Tuesday 20 November 2018

It should not surprise us if most people do not want Life Eternal as offered by Jesus

Most people rejected Jesus during his mortal life - either because they did not believe who he was - but some because they did not want what he offered.

Some of those who did not want what Jesus offered were evil; and lied about Jesus so that people who would want what Jesus offered would be induced to reject it. There are plenty such people around today.

But some who did not want what Jesus offered presumably just did not want it - for whatever reason. As far as I can understand it; Life Eternal is one of loving and creating. It is a life with other people and a life of activity; yet some people dislike other people and would prefer to do nothing.

The popularity of phrases about the post-mortal state such as Rest in Peace, and the echo of this sentiment on gravestone inscriptions, seems to indicate that many people yearn for perpetual sleep, or perhaps a state of almost unconscious bliss (Nirvana); such people do not want the Life Everlasting Jesus describes in the Fourth Gospel - a life of great perceptual and mental enhancements; but instead a life of inactivity.

Many mainstream Christian groups have little to say about the post-mortal state - and indeed they make it sound more like Nirvana than Heaven; but nonetheless the Holy Ghost is active and accessible to everybody, and so people can intuit directly for themselves the nature of Christ's Heaven; and perhaps some don't much like it.

My understanding of the general attitude displayed by Jesus in the Fourth Gospel is that he never expected everybody, or even a majority of people, to choose what he brought us. I think, in the past and in some places, a majority really did want Heaven; but nowadays it seems likely that a majority want Hell or Nirvana.

God cannot have known how many people would want the Heaven he made for us; because we are each different (from eternity) and have unique experiences; and have the reality of free will; so our choice at the point-of-decision cannot be known with certainty.

But I suspect that those who actively opt-in to the Heaven Jesus brought us, will be those who are motivated by a positive desire for loving and creating in participation with our Heavenly Family; and while I certainly am one of them, it would not surprise me if I was in a minority.


Andrew said...

People dislike other people often because of emotional trauma (which is widespread) and effects of DNA breakdown from the choices and actions of ancestors, the consequences of which are passed down. This state of things not really being a fair basis on which to expect people to make a true choice about eternity, I'm confident that everyone is restored to their true self either in this life or after they die before any kind of choice is final. And likewise I'm fairly confident then that more people will end up choosing God than those who won't.

-Andrew E.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Andrew - I suspect that what is decisive may be whether there is (in a deep and objective way) Love; to bind us to God, Jesus, other people. When there is love we will want salvation. Absent Love, or the desire for Love... well, probably not. Love is that which holds creation together.

Chiu ChunLing said...

We say "Rest in Peace" because physical death is like sleep (as Christ taught). It is similar in that it is temporary, rather than permanent, being ended by the awakening at the Resurrection (perhaps interrupted by reincarnation before then). It is also more like sleep than fully conscious activity engaged with direct sensory perception of physical reality, which requires a living (and awake) body.

I think that, at the end of a well-lived life, people should want to rest for a time before taking on eternity. But whether they want it or not, that is what all but the most exceptional are going to get, so they might as well accept it.

It is true that Jesus Christ was the only man ever to live a mortal life on Earth who wholly and unreservedly chose God. But our choice needn't be whole and unreserved, that is the entire point of Christianity (and of the particulars of Creation by which anyone other than Christ has lived on the Earth). It isn't a pure decision, that's rather the point of structuring all the 'teaching' loves and our instinctive motivations to pursue them.

I have learned to love food, and shelter, and knowledge (though I still prefer unconsciousness to all of them, but this wretched meat trap won't sleep if it's not fed, sheltered, and informed, oh, and I know exactly whose fault that is). It's a stepwise process.

And not always without setbacks, I've unlearned some of my lesser loves at times as a result of various experiences. But not all, at least not yet.

Tobias said...

CCL - 'I still prefer unconsciousness'

What is it about unconciousness that makes it a desirable state, and a preferable state to being awake?


Chiu ChunLing said...

It's not a matter of desire, merely of preference, or perhaps inclination would be a better word. One could say default, that is too loaded, though. And my current body does not default to unconsciousness, unfortunately.

One has to desire something in order to prefer being conscious. It is an active state, if there is no reason to be conscious then why bother? But it is no bother to not be unconscious.