Thursday, September 30, 2010
Blog # 73 - A IMMORTALITY - Eternal life
IMMORTALITY - Eternal life. At some time, perhaps close to the beginning of time, the first man and the first woman came to be. Since that time billions and billions of men and women came to be. All of them with the exception of between six and seven billion of us living on earth today are gone. We speak of them as 'dead'. Yet there are those who have lived among us and who live among us today, and I am among them, who claim every man and woman who ever came to be is yet 'alive'! It is not that I foolishly deny the death of the body. It is for the human person I claim eternal life. Is this claim of ours a mere guess, an opinion based upon perhaps a deep-seated hope in our hearts, a desire that brings comfort in our response to the loss in death of someone we love? How can we hold such a conviction in the face of overwhelming physical evidence contradicting it? Does anybody know for sure? What is the basis of our conviction? St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest Catholic philosophers and theologians of all time, wrote in the thirteenth Century in favor of the immortality of the human person. As a philosopher he gave five 'arguments' that pointed to immortality but he admitted they were not in a line of definitive proofs. In 1947 as part of the requirement for a BA degree with a philosophy major I wrote a dissertation on eternal life. I had to come up with what St.Tomas concluded seven hundred years before. As philosophers, the only way we could definitively prove we live forever is to live forever. As theologians, however, both St. Thomas and I were absolutely convinced of the immortality of the human soul. How could that be? By faith. We believe it. In its strict sense to believe is to take something as true on the word of another. The conditions for faith, applied to eternal life, were fulfilled, and out conclusion is as secure as mathematical certitude. 2 + 2 = 4. I believe in eternal life, and the resurrection of the body. What that means to me, until I 'die', only God knows. But God does know. And Jesus is God. For faith to occur we have to have as the object of our faith a truth that is not available to us at the time. A revealer or witness to the truth is then required. Trust in the revealer follows this, and the experience of faith is ours when we actually accept the truth revealed as our own. In the case at hand the Resurrected Jesus is the sole revealer, the only one who claims and has the right to claim from personal experience the reality of eternal life. He, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, is responsible for all of creation, for all that has and will come to be, for the design and production of our life on earth and our eternal life in the life to come. When we trust the authenticity of His credentials and believe His claim, the truth about eternal life is, by faith, for us as true as if we had already experienced it.