Jesus, especially in the Fourth Gospel promised resurrected eternal life to those who believed-on him and would follow him.
To typical Modern Man this promise seems much less than it was. And - so long as Modern Man continues to think and reason as Modern Men do - i.e. reductionist literalism - this misunderstanding is unavoidable.
The eternal life Jesus made possible for us is not merely a matter of 'living forever' - it is (also) a place, a condition, a different world - a state-of-being in-which we live-forever.
And eternal life is resurrection, not persistence.
Eternal life is attained only-and-necessarily via death. Death is the separation of the living spirit from the body - and the eternal life is a resurrection, by which the surviving spirit is given an eternal body.
Modern thinking is literal merely, hence necessarily false. But it is not because ancient thinking was 'symbolic' (like a poem) - because for Jesus 'eternal life' was literal-and-more.
Modern Man regards what he supposes Jesus to have promised to be both too-little, and impossible. Too little because - what's so great about about continuing to live? Since life is intrinsically interwoven with corruption, disease, decay and inevitable death: with 'entropy' - which rules this reality.
(i.e. All we experience of this life is inevitably spoiled by what Christians call sin).
Jesus's complex and simultaneously-multifaceted promise is reduced to a single thing; and that thing made literal in terms of being this reduced thing, and this only.
So Modern Man 'knows' that eternal life is neither possible (because of entropy/ sin) nor is it desirable - because (to the Modern sensibility, her-and-now in 2020) life is suffering - and gets worse the longer it continues.
Thus Modern Man supposes that Jesus was offering something he does not want; even if it were possible - which it isn't.
To escape this damning illusion requires that Modern Man thinks differently than Modern Men think. The primary sin lies in the Modern mode of thinking, which itself intrinsically frames all discourse (not just eternal life), reduces all concepts, and dis-values what Jesus actually said.
The actual gift of Jesus - as rendered in the unsurpassed poetic-prose of the 'King James' Bible - has been 'translated' into managerial bullet points of a bureaucratic discourse: and this 'executive summary' was regarded as the whole truth... and rejected on that basis.
The Modern rejection of Christianity is not, therefore, a matter of 'evidence' or 'facts'; it is a consequence of fundamentally incoherent thinking spilling-over into public discourse.
The rejection of Life Eternal is, indeed, a consequence of evil thinking.
The way Modern Man thinks is itself evil; he turns every-thing he thinks-about into evil: he trivialises, drains meaning, drains purpose and hope. His mode of thinking leads to value-inversion - consequently to fear, resentment, despair - and then (quite spontaneously) to active-embrace of the Satanic agenda.
As we see all around us... And this is found even among self-identified Christians; because mainstream Christians (nearly all) think exactly as typical Modern men.
What Modern Man needs (and I mean needs) to recognise - is that the way he thinks is a choice; a choice he has-made. And that choice was for evil.
Modern Man must (and I mean Must) repent his choice to think-reductionist-literalism: must repent, or surely die.
Note: After all, the word repentance can itself be understood as amounting to think-differently-about.
This post is like a signpost that will lead one to the discovery of a sword that has the capacity to cut all attachments to lies and half-truths. Only when each of us cuts away our love of BS and lies will we individually be able to climb the mountain and reach the altitude of Truth. Once at that altitude, the air we breath can work on us, nourish us and cleanse us so that we can receive and be filled with the Spirit.
@Nathan - Good to hear. As I was writing this I had a feeling that 'someone' was waiting for it, and maybe that someone was you.
"Our medically clever era has achieved many practical resurrections, and the testimony of these returnees from the beyond, their reports of a radiant tunnel and a suffusing love, have a kitschy triviality, a funhouse air, that allows an atheistic novelist like Kurt Vonnegut to incorporate them good-humoredly into his novel Galapágos. Our brains are no longer conditioned for reverence and awe. We cannot imagine a Second Coming that would not be cut down to size by the televised evening news, or a Last Judgment not subject to pages of holier-than-Thou second-guessing in The New York Review of Books. Not only do we feel morally superior to Biblical notions of atonement and damnation, but our sharpened sense of fact and image resists vague reassurance. Another good-humored clear thinker, George Bernard Shaw, at the age of ninety-two proposed that personal immortality would be an "unimaginable horror"; and we do find it hard to picture any endlessly sustained condition or activity that would not become as much a torture as live entombment.
In fact we do not try to picture the afterlife, nor is it our selves in our nervous tics and optical flecks that we wish to perpetuate; it is the self as window on the world that we can't bear to think of shutting."
--John Updike in Self Consciousness: Memoirs (1989), Chapter vi, "On Being a Self Forever".
Not even once considering that the truth might lie outside our conceptions.
Oh, I see it's already Friday the 13th in your time zone. Enjoy.
This blog in general has helped me in many ways, to clarify my intuitions into coherent and clear ways of thinking. I think I have the sword Bruce, and I can see the mountain. How far i'll get, God only knows.
For the past few years I have had the following thought almost every morning: living this mortal life eternally must be eternal hell. And I have an exceptionally good life. It proves to me that when Jesus spoke of eternal life he was speaking of something infinitely greater than what we have now.
@DLTMB - I personally would say 'qualitatively better than' rather than 'infinitely greater' - because I try to avoid (trying to) think with infinites - which are mind-numbing rather than elucidating. But yes. And the way that Jesus talked-about eternal life in the fourth gospel is linked, again and again, with him using symbolic or metaphoric analogies for this-life compared with -eternal-life to indicate this fact - bread, water etc.
Great post. I find I get a few moments of clarity without this kind of thinking but then I fall back into it with day to day life.
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