William Pillow, Jack McMahan, and Lillian Stover Wells, PhD
Bible literalists say that we are born in sin, inherited from the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Christians claim to be saved from their sins by the crucifixion of Jesus, intended by God as atonement for their sins. Question: are Christians saved from inherited sins, sins committed until Jesus died on the cross, sins since his death, or all of their sins?
People generally hope to make it to Heaven. Christians expect an End of Time with the Day of Judgment when the world will be destroyed, Jesus will return, and all humans will be raised from their graves, judged, and divided between eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell.
Therefore the point of this article is to ask how Christians view their personal accountability during life on Earth. This seems especially pertinent given the scientific facts that our bodies disintegrate in the grave or are cremated, as the Vatican has now accepted. Also, NASA has now identified other planets that may sustain life. Doesn’t this illustrate that the spirit world is far greater than we ever realized? Is God still ours alone?
Consider too that self-accountability once was a source of pride. Today it seems to be considered a burden. Perhaps beneath this discussion lies a question that some people may have wondered about religious beliefs—are we fully accountable for all our thoughts and actions that affect others or only for our worst sins?
Perhaps our answer would be different if we realized that part of us is immortal. The seeming finality of death may release us from feeling an earthbound need for personal responsibility. But immortality can create an entirely different attitude, even on earth. This may have been God’s intent when he created our souls, reassuring us of His love instead of punishment.
Even the writings from early Greek philosophers like Socrates and Plato discussed our souls. Now, recognizing that humankind is rushing headlong into global self-destruction, has the Supreme Eternal Almighty seen fit to allow us to realize our true nature? Even if we acknowledge that our misdeeds are charged against our immortal souls rather than be punished by God, is there still time?
Although souls have been acknowledged for centuries, nothing was known about them. Complicating that is the fact that, like God and Heaven, they typically are imperceptible to our five physical senses. Recently, however, medical science has provided evidence of our souls.
Researchers found an advanced “consciousness” in the womb impossible from the immature fetal brain; a “consciousness” that survives cardiac arrest; and a “consciousness” which family members may perceive as it leaves a dying loved one’s body and moves into a different non-physical realm. Academicians have termed this the “transcendent self” or “transcendent source of consciousness”, while other researchers have called it simply the “soul” or “spirit.”
You certainly may disagree with what has been said so far. You even may disavow that souls could exist. After all, God, Heaven, and souls apparently are part of the so-called “unknown”—a humanly unimaginable and imperceptible reality known only to some humans. These are the survivors of cardiac arrest who “visited Heaven” as well as the persons who underwent hypnotic regression to the “life-between-lives”—both of whose experiences many people still distrust.
Yet, if you are interested in, or even curious about, the seeming truth about our souls, read the new book “Souls Are Real! Death Is Not!” Amazon offers the Kindle version free to its Prime customers, and Amazon and traditional booksellers offer the paperback version for sale everywhere.
William Pillow is a retired pharmacist and writer. Jack McMahan holds advanced degrees in theology and philosophy. Lillian Stover Wells is a retired clinical psychologist and former dean of psychology at National University.
Chamberlain, David. Windows to the Womb: Revealing the Conscious Baby From Conception to Birth. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2013.
Moody, Raymond and Paul Perry. Glimpses of Eternity: Sharing a Loved One’s Passage From This Life to the Next. New York, NY: Guideposts, 2010.
Parnia, Sam. Erasing Death: The Science that is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2013.