Have you ever heard something so shocking that, for days afterward, you couldn’t forget it? Recently an acquaintance said to me “it doesn’t matter what happens after we die.”
The comment wasn’t, “nothing happens” or “I’m generally a good person so I don’t have to worry”. No, he said “it doesn’t matter.”
What kind of world view does one have in order to believe this?
We can love life and beauty and stuff as much as we want but eventually we will die. I will die. You will die (assuming anyone is reading this). Death is inevitable.
So the question of what is waiting for us seems to me to be paramount –overriding all other concerns. Many people hold the belief, albeit naive, that heaven awaits anyone and everyone (except the most reprehensible cretins already condemned by the eternal judge of their own opinion). Other’s believe that nothing waits for us … which is a terrifying thought but at least they have thought about it and come to a conclusion.
We’ll assume the existence of life after death because … well, it’s my blog. And we’ll assume a Judeo-Christian vision of life after death. Each person will continue existing for an eternity after their last breath on this earth.
How long is eternity? How can we even begin to comprehend a never ending amount of time? Can we even use words like “amount” and “time”? Indulge in a thought experiment for a few minutes. Think about a man climbing to the top of Mt Everest to dig through the snow and find one single speck of dirt. Then, after climbing back down, he travels across the country, across the ocean and to the coast of California in order to drop that speck in the Ocean. Then he does it all over again, retracing his steps, until Mt Everest has been moved into the Pacific Ocean one speck by one speck. The time it would take to do that would not even used up one fraction of one second in eternity.
Each member of humanity shares the expectation of death. It’s the unavoidable destiny we begin traveling toward from the moment of our conception. Perhaps we should spend some time contemplating what exactly this destiny is. Is death our ultimate destiny –do we burst into existence, burn for a while and then unceremoniously flicker out? Or is death a gateway to a destiny that is something more, something beautiful, something transcendent?