Life After Death

Dinesh D'Souzatothesource

If the Christian claim of Jesus Christ's bodily resurrection is true, it immediately rises above the pack; in fact, it renders every other afterlife theory as an "also ran." Here we explore the credibility of this claim, but we also consider the implications of affirming the historicity of the resurrection. An event like this has the power to transform human destiny, to inaugurate a completely new phase of history and a new understanding of reality. It is the astounding Christian view that we can begin to experience eternity not in another life but in this one. The uniqueness of the Christian message is not life after death but eternal life right now.

Let's begin with Christ's resurrection and treat it as an historical claim no different from any other historical claim. I am not going to give the resurrection privileged treatment on the grounds that it is considered a sacred event; I am also not going to adopt the prejudiced view that this couldn't have happened because such things cannot happen. Very few scholars fall into the first temptation; many succumb to the second. Gerd Ludemann's The Resurrection of Jesus is fairly typical. It applies what it regards as an established scientific principle to the case for Christ: since no one dies and rises again, therefore Christ could not have died and risen again. We find a similar approach in the books of Marcus Borg, John Dominic Crossan, and also in the work of the so-called Jesus Seminar. These scholars are mainly theologians and historians who display little knowledge of science, yet they confidently insist that science has disproved the possibility of life after death. We have seen, of course, how fallacious this claim is. There is a case to be made against the resurrection, but it must be based not on an a priori rejection but on an examination of the concrete circumstances.

Here are the four historical facts that have to be accounted more: