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Death and Resurrection from the Point of View of the Cell-theory

108 pages
Library of Alexandria
A consciousness of immortality, sometimes dim and vague, sometimes vivid and clear, seems to be characteristic of the human race. However low man may stand he cannot consider death to be the end of his existence. The conviction that he is immortal is innate to him. Annihilation is contrary to the nature and demands of his spirit. It is true that uncertainty and doubt might arise, but man will never be able wholly to uproot either hope or fear as to the possibility of a future life. Experiencing such feelings and presentiments, man finds himself amidst a world where death and dissolution everywhere surround him. He sees the objects of his love or fear pass away, and he knows that sooner or later the same fate will befall himself. When he beholds the lifeless body of some near relative, his presentiment of immortality tells him that the selfsame soul that once animated that body is still alive. In such moments even the man of low cultivation is forced into more or less profound contemplation. The following reflection impresses itself with might and wonder upon him: “I feel convinced that the dead is living, but how can he live without his body and what form does his new life take?” In all ages and stages, men have asked the same or similar questions, and they will go on asking them as long as belief in a future life obtains. But man does not confine himself to questioning, he wants answers, and especially must this be true where the reply is so intimately connected with himself. And these answers have not been lacking; we find them formulated in those opinions and theories respecting a future life which throughout the ages have gradually appeared and prevailed. The critically thinking public of the present day takes a decidedly skeptical attitude toward all these theories. They assert, and not without strong arguments, that it is impossible to know anything. But, however convinced the public may be of the fruitlessness of discussing the topic, no one will succeed in pushing it entirely aside. Time and again the same questions reappear as dark and threatening clouds on the horizon of our consciousness; they occupy our thoughts, take hold upon our feelings and color our sentiments. It would undoubtedly be sufficient at such moments to have, were it only one fixed point to stand upon; one established fact to start from and which we could trust would lead our thoughts in the right direction. But such a basis to set out from we have not hitherto been able to find. Will this remain the case forever? Will science concerning a future life always fail to attain aught but negative results? Let us say at once that humanity will probably be able to ascertain as much as it may be necessary or useful for us to know in this world. This hope is founded on our firm belief that at this time a basis such as that above mentioned really exists. Natural science has furnished this basis, though nobody as yet has happened to reflect that the facts upon which this basis rests may have any bearing upon our attitude toward a future life, much less give answer to questions such as the following: How, and in what way, is man to pass from this life into another?