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.

 

Odds Are…

What are the chances that life is illusory?  What are the chances that God exists only in your mind?  If anything is possible, then the odds are good that any of these suggestions are reality.  And because of the quantum world, even contradictory actions can occur simultaneously without cancelling each other out.

So, is everything possible?  Quite possibly, everything could be possible.  Is it possible to win the lottery?  The odds may be against that happening, but it could happen.  If I were to draw 13 cards from a deck of cards, the odds that those cards would be all spades, consecutively drawn as:  A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2, would be astronomical.  But it is possible.

If everything is possible, could something also be impossible?  In other words, is it possible for something to be impossible and still everything would be possible at the same time?  Of course it can through the magic of quantum mechanics.  Therefore if everything is possible, including some things being impossible, then this is a complete set of possibilities.  There is nothing out of the realm of possibility within the universe.

And that makes sense since matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in our universe, so that everything within our universe must be a complete set since nothing else can be created.  The deck of cards (matter and energy) within our universe was created outside the universe, leaving us with free will and random chances in how the cards were both dealt and played.  If everything is possible, then there can be no complaint about your failure to be a good person or to reach your goals.

And being a good person or reaching your goals is not a miracle provided by God.  God gave you the cards, but you played them and thus must accept the consequences for your choices in life.  The key to miracles is in transforming your mind.  It doesn’t matter whether you utilize philosophy or religion or meditation.  You mind must leave the universe and become connected with God, who is outside the universe.

Scientists and doctors have case studies where patients have been pronounced as brain dead, but were later revived and brought back to life.  Those patients consistently have reported that they were still aware of events even after their brains stopped functioning.  In effect, their consciousness continued into the afterlife.  And this is both possible and impossible, depending on your perspective.

As I have written many times, our species would be infinitely fortunate if we died and our consciousness ended at the same time.  That would be the best case for mankind.  But unfortunately the odds are against that happening.  Since nothing in our universe can be destroyed and also assuming consciousness is something in our universe,  then our awareness will not terminate when our bodies die, just like we have been told by those who have died and then have been resuscitated.

Even though some religions promise eternal lives for true believers, please be careful what you wish for.  If your goal is just to have eternal life, this could be a hell within itself.  Can you imagine being stuck for eternity in the same room with your enemy or even an individual who irritates the hell out of you?  Eternal life without first unifying with God could be eternal damnation.

So if you die and are still thinking, then you had better quickly become one with God or you will be lost without a guide through the chaotic journey after death where anything is possible.  And this might become your personal Judgment Day with you inflicting more torture and pain on yourself than God would ever do.

How Much Do We Know?

With all the improvements in science and scientific research and space exploration, how much do we know… perhaps 10% of what is in our universe?  With the large telescopes on earth and in space, how much do we see… perhaps another 10% of our universe?

Actually, we know less than 1% of what is in our universe and probably much less than 1%.  The visible universe is less than 4% of what is included in the universe and probably much less than 4%, especially if the universe is an ellipse and we can only view it to its horizon.  And even if the visible universe is 4%, we know just a fraction of what is in that visible universe.

So, how much do we know?  Not much at all.  We don’t know much about dark matter and don’t know anything about dark energy.  In fact, we can say with certainty:  we are pretty much in the dark.

We don’t even know that much about what is right in front of us.  The invisible quantum world is right next to us, but we have only scratched its surface.  There are unexplored deep oceans.  There still are many mysteries deep inside the earth’s core.

We, humans, think very highly of ourselves, but actually we are a miserable lot.  We can’t take care of our environment.  We are responsible for a current mass extinction that may end up being worse than the Permian extinction.  Our emotions make us more violent and unpredictable than any other animals.

We don’t even know much about ourselves and why we exist.  Why do we think about our existence?  If we didn’t have that nagging awareness, we could be like all the other animals, living through basic instincts without emotional interplay.  But our consciousness and consciences make us different from other animals… and not necessarily different better.  We murder based on hate, greed, sex, desire, jealousy, and anger.  No other animals do that.  We want gold, silver, diamonds, and currency.  Other animals don’t care about these things.  We want luxury automobiles and huge homes with the best furniture.  Other animals could care less.

So, why are we different and what is our purpose?  Well, logically there must be a reason for us to have free will and make choices based on our unique consciousness and consciences.  And the only reason that makes sense is that we are being tested.  Why else would we be able to make choices?  Life with free will would be quite absurd without consequences for our choices.  Existentialism rules our world.

