Question of the week: As a Christian, how can I know that when I die there is something beyond this life? Do you have any advice on how to deal with this question that plagues my faith?
My answer: There are several ways. The two that personally bring me the most confidence are the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the obvious reality of Ecclesiastes 3:11. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has written eternity on the heart of every human being. Of life on Earth, we humans are the only creatures that think about life after death, the meaning of life, the existence of an eternal Creator, morality, judgment, the purpose of the universe, and our purpose for living, both in this life and the afterlife. If there is no afterlife, why are we humans so compelled to think, meditate, and debate about these matters? Why is it that even committed atheists acknowledge that there is a universal law that distinguishes good from evil? Why do they also believe that their lives have value, meaning, and purpose? Why are people all around the world so fixated on finding redemption from their propensity to commit evil or fixated on trying to justify themselves and their behavior?
As many scholars have pointed out (for example, Gary Habermas, Josh McDowell, and William Lane Craig), the historical evidence for the bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead is stronger than the historical evidence for the defeat of Napoléon at Waterloo or for the surrender of Germany in 1918. There is so much historical evidence that Habermas currently is writing a 3,500-page multivolume set that will document about 80 percent of the existing evidence. For a brief summary, go here.
If Jesus can raise himself bodily from the dead, then he certainly possesses the power to raise us bodily from the dead. He promised to do so. The historical evidence for the moral, sin-free perfection of Jesus (note that even Jesus’s enemies, his mother, and his brothers acknowledged that he was sinless—John 8:46) and the truthfulness of his words leave no doubt that he will keep his word.