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.

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.

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!”

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.

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.

Revelation – A Dark Corner of the Bible

My wife and I have been reading the Bible together for years.  We finally reached the last book, Revelation, which I call the dark corner of the Bible.  My wife, who is very religious, was clearly upset as we started reading this book.  Revelation, written by John, is apocalyptic in nature.  It does not paint a pretty picture of the future.  If read literally, it seems to say that only 144,000 people will enter God’s kingdom, Revelation 7:4.  That’s a very, very low percentage of the total of Homo sapiens who have populated earth for thousands of years.  My wife looked at me and was crying when she said, “I don’t have a chance.”

The notion that few people will be permitted to enter the new world is not unique to the Book of Revelation.  Jesus, discussing entrance into the kingdom of heaven, stated in Matthew 7:13-14: “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.”

Many true Christians, who reflect on their sins, will draw a similar conclusion as my wife did.  We all have sinned, so obviously never having sinned is not the ticket to God’s universe, so we all thought that we had a pretty good chance of entering heaven.  As it turns out, the odds may be better of winning the lottery.

Actually, the people who believe that they will enter God’s heaven are the ones least likely to receive an invitation.  Typically, they go to church on Sunday, confess their sins, and then go back out Monday and start sinning again, building up their bad behavior to a crescendo on Saturday, so they can return to church on Sunday confessing their sins.

Personally, I was challenged by Revelation.  I want to be a better person because of it, and I will never stop working toward that end.  Even if I do not make the grade or pass Judgment Day, I will do my best and will not be deterred from that goal.  My wife had a different reaction to the darkness of Revelation.  She was depressed and did not want to read the book anymore.

Revelation is depressing to many believers.  These believers will be happily separated from unbelievers in Hades during the first death, with the first judgment based on belief and not works.  But the second death mentioned in Revelation 20:14 may be more problematic for believers.  Revelation 20:12 reveals a second judgment of the dead, “great and small,” which will examine what we have done with our lives.  One interpretation of the “great and small” might mean both believers and non-believers.  Thus, most believers do not want to discuss the second judgment, which may be based on their deeds or misdeeds during their lifetimes.

As I said, all of us have sinned, so we all do not want to be judged on those things that we have done in the past.  We want to believe that Jesus died for our sins, and our sin debt was paid in full.  However, that is just the first death.  Revelation gets into details on the second death and clearly indicates that the judgment on this second death will be based on our works.  This part of Revelation really upset my wife, but I explained to her that there are always consequences for our choices.  But by becoming one with God, we become a better, stronger spirit as we stand before the “great white throne” described in Revelation 20:11.

It is really quite logical.  If you were destroying the universe you had created and were repopulating a new world, you would not offer invitations to those who corrupted the old world.  You would want a fresh start with the best of the best.  Otherwise, the new universe would become just like the old.  Only those who were truly Godly would be invited.  That’s why your best chance may be to unify with God and be like Jesus during your lifetime.

If I do not make the grade, I pray that my spirit will be destroyed along with my body, so that I will not be twisting in my own thoughts for eternity.  I hope that my efforts to unite with God and follow the teachings of Jesus will earn me entry into the kingdom, but if they do not, then I would prefer destruction of my consciousness over eternal hell with my thoughts.

Revelation seems to offer three possible final destinations for all Homo sapiens, past and present:  (1) only 144,000 enter God’s kingdom, Revelation 7:4, also referenced as “the prophets and your saints” in Revelation 11:18, (2) others may be terminated as those “who destroy the earth,” Revelation 11:18, perhaps meaning that they will be in that “lukewarm” group described in Revelation 3:16 which does not take a stand and through omission allows the earth to be destroyed by evil, while (3) a third group listed as “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars” in Revelation 21:8,  will be judged according to what they have done and will be thrown into the “lake of fire,” Revelation 20:14, to reflect on their misgivings forever.

Realistically, I don’t expect to be in the first group, but I am going to work hard to be in the second which will magnanimously be put out of its misery through complete annihilation, which only the Creator can do through His grace.  Remember, nothing can be created or destroyed in our universe, but God can mercifully destroy us, if He so desires, in His universe.  The consequence of being in the third group is an unbelievably horrible punishment of being left behind in a closed universe with your own thoughts forever.  I cannot think of any sentence that would be worse.  The Bible describes this torture as “men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them,” Revelation 9:6.