates from the bodyand is reunited at the end ofthe world to its new,immortal, resurrected bodyby a divine miracle. This is theChristian view. This view, thesupernatural resurrection ofthe body rather than thenatural immortality of thesoul alone, is the only versionof life after death in Scripture.It is dimly prophesied andhoped for in the OT, butclearly revealed in the New.
  10. 10. Resurrection: At death, thesoul separates from the bodyand is reunited at the end ofthe world totwonew, The last its arguments -immortal, resurrected bodyby a divine miracle.the soul immortality of This is theChristian view. This view, the and resurrection -supernatural resurrection of both argue that thethe body rather than the soul survives death - itnatural immortality of thesoulthis point that version is alone, is the onlyofKreeft tries to prove. life after death in Scripture.It is dimly prophesied andhoped for in the OT, butclearly revealed in the New.
  11. 11. The argument from the soul’s simplicityMajor Premise: what is notcomposed cannot bedecomposed. A molecule canbe split up into its atoms, cellsinto molecules, an organ intocells, a body into organs, aperson into body and soul.What is not composed of partscannot be taken apart.
  12. 12. Minor Premise: the soul is notcomposed of parts - it has noquantifiable parts as the bodydoes - you can’t cut a soul inhalf.Conclusion: therefore the soulis not decomposable. There areonly 2 ways of being destroyed- decomposed into parts orannihilation - nothing simplypops out of existence, so if thesoul does not die in parts(decompose) or is annihilatedas a whole - then the soul doesnot die.
  13. 13. The argument from the soul’s ability to objectify the bodyMajor Premise: if there is apower of the soul that cannotcome from the body, thisindicates that the soul is notpart of the body. That in turnindicates it is not subject toany laws governing the body,including mortality.
  14. 14. The argument from the soul’s ability to objectify the bodyobjectify |əbˈjektəMajor Premise: if there is aˌfī|power of the soul that cannotcome from the body, thisverb that the soul is notindicatespart of the body. That in turn• degrade to thetoindicates it is not subjectstatus of a mereany laws governing the body,including mortality.object
  15. 15. The argument from the soul’s ability to objectify the bodyMajor Premise: if there is apower of the soul that cannotcome from the body, thisindicates that the soul is notpart of the body. That in turnindicates it is not subject toany laws governing the body,including mortality.
  16. 16. Minor premise: I can know mybody as an object only because Iam more than my body. E.g. Iknow a stone as an object onlybecause I am merely a stone - thedata projector can show imagesbecause it is not merely one moreimage - I can remember my pastbecause I am more than my past: Iam a present knower. The knowingsubject must be more than theknown object.Conclusion: therefore the soul isnot subject to the body’s mortality.
  17. 17. The argument from two immaterial operationsMajor Premise: if I performoperations which are notoperations of my materialbody, then I am more thanmy body. I am animmaterial soul - whichneed not die when my bodydies.
  18. 18. Minor premise:1. Thinking as distinct fromexternal sensing or internalsensing (imagining)Proof: our thought is not simplylimited to images like the TajMahal, but we can understandabstract, immaterial principlesand essences - like trigonometry,we can imagine the differencebetween a 3 and 4 sided figure butonly understand the differencebetween an 103 and 104 sidedfigure. So our understandingtranscends our imagining.
  19. 19. 2. Deliberate, rational, responsiblewilling, as distinct from instinctiveliking, desiring or feeling.Proof: if willing is only instinctivedesiring then:A. We could not control our desiresor will and none of us would beresponsible for our choices.B. If there was only instinct in usand not will then the strongestinstinct would always win - this isnot the case, e.g. when fear is over-ridden by compassion.Conclusion: I am an immaterialand immortal soul
  20. 20. The antimaterialist self- contradiction argumentMajor Premise: acomputer is not reliable ifit has been programmedby chance (e.g. throwstones at the keyboard)not be design. The humanbrain and nervous systemare a computer (and muchmore) but it is not reliableif programmed by chance.
  21. 21. If materialism is true thenthe soul is just the brain -there is no spirit, no souland no God - then theprogramming of the brainis by chance throughgenetics and environmentand this is therefore byunintelligent, undesigned,random chance - bruteforces and physicalreasons no logic to it.
