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!”

Edge of the Universe with God on the Other Side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Would Heaven Be Boring?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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