Friday 18 March 2022

Mortal life as a high stakes gamble - a suggested explanation for our 'entropic world'

This mortal life is a high-stakes gamble because we live in an entropic world - a world dominated by the tendency for destructive change, disease, decay, corruption and eventual death. 

This is the world that our loving-parent God has created for us; and we must therefore assume that it is the best kind of world for His creative purposes and for our own individual ultimate benefit. 

In the first place we need to understand that this mortal world is for our learning - our life is a kind of spiritual school. But why should this school be entropic?  

The potential hazards of life in this mortal world are obvious - pain and misery in the short term, and damnation in the long term. 

This means that the potential benefits of our lives must be even larger, great enough to outweigh the hazards (because the creator loves us, individually). 

What is the advantage of entropy? 

Entropy is the innate tendency towards destruction - and, in a broad sense; one advantage of this mortal life is that of discarding what is evil in us

This is a conceptualization of repentance. By repenting sin, we 'leave it behind' when we are resurrected to eternal life. 

Thus, our eternal selves will be free from sin, and fitted to live in Heaven while being free agents. Because our free choices will then always be Good: always aligned with God's will. 

And this, in turn, means that we can be trusted with divine powers of creation, can our-selves become Sons of God and co-creators with God - adding to already-existing creation from our own unique (and sin-purged) selves. 

Anyone can enter Heaven who - by repentance - consents to having his sins purged, stripped-away; but the more sins, the more will be stripped away. 

Therefore, one of the hazards of mortal life is that we will become so sinful that, when it comes to resurrection, there will not be much left of us that is Good, and fit for Heaven. 

This does not bar anyone from Heaven - because the power of repentance is unbounded, and anyone who follows Jesus Christ can be resurrected; but the Man who has led a deeply evil life before final repentance will be a lesser Man after resurrection than would otherwise have been the case. 

This leads to one of the aims of the Devil. 

His primary aim is that Men should choose damnation and reject Heaven; but even among the saved, the Devil (and his demonic and evil-human henchmen) gets secondary satisfaction from corrupting Men: that is, from encouraging sins that will reduce and impair the resurrected Man; and thereby diminish what might-have-been as resurrected Men enter Heaven.

(This corruption of individual Men does not make Heaven less-good - because Heaven is wholly Good, nothing evil is there. But it does diminish the stature of those resurrected Men who enter Heaven.) 

So, this is a way of conceptualizing theosis - the process of becoming more divine in human life - because (to put it crudely) the more divine and less sinful we are in mortal life, the more of us there will be to resurrect and live eternally.  

So, the plus-side of this entropic mortal world is that we can leave-behind sin; and this is necessary to salvation. The negative-side is that we may fall so far into sin that we either reject salvation (are damned); or by the end of our lives have very little left that is Good, so that even if we accept salvation - we will need to repent so many and bad sins, that we start-out as lesser Men when we resurrect. 

So what of Heaven, which is a world of creation and without entropy? 

In Heaven all is retained, life is cumulative

Whereas in earthly life we change (partly) by leaving-behind; in Heaven we change by adding-to

In mortal and entropic life; Men may transform radically, by deletions; in Heaven resurrected Men transform only by additions.  

This scheme may help explain why this mortal life is entropic in its nature; and how such a hazardous life is nonetheless necessary and potentially useful, as a transitional experience between pre- and post-mortal existence, before a soul proceeds to the creative world of Heaven. 

It also helps us to understand our own role in this life; and how our choices during mortality make a permanent difference to our potential after resurrection.  


Lucinda said...

My perspective is maybe a bit different, because I believe entropy is the default. God wants us to learn to sustain life, as God sustains his own life against entropy. He withholds certain information about how to do this during mortal life, true. But this information would just destroy us if we had it before we learned the prerequisite lessons, one of the main lessons being that life doesn't just happen by chance, and continue by chance. God is happy to teach. But a person must first demonstrate a robust desire to learn.

David Earle said...

Great post! Since I started taking notice I've definitely observed a trajectory of spiritual lessons in life.

