Infinity vs. Eternity

Infinity and eternity are considered to be synonyms by many, but they have different meanings.  Infinity is defined as being without end or boundless like our space-time fabric, while eternity is defined as that which transcends time becoming timeless reality.

Let’s examine our universe.  I believe that space-time is boundless, stretching to its maximum expansion and then collapsing back to its minimum compression.  This constant expansion and contraction is boundless as both space and time are infinite.  Thus, our universe is a perpetual time machine, going from a Big Bang to a Big Crunch and then a Big Bang all over again.

But our universe is not eternal because time is a fundamental part of its matrix.  Eternity dispenses with time so there is no past, present, or future.  Eternal existence is without reference to calendars or clocks.  Eternity is a timeless world.

Einstein explained that there is no absolute simultaneity of events.  An event should appear to happen at the same time to different observers, but this is not the case.  An observer on a speeding train may observe an explosion before somebody who is standing along the rail.  Neither observer can claim to be correct as to when the bomb went off.  This is simply the strangeness of special relativity.

Thus, some philosophers have referenced special relativity as why time is not linear or even real.  If absolute simultaneity does not exist, how could we ever say that an event is in the present?  There is no absolute present in special relativity.

But our understanding of eternity may help scientists reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity.  Some theories of quantum gravity indicate this world does not have time on its side.  In this strange world, time may not play a role.  In effect, quantum mechanics may intersect with quantum gravity completely outside of the space-time fabric.

In the quantum world, a particle can be in two places at the same time; so this may be a “matterless reality,” which would be, at a minimum, have a completely new set of rules for its physics.  And considering eternal possibilities, it might be God’s world.

So when I talk about infinite life in the universe, I am talking about the stardust that formed us and prior to that has formed billions of other forms of matter and will continue to form matter in the future as the space-time fabric expands and contracts forever.

However when I talk about eternal life, I am referring to God’s timeless and matterless world which exists without time and space.  So how do we even know it exists?  Well, we know the quantum world exists, but we do not know much about it.  We know that the laws of physics that we use do not apply in this world.

And there is an even more potent reason: there cannot be more infinities than one because one infinity would limit the other.  In effect, our closed infinite universe must be inside an eternal world because it cannot be within another infinite world.  In other words, whatever is outside our infinite universe is where creation occurred since one of the laws of physics is that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in this universe.  Thus, creation of our time-space fabric universe occurred in the eternal world of God.

When we pray to live forever, we need to be careful what we pray for.  We may just get what we requested.  Living forever in the world of infinity is what we are doomed to do.  Our recycling universe takes us through time, probably forwards and backwards forever.  I get dizzy just thinking about it.  That would not be my first choice.

However, reaching the eternal world of God will be a much more difficult journey.  My guess is that it will be completely foreign to us and we will have to let God manage that trip for us if we are to have any chance at all.

 

 

Absurdity of Life

Scientists draw conclusions from evidence and facts, a posteriori, while religious teachers rely on faith and imagination, a priori.  Both believe they know the truth about life, but it is more likely than not that neither of them know the truth.  The truth is only known by the Creator, and He is not talking.  Thus, life is absurd because we cannot make sense of it.

Why do we live?  Why do we have free will?  Why do we have a conscience?  Why do we make choices if there are no consequences?  What happens after we die?

After admitting that life is absurd and still puzzling over it, we must logically conclude that life is quite absurd without something after life.  In other words if life were our only appearance in this play, then the play would have no denouement or ending.  This is because if life is to have any meaning at all, then all the choices made during our lives must be analyzed for a full accounting at the end.  Life, which is a test, is nonsensical without death and a grading of our work.  Of course, consequences complete the course.  This completes a design for life in our universe.

And life is absurd for all of us, whether atheists or Christians or agnostics.  We all are tested daily and we all fall short of making good grades.  Christians believe that they are making A’s and B’s, while atheists and agnostics are failing.  The truth is that all of us are failing.  However, the significant advantage for the Christians is that they may lead a better life by following the teachings of Christ.  Unfortunately, there are no guarantees for anybody.  The consequences for our poor choices during life may be dreadful, disastrous for all of us.

