February 19, 2005

What happens when we die?

I'm in a long running email conversation on religious topics with a professor I once worked for. This is an excerpt from my answer to the question "What happens when we die?".

All we know for sure is that we have one lifetime on Earth. This is our first gift from God. One of the other gifts I believe he gives us is eternal life*, or something after death. There is nothing you or I can do or believe that will guarantee will we receive this eternal life. We will receive this gift from God only if God decides to give it, it is completely dependent on God. However, there is a chance no one will get it, that humanity was fooled by its hopes for eternal life and this first gift of one lifetime on Earth is all we get.

I invite both your answer to this question or a response to my answer, whichever you prefer.

* I consider eternal life to include heaven, hell, and otherwise. (This note added post-publication.)

Entry Type: Continuing the Conversion - Religion


  • So I could choose a life time of murder and mayhem and God may grant me entry...or I could live a good life ( be the second mother Theresa) and not be given Heaven?

    God is gracious, and I beleive that there will be many more people in heaven than even the most gracious earth dweller would expect to see...however, if I didn't have a way of knowing that I could be secured a place, I don't think I would do this 'God thing' at all....maybe I would worship myself...be my own god.

    *please excuse my spelling...I know it's really bad, and I hope it doesn't disturb you too much. If it does let me know.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:05 PM  

  • First I realize I wasn't very clear on my terminology so were probably talking past each other a little. I had considered eternal life as including heaven, hell, and otherwise. Sorry for the confusion.

    I take the idea of eternal life as a gift from God very strongly. As a gift, I believe it is independent of our beliefs and actions. As a result, I believe that either everyone gets it or no one does. (I'm inspired by the story of the prodigal son here.) I think our actions and beliefs matter because they influence the shape of eternal life we experience (heaven or otherwise).

    I hope I'm clearer now.

    BTW No problem about spelling. I never liked those classes in school anyway.

    By Blogger lars, at 9:39 PM  

  • *sniffles* ...soul friend...I can misspell on your blog! I'm feeling more at home all ready...I'm comfortable with all people getting into heaven...though will it pan out that way, I don't know. The talk of hell (biblically) leaves too many questions for me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:39 AM  

  • Pascal's wager is sort of how I looked at this - for anyone who doesn't know it boils down to this. If I live my life as though there is a hereafter and there is one, I've won the bet (hopefully). However, if I'm betting there isn't a hereafter and I live in such a manner but there turns out there is one - I've lost the bet. The third option is that if there isn't a hereafter, you won't be around to regret the 'sins' that you could have committed.

    Too much of life tells me that there is a God. Because I believe in Him, I believe there is an enternal life. I try to live as though I might have a chance at eternal happiness.

    By Blogger Michael_the_Archangel, at 9:49 PM  

  • Personally, I have always been a little sceptical of Pascal's wager. It seem a lot like "loving" a rich relative. If you're really good to him, he could will you some of his fortune and you'd win this version of the wager. As the rich relative, I'd be very skeptical of my relatives love once they discovered I'm rich. In the same way, is following and loving God because he's got something I want truly loving him?

    However like you (if I read you right), I believe in God not because of any argument or bible verse but because I know in my heart he exists.

    By Blogger lars, at 5:51 PM  

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