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.

 

 

A Penny for Your Thoughts

There is an old saying, “A penny for your thoughts,” which was usually uttered to somebody who was in deep contemplation.  It might be “a hundred dollars for your thoughts” today.  Typically, our thoughts are kept to ourselves since they are not meant for public scrutiny.  Some thoughts may be so mysterious, provocative, and controversial that we would not reveal these thoughts for anything less than a million dollars.

I never had significant control over my thoughts.  I can remember when I wanted to beat others up.  I can remember when I wanted to have sex with beautiful women that I saw.  I can remember when my thoughts were outrageous, but fortunately I never acted on many of my thoughts.  I felt that I was better than others who lost control and committed murders, rapes, assaults, burglaries, and other deranged acts.  However, I really was not better than anybody else, because I had given in to deranged thoughts.

In the Beatitudes found in Chapter 5 of Matthew, Jesus emphasized that we must have clean thoughts.  I always believed that if I believed in God and did not, in fact, commit adultery or other bad acts, I was a good person, who would be eligible for God’s kingdom.  But Jesus said that lusting for a woman is committing adultery in your heart.  This goes beyond being saved by believing in Jesus as the sacrificial lamb for our sins.  This goes beyond being saved by doing good deeds during our lives.  It reaches into a completely new zone where only a small percentage will tread.  Jesus instructed us in Matthew 7:14 that only a few of us will find this narrow path to Heaven.  Only those few with clean thoughts will pass through the gate.

I would guess that all of us have allowed our emotions to invade our thoughts.  We all have been angry at some point during our lives.  I know that I have been, especially when I have to scream “representative” a hundred times in order to talk to a person on the phone.  But Jesus said that anger could place us in jeopardy of not reaching the kingdom.  Jesus appears to be telling us that our thoughts will be our primary activity after we die.  Our thoughts may be the pathway to everything that happens to us from our death through eternity.

So, let’s stop and think about what Jesus may have been trying to say.  We know that when we die, we will either be thinking or not thinking.  Jesus appears to be saying that all of us will continue thinking whether we believe in God or not.  Those of us who are thinking bad thoughts will be judged accordingly.  Probably there will be just a few of us who will be thinking good thoughts, and these will have a better chance to pass through Heaven’s gates.

It actually makes sense if you think about it.  If you are still thinking at death, your thoughts will be what take you in whichever path you follow.  If your thoughts are clean, then you will take the high road; but if your thinking is faulty, then you will be on the low road.  And the scary thing is that your good thoughts could turn into bad thoughts at any time during the process.  By linking and unifying with God, you will have the best chance to stay on the right path.

Your Own Perspective

Generally, we think pretty highly of ourselves.  If you analyze a bad situation, you typically will rationalize that you were in the right while everybody else was in the wrong.

For example, as an attorney, I handled many divorces.  I never represented a party who was in the wrong.  The opposing spouse was always the bad person.  In fact in most cases, I attempted to get the two parties back together or, at least, to resolve matters amicably without giving all their money to the attorneys.  Other attorneys hated me for obvious reasons.

It was not difficult for attorneys to get the two spouses to fight to the death.  I remember one attorney said the same thing after every comment made by his client, “I can’t believe that dirt bag did that to you.”  Then he would say, “Let’s take them for everything!”  Omigod!  Every divorce resolved with attorneys ended in a disaster for the clients and wonderfully for the attorneys.

Also, I handled civil litigation over car accidents and other negligent acts with the same results.  The attorneys did very well and their clients did not.  Again, I attempted to get the parties to agree to a reasonable solution, but to no avail.  One or both of the parties saw the situation from their perspective, which was always selfish and self-serving.  How can you reach an agreement with somebody who will not compromise?  Many times, it was all or nothing.

Road rage is on the rise as people have a tendency to view themselves as victims.  Again, it is entirely from their perspective.  A third party watching on the sidelines will have an entirely different take on how the incident occurred.  Typically, both parties involved in the incident are equally to blame.

