a1 Harvard University
The Immortality of Man was one of the fundamental creeds of the philosophical religion of Platonism that was in part adopted by the Christian church and that thus became one of the foundations of the Christian civilization of the Eastern and Western world. Ever since Paul in the 15th chapter of I Corinthians made resurrection the cornerstone of the Christian faith the Church has had a profound interest in the ancient philosophers who taught that man's soul is immortal and does not perish along with its mortal companion the body. Although this belief in the immortality of the soul, the ψυχή, is not the same as the Christian idea of man's resurrection in the flesh or in a transfigured body, both religious ideas have a natural affinity with each other; and it is therefore easy to understand that the Platonic belief in immortality was regarded as an anticipation of the Christian resurrection and helpful to the faithful who might wish to check their emotional expectations of a future life after death by rational reflection. Thus we find attempts to compare both things or to look for natural phenomena that could be interpreted as analogies of resurrection in nature.