I’ve struggled with whether God exists, but the question of whether my soul exists (including whether my individual consciousness exists) has never really given me much trouble.
It seems almost trivial to me to infer that—even under a purely materialistic view of the universe—if human consciousness can arise from the energy delivered by the Big Bang, then surely human consciousness can return to and be stored intact in some kind of energy.
One can imagine human consciousness present with a human body, but can’t possibly imagine human consciousness being present in a place resembling heaven?!?
That would be like saying one can imagine a song on a CD, but can’t possibly imagine a song on that CD being stored on a cloud server (or on a streaming server).
Heaven: The Supernatural Cloud Server
But storing energy would be a materialistic heaven. That’s not the supernatural heaven and supernatural soul of the Bible.
I am not saying that the soul is some collection of energy from our body.
My point with this somewhat clunky analogy: It seems highly likely that you and I each have something associated with us that can fairly be called a soul—something beyond our material selves alone.
Seems Easy Enough
It is also not hard to imagine that there is something about our bodies that relates to our consciousness that has not been discovered that also relates to our soul.
Honestly, just look at another human being. You can see that they have a soul. Try it. It’s there.
The more immediate question, to me, is what happens to our souls when we die?
Consciousness Lives On
Newsweek published a thought-provoking article earlier this week describing research that it says seems “to suggest that when our brains and bodies die, our consciousness may not, or at least not right away.”
The article, “Where Do You Go When You Die? Increasing Signs That Human Consciousness Remains After Death,” reports on the research of Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at New York University Langone Medical Center.
Newsweek explains that “Parnia’s research has shown that people who survive medical death frequently report experiences that share similar themes: bright lights; benevolent guiding figures; relief from physical pain and a deeply felt sensation of peace.” Medical-death survivors who died on an operating table are sometimes able to recount objective details of the doctors’ actions from the viewpoint of an observer that are verified by the doctors themselves.
“I don’t mean that people have their eyes open or that their brain’s working after they die,” Dr. Parnia told Newsweek. “That petrifies people. I’m saying we have a consciousness that makes up who we are—our selves, thoughts, feelings, emotions—and that entity, it seems, does not become annihilated just because we’ve crossed the threshold of death; it appears to keep functioning and not dissipate. How long it lingers, we can’t say.’”
Sources & Notes
The Newsweek article:
Kastalia Medrano, “Where Do You Go When You Die? Increasing Signs That Human Consciousness Remains After Death,” Newsweek, February 10, 2018, http://www.newsweek.com/where-do-you-go-when-you-die-increasing-signs-human-consciousness-after-death-800443.