One of my favorite stories was about an excellent judge who said, “If both attorneys, for the plaintiff and defendant, are angry with my decision, then I have made an outstanding ruling.”  The judge had it right.  Both parties are examining things from their jaded perspectives.  The truth is that neither one of them is accurate.  It generally takes two idiots to create an accident.  However, from each of their perspectives, they were not the cause of the accident.  It is always the fault of the other person.

You should distance yourself from your perspective.  Stand back from being so close to the incident.  Look at it from afar.  Let your perspective fade into the background.  You might become more respectful of others and their positions.  You might become more circumspect.  You might become more selfless.  You just might become a better person.

If you are still thinking when you die, then most likely you will be thinking from your perspective.  If you spent your entire lifetime thinking from this perspective, it is not likely that you will change after death.  This may be a major mistake.  A selfish perspective may lead you down the wrong avenue into Hell itself.  This might be why Jesus indicated that few would reach His kingdom.

As a Christian, I believe that Jesus died for our sins, allowing us to reach the first Heaven.  Paul, who discussed the three Heavens, probably heard this from Jesus after His resurrection.  The majority of Christians believe that they have been saved and will spend eternity in Heaven.

This is not logical to me.  The Bible clearly discusses the Judgment Day and consequences for poor decisions made during life.  It seems reasonable that God would pass judgment on us after death to determine whether we would remain in the first Heaven or enter the second or third Heavens.  It is logical that if we continue to view everything from our perspective, we will not reach beyond the first Heaven.

Devilish Dream

I have had many strange dreams, but I want to record last night’s dream in this article so that I will remember it.  It was different from other dreams because it seemed very real.  In fact when I awakened, it didn’t feel like I had been dreaming, but it was like I had been transported from a strange location back to my bed. All I knew was that it was a devilish dream.

And that strange location was a classroom.  I was surrounded by thousands of people all sitting in metal folding chairs lined up in hundreds of rows, facing a podium with a speaker, who was addressing the class.  We were all sitting upright and offering the greatest degree of attention that we could muster.  The speaker was talking in a monotone voice that had a tendency to lull us to sleep, but we instinctively knew there would be consequences if we closed our eyes.

The topic of the presentation was the poor choices that many in the room had made during their lifetimes.  However, I was surprised when the speaker asked us to raise our hands if we felt like we had to suffer consequences for these poor decisions, that only a handful of us, including me, raised our hands.  The great majority obviously believed that there would be no punishment for their misdeeds.

I didn’t know the reasoning behind that belief, but I assumed that many of them thought that Jesus died for their sins and there would be no consequences because of that.  I am a Christian, but I have read the Bible enough to know that even though our sins are forgiven because of the sacrifices made by Jesus, the Bible clearly states that there still will be a Judgment Day for all of us.

There will be certain consequences for our actions even though we are forgiven by the death of Jesus.  The Bible is very clear on this, but ministers tend to overlook these passages in the good book so as not to alarm their congregations.  You can find passages all through the Bible that warn us that we will suffer consequences for our acts.

It might be more peaceful going into the afterlife, believing that there will be no punishment awaiting.  As an analogy, it’s probably better not knowing that a shot is going to be painful.  The wait before the shot could be more painful than the shot itself.  If you think too much about Judgment Day, you might have a tendency to unnecessarily worry about it.

I believe you must be realistic as you enter the afterlife or you may forget the most important thing:  you must unify with God.  If you are too peaceful, you may find yourself herded in the wrong direction.  Only unification with God will protect you from false prophets, guides, and leaders in the afterworld.

My guess is that God will administer different punishments for different souls.  It would be similar to our criminal law courts.  Somebody who was guilty of shoplifting may have to perform community service for 100 hours, while somebody guilty of murder may get a life sentence.  God will examine all of our sins on Judgment Day holding us all accountable.

But back to my dream.  As all the attendees were asked to raise their hands if they believed that they would be punished for their bad choices, a big search light came on behind us, so that we could see our shadows in front of us.  I noticed that my hand was raised while nobody else in my row or behind me had their hands raised.

However that was not the biggest surprise.  I was shocked when I noticed that all of us had horns on the top of our heads.  Not one soul in the meeting failed to have two horns positioned on the crown of their heads.  But when I looked at my neighbor straight on, there was no set of horns.  The horns could only be detected by the shadows when the light was behind us.

