Faces on Faith: Life after death
The reader may think it presumptuous for a lay person without a theology degree to take on such a challenging topic. And yet when Clergyman Dr. Ran Niehoff offered the course titled, “So Much More Than Life and Death: Scientific Approaches to the Mysteries of Conscious Self-Awareness and the Survival of the Human Psyche After Death,” it enabled me to “look over the shoulders,” to use Ran’s words, of physicists and metaphysical philosophers.
Erwin Schrodinger, Nobel Prize winning physicist, for his work in quantum mechanics, embraced the concept of a “single mind in which consciousness is universal, infinite in time and space, therefore immortal and eternal.” Dr. Larry Dossey, in his book “One Mind,” continues this theme when he writes: “We are suffering from a collective delusion about the nature of consciousness. We think of the personality of a human being as located in the interior of the body. Consciousness is non-local, therefore the mind has a peculiar indestructible time-table in which Mind is always NOW.”
Sir James Jean tells us: “The universe begins to look more like a great thought, than a great machine,” and theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Many of us in our college years read William James’ book “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” He shares this momentous thought: “We are capable of states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, and carry with them a curious sense of authority.”
The discoverer and founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, would have felt right at home with many of these ideas, when she writes in her book “Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures”: “One moment of divine consciousness, or the spiritual understanding of Life and Love, is a foretaste of eternity. This exalted view, obtained and retained when the Science of being is understood, would bridge over with life discerned spiritually, the interval of death, and man would be in the full consciousness of his immortality and eternal harmony, where sin, sickness and death are unknown.”
Sounding in almost perfect accord with Eddy, Dossey tells us: “If the One Mind is the source of all information known and knowable, then it is omniscient, a characteristic assigned to the Divine, and if the One Mind is non-local, not localized in specific points in space – such as brains – then it is omnipresent and eternal, characteristics attributed to God, the Absolute, the Divine.” While not all physicists would agree, Eddy offers us this luminous vision: “Man is the idea of Spirit; he reflects the beatific presence, illuming the universe with light. He is above sin or frailty. He does not cross the barriers of time into the vast forever of life, but he co-exists with God and the universe.”
June Sieber is affiliated with the Sanibel Christian Science Church.