Dreams May Be Precursors of Your Afterlife

Nobody knows what happens after we die.  Even Christians who believe in God do not know exactly what will happen in the afterlife. 

The afterlife, more than likely, will be entirely different from anything we can see in the universe.  This is because: (1) only a very small percentage of our universe is visible to us, and (2) we have no idea about the laws and substance and sustenance in an open creative universe that probably exists outside our closed universe which we believe is limited because matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, according to our laws of physics.

Our imaginations would have to work overtime in order to come up with what exists in a creative universe.  Of course, much has been written about this universe in the Bible with God as the Creator of our closed universe. 

So, is the concept of God the result of the strained imaginations of early man?  Or is it a design that was imparted to us from a divine being?  Or is it an idea concocted by an early genius who realized its benefit to mankind during life and also in an afterlife if thinking continued after death?

One of the unknowns about death, especially in our recycling universe, is what happens to our thought process?  We believe that the body, including the brain, decomposes and enters the recycling hopper.  But we are not as certain about our thoughts, which may continue, thus separating from the brain at death. 

This concept of continuation may be because we are a selfish animal that cannot accept the finality of our thinking at death.  But it also may be because we actually detect a “soul” through introspective searches and through intuition.  In other words, we seem to know this “thinking entity” a priori, not a posteriori. 

Our deductive reasoning allows us to conclude that there is something outside our brains and physical structures that is not explained by biology and physiology and physics.  It may be self-evident when we look in the mirror at the creature that is reflected as an alien that is foreign to this “thinking entity.”

So what happens if we are separated from the brain at death and we continue thinking?  Again, we have no idea, but we might speculate that this continuation of thinking may not necessarily be a good thing.  If we consider an eternity of thinking without our senses to entertain us and distract us from thinking serious thoughts, this could be a very bad thing, indeed.  It would be similar to the torture of sensory deprivation. 

We know through scientific experiments that when our senses are removed, we are left with ourselves and our own thoughts.  Even if we are thoughtful people, our demons of the past may haunt our conscience for an eternity, which sounds a lot like Hell.  But in those experiments, those who had a clear conscience fared better in this deprivation environment.  Their experiences were closer to what Heaven might be.  They were at peace with themselves.

What better way to clear our conscience than to believe in a God who forgives us of all our sins simply by believing that Jesus died for this purpose?  Christianity appears to be the best religion for giving us the opportunity to avoid punishing ourselves for our transgressions.  If we are still thinking when we die and have faith in God and the Bible, then we are more likely to think good thoughts and will be at peace with ourselves and our God.

But this belief in God must be paramount to everything else.  Our faith in God must be powerful and permanent, standing the test of eternity.  Perhaps, the litmus test of how we would do in the afterlife is provided by our dreams. 

When we dream, do we have nightmares where we are running away or hiding from something?  Are our dreams calming or tumultuous?  Do we ever dream of the Creator?  Or are our dreams chaotic and stressful?  Our dreams may be the reflections during life of what our afterlife will be like.

As William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “To die, to sleep; to sleep:  perchance to dream:  ay, there’s the rub;  for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause:  there’s the respect that makes calamity of so long life…” 

Our dreams that occur during our life may be precursors to what is to come after death.  And if our dreams are typically nightmares, this may not be a good omen for us.  Get right with God or suffer the consequences. 

Most of us must think much differently than we do right now in order to find peace in the afterlife.  Of course if we are not thinking after death, then we will already have peace.  The real danger of Hell comes from our continuation of  thinking after death.

Even though nobody knows exactly what will happen after death, we know that if our thinking ceases at that point of death, then there is nothing to worry about.  There will be no more pain, worry, or care.  Our thoughts will cease and our bodies will decompose.

On the other hand if we die and are still thinking, then we better have a strong faith in something.  Even though we would like to think that we could handle this situation by ourselves, more than likely we could not.  We must have a powerful controlling faith to hold onto or otherwise the strong current of chaos may pull us into a darkness of forever.

