By H.G. Dr Geevarghese Mar Osthathios
All speculations and laboratory tests for proving God, soul, and immortality objectively are futile as God and soul are not objects to be tested by objective tests. Faith in the risen Christ is the basis for our faith in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. No one has come to us from God except Jesus Christ and so He alone can tell us anything authentic about God and eternity. We have to believe what He said, "I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, you may also be." (Jn. 14: 1; 3).
Christians do not believe in the transmigration of the soul as Hinduism does. Christian escatology is based on the resurrection of Christ as first fruit from among the dead. I Cor.15 gives clear description of the nature of resurrection body. 'What is sown is perishable, and what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.. .." (42). There is continuity of life and personality, but discontinuity of the body in the world to come. The child in the womb has physical organs not used in the womb, Similarly we have spiritual organs not fully used in history. The worm that becomes a butterfly has the same life but a new body. In the same manner, the worm-like individual buried, rises up as a butterfly like person with organs fit for eternity. When Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day he assumed a glorious body which could enter the room when the room was shut. (Jn. 20: 26). In the same manner, we will rise again at the the end of history when Christ would come again, with the glorious bodies fit for life in the new heaven and the new earth.
Hence we are not afraid of death. Death is the last enemy already conquered by the crucified and risen Christ. "Death is swallowed in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?....Thanks be to God who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15; 54). The resurrection of Christ has removed the venomous sting from the serpent of death. The return of Christ is to judge the living and the departed, according to the Nicene Creed, which is the one creed of the one church universal.
Our hope is based on our faith in the Incarnate Son of God. He Who is eternal, Who entered history at the center of it and divided it into B.C. and A.D. has gone ahead of us to prepare many mansions for us and so we need not doubt life after death. The mystery of gaining our life is in our readiness to lose our life for Him and the Gospel. (Mt. 1: 39). If we live a natural life, we are mortal, but if we live a supernatural life we become immortal. Our self-surrender to Christ is a pre-requisite for eternal life here and now and finally in the world to come.
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