SUNDAY STUDY: Is Death the End of Existence? Part Two

From The Berean Call, Part Two Dave Hunt and Tom McMahon

What is your view of what takes place after death? And how do you know you can depend on what you believe?

Tom: Dave, last week we looked at some of the popular views of life after death, and I want to just briefly review some of the things we covered last week. The first thought that some people have is, “Well, when you’re dead you’re dead.” It’s just extinction. When the lights are out, the lights are out, that’s it. What about that?

Dave: Well, you can say that about the body, but you can’t say that about the spirit. We are spirit beings living in a body, and I don’t think very many scientists today doubt that. I think we’ve quoted – even Wilder Penfield, one of the world’s top neurosurgeons, experts on the brain; and, in fact, Herbert Benson from Harvard quotes him favorably, saying that the mind is something separate and distinct from the brain. The mind is nonphysical, and it programs the brain, and the brain is like a computer that the mind uses to operate the body. This man is not a Christian.

Now we’ve also quoted – we didn’t quote him last week – Sir John Eccles, Nobel Prize winner for his research on the brain. He calls the brain a machine that a ghost can operate, and normally we’re the ghost that operates it, our spirit. But other ghosts can operate it as well. If you go into an altered state of consciousness, which we talked about when we were dealing with the occult (that’s not our subject now), but the point we made, I think, last week was a man that sticks a gun to his head and pulls the trigger, he can only be assured he stopped the functions of the brain cells! The bullet missed his soul and spirit completely. So, the big question is: where will you spend eternity? So, when “You’re dead, you’re dead” doesn’t fit. It doesn’t work.

Tom: Right, the brain may be dead, but there is a mind, a spirit, a soul, that continues on.

Dave: Which, as Wilder Penfield says, is independent of the brain…? So, being independent of the brain, it doesn’t rely upon the brain for its existence. It does use the brain when we’re in a body, but now it’s independent of the brain, and it continues.

Tom: Yeah, and these men that you mentioned – medical doctors, Benson from Harvard and others – they’re not particularly Christians.

Dave: Oh, by a long shot they are not.

Tom: Right, and so they are relying on the evidence that’s out there.

Dave: Right.

Tom: Well, there are those who would say then, “Oh fine; I believe that when we die, our spirits go on to be somewhere.” So they believe in spirit survival, but there’s a problem with that as well.

Dave: Lots of problems, but of course they say we move on into graduate school, we continue to learn our lessons. There’s no judgment, so Hitler is no worse off than a Mother Teresa. It may take him a little longer to “evolve” upward. One of the ways that we can identify these spirit beings that are telling you this – these are not the spirits of the dead. The Bible says they are either in heaven or hell. They’re not flitting about on the astral plane, talking with people. So when you go to séance, it’s not Aunt Jane that’s speaking through the medium; it’s a demon impersonating her.

Well, somebody listening says, “Well, that’s an extreme view! How can you document it? Very simply, we can document it because of the consistency of the message that comes through. I’ve interviewed people all over the world on this subject who have had this experience. So, whether you are on drugs, whether you are under hypnosis with a psychiatrist, whether you’ve had an out-of-body experience, or what they call a near-death experience, or you are channeling – there’s a consistency.

I remember being in Australia a number of years ago reading a New Age magazine, and this is one of the things that the author was talking about. He said there is an amazing consistency in the messages that are received all over the world, independently – people who have never been in touch with one another – and there is a consistency that comes through. There’s a philosophy that is being taught.

We could quote a number of the “experts” who have been traveling around the world ingesting sacred mushrooms and some of these plants, psychedelic plants, investigating what is going on, and they will tell you that these things put us in touch, put man in touch with spirit beings. And what I find significant is these people who are not Christians, they say the reason is that these spirit entities that we get in touch with through these drugs are, “trying to teach us something.” What are they trying to teach us? It conforms exactly to the Four Lies that the serpent introduced to Eve in the Garden of Eden that destroyed the human race.