If I ignore these challenges, I find they continue to reoccur in different forms until properly recognized for what they are - potential for spiritual growth, and stepping stones to the next necessary lesson, and something I uniquely have to learn in this life.

I can see now how continuing to ignore these tests can lead to spiritual destruction and deeper pits to climb out of than otherwise would have been necessary.

Francis Berger said...

Solid post!

"Therefore, one of the hazards of mortal life is that we will become so sinful that, when it comes to resurrection, there will not be much left of us that is Good, and fit for Heaven."

I hadn't thought about sin and repentance in that manner before, but it makes perfect sense. It also provides a comprehensible and coherent way to approach theosis in mortal life.

Anonymous said...

If you will forgive what may be perceived as a secular (as opposed to universal) comment (though it is not intended that way):

What you describe goes right along with Alma 41:12-15:

And now behold, is the meaning of the word restoration to take a thing of a natural state and place it in an unnatural state, or to place it in a state opposite to its nature?

O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.

Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.

For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.


In eternity, in at least some sense, we will enjoy what we have become, only more so.

(I have to post as anonymous, as the login will not work. Use the pseudonym Global Warming.)

Bruce Charlton said...

@GW - I don't understand what that passage means.

@Frank - Whatever scheme a Christian develops to help understand mortal life must, I think, both explain why it is necessary in an all or nothing way (salvation versus damnation); but also why it has a quantitative benefit that depends on our own efforts and choices (theosis) - and this must have a lasting effect after death.

I find most Christians who think about it at all, tend to treat theosis as building towards salvation - as if on a single continuum; but that cannot be correct. It must be possible for dissociation between theosis and salvation.

For example, a martyr is saved - and may become a saint - but may have led a terrible life up to that point (near zero theosis).

Thus salvation but not theosis.

And there are apparently many millions who were 'exemplary' Christians over several decades (high theosis) leading up to 2020; who yet implicitly chose damnation for themselves in 2020 (by decisively placing their souls under Satan's direction). And another wave of these last month.

So, theosis but not salvation.

A useful and broadly-valid scheme needs to be able to explain these dissociations, I think.

Bruce Charlton said...

@a_p - Yes, I meant "everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked" at the end of February; when there was actually even-greater strength and unanimity of propaganda from officialdom and the mass media - and even-less dissent was allowed - than when the birdemic emerged two years ago. This ought to have made it blatantly obvious to any Christian that what was being propagated *could not* be truthful and *must be* evil...

But sadly, instead another mass of the not-many Christians who remained after the birdemic and MLB-antiracism defected to join Satan's strategy.

It's becoming obvious that those prophets who made predictions about how few faithful would be left at the end times, knew what they were talking about. in 2019 it was hard to understand how ?hundreds of millions of apparently devout Christians could dwindle to very few - now we can observe how quickly and easily this happens (and how hardly anybody even notices!).

Lady Mermaid said...

The difference between salvation and theosis lies at the heart of the Protestant-Catholic divide in Western Christianity. Are we saved by faith alone or are we required to do good works in addition to having faith?

This post clarifies that in a sense, both traditions are correct. All we need to do to inherit eternal life is to repent of our sins and accept Christ's offer of eternal life. The repentant thief on the cross is a key example of simple salvation. However, our spiritual journey shouldn't end there. By leaving salvation to the last minute, the thief lost opportunities for sanctification. The Great Commission commands to "make disciples", or help people progress to theosis. If the only goal of the Christian life is to simply avoid hell, then it's easy get into arguments about what is the minimum that needs to be done to enter heaven. Viewing salvation as simply a ticket out of hell has led to the tragic schisms that still plague the church today. Furthermore, most churches have failed the litmus tests of the past two years making their salvation quite vulnerable despite performing great works.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LM - Yes. That is why I think that some kind of 'model' or 'scheme' is needed to understand and explain salvation and theosis - the differences and relationship. For whatever reason, this does not seem to have emerged in any of the Christian traditions of which I am aware.