Thursday, August 02, 2007

Designing your Own Eternity

"As a man thinketh, so is he." Proverbs 23:7

"If death is not extinction, what might it be like? That’s a question the Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, who died five years ago, enjoyed pondering. ... Although his reflections were inconclusive, Nozick hit on a seductive maxim: first, imagine what form of immortality would be best; then live your life right now as though it were true." -- Jim Holt, Eternity for Atheists, New York Times Magazine, 07.29.07

Yes the Bible says this and the Bible says that. I'm grateful for what it says, and more importantly, for what it doesn't say. It leaves out so much information. So much the better. We have minds and we have imagination. Let's use them creatively to make eternity the wildest, most regarding and incredible reality we want it to be for ourselves, and for those we love.

My own version of eternity is a bit like this. And it keeps on changing all the time.

This may sound bizarre but I've had this thought forever. Death is so ugly to many of us that I want the luxury of dying in heaven. Yes that's an oxymoron. But let me explain. If you die in heaven, you will live a second later. In a way this is the most perfect kind of death. Virtually, of course, it is a non-death. If you're dead for only one second, are you really dead? What constitutes death, anyway? My ideal death in heaven would be in a coffin of light. When I awake, right beside my coffin of light, is my smiling savior, who gave me the luxury of being dead for only one second, in--of all places--heaven itself.

I'd love to travel back in time once I've entered eternity and sample, first hand, all the major moments of past human history, including the very creation of the universe. I'd also like to travel into the far future. But not just any future, but the future as it might never exist, had God not intervened in some future point in time. Anything unpleasant I'd witness I'd want to forget an hour after I had witnessed it.

Living my eternity as myself, would be very familiar, perhaps too familiar. I'd like to live as another person, perhaps one of my friends, or even my parents, and get a unique perspective of people I loved and wished I had understood and loved more perfectly. Let's say I'd live as someone else for a thousand years, then as myself for another thousand. I'd never run out of different people to experience through the miracle of living as their very selves.

Water has always held a special fascination for me. Waterfalls even more so. I've sat in front of falling water displays in major cities of the world and each time I contemplate the water that falls yet doesn't fall since it keeps on falling, I envy it. In eternity I'd like to be, not part of the waterfall, but I'd like to be the falling water itself. I'd love to experience the sensation of falling, yet not falling.

If He has the time, I'd like to spend a million years talking with God, non-stop. Laughing with Him, playing baseball with him, walking through invisible forests of anti-neutrinos with Him.

I'm happy and I'm grateful that I'm in the process of imagining and experiencing eternal life right now.

Finally, I'd like to know what you'd like your eternity to be like. Share it with me. We just might live our fantasies if we imagine them with the greatest of intention.

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