Monday, December 29, 2008

What Spiritual Immortality Might Be Like


Let me address the idea of spiritual immortality first, and I will be brief on that front. I will not address the obviously undesirable prospect of eternal damnation in hell. Rather, if you are a person of faith, that you are a good person, and when you leave this mortal coil, you gain entrance to heaven.

Now, in heaven, you are filled with the love of God, and you can see and talk to the people that you loved that died before you, and eventually, those that will die after you (assume that many or most of these individuals are also good enough to gain entrance to heaven). These are good things.

But, on the other hand, you're no longer made of physical stuff, you can't actually touch or interact with matter anymore. You can't read a book. How do you occupy your 'mind'?

Ponder eternity in this state of being. The future stretching out, not for hundreds or even thousands of years, but millions, billions, trillions, octillions of years, and more. Eternity is endless, these numbers are just markers for a state of utter, endless vastness.

Given this ocean of time, for how long of this would you still have anything to say to your deceased loved ones, that you now again have access to? How long would being filled with the love of God be satisfying, in and of itself?

All I will say is, after a while, it seems not unreasonable to suggest that after a certain point, in the endlessly static state of afterlife, you will run out of things to talk about to even your closest loved one with which you've been reunited. Much less a loved one that didn't make it, and is spending an eternity in 'the other place', pondering their infinite torment, for all of eternity, for transgressions that occurred in the blink of an eye in their earthly, physical life.

The idea that our consciousness, our very 'soul', is in fact bound up in the extraordinarily complex of neurons in our physical brain, and that when we die, our consciousness and 'soul' in fact cease to exist with the cease of operation and physical decay of those neurons, and simple nothingness might be the afterlife, that idea may not be so bad. We don't ponder our state before we were born; our state after we die might be the same, simply nothingness, a state of neither bliss nor torment. Just, the cessation of existence. This is in fact what the preponderance of empirical evidence suggests is the case.

1 comment:

Doug said...

First off let me say that I'm not a person of faith in the religious sense but in my experience, people who are consider "being filled with God's love" more than enough to compensate for anything. Whether down the road it proves otherwise is not something that people with that kind of faith are generally open to contemplating in the here and now, but if they do, their inclination is to believe that "being filled with God's love" for however short a time it might turn out to be would be worth it. There are also many people with this kind of afterlife faith who believe in reincarnation, a way of having their cake and eating too so to speak. Maybe they also originally questioned the value or pleasure of being non-physical so have come up with a way of making death more palatable for themselves by trading up (I've yet to come across any reincarnationist who actually is looking forward to coming back as a lower form of life, although karma would suggest it's more than likely in most cases). For myself I find it bizarre that in the 21st century the world is still pretty much controlled by a belief system established by primitives. I look forward to your thoughts on 'physical" immortality.