Posts Tagged ‘Proof of life after death’

Jesus Raises a Close Friend

December 13th, 2009 1 comment

The Resurrection of Lazarus

John records a third resurrection which was performed by Jesus, shortly before the crucifixion. This is the story of Lazarus, a close friend of Jesus’ from Bethany. Unlike the widow’s son at Nain or Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days prior to Jesus’ arrival. Commanding the removal of a stone which had blocked the entrance of Lazarus’ tomb for over half of the Jewish week of mourning was the most inexplicable of actions. The only possible justification for such a request would have been the resurrection of the occupant. This account demonstrates more clearly than any other the foreknowledge; the prophetic insight that Christ held concerning these miracles.

Vincent Van Gogh: La Résurrection de Lazare (d’après Rembrandt)

Vincent Van Gogh: La Résurrection de Lazare (d’après Rembrandt)

Before we examine the passage from John’s Gospel, a little background is in order. Some have questioned why John alone would chronicle this most remarkable of pre-crucifixion revivifications. One might reason that such an amazing incident should have been a keynote feature in the Synoptic Gospels as well. The answer to this seeming paradox, once again, depends on when each account was written. All four Gospel accounts record that Jesus’ life had been threatened by the Jewish authorities prior to the events at Lazarus’ tomb[1]. In Chapter IV we examined the reasons for this conflict between Christ and the Jewish rulers. John’s account preserves considerable detail of how this underlying premise affected the decisions and actions of the participants. Read more…

The Higher Criticism

August 15th, 2009 No comments

The Higher Critical Method – A Study of Inherent Logical Fallacy

For nearly two-hundred years, since Eichhorn coined the term, higher critical methods have been the accepted means for determination of the authenticity of ancient documents. These techniques as performed by academia today constitute the ONLY procedures for evaluating such documents which are based upon scientific principles. Notwithstanding the pedigree of the work, or ancient testimony to the contrary, the true nature of all ancient literature may be determined ONLY through adherence to this modern approach. So we are told.

But is the higher criticism, as currently practiced, truly the unbiased application of the scientific method to the field of historical literature?  Based upon the examples of higher critical analyses that I have studied, and I have by no means read them all, I have observed a curious systematic acceptance of the sophistic notion that science has somehow disproven the supernatural – that phenomena either unexamined or unproven by modern science have somehow been disproved by the lack of formal treatment. This premise, coupled with the modern prejudice that the ancients were a rather naïve and superstitious lot, incapable of discriminating truth from fable and certainly incapable of teaching anything to a modern man of science, has been invoked to discredit an entire corpus of literature – specifically that literature which claims to be a record of the intervention of the Divine in the affairs of men. “Oh, give me a break,” some might say, “all that buildup to defend a dying faith against the encroachment of science? When will you religious nuts stop being threatened by progress?”

But I submit for your consideration the defense that science does not hold a monopoly on truth. Indeed, the long and chequered annals of science include many embarrassing incidents of entrenched hostility towards new theories by adherents of previous doctrines; and conversely, the acceptance of rather dubious conclusions based upon the prestige of their proponents[a]. Even well supported theories come and go with the passage of time. The Newtonian mechanics that you learned in school were already known to be incomplete, having been augmented by Einstein’s Relativity, long before you were taught Newton.

So to say that something is the ‘accepted’ scientific theory of the day is really no endorsement at all. True science can be built only upon hard data by sound logical arguments. Many things science has yet to measure, so the requisite evidence needed for development of a theory has not even been gathered. As a physicist, one of the ‘hard’ scientists, I am well aware that each of my working theories rests upon data and underlying assumptions. This being said, I may only apply a theory to a problem INSOFAR as that problem does not violate one of the theory’s underlying premises.

Read more…

The Resurrection of the Daughter of Jairus (II of II)

July 30th, 2009 No comments

The Resurrection of the Daughter of Jairus

(An Excerpt from Chapter VI of How to Live Forever)

Part II

(iii.) The Eyewitness accounts:

With the availability of three eyewitness reports, we have the opportunity to compare the compatibility of the testimony for ourselves. From this point onward it will be much easier to evaluate the testimony of the resurrection accounts, for we have already proven the identity of each author. We have so proven by demonstrating the early acceptance of the four Canonical Gospels through the use of quotations by the earliest church fathers, men who were themselves trained and appointed by Jesus’ disciples. We have shown that these men, and their audience, accepted quotations from the Gospels as a final authority – the words of their Lord as preserved through His messengers. And this acceptance apparently pervaded the Christian world, throughout Rome, Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece at the very least.

