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Evidence of Our




Chapter 1 Overview

Near-death experiences are episodes where people undergo clinical death and then return to physical life,

some reporting afterwards that they maintained consciousness. The very topic of near-death experiences

(NDEs) must be approached with caution. There is a lot of unscientific writing about near-death experiences,

often based on nothing but anecdotes, which is sometimes focused on the writers’ own agendas rather than


However, there is also a growing body of legitimate research — actual medical studies published in peer-reviewed

scientific journals — on the subject of NDEs. Before we look at some of these studies, we must consider

what is meant by “near-death experiences.”

In this chapter you will learn that …

■ Science and religion have the same goal.

■ We can learn about our eternal destiny from revelation as well as natural science.

■ Our consciousness cannot be reduced to the brain, and has a transphysical component.

■ Scientific studies on near-death experiences (NDEs) and terminal lucidity provide evidence of survival of

human consciousness after clinical death.

Bible Basics

Beloved, let us love one another; for love is

of God, and he who loves is born of God and

knows God.

— 1 John 4:7

Connections to the Catechism

■ CCC 1016-1017

■ CCC 1052

Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep,

but we shall all be changed.

— 1 Corinthians 15:51

© Sophia Institute for Teachers


Chapter 1



Soul: That which animates or

gives life to a body.

Christians have always believed in a soul that lives on after death. But is

this just wishful thinking? As people living in the 21st century and all our

scientific advances, is this really something reasonable to believe?

Before we start to answer this question, consider a different one:

when you think, where in your body does that take place? Or when you

are in that dreamy twilight between being awake and asleep, where

does your awareness come from in your body? Most people today

think of it as being in the brain. But is it? Is it ever anywhere else?

Medical science gives us reason to believe our consciousness may

not be limited to the brain, or even anything physical.

Near-Death Experiences

Where does awareness

come from in your body? Is

your consciousness strictly a

physical process?

You may have read or heard in the media about a sick person whom

doctors thought had no hope of living, but then made a complete recovery.

Or maybe someone who was in a coma, but when they woke

up reported they could hear everything going on around them. These

are fascinating and mysterious events, but they are not near-death

The Flight of the Soul, Poem of the Soul, by Louis Janmot

4 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

experiences. Near-death experiences, or NDEs, are cases where

people verifiably undergo clinical death for a time, and then return to

physical life. Some of those people afterwards reported that they maintained

consciousness during the clinical death, despite the absence of

brain function. Since this clinical death often happens in a hospital setting

with professional medical oversight, thousands of these NDEs have

been well-documented for scientific study. The patients’ reports reveal

a pattern of several recurring elements.

In many cases of clinical death, people retain their consciousness:

they can see and hear what is going on around them, they can remember

what is happening, and know who they are. Some of these people

report the experience of moving outside their body, passing through

walls in the hospital, and sometimes being transported to another

domain (this is where the popularly-known details of moving through

a tunnel and encountering a bright light come in). But in these cases,

their brains showed no electrical activity. How can this be?

Many physical traumas, like heart attacks and drowning, can deprive

the brain of oxygen. Within 30 seconds, electrical activity in the

brain drops off and most brain functions shut down. Signs of this state

of “clinical death” include a flat EEG (which measures electrical activity

in the brain), fixed and dilated pupils, and the absence of a gag reflex—

indicating that even lower brain functions have stopped. In this state,

higher brain functions such as language, memory, and thinking as well as

sensation (seeing and hearing, etc.) do not work. They are impossible.

Near-Death Experiences

(NDEs): Episodes where

people undergo clinical death

and then return to physical

life, some reporting afterward

that they maintained

consciousness despite the

absence of brain function.

Consciousness: The state

of being awake and aware of

one’s surroundings.

Transphysical: Beyond the

laws of physics.

The Relationship between the Transphysical

Component and the Brain

Now we come to the significance of understanding NDEs. Most people

assume that our consciousness comes from our brain, and that it is

strictly a physical process. When our brains stop working, that’s it. But

when we look at what is happening to the brain during clinical death, and

we compare that to the mental and sensory activity that people report

experiencing in near-death experiences (much of which can be verified

independently as we will see below), it suggests a more complex

relationship. We learn that our consciousness cannot be reduced to the

brain, and has a transphysical component (“transphysical” means beyond

the laws of physics) that lives on even when the connection with

the brain is severed. Our minds are not just matter. They appear to have

a transphysical component (that we might term “a soul”) that interacts

with our physical brain.