I have seen Christians acting as bad or worse than atheists.  There will be no religious shield to protect those who have made bad choices during life.  We must accept our failings and step up to take our punishment, whatever that might be.  By accepting Jesus as our savior, we are in a better position to make good decisions.  But if you read the Bible closely, you will find that there will be consequences for our sins.

I have seen Christians repent of their sins on Sunday and then return to the den of iniquity for the next six days.  Then they return to church on the Sabbath to repent again.  This type of activity shows no true remorse.  It is merely a hope that God will overlook all the misdeeds and erase them because of one hour on Sunday.  This doesn’t even make sense.  It is another absurd myth of Christianity.

So, if there are going to be severe consequences for all of us, what can we do?  Even as a Christian existentialist, I honestly don’t know.  I suppose we can start by doing our best every day that we have left to do the right thing.  Each of us should try to be a better person.  I don’t believe that our judgment day will have a scale with good deeds on one side and bad choices on the other.  I think it will be much more sophisticated and complex than that.

My imagination tells me that we will probably enter a darkness that eliminates our senses.  Our own minds will probably punish us for all the bad decisions we made during life.  The denial of entry into God’s third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:2) may be the worst penalty of all.  My guess is that those of us who have made a half-way decent attempt to make good decision will enter the first heaven.  But the subsequent heavens will be exponentially more difficult to reach.

And even though my musings may seem quite absurd, believe me it is much more absurd that we could live in a world of choices without any consequences.

 

 

Rationalization

When I started out as a young attorney in private practice, I handled divorce and criminal cases.  The thing that I noticed early on was that nobody accepted any blame.  They would rationalize everything that they did and remember the facts in a way that made them look better than it should have.

I represented both males and females and the results were always the same.  They either lied or manufactured a story that omitted incriminating details.  This didn’t happen every now and then.  It happened all the time.  It got to a point where I told my clients that I didn’t believe them and they had to tell me the entire truth or they would have to find another attorney to represent them.

I remember one teenager told me that he had placed the drugstore items in his pocket and just simply forgot to pay for them.  I looked him straight in the eye and asked him if he really thought I believed that story.  He laughed and said “I guess not.”  I got him to plead out and the judge let him off with community service.

A crusty judge in the community where I worked issued a ruling that made both the plaintiff and defendant’s attorneys unhappy.  He called the attorneys down front and announced to them that the he knew he had made the right decision because both parties didn’t like it.  The judge believed that both attorneys were representing only half truths, so the best decision is one that nobody likes.

So, I just resigned myself to knowing that nobody was going to tell the truth and that way I was overjoyed when I ran into somebody who actually told the truth.  This might have happened twice, but I am not absolutely certain of that.  But my point is that truth is a very rare commodity in our society.  Our society does not offer much in the way of consequences for lying, so why would people tell the truth?  The rewards are much richer for those who lie or stretch the truth.

Thus, this tendency to prevaricate made me wonder if this were nature or nurture.  In other words, is this a practice that is found in our genetics or is it something we learn?  I tend to believe that we are born with a conscience and free will.  Neither of these two gifts should lead us to lying our way through life.  In fact, our conscience should act as our moral compass and take us down a path of telling the truth.  So, it must be our experiences that teach us that there are few consequences for lying.  We learn that we can lie and then rationalize what we did, salving our conscience.  After many years of lying, our conscience probably becomes immune to the constant lies.

Lying becomes a lifestyle for most since it can lead to lifetime rewards without any distracting consequences.  But I believe that the numbing of our conscience is a serious consequence.  I also believe that the real consequences occur after we die.  Even though I don’t know for certain what happens in the afterlife, there must be consequences of some kind.  Otherwise, life makes no sense.  Why would we have free will and make decisions if there were no consequences?