Evidence of God

Since I was an attorney for over four decades, it seemed natural for me to write an article about the evidence for God.  Of course, there are different standards of evidentiary proof or “burdens of persuasion”[1] depending on the type of case.  The burden of persuasion is the degree which the fact-finder must be persuaded in order for the claim to be proven.[2] 

In order for the case to go before the fact-finder, there must be a spark or “scintilla of evidence.”[3]  If it were a civil case, we would need to prove there was a God by a “preponderance of evidence.”[4]  And if it were a criminal case, we would have to prove there was a God “beyond a reasonable doubt.”[5]

The first step is to find any material evidence that, if true, would tend to establish an issue in the mind of a reasonable juror so that the case is sufficient to go to a fact-finder. [6]  I decided to run the evidentiary course for both burdens of proof. 

Indirect or circumstantial evidence may be found in inferences and presumptions.[7]  An inference is a deduction which a reasonable man could make from facts introduced in evidence, while a presumption is an assumption of fact that the law requires based on the facts in evidence.[8]  Since there is no direct evidence of God, then we will have to rely on indirect evidence.  Circumstantial evidence can be sufficient to satisfy both burdens of persuasion, although it is more difficult to meet that burden in a criminal trial.

We have quite a task in front of us because we will have to rely primarily on scientific and indirect evidence.  One of the more interesting aspects of evidentiary law is proof based on res ipsa loquitur, which is Latin meaning “the thing speaks for itself.”[9]  This may be considered sufficient evidence to prove a civil case.

 

Examining the Scientific Evidence

The reader will act as a juror and determine if the following eight arguments satisfy the burden of proof of God with a “scintilla of evidence,” by “preponderance of evidence,” and “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 

Let’s examine the arguments.

First, free will is absurd without consequences.  We are free beings responsible for our choices.[10]  It makes no sense for us to have choices in life without a test at the end.  Whether you believe the test is graded by yourself, others, or God, there will be consequences.  We are responsible for our actions.[11]  If we feel guilty because of our poor choices in life and we are still thinking after death, we would, most likely, punish ourselves.

Second, you can sense something within you that is looking out at the universe.  If you have ever gone to a quiet corner of the house and were able to dismiss the distractions of life, your intellect would detect something… something that is inside you that you can’t explain.  This spark or this feeling of awareness makes us different from other animals.  Further, this awareness is the origin for a belief in a Creator.  We see evidence of this belief by Homo sapiens thousands of years ago in mounds and chiseled rocks for worship.  Worshiping God is unique to our species.  If you are isolated from the crowd, self-examination occurs and you face the eternal.[12]  The awakening of the individual leads to a realization of what may be waiting after death.[13] 

 We have intuitions that tell us that there is a God.  It is similar to the situation when you are looking at a jig-saw puzzle with a big piece in the center that is missing.  You look everywhere, but cannot see the missing piece.  You can imagine what it must look like based on the empty space, but you have no idea what it looks like or where it is.  Yet, you know it exists because it fills in the gap.  In the case of God, the gap is the creation of our universe.  The missing piece is the Creator.

Third, even if the odds of there actually being a God were a billion-to-one, I would still believe in Him because of the consequences without Him if you are still thinking after death.  Many people spend money on the lottery even though their chances of winning are infinitesimal.  If you are still conscious after you die, you better believe in something. 

Fourth, even if there is no God, believing in God has made me a better person and it typically provides a moral code to society.  There are many examples of religions-gone-bad throughout history, but overall belief in God offers a benefit.  The humanness of our species perverts most things that we touch, including religion.  But religion should not be discarded because of the weakness in mankind.  Religion provides a set of values[14] or an ethical and moral structure that keeps self-interests, mob rule, and chaos in check.

Fifth, there is evidence of creation and this proves that a Creator exists.  Even if you believe in spontaneous generation where life came about on earth from nonliving compounds,[15] you still believe in birth of life.  There is much evidence of creations:  birth of animals, of solar systems, of stars, of galaxies, and our universe.  The stars in our universe formed all the elements, so we are made of stardust.  But what made the stars? 

The Big Bang theory is one explanation of the birth of stars and our universe.  But what was behind the bang?  Didn’t something create the Big Bang?  Even if you believe that our universe was created from nothing, logic tells you that there still was a creation.  Even if the Big Bang and Big Crunch cycle back and forth, something must have created that process. 