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


Here are some of the scientific studies on NDEs that provide evidence

of survival of human consciousness after clinical death. Many

other studies have reported similar findings.

Important Studies

Parnia-Southampton University Study (2014)

In 2014, scientists under the direction of Dr. Sam Parnia at Southampton

University completed the (then) largest study of NDEs — a 4-year study

of 2,060 patients who had suffered cardiac arrest in hospitals. Almost

one in ten of those patients (185) reported an NDE. Some of them

could still see for several minutes, even though the brain shuts down

beginning 30 seconds after cardiac arrest; the researchers verified patient

accounts of what was going on in the operating room.

The experience of moving

through a tunnel was reported

by nearly 1 in 4 patients in

Ring’s Study, and 1 in 3 in van

Lommel’s study.

The van Lommel et al Study (2001)

Another study published in The Lancet, surveyed 344 cardiac patients

in Dutch hospitals. They found that 18% of patients (62) experienced an

NDE, and that their experiences had an amazing amount in common.

6 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

Half of these patients were aware of being dead, and over half felt positive

emotions. One in three met with a deceased person, experienced

moving through a tunnel and/or a celestial landscape. And a quarter reported

having an experience where they were moving separately from

their physical body.

The study ruled out several potential physiological causes for the

NDEs, identified some recurring characteristics, and reported verifiable

out-of-body experiences. In other words, patients reported seeing and

hearing things during an out-of-body experience that researchers were

able to corroborate afterwards as accurate. There is no physical way to

account for these sensory experiences in the absence of brain function,

thus indicating some form of transphysical conscious existence.

Dr. Kenneth Ring’s Studies of the Blind (2006)

These studies focused on an interesting subgroup—patients who are

blind. Among the 31 blind patients studied who had an NDE or out-ofbody

experience, 80% reported being able to see during their experience.

Those who had previous experience of seeing and those who had

been blind from birth were both consistent with the reports of sighted

patients in other NDE studies. The ability to see during these experiences,

with enough clarity to report it back afterwards, by people who

do not physically have the ability to see, shows once again, the existence

of a transphysical consciousness (a soul) capable of perception

and intelligence despite the body’s incapacity to do these functions

through physical processes.

There is no

physical way

to account for

these sensory

experiences in

the absence of

brain function,


some form of




Consistency of Data

In a 10-year-long study, interviewing over 1,000 patients who had had

a near-death experience, Dr. Moody identified several characteristics

that consistently recurred in their reports of the experience, in similar

proportions to the studies mentioned above by Ring and van Lommel.

For example, one of the characteristics Moody included — the experience

of moving through a tunnel — was also reported in 23% of the cases

in Ring’s study and 31% of those in van Lommel’s.

Dr. Janice Holden’s Assessment of 39 NDE Studies (2007)

If someone awakens from a state of clinical death and reports that they

passed through a tunnel and encountered a being of light that was

overwhelmingly loving and peaceful, there is no way for a scientist to

directly verify such a report. But since it should be physically impossible

for someone in clinical death to see, hear, or remember anything

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


Veridical: Truthful;

corresponding with reality.

(especially things happening out of view or earshot), what a scientist

can do is look at things reported in NDEs that are verifiable to see if this

physically-unaccountable transphysical perception is accurate in those


Dr. Holden researched 107 cases from the reports of 39 NDE studies

in which this kind of “veridical” (verifiable) experiences was included.

Defining “accurate” in the most rigorous sense, where a single incorrect

reported detail would make an NDE report inaccurate, Holden’s

report found inaccuracy in only 8% of cases. It is hard to see how this

degree of verifiably accurate reporting from a time when there was no

electrical activity in the brain’s cortex could have a physical explanation.

What would you

think if a patient

who had been

dead woke up,

and told medical

staff things no

one else could

have known, but

turn out to be


Verifiable Evidence

What would you think if a patient who had been dead woke up, and was

able to tell the medical staff what they had said or done while he was

dead? Or even tell them things no one else could have known, but turn

out to be true? There is no shortage of amazing events like this in studies

of NDEs. Virtually every peer-reviewed study reports multiple instances

of such verifiable data. Often, unusual events that occur during

a medical procedure (such as resuscitation) are seen and reported by

the patient; for example, in one case in van Lommel’s study, a patient

accurately told a nurse where she had placed his dentures during resuscitation

efforts, even giving a description of the cart where she had put

them. Patients who describe moving beyond their body to other parts

of the hospital also give verifiable details, often correctly reporting the

clothing or conversation of relatives and friends in the waiting room.