Homo sapiens could have been like any other animal with no awareness or conscience, but we were given free will that no other animals have.  Why?  It has to be because something or somebody will examine these decisions that we have made.  And, of course, there will be consequences.  You cannot judge an animal that acts based on inherent instincts, but you can provide punishment for bad choices made by Homo sapiens.

So, how much do we know about a future judgment?  My guess is that we know less than 1% and probably substantially less than 1%.

Dealing with Death

Does death mean “no more?”  Does it mean that our thought process ends with our being brain dead?  Or is death the beginning of something altogether foreign and new to us?

Of course, nobody knows the answer to these questions, but scientists do discuss the law of conservation of energy and mass as a known.  Following this law, energy and matter can neither be created nor destroyed in our recycling universe, but may be transformed.  Does this mean that your thinking cannot die?  If your brain is no longer functional, your thinking may evolve into a new form.  Since awareness could be converted to something else, thoughts still may exist outside our bodies after death.  Unfortunately, it is not likely that your thinking will ever stop.

The best thing that could possibly happen is for us to die and stop thinking.  Death, then, would be the end to consciousness.  We could welcome death if this were the case.  There would be no pain, no suffering, and no consequences after death.  We would have absolutely nothing to worry about.  Since we are all sinners, we all could breathe easier since our poor choices in life would have no repercussions.

If we died and our thinking terminated at that point, we could easily deal with death.  Death would be the same as nothing, and everybody should be able to deal with nothing happening.  Everything would end and there would be no more.  Believe me… that would be a good thing.

That would be a great ending for us because most of us feel guilty about something and those who don’t should.   And the bad choices we made in life would have had no consequences after death.  Of course, society, family, and peer pressure still would provide their own consequences for your sins during your lifetime.  But there would be no afterlife to worry about.

So, the real problem in dealing with death occurs if our final breath does not stop our thinking.  If we are still aware after we die, we definitely have a problem.  Most likely, the afterlife will be strange and scary for us.  How do we prepare for a nightmarish unknown?

Quite frankly, I don’t know.  There are many religions to study and select your favorite.  But I am concerned that religion, by itself, will not be sufficient.  I fear that beliefs that are lukewarm to warm will not serve us well during the high stress of facing the unknown.  Attending church and praying to God probably are not going to help that much either.  So, how do we deal with death if we are still thinking?

It seems logical that there is a Creator outside this universe, since we live where nothing can be created.  And I believe that it is critical to make contact with this Creator before we die and certainly after we die.  How do we do that?  Again, I don’t know.  But it makes sense to attempt to unify with the Creator in some manner.  If you have sufficient faith and trust in the Creator and allow Him into your thoughts, you will be on the right path.

There are no guarantees that the path will be smooth.  I’m fairly confident that we will be tested on that journey through the afterlife.  But your beliefs in the Creator must be powerful enough to withstand the chaos and darkness so that you can find the light from your guide and ally along this road.  Never give up on the Creator because only He can remove you from the eternal damnation of being stuck with your own thoughts for infinity without any diversions.

Now, that would be Hell!

Evolution for Afterlife

We are all familiar with Darwin’s theories of evolution during life, but very little has been written on evolution after life.  If you believe that there is nothing after life, then you will not be interested in this discussion; however, you might want to read this just in case there is something waiting for us after we die.  Since it is impossible to say with certainty that there is nothing after we die, it might be good to at least think about the possibilities.

You have heard stories about parents who wanted their children to have a better life and sacrificed their own lives to provide an education and whatever else they could to give their children a better chance than they had.  Evolution is a part of that process.  Survival of the fittest is one of the evolutionary principles that generally create a better and stronger species.  The weaker and less efficient members of that population die or don’t reproduce.

We know that Homo sapiens was lucky to become the dominant species.  If the dinosaurs had not suffered a mass extinction, mammals would not have had the opportunity to flourish.  And our species was nearly wiped out several times, but it fortunately survived the eruption of Mt. Toba and the ice ages.

So even though we consider ourselves as the ultimate species at the top of the evolutionary peak, this is not true.  Consider the source of that belief.  Our species consists of very fragile animals that cannot survive in extreme conditions.  The species has only existed for a short period in geologic time.  Our selfish tendencies will eventually doom us.  We would rather satisfy our individual needs than do the right thing to protect our progeny.  An example is our inability to preserve our environment for future generations.

We attempt to improve ourselves during our lifetimes, but our humanness limits our ability to evolve into selfless creatures.  Perhaps the best we can hope for is that we would sacrifice our lives to protect our children.  So, it may be that any significant evolution of man must occur after death.  Assuming that we are still conscious after death, we may have the opportunity to evolve into a much better entity.

