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"Life After Death" by Terence Penelhum - Essay Example
This paper dwells upon Terence Penelhum’s article, “Life After Death” which divulges into immortality and the concept of the soul living on after a person has died. Penelhum focuses on how, if at all, the soul is able to exist without the body…
The article opens with a brief history of the belief in immortality. Immortality of the soul predates Christianity, and therefore Christianity’s belief in life after death. Plato first describes the immortal soul in Phaedo, which details the death of Socrates. Before Socrates dies, he contemplates whether or not the soul can live without the body and if death is something to be feared. Socrates arrives to the conclusion that not only does the soul live on, but death should be embraced as it means that the soul is released from the prison of the body. Through moral reflection, people are able to tend to their soul, gradually releasing it from its physical form, but death ultimately completes this release.
The aforementioned belief of death being embraced is what separates Plato’s belief of immortality with Christianity’s belief. Plato believes that death should be embraced, but Christianity, when using Jesus’ agonizing death as an example, suggests that death should be feared. Christianity perceives death as the most horrifying experience that someone can face because it is the destruction of a person. This goes against Plato’s theory that death is a release; Socrates did not fear death, but Jesus did. This concept is elaborated further when the Christian belief of resurrection is considered, which also goes against Plato’s theory of the immortal soul. Christians hope that God will completely re-create what he has permitted death to destroy. ...