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C.S. Lewis on Death and Immortality

One of the great problems which every philosophy or religious view has to face is the significance of death. Do we just go around once, with death being the end of it all? Are we reborn in an almost endless series of reincarnations, or is there a personal continuation of ourselves after death? Are we mere mortals or immortals? Part of evaluating a worldview is considering the adequacy of its answer on death. Consider the contrast between atheism and the biblical view of life and death as shown in this chart:

                       ORIGIN MANKIND DESTINY
ATHEIST    Death          Life                Death
BELIEVER    Life           Life                Life

According to the atheist, life comes spontaneously out of the cosmic slime. All life springs from inert or nonliving matter. Life comes from non-life through evolution. Our origin, in other words, is out of death. Since there is no life after death, our destiny is death. What then is the point or value of life? Life is merely an unnecessary chance interruption in the midst of cosmic death. For the believer, on the other hand, God is our creator. We are given the gift of life. Our destiny in Christ is eternal life. Death is merely a very temporary interruption in the midst of cosmic life. Notice the radical contrasts between these views of life. No wonder that atheist Bertrand Russell said that his view led to “unyielding despair.” No wonder atheist Albert Camus maintained that, in light of the meaninglessness of this picture of life, the only really serious philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide. . .

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Arthur W. Lindsley

Arthur W. Lindsley, is the Vice President of Theological Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Works, & Economics. He has served at the C.S. Lewis Institute since 1987 both as President until 1998 and currently as Senior Fellows for Apologetics. Formerly, he was director of Educational Ministries at the Ligonier Valley Study Center, and Staff Specialist with the Coalition for Christian Outreach. He is the author of C.S. Lewis's Case for Christ, True Truth, Love: The Ultimate Apologetic, and co-author with R.C. Sproul and John Gerstner of Classical Apologetics, and has written numerous articles on theology, apologetics, C.S. Lewis, and the lives and works of many other authors and teachers. Art earned his M.Div. from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.


COPYRIGHT: This publication is published by C.S. Lewis Institute; 8001 Braddock Road, Suite 301; Springfield, VA 22151. Portions of the publication may be reproduced for noncommercial, local church or ministry use without prior permission. Electronic copies of the PDF files may be duplicated and transmitted via e-mail for personal and church use. Articles may not be modified without prior written permission of the Institute. For questions, contact the Institute: 703.914.5602 or email us.

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