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Man and the Spiritual World

I.—Man is more than a Physical Being.

Foremost among the truths gathered from the Bible as to man's nature is, that he is more than he appears to the material senses to be. He seems no more than a higher class of physical being, who shares with other earthly creatures a common physical life. Those in whom the faculty that perceives the Spiritual lies dormant, look at him and see no vital distinction between him and the brute, insect and plant. The circumstance of death seems to make them alike. What befalls them also befalls him. Physically he and they appear to perish. To whatever ends, in the economy of Nature, the dead and disintegrated particles of their material organisation may subsequently serve, it looks as if death obliterates their individuality. The man, the brute, the insect and the plant, as such, seem to end their existence when death comes. But the Bible affirms that in the case of man (at all events) death does not entail non-existence. It declares that his being as a man is not terminated nor even suspended when physical life has departed and the material body is laid in the grave to decay.

For example, Scripture shows that two men, Samuel and Moses, did not lose their personality, although their bodies had been consigned to the dust. The men themselves were alive after death. It shows, in Christ's parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, that those two individuals were still existent, although their bodies had died.

It also shows, in the words of Jesus spoken to a dying man, that the extinguishment of His own and the robber's physical lives would be no obstacle to their being together in Paradise on the day of crucifixion.

But does not all this presuppose that man is more than material? If he were not so, how absurd of the Bible to introduce him on the stage of life after the death of the material.

Then, again, the Bible represents that the extinguishment of physical life does not involve the extinguishment of mind.

Samuel, Moses, Dives, Lazarus, our Lord and the robber, are not depicted as mindless entities after death, but as beings who can think. Samuel, Moses and Dives are made to speak. Speaking implies the action of mind. Christ and the robber were to know one another. Recognition is also an exercise of mind.

I have no intention of complicating our subject by an abstruse consideration of what mind is. One thing is very clear. If the pronouncements of the Bible be right, mind cannot be classed as physical. That book emphatically negatives the theory of the Materialist, viz., that mind is no more than the outcome of certain combinations of material particles, as water is the outcome of a combination of hydrogen and oxygen.

If mind were no more than a resultant of material combination, how comes it that Scripture represents it as surviving death? How could it survive a physical dissolution that would destroy the combinations under which it is alleged to exist? Mind may be, and probably is, the outcome of combination; but of combination that is spiritual and not physical. Hence we see that the statements of the Bible concerning man cannot be adjusted with the theory of those who account him only a physical being.

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Other Books by Rev. Chambers:

"Thoughts of the Spiritual" (1905 American Edition)
"Problems of the Spiritual" (1907 UK Edition)

Rev. Arthur Chambers Returns From "Death" To Speak Through The Zodiac Circle
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