Sunday 21 November 2021

What is the spiritualization of matter? (And why do we *resurrect* into Heaven, with bodies?)

Several authors I respect, and from-whom I have derived valuable lessons regarding the evolutionary-development of consciousness (e.g. Rudof Steiner, Owen Barfield, William Arkle), assert that the future and desired state will be one in which (in some way) Matter will become spiritualized

Something similar is often asserted by Christians about Men after resurrection - that the resurrected body is spiritualized. 

I entirely agree it is God's intention that in some sense matter will become spiritualized - if Man makes the destined choices in his spiritual development. 

But some people mean by this "that matter will become 'less material'", 'less solid', more 'ethereal' - as if our solid matter was to sublimate into a gas; albeit that such 'spiritual gas' would hold-together into something shaped like the human body. 

So (to caricature, for the sake of clarity) some people regard resurrected Man as if a spiritual-gas; and this is how they try to imagine that immortality is maintained. 

However, I find this unsatisfactory because (by my understanding) it goes-against the spirit of Christianity; such as what we know of the resurrection: of Lazarus, Jesus and what Jesus taught. 

Also, it goes-against a consideration of what advantages it would be in Heaven to have resurrected Men rather than wholly-spiritual beings (i.e. 'angels' as most people think of them). 

There must instead be (I think) reasons why resurrected Men can do positive and God-desired things that are impossible for spirit-angels; or else, why would God bother with creating the whole rigmarole of mortal life?

I think we all should (as a matter of theosis, and because this is the destiny of the development of human consciousness) consciously be willing ourselves towards the spiritualization of matter. 

We in fact increasingly need to do this - if we are to avoid taking the fork towards damnation; because the demonic spirits are working their plans via the modernist 'spell' that all matter is material, and there is no reality to the spiritual realm. 

(Whereas the truth is that the spiritual is primary - and all matter is spiritual: all 'things' are actually spiritual.) 

To believe (as so many do) that there is a separate and superior spiritual reality does not suffice - as we can see in the world around us; where such people are following the demonic lead, and affiliating to The System by deed and word (while, intermittently, affecting detachment from The World). 

Separation of a superior spirit realm (implicitly, or explicitly, regarding matter as evil) does not suffice because it provides no positive reason for this mortal life; this mortal incarnate (embodied) life is merely a test, or a thing to be endured - perhaps a punishment of some kind (whether karmic, or for original sin)... 

Such people merely yearn to die, to lose The Self, and to become wholly spirits absorbed-into the divine. For them, mortal life has no function - it is merely illusion (maya) - an evil to be tolerated. 

What instead we need is not the abolition of matter; but the spiritualization of matter... but what does this 'spiritualization' mean if not 'conversion to spirit'? 

First, that all matter is known as alive, conscious and purposive. 

We first need to recognize all matter, all 'things' as Beings (or as parts-of larger Beings). This could be termed the 'animation' of matter - matter is recognized as animate. 

Secondly, we need to enter into relationships with these (newly recognized) Beings. 

Recognition and relationship.

The point of wanting resurrection into Heaven (of choosing to accept this gift of Jesus Christ) is that we recognize eternally separate-Beings, and strive for a wholly positive and harmonious relationship with these many Beings. 

This is the nature of Heaven. There are many Beings in Heaven; and all present have-made an eternal commitment to live by Love; and therefore their relationships are wholly harmonious - all the Beings share the same aims, which are given by God's primary creation.  

In Heaven we remain our-selves, and live eternally as separate selves with separate wills - but (unlike mortal life) we eternally choose to align these separate wills in loving harmony. 

(What would this be like? Well, we get important glimpses of the loving harmony of separate selves from our experience of (or imaginations of) an ideal human family: and that is the best model for Heaven.)


To understand the spiritualization of matter (including bodies) I think we need to reconceptualize what bodies are, and what they are 'for'. 

I assume that our pre-mortal selves in Heaven were spirits without bodies (i.e. our pre-mortal selves are the same as 'angels' as conceived by orthodox Christian theology). We then lived immersively 'in' Love, in a state of one-ness with God; and that we were broadly incapable of free agentic will. 

