I pointed out that the implications of such a notion are profound. In a worldview that embraces fatalistic determinism I cannot be held morally accountable for my actions, since reward and punishment make sense only if we have freedom of the will. In a solely material world reason itself is reduced to the status of a conditioned reflex. Moreover, even the very concept of love is rendered meaningless. Rather than being an act of the will, love is relegated to a robotic procedure that is fatalistically determined by physical processes. If Madonna is merely a material girl living in a material world then she really has no freedom of choice.

In short, I presented Matt with three compelling reasons to believe that human beings have a soul that continues to exist apart from the body. First, logically or intuitively, we recognize nonphysical aspects of humanity, such as ego. Furthermore, legally, even though our physical identity changes from year to year, we recognize a sameness of soul that establishes personal identity. Finally, libertarian freedom of the will presupposes that we are more than mere material robots. Together these three reasons give us warrant to conclude that human beings have an immaterial nature that transcends the material body. In the Christian worldview this immaterial aspect of humanity is called the soul. It is precisely because the human soul is not dependent on material processes for existence that we can survive the death of the physical body, awaiting our bodily resurrection at the second coming of Christ (see Phil. 1:23; John 5:28-29; the sum substance of the self is a soul/body).

Well, I could see the golf course looming on the horizon, so our discussion had to be put on hold. For the next four hours we focused on beating a little white ball from one hole to the next. By the time we got back into the car our visions of golf glory had dematerialized. While we had not crashed on the way to the tournament, we had definitely crashed during it. Nothing seemed to go right. As we headed towards home we dejectedly replayed every single shot over and over again in our minds, all the while dreaming of what might have been. Eventually, however, we transitioned from mere earthly vanities to eternal verities. As a lawyer, Matt was significantly impressed by the logical, legal, and libertarian freedom arguments I had presented on the way to the tournament. However, he was not yet convinced of life beyond the grave. Thus, during the course of the next few hours I conjoined these arguments to the overwhelming evidence for a Creator and for the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (for these evidences, see my The FACE that Demonstrates the Farce of Evolution [1998] and Resurrection [2000], both published by Word).

By the time I had finished telling Matt about the resurrection we were already pulling into his driveway. We continued talking. I told him how some twenty years ago someone had explained to me what I was now explaining to him. I described how after examining the evidence, the Creator of the cosmos had become the Lord and Savior of my soul. And that today he is more real to me than the very flesh upon my bones.

While I would like to tell you that Matt yielded his life to Christ in the driveway that evening, I can't. What I can say is that since that day he and I have had numerous conversations about the afterlife and the existence of the soul. I am reminded that all the evidence in the world will not change someone's heart - only the Holy Spirit can do that. People reject the evidence not because they can't accept it but because they won't. Though Matt has not yet yielded his life to the Creator of his soul, I remain hopeful that the whole story has not yet been told. - Hank Hanegraaff

(This article is adapted from chapter ten of Hank Hanegraaff's Resurrection.)