Life would be quite absurd if we were never held accountable for our actions.  Choices and consequences are intertwined.  You cannot have one without the other.  The fact that there are no consequences during life, simply proves that there is an afterlife with consequences awaiting.  Unfortunately for most of us, that is the truth.

Fabric of our Universe

The very fabric of our universe is comprised of dark energy.  Even though we don’t know what dark energy is, we know mathematically that it exists, and we believe we know that by definition it is that thread of fabric that holds our universe together.  As it weaves through the universe, it seems to cement dark matter and the visible universe, which is approximately the other 24% of the mass.

We can only speculate as to what causes dark energy to control dark matter and the billions and billions of stars in the universe.  Our speculation is limited substantially by our lack of knowledge about this major force in our universe and our many limitations about what dark matter is and our perspectives of the visible universe.

For example, if we consider the ancient galaxies that no longer exist as part of our visible universe because we can see them, we must ask why.  Why would we consider matter that no longer is in our universe to be part of our visible universe?  Does it still have mass if it only exists in a telescope?  And are all of our ancestors that have evolved from ancient galaxies into old galaxies into today’s galaxies all counted as part of the visible universe, so that we are duplicating our present mass through addition of past mass?

And why can we still see the light from an ancient galaxy whose light went out billions of years ago?  In other words, why didn’t the light from that galaxy zip past us at the speed of light billions of years ago, never to be seen again?  Even if you argue that our universe has been expanding about the speed of light, we should be able to see the entire past or evolution of our universe.  As far as I know, we cannot see the Milky Way galaxy evolving in stages from infancy to its present stage, but we can see ancient galaxies that are no longer with us.  Why is that?

Again, we can only speculate, but we have to get way out of our scientific boxes… so far away from our box that we aren’t even using the scientific tools in that box.  Perhaps, we even turn to a bit of science fiction, which is another way of saying: “We will be using our imagination to propose a solution to this riddle.”

When we consider past events and matter to be part of our visible universe, we do this understanding that everything that we see in a telescope is something that happened in the past.  Even when you examine the moon without the aid of a telescope, you are seeing a past moon.  So, it seems that time must also be considered as being interwoven in our fabric of the universe.

Typically, we consider the past as history.  The dinosaurs have had their day and they no longer are useful in our universe.  But what if we expanded our imaginations to embrace everything that has happened, that is happening, and that will happen into the fabric of our universe?  What if time were not segmented into past, present, and future through the magic of dark energy?  What if these elements of time existed only in our minds as we managed our daily lives, but had a different context in the endless universe?

There are many ways that dark energy and dark matter can twist and turn time just like in a tornado.  Time might be bent or warped so that we could see ancient galaxies.  Time could also be reversed like a spring that pushes out and then bounces back.  Again, only our imagination can carry us to any of these conclusions.  However, these ideas are more plausible than those offered by those cosmologists today, who expect a “Deep Freeze” in our universe’s future.

What is the answer?  I don’t know.  Only God knows and He is not telling you until you reach the other side.  However, I consider the afterlife to be the most exciting of times… to be able to explore the wonders of God’s universe behind the scenes.  It will be the best of times to be able to see how our universe was created.

Are We Something or Nothing?

Many of us spend hours contemplating our lives and then ultimately we worry about our deaths.  So, do we go from something in life to nothing at death?  Or were we nothing all along?  Or are we still something after we die?

We must rely on our senses that tell our brains that we are something.  But if our senses play tricks on us, how do we know we are something or at least the something that our eyes perceive?  And if our senses evaporate after death, then how will we know anything?  Could we be something if we have no sensations?  Or is the absence of our senses the definition of being nothing?

The fact that we think is something, so I cannot logically argue there is nothing as long as thought exists.  And it is much more than my or your thoughts.  It can be any animal that is thinking at any time, whether past, present, or future.  So, there will always be something even after we die… and even before we were born.  Thus, there never can be nothing.

