The Injustices Of Life
It would be difficult to believe that life is good if we knew there was nothing beyond the grave to compensate for problems of inequality and unfairness. While some people seem destined for happiness, others are born into terrible relationships and circumstances. If we could be sure there was nothing to offset unequal distribution of suffering, many would have reason to curse the day of their birth for the way life has treated them (Job 3:1-3). We could agree with King Solomon who at a low point in his life said, "I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed -- and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors--and they have no comforter. And I declared that the dead, who had already died, are happier than the living, who are still alive. But better than both is he who has not yet been, who has not seen the evil that is done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 NIV).
Beauty And Balance
There is much about life that doesn't seem to correspond with personal problems of unfairness and hardship. But for all that is hurtful and unequal, there is beauty and balance. For moments of horror and violence, there are times of harmony and peace. As age-worn bodies succumb to pain and weakness, children and young animals play with carefree joy. Human art, in all of its glory, corresponds to birds in playful flight and morning song. Each sunset and dawn provides an answer to nature's need for rest and renewal. Dark nights and cold winters come with the awareness that "this too shall pass." If there is nothing beyond the grave, the pattern of nature is stunningly incomplete.
The clinical evidence for life after death is subjective and arguable. It's often hard to assess the significance of "out of the body experiences," encounters with bright lights, long tunnels, or angelic guides. It's difficult to know how to respond to those who speak of temporary near-death visions into heaven or hell. What we do know is that there are enough of these kinds of experiences to create a sizable library on the subject. Taken as a whole, this body of evidence shows that as people approach death, many sense they are coming not to the end of existence but to the beginning of another journey.
A Place In The Heart
The human heart hungers for more than this life offers. Each of us experiences what King Solomon called "eternity in [our] hearts" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). While it is difficult to know what Solomon meant, it is apparent that he was referring to an inescapable longing for something this world cannot satisfy. It was an emptiness of soul that Solomon could not escape. For a while, he tried to fill this inner void with work, alcohol, and laughter. He tried to satisfy his longings with philosophy, music, and sexual relationships. But his disillusionment grew. Only when he returned to his confidence in a final judgment and afterlife could he find something large enough to satisfy his longing for significance (Ecclesiastes 12:14).
While some believe it's impossible to know whether there is life after death, belief in immortality is a timeless phenomenon. From the pyramids of the Egyptians to the reincarnation of New Age thinking, people of all times and places in history have believed that the human soul survives death. If there is no consciousness or laughter or regret beyond the grave, then life has fooled almost everyone from the Pharaohs of Egypt to Jesus of Nazareth.
An Eternal God
The Bible names God as the source of immortality. It describes His nature as eternal. The same Scriptures tell us that God created us in His likeness, and that His plan is to welcome His children eventually into His eternal home. The Scriptures also teach that God introduced death into human experience when our first ancestors trespassed into the darkness of forbidden territory (Genesis 3:1-19). The implication is that if God allowed the human race to live forever in a rebellious condition, we would have unending opportunity to develop into proud, self-centered creatures. Instead, God began to unfold a plan that would ultimately result in the eternal homecoming of all who chose to be at peace with Him (Psalms 90:1; John 14:1-3).
Old Testament Predictions
Some have argued that immortality is a New Testament idea. But the Old Testament prophet Daniel spoke of a day when those who sleep in the dust of the earth will be resurrected, some to life and some to everlasting shame (Daniel 12:1-3). An author of the Psalms also spoke of the afterlife. In the 73rd Psalm a man named Asaph described how he almost lost his faith in God when he considered how evil people prospered and the godly suffered. But then he said he went into the sanctuary of God. From the perspective of worship, he suddenly saw evil men standing on the slippery ground of their mortality. With new insight he confessed, "You will guide me with Your counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalms 73:24-26).
Quotes Of Christ
Few would accuse Jesus of being an evil man or a false teacher. Even atheists and people belonging to non-Christian religions usually refer to Jesus with deference and respect. But Jesus wasn't vague or indefinite about the reality of a continuing personal existence after death. He said, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). Jesus promised Paradise to the repentant thief who was dying at His side, but He also used the Valley of Hinnom--a foul garbage dump outside of Jerusalem--as a symbol of what awaits those who insist on risking the judgment of God. According to Jesus, facing the reality of life after death is the most significant issue of life. He said, for example, that if an eye keeps you from God, you have reason to get rid of that eye. "It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell" (Mark 9:47 NIV).
The Resurrection Of Christ
There is no greater evidence for the existence of life after death than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament predicted a Messiah who would overcome sin and death for His people (Isaiah 53; Daniel 9:26). The testimony of Jesus' followers is that He did just that. He voluntarily died at the hands of executioners, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and then 3 days later left that tomb empty. Witnesses said that they had seen not only an empty tomb but a resurrected Christ who appeared to hundreds of people over a period of 40 days before ascending to heaven (Acts 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8).
Belief in life after death is a source of personal security, optimism, and spiritual betterment (1 John 3:2). Nothing offers more courage than the confidence that there is a better life for those who use the present to prepare for eternity. Belief in the unlimited opportunities of eternity has enabled many to make the ultimate sacrifice of their own life in behalf of those they love. It was His belief in life after death that enabled Jesus to say, "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" (Matthew 16:26). It is the same truth that prompted Christian martyr Jim Elliot, who was killed in 1956 by the Auca Indians, to say, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
You're Not Alone
You're not alone if you find yourself honestly unconvinced about life
after death. But keep in mind that Jesus promised to give divine help to
those who want to know the truth so as to surrender to it. He said, "If
anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether My teaching comes
from God or whether I speak on My own" (John 7:17 NIV).
