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Life After Life And The Limits Of Medicine


Rare and precious was an event I enjoyed this spring: lunch together with my medical school dean and two of my most influential professors. Through lecture and lifestyle, they mentored me in the nuances of medicine and health. But we are all older now. Signs of age weigh upon us. And for we four, this life has a coming expiration.


Medicine is an astonishing field. When I was a student back in the 1980s, Americans were normally living to about age 73. Today, thanks largely to better chronic disease management, it’s age 80. But virtually no one from the 1880s is alive today. Medicine has limits.


So what happens beyond these limits? What’s the character of life after life? I’m intrigued over how infrequently people openly ponder the eventual reality of their own death. Sometimes this is due to fear: loss of loved ones, loss of lifestyle, the distress of death itself. But moreover, I find that such silence is connected with uncertainly surrounding the character of life after life. Wouldn’t it be vital if an emissary could report back to us about its qualities?


Only one person in recorded history was publicly witnessed alive again after being executed and confirmed dead. Days later, he was observed very much alive on multiple occasions by as many as 500 persons at once. The Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus documented the events in great detail, as did Luke the Physician. Today we all recognize the limits of medicine. Shall we not be intrigued over the nuances of life after life, particularly through the report of this unique emissary, before our own upcoming expiration?


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