Life After Death: Transcendence
Transcendence: Life After Life
Is this the only dimension that exists? We live in a mortal space-time dimension designed for the growth of our spirits. The individual self is the prime focus of our consciousness, and the means by which we interact with reality.
Space shrinks as we age. Who among us has not gone back to a place of our childhood, a hill or a house, and found it quite small compared to our memory of it? A baby can only grasp inches at first, then feet, and then yards. It is quite some years before we can fully comprehend a mile. Space, like time, is relative.
Time flies. To a one-year-old, a single year seems like a lifetime—because it is. The tenth year of our lives is only one-tenth of our total experience, and therefore goes by ten times faster in our consciousness. By our fiftieth birthday, a year is only 2 percent of our experience of time. If we live to be 100, a year consumes less conscious time than does four days to a one-year-old. If you live to be one million years old, time must fly by so fast that it would hardly be perceptible. It would almost be like everything is happening at once. You would go beyond time: Transcendence.
The organism that is you, and in fact each of your organs, requires the organization and integration of innumerable specialized cells. Man is made for cooperation. His eyes and hands work together, his feet take turns stepping, and his sexual organs eloquently bridge the gap between male and female. A human being stands between his ancestors and his descendents.
Our physical selves are made from the earth—3/4 water and 1/4 dirt, as is the planet on which we live—just as Genesis says. We breathe the same oxygen Jesus breathed. Scientists cannot measure the human spirit, and thus many of them doubt its power if not its existence.
There are some people who believe that this life and this world are all there is. Others think God is a superconsciousness into which we will be absorbed after death; into which our individual selves will disappear. But it seems to me that our perception is ever-widening, as is our awareness of ourselves, so why wouldn’t the afterlife include us, with our personalities? And if we do live beyond the grave, what are we doing here?
As we grow spiritually, we become far less self-centered and more outwardly focused, and yet we grow more acutely aware of whom we are. Mortality is the perfect tool to sharpen concentration on the education and growth of your soul. If this life were devoid of all pain and suffering, we would miss the greatest language of the soul and some of greatest learning experiences. Life is short, so we should be disciplined instruments of learning.
Some sort of world had to be designed with finite limitations to develop your mind and sharpen your spirit: A school of the soul, as it were. The problems of life may be the most important things it has to offer. A message must begin and end if it is to be understood. We assume form in this finite space and time in order to learn meaning, to grasp wisdom, to feel love.
Is There Life After Death?
One of the most mysterious and inscrutable questions of life is that which none of us can escape: Death. Your life can be extinguished by a single drop of poison. As the old country song says, “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
Death certainly seems contrary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Of course, our tooth enamel, nails, and hair are dead all the time. The death of your body will include the stoppage of your breath and heartbeat; cessation of metabolism and cellular growth; congealing of blood; and rigor mortis, followed by the decay and disintegration of tissues, which is accompanied by the quiet foraging (or feasting) of about 600 species of tiny bacteria, worms, and insects.
We inherit physical death. It is the disorganization of our bodily organism. Guided by our genes, our body cells disintegrate. Death is a part of life. It is the fact that we die that makes us value life so. You are a vapor that appears in this material world but for a little while, and then you are gone.
A Man and His Soul
Some folks wonder why God has not told us exactly what heaven will be like. I think it is because there are no words by which we might comprehend it. What if you told a baby in the womb what this world was like? Would she understand it? You could say, “There are colors, and trees, and cars, and buildings, and cities, and flying machines, and stars, and all sorts of people—but would the baby understand any of it? We are in the womb of the soul now. What lies beyond is beyond our imaginings.
Birth and death are comparably mystical, but we are more overawed by death because those who are born are strangers to us, while we intimately know those who die. Every mature adult you meet, or even pass on the street, knows she is going to die. It might seem that we are all on the same train, just getting off at different stops. But what if we are traveling to different destinations?
The physical body gives form to spirit as language gives form to thought. The Word was made flesh. As individual thoughts and memory patterns are developed, our physical selves become less important, and eventually our consciousness breaks free of the body. At the moment of physical death, ¾ of an ounce of something leaves our bodies. Therefore, death is how we transcend our bodies, what could be called a sort of “hatching.”
Life and Death
Life is about exercising faith. If we knew everything, we would be denied the exaltation of relying upon faith. God has promised the gift of eternal life after this life for those who accept it (on His terms).
We call ourselves beings because living is being, and there is nothing without being. If eternal nothingness is our destiny, then life has no meaning and no purpose. What a puny view of humankind, that we are nothing more than insects with larger brains, surviving on instinct; living to satisfy our animal appetites, lower impulses, and base desires; being only what we are socially conditioned to be.
Our natural instinct for self-preservation, which has an obvious survival value for all living things, creates in us this pervasive fear of death. But human beings have always conceived and dreamed of life after death. There is certainly no scientific law against consciousness after death.
Some say that the moment we die we will be instantly transported to heaven or hell—perhaps with a stop first to face Judgment: To face God alone, naked, with everything we have ever done, every thought, every word, every motive laid bare. Others say we will sleep hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years first. What difference does it make? If we are unconscious, we will not know how long we have been asleep when we wake up.