If you see the evidence for life after death, remember that the Bible says Christ died to pay the price for our sins, and that all who believe in Him will receive the gifts of forgiveness and everlasting life. The salvation Christ offers is not a reward for effort but a gift to all who in light of the evidence put their trust in Him.
Related Booklet: Is There Life After Death?
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH? Evidence For The Christian's Resurrection
Near-Death Experiences and the Afterlife
See our NDE page also:
A true story of reincarnation - Hrishikesh
Islam - Life after death:
PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH - PARAPSYCHOLOGY and personal survival after death
The boy who lived before
By YVONNE BOLOURI
September 08, 2006
LITTLE Cameron Macaulay was a typical six-year-old, always talking about his mum and family.
He liked to draw pictures of his home too — a long single-storey, white house standing in a bay.
But it sent shivers down his mum’s spine — because Cameron said it was somewhere they had never been, 160 miles away from where they lived.
And he said the mother he was talking about was his “old mum.”
Convinced he had lived a previous life Cameron worried his former family would be missing him.
The Glasgow lad said they were on the Isle Of Barra.
Mum Norma, 42, said: “Ever since Cameron could speak he’s come up with tales of a childhood on Barra.
“He spoke about his former parents, how his dad died, and his brothers and sisters.
“Eventually we just had to take him there to see what we could find.
“It was an astonishing experience.”
Cameron’s journey to find his previous life is now the subject of a spooky TV documentary.
Norma said: “His dad and I are no longer together but neither of our families have ever been to the island.
“At first we just put his stories down to a vivid imagination.” Then life took a more sinister turn as Cameron started to become distressed at being away from his Barra family.
Norma said: “It was awful and went on for years.
“When he started nursery his teacher asked to see me and told me all the things Cameron was saying about Barra. He missed his mummy and his brothers and sisters there.
“He missed playing in rockpools on the beach beside his house.
“And he complained that in our house there was only one toilet, whereas in Barra, they had three.
“He used to cry for his mummy. He said she’d be missing him and he wanted to let his family in Barra know he was all right.
“It was very distressing. He was inconsolable.”
Memorable view … Isle of Barra which Cameron said was his former home
“He wouldn’t stop talking about Barra, where they went, what they did and how he watched the planes landing on the beach from his bedroom window.
“He even said his dad was called Shane Robertson, who had died because ‘he didn’t look both ways.’
“I assume he means knocked over by a car but he never says that.
“One day his nursery teacher told me a film company were looking for people who believed they had lived before.
“She suggested I contact them about Cameron. My family were horrified. There was a lot of opposition to it. I’m a single parent so it was me and Cameron’s brother Martin, who is only a year older than him, who were being badly affected by this.
“Cameron wouldn’t stop begging me to take him to Barra. It was constant.
“I contacted the film company and they followed Cameron’s journey to Barra.
“We had child psychologist Dr Jim Tucker, from Virginia, with us.
“He specialises in reincarnation and has researched other children like Cameron.
“When Cameron was told we were going to Barra he was jumping all over the place with excitement.” The family flew from Glasgow last February and landed on Cockleshell Bay an hour later.
Norma said: “He asked me if his face was shiny, because he was so happy.
Cameron and Norma … he says ‘if you die you come back again’
“When we got to the island and DID land on a beach, just as Cameron had described, he turned to Martin and me and said, ‘Now do you believe me?’
He got off the plane, threw his arms in the air and yelled ‘I’m back.’
“He talked about his Barra mum, telling me she had brown hair down to her waist before she’d had it cut.
“He said I’d like her and she’d like me. He was anxious for us to meet.
“He also talked about a ‘big book’ he used to read, and God and Jesus.
“We’re not a religious family but his Barra family were.”
The Macaulays booked into a hotel and began their search for clues to Cameron’s past. Norma said: “We contacted the Heritage Centre and asked if they’d heard of a Robertson family who lived in a white house overlooking a bay.
“They hadn’t. Cameron was very disappointed. We drove around the island but he didn’t see the house.
“Then we realised that if he saw planes land on the beach from his bedroom window, we were driving the wrong way.”
Next the family received a call from their hotel to confirm that a family called Robertson once had a white house on the bay.
Norma explains: “We didn’t tell Cameron anything. We just drove towards where we were told the house was and waited to see what would happen.
“He recognised it immediately and was overjoyed.
“But as we walked to the door all the colour drained from Cameron’s face and he became very quiet.
“I think he thought it would be exactly the same as he remembered it, that his Barra mum would be waiting for him inside. He looked sad. There was no one there. The previous owner had died but a keyholder let us in.
“There were lots of nooks and crannies and Cameron knew every bit of the house — including the THREE toilets and the beach view from his bedroom window. In the garden, he took us to the ‘secret entrance’ he’d been talking about for years.”
Researchers also managed to track down one of the Robertson family who had owned the house.
Norma said: “We visited them at their new address in Stirling, but couldn’t find anything about a Shane Robertson.
“Cameron was eager to see old family photographs in case he found his dad or himself in any.
“He’d always talked about a big black car and a black and white dog.
“The car and the dog were in the photos.”
Since the family returned to their home in Clydebank, Glasgow, Cameron has been much calmer.
Norma said: “Going to Barra was the best thing we could have done.
“It’s put Cameron’s mind at ease. He no longer talks about Barra with such longing.
“Now he knows we no longer think he was making things up.
“We didn’t get all the answers we were looking for — and, apparently, past life memories fade as the person gets older.
“Cameron has never spoken about dying to me. But he told his pal not to worry about dying, because you just come back again.
“When I asked him how he ended up with me, he tells me he ‘fell through and went into my tummy.’
“And when I ask him what his name was before, he says, ‘It’s Cameron. It’s still me.’
“I don’t think we’ll ever get all the answers.”