Those of us who understood that we would have consequences for our actions during our lifetimes were summarily whisked out of the room and were taken to a small room with no windows and only one door.  It reminded me of an interrogation room.  After a moment, a man with a long gray beard entered the room and told us that he was always surprised that only a handful out of each class knew that they would be punished in the afterlife.

Some hoped that they would not be punished and would not admit that it was even a possibility.  Some rationalized that they had not done anything wrong.  Others felt that they had been punished enough during their lives.  Others believed Jesus erased all consequences.  Others thought that there was nothing after death.  Others pretended not to care.

In the last part of my dream before I was transported back to my bed, I was informed that there were other tests ahead.  The small handful of us had passed only the first of many tests.  I assumed there were also consequences ahead for other tests, depending on how we did.

I remembered what Jesus said, “… narrow is the way, which leadeth into life, and few there be that find it.”  Matthew 7:14.  Jesus was saying that only a few of us will reach God’s kingdom.  In all my years of attending church, I have never heard a minister explain this statement.  And even though it will be difficult to reach Heaven even if you become one with God, it will be impossible if you do not unify with Him.

 

 

Holy Crap

Holy Crap!

I remember back during the Vietnam War when American soldiers said, “Kill a Gook for God.”  But typically, God is not on anybody’s side during war.  So, God is also not on the side of terrorists when they behead their enemies.  And God was not on the side of Crusaders who tortured their enemies or witch hunters in Salem.

Perhaps these represent extreme fundamentalist activities, but moderate religious adherents also are sinners.  We are all different kinds of sinners.  But when we justify our sins as acting under God’s direction, we are going down the wrong path.  When we rationalize our acts as God’s servants, we are headed through the wrong gate.

Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14.

I see many church-going citizens on Sunday mornings with a pious look on their faces.  But I see these same citizens later that evening at bars, hitting on women and looking for love in all the wrong places.  It seems that many believers think that the road to God is a wide road that accepts all sinners, no matter how many times they have sinned.  Jesus clearly stated that it is a very narrow path with only a few finding it.

If Jesus died for our sins, why do we have to worry about our sins at all?  All our past and future sins were or will be erased since Jesus paid our sin debt in full, right?  Well, that answer is not as clear as you might think.  Believing in Jesus as your savior may get you to first base, but it doesn’t get you down the narrow baseline from second and third base and finally to God’s Home.

Free will without consequences would be quite absurd.  We, as sinners, prefer to believe that consequences are for the other sinners.  That is not even logical.  The Bible is very clear about a judgment day, which will examine our deeds and misdeeds during our sinful lives.  “The dead were judged according to what they had done…”  Revelation 20:12.

So, let’s cut through the Holy Crap and get down to the bottom line, which is getting to Home plate.  Since we all will be judged, it is important to minimize your sinning.  You should not justify or rationalize your sins.  You should not expect God to forget your sins.  But you should avoid sinning at all costs.  Because sinning will cost you more than you can imagine.

How do we find the narrow path that Jesus indicated only a few would find?  First, drop the holy crap!  We need to accept our sinful nature and our past failures and allow God into our hearts.  It is only when we become one with God that we can successfully turn ourselves around.  Unification with God leads to the narrow path.  It will be a very difficult path and journey, but you have no chance without the Heavenly pathfinder.

 

Third Heaven and Second Death

I have been attending church for over six decades and have never heard a minister mention the “third heaven” as discussed in 2 Corinthians 12:2  or the “second death” as foretold in Chapters 2 and 20 of Revelation.  Since the Bible discusses “heavens” in many parts of the Bible from Genesis forward, I briefly wondered why preachers never brought this subject up. But then I realized that it would be controversial, perhaps even causing a loss of membership at that church.

Most Christians believe that Jesus died for their sins, so that they will have no consequences awaiting them in the afterlife.  Unfortunately for them, this is only part of the Bible’s story.  The Bible makes it clear that the first heaven is very accessible to believers through the sacrifice of Jesus and the grace of God.  But what is the second heaven?