So, I think that pretty well identifies who these entitles are. Just for example, some listeners might remember Bishop James Pike, bishop of California, Episcopal bishop of California. And his son, James, Jr., committed suicide. He was homosexual and apparently in great conflict over this – committed suicide. James Pike, Bishop Pike, with his mistress, was visiting his apartment, the dead son’s apartment in London. Some strange things happened – things moved about, they left themselves in a certain pattern. He was convinced his dead son was trying to talk to him, the spirit of his dead son. He went to a medium, Anna Twig, and what do you know? She made contact with Jim, Jr.! I mean, the things, the sound of the voice, the things that he said that only father and son knew about that she couldn’t possibly have known about. But here’s what the spirit of Jim, Jr., said: “Dad, I’m not here for just a pleasant afternoon’s conversation. I have a mission, and part of my mission is to tell you that there is no death . . . ”

Well, that’s one of the lies of the serpent. “. . . that there’s no judgment Dad! We just continue to learn our lessons, and we continue to evolve ever higher. Now, I want you to know [that] Jesus is not the Savior. I haven’t met him yet. He’s on a higher level, but I’ve heard about him, and he’s a higher level than I am, which I will evolve up to. And, Dad, I want you to know: God is not personal, he’s a force.”

Okay, these are the lies of the serpent, and these are demons who are impersonating the dead, and there is just no doubt as to their identity. So, we can prove not only are we spirit entities; there are other spirit entities out there.

Tom: Dave, at the least, what we are trying to encourage people here, particularly people who have some of these views about extinction, about spirit survival – what are they – if they’re depending on this, what’s the basis for depending on it? That’s what we are trying to encourage them.

Dave: Amen, they don’t have any solid basis.

Tom: Right. Another view, which we haven’t gotten to, we didn’t talk about last week, but we can pick up today, is the popular view of reincarnation. That is, there’s an Eastern world view about it, and transmigration, and there’s a very popular Western view, the idea that, “Well, we’re going to come back. Maybe in a former life I was even Napoleon or some . . .” It’s usually a great figure, someone highly esteemed, but “now I get to go through it again.” What’s the basis for that?

Dave: There isn’t any basis. Well, it comes out of Hinduism, and you would find that in the Bhagavad-Gita, you would find it in some of the Hindu Vedas. This was the teaching of the gurus. This has caused the caste system, for example, one of the most horrible things you could imagine in India, beginning with the Untouchables at the bottom who have no status whatsoever. And you move up through the four castes of Hinduism – finally you reach the top caste, the Brahmans, and then you can launch off into godhood. And the goal of yoga, of course, is to escape time, sense, and the elements to reach moksha to escape this world and finally reach this godhood.

But there’s no basis for it. Furthermore, we can prove very simply that it isn’t true. In contrast to spirit survival, there is a judgment but it’s senseless. It’s not just, there’s no basis for it.

There are three things about reincarnation: It’s amoral, it’s senseless, and it’s hopeless. It’s amoral, because if I am a husband who beats his wife in this life, karma, the law of cause and effect, says I must come back in the next life as a wife beaten by her husband. That means that my husband in the next life must come back in another life as a wife beaten by her husband, and on and on it goes forever. So that the perpetrator of every crime must become the victim of the same crime, which means there must be another perpetrator, which then there must be another victim, another perpetrator. So, far from solving the problem of evil, karma and reincarnation perpetuate evil. There is no solution to evil, there’s no justice, there’s no one to pay a penalty. You just keep going on and on and on. It leads to horrible stuff, Tom. For example, if I pick someone up out of the gutter in Calcutta, clean them up, put them in a clean bed, I have not helped them; I have interfered with their karma!

Tom: Right, you’re not allowing them to work off this problem that they have and they have to have for all eternity unless it’s taken care of through the law of karma.

Dave: In the next life they’re going to have to end up back in that gutter in that same situation. So it’s amoral. Then, it’s senseless! Is the world getting better?

Tom: Dave, this is amoral because if you committed a crime, then someone else would have to commit a crime against you through the next process, so that you can pay that off.

Dave: Right, it’s amoral. Now, it’s senseless also. Is the world getting better? I hadn’t noticed that. How many people—if reincarnation were true, do you remember all your past lives? Do I? Does anybody? Now you’ve got a person here and there—déjà vu, you know, “Oh, I showed up in this little village, and I have a recollection of being here,” or something. You’ve got a few little things like that, but that’s not going to help anyone. In order for reincarnation to make any sense, I should remember the mistakes of my prior life. I should remember the lessons that I have learned, so that I could improve. What’s the point of coming back again and again if I’m not improving?

