Since we exist, as CS Lewis wrote, “to be taken into the life of God,” we need to have a more accurate picture of what that individuality of spiritual life is (Mere Christianity 126). He then offered the metaphor of a one-dimensional straight line that becomes one of four lines in a two-dimensional square and then part of the six squares that make up the faces of a three-dimensional cube. And yet, that first straight line is never lost even when it becomes integral to something much greater.
As Lewis explained: “In other words, as you advance to more real and more complicated levels, you do not leave behind you the things you found on the simpler levels: you still have them, but combined in new ways—in ways you could not imagine if you knew only the simpler levels.” (126)
That, to me, is why Jesus could talk directly to Lazarus and the young man from Nain and Moses and Elijah during the transfiguration. Continuing individuality of life is what Christianity offers, and so I wonder, sometimes, at those Christians who reject “near death” experiences.