There were a lot of interesting comments on my last post about endings. I invite my readers to look at those comments. I see now that what I wrote had some (at least partially) unintended interpretations. I believed I was writing about what everyone knows to be true – at least all rational people in contemporary life. We know that the body dies and decomposes. We know that nothing of this world is forever, that cultures disappear, that ecosystems change completely and that one day
both the earth and the sun will be gone.
I myself, as many of my readers and family know, do not believe in an afterlife. But I know that many people do, and that includes some who are near and dear to me. I think that the Catholic Church has accepted Darwin’s idea of evolution as science, and that the Church’s metaphysical explanation is that at some point in the evolution of humans God inserted a soul. I certainly could be corrected on this; I don’t pretend to know much theology. At any rate, I think the idea is of a soul which has an eternal existence quite separate from the material body and the material universe.
I suppose there is some ambiguity in Christian theology about whether or not it was actually the physical body of Christ which was resurrected and rose into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. But I presume that most people these days believe it was his soul. And I suppose that those who believe in life after death do not think that their physical being will be somehow reconstituted. What lives on would be some inner essence of consciousness: the soul.
When I wrote about the attempts of humans to perpetuate corporeal existence and earthly memories of it I was arguing that such attempts must be futile; that our bodies and our world (with all its history) will, in time, disappear. I think this must be true, and I myself think that is all there is. But I am just a human, just a speck in the vastness of space and time. I certainly don’t have all the answers, and I hope I am wrong. At least I think I hope that.
I have never yet heard or read of a kind of heaven that I would prefer to being alive as I know it here.