The Bible indicates that there are three Heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2).  We can only speculate on these different Heavens, but there may be three separate tests for each Heaven.

The first Heaven probably is the obvious one where Christians go if they believe in Jesus who died for their sins.  But Jews and Muslims also know this Heaven as a place where believers of God are admitted.  Other religions and beliefs are not excluded from this Heaven.  This destination is not an exclusive club for Christians, Jews, Muslims, or any religion.  But your choices made during life may be a part of the judgment, including analyzing your actions as evidence that you actually believed.  So, this Heaven perhaps is the easiest to reach as long as you believe.  There may be a clear division between believers and nonbelievers.  The Bible refers to an abyss between the two groups.  Near-death experiences consistently refer to crossing over.

We apparently will retain at least some of our senses to detect this Heaven.  This is the Heaven that has been seen and heard by those who have had near-death or death experiences.  It probably is a beautiful and peaceful place, but still should be within the confines of God’s created, closed universe.  This is where we may see and talk to relatives and friends who predeceased us, angels, and Jesus and Abraham, all in recognizable human form.  This probably is by design so we will feel welcome and will not be afraid of unfamiliar forms and entities.  The face of Jesus will be comfortable and familiar to us, so we may see Him here.  But the face of God might be more hidden from us in this Heaven.

The second Heaven may require an evolution of spirit, going from selfish, centrist thought to “big picture” thinking.  In other words, you become less important as an entity as the whole becomes more important than your part.  This Heaven, more than likely, is reached through your thoughts.  You may find the mid-Heaven quite a bit more difficult to reach since there may be temptations in the first Heaven that impede your progress.  However, if you become one with God, you should be able to avoid selfish and prideful thoughts.  Some religions teach this unification, which is critical in order to evolve and transfer into the second Heaven.  Reaching this goal requires much more than a belief in Jesus or God; it requires a complete makeover of your personality, focusing on the universe that is beyond you.  I have no idea about the structure of this Heaven, but it probably is still within the border of our closed universe.  We may be judged by our actions in the first Heaven to determine if we will be permitted to transition to the second Heaven.

The third Heaven probably is God’s universe, which is outside our known universe.  The law of conservation of energy basically states that matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed in a closed universe.  So, God’s creation probably occurred outside our closed universe in God’s kingdom.  The transformation that is required to reach this kingdom may be of such a magnitude that I would be surprised if many souls ever made it.  In fact, the Bible, including the teachings of Jesus, is very clear that only a very few make the grade to reach God’s kingdom.

Pastors rarely will discuss the three Heavens and even less often will mention the difficulty in reaching the third Heaven, God’s kingdom.  It would be too controversial.  The pastors would be run out of town.  Most believers only want to hear about the first Heaven, which is the easiest destination.  So, ministers focus on how members of their church can reach the first Heaven.  It would be difficult to sell Christianity or any other religion if people had to work too hard at it.  So, don’t expect too many articles on evolving from the first Heaven to the second and third Heavens.

The significant evolution of our spirits must occur after we die.  My wife and I look forward to the Heavens as a challenge.  We will do our best and reach as many Heavens as we can.  We believe we have a chance to reach the second Heaven, so we will prepare ourselves as much as we can during our lifetimes to be ready for whatever happens.

If there is no afterlife, then all will be still when we die, and we will not suffer from our beliefs.  However, if there is an afterlife, then we will be well served by our preparation for consequences.  The free will that God gave us must have some significance.  As religious existentialists we believe that free will without the consequences of God would be quite absurd.

Also, it seems logical that a creation must have a Creator and that a design must have a Designer.  If I were an odds maker, I would say that it is more likely than not that there is a God.  If I were a gambler, I would place my money on God not only because of better odds, but also because of the consequences if you are wrong.  Even if the chances of there being a God were one in a million, I would still bet on God because if I’m wrong, it will not cost me anything.  But if I don’t pick God and I’m wrong, it will cost me everything.

My wife and I have taken a vow of abstinence for the past twenty years.  We will die without having sex again.  This may seem a bit extreme, but believe me, getting to the other Heavens requires extreme effort.  It will not be easy, no matter what religion and beliefs you have.  You must be willing to sacrifice yourself and your desires.  My wife and I study the Bible together as we prepare for our final days.  We are not perfect, but we work toward reaching the final goal.  If you get halfway toward your goal each day, you will never reach the goal, but you will keep edging closer.