It is similar to the question of whether a falling tree makes a noise in the woods if nobody is there to hear it.  And the answer is a definite “yes” because something has been, is, and always will be there to hear it.  Just like there can never be nothing because even if the universe imploded or exploded, the fragments still would be something.  And new somethings will appear since the Creator will always be around to create.

Individuals cannot be so presumptuous as to believe that if they are not present, then no noise will be made by the tree in the woods.  People have placed too much importance on themselves.  They are not the Creator.  They do not understand the inner workings of the creative universe.  They are temporal, while the Creator is infinite.  And infinity means that there will always be something.

If you examine the universe with its billions of galaxies and each galaxy with its billions of stars, it seems impossible to imagine without design.  The universe, with dark matter forming a weblike structure and with dark energy perpetually powering expansion and contraction, is like an eternal living creature.  It seems interconnected and very much that something we discussed above.  And could something come from nothing?  It does not seem likely.  Something must come from a Creator that is also something.

Of course, you can always ask, “Where did the Creator come from?”  Or as some ask, “What came before the Big Bang?”   We do not have an answer.  Yet, we can surmise that there was always something and creations can occur anywhere and at anytime, creating more somethings.  The fact that we don’t know very much about the universe and the Creator is not sufficient reason to believe there is no Creator or nothing.  Because if you believe in something, then you are something; and you can take that belief with you into the afterlife.

Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

One of the major complaints from atheists, agnostics, and even religious people is that God should not allow bad things to happen to people, especially good people.

Now, I would like to start our investigation into why this is a ridiculous complaint.  First of all, bad things happen to everybody, whether they consider themselves as good or bad.  And why do you believe that you are a “good” person, anyway?  If you consider yourself as being a “good” person, you are certainly less than humble, and most likely your pride has taken you to the “bad” side.  In other words, there may be no “good” person on our planet.

Perhaps, you would like to change the title of this article to “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen, At All?”  This certainly avoids the difficult proof that you are a good person.  It focuses on God as being the culprit who allows bad things to happen to all of us.  We certainly cannot accept any of that blame!

Well, this takes me to my second point.  God, the Creator, more than likely, does not exist in His creation.  One of the few scientific laws is that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe.  In other words, creation occurred outside the boundary of our closed universe.  If all this is true, God can only create outside His creation.  And it is likely that God does not want to intervene or interfere in the evolution of His creation.

And my third and final point is that there should be consequences for “bad” people.  Why would God need to change that?  My guess is that God created the universe with “free will” and He allows us to make poor choices every day.  He does not prevent us from making bad decisions and also experiencing “bad things” because of those decisions, and most likely God will provide additional consequences outside the universe, if we are lucky enough to enter His kingdom.

Asking for relief from “bad” things that will happen to you is the same thing as asking for forgiveness for future bad acts.  It is a bit premature to request avoiding consequences in advance of your committing sins.  It is a much better act to thank God for the “bad” things that happened to you, hopefully making you a better person.  And also thank God for the “bad” things that will happen to you, reminding you to avoid those bad choices.

All this is the preliminary stage during your life, leading to the final judgment.  And again if “bad” things happen in the afterlife, then I will accept that as my fate because I was a “bad” person during my lifetime.

Now, many Christians will say that I am not a Christian because I believe that we all will face a day of consequences for our poor choices.  Christians say that Jesus died for our sins forgiving the bad decisions that we made during our lives, giving us safe passage to heaven.  I believe that too, except I must add an adjective… “…giving us safe passage to the first heaven.”

I am a Christian existentialist.  I believe that Jesus died for our sins so that we could enter the first heaven, which probably separates the believers from the non-believers.  Unfortunately, as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 12:2, there are three heavens.  The Bible is very clear about there being a Judgment Day with consequences, which probably will be associated with one or both of the other two heavens.

Limitation of Imagination

We all have congratulated others on being very creative.  We know of artists, musicians, or even scientists like Einstein, who were creative geniuses.  Their imagination seemed to know no bounds, yet it did.  Their limitations were primarily based on their knowledge.  The more we know, the greater our imaginations become.