Some patients report going into other rooms in the hospital, giving accurate

descriptions of conversations, clothing, and strangers. Some actually

go through the hospital walls to the outside three or four stories

up. One patient reported seeing a tennis shoe on the ledge with a worn

left toe and a shoelace underneath the heel which had probably been

there from the time of the hospital’s construction. It was found exactly

as described. These veridical experiences are found in every major

study (and confirmed in overviews like Holden’s study) and help to corroborate

the patients’ reports of a conscious yet transphysical (i.e. outof-body)


NDEs give us good evidence of a transphysical soul, but they are by

no means the only evidence.

8 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

Blind People who Regain their Sight

Ring’s study found that a large majority (80%) of patients who do not

have the physical capacity to see nonetheless reported being able to

see during clinical death. To date, no adequate physical explanation has

been offered for the visual perception of the blind during clinical death.

Ring’s study found that 80%

of people without the physical

ability to see reported being

able to see during clinical


Absence of Death Anxiety

It is typical for patients to be afraid of death. We have a survival instinct

that is strong, and it is very hard to control anxiety about impending

death using typical de-stressing techniques. Yet several studies show

that patients who were scared before lose their feelings of anxiety

about death after having an NDE. Why would this be? Even children who

underwent clinical death with an NDE had a much lower level of death

anxiety than other children. (Interestingly, young patients who were

clinically dead but did not have an NDE felt more scared about death

afterwards.) In other words, NDEs seem to have a special healing power

transcending the power of survival instincts and subconscious fears

that fall outside of known physiological and psychological explanations.

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


Physicalism: Belief that

the physical world is all that

exists. This term is sometimes

used interchangeably with


Meeting Deceased Persons

Of course, when a person reports that they died and met an old friend

or family member, we cannot directly verify that. But what about when

these reports include information that the patient could not otherwise

have known but can be confirmed by others? This happens with surprising

frequency: a third of these reports involve meeting relatives that the

patient would not know personally, sometimes even meeting strangers

or distant acquaintances. This last point also means it is not simply, as

some hypothesize, that people are simply seeing the loved ones they

are naturally thinking of and would want to see in their dying hours. A

catalog of the kinds of meetings experienced and the data reported

that was not otherwise known by the patient prior to clinical death

has been gathered by Greyson and Kelly at the University of Virginia

Medical School.

Physicalist Explanations

It may not surprise you to learn that some in the current scientific community

do not accept this view of the transphysical origin of human

consciousness. Some have attempted to explain NDEs from a purely

physiological point of view, to restore credibility to the view that our

consciousness has a purely physical origin. That is, some have tried to

find physicalist explanations that can account for NDEs without appealing

to a transphysical consciousness (soul).

Could NDEs be caused by something physical in the brain?

Researchers led by Olaf Blanke in 2003 placed electrodes in the brain

(specifically, the angular gyrus of the parietal lobe) and triggered an

“out-of-body like” experience in several patients. These were not at

all like NDEs, though. Patients reported unusual distortions like seeing

their legs growing shorter, or seeing a body double of themselves.

These experiences are nothing like the highly detailed and accurate reports

of the patient’s real (and often out-of-view) hospital surroundings

found in NDE studies.

Another possible explanation is oxygen deprivation. Lack of oxygen

in the dying brain could cause neurons related to visual sensing to fire,

causing an experience of a white light at the end of a tunnel. However,

all dying people experience loss of oxygen to the brain. So if oxygen

deprivation causes NDEs, everyone would have NDEs. In fact, only 18%

of adults do, and some NDEs happen to people while feeling well.

10 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

Experimenters ruled out the

possibility that NDEs were

just dreamlets — dream-like

experiences that happen to

fighter pilots when their brains

are under extreme stress.

Eternal: Without beginning or

end; not constrained by time.