In fact, I don’t remember. Nobody remembers! And far from improving, the world is getting worse. So it’s senseless to keep coming back again and again. This is why Gandhi himself, who believed in it, said, “Reincarnation is a burden too great to bear.” I’ve got to keep coming back again and again, but I don’t know whether I am improving.

Then, finally, it’s hopeless. The fact that you and I are sitting here right now making this radio program, Tom, is the result of karma that we built up in a prior life. Everything that happens to someone in this life is a result of karma built up in a prior life. So in this life we’re trying to work off the karma we built up from a prior life, but in the process of working off the karma from a prior life we build up more karma. So then we’ve got to live another life to work off that karma, but in the process of working that off, we build up more karma! We can’t help it. So then we’ve got to live another life and another life, it never ends! This is why they call it “the wheel of reincarnation.”

Tom: Don’t the Hindus call it samsara, “the wheel of sorrow”? Because it’s a bad deal, no matter how you look at it!

Dave: It is, and the only way to get off of it is through yoga, so they say, but nobody can prove that.

Tom: Dave, that’s the Eastern view. Now we have sort of Americanized or homogenized or Westernized this. We buy it at another level here today.

Dave: We’ve revised it. They make it sound like it’s good, it’s going to give you another chance. That’s the whole idea. “Isn’t that wonderful? I’ll have another chance,” and so forth. It doesn’t work, but, Tom, going back into the past – now, sitting here—this is the result of the karma of the prior life. But that prior life is the result of karma of the prior life, and that was the result of the karma of a prior life, and a prior life, and a prior life. You go back into the past as far as you can go, you reach the point where the three gunas, it’s called, of the godhead – were in perfect balance in the void. And something happened to cause an imbalance in the godhead, and because of this imbalance in the godhead, the prakriti, it’s called, the “manifestation” began, and we are all reaping the result of bad karma that began in the godhead.

Tom: So that’s where the evil began.

Dave: And it’s built in the fabric of the universe! You can’t escape it; there’s no hope. So, it’s amoral, it’s senseless and it’s hopeless, and I hope we have delivered a few people out there from believing in reincarnation. I remember a young man that came to me late one night, because he knew I stayed up very late, and he knocked on my door, probably about one in the morning. He just wanted to tweak me, I think, because he had been a professing Christian; in fact he had been in a Bible study of mine. And he said, “Dave, I want you to know I believe in reincarnation now.”

And I said, “Oh, really? Tell me, what’s reincarnation going to do for you?”

“Well,” he said, “you could become a bug or a tree, or you might move upwards, you know.”

And I said, “Look, you’ve go to be kidding. You’ve got no basis for this, first of all; you have turned away from Jesus Christ, who loves you so much that He died for you on the cross. He offers you eternal life, he offers you a wonderful life, where He will guide you and bless you, and instead of that, you want to put yourself in the hands of an impersonal ‘law’ that can’t even think and could turn you into a bug, and there is no justice! I think you’re crazy! It doesn’t make sense.”

Now, in contrast to karma, reincarnation, and so forth, and this poor guy in the gutter in Calcutta, the God of the Bible loves us so much [that] He came down to where we were. He suffered in our place. He took the penalty for our sins on the cross so that God can be just and yet forgive sinners if they will believe in Him and accept the pardon that He offers on this just basis – not paying for it themselves, not doing anything, not claiming that they’re “not so bad,” but accepting that we are sinners and turning to God in repentance and believing in Jesus Christ, who paid the penalty for our sins. I mean this is good news, but this other, karma and reincarnation, that’s not good news.

Tom: Dave, I remember when you were on a [tv] program a while back, and there were some women in the audience who had been to one of your meetings? Well, you can explain that one.

Dave: Yeah, this was Good Morning, LA, I think, in Los Angeles, and as I walked into the studio going in where the guests go, somebody came by me, going into where the audience goes – a young woman. She said, “Oh, Dave, I heard yesterday morning. Good to see you. My father was a Baptist minister. I really loved what you had to say!”

