Christian Beliefs About Life After Death by Paul Badham

By Paul Badham

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61 The advantages of this theory can best be understood by considering some of the findings which have been made about such phenomena by the Society for Psychical Research. M. Tyrell analysed 1684 reports of 'Appar-itions' gathered by this society. He stated that the- apparitions seemed to the percipients to be as real as something objectively seen, 62 but that french chalk, cameras, and tape-recorders never provide evidence of an apparition's presence. 63 Apparitions sometimes appear in locked rooms, at times they vanish suddenly, at other times they fade away; they normally evade touching and they leave no physical traces of their presence behind them; they are seen by some, but not others of those present.

Professor Lampe makes a strong defence of this position: If the appearances to the apostles were private mani· festations in the sense that a casual bystander would have seen nothing: if, that is to say, they were in the nature of visions rather than of bodily seeing, this does not imply that these men were not confronted with the Lord's presence as an external reality. To maintain the contrary would be to pass a very sweeping and damaging judgement on a great body of religious experience. ), therefore the prophet dreamed up the experience and that the Lord's presence never impinged upon him as an objective reality.

97 Hence I believe that the Easter tradition, as known to St Paul, did not include the Empty Tomb. Turning to the Gospels, the situation changes. Scholars seem seriously divided about whether the Empty Tomb traditions within the Gospels are early or late, historical or fanciful. B. Phillips' subjective analysis that the stories have the ring of truth about them. 98 Lillie comments that there is 'a restraint in the 36 Christian Beliefs about Life after Death Gospel narratives which give a prima facie appearance of historical reliability.

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