The Science of Spiritual Life and Death


By James M. Powell

jamesmpowell72dpi-jpg_lucidThe Principle text claims it contains truth that is of a higher and richer content than previous similar works, and that it has a more scientific method of expression.

However, much of its content, specifically concerning life in the spirit world and how we relate with it from our positions here on the earth, is left unresolved and unexplained with regard to science.

One such topic that we find without a scientific explanation is that of the grace of spiritual resurrection. What is the science of resurrection? How does a person die spiritually and subsequently be resurrected? What is the actual process of spiritual death and spiritual rebirth?

The main reason people who have been spiritually resurrected believe they have been spiritually resurrected is because they felt it happen. Such resurrected are 100% sure they’ve been spiritually reborn even though they can’t scientifically explain it.

Here is the problem. A feeling or belief does not provide the modern scientifically trained and inquisitive mind with a satisfying or reasonable justification to believe that the proposed invisible spiritual resurrection is plausible.

What if someone you know sincerely asks you to explain how spiritual resurrection actually happens and they want to hear more than to just be told to believe and it will happen?

What if they genuinely want, and all they need, is a common sense understanding of this phenomenon in order to calm their doubting or questioning intellect before they make the step to believe? After all, it is noted in the Principle that without first understanding, beliefs do not take hold.

People are no longer happy to blindly believe nor should they need to.

Would you say you are able to explain to a person the science of spiritual resurrection even if that person’s entire spiritual life completely depended on it? Personally, I would have said “no” until I made a new discovery while researching how True Parents’ Blessing can change the physical lineage.

In this article, I cover only spiritual resurrection in relation to Jesus and the Holy Spirit, rather than spiritual and physical resurrection in relation to True Parents.

The Spiritual Death Caused by the Fall

Spiritual death was a result of the human Fall. Having lost faith in God, humankind lost the Word of God.

God’s Word, that is, the Principle, is one half of the life elements that come from God spiritually to human beings. The other half of the life elements coming from God to human beings is, the love of God. The purpose of life elements is to help sustain the life of the spiritual body of a human being.

So when humankind’s first parents lost God’s Word as a result of the Fall, they lost the spiritual nutrition keeping their spirit alive. This means they died spiritually.

As a result, the descendants of the original ancestors inherited this state of spiritual death and need resurrection.

Spiritual Resurrection through Jesus and the Holy Spirit

Thankfully, when people believe in Jesus through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they receive God’s love into their spirit. Consequently, new life is infused into them and their spirits are reborn as new selves. This is spiritual rebirth.

A person who has no connection to God’s Word spiritually and is spiritually dead as a result of the Fall can be spiritually resurrected back to life by receiving God’s love into their spirit through believing in the resurrected Jesus.

This is the effect of God’s life elements at work within the spirit body of a human being.

Principle Methodology

The Principle views the spirit self and physical self of a human being as comparable, which means the physical body can serve as an example of how the spirit body functions.

Let’s consider what we know about how the life of the physical body of a human being is maintained and then use Principle terminology to connect it to what we know according to the Principle about how the life of the spirit body of a human being is maintained.

Having done this, we will be able to understand quite clearly, and in complete concordance with modern scientific understanding, how spiritual death and spiritual resurrection occurs.

The Biology of the Physical Body

As human beings we maintain our physical life primarily by breathing air and eating food.

The Principle terminology for these two types of nutrition is the yang nutrition (air) and yin nutrition (food) of the physical body.

When these elements enter our physical body they are converted into the energy the physical body needs to be alive and function.

The food we eat goes to our stomach where it is digested and broken down into a type of sugar called glucose.

Glucose then enters our cells where it is combined with oxygen from the air we breathe. This happens within the mitochondria of the cells.

Together, the glucose and oxygen are converted into “adenosine triphosphate” (ATP) energy.

ATP is the energy the physical body needs to function. Without ATP energy, the physical body would not be able to be alive or to function. Without either of these two types of nutrition, the physical cells cannot produce the ATP energy it needs to function and would die. Both types of nutrition must be utilized in order for the physical body to produce ATP energy.

To clarify this process using Principle terminology: the yang and yin nutrition of the physical body are combined and transformed within the mitochondria of its cells, into the ATP energy which the physical body needs to be alive and function.

The ‘Biology’ of the Spirit Body

According to True Parents, the spirit body also has cells: spiritual cells.

Following True Parents thought, I propose that the spiritual cells of a human being’s spirit body have spiritual mitochondria where the yang and yin nutrition of the spirit body are combined and transformed into the spiritual ATP energy which the spirit body needs to be spiritually alive and function.

The yang nutrition of the spirit body are the life elements coming from God, and the yin nutrition of the spirit body are the good vitality elements coming from our physical body.