It is interesting that many people do not like their lives, their work, their sex lives, their sex (male or female), but there are days when my wife and I find that we don’t like our species.  We apologize for this, but sometimes, we like our dogs better than humans.  In fact, we hope God has animals in the first Heaven.  We feel confident that the second and third Heavens require a complete transfiguration from our species into something altogether different and, of course, becoming a better entity through the evolution for afterlife.  Good luck.  We all will need it.

I Wish I Were an Atheist

I truly wish I were an atheist.  If I were an atheist, I would not have to worry about consequences… at least during my lifetime.  If there were no God, then this would be the best thing for mankind for there would be no consequences for all our poor choices.  Even the best of us make poor choices, so every human should hope that there is no God to judge us.

Of all the possible scenarios for afterlife, the best for mankind is for us to die and that is it.  After death, everything is black and nothing happens beyond that point.  Then nobody has to worry about being punished for bad acts and stupid decisions.  Death and then no more is the best case for Homo sapiens.

However, this is not very probable.  Everything within our universe is cycled and recycled.  The famous first law of thermodynamics is that matter and energy are neither created nor destroyed.  In other words, in our closed universe, our body, mind, and spirit are all recycled after death.  In other words, we may still be aware of where we are after death.  That, in and of itself, presents some problems for us.

If we are still thinking after death, what will we be thinking?  If we are not distracted by the daily chores of life, we will probably be thinking about bad decisions that we made during life.  It is natural for us to be hard on ourselves if our senses are not leading us in another direction.  Our senses, as we used them during our lifetimes, may not even be functioning after death.  Our consciousness or awareness may be our primary sense at this stage.

If we have free will during our lifetimes, God cannot intervene.  He gave us a moral compass or a conscience to guide us as we make decisions.  We can’t blame God for our poor choices or for the misfortunes we encounter on earth.  God is the creator, who lives outside our closed universe within which nothing can be created nor destroyed.

If there are no consequences for our choices made during life, then life is absurd.  If I die and there is nothing else, then our conscience and consciousness are absurd.  If there is no creator, then a closed universe sitting in the middle of nothing and surrounded by an imaginary boundary is absurd.  (Caveat:  a creator can be any power outside our universe that created our universe.)

So, the best case for humans during life is to be atheists and believe there is no God.  The only problem is that if you are wrong, then the afterlife will be a nightmare.  Thus, if you are an atheist, you must believe completely and absolutely that there is no God and there is no afterlife.  You must bet everything you own, including your soul, on there being nothing after death.

However, it is more likely than not that there is something after death, simply because of the commonality of cycles within our universe.  So, it probably would be better to suffer the pain of thinking about consequences, so that we will be better prepared to deal with judgment day.  If you believe that there is a God who forgives you, then the afterlife may be more tolerable.

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.

Why No Afterlife Is Best

It probably seems strange that a Christian, who truly believes in God, would say that no afterlife would be the best case for our species.  It’s really quite simple.  We all have sinned and have led something other than stellar lives, so there are consequences waiting for our poor choices.  If there is no afterlife, then there will be no punishment.  We will die and that will be the end.  This also would be the best ending for us since we would no longer be thinking.  And thinking without the distractions of our five senses could be a nightmare in and of itself.

However, the odds are significantly in favor of there being an afterlife.  The law of conservation of mass and energy states that nothing is created or destroyed in our universe.  Of course, there are many transfers from one form to another.  Water can be heated and turned into steam and energy.  Thus, it is very unlikely that our consciousness will be destroyed.  It is more likely that it will be transformed into something that is aware and thinking, but unlike anything we have been exposed to on earth.  But if we are still thinking, that is “the rub” that Shakespeare wrote about in Hamlet.  What “dreams may come” and what will we be thinking about?

Sensory deprivation is a form of punishment or torture that has been utilized by military and prisons for many years.  Typically, the prisoner starts to hallucinate and have horrible nightmares within minutes.  It would be the worst punishment imaginable to be suspended in this state for eternity.  You would be your own worst enemy.  Your thoughts would turn against you.  That’s why no afterlife is best for mankind, but like I said, “It is not likely.”  And since the consequences to you in that strange environment are significant, I would err on the side of having something to hold onto.

Now, that being said, it will not work for you to say: “Well, I will believe in God if I am placed in that environment.”  Your belief in God has to be unbelievably powerful.  It has to be a stronger faith than most Christians have.  Those Christians who go to church each Sunday and do nothing more probably will not have the belief that is required.  It must be a faith that is unshakeable by the chaotic underworld that awaits us.  If you initially believe in God and drop that faith as soon as the first demon arrives, then you will be lost.

