I don’t necessarily agree with all this article states (I haven’t digested all of it anyway) and I don’t intend to critique this either. But it contains Augustine, Aquinas-somehow, it’s still a-queenas for me rather than a-qui-nus, my brain seems to find the former endearing and more worthy of being the default, lol. …Phineas Gage, neuroscience, the afterlife and free will. And so yay. No more hopping around different sites trying to consolidate everything.
Just to jot down a few thoughts…
1) The part about the bodily resurrection-I think this makes sense. I always thought that the resurrection of our bodies sounded rather extraneous when our souls would be floating about happily anyway. Having our bodies back would be a nice add-on perhaps? But with this the resurrection of the body becomes a necessity. But yet the scrapping of the dualism theory flies in the face of a personal account I have on my hands. Or maybe it doesn’t…?
2) Heaven isn’t really going to be a palace with cloud flooring and shining rubies. Much of the Bible is metaphorical, and I’m thinking what we deem as heaven is going to be more of a new dimension, a completely new way of being that we with our limited scope of understanding cannot picture or come close to imagining.
3) I’m not really concerned with the exact metaphysics. It may bother some others, but for me I’ve accepted that God operates via a different…plane from us and there isn’t much point trying to figure out how everything is going to work.
4) What does bother me though, is the issue of salvation. If our morality, values and character can be completely destroyed with brain damage, how on earth (lol) is God going to do any judgement? Even if Gage committed all the sins possible to humanity post-accident, how can Gage as a person even be evaluated when pre-accident Gage and post-accident Gage are two different people, essentially? The problem is that it’s not that his reasoning and morality was damaged and that he was incapable. He had full consciousness and everything after his accident…it’s the fact that he completely changed. I don’t think God is going to treat him as two separate beings though? The whole thing seems terribly unfair and convoluted, and I have no idea what to make of this. If God decides to evaluate the pre-accident Gage instead because the post-accident Gage is a warped and damaged being, then I wonder in what other circumstances God would decide to consider and juggle all these various aspects and conditions.
4i) I wonder how judgement is going to be made. People always bring up the kid in the Amazon rainforest as an example of a non-Christian being saved (and it just has to be the Amazon) But last year I wondered, what about an Amazon rainforest in the figurative sense, rather than the mere physical space that people usually speak of? A boy in this enclosed area without contact with the external world can be pardoned. What about people who are trapped in metaphorical rainforests, constructed by themselves or imposed on them by others? If someone has been brainwashed into a killing machine from birth, are they going to be condemned if they can’t be converted? If someone erects mental barriers in a desperate attempt to protect themselves, are they going to be condemned if they fail to accept Christianity then? If someone is born with particular personality traits or even influences that makes it difficult for him/her to be receptive to new ideas, are they then not more prone to rejecting a new religion and hence, more likely to be condemned? Once the rainforest isn’t defined by concrete parameters, there is no longer an answer.
5) All this brings to mind two scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The first is where Harry and Dumbledore view the whimpering, pitiful remains of what is left of Voldemort’s soul. All the evil had damaged his soul beyond repair, and could no longer go on. The second is where Snape was protesting Dumbledore’s orders to help him, fearing for the state of his own soul. Dumbledore simply replied that it would be better for Snape to kill him on his orders than for Draco to kill him instead which would result in the destruction of Draco’s soul. What I find interesting is this idea of a soul as a thing, something that can be nurtured and damaged but not exactly your intellect or even emotions. Might it work this way? That God will be the decider of what occurrences in a human life is good/evil and whether and in what ways they separate the human from God?
If there is a Creator, then I trust that the Creator of all things would have it worked out (okay as if He needs to work anything out) It’s just that the issue of salvation would seem to have an impact on my attitude towards daily living and how I live with others, which is much more my concern rather than the exact mechanisms and workings of the afterlife.