We do not die when our bodies die.
Consciousness survives bodily death.
Individually, we accept and accommodate this fact. Most of us have had personal experience around death, especially of loved ones, in which inexplicably, something in the room changes when a human being dies. Mind exits body in a loss perceptible on the deepest level. Animals are aware of it; think of the spooky hospice tabby the night staff keeps an eye on.
Stories of human beings coming back from the dead and reporting an extra dimensional world are as old as recorded history. Plato’s Republic ends with the myth of Er, a warrior presumed dead, waking up on a funeral pyre with a tale of the afterlife that resembles modern day Near Death Experiences (NDE) in startling detail.
If you turn to science for answers, Theoretical Physics offers several competing models including the Multiverse, Superfluid and Holographic Universes. These theories respectively say that we live in one of an infinite number of universes, or, wait, it’s just like a ginormous particle ocean where the waves go where they please, or, my favorite, our universe is in reality a holograph projected onto a curved plane–the good news here is we’re only plus sized in two directions.
Everywhere science looks it sees extra dimensions–or one fewer–but never is the world we experience the world found in the math.
Information is never destroyed. Consciousness is information. Discrete units of consciousness survive intact. That would be you. And me.
I’m a Christian, in part because I believe the resurrection of Jesus is the model for the transformation of consciousness from this bodily plane of existence to the next. I believe the Father of scripture is the Pure Intelligence that generates the ongoing Universe with beneficent intent. The Holy Spirit, the most mysterious of the Person/Energy/Law involved in this cosmic interplay between matter, information and self, is somehow crucial to the process yet gets the work done without fanfare.
As for reincarnation, the idea that the Creator of the Impossibly Vast needs to recycle seems a bit shop worn. Science has revealed a universe infinitely larger than that of the star gazing Ancients, and unfathomably deeper than that of the navel gazing mystics. I lean strongly towards Christianity’s view. We are each of us unique creations. The sense of past lives may well be a kind of tapping in to a storage unit as information is retrieved and read.
If this borders on heresy to Orthodox Christians, so be it. We’re just talking here.