She went into the audience, and the pastor – actually, it was the assistant pastor– before he introduced me, he had his aged aunt stand up and he said what a godly woman she was, and what an influence she had on his life, and so forth. She was in the audience also. There was a host and a hostess – I think it was the hostess – said, “Before we begin this program, why don’t we see who is on whose side. How many of you believe in reincarnation?”

Both of those ladies, the young one and the elderly one, raised their hands. Now you can’t believe in reincarnation and resurrection, so I was just absolutely staggered that here we had two professing Christians, and they believed in reincarnation.

Tom: Yeah, I think a lot of the reason – and I think I mentioned this last week – Dave, you tend to buy into some things, and superficially they sound right, and, you know, you don’t follow through to really understand what it’s all about, but you pick it up as part of your theological baggage.

Dave: That’s why we encourage people to search the Scriptures daily, because if they would search the Scriptures, they would know that reincarnation is absolutely contrary to the Word of God.

Tom: Now, the closest thing in the Scriptures to something like the Law of Karma would be Galatians:6:7: “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man soweth that shall he also reap . . .” But there’s a big distinction between . . .

Dave: There’s a “but”: That which you sow, you reap . . . but Christ paid the penalty, and there is forgiveness with God. In Karma and reincarnation, there’s no forgiveness, there’s nowhere to turn to forgiveness. This is an inexorable law that just grinds you down!

Tom: You know, our subject here is “eternity,” and we’re asking lots of questions about it – there are things that people try to avoid looking into, but they do at their destruction. I mean, we plan for a lot of things, but rarely for eternity. But, Dave, aside from the Bible teaching it, why should anyone believe that there is an eternity ahead?

Dave: Well, we know, for example that the universe has not been here forever. If it had been, the sun would have burned out by now. The same for the stars. We know there was time when they didn’t exist. Now, of course, the scientists try to say it all began with a big bang, but they have no explanation of where the bang came from, where was the energy? why did it happen? and so forth. There was, in fact, we know, a time when nothing physical existed – out of nothing came everything. Now we know that it had a beginning. You can’t say that there was some matter existed back there, because matter doesn’t last forever, Second Law of Thermodynamics. So there couldn’t have been matter that began this thing. There had to be a time when there was nothing.

Therefore, there must have been not some thing but some one who exists, who always existed – no beginning, no end – who had the capability to bring out of nothing everything that exists. Now, this God speaks to us through His Word, and we can prove that the Bible is God’s Word. Now He tells us that this universe is going to end and He’s going to bring a new universe, but He says that He made man in His image. Man became a living soul – spirit and soul in a body. And bodies wear out, but we don’t have any reason – there’s absolutely no scientific evidence that souls and spirits cease to exist.

Now God warns us that we will either be with Him in His presence, or we will be separated from Him forever. And Jesus talked more about hell than He talked about heaven, actually. He taught more about it than anybody. “Oh, well, Jesus is so loving and kind!” Yes, that’s why He warned us.

So the most important question – that’s why we begin the book talking about death. Death is certain – the death of the body – but the most important question we can face is “Where will I spend eternity?” Because we are made in the image of God, who is eternal, we are eternal beings, and we will be either in His presence, enjoying His love, or we will be experiencing His wrath against sin, because God is holy and just, and He cannot condone sin. There’s no escape from this, and, in fact, the Bible warns us, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”

Tom: Right, and He offers us salvation as a free gift. I’m sure there are people out there thinking, Well, why would God do this? Why would God do that? The point we’re trying to underscore here is He has made salvation available for all as a free gift for those who will come to Him.

Dave: Tom, you can’t even play a game without rules, and somehow or other we recognize that, but we don’t allow God to have any rules! It would be like an NBA or NFL player complaining that the referee is narrow minded and dogmatic because he’s enforcing the rules, or saying that he’s extreme or intolerant. God has rules! There are rules for the physical universe – we know there must be moral and spiritual rules. We know that in our conscience. We don’t have to violate them; He’s provided salvation for us. If we would accept it, we’d have forgiveness. If we don’t, the justice of God is going to be meted out.



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