Monday, January 17, 2011

after death

what do you think happens after you die?

i started thinking about this specific niche of science/belief because well, im restless with the idea of a finite consciousness. if i am honest, i want to live forever. not for some vain glory but to see what happens in the universe and with humanity. i believe that there are many projects around the universe similar and completely dissimilar to our planet but find no satisfaction in the limitations put on humans at this point in our evolution. if we don't self destruct or blow up the environment, i think given another 10,000 years we could launch out into the cosmos. i reflect very sadly that i won't be able to realize that vision. i feel i am equally a person of science as a person of faith. i can see an appreciate nature's flow and force in my life but also believe that there is much more to existence than just that. so my answer to the above posed question is heavily influenced by both. i see three options:

1. spiritual consequence.
the ol' heaven and hell thing. in this scenario everyone gets what they deserve and nothing that happened here on earth will hold hopes in our hearts and minds. our body returns to atoms and space dust but our essence goes forward for it's reward or punishment.

2. oblivion
i can't hang with this one because both parts of me say this isn't possible. where was my consciousness before i was born? that question keeps me awake thinking. is consciousness simply a biological inevitability? are we part of some simulation (OMG THE MATRIX IS REAL)? is there an intelligent design at work that gave us this consciousness? my science brain tells me that nothing dies, just changes form. therefore oblivion isn't possible. my spiritual heart does believe God made all of this and wouldn't leave us to disintegration.

3. enduring consciousness
this is what i struggle, sinfully, pitifully even, to NOT want - though if im honest it is what i do want. to have a consciousness that can permeate time and space and Know What Happens. david says i am being too hard on myself to call it SINFUL. he enjoys my curiosity and drive to learn. i feel like i am forsaking God by wanting anything but to just sing in a choir of angels. somehow, someway i wish at that moment of descent i'd be met with some other worldly knowledge of the universe, like a large gate being swung open that i didn't know existed.

i'd love to hear anyones thoughts on any of the above mentioned or their own feelings on what happens at the point of death. i've got every sort of person on my list and i'm itching to hear what you think!


Queen Bee said...

i suppose my beliefs are a combination of your #1 and #3. i agree with everything you wrote for #2.

even as a little kid, i struggled with the description of Heaven as golden streets and pearly gates and we'd all be kings, etc etc. it still doesn't appeal to me were that to be a literal description. i was once told that Heaven would have a little something for everyone (mountains, beaches, etc but to a degree that we cannot imagine) and not just be a bunch of folks on clouds playing harps.

there are things i feel i want to know after death and hope to learn. it is human nature to always want to know more.

Lisa said...

Itching to hear, eh? Here goes:

It is often assumed that those who believe in heaven and hell believe that 'everyone gets what they deserve'. Certainly that is what the media and the popular culture have made it into, but I think if you delve deeper into ANY of the major religions that have concepts similar to heaven and hell, you would find there is a lot more too it than that. It is true that in the old Roman religions there was a strong idea that death for your country got you a quick ticket to paradise, and I think some ancient versions of Islam taught that too.

Most Christian churches that encourage their members to read the Bible and think about their faith teach that salvation is on the grounds of Christ's merits, not your own. That is pretty far from the watered down 'good people go to heaven' pop doctrine.

Also, biblical accounts of people in heaven or who have come from heaven (e.g. Lazarus, or Moses on the hill with Jesus before the crucificition) seem to indicate that people in heaven have memories, and know who they are, and who they were. Lazarus was also very concerned for his family members that were still alive. So I am not sure what you mean by, "nothing that happened here on earth will hold hopes in our hearts and minds", or where that idea has originated from.

meridith said...

i believe in heaven and hell but i don't think it's going to look like we've imagined. i had a dream about heaven as a child that i truly believe came from the Lord and alot of my belief is based on the strength of that experience. in the way you broke it down into 3 categories i would say i believe both 1 and 3. i don't think we will just be in a choir, i believe that it's impossible to fathom what that part of our future holds.

Eva said...

ahh what a mystery. i always think of ppl in my life who have passed away, like my beloved Grandpa. Can he "see" us? Did he "see/hear" his funeral and all the wonderful things said about him? If he can "see" us...I hope not all the time...

we must go on in some way...or do we just wait in the ground until the earth becomes the new heaven? the bible is so confusing to me in this regard...

Madelyn said...

I agree with Meredith, & Queen Bee. But there is one major thing I think most people tend to forget about and not factor in. The Majestic. The Awe of our Lord. In this new book I'm reading called "Crazy Love", it talks about His awesomeness and it's just amazing. I use to think about heaven and frankly I didn't think it sounded all that great. I remember saying "Really? Eternity? Thats such a long time what the crap am I gonna do for that long?" But GOD is up there! Think about this:
He made the most amazing sites we see, the incredible sunsets with blues hot pinks and yellows and more colors... he made cascading waterfalls, storms, and Yosemite Valley. He is the greatest artist I've ever known. My Dad says "How can you deny God when fish look as if they've been painted with an eyelash." (not saying you deny God by any means- clearly you don't- it's just a quote he's said before) But I mean, He is the coolest most loving most powerful most indescribable and to spend an eternity with him has GOT to be an adventure.
Also, something else comes to mind. If you could see God one day in his Awe... what would you say?
I think, maybe after I stop crying and pull myself up off of my knees, I may utter the word Love; prolly cuz I'd want to say I love you but couldn't possibly think of uttering the word "I" or anything else that has to do with myself for that matter.
Honestly I don't know what I would say; it would be so amazing.
:) I love how you are writing all of these thoughts out. I think that is awesome and I think it's really personal actually . It's cool to know there is someone else out there who feels the same as I had felt before. Also, it lets people know it's okay to ask questions, it's okay to be confused about God sometimes or to just be totally honest about your current thoughts-- really neat.