  22. 22. On this basis materialismcannot be true - if the brainis nothing but blind atomsthen why should we trustwhat it tells us about itself?If it is just atoms why listento what atoms tell us aboutatoms?If materialism is not truethen there is an immaterialreality too - called spirit,soul etc. - this is not subjectto the laws of materialreality including mortality
  23. 23. The argument from ultimate justiceJustice is often not done in theshort term on earth, so either,1. Justice is done in the longrun, which would include lifeafter death,2. The demand we make formoral meaning and justice arenot met by reality and are justa “quirk” of the human psyche- in which case there is nocause for our desire for justiceor morality
  24. 24. So a desire for justice is only thesame as any other physical desire,for food etc. It does not revealanything of how things should be,it simply tells us how things are.The price here of denying lifeafter death is that of moralseriousness - stop believing thatmorality has a place in objectivereality and it becomes a set offeelings and wishes, a privatedesire - there is then no need toobey such when it is personallyinconvenient.
  25. 25. So a desire for justice is only thesame as any other physical desire, “If there is nofor food etc. It does not revealanything of how things should be,it simply tells us how things are. immortality,The price here of denying lifeafter death is that of moral everything isseriousness - stop believing thatmorality has a place in objective permitted”reality and it becomes a set offeelings and wishes, a private Dostoevskydesire - there is then no need toobey such when it is personallyinconvenient.
  26. 26. Pascal’s wagerBefore we looked at this asan incentive to believe in God- it is not a proof - but it canalso be used as an idea forbelieving in life after death.Sceptical people tend tofavour arguments whichshow we don’t knowsomething - e.g. arguingagainst abortion on the basisthat you don’t know a fetusisn’t a baby.
  27. 27. Pascal’s wagerBefore we looked at this asan incentive to believe in GodThe wager proof - but it can- it is not a argument doesn’tprove life after death foralso be used as an ideajustsuggests in life after tobelievingit is sensibledeath.believe in people tend toSceptical it.Mk 16:16 - is it false, or isfavour arguments which ittrue? Isn’t it foolishshow we don’t know to ignoreif it is true e.g. arguingsomething - after allremember Mk 8:36against abortion on the basisthat you don’t know a fetusisn’t a baby.
  28. 28. Pascal’s wagerThe wager argument doesn’tprove life after death justsuggests it is sensible tobelieve in it.Mk 16:16 - is it false, or is ittrue? Isn’t it foolish to ignoreif it is true - after allremember Mk 8:36
  29. 29. Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument - precious to you laySuppose someone terriblyand is not a proof for the existenceSupposeayou for searching for that youra new isdying, and the doctor offered to try houseof God but help hear reportsGodfire and your children are inside. You do noton in the absence of such proof."miracle drug" that he could not guarantee butPascal assumed that logicalthat seemed to have a 50-50 chance false.know whether thenot prove are true orof savingreasoning of itself could reportsthe existence of reasonable thing to it beWhatbeloved friends was Woulddo—to ignoreyour is the God - there life.good reasoning on both sides. So ifreasonabletake the even if run home orthem or prove it, try it,ittime to it cost a littleatwe cannot to to and if is soimportant, And suppose in case the reports areleast phone we need justit were free—wouldnt itmoney? then home to “wager”.The question becomes: “Wheretrue?be utterly reasonable to try it andare you going to place yourunreasonable not to?bet?”
  30. 30. Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceSupposeayou for searching for that your house isof God but help hear reportsGodfire and your children are inside. You do noton in the absence of such proof.Pascal assumed that logicalknow whether thenot prove are true or false.reasoning of itself could reportsWhat is the reasonable thing to do—to ignorethe existence of God - there wasgood reasoning on both sides. So ifthem or prove it, and if ittime to run home or atwe cannot to take the is soimportant, then home to “wager”.least phone we need just in case the reports areThe question becomes: “Wheretrue?are you going to place yourbet?”
  31. 31. Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceof God but a help for searching forGod in the absence of such proof.Pascal assumed that logicalreasoning of itself could not provethe existence of God - there wasgood reasoning on both sides. So ifwe cannot prove it, and if it is soimportant, then we need to “wager”.The question becomes: “Whereare you going to place yourbet?”
  32. 32. Pascal’s WagerThis is a different type of argument -and is not a proof for the existenceof God but a help for searching forGod in the absence of such proof.Pascal assumed that logicalreasoning of itself could not provethe existence of God - there wasgood reasoning on both sides. So ifwe cannot prove it, and if it is soimportant, then we need to “wager”.The question becomes: “Whereare you going to place yourbet?”