Unfortunately, we know very little about ourselves and where we live: our solar system, our galaxy, and certainly our universe.  We are still struggling to understand the earth and the depths of the ocean.  We don’t know how the sun and its cycles are impacting our weather patterns, so we blame it on global warming.

We don’t know where our solar system ends.  We see only about 10% of our universe in the form of planets and moons, so we know very little about the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud.  And we also know very little about the billions of galaxies with their billions of stars, yet this is only about 4% of our total universe.  The other 96% is called dark matter and dark energy, which we know practically nothing about.  And don’t even mention quantum mechanics.

So with so little information, our imaginations are extremely limited.  When cosmologists state that they believe our universe will continue accelerating into a Deep Freeze, I counter with the fact that their imaginations are in a deep freeze.  The truth is that we will never know how the universe works because we are limited on our facts and imagination.  Only God knows and He is not showing His creative hand… at least while we are alive.

I give cosmologists a good deal of credit for coming up with the idea about Phase Changes as a possibility for the end of our universe; however, this idea is a spinoff of what we know about the different phases of water:  liquid, solid, and gas.  Again, our imagination is fairly limited to what we know.

For example, scientists have no idea what dark energy is, so let’s utilize our imagination and see what we predict.  Dark energy may be a force that is repelling the rest of the universe and thus causing an acceleration of separation between galaxies.  But this is based on our understanding of magnetism when like charges repel each other.  If you were to question cosmologists about dark energy, they would have to tell you that they have no idea what it is and their imaginations are stymied.

Even when we let our imagination go to areas that are declared to be science fiction, it is still based on what we know.  For example, if I were to say that the red color that we expect to see as a property enters the event horizon of a black hole, could be the same as the red shift that Hubble discovered decades ago.  Then if I were to extrapolate the reversal of time at the event horizon with a reversal of time with Hubble’s red shift, my imagination is still restricted to facts that we know or think that we know.

This is an interesting analogy though since most cosmologists believe that the red shift indicates that the galaxies are moving away from each other at increasing speeds.  My theory is that the galaxies are stuck in a time-space fabric that is shrinking at accelerating speeds.  But again, my imagination is limited just as much as others on earth.

Can we create something different from what we know?  Well, we can imagine new combinations of what we know.  For example, we might speculate that life on a planet, which is light years away, has a creature with ten legs and five eyes, but we are still working with legs and eyes.  We can even paint an unrecognizable animal, but we will borrow from things that we know to create this beast.

So, clearly we are not even close to the Creator, our God.  In order to be with God, we must unify with Him.  We must trust Him and defer to His omniscience.  Only God could create the universe from nothing.  Scientists do not have a clue.

Oh, My Heavens!

Paul mentions in the Bible that there are three heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2), but he does not go into detail as to what or where they are.  The Bible also is not clear about the judgments that await us and how they factor into the equation of reaching these heavens.  All we know is that we exist on earth and someday we will die, having no idea what awaits in the unknown zone.

I prefer to believe that if I am still aware of my environment after I die that I will have three tests before me, which if I pass will allow me to enter consecutively each of the three heavens.  I like to think of the first heaven as a segregation camp among those who believe in God, the Creator, and those who don’t.

Those who believe may be further tested in the Judgment Day scenario described in the Bible.  You may have to relive the bad judgments made during your life and humbly accept your punishment from God.  This test may be designed to see if you are still receptive to the desires that led to your sins during life.  For example, you may be tempted to avoid punishments by agreeing to follow evil spirits, rather than God.  You probably should accept God’s punishment without seeking ways to eliminate the consequences.  If you pass the second test, you may enter the second heaven, which I expect will be very peaceful and calm.

The last test may be extremely difficult.  Even though believing in God and accepting your poor decisions in life and all their consequences may get you to this point, the last hurdle may be the hardest to cross.  My guess is that it will involve significant testing of your moral foundation.  You probably will have to unify with God and become God-like in order to pass this final exam.  In order to reach this third heaven, you may have to prove that your character is worthy of this ultimate trust to enter the last heaven.