We know from biology that if the physical body does not receive either one of both its types of nutrition, its cells cannot produce the physical ATP energy it needs to be alive and function and would die.

Likewise, if the spirit body does not receive either one of both its types of nutrition, its cells cannot produce the spiritual ATP energy it needs to be alive and function and also would die.


The spirit body needs two types of nutrition in order to produce the spiritual energy it needs to be alive. Human beings lost one of these types of nutrition due to the Fall. Therefore, human beings’ spirit ceased to function as a result of the Fall.

When people believe in the resurrected Jesus, they begin to receive this nutrition into their spirit. Thus, their spirit body is nourished back to life. This is spiritual resurrection.

I would just add that True Parents say love is the oxygen of the spirit world and that in the spirit world we breathe love rather than air.

Furthermore, while we use the terminology “spiritual death,” I propose that the state of spiritual death could be more closely likened to a spiritual coma. This is because the spirit body is eternal and can never totally die, and it is able to be revived if the necessary conditions are fulfilled.♦

James M. Powell is co-founder of the organization S.T.A.R.S. (Sincerity and Truth for the Advancement of Revolutionary Science), which aims to prove through science that God exists, the spirit world is real, and True Parents’ Blessing changes the physical lineage. He was blessed as the husband of Elona in 2009. You can read more about James’ projects on his and Elona’s website.

14 thoughts on “The Science of Spiritual Life and Death

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  1. Hello James.

    Interesting subject and thoughts. I believe we will never scientifically explain and win people with some scientific explanation. Resurrection is truly personal and internal I believe.

    I heard the Principle in 1979 for first time, and was truly on cloud eleven — resurrected. I soon after brought the 1973 DP Book to my father whom I much respected.

    He read some of it and …nothing…:-/ He was not resurrected. I was so disapointed.

    The difference must have been inside our brains…same text…different result.

    That’s why I believe regular teaching DP is the only way forward, reaching those whose insides are fertile ground for DP resurrection 🙂

    1. Greetings, Bengt. Thank you for your comment.

      The Principle states that even internal truth demands logical and convincing explanations. It is with this guidance that I conduct my research. Someone recently asked me: What is the organ in the human body that enables us to communicate with God? I gave him one of my presentations.

      By “resurrection” I’m referring specifically to the removal of original sin, which is possible in one of only two ways: 1) spiritually through believing in the resurrected Jesus, and; 2) spiritually and physically through True Parents’ Blessing.

      I would ask if you believed in Jesus prior to receiving the Word. If not, then I would say that what you experienced was spiritual resurrection. Otherwise, as the DP would state (Part 1, Chapter 2, Section 5.3), a revival of your original mind.

      Just sharing some thoughts.

  2. As to Bengt’s comment above that teaching regular DP is the only way forward: it’s a big error to think this way. The providence has moved beyond religion. Religious history and secular history have merged now, in major part due to the failure of Christianity which TF foretold 40 years ago.

    Further, such an argument is akin to stipulating that only the OT can “prove” Jesus is messiah. In keeping with the idea that the providence is moving on, I suggest that there is a way to “prove” the messiahship of Jesus without mentioning God or DP once. It clarifies Judaic history so that Jesus’ message and mission becomes perfectly clear, even to the atheist. Further, I can now give evidence to how Original Sin affects each succeeding generation and why what Jesus taught is the means to overcome the problem, in the process, linking it rationally and “scientifically.” Such “tools” are heaven’s way of giving us the means to reach a broader and broader global audience. Let’s open our hearts to heaven so that our minds will be able to recognize all the ways heaven is reaching out to us. Truly TF, Jesus and HP are working to give us resources to convince even a secular world as to the import of learning how to live as a true human “being” (as a child of God).

    If I can “prove” Jesus’ sociological significance to all human history and then elevate the concept of TPs as a socially significant paradigm and back it up with scientific “evidence,” then the providence is “movin’ to the streets.” Christianity and religion have fallen into disfavor. With such tools, we can argue a social significance to all humanity of the gifts of “how” to live as God’s children, even if we cannot embrace initially, the issue of God. “Faith” now can be restored to the meaning it held with the Jews; behavior in advance of “belief.” I do not “need” to hold a faith statement about God to live as a child of God.

    1. Thank you, Chris.

      I would like to see your evidence on how original sin affects succeeding generations. I would be very interested in this. You can contact me via my Facebook profile or page, or my email.

      I agree about reaching a broader audience. I’ve been developing content to present the Principle without involving the religious angle. I find this possible to achieve when I talk about the Principle of Creation and even the Fall, but not with Restoration history.