One last possibility is that NDEs could in fact be dreamlets: dreamlike

experiences that happen to people like fighter pilots when their

brains are under extreme stress. But research shows that people wake

up from dreamlets confused and anxious — instead of having lucid recollections

and positive, life-transforming experiences as people do with


Even if there were somehow a way to explain NDEs as physical illusions,

it still wouldn’t account for the accurate sense perceptions of

both sighted and blind people during clinical death, when their physical

senses are not functioning. A physical explanation might be able to account

for a hallucination, but it does not explain how people can accurately

report empirical data, including previously unknown information

about deceased individuals during the time of clinical death. All the verifiable

evidence above calls for a transphysical perception that physical

explanations, by definition, cannot offer.

A physical


cannot explain

how people

can accurately

report empirical

data during the

time of clinical


Near-Death Experiences, Love, and Resurrection

There are interesting clues in the reports of NDEs that indicate our

consciousness is eternal. There are also three similarities between the

reports of NDEs and the revelation and Resurrection of Jesus, who

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


Transcendent: Going beyond

ordinary limitations.

Resurrection of the Dead:

The raising of all the dead at

the end of time to face the

Last Judgment when the

wicked will be sent to eternal

punishment and the righteous

to eternal life.

preached that God intended us for eternal life as recipients of His unconditional

love. The three points of similarity are freedom from physical

limitations, the experience of love, and transcendence. The following

case from Moody’s study is similar to many:

The patient explains:

I became very weak, and I fell down. I began to feel a

sort of drifting, a movement of my real being in and

out of my body, and to hear beautiful music. I floated

on down the hall and out the door onto the screened-in

porch. There, it almost seemed that clouds, a pink mist

really, began to gather around me, and then I floated

right straight on through the screen, just as though it

weren’t there, and up into this pure crystal clear light,

an illuminating white light. It was beautiful and so bright,

so radiant, but it didn’t hurt my eyes. It’s not any kind

of light you can describe on earth. I didn’t actually see

a person in this light, and yet it has a special identity,

it definitely does. It is a light of perfect understanding

and perfect love…. And all during this time, I felt as

though I was surrounded by an overwhelming love and


Patients in NDEs keep bodily powers like seeing and hearing, but

are free of physical constraint: they can to move through walls, ascend

upward, and move beyond the physical domain. The Resurrected Jesus

has these freedoms in His glorified body, and Christian revelation further

teaches that our own bodies will be similarly transformed at the

Resurrection of the Dead.

The second similarity is that the essence of eternal life is love — Jesus

told us love was central in the Kingdom of God, and NDE patients describe

overwhelming love as their dominant experience in the realm of


Finally, there is the experience of transcendence. There is a dimension

of beauty, joy, and paradise — ultimate fulfillment — in many accounts

of NDEs as well as in Christian revelation about the Kingdom of

Heaven. (We will explore this more deeply in future chapters.)

We might conclude from this correlation between medical studies

of near-death experiences and Christian revelation that NDEs provide

empirical veridical and circumstantial corroboration of Jesus’ message

in the New Testament, and also that His message in the New Testament

confirms that our transphysical soul is destined for eternal life.

12 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

Resurrection of Lazarus, by Lippo Memmi

Evidence of a Soul from Terminal Lucidity

Imagine someone you knew has had advanced Alzheimer’s disease for

ten years. They have not been able to recognize loved ones or even

have a conversation during that time. Then one day, as they approach

death, they suddenly notice you in the room and start talking to you,

almost like normal. This is known as terminal lucidity, and it is another

kind of evidence for our souls and the afterlife. Several studies show us

that the minds of many persons with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other severe

disorders of the brain suddenly become clear (or lucid) shortly before

death. One week to one day prior to death, some of these patients

phoned family members and friends, and had rational, meaningful, emotional,

and religious conversations with them, even though they had no

use of their cerebral cortex, which is needed for these higher intellectual

functions. The brain, when it is severely atrophied (e.g. from Alzheimer’s

disease), is not capable of such higher functions, so it appears that consciousness

separates from the body shortly before death.

Persons with terminal lucidity show an awareness of relatives,

friends, practical details to which they must attend before dying, God’s

Jesus’ raising of Lazarus is a

sign that all the dead will be

raised at the end of time.

Terminal Lucidity:

Phenomenon where the minds

of patients with dementia or

Alzheimer’s disease suddenly

become clear shortly before

death. Persons with terminal

lucidity are aware of relatives

and friends, God’s presence,

prayers, good and evil,

and right or wrong, even

though their brains had been

incapable of rational thought,

sometimes for many years.

