By Ernest O'Neill
We're discussing whether there exists any life greater than this human mental, emotional, and physical life that you and I experience. Is there any superhuman life? We've been looking at a remarkable "more-than-human" life that was lived in the first century of our era by a man in Palestine called Jesus. He differed from other religious leaders like Buddha and Mohammed in that he claimed perfection--and even his enemies didn't contradict his claim to sinlessness. He had power over nature and disease, and he is looked upon as the foremost ethical teacher the world has ever seen.
However, what sets him utterly apart from the other famous religious leaders is his death. They all died--like dogs--and were buried like the rest of us will be! He was killed and buried--but he got up after he was dead! He treated death as sleep and was able to raise people out of the grave. Now that is "superhuman life" because all of us have been brought up to believe that death is the end of this temporary human life--and there is no way to avoid it. But this man repeated publicly that he would destroy death--and he did.
Many gurus have been buried alive and through controlled breathing have managed to survive in a kind of trance under the earth, but none have been executed by experts like the Romans--and then actually risen from the dead.
This is what happened with this man. The soldiers were so sure he was dead that they didn't bother breaking his legs; they simply thrust a spear into his side and a mixture of blood and water poured out. Then he was buried in a private tomb, bound tightly in grave-clothes, and then a large stone was rolled across the mouth of the grave.1 On Sunday morning (he was buried on Friday night) he met Mary, one of his followers in the garden. When she reported it to the other disciples, they wouldn't believe her. But, in a moment, Jesus appeared suddenly in the room with them.2
He did this for the next month or more--appearing on more than a dozen occasions. Sometimes He appeared to a few of them, sometimes to more than 500 at one time.3 Sometimes he ate breakfast or allowed sceptical Thomas to poke his fingers into the holes in his hands to make it clear that he was not a ghost or a psychological hallucination.4 Then he explained that he must return to his Father, the Creator of the universe, and his body has never been found on earth since.
All the hypothetical explanations of the resurrection are harder to believe than the facts themselves. The two vital facts are--the EMPTY TOMB and the RESURRECTION APPEARANCES. The old arguments that Jesus just swooned on the cross and was revived in the coolness of the tomb or that the disciples or the Romans stole the body aren't even very logical. How could a man whose side had been speared by the Roman experts as already dead have recovered from his wounds so completely that he could not only free himself from the grave-clothes, roll away the heavy stone, but could appear at a dozen different locations over the next month and appear not only revived but more alive than he had ever been before! It just doesn't make sense. If the Romans stole the body, why didn't they parade it through the streets to prove that this man was not the Messiah? If the disciples stole it, why did they die for what they knew to be a lie. A man might die for what he believes to be the truth but he will not die for what he knows is a lie.
The same is true of the suggestion that the resurrection appearances were just hallucinations. They just don't fit the psychological criteria for such phenomena. Hallucinations occur usually to one person who desperately wants to see the deceased person. Jesus appeared always to groups of people and normally they had given up all hope that he would rise from the. dead. Hallucinations usually continue over a lengthy period of time; Jesus showed himself alive for about forty days and then disappeared from the earth!
Because of evidence like this scholars hold that no fact of history has been examined so comprehensively by legal, medical psychological, religious, and historical experts and emerged so unchallenged as to its veracity. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then we can be sure of nothing in mankind's past history.
Is there such a phenomenon as "superhuman life?" The fully documented history of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth is plain evidence that such a life exists. How do you get into it? Can an ordinary person like you or me experience it? Let's talk about this in the next article.
1 John l9:31-37
2 Mark 16:1-14
3 1 Corinthians 15:3-6
4 John 21:12-13, 20:27
Read Superhuman Life No. 9
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