There is no second heaven discussed in the Bible, but the second death is mentioned in Revelation four times (Rev 2:11, 20:6, 20-14, and 21:8).  Revelation is not easy reading, but it states that the second death is into the lake of fire based on the things you have done during life, Rev 20:13-15.  The Bible merely provides consequences for bad decisions.  It seems to state that if you were not deceived by the Devil and you did well, you would have a “first resurrection” (Rev 20:6); but if you were deceived and did not do so well, then you would be tossed into the lake of fire along with Satan (Rev 20:14).  The first resurrection should be into the new or second heaven since Revelation 21:1 describes the first heaven passing away at this point in time, leading to the second heaven.

In effect, the first death is not fixed in stone as the believers and nonbelievers are separated by a chasm.  The Devil will have an opportunity to deceive the believers until the second death becomes permanent, when all those who have been adjudged as deficient will fall into the lake of fire, Sheol.  The Bible also mentions the destruction of the heavens by fire before reaching a new or second heaven.  2 Peter 3:12-13.

The third heaven is probably not a place.  Paul describes it as possibly an “out of the body” experience.  2 Corinthians 12:3.  The Bible also says that the kingdom of God, probably the third heaven, is “within you.”  Luke 17:21.

In conclusion, the first heaven is probably the one that all Christians believe they will reach through God’s grace and the sacrifice of Jesus.  Then we undergo a more difficult test with a judgment being rendered based on our works during life.  It is a pass-fail test.  If you fail, you receive a second death in the bowels of Hell.  If you pass, you go to the second heaven where the final test is taken.

One of my ministers, who agreed to talk with me about the third heaven privately, told me that the third heaven is a final goal of returning to the Garden of Eden. The final test provides an opportunity for us to improve ourselves even more as we attempt to reach the last heaven, which is God’s kingdom.  The Bible is not specific about the requirements for the final exam.

Focus on God

Our species appears to be the only animal that thinks about the afterlife.  The majority of humans think that there is an afterlife or there is not an afterlife or they simply don’t know one way or the other.  But most of us do think about the afterlife.

And we think about the Creator or God in the same manner:  there is a God or there is no God or we just don’t know.  But most of us do think about God.  Our focus is on God.

Even atheists need God to believe that He does not exist.  So logically, they must have thought of God first in order to decide that He does not exist.  Because how could you introduce a negative thought about something that you didn’t think or know about?  The concept of God had to exist before atheists could argue that He did not live.

Thus, our focus is on God and the afterlife.  And since we are human, we will do stupid and cruel and mean and horrible things during our lifetimes.  Everybody has something they can feel guilty about and most of us have something we feel guilty about every day.  So, we are sinful creatures who have been given free will to commit sins.

Do we resign ourselves to this sinful nature or do we try to do better?  Those who give in to our humanness and never attempt to improve themselves typically are those who don’t believe in God.  And who could blame them?  If you accept sin as your natural state during life, then you would not want any consequences after death.  You would not want God to be your judge.  Your preference would be to die and that would be the end.  The only problem with this belief is that choices without consequences make no sense.  Life would be absurd without consequences.  Life would be absurd without God.

Yet, those who believe in God are not necessarily any better than atheists.  Many followers of God believe that they will have a free ticket punched, eliminating all consequences for their sins.  This makes no more sense than atheism.  Clearly, the Bible speaks of judgments and consequences based on what we did during our lives.  Of course, believers want their sins to be washed away, typically so they can go sin again.  The only problem with this belief is that there must be consequences or life would be absurd.

And those who do not know if God exists or not cannot win by default.  You have heard the rule of law: ignorance of the law is no excuse.  The same applies to those who say they don’t know if God lives.  When they sin, there will be consequences whether they know God or not.  There must be consequences to prevent life from being absurd.

In conclusion, atheists, believers, and agnostics, who represent the majority of Homo sapiens, all focus on God in one fashion or another.  And that focus is on there being or not being a judge who will provide consequences for all our poor choices made during our lifetimes.  But remember: life is absurd without consequences.