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


All persons,

even those

with physical,

emotional, or


limitations, have

inherent dignity

and are worthy

of respect.

presence, prayers, good and evil, and right or wrong, even though their

brains may have been completely incapable of rational thought for

many years.

For instance, in 1922, there was a woman named Anna Ehmer who

had been born severely mentally impaired. She had never learned

to speak a single word, and had suffered severe infections that had

damaged her brain. Yet, a half an hour before dying, she sang, “Where

does the soul find its home, its peace? Peace, peace, heavenly peace!”

During her terminal lucidity, Anna’s face was transfigured and spiritualized.

Then, she quietly passed away. These final events were witnessed

and verified by two physicians working at the mental institution where

Ehmer resided. This is not an isolated case: researchers found a total

of 81 references to similar cases, reported by 51 different authors,

in which people with severely damaged brain tissue needed for cognitive

processes suddenly came to a heightened sense of consciousness

and focus between one week to one hour before death. Terminal

lucidity shows the presence of a soul even in cases of severe mental


As Christians, we know that all persons, even those with physical,

emotional, or intellectual limitations, have souls allowing them to understand

and communicate with God. There is yet another important

consequence of the data coming from the study of terminal lucidity

— namely the existence of a rich inner world within even the most

mentally challenged individuals. All persons, from the unborn to the terminally

ill, and regardless of their circumstances, have an inherent dignity

and are worthy of respect. To treat them any other way, based simply

on their outward appearance or expression, would be a violation of their

dignity and their right to respect.


The medical studies of terminal lucidity, together with those of NDEs,

show that it is reasonable to believe that we have a transcendent soul

that can exist independently of the physical body — and which therefore

can go on after a person dies. In the next chapter, we will be discussing

additional evidence of the soul — and even God’s presence to it — from


14 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

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Among the Catholic faithful

throughout the centuries,

few have embraced and proclaimed

the inherent harmony

of science and faith, of reason

and revelation, like St. Albert

the Great.

Born sometime between

1193 and 1206, Albert of

Lauingen lived through most

of what has been called “the

greatest of centuries” and bore the title of Magnus

(the Great) while he was still alive. This accolade

was due to his incredible breadth of knowledge and

mastery of virtually every scientific discipline at the

time — literally from A to Z — with contributions to

fields as diverse as anatomy, anthropology, astronomy,

biology, botany, chemistry, dentistry, geography,

geology, medicine, physiology, physics, psychology,

and zoology.

So how did Great Albert get to be so great? To

examine Saint Albert the thinker, we should start

with young Albert the student. Albert’s parents

were of the lower nobility and died when he and

his siblings were relatively young. Albert was raised

by his uncle and likely received the lasting benefits

of a medieval system of education based on

the seven classical liberal arts. By learning the nature

of inflected Latin, Albert grew to understand

the fundamental nature of all languages. By learning

logic, he discovered how to differentiate valid

from invalid arguments and truths from falsehoods.

St. Albert the Great

By learning rhetoric, he saw the

importance of carefully defining

terms, the importance of a powerful

memory, and the necessity

of and methods for tailoring one’s

preaching or teaching to one’s audience.

As a young man he chose

to hone these tools of learning further

at the University of Padua, the

world’s foremost center of learning

of the liberal arts. While he was

there, he entered the newly-formed Dominican

Order at the age of 16.

In 1248 Albert was appointed regent at a new

Studium Gen erale back in Cologne. He introduced

the brilliant works of Aristotle to the West in his

meticulous, line-by-line commentaries on many of

Aristotle’s works, works that some feared threatened

the Faith, since Aristotle reasoned, for example, that

the universe was eternal and that God did not take

interest in human affairs.

Albert faithfully reported what Aristotle truly

taught, the bulk of it being magnificent and in harmony

with the truths of the Church. In his own later

works, Albert was anything but a parrot of Aristotle’s

opinions in science and philosophy, however, contradicting

him at times in specific matters through

his own experience or experimentation. Albert even

wrote a treatise on Aristotle’s errors.

Albert was one of history’s greatest thinkers. A

Doctor of the Church, he is the patron saint of scientists

and philosophers.

Adapted from Hounds of the Lord: Great Dominican Saints Every Catholic Should Know by Dr. Kevin Vost.

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


Focus and Reflection Questions

1 What is a near-death experience?

2 What does it mean for something to be transphysical?

3 What is the term for a medical state where a person has no electrical activity in the brain, fixed and

dilated pupils, and the absence of a gag reflex?