Another cycling theory is the Big Quantum Leap.  This theory explains the “redshift” or Doppler effect, which showed that the more distant galaxies were moving faster away from us than those closer to us.[16]  Dark matter/energy could be causing the increased speeds.  If the galaxies maintain their proportion to each other either by their supermassive black holes,[17] dark matter, or by their original imprint, the “redshift” also could be explained by the galaxies shrinking in size.  They would continue to decrease in size until they passed through the singularity into the quantum world.  The universe would forever move from the Big Bang to the Big Quantum Leap and back to the Big Bang.  But it doesn’t matter what theory is correct since by definition, the Creator created the creation, whatever it is. 

Sixth, I believe in God because 99+% of the universe can’t be seen.   It seems rather ridiculous for us to believe there is nothing else beyond what we can see, since we may be viewing only a small fraction of the universe.  The universe could continue beyond the reach of our telescopes and curve back on itself, so that future space vehicles could eventually circle the universe like Magellan did around the earth.[18]  There also may be additional spatial dimensions that are so tiny that we cannot detect them.[19]  Further, scientists believe that our universe is saturated with dark matter/energy, the identity of which is still unknown.[20]  So, if there is a significant amount of the universe that we cannot see and do not understand, it would be rather ambitious to state there is no God because we cannot see Him. 

Seventh, there is a design in our universe, so there must be a Designer.  We know that there is both chaos and control within our universe.  The control must come from some design.  We see this design in DNA[21], complex systems like the eyes, evolution, and gravity.  It is interesting that creationists and evolutionists take an “all or nothing” approach, when, most likely, they both are partly correct.  The two theories actually can blend into the truth.  God could provide the designs, including evolution, while evolution would enhance His original design.  But God is the power behind design and control.

Eighth, this is a closed universe, which was created outside our universe.  If this were an open universe, then there would be no creation.  In other words, if our universe were expanding forever into deep space, sometimes called the “Big Freeze,”[22] then our universe could never have been created because creation cannot occur in our universe.  Matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in this universe.[23] 

So, what is the evidence proving that this is a closed universe?  Our universe is an isolated and therefore a closed system.[24]  There are clear boundaries between the macroworld of gravity and the microworld of quantum mechanics because the laws of gravity do not apply in the quantum world.  The Big Bang theory or “creation’s birthday”[25] proves that our universe broke out of a shell as if it broke open the boundary and popped into a closed universe.  Everything we can see in our universe is in closed loops:  atoms, planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies, and galaxy clusters.  Why would our entire universe, which we cannot completely see, be any different?

 

Conclusion

How did you vote?  In my opinion, the first four arguments provided more than a “scintilla of evidence,” but it required the next four to prove God by a “preponderance of evidence.”  In effect, preponderance is simply tipping the scales of justice ever so slightly with evidence supporting that verdict.  In my mind, the final four arguments proved that it is more likely than not that God exists.  But please come to your own conclusion. 

A “scintilla of evidence” is just a trifling or particle of evidence.[26]   First, an inference of God and Judgment Day can be found from our free will.  Second, man has worshiped gods for thousands of years, so God is in our minds.  Self-examination provides evidence of something that takes the absurdity out of life.  Also a practical approach to the afterlife makes life better for society.  Even if these thoughts of God are just in our minds, it is sufficient to show a “scintilla of evidence.”

“Preponderance of evidence” was proven by res ipsa loquitur, found in the inferences from the creation and design of our universe.  There can be no creation without a Creator or design without a Designer.  Additionally, my analysis of the scientific evidence proved our closed universe which requires a Creator or God. 

I believe the evidence for God is compelling and meets the typical burden for a civil trial, but it does not meet the criminal burden of persuasion of beyond a reasonable doubt.  With matters of faith, there will always be reasonable doubt.  However, the practical benefits to individuals and societies who believe in God should not be discounted.

But how did you vote?



[1]  Roger C. Park, David P. Leonard, and Steven H. Goldberg, Evidence Law, 2nd Ed. (St. Paul, MN: Thomson West,

               1968) 92).

[2]  Park, Leonard, and Goldberg 92-93.

[3]  Black’s Law Dictionary, 4th Ed. (St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Co., 1968) 1513.