The Raising of Jairus' Daughter - Schnorr von Carolsfield

The Raising of Jairus' Daughter - Schnorr von Carolsfield

In addition, we have recovered the testimony of Jesus’ Apostles regarding the origins of the four Gospels as preserved through the succession of elders in Rome, Alexandria, and Asia Minor. We have shown that other such successions probably existed in North Africa, Greece, Syria, and Palestine. And we have found no evidence of any conflicting testimony of apostolic origin concerning the Gospels. Rather, we have observed the confident perception of Justin, Aristides, Irenaeus, Lucian, and others that all Christians were using the same Gospels.

So we are now armed with the knowledge that Matthew, Jesus’ disciple and eyewitness wrote the Gospel of Matthew with an Hebrew audience in mind. Mark was not an eyewitness, but rather the interpreter[a] for Jesus’ Apostle Peter who was. Mark wrote the Gospel of Mark at the request of Peter’s followers, so that they might have a record of the testimony of Peter as regards the risen Christ.  Luke was not an eyewitness, but states in his introduction that his record was written to provide a more complete account of events surrounding Jesus’ life than previous accounts, presumably Matthew’s and Mark’s. Luke was liaison between the church elders at Jerusalem and the Apostle Paul during the latter’s two year imprisonment at Caesarea, (see discussion pp 78-83). During that time, Luke would have had ample opportunity to interview the surviving Apostles as well as Jesus’ family. To make good his claim to have written a more complete account, Luke must have had access to eyewitness testimony of comparable status to the Apostles Matthew and Peter, the witnesses for the accounts Luke intended to complete. Read more…

A Difference of Perspective

April 24th, 2009 No comments

An Excerpt From Chapter VII of How to Live Forever

…Based on this analysis, Tacitus provides an independent Roman witness to the death of Christ. So, in addition to the four written narratives depicting the crucifixion which were drawn from witnesses sympathetic to Christ, Josephus strongly infers concurrence among the Jewish opposition, and Tacitus confirms the official Roman agreement. Three separate societies with conflicting objectives, yet all three substantiate the fact of Christ’s death by order of the Roman Governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate. Having established this material fact, let us examine the four Gospel narratives, each based upon eyewitness testimony, for the details.

Raphael, Christ's Charge to St. Peter

Raphael, Christ's Charge to St. Peter

2. A Difference of Perspective

Ancient testimony agrees that Matthew wrote the first Gospel account in the Hebrew language[1]. This premise strongly infers that Matthew’s Gospel was written when the church was still primarily comprised of converted Jews, before the first major missionary works were begun among the gentiles. So Matthew was written by an Hebrew to a Jewish audience. The same testimony indicates that Mark was written by Peter’s interpreter[2] to an audience that Peter could not address directly. The most likely scenario is that Mark translated Peter’s oral message into Latin during Peter’s stay in Rome, but wrote the Gospel of Mark in Greek with the idea that most literate Romans were also fluent in Greek. Mark, then, was written by an Hebrew for a Roman audience. Paul’s companion Luke was a gentile physician, considered a part of Greek culture before his conversion. Since he accompanied Paul[3] on missionary journeys through Greece and proconsular Asia, we must assume that Luke wrote his works to the Greek world at large. Read more…

The Witnesses to the Witnesses

January 2nd, 2009 8 comments

(Excerpt from Chapter VI of How to Live Forever)

…It turns out that Christians were still being tortured to deny Christ through the first decade of the fourth century[1]. Then in 313 AD, Constantinus Augustus (Constantine) and his brother-in-law, Licinius Augustus, issued

Henryk Siemiradzki. Leading Light of Christianity. Nero's Torches. 1876. Oil on canvas.National Museum, Krakow, Poland.

Henryk Siemiradzki. Leading Light of Christianity. Nero's Torches. 1876. Oil on canvas. National Museum, Krakow, Poland.

the Edict of Milan. With this decree, for the first time in its nearly three-hundred year existence, Christianity was formally recognized as a legal religion within the Roman Empire.

We have previously shown that cessation of testimony was sufficient to save a Christian from the Jewish persecution. Now it appears that simple repentance granted immunity from Roman capital punishment as well. It is logical to conclude that the many Christians slaughtered during the church’s first three-hundred years believed their message was worth dying for.

2. The Witnesses to the Witnesses

In reference to the stated goals of this book, we are very fortunate to possess the written transcripts of these earliest Christians’ message today. The pages of these documents contain the most graphic eyewitness accounts of resurrection ever recorded. All of these writers risked their personal safety, and many sacrificed their lives rather than renounce their beliefs, thus providing compelling evidence of their sincerity. Read more…

Clement of Rome

December 25th, 2008 2 comments

The Use of Material Deriving from the Synoptic Gospels

In the Letter of Clement to the Corinthians

(Also known as I Clement)

A.) The Apostolic Fathers


There remain extant today a relatively few documents authored by those who were personally acquainted with Jesus’ disciples. These works fill a vital role in demonstrating the transition from a faith based upon the personal experience of the believer into a faith based upon documents written and endorsed by eyewitnesses. The disciples of Jesus’ disciples are commonly known as “The Apostolic Fathers”. Pre-eminent among their writings are:

1.) A letter by Clement of Rome (a disciple of Peter and Paul) to the church

at Corinth (Achaia).

