Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Bible puts the "God" in afterlife

The New York Times Magazine ran an article on Sunday about atheists who argue that there may be such a thing as an afterlife. It suggests that since our belief in a resting place for the soul was Platonic before it was religious, philosophically a godless afterlife may be possible. It had this bit of biblical scholarship:
"In the Old Testament there is little mention of an afterlife; the rewards and punishments invoked by Moses were to take place in this world, not the next one. Only near the beginning of the Christian era did one Jewish sect, the Pharisees, take the afterlife seriously, in the form of the resurrection of the body. The idea that “the dead shall be raised” was then brought into Christianity by St. Paul.

The Judeo-Christian version of immortality doesn’t work very well without God: who but a divine agent could miraculously reconstitute each of us after our death as a “spiritual body”? Plato’s version has no such need; since our platonic souls are simple and thus enduring, we are immortal by nature."

No comments: