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.

 

 

Are We Something or Nothing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

 

Walk a Month in Their Shoes

It might prove interesting to live another person’s life for a month.  I wonder what it would be like to move from your comfortable three-bedroom suburban home into a one-room apartment with a common bathroom that you share with three other tenants.  Would your new neighbors consider you an easy target for robbery or rape?  Would you be able to survive for a month?

With drugs and alcohol in widespread use, society’s protections are breaking down even in the suburbs.  But moving into a neighborhood with very high crime and drug use will raise red flags even higher than you could have imagined, coming from your middle-class background.

Now, liberals might say that this is exactly what you need to experience for empathy, while conservatives might say that this is exactly what you need to experience to throw these people in prison.  However, the truth is more likely that you need to experience this new type of living in order to understand why you are not liked.

We typically want to be liked, so we work hard to be kind and generous, expecting the same treatment in kind from those recipients.  But after living in the seedy side of town for several weeks, you will come to resent those who live better than you do.  And if they come into your neighborhood with free food and warm clothing, you will see some of them patronizing you.  Instead of liking them, you will despise them.  They will appear to act like they are better than you.  That does not leave a good taste in your mouth.

If you walk a mile in a poor person’s shoes, you will return home with blisters because your feet probably weren’t tough enough to use their cheaper shoes.  And if you see others walking with better shoes, you will not be happy for them.  You will dislike them and their shoes.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, perhaps it simply means that good people on earth should not expect those who continue to commit sins to like them.  Why should they?  The good people remind them that they are leading a bad lifestyle.  And since the bad people may have an ugly future ahead in the afterlife, they should at least have the best of times on earth during their lifetimes.  They should be able to sin as much as they want on earth, because if they are already sentenced to be punished after death, the consequences will not be that much different by continuing their sinning.

And sinners should be able to torture and make the good suffer on earth if the opposite applies after death.  Why should the good get the best of both worlds?  If the good go to Heaven and the bad go to Hell after death, then the bad should be able to experience Heaven during life and the good would experience Hell as long as they live.

And please understand:  I am not saying that is the way it should be.  But  I am saying that if the good stood inside the shoes of the sinners, they might have a completely different perspective of how bad people view good citizens.  They not only don’t like them, but they sometimes want to hurt them and make their lives miserable.  Walk a month in their shoes and you may find out why.

So, why should the sinners stop sinning?  If you have committed sins, it may even be easier for you to continue committing those same sins and even higher sins.  So, why stop?  Well, I suppose that the best answer is because none of us know what happens after death.  The best case for a hardened criminal is that nothing happens at death.  Everything just stops.  However, that is not likely in a recycling universe that has no end.

So, assuming that something happens when we die, what could it be?  Well, most likely we will still be aware of our surroundings.  It probably will be different than what we experience during life, but we may still be thinking.

And if we are still thinking, what will we be thinking about?  We probably will not be distracted by television, family problems, work issues, spousal demands, or whatever else fills your day.  We may be thinking about all the bad things we did during our lives.  Thus, if we had stopped sinning, we at least could feel good about ourselves.  And of course, if we believed that Jesus died for our sins, then we might not think about them at all.  Quite frankly, many Christians would still regret and recall their sins.  It is natural to carry remorse for your bad acts.  But you should still turn all your sins over to God and thank Jesus for His sacrifice.

Even if you gave all your sins to God and did not recall the bad choices you made during life, you would still have to appear before your Creator on Judgment Day.  Nobody knows how this judge-alone trial will proceed, but there most likely will be consequences.

So, the bottom line is that we all should examine ourselves and not our neighbors in order to prepare for both the rest of our life and our afterlife.  It is much more important for you to walk a month correctly in your shoes.  And however you walked in the past may have consequences, but you can minimize that punishment by the way you walk in the present and future.  And if you unify with God, you can walk with God.

 

 

 

 

Doubts

Whether you are a believer in a Creator or a skeptic, you should challenge your position with doubts.  It is interesting that atheists expend great energy doubting that there is a God, but spend little time doubting their arguments.  It is not logical to require more proof that there is a God than finding evidence that there is no God.

Quite frankly, it requires a leap of faith to justify either belief.  Such a leap by either side requires reasonable doubts.  Doubting is not being a traitor to your belief system.  It actually strengthens your beliefs because it forces you to think about why you believe what you believe and requires you to overcome the doubts.