2.) Seven letters by Ignatius of Antioch (a disciple of Peter, Paul, and possibly John). Six letters are addressed to the churches of various cities throughout the Roman Empire; the seventh to an individual, Polycarp of Smyrna.

3.) A letter by Polycarp of Smyrna (a close disciple of John) to the church at Philippi (Macedonia).

4.) Excerpts from a work in five books authored by Papias of Hierapolis, (a “hearer” of Jesus’ disciple John). These excerpts were preserved as citations by later writers, who found Papias’ subject matter useful for their own discussions. It is difficult to form generalizations concerning the writing style of Papias due to the fragmentary nature of material thus preserved. Read more…

Prologue: I Want To Live

December 24th, 2008 4 comments

Prologue: I Want To Live

It is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment…

We are all going to die. We become aware of our mortality at a tender age, and we are taught by society to accept this eventuality as the price of life. Well adjusted individuals reconcile themselves to death as a part of their reality.kalvaria_-_banska_stiavnica4

But instinctively we know that death is our enemy. And no healthy person wants to die.

So we wax philosophic and derive comfort from the axiom that “death is a part of life… (heavy sigh)” – Which it is not. Death is the cessation of life; this precious life being the gift of God.

Many of us believe that if the way we live our life has meaning, Death will seem less bitter at the end. This attitude is both admirable and constructive. The death which follows is still not good. But by all means put the best face on it.

So we live our lives the best that we can, and try to keep our minds off of the sudden stop at the end. We work hard to fill our lives with things, or to pass down to our children. Some may party and chase women or men to fill empty hours with meaning. Or if we are noble, we fill our lives with service. Even so, there is not much that we wouldn’t do to avoid death. But what CAN we do?

Medical science may someday be able to prolong or restore life. Or maybe not. I’m not certain that we even understand the force that we call life. What substance inhabits living tissue which causes it to differ from the dead? I sincerely hope that there are medical professionals who are hot on the trail. But I don’t expect a breakthrough this week. And the fate of men who live a thousand years from now is scant comfort to me.

Literature is replete with examples of man somehow achieving immortality. Mary Shelley introduces us to a world in which science has unlocked the mystery of life. Vampire stories reveal a race of once-men who will live forever, (although usually at the expense of their immortal souls.) Even Shangra La’s promise of a few hundred years seems hopeful to those of us doomed to a life of three score and ten. These stories illustrate our hopes and desires. But they are just stories.

In the real world, where can we turn? A plethora of religions claims to provide insight to an afterlife. An Afterlife! What a wonderful idea if it exists! If dying is just a doorway to a new and possibly better existence, then Death has lost its sting. All that is necessary then is to determine which belief system is correct, and to adhere to that faith. A correct choice guarantees an afterlife in a far better state. Of course a wrong choice might have dire consequences.

A prevalent view today is that all paths lead to God, that one religion is as good as another as long as you are sincere and a “good” person. If you are certain of this view, you may stop reading now. You have nothing left to learn, and your ascent to a positive afterlife is guaranteed no matter what you believe. In the afterlife you may chide me about my vain and fruitless search for the one true path to God. I have noticed though, that those who adhere to this doctrine don’t really believe in anything with certainty. They appear to be just hoping for the best.

These include the “modernists” who first explain away historical written records of the supernatural in terms of the limited understanding of primitive writers, and then use the “lack” of the miraculous to “prove” the lack of the Divine. As well as the “New Agers” who believe that it is arrogant and boorish to claim that your path is any better than the one that they just thought up. Like Aristotle they have no need to test their hypotheses. If it seems right in their head it must be right. It never occurs to them that a true God might just set His own perfect standard for reasons not totally comprehensible to we the finite.

And the testimony of the various religions contradicts this view as well. Many diverse religions claim exclusive access to God. Obviously some are mistaken.

So how do we “test” our hypothesis? How do we make certain that we are on the path to God without having already died? (Which may be too late?) The answer is simple: Just find a man who has overcome Death, and follow His leadership.

To find this man we must commit ourselves to the historical record. Who remembers the splendor of the Tutankhamen exhibits which toured the USA in the late 1970’s? King Tut was an important historical figure. These exhibits from his tomb indicate that Death overcame him. Likewise, a little research provides insight into the deaths of Gaius Julius Caesar, Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, Richard Coeur de Lion, Saladin, Zhu Yuanzhang and most other historical figures. History usually tells us how a famous person died. The written record also indicates that they tend to remain dead.

Categories: The Big Question