Saturday 18 January 2020

Why is this mortal life set up such that nothing lasts?

It has often been regarded as the tragedy of this mortal life that nothing lasts, all is evanescent; change is constant and unavoidable (disease is common, and mortality ends in death).

Such is the reality - and it is usually seen in terms of failure, imperfection, and general tragedy. If that was truly the case, then mortal life is a kind of failure; and such failure tends to reflect badly upon a God who is supposed to be both the creator and Good - and whose loves us.

Why would such a God make such a world?

Yet it is also possible to regard mortal life as well designed for its purpose.

This involves us regarding it as a true fundamental assumption that God is indeed the creator, who is Good and who loves us; and therefore to go on and try and understand (by empathic, intuitive identification) why such a God would deliberately make such a world as this.

We also need to understand God's purpose.

In order to avoid getting misled by hearsay and external information (from the news, from history, from third part report generally) that may be incomplete, biased or deliberately-misleading - or misinterpreted by us; we really ought to ask such questions individually, each person for himself or herself; and based on our own direct and personal experience of mortal life.

We also need to ask this question with the proper metaphysical framework of God's purpose: God's motivations for creation: what God is aiming at by creating Men. 

My understanding is that God is aiming to raise Men to his own level - that is to enable Men to learn to become gods, co-creators within God's original creation. We have seen this happen with Jesus Christ; and the intent is that as many others as possible will follow this trajectory.

Such a plan depends on the will and consent of individual people; each must choose this path: this choice coming after our biological (mortal) death. It also depends on individual people learning from experience.

Therefore, this mortal life is a finite period during which individual Men may have experiences, from which they can learn what they need to be able to make an 'informed choice' in favour of accepting Jesus's offer of Life Eternal in Heaven. 

From such a perspective, the changeability of mortal life is a design feature; it is necessary and it is optimal that each experience be short-lived - and then we move on to another experience. Indeed, it would negate the value of life if peple were to attain a state that did not change - since they would cease to learn, would fail to take advantage of other possibilities of learning.

But imagine if you could stay 'in love', with maximum intensity and without diminution or alteration, for decades upon end - until the moment that you were struck down by death? How much could be learned from such a life, as compared with a life in which a person experiences a wide range of changing love; and hatred, fear and loss?

This is often harsh, unpleasant, horrible; because we always lose what we have gained; solid happiness remains out of reach or slips from our grasp. We suffer.

But such negative suffering is itself a temporary state. And it serves a purpose. because without the negatives - would be really understand and appreciate the positives?

When, after mortal life, we come to make a choice for love - or to reject it - it is surely helpful to know love from both sides and in several forms? That is what the changeability of mortal life does for us.

For some people; that way, and only that way, can they be brought to a proper appreciation of the value of love, and the horribleness of its rejection and exclusion.

Only thus can they make an informed choice for or against Heaven; only thus can they really know what they are doing.



David said...

Reading tonight from a pub Of mere earthly satisfactions. God bless Bruce, I hope you are right...with all my heart and soul!

Anonymous said...

Hm, the idea of rising to God's level was the original sin that led to the Fall, mortality, and corruption of Creation. One of the major lessons of the Bible is that mankind will never be equal with God. Though I do believe we are meant to experience sanctification -- who God created us to be sans the sinful nature that saddles us in mortal life.

Bruce Charlton said...

EDF - "equal with God" - your words, not mine - and impossible in the same way I can never be equal with my father. We live in God's creation, and our creativity is in that context.

You need to decide what are your assumptions in reading the Bible, and why. I regard the Fourth Gospel as our primary source,

and Genesis as a garbled and incomplete late version of early mythic-poetic text/s that cannot be regarded as prescriptive. Especially given the new dispensation of Jesus. But I notice that God is described as an embodied person, and of limited power - working through Men.

In the Fourth Gospel we are told - several times, in several ways - that we are being offered the chance to rise to being Sons of God, like Jesus, on a level with Jesus; immortal, in a qualitatively greater state: friends not servants etc. That's how I understand it.

The 'sinful nature' - sin ought to be understood as a concept including death, as a major aspect; ad it is exactly what I mean by our mortal condition.

The question is why we are sinful in mortal life, and the 'original sin' explanation is not a coherent answer because it merely kicks the can further down the road... Even if OS is truly an OT doctrine, and that is not stated anywhere in the OT; nor is OS referenced by Jesus in the Fourth Gospel - nor is that Gospel compatible with OS.

In short, I regard Original Sin as false - not truly Christian, but even if it were true it is not an explanation.

TheDoctorofOdoIsland said...

[21] And the days of the children of men were prolonged, according to the will of God, that they might repent while in the flesh; wherefore, their state became a state of probation, and their time was lengthened, according to the commandments which the Lord God gave unto the children of men. For he gave commandment that all men must repent; for he showed unto all men that they were lost, because of the transgression of their parents.

[22] And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.

[23] And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.

[24] But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.

[25] Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.

[26] And the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall. And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon, save it be by the punishment of the law at the great and last day, according to the commandments which God hath given.

[27] Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
- Second Nephi chapter two.

- Carter Craft