The light that spans the atom just as easily spans the universe, and this light was not created by any man. Can something come out of nothing? Could this universe truly have created itself? Is there nothing but blind chance running the world? Why are we here? What is this world all about?
Where does creativity come from? Not one line of any magazine article or book appears by chance. There has to be something beyond this finite universe; someone who designed this world. Each of us is mathematically an extremely improbable being. Each of us is the product of an inconceivably complex web of ancestors, all of whom grew to heterosexual maturity and begat viable children, that they did not choose to kill before birth, or we would not be here.
Who are you? You are made up of an entirely different set of molecules than you were seven years ago. You are obviously more than a molecular structure. You remember things that happened to you and things you did and said and heard from decades ago (if you are that old). Obviously, YOU are a mind, a soul, a spirit.
Do You Want To Live Forever?
The most profound truths are not only beyond the reach of science, they are not truly definable or describable, being beyond the scope of language. The universe certainly testifies that it has a clockmaker; that it is intelligently designed.
Philosopher William Ernest Hocking asked his students at Harvard, “What do you say to a tiny drop of splash balancing between a star too hot to touch and the cold surrounding ink of nothingness?”
The Bushmen of the Kalahari explain the world this way: “There is a great dream across the world that we are a part of. We do not dream this dream. Instead this dream dreams us.”
The invisible world is more real than the visible world. This idea has always been accepted by seers, prophets, and philosophers. It is also widely accepted today by practical scientists.
The finitude of space-time has a grain and that grain is a spiral. Spirality pervades the universe, visibly and invisibly, from galaxies of stars to strands of DNA. The elliptical orbit of moving bodies, particles, and substances spiral in time through space—fluids and gasses, ocean currents, hurricanes, tornadoes, dust devils, snowdrifts, and chimney smoke plumes.
History is literally a sequence of miracles that one by one come true. At one time, to kindle a fire was a miracle. At another, to grow one’s own food was a miracle, as was the invention of the wheel, and making things with metal, and sailing the ocean blue. The printing press was a miracle, as were machines and engines. Human flight, putting a man on the moon, instant worldwide communications, and the internet are all miracles. Life is a miracle. That we have been given the ultimate gift—creating new life by the sexual union of a man and a woman—is a sacred miracle.
The soul is the part of you that is incorporeal and made of spirit. Adversity is important—even vital—to our spiritual progress. Take a good look at how educational Earth is for us, what extraordinary variation it has, and how incredibly complex it is. The Earth is teeming with life and full of adventure. How incredibly creative a mind would have to be to think all this up, and how powerful that intelligence must be to make such thoughts a reality.
An old African proverb says that the reason God created this world is because he loves stories. A lot of people today complain about the universe God made—some are so bitter about it that they deny He exists because He didn’t make the universe they way they would have. If you were God and wanted to build a Soul School, a place for spirits to learn and develop through experience—consider carefully—could you design a world with more contrast that was more educational? Do you learn better by being told something or experiencing it for yourself?
Our natural inclination would be to design a nice, safe world, without tragedy, tears, sorrow, suffering, poverty, pain, germs, diseases, poisons, hostility, misery, malice, hate, weapons, and war. Right?
That is heaven.
The soul is independent of time and space and reaches beyond matter. The testing that is life is not to punish you but to reveal your soul to itself. The Earth is a workshop for the molding and refining of character. It is neither a playground nor a torture chamber, though it contains these elements. Here we have mud, bugs, ugliness, ignorance, accidents, conflict, and cancer.
There are great disparities in the distribution of gifts, talents, skills, physical prowess, beauty, and intelligence, as well as life’s fortunes—as luck would have it. The Soul School is for individuals and it knows which trials each soul needs—it designs the lesson plans. Faith is the key to the struggles of life. Faith requires action. Faith comes from belief in the unseen. Faith comes from revealed truth. Faith surpasses mere science because it can reach places science cannot go—things beyond measure.
Spiritual beauty of the highest order seems to be the product of contrast and struggle, of pain and suffering. I saw men on television who had been Prisoners Of War in Vietnam—in the so-called Hanoi Hilton—who were asked if they wished it had never happened to them. I was immediately absolutely certain that they would say, "Yes! Of course we wish we had never suffered as we did." It shocked me that they said no, that they would not change it if they could. It taught them something they could have learned no other way. They would not have become the men they are without that experience.
Life After Death
You are a parcel of all humanity, all life, all matter, all mind, and of all spirit in this universe. And yet, you are completely an individual. That is one of the paradoxes of this world.
By focusing on the animal side of your nature—your lower self—you will never develop your spirit and reach for the stars of eternity. We need something to rise above, adversity to conquer.
We have feeble understanding, but we should know based on the universe in which we find ourselves, that there is a divine intelligence that is glorious and awesome; that creatures such as us must have a creator. Your senses are a bridge that joins you to this world, but YOU are much more than the sensual. Everything you do and think, God knows.
My source for this article is The Seven Mysteries of Life by Guy Murchie.