      As regards a socially significant paradigm, I’m sure a scientific theory explaining the existence and function of vitality elements would be a powerful tool for us to use. If it could be shown how our physical actions affect our spiritual growth, then even secular people would have a solid reason to live an actually good life. I have content on this too.

  3. I find some issues with the author’s idea of resurrection. If I misunderstand, we can revisit my “error.” But resurrection is not merely some spiritual effect of our “faith.” This is a very Christian argument, IMO. Resurrection is more than that; it is a “participatory” event. The predicted failure of Christianity perfectly illustrates this problem. Resurrection is about restoration, hence, change; not merely some spiritual stasis. If we do not act upon the “word” of Jesus, i.e., live by them, embracing love, repentance and forgiveness as the “way of life” lost in the fall, our spirits will not benefit one bit. Receiving such love from God, Jesus and TPs “educates” us as it also invigorates us. But that is not resurrection. Resurrection is a process that can get a major jump start, but if we think there are not people who are being resurrected without ever understanding or “accepting” Jesus or TPs, we may miss out on how the providence is moving forward. It is in “how” a life “is lived” that is witness to the love and truth of God.

    1. Greetings again, Chris. I mention resurrection in the context of the removal of original sin. Any other spiritual development thereafter would be restoration. This is the way in which I used the word “resurrection” in this article. However, in other conversations, both terms could be used for each scenario.

      Human beings fell into a state of sin due to the Fall. A fallen state was acquired and, due to this sinful state, human beings became incapable of fully breathing the love of God. The way it’s described in the Principle leads me to conclude that sin is a functional impairment… that, no matter what good we do, we still cannot fully harmonize with God unless the original sin is removed.

      True Parents have opened a very interesting avenue of research, especially by saying that original sin has a physical aspect connected to the blood lineage. This provides a testable hypothesis.

      It’s described in the Principle, regarding the restoration of the three great blessings, that human beings are gradually being restored and gives examples of recognizable signs for this. But, there is a limit to this kind of restoration in that the only aspect of restoration that will truly make the difference is the change of lineage.

      One reason I’m so enjoying studying science in this “information age,” or the age that most resembles the Word as it was with God before and in the beginning of Creation, is that scientists are truly discovering the Principle. It’s amazing!

  4. I want to thank James for raising such a provocative question, the type of which needs to be raised in a post-Christian culture. I would argue that resurrection involves the idea of how far one is along the path to perfection and achieving the three blessings. I agree with Chris that resurrection is participatory and that it can take place without “accepting” Jesus or TP, but there is a “merit of the age” that enables resurrection to reach certain levels.

    There is inevitably a socio-cultural component involved in the idea of “merit of the age.” We could think of Hobbes’ idea that the “state of nature is a state of war” as a description of a completely fallen word in which there are no cultural norms or social-political structures that would enable a resurrected individual to accomplish anything; anything he produced would be envied and destroyed by the marauders around him. Moses, Jesus, and TP brought “words” that elevated the possibility of bringing social resurrection to a higher level, so that individuals could each rise to a higher level than their previous era ancestors. These words need to become incarnated, not just in individuals, but in society: culture, economics and governance.

    1. Thanks, Gordon.

      I did not think my question was provocative, though I’m not saying it’s not. This is just the way I think. I have other questions too, like: what is the ratio of God’s dual characteristics? I believe the answer to this would have scientific applications.

      I also agree that resurrection is participatory, that is, it can’t happen without us… or, we have our portion of responsibility; something we need to do in order to be resurrected, but which also can’t be accomplished only by our efforts.

      I disagree that resurrection can take place without accepting Jesus or True Parents. The very nature of spiritual resurrection is that we believe in Jesus. Likewise, receiving the Blessing means believing in, accepting and attending True Parents.

      The merit of the age refers to the level of development that is attainable in our age as a result of the efforts of our ancestors in previous ages. This can be the level of resurrection during restoration history, or the level of advancement of various aspects of God’s ideal regardless of the Fall. I think “merit of the age” includes a transient restorational aspect as well as an enduring original aspect.

      1. Okay,James, simple question. If I “accept” Jesus as the messiah, what am I saying exactly? Remember, Satan acknowledged Jesus was the messiah, even in tempting him as he supposedly did. Jesus taught three central things: Love, even the enemy; forgive, as we have been forgiven; repent, when we are the offending party. As I love, as I forgive, as I repent, I am purified and renewed — i.e., reborn. That is what faith in Jesus really means, as he meant it.

        The whole sermon on the Mount was Jesus instructing us what are the characteristics of a “child of God” and thus, what we need to incorporate into our lifestyles to “become a child of God”. Thus, the final “judgment” is not what our words witness to, but our lives. What we cannot do is to witness to ourselves. That is the messiah’s lot in life. For as a perfect unique expression of the first blessing, he is the “authority” that Satan cannot challenge.