  33. 33. Place it with God - and even if he doesn’t you lose nothing.Place it against God - if he does exist, you lose everything. The argument is that if you win, you win everything, if you lose, you lose nothing.This can seem very selfish, but has been reformulated to applyto a higher moral motive: If there is a God of infinitegoodness, and he justly deserves my allegiance andfaith, I risk doing the greatest injustice by notacknowledging him.
  34. 34. The wager should not coerce belief- but can be an incentive to searchfor God - it can motivate the prayerof the sceptic:“God I don’t know whether youexist or not, but if you do, pleaseshow me who you are.”Pascal suggests 3 kinds of people:- those who have sought God andfound him (reasonable and happy)- those who are seeking and havenot yet found (reasonable andunhappy)- those who neither seek nor find(unreasonable and unhappy)
  35. 35. The wager should not coerce belief "Ask, and it will be- but can be an incentive to searchfor God - to you; seek,prayer given it can motivate the andof the sceptic: you will find; knock,“God I don’t know whether youexist orit will be opened toand not, but if you do, pleaseshow me who you are.” you.suggests 3 kinds of people: For everyone whoPascal- asks receives, and the those who have sought God and one who seeks finds,found him (reasonable and happy)- those who are seeking and have and to (reasonablewhonot yet found the one and knocks it will beunhappy)- those whoopened. nor find neither seek(unreasonable and unhappy)
  36. 36. The argument from sehnsucht (longing)|ˈzānˌzoŏ kh t|Major Premise: every realinnate desire within uscorresponds to a real objectthat can satisy that desire:Hunger - foodThirst - drinksEros - SexCuriosity - knowledge
  37. 37. Minor premise: there existswithin each one of us a desirethat nothing in this life cansatisfy, a longing (sehnsucht)that differs from all others but isundefinable and unattainable inthis life.We don’t really understand thisbut we do all want paradise,heaven, eternity - Augustine,“Our hearts are restless untilthey find their rest in thee”We might not know who or whatthe thee is but that does not stopthe deep longing in our souls.
  38. 38. Conclusion: there is more tolife than this, there is eternallife.Ultimately complaint aboutsomething shows that therecan be something better - we donot complain about 2+2=4, butwe do about pain, hunger,poverty - even about a lack oftime (we want eternity).Therefore there must beeternity - there must be a placewhere it is all good enough
  39. 39. The argument from loveInspired by Gabriel Marcel - itis less “tight” than others butdeeper - it depends upon“seeing” not on a straightlogical understanding.However it is formulatedlogically here.1. Love means agape not eros;gift love not need love; love ofthe other not love ofenjoyment.
  40. 40. 2. Love is not blind - it has‘eyes’ and it reasons - e.g. Whois best for you a person wholoves you more but is lessbright, or a person who lovesyou less but is moreintelligent? We all know it isthe latter - eros might be blindbut agape is not. Ow could lovebe blind if God is love? God isnot blind!
  41. 41. 3. Love sees the intrinsic valueof the beloved - this goesbeyond what they can do - youbecome indispensable whensomeone sees you for your ownsake not for any ability or fortheir own sake.4. On this basis it can now beargued that the indispensableshould not be dispensed with -this is morally intolerable.
  42. 42. 5. Why couldn’t this morally intolerablesituation be real? Because itf it were thenreality (ultimate, universal, cosmicreality) - would do to all persons in theend what is morally intolerable, what weshould never do; in that case our valueswould have no ground in reality.
  43. 43. 6. Therefore either moralvalues are groundless orpersons are not dispensed withand we all live forever.The eye of death seems to seethe eclipse of love, but the eyeof love sees the eclipse of death.The weakness here is theweakness of love - it is a choice,free not compelled. If you don’tchoose love you will not see it, ifyou really want to know it youcan perform the relevantexperiment.
  44. 44. “Insofar as you advance inlove, you will grow surer ofthe reality of God and of theimmortality of the soul.This has been tried. This iscertain”Dostoevsky in The BrothersKarimazovAs with all roads you haveto travel it with sincerity toreally see.
  45. 45. The argument from Christ’s resurrectionWhat would be the best evidencefor life after death? Probablyseeing and touching one who hasdied and risen again, then wecould be sure.This is the risen Christ - 1 Jn1:1-3 - a witness is the firstguarantee of life after death forthe Christians. We might nothave died and been raised - butwe have a good friend who has!

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