Item description for You Are Immortal!: The Words and Deeds of Jesus About Eternal Life: A Postmodern Exploration by Louis Richard Batzler...
Persons in every age have sought to understand and to cope with their mortality. The language and concepts about death and life after death are numerous, controversial and fraught with conjecture, tradition, dogma, doctrine, prejudice, scholarly research, personal testimonies and anecdotes. Despite the countless experiences, concepts, explanations, speculations, theories, research and studies, there is still much mystery surrounding death and the afterlife. You Are Immortal examines the thoughts, words and deeds of Jesus concerning death, immortality, and eternal life, primarily as recorded in the four Gospels and other New Testament sources, along with relevant insights from apocryphal and non-canonical writings. Also included are references from theological, philosophical, psychological and parapsychological observations. Heaven, hell, evil and the devil, immortality, eternal life, eschatology, salvation, apocalypse and reincarnation are discussed in light of Jesusa life and teachings.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.62" Weight: 0.9 lbs.
Release Date May 19, 2008
ISBN 1605633232 ISBN13 9781605633237
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Much Food for Thought Jul 26, 2008
"The purpose of the book is to examine the thoughts, words and deeds of Jesus, primarily as recorded in the four Gospels and other New Testament references, along with relevant information from apocryphal and non-canonical sources, and from theological, philosophical, psychological and parapsychological observations on death and life after death; and to show how Jesus' life and teachings speak to our beliefs and experiences about these universal, existential concerns for our time and all time,"
So writes The Rev. Louis Richard Batzler, Ph.D., in the Preface of the book. A long-time member of the Academy of Spirituality and Paranormal Studies and a member of its Board of Directors, Dr. Batzler is a minister, teacher, counselor, and author of many articles and other books, including "Journeys on Your Spiritual Path," "Sunlight and Shadows," and "Life Lines: The Selected Poetry of Louis Richard Batzler."
As Batzler points out in the Introduction, interpreting Scripture is not an easy task and there is a real challenge is bridging the time and cultural gaps as well as the language barriers. Moreover, while the resurrection story is fundamental to Christianity, the subject of life after death is not a theme, per se, of the Gospels. When Jesus talked about the afterlife, it was in conjunction with and subordinate to the life we are living, Batzler notes. "Basically, his intention was to present the seriousness of God's claim for righteousness and obedience, and the urgency of repentance and readiness for death."
Batzler meticulously sifts through the passages of the Old and New Testaments that refer to or allude to life after death. He begins with a chapter on the semantics involved in understanding such words as heaven, hell, immortality, eternal life, salvation, apocalyptic and other words subject to various interpretations. For example, he points out that while the "immortality" is not used in the Gospels and appears only a few times in the rest of the New Testament, there are many words that suggest the idea of immortality, including everlasting, forever, evermore, eternal, enduring, unfading, imperishable, deathlessness, and incorruption. In addition, he explores the subject of reincarnation, citing a dozen or more biblical references that may or may not suggest reincarnation, depending upon the interpretation given the passages.
He then moves on to a summary of basic biblical view of death and life after death, pointing out that there is very little in the Old Testament on the subject, as the focus is on the destiny of the Hebrew people as a whole. Nevertheless, there are a number of passages that imply or from which can infer the survival of consciousness at death. In 1 Enoch, for example, there are references to judgment, a tour of Sheol and the Garden of Righteousness. Batzler mentions some contradictions, such as the condemnation of necromancy by Deuteronomy vs. the spirit of Samuel communicating with Saul.
Other chapters deal with "The Kingdom of God," "Jesus' Parables," "The Sermon on the Mount," "Works and Faith," "The Gospel of John," "The Resurrection of Jesus," and "The Ascension of Jesus."
Concerning the latter two subjects, Batzler discusses the discrepancies in the Gospels over the nature of the risen body, the empty tomb, and the numerous appearances of Jesus. "What is clear and decisive," Batzler concludes, "is that the recorded accounts do agree that Jesus did not die into nothingness and that the discilples' lives were greatly changed. Through the resurrection, death is not cancelled, but conquered. Death is not limitation, but liberation."
In the Appendix, Batzler opines that parapyschological research must be factored into our understanding of the biblical experience, keeping in mind that while a certain percentage of the communication penetrating the veil in modern times is apparently genuine, much of it is vague, platitudinous, trivial, ambiguous, ridiculous, and even deceptive.
In conclusion, Batzler states that Jesus' message is one of hope. "Jesus knew that life is sustained by hope and that without hope no one can live meaningfully," he philosophizes. "Hopelessness blurs one's vision, depresses one's mind and leads to despair. Real hope is not an egoistic desire for oneself nor the realization of a specific goal, but rather confidence that despite the evils that plague the world, one can trust that good will ultimately prevail over evil."
This book is both a valuable reference book relative to Bible passages pertaining to life after death and a very informative treatise of the subject. It offers much food for thought for students of the Bible as well as for students of psychical research and parapsychology.