Edge of the Universe with God on the Other Side

I have written many articles on why our universe is most likely closed.  So, if it were closed, where is the boundary?  Well, the universe could have an oval orbit like many objects, large and small, but let’s be more adventurous.  Perhaps, we should think like Einstein and examine a four-dimensional universe.

When you add the fourth dimension, time, you need to be creative since the edge of our universe might be much more different than what you would expect in a three-dimensional object.  So, what if the boundary were flexible like a time bubble that could expand and contract?  What if the edge were not so much a three-dimensional location, but instead a moment in time?

Let’s speculate.  What if the Big Bang were nothing more than the entry point for all the mass and energy, including high-energy neutrinos?  Maybe after several million years, the Big Bang event, which probably was a fireball, started to cool down.  The lights went out.  Quite possibly, there were about 100 million years of no activity that was visible.

The Dark Ages of our universe more than likely saw a reversal from expansion to contraction.  The first stars and ancient galaxies probably were not formed until the hydrogen gases were compacted to the point that the heat was so intense that they ignited, much like stars are created today.

The majority of scientists believe that the universe is expanding at an increasing rate.  I suppose that this is possible if dark energy were drawing the visible matter out into infinity, but that sounds like an open universe with no boundaries.  If you believe our universe is closed, the only theory that makes any sense is that the universe is collapsing at an increasing speed as it races back toward its origin.

Why is our universe closed?  Everything that we know in our universe has design.  Even activities that appear to be chaotic have a reason and lead to a purpose.  God is the Designer.  As an example, electrons, planets, and galaxies move in closed orbits.  God’s world moves in cycles.  Since we cannot see the other side of the Big Bang, there must be a boundary that hides it.  The galaxies in the universe seem to be interconnected within an oval egg shell that expands and contracts over time.  The law of conservation of matter and energy states that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed in our universe.  This matter and energy that remains the same total amount forever must be encased by a boundary for this theory to be true.

An open universe with only expansion that continues into a Deep Freeze with all matter reaching a final destination that has no purpose does not fit within God’s design.  An open universe theory supports a chaotic, purposeless system that is advocated by atheists.  Large stars would burn out, leaving only smaller stars to burn out, until all the hydrogen was used.  Scientists believe that the Deep Freeze will be the end of our universe.  But it serves no purpose.  It does not fit within God’s ultimate design for the universe.  God did not design a dying universe.

So, if time created the boundary for our universe, which can alternate between expansion and contraction, does that mean that time can go backwards?  It might from our perspective.  In other words, from our position on earth, a reversal might appear to be headed back in time to the ancient galaxies and the Big Bang event.  But if we were outside the time bubble, we might simply view our bubble getting very small as the compaction increased into the Big Crunch.

What in the universe could be driving this time machine, alternating between expansion and contraction?  Well, since our visible universe is only about 3% of the universe, dark matter and dark energy are the likely forces.  God probably designed a universe that could exist for an infinite amount of time.  This makes sense if you consider that time could be a closed fourth dimension perpetually expanding and shrinking or from our perspective, going forward and then backward in time.  Frankly, whether we are moving toward a Big Bang or Big Crunch may not matter since it could lead to the same result, so whether time is going forward or backward may not matter either.

God banished Adam and Eve from his kingdom probably into a universe without end like ours.  The only way to return to God might be to leave this universe.  There appear to be three heavens or judgments that must be passed in order to reach this goal.  2 Corinthians 12:2.  The first heaven, which has been described as being on earth, should be the easiest to obtain through belief and faith.  But the other two might be increasingly difficult.  The first death probably separates believers from nonbelievers based on God’s grace.  The second death is mentioned in the Bible when we are judged based on our works.  Revelation 20:13-14.  If we fail this test, we are cast into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:15.

As Jesus said, “Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Matthew 7:14.  Revelation indicates that only 144,000 will be redeemed from earth.  Revelation 14:3.  The fate of Adam and Eve or humankind probably cannot be reversed without a superhuman effort that counters the Devil’s deceit in the second heaven.  Certainly, turning everything over to God should create the necessary unification with God to enter the third heaven, God’s kingdom.  But anything outside the Bible is just guesswork.  We will not know for certain until we die, but being prepared for anything is not a bad idea.