        The reason the “blessing” of TP is conditional is very revealing. Because we are not yet mature, we are being “allowed” to start a family, in this case, not because we are qualified, but because we “have” acknowledged publically the TP and that pushes us to the “head of the line” in the dispensation. That condition alone allows our children to be born not under the accusation of Satan. But “evidence” of resurrection would be evident in character, not a mere verbal witness. Life only exists in the presence of effective, sustainable healthy relationships. Thus, the need for a behavior that is a true witness to our “faith” declared.

        Hence, to me, resurrection is accomplished by people in real time, whether they “know” or “know of” Jesus or TP or not. To progress to the second blessing first needs the “witness” of the messiah, to “authenticate” their “authenticity” to so proceed. Hence, some could feasibly join this association already “resurrected” in their spiritual maturity. Was Jesus conning humanity when he uttered those famous words: “Be ye therefore perfect as your father in heaven?”

        1. Thanks, Chris.

          It’s very clear in my article that the resurrection I’m describing concerns the removal of spiritual original sin by Jesus Christ. Our subsequent growth to maturity is another topic for discussion.

          You seem to imply we can reach maturity without a Messiah. But this is possible only after the original sin has been removed.

          The removal of the original sin is an act that only the Messiah can perform, and which no one can do without the Messiah.

          Acknowledging the Messiah is not enough to allow this to happen. We need to accept and attend the Messiah, putting ourselves in the object-partner position to receive dominion.

          Without receiving the removal of the original sin by the Messiah, it is impossible to fully reach maturity by one’s efforts alone.

          Only after we receive the removal of the original sin by the Messiah can we complete our growth to spiritual maturity, accomplishing the subsequent resurrection in real time that you speak of which is the fulfillment of our own responsibility.

          The merit of the age is not adequate in itself to enable original sin to be removed from people spontaneously. Removal of the original sin happens only through the Messiah.

          I agree with some of your other points, but this is the main issue I think needed clarification.

  5. Traditionally, resurrection is understood as an instant spiritual experience or phenomenon. The difficulty here is that in the fifth chapter of the DP, resurrection is not an instant spiritual experience or phenomena.

    According to DP, we receive Life Elements (Love Truth, Beauty) from God, but if we don’t practice, we don’t receive Vitality elements, we don’t grow, we don’t resurrect. This is probably the same meaning of James: “Faith without works is dead.” Even if we feel God’s love and know DP, we don’t grow without practicing.

    In DP, resurrection is a process; the same as growing takes time, resurrection takes time.

    Maybe the author would gain in avoiding using the words ”resurrection” or “resurrected” so that his ideas will have the same meaning for everyone.

    Concerning the original sin, Father often said it was requiring at least three generations and even sometimes spoke of eight generations. So it seems to be also a process that is not instantaneous but needs time.

    I appreciate the author’s presentation and his desire to connect it with science. Please continue your effort.

    1. Thanks, Remi.

      Resurrection may be analogous to the development of life on earth, involving a series of instants of periods of rapid development but collectively over a long period of time… the Cambrian explosion being one example of an instant.

      The reason, I believe, that resurrection is understood as an instant experience or phenomenon is because it is true that it is. However, total resurrection, you could say, requires multiple such instances happening collectively over (maybe not necessarily but consequentially) a long period of time.

      Considering this, I think the title of my article is still appropriate. However, would you have any suggestions on how I might rephrase the title please?

  6. You say “So when humankind’s first parents lost God’s Word as a result of the Fall, they lost the spiritual nutrition keeping their spirit alive. This means they died spiritually.” Of course it’s true.

    But I think that you should explore the fact that Adam and Eve started to listen to another word coming from Satan. And they practiced this word. This word was telling them to follow their own desire rather than God’s desire. It was a self-centered desire. Eve came to love Satan more than God and Adam came to love Eve more than God. This is where the lineage changed. They received evil Vitality Elements from their self-centered actions. These evil Vitality Elements “killed” them. They fell from the top of the Growth stage to a level below the creation.

    Their actions brought a “disease” in human beings: a separation between mind and body. The inability to do only the desires of the mind. (Romans 7:22-23). I guess by ourselves, if we were serious enough, we could grow to the top of the growth stage, but we ourselves alone cannot go higher without solving the “disease”; this is why we need the Second Advent of the Messiah.

    To reverse the disease to a certain level, God trained human beings through history to love God first and love your neighbor as yourself. By doing this, human beings can receive good Vitality Elements and grow. Father told it like that: “We should live for the sake of others first.”

    I hope this gives you some ideas for research. Spiritual laws are part of science too. I believe you will find ways to explain all this very logically and scientifically.

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