[4]  Park, Leonard, and Goldberg 93.

[5]  Park, Leonard, and Goldberg 94.

[6]  Black’s 1513.

[7]  Kaplan and Waltz 781.

[8]  Ibid.

[9] Black’s 1470.

[10] Gary Cox, The Existentialists Guide to Death the Universe and Nothingness (NY: Continuum International
                   Publishing Group,  2012) 5.

[11]Cox  7.

[12] Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart (NY: HarperOne, 1956) 16).

[13] Kierkegaard 17.

[14] Mel Thompson, Understanding Ethics (London, UK: Hodder Education, 2010) 151.

[15] James Otto and Albert Towle, Modern Biology (NY: Holt Rinehart and Winston, 1985) 22.

[16] Marcia Bartusiak, Thursday’s Universe (NY: Time Books, 1988) 118-119.

[17] John Vacca, ed.  The World’s 20 Greatest Unsolved Problems (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005) 16.

[18] Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe (NY: Vintage Books, 2003) 248.

[19] Greene 188.

[20] Greene 225.

[21] Stephen Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell (NY: Bantam Books, 2001) 161.

[22] Vacca 111).

[23] First Law of Thermodynamics and Law of Conservation of Mass/Energy.

[24] Franklin J. Miller, College Physics, 5th Ed. (NY: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982) 672.

[25] Timothy Ferris, The Whole Shebang (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1997) 109.

[26] Black’s 1513.

Mass Extinction is Our Future

There have been numerous mass extinctions on earth, but the most significant was the Permian extinction, “The Great Dying,” which occurred about 250 million years ago.  What caused this mass extinction? 

There are several theories, most of which center around climatic disturbances.  There were glaciations in the pole regions and desertification in temperate zones.  Severe weather fluctuations on earth occurred when the Permian mass extinction occurred.  But why did these climatic conditions kill off so many species?  We have seen ice ages and other weather patterns that haven’t wiped out so many creatures.  What was different about the Permian extinction?

One difference was there was primarily one giant land mass, Pangea, which was formed during the middle of the Permian era.  By the end of the Permian, the variety of species was on the downswing.  As a general rule, it takes isolated conditions to trigger evolution of new species.

Pangea was not conducive to creating new species that adapted to isolated environments.  We have seen extinctions when the continents were separated that did not have the same devastating effect as when there was only one continent.  Once the Permian extinction started, there were no new species that were available that could adapt to the weather changes.  Only a handful of species survived the Permian extinction to repopulate the world.  When the continents split breaking up Pangea, this triggered the development of new species.  For example, South America became the birthplace for the first dinosaurs in the Triassic, which did not exist in the Permian.

Even though the continents are separated today, our species, which is almost genetically identical worldwide, is overpopulating and is setting itself up for a mass extinction just as if we were on Pangea.  This is because Homo sapiens is homogeneous and exists as if we were all connected.  About 28,000 years ago, the Neanderthals, either a separate species from or subspecies of Homo sapiens, died off in Europe.  About 10,000 years ago, Homo erectus was last found in Java.  Neanderthals and Homo erectus went extinct, leaving Homo sapiens to stand alone as the last hominids on earth. 

There will be no additional hominids created as long as our species is globally connected and lives on the blue planet like it were Pangea.  Homo sapiens beat out the other hominids, surviving the last ice age.  Of the three hominids, the strongest survived.  There was true separation on Java, allowing Homo erectus to live on an island, separated from the mainland.  Today, there is global movement among ethnic groups, so there are few areas that are isolated.    

A genetic bottleneck in our species occurred about 71,000 years ago when a mega-volcano, Mt. Toba, erupted, creating a nuclear winter which killed all but a few thousand Homo sapiens on the earth.  Two points may be made from this event:  (1) this mass killing of our species is why our genetic makeup has very little variety today and (2) this shows how hominids prevailed by having multiple species to compete for survival.  But today’s lack of variety could lead to a mass extinction of hominids because there is only one point of failure.  The survival of the fittest only works when there are multiple species competing.  In our case, Homo sapiens, the last hominid, is vulnerable to weather changes.  Homo sapiens could be completely wiped out just like the animals who died on Pangea 250 million years ago.