If I am fortunate enough to reach this final goal, I hope that I will be permitted to see God’s entire universe with the billions of galaxies and the billions of stars in each galaxy.  I want to spend an eternity examining God’s creation.  I believe that there is life scattered all through the universe, and I would love to see it and examine it.

I hope that there are many animals that will be available for us to view and watch.  I also hope that God will permit us to be with animals from our earth, so that we can be comforted by them.  I believe that the humans allowed into God’s third heaven will be of like mind and will be comforting as well.

In my heavens, I expect that there will be no breathing, eating, smelling, or employing any of the bodily functions.  There will be no need for toilet paper or procreation.  As we all know, our body will stay behind and decompose, so basically only our spirit can survive and still be conscious of what is transpiring after death.  Thus, awareness may spring from our imagination.

So, the three heavens may be only in my imagination, but if I am still thinking after death, the heavens may exist because of the unification of my and God’s imagination.  Then I might say, “Oh, my heavens!”

What Happens After You Die?

Does anybody know what happens after you die?  The answer is no, but I wanted to apply logic to the question and see how close we can get to the answer with “either/or” situations.

First and foremost, after you die, you will either stop thinking or you will continue thinking.  It will be either one or the other.  And when I say “thinking,” this can be defined as any form of being aware or conscious of your environment.

If you die and stop thinking, then that will be the end for you.  You will no longer exist in any form or in any manner.  As much as people want to live past death, this would actually be the best case for humankind.  If you die and are no longer aware of anything, that would be your lucky day.  There would be no consequences for the poor decisions you made during your lifetime.

However if you die and are still thinking and are conscious, then you will either retain, in some fashion, your five senses or you will have no senses.  In other words, you will either have one, some, or all of the sensations of sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch, or you will have no sensations at all.

If you are still thinking and have at least one sense still functioning in your mind as in a dream where you still can see and/or hear, then you will be in a position of visualizing a white light to follow to find your deceased family members and friends.  This would be similar to descriptions by many of those who have had near or death experiences and have recovered to tell the tale of what happened.  But endorphins, chemicals secreted by the body during times of stress, could account for some of those experiences.

However if you are still thinking without any senses functioning, then you will be enveloped in sensory deprivation, one of the most devastating tortures you could ever go through.  When prisoners are placed in solitary confinement, even though they still have their senses, they can start hallucinating within days.  Think of what it would be like to have no senses to distract you from yourself.  You would be in Hell with you torturing yourself.  Without any contact with anything, you would be all alone in complete isolation forever.  I cannot think of a worse Hell than that.

So, on a scale of best to worst case of things that could happen after you die, I would rank them:  (1) no thinking or awareness after death, (2) thinking after death with one or more senses still functioning, and (3) thinking after death with no sensations or connections to anything.

The first and the third cases need no more explanation or examination, but the second case does.  This is the case that has the most potential for many types of consequences.  Not only does it depend on the number of senses that remain, but it also depends on which of the many avenues your thinking goes down.

And most importantly, it depends on whether you are in control of this journey or if there is a third-party who is in control.  For example, if you are being punished by a third-party for your bad choices made during your life, then this case could involve many types of consequences.  Some people who had near-death experiences reported being tortured and actually feeling the pain from that torture.  There are millions of possibilities with this second case, but it still would be a better case than number three.

So what happens after death?  Nobody knows, but everybody should care.  Even though the first case would be the best case for you, it is the least likely of the three.  This is because all the matter and energy in our closed universe can neither be created nor destroyed.  And that includes our thinking.  It might be transformed into something different than the type of awareness we had when we were alive, but it is highly unlikely that it can be destroyed in this universe.  And people who have been declared brain dead have been resuscitated and then reported that they were thinking even when their brains were not functioning.

How do you prepare for cases two and three?  You must become one with God because only He can guide you through either case two or three.