Even though this article is highly speculative, it is always interesting to ask the question:  why can Hubble see the ancient galaxies?  If the light from that ancient object, which no longer exists, started its race in a straight line toward Hubble about 13 billion years ago wouldn’t it have passed us?  If you believe we have been constantly expanding since the Big Bang at less than the speed of light, how could we see any ancient light?

I suppose you could argue that the universe is curved so that the light from ancient galaxies has raced around and is coming back for a second viewing.  But it seems more likely from our perspective that we are going back in time towards not only ancient light, but also the Big Bang itself.

Again, this is only a somewhat edgy theory, but it is possible that our universe is a time machine that can alternate between a Big Bang and a Big Crunch forever.  In that sense, we are in an infinite prison of our own sinful devise.  God and Jesus have shown us a way out, but how many will actually leave this universe?

Would Heaven Be Boring?

Reservations for Heaven may be very limited, but assuming that I make the cut, would I be bored spending an eternity there?

Nobody knows what awaits us in the afterlife, but living an eternity on earth would be a nightmare.  Over the course of eternity, your body would deteriorate to the point you would be bedridden.  Not being able to die as your body failed you would be horrible, indeed.

So, we must assume that matter in Heaven will be different.  I assume that we will not have to eat or use the rest room or breathe or have a body that will age ungracefully.  Perhaps, thinking will be our primary activity.  Knowing the frailties of man, it is quite possible that thinking about anything for an eternity would be a challenge.

It might even be considered cruel and unusual punishment if it becomes solitary confinement within your thought process.  So, certainly there will be others to communicate with in Heaven.  But what will you communicate?  Will you talk about the weather on earth?  Will you be able to watch earth’s activities like on a television screen?  Will you have animals around you to entertain you?  What mental challenges will be at your disposal?

Quite frankly, an eternity is a long time.  Will I get bored in Heaven?  Will God and the other residents get bored with me?  Are there any requirements for being able to stay in Heaven?  Or will I want to stay if eternity starts to become an issue?  I like to eat cherry pie, but I would get sick of it if I ate it every day.

I believe that God is so unbelievably smart that He will make Heaven inviting for an eternity.  My curiosity would be peaked by investigating the billions of galaxies and the billions of potential solar systems in each galaxy.  It is very likely that there are many forms of life scattered throughout the universe.  I can’t imagine that I would be bored if God allowed me to explore the billions of galaxies.  And by the time I had examined them all, things would have changed, so I could reexamine them with different results.  The vast universe could not possibly bore me.  And if there are multiverses, then it will be even more interesting.

God, I’m certain, has a creation that would keep us in a discovery mode for an eternity.  I would be very excited to try living in God’s universe, if I am considered worthy.  I guess that is the problem:  How does God know if I am Heaven-worthy?

I know that I need to do my best to mirror Jesus and His teachings, but the Beatitudes tell us that we can’t even think bad thoughts.  Wow!  I missed the boat big time on that one.  The Bible indicates that there may be three Heavens, so there may be three tests that we have to pass. And is each heaven a contingency, so you could actually drop back  to the past Heaven, depending on your actions in that particular Heaven?  The Bible also makes it very clear that only a few will reach God’s universe.  Thus, the majority of us will not have an opportunity to even see if Heaven is boring.

What happens to most of us who don’t get a taste of Heaven?  I don’t know, but my guess is that we will be recycled in our closed universe’s hopper, which may spit us out in some other form.  Will we still be thinking if we return as an ant or bird?  I don’t know.  Will we still be thinking if we come back as a rock?  Or will we still be thinking if we are in limbo in space?  Nobody knows.  So, will you be bored if you are not in Heaven forever?  Being sentenced to this universe for infinity may really be cruel and unusual punishment.

Perhaps the best we could hope for, if we don’t make it to Heaven, is for life to end with there being nothing else beyond that.  But the odds of that happening are not very good because matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed in our universe (First Law of Thermodynamics).  So, our thinking, which may be both matter and energy, will continue in some form after we die.  We just don’t know in what form.  And life without consequences or something beyond life would make life absurd (existentialism).  However, we have no clue what consequences await us.

