The third thing that attests to this universal belief of man, is the doctrines that men have established. Some years ago, a book was discovered called, “Book of the Dead”, an ancient Egypt book, and since that time we have known what the Egyptians believed. They believed that upon death, all souls were weighed in the scales of justice, the good going to the god of light, and the evil to the god of darkness. None were exterminated; all passed on to a future life.
Hindus and Chaldeans believed in the reincarnation. The good souls were reborn again in a higher form of life, and the evil were reborn in a lower form of life. Other ancient people believed in the transmigration of the soul so that at death, the soul entered another body. Man’s doctrines have universally believed in some form of life hereafter.
In spite of this evidence, there may be some people who will say that all of this is paganism. But all of this evidence of history cannot be dismissed with one word. Why did man, who saw himself universally surrounded by matter and limited by matter, believe in something limitless? They saw the bodies laid in the tomb, and yet they believed they lived again. Either these beliefs and practices represented a natural instance of human life or they represented a colossal and universal error. How shall we explain it? By saying that these beliefs originated in man’s belief in ghosts? But why did man believe in ghosts? This answer answers nothing, but only pushes the mystery back further.
Shall we say that this is traced to man’s ancestor worship? But if man dies, why worship one’s dead ancestor? This again answers nothing. And some say it is because of man’s dreams. But man’s dreams are an indication of his subconscious and do not furnish an answer to this instinct. Only one thing explains this mystery. This belief, in whatever form it may take, is a universal and ineradicable instinct of the soul.
Twenty-five hundred years ago a group of men watched the sun go down one afternoon, for at sundown one of them was to drink the cup of hemlock and lay down to die. Some of his disciples were there for a final conversation and one asked where he would like to be buried. And Socrates answered, “Bury me if you can catch me.” Socrates here answered for all humanity by saying that there was something that man cannot kill nor imprison. Man has never believed that death ended all.