4 What organ is commonly understood to be where consciousness originates? What does scientific

evidence suggest about this presumption?

5 How many patients were in the study conducted by Parnia-Southampton University Study (2014),

and how many of those reported an NDE?

6 What did scientists find in the ​van Lommel et al Study (2001)?

7 What were 80% of the blind persons able to do during their NDEs? What does this suggest about


8 Which of the studies described in the chapter text do you find most interesting and why?

9 Give an example of veridical data reported by patients with an NDE.

10 Some theorize that people who experience meeting deceased persons during an NDE are simply

seeing the loved ones they would naturally think of. What is a piece of evidence that casts doubt on

this theory?

11 What is terminal lucidity and how does it provide evidence for transphysical consciousness?

12 How did St. Albert the Great’s treatment of Aristotle evidence his commitment to both Faith and


16 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

Straight to the Source


Fifth Lateran Council, Session 8, 1512-1517

The soul not only truly exists of itself and essentially as the form of the human body… but it is also


1 What does this document say about the human soul?

2 The soul is made in the image of God. What do you think the Council Fathers mean by saying the soul

is the form of the human body?

Fides et Ratio (blessing), An Encyclical Letter of Pope St. John Paul II, September 14, 1998

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and

God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that, by

knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves (cf.

Ex 33:18; Ps 27:8-9; 63:2-3; Jn 14:8; 1 Jn 3:2).

1 What desire does Pope St. John Paul II say God has placed in the human heart?

2 Why do you think Pope St. John Paul II compares Faith and reason to wings (rather than another set

of two such as hands, eyes, or rollerskates)? Is it an apt metaphor? Why or why not?

Fides et Ratio 1-2, An Encyclical Letter of Pope St. John Paul II, September 14, 1998

1. In both East and West, we may trace a journey which has led humanity down the centuries to meet and

engage truth more and more deeply. It is a journey which has unfolded — as it must — within the horizon

of personal self-consciousness: the more human beings know reality and the world, the more they know

themselves in their uniqueness, with the question of the meaning of things and of their very existence

becoming ever more pressing. This is why all that is the object of our knowledge becomes a part of our

life. The admonition Know yourself was carved on the temple portal at Delphi, as testimony to a basic

truth to be adopted as a minimal norm by those who seek to set themselves apart from the rest of creation

as “human beings”, that is as those who “know themselves”.

Moreover, a cursory glance at ancient history shows clearly how in different parts of the world, with their

different cultures, there arise at the same time the fundamental questions which pervade human life:

Who am I? Where have I come from and where am I going? Why is there evil? What is there after this life?

These are the questions which we find in the sacred writings of Israel, as also in the Veda and the Avesta;

we find them in the writings of Confucius and Lao-Tze, and in the preaching of Tirthankara and Buddha;

© Sophia Institute for Teachers

Unit 1, Chapter 1: Medical Evidence of Our Transphysical Soul


they appear in the poetry of Homer and in the tragedies of Euripides and Sophocles, as they do in the

philosophical writings of Plato and Aristotle. They are questions which have their common source in

the quest for meaning which has always compelled the human heart. In fact, the answer given to these

questions decides the direction which people seek to give to their lives.

2. The Church is no stranger to this journey of discovery, nor could she ever be. From the moment when,

through the Paschal Mystery, she received the gift of the ultimate truth about human life, the Church

has made her pilgrim way along the paths of the world to proclaim that Jesus Christ is “the way, and

the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). It is her duty to serve humanity in different ways, but one way in particular

imposes a responsibility of a quite special kind: the diakonia of the truth. This mission on the one

hand makes the believing community a partner in humanity’s shared struggle to arrive at truth; and on

the other hand it obliges the believing community to proclaim the certitudes arrived at, albeit with a

sense that every truth attained is but a step towards that fullness of truth which will appear with the final

Revelation of God: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I

shall understand fully” (1 Cor 13:12).

1 Why do you think Pope St. John Paul II takes note of fundamental questions observed in the writings

of pre-Christian societies and non-Christian traditions?

2 How does the Church uniquely serve humanity in our pursuit of truth?

3 In this chapter we have examined medical evidence for a soul. How is this study part of the pursuit of


18 Apologetics I: The Catholic Faith and Science

© Magis Center

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