 

Existentialism of Ecclesiastes

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible, which may have been written by King Solomon, was a forerunner for Soren Kierkegaard, the Father of Existentialism.  Most existentialists believed that man was abandoned in a meaningless, godless universe, but Kierkegaard would have said that life was meaningless without God.

Ecclesiastes states that everything is meaningless… “utterly meaningless.”  The word “meaningless” is used 35 times in this book, but only one other time in the Bible.  Ecclesiastes also emphasizes that life is meaningless without God.

We are trapped in a world that has no meaning.  And we are locked in a world where nothing is new under the sun.  We are doomed to live in a world of repetitiveness and sameness.  Ecclesiastes 1:11 sounds like existential angst.

Book 2 of Ecclesiastes explains that wisdom, pleasure, and work are also meaningless.  So after this wonderful negative start, what in life is worth living?  One of the dilemmas of an existentialist is if life is meaningless, why endure it?  Why not just commit suicide in a life that has no meaning?  If life is not worth living, why live it?

Ecclesiastes in Book 3 makes life even more depressing.  In this section, God will judge both the righteous and the wicked equally.  All will go to the same destination.  All came from dust and will return to dust.  In Book 9, all humans, good and bad, will share a common destiny.  “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: the same destiny overtakes all.  The hearts of men, moreover, are full of evil and there is madness in their hearts while they live, and afterward they join the dead.”  Ecclesiastes 9:3.

But it even gets worse as you age.  Chapter 12 paints a very depressing picture of the aging process.  Old people will find no pleasure in anything as the days pass in their jail cells waiting for their death sentence to be carried out.  “Everything is meaningless!”  Ecclesiastes 12:8.

So how can we have goals in this depressing and meaningless state?  Well, it all goes back to what Ecclesiastes and Kierkegaard were saying:  only in God does life have meaning.  It is true that God cannot be proven or even shown to be probable through objective reasoning.  None of us knows the explanation of things, Ecclesiastes 8:1.  The inductive method of “adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things” will fail, Ecclesiastes 7:27.

It is only through subjective thought or “inwardness” that we encounter God.  Life can be considered to be so meaningless as to be absurd unless there were a cause and a reason for that creation.  In other words, if we were created, then we can infer a creator.

Kierkegaard goes so far as to say in Christian Discourses that being a human being is nothing, but to become something, we must exist before God.  In other words, our lives are meaningless without the creator.  Kierkegaard searches for a goal in this meaningless universe and finds two: (1) a temporal goal of satisfying your desires and (2) an eternal goal of reaching the creator.

We know that life is temporary, so if death is the end of your consciousness, then your temporal goals will be meaningless.  It will not matter how much gold and silver you collected, you will be leaving all that behind.  It will not matter how much you improved your house during your life since it will not be going with you.  When you are “dead” dead, none of your goals during life will matter.

However, if there is something after life, then the eternal goal is the better choice.  Kierkegaard, who was a maverick among Christian writers, expressed the goal to “continually become more and more Christian” in preparing for eternity.  In an August 1, 1935, journal entry, Kierkegaard made it clear, “What matters is to find my purpose, to see what it really is that God wills that I shall do; the crucial thing is to find a truth that is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.”

Kierkegaard continued in that same 1935 letter, “One must first learn to know oneself before knowing anything else.  Not until a person has inwardly understood himself and then sees the course he is to take does his life gain peace and meaning; only then is he free of that irksome, sinister traveling companion – that irony of life that manifests itself in the sphere of knowledge and invites true knowledge to begin with a not-knowing Socrates, just as God created the world from nothing.”

The controversy surrounding Kierkegaard was his point that man can reach God through his individual effort and not through the church leaders.  Kierkegaard argued that he “sought to preserve my individuality” when his spirit reached toward God.

The centerpiece of existentialism is that we make choices every day and that there are consequences for those decisions.  If we die and there is nothing more, then these choices will only impact us temporarily and probably minimally during our lives.  But if there is an afterlife, then the consequences could become much more significant for both punishments and time frames.  “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”  Ecclesiastes 12:14.

Existentialism and religion fit together like a surgeon’s glove on a hand.