The Other Side of Dying – Morton Kelsey


Morton Kelsey, after his review of a wide range of approaches that have been used to reflect on death and afterlife, draws his own alternative view of the world. For him, the human psyche is a meaningful development from the unconscious matrix toward a growing consciousness. The basic question is this: “Are we human imprisoned within these four walls of space, time energy and mass, or do our lives and our ways of knowing extend into that unknown world where God and elements of spirit may be encountered?” (19) The universe appears to be moving toward increasing individuality and consciousness. Individuality and consciousness, far from being accidental provisional epiphenomena, may, in fact, be steps along the way to some greater stage of evolution. When the human psyche is seen as participating in a teleological, purposeful process which is revealed in nature itself, then there is a reason to look for its continuance. It would appear, then, that our instinctive belief in the continuance of our consciousness is not the illusory fruit of our deepest desire, but probably part of what the evolution of the universe is about.


Resurrection, for Kelsey, stresses the value of transformation: existence after death will be quite unlike what we know; we will need major transformation from our ego-centred, time-limited modes of experiencing. He recognizes the beauty and importance of the body; the body is valuable, along with emotions, images, passions, etc.; the human body and its experiences have eternal value; the body is not evil, breaking our relationship with God is. His view implies the resurrection of the body; this acknowledges that God works in and with the physical world.


The time of Resurrection is unclear, since both views – resurrection occurs at death and at End-time – are seen in the New Testament. But resurrection is intimately linked with the expression “Kingdom of God,” read variously as “heaven” or as starting here and now whenever right relationships are nurtured.

Adapted from Morton Kelsey Afterlife: The Other Side of Dying,1979: New York, Paulist Press