God must be deeply entrenched inside you.  God must be so much a part of you that you are one with God.  Then your thoughts are also the thoughts of God, the creator.  Only He can guide you through the inky surrealistic world of death.  No matter how independent and powerful you think you are, you will not be equipped to handle the afterlife by yourself.  Only God can get you through it.  And that is not to say that it will be easy to navigate through the punishments of the underworld with God inside you.  It will be extremely difficult even with God.  But it will be impossible without Him.

Believing that Jesus died for our sins will give us a clean conscience, so that we will not carry guilt with us on our journey through the underworld.  But there will still be consequences for the choices we made during our lifetimes.  It is called “judgment day.”  Nobody knows what will happen, so it is best to prepare for anything and everything, including getting as close to God as you can.

God Is on Our Side

Bob Dylan wrote a song that included lyrics: “And the land that I live in has God on its side.”

Here are the lyrics:

Oh my name it is nothin’
My age it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And the land that I live in
Has God on its side.

Oh the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh the country was young
With God on its side.

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I’s made to memorize
With guns on their hands
And God on their side.

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side.

When the Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side.

I’ve learned to hate Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side.

But now we got weapons
Of the chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side.

In a many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side.

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war.

I believe that most Americans who believe in God consider Him to support their country.  I imagine that the Israelis consider God to be in their corner when they are fighting the Palestinians, and the Muslims think that God is on their side.

I was watching professional football playoff games today and noticed that many religious players thanked God for helping them make a touchdown or a great play.  I bet they feel that God is on their team’s side.

And even though it is wonderful to see so many people recognizing God, it bothers me that they appear to be confused about God’s role during our lives.  God gives us rules to follow and Jesus provided the Beatitudes with tremendous ethical teachings.  These are excellent guidelines… our moral compass that will help us navigate through our journey of life.  God’s words in the Bible help us make better decisions during our lives, but God gives us freedom of choice.

We make choices throughout our lifetimes, not God.  We have free will, so we should not blame or praise God for those things that happen during our lifetimes.  We should simply thank God for creating the universe and giving us an opportunity to live in it.

Yet, we do blame God.  Many Christians think of God as being most important during their lives, rather than their afterlives.  I believe this is a major mistake.  If we get lung cancer, we ask God why He did that to us, forgetting that we chose to smoke a pack a day for over thirty years.  And some deaths occur because of poor genes or bad luck or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  God does not pretend to cause or prevent these deaths.

Thus, it is not logical that God is on your team’s or country’s side either.  During war, many soldiers take solace in their religious beliefs, and this is very important in order to keep their sanity during such a hellish, surrealistic environment.  But that doesn’t mean that God sided with the Allies over the Axis powers in WWII.  Even though Hitler was more evil than good, God did not allow him to be assassinated during the attempts on his life.  History is filled with evil leaders who were not stopped by God.

Nobody knows what will happen over the course of our lives and certainly nobody knows what will happen after we die.  But I believe God’s primary purpose is for the afterlife.  If you believe in the Law of Conservation of Mass and Energy then you know that all the mass and energy in our universe can neither be created nor destroyed.  Any creation had to occur outside our closed universe.  God, as the Creator, is logically outside our universe, existing in His universe.

As I said, I have no idea what will happen after death.  If you die and you are no longer aware of your environment, then there is no afterlife and you don’t need to worry about anything.  Everything will cease when you die, and there is nothing more.

In this scenario, your body will decompose and the matter that once was your body will be recycled, but your thinking existence will come to an end.  Actually, this would be the best situation for us.  But I believe that nothing is destroyed within our closed universe, so our thinking probably will continue after our temporary shells of a body give out.

If you die and are still conscious, then more than likely you will be either in God’s world or in a transition zone leading to the Creator’s world.  If you are still thinking, then you need to reach out and embrace God, unifying with Him.  This is when you need to have God on your side, because we know nothing and God knows everything.

Even though I do not know for certain what will happen, I have a gut feeling that there is no “our” in the afterlife.  So God should be on “your” side, not “our” side.  In other words, it may be only you, your thoughts, and God.  God must be on your side or you will be completely alone in a chaotic underworld that will devour your thoughts, leaving you adrift in a dark world of eternal nightmares.

We can only see about 4% of the universe, and we only know a small fraction of that 4%.  We need to rely on the Creator of this universe, who knows everything about it and beyond.  I suspect that since we know so little about the universe, we will be lost without God.