Column: Transforming life on earth is the most important guide

Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster

Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster

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Recently in the news was a 14 year-old girl who won permission from the High Court for her body to be cryogenically preserved.

This poor cancer sufferer was snatching at a chance for living and for survival denied to her by a deadly disease.

It is heartbreaking when someone dies young. However much life may have been lived to the full in the time spent on earth, there is still that aching thought of unrealised potential.

Moving away from this individual case is there any sense that cryonic preservation is the same as the life beyond death that people of faith hold on to so dearly? Personally I cannot see the comparison. One is about life extension, the other is about life transformation.

As a young curate, I encountered a lady called Marguerita who was widowed with three children when her husband was killed in a traffic accident. That lady demonstrated to me a sense of eternity. She lived it out.

Words about ‘this life is only a part of things, the best is yet to come’, were truths she demonstrated. I found myself wanting that same sense of eternity.

I find the whole cryonics movement inspired by science-fiction accounts of future resurrection.

It taps into the post-truth generation of elevating feeling above reason. Yes, that is different from the resurrection of Jesus at the heart of the Christian faith.

There is clear evidence for this teaching which has been forensically examined by a host of thinkers and legal people.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in the course of his ministry, poor Lazarus would still have to die again. He would still walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The Christian has a much higher view of the life to come.

It is not life preserved, it is not an earthly immortality, it is much more.

What a shame that so many people cannot glimpse something better than this vale of tears – eternal life in all its fullness; a glorious new beginning that is no mixed blessing. What a hope.