Unfortunately, the world is becoming polarized by fundamental believers and radical non-believers.  The moderates are being pulled to one side or the other.  The press may indicate that religion is falling by the wayside, but it is not the new religion… it is old traditional religion that is dying out.  The neo-religion embraces groups that are radicalized.  Emotional religion is replacing moderate religion.  The fundamentalists will never doubt their beliefs.  And that is emotional garbage.

Doubting is a form of thinking.  Whenever you have a leap of faith without evidence to support your belief, you should always doubt that leap and constantly challenge it, thus reinforcing your belief.  If you go through life just accepting that belief based on emotion without any thought behind it, there may be a problem when you reach a crisis mode, whether in this world or the next.

If you end up standing before a Creator after being a suicide bomber that killed 50 innocent people, I wonder if the emotion that precipitated that act will please the Creator.  Did you have any doubts before you killed those people?  You probably did not, because your emotions drove you down this path.  Emotions mask doubt.  Emotions destroy thinking.  Emotions lead to bad choices.  Emotions also lead to consequences.  Emotions may make you a martyr who will accept those consequences… unless, of course, they are consequences provided in the afterlife.  Emotions hide those postmortem consequences.  But you killed those innocent people for God, so God should reward you.  The only problem is that God you served is the God of emotion, who some call the Devil.

I believe that the one true God does not countenance murder of innocent people for any reason.  And I want you to doubt that.  But you must also doubt that God wants you to kill for His sake.  I remember when soldiers in Vietnam said, “Kill a Gook for God.”  There may be a God who wants you to kill for Him, but, if so, I believe there is another God who does not want you to kill for Him.  There may be difficult times when I doubt the existence of a good God and think there must be only an evil God, but it is good to examine your doubts.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Thus, I believe for every evil deed attributed to an evil God, there is a good deed supported by a good God.

Will the evil God protect you?  Probably not, because He is evil.  Some argue that if there were a good God, He would make everybody safe and secure now.  However, if you believe in a Creator outside our universe, He may be testing us for entry into His universe.  If you don’t gain admission, you will remain in this universe with the Devil himself in control.  I want you to doubt that too.  However, if you are wrong, the consequences will be forever and ever.

May the Faith Be with You

One phrase in the Star Wars movies has resonated with many viewers and is perhaps the seminal phrase engendering the spirit of the series:  “May the force be with you.”  The phrase originated in “Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope” and has been a popular line used in those movies since then.

The force was an unseen power that Jedi Knights had over the Dark Side.  And it was a power that you had to allow inside you, trusting it so that it became part of you.  Instead of relying on your own powers, you let the force become intertwined within you, creating a new you.

It is interesting when we substitute faith for force.  “May the faith be with you.”  It carries the same significance.  Faith is an unseen power that you have over the evil within the world.  It is a power that you allow inside you, trusting it to be part of you.  Instead of relying on your own powers, you let faith become intertwined within you, creating a new you.

This simple substitution, however, does not have the same impact on individuals as do the Hollywood movies.  Very little has been written about Star Wars as having a religious foundation.  The majority of people enjoy the cinematic tour of life through the imagination of screenwriters, but they are less interested in the mundane life required by religious beliefs.  The “force” is exciting, but “faith” is not.

People may believe that they are more in control when they connect with the “force,” but think that they are giving up their powers and independence when they find a nexus with “faith.”  This is not true.  In reality, the two are interchangeable.

It does not matter what you call this inner power.  You can label it as “dark energy” or “quantum mechanics” or “Higgs boson.”  It simply does not matter.  The power, whatever it is, must be embraced by your inner being.  You must humbly turn over the controls to this power just like Luke Skywalker did in Star Wars.  Unfortunately, you will not have Yoda to assist you in this training, but you need to learn to be one with this force before you die.

Even though it is important to follow a moral code and lead a good life, the Dark Side will offer no consequences for your failures or poor decisions during life.  The unification with faith or whatever you call the force within our universe must occur in advance of death so that you can fight the opposing forces on the other side.  If you die and there are no opposing forces or consequences awaiting you, then that will be the most wonderful thing that could possibly happen to you.

But since our recycling universe is most likely a closed system, your thinking will probably continue into eternity with consequences on the other side awaiting.  Your only chance is if the faith or force is with you.  You must be one with the Creator in order to survive the chaos.

I look forward to the afterlife.  There are so many unknowns in the universe that it would be a fantastic journey for eternity.  All the diversity in the universe would take eons to explore.  I am eager to travel this path with God inside me.  May the faith be with us.