Before the work of Jesus Christ; all spirit-Beings in Heaven worked-together for a single 'end', and there was no possibility of an individual spirit-Being making a personal contribution to God's ongoing creating. 

From this baseline, we can see that mortal life is about getting 'bodies' to add-to our pre-existent spirit-selves. And death-resurrection is about enabling our bodies to become eternal, and enabling our real selves (our souls) to make an eternal commitment to live by love. 

Bodies open-up a whole new world of possibilities! The 'spirit possibilities' (i.e. of immersive oneness towards a single, God-defined goal) remain possible - but these need consciously to be chosen; because our true-selves have (through the course of evolutionary development) become separated from the primal state of oneness. 

This separation of our personal consciousness from immersion in divine consciousness is a major purpose of mortal life; which is why 'oneness' aspirations are anti-life. And, in these modern times when our consciousness Just Has separated from God's; the aspiration for oneness is both impossible, and harmful in the attempt - leading to alignment with The World (which is extremely and increasingly evil).  

We should understand bodies as an extra way of interacting with other Beings (including God). 

Bodies bring the possibility of a qualitative enhancement of our interactions in heaven. Without bodies there is just the singe creative will of God; with resurrected bodies (in loving harmony of will) are added first each individual person adding his personal-creativity to that of God's; and then the many creative interactions-between resurrected Men. 

The more Men who are resurrected, the greater the possibilities of creative interaction in Heaven - which is always being-harmonized by the eternal commitment to live in-love and to fulfil the implicit goals of divine creation. 

In conclusion, yes we need to spiritualize matter - including bodies. 

But this is Not a process of 'dissolving' or 'sublimating' the-material; it is working towards the permanent creative enhancement of Heaven. 

Because 'bodies' are a positive gift - made permanent and Good by resurrection; and bodies are not about any particular type of substance; bodies are instead about enabling and increasing the creative interaction of Heavenly Beings. 


William Wildblood said...

"To believe (as so many do) that there is a separate and superior spiritual reality does not suffice - as we can see in the world around us; where such people are following the demonic lead, and affiliating to The System by deed and word (while, intermittently, affecting detachment from The World)". This shows there is belief and insight and they are two quite different things. Those who 'believe' in a spiritual world but fail to bring through that reality into this world have no understanding of the spiritual.

But that's not the main point of your post! I think you have hit the nail on the head when you say that in the pre-incarnated spiritual realm we exist in a state of oneness but without will of our own or it may exist but there is no space in which to exercise it. Through life in a body we gain that space and can, when we work with creation rather than against it (a crucial point), qualitatively add to it which is God's delight.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William. "qualitatively add to it which is God's delight."

Yes. I didn't have space to say it - but that is what lies behind it all.

Doktor Jeep said...

Certainly there is an importance to bodies. We can tell because evil tries to prevent, kill, and corrupt as many bodies as possible.
I have in the past been put off by Christians who tell me that in Heaven, you will have no body and no memory of anything and just be in blissful glory forever. Well maybe that sounds nice to sickly people who hate life, but if our memory and personality is going to be wiped clean then what is the point of having been here on earth anyway? And I never get an answer to that.

Bruce Charlton said...

@DJ - It is very strange how so many Christians ignore resurrection; and have ideas of a Heaven being much like Nirvana. But that strain apparently got into Christianity very early, and distorted it since.

Skarphedin said...

I'm one of those Christians that has never thought much about Heaven. I see I should have been thinking about it. Probably too worldly by nature. The post and replies are very comforting though.

Because I haven't thought about Heaven very much, this is surely a stupid question, but: where is Heaven?

I believe their is a infinitely full Hierarchy of Being within which humans are below Angels and above animals. Resurrected humans are more full of Being, are they thus above us in the Hierarchy of Being? Are they below Angels? Surely Heaven isn't outside the Hierarchy of Being? And it must exist now, right? There are people in Heaven now?

Bruce Charlton said...

@S - If you word search Heaven on this blog - you will find various analyses relevant to your questions.