Monday 6 April 2020

What is it like to be a resurrected immortal being?

The problem is that we must be eternal and that we must also remain our-selves.

It seems we must therefore be permanently immune to the damaging effects of change (entropy): the only possible changes in post-mortal life are good, conscious and chosen; because only these can be integrated with ongoing creation. In brief, there is no entropy in Heaven - it is a place of creation.

So what will we be like? There are two ideas I reject - one is that we become immaterial spirits, with the solidity of our bodies a kind of illusion. The other is that we will becomes something like adamantine indestructible, moving statues... These incorrect conceptualisations I regard as deriving from wrong metaphysical assumptions, especially about the nature of time, that need to be set aside.

I regard time as a-part-of ultimate reality; therefore a being exists 'in' time; indeed the necessary attributes of a being include 'life' and 'consciousness'' which happen in time; and the basis of God's creatio is Love, which entails both the reality of beings, and a relationship through time. 

So - we get to a conceptualisation of a being 'in' time, which can be imagined (symbolically) as a line through space; a line going from the past, through the present and into the future.

That line through space is what defines a being, defines the identity of a being, and distinguishes one being from another.

That line of a being is assumed to be immortal, eternal - however, the forms of the being as-it-were 'around' that line as it goes through time, may change in an open-ended fashion.

When we are resurrected; that entails that the only change will be consciously-chosen good - based-in love of God and of creation. 

Incarnation in a body entails that the line is localised primarily, will be in a place. Thus, we have a body - that body knows, perceives, acts widely; but is localised; because a distinct and agent being. And that resurrected body is immune to evil, immune to destructive change and death. 

How might such a body, such a person, appear to us here on earth - as, for example, an angel?

It may appear as if a vision. Entropy would have no effect upon it, nothing would be able to affect it, or to harm it - it would be in as 'different dimension'.

But this kind of angel would not have unlimited capability. That isn't implied by resurrection. Power would be further limited to that which was compatible with loving goodness in the context of divine creation; and this motivation might be very different from (for example) minimising suffering of specific individuals here, and now.

Then how might such angels have any effect at all here on entropic-earth, dominated by change, decay, disease, death...? Given their nature, it is hard to see how they could interact with us.

My assumption is therefore that in order to act upon this world; angels need us to meet them half-way; they need to intearct via the active thinking of a mortal Man.

Angels do not, I think, act upon us; but act with us; and the realm of interaction is thinking - specifically that kind of thinking I have termed primary, which is also intuition, or direct knowing.

It is at such times that angels may work with us.


ajb said...

Bruce, link to 'no entropy in Heaven' doesn't work on my system.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ajb -

Jared said...

I was particularly interested in two things in your post, Bruce. One was that our resurrected being had to reflect ourselves, we had to be ourselves.
Two was that our resurrected being would not be subject to evil.
Would we be not subject to evil because we choose not to be, or would we not even have to think about it? What is your opinion?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Jared - The way I currently think about it is that in Heaven we have made a permanent committment to good (that is to God's creation, based on love of God and God's purposes; and shared with all other denizens of Heaven).

Our resurrected (hence immortal and eternal) state is what enables us to keep (for sure) permanent committments - which (although we may try our hardest) we cannot with certainty do on earth in mortal life, because here nothing is permanent; all is subject to change, decay, disease and death - all of which is (I believe) what the Fourth Gospel means by 'sin'.

(i.e. The *sin* from which Jesus saves potentially all the people of the world, if they choose to accept his offer.)

Lucinda said...

“All is subject to change, decay, disease and death”

This came to mind this morning as I was contemplating some stupidity in myself, but instead of feeling unhappy about it, I was glad to think some stupid part of myself could die and be replaced, like the way biological cells are always dying off, even though the whole person remains alive. It was a hopeful thought.

It made me think that the ultra channgeability and susceptability to death of this mortal life was the only way to create conditions whereby we could really effect the necessary heart-change in preparation for sustainable eternal life.