Let God

If I had no input from my senses, would I still be thinking?  If I had never seen the sun rise, would I have been able to think about it?  If I had no input, what could I be thinking about?  Perhaps, I would be thinking about past sensations.  Or I might be thinking about imaginary sensations… ones that I created.  But wouldn’t the created images be based on real life pictures cut and pasted together?  For example, I might imagine a beast that is part lion and part bull.

So that if I die and no longer have my senses to distract me and I am still thinking, will I have to rely on sensations from my prior life to think about?  During life, I would have interacted with others, but my thoughts would have been focused on me.  I would have thought about things that interested me.  I would have done things that I enjoyed.  I might profess to be humble and assist others who are in need of help, but everything would be received in the first person.  Life will be mostly about me.

But when I die, will my perspective change?  For instance if my senses are removed, then will I be thinking inside a dark shell by myself?  Or will my thoughts become nightmares with fiendish creatures attacking me from my past?  Or will I feel the distress of forever being stuffed inside a narrowing tube with no way out?  I will not have that mirror to engage myself, admiring what I had done the day before.  I may not have the social interaction.  In fact, it may be similar to isolation in a prison.  How long would it take before your mind would disintegrate?

Thus, it is extremely important to let God.  You are not the creator, so you cannot help yourself during any death experience.  If you die and stop thinking, then you will have won the lottery.  However, if you are still thinking after death, you will need something to hang onto.  Logically, that must be the Creator or God.  Who else could assist you through the eternal universe, but the one who created it?  And who else could enter your thoughts, but the one who created those thoughts?

So, let God inside you.  Let God lead you.  Let God protect you.  You will never be alone… even in the darkness of isolation.  God will be with you if you let Him inside you.  And you can start practicing this during your lifetime.  Whenever you get angry or are tempted by your humanness, ask God to enter.  You will be surprised how difficult it is to sin when God is welcomed inside.  You must prepare for the afterlife when God will be your guide through the underworld.  Give it to God during your life and you will have Him for eternity.

Introspective Thinking

Have you ever stopped to think about how you are thinking?  It is really quite unique.  Your senses detect everything going on outside you and bring it back inside you for evaluation.  For example your eyes view the world like you are watching a movie.  Your seat in the theatre is somewhere inside your body as you watch the events play out on the big screen.

Your thinking is also somewhere inside you.  It is not surprising that we are focused on ourselves.  Everybody else is outside our movie.  They are actors, and we are the primary customer.  The price of the movie ticket is our life, so we expect to receive the rewards and benefits from that payment.  Other people don’t view life from our perspective, so we are more important, of course, from our standpoint.

When we look in a mirror, we see ourselves more as an actor than as a paying customer, but our thinking is still generally focused on us as an individual, who is more important than the rest of the world.  But what is the reason behind this introspective thinking?  Some people may ask why do we even exist?  It seems that nobody has an answer, but logic tells us that free will is given to us as part of our internal perspective on life.

We make choices every day.  Many of our choices are made to improve our quality of life.  Some of our choices are very poor and lead to consequences during our lives.  Others are bad selections that will have to be dealt with after our lives are over.  Many hope that there will be no afterlife since they don’t want the consequences.

However, it is more likely than not, that there will be something waiting to judge us since otherwise, free will and introspective thinking are quite absurd.  There would be no reason for them.  Otherwise, we would simply react instinctively like others in the animal kingdom.  If our universe has design, free will has to have some reason in the grand design or it makes no sense.  Why are we the only animal with introspective thinking?  Why are we given the freedom to make decisions if there are no evaluations of those selections?  There is no logic for free will without consequences.

Even though quantum mechanics centers on chance activities, our visible world that tests our free will is based on measured decisions with consequences.  For every action or choice, there is an equal and opposite reaction or consequence.  This does not appear to be the case in the quantum world, which provides many opportunities in its game of chance.  But quantum mechanics does not negate God and consequences.  In fact, God could have created the quantum world to keep our universe recycling for eternity, which could be a punishment, in and of itself.

How do I know that afterlife exists at all?  In other words, how do I know what happens when the movie of our life is over?  Will I still be sitting in the seats in a darkened theatre?  Or will the projectionist start another movie?  Or will I walk outside into another world?

Quite frankly I don’t know, but I am reasonably certain that if our thoughts do not end with the movie of our life, then there will be consequences.  How will the consequences play out?  Again, I don’t know.  We may be thinking in a dark, empty theatre, punishing ourselves for all the bad choices we made in life.  Or we may be starring in a new movie, being punished through a process of reincarnation.  Or we may meet the Projectionist or the Creator, who has consequences awaiting us.  But as long as there is any chance at all for their being consequences, then we should work harder on making good decisions.

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.