Tuesday, 25 October 2016

This mortal life in context of eternity

Modern Man believes that this earthly, mortal life is the only life - and when we die we are extinguished utterly; only to live-on in memory (which is also extinguished).

Therefore absolutely everything is destined for oblivion, as if it never had been. Hence modern nihilism and despair.

Some religious people believe that earthly mortal life is an illusion - and that reality is eternal, spiritual, infinite. Nothing that happens, or ever could possible happen, during earthly mortal life really matters at all - because it is a drop in an infinite ocean - hence of infinitely-minor significance.

From our mortal perspective, this amounts to much the same, in the end, as mainstream modern secularism which says that mortal life is everything but finite - because either way this actual mortal life is rendered utterly trivial, meaningless, pointless.

These two are the usual world-views of modern non--religious people: the first is materialism the second is modern New Age spirituality - derived from a sampling of Hinduism and Buddhism.

Christianity tries to make important both this mortal earthly life, and eternal life beyond the grave - so that mortal life is significant eternally. (This makes Christianity the religion we should most want to be true!)

But most Christian explanations are unsatisfactory - giving either too much significance to the contingencies of mortal life (eg. that the specific state of mind at the instant of death determines eternal salvation or damnation); or not enough importance to mortality (eg. that most mortal life is so depraved and corrupt - due to original sin - that life is 'a bad thing', and such Christians yearn for death, try to approximate Heavenly death-in-life, and at root feel it would be better never to have been born into mortality).

Such metaphysical problems are built-into mainstream Christianity from the early centuries of the church, and I personally feel they have been overcome by the Mormon revelations concerning theology - but either way, what Christianity wants to be, and strives to explain to itself, is as follows:

  • Our mortal incarnate life is important, because it has permanent effects on our eternal life.
  • But this effect of mortality on eternity is qualitatively transformed by the work of Christ - so that our eternal lives have, as it were, all the good memories of mortal life perfectly preserved and made real forever; but none of the bad. 
  • So Heaven is not just 'me living in a Paradise'; it is a transformed me, yet still me living in a Paradise... and that is the difference.