29) Death vs Immortality

“And the LORD God commanded the man, saying…of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: or in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die…And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17, 3:4-5)

Christianity commonly interprets the serpent’s rejoinder denying the assurance of death as a lie.

But it wasn’t. It was just deception. A magician’s sleight of hand, a slippery salesman’s cunning bait and switch.

As detailed in the post Lust Kills, Love Dies, death is defined by NASA, the medical community, and the Bible as the inability to connect to life-sustaining materials and energizing sources. It is the ultimate act of “pulling the plug.” Therefore, the Deceiver’s immortality must be some form of continued connection.

There are a variety of conceptualizations of immortality by imaginative writers both fictional and religious, so let’s make sure we’re all on the same page as to the meaning of death vs immortality.  It is not as simple as you might think.

fountain_of_eternal_life_cropIn religious contexts, immortality is often stated to be one of the promises of God (or other deities) to human beings who show goodness or else follow divine law. What form an unending human life would take, or whether an immaterial soul exists and possesses immortality, has been a major point of focus of religion, as well as the subject of speculation and debate

The notion that immortality equals the eternal union of body and soul is typical of many religions. In traditions, such as ancient Egyptian religionMesopotamian religion, and Greek religion, the immortal gods consequently were considered to have physical bodies. In Mesopotamian and Greek religion, the gods also made certain men and women physical immortal, whereas in large parts of Christianity the belief that all true believers will be resurrected to physical immortality is a pivotal tenet.

The resurrection of the dead is indeed a pivotal tenet of, not Christianity per se, but the Bible. Since the body most evidently decays back to dust, obviously it must be the soul – personality with memory and consciousness – that continues a life uninterrupted. There is no proof of this in paganism or scientific observations, neither is there proof of paganism’s claim of transformation of “heroes” from mortal into immortal bodies after death. Only the Bible provides proof of resurrection of the soul in its body with legally validated documented witnesses.

As detailed in the post The Singularity, the soul is the immaterial dimension of personality, thoughts, memories, desires, emotions, etc. powered by the chemo-electrical activity of the body’s nervous system. Some of this is active energy, but most of it is potential energy. Since energy cannot be destroyed, when the body powers down, the soul reverts to potential energy while continuing to exist as the personality and sum total of memories, beliefs, and relationships with other humans – and to spirits good and bad.

We know from medical accounts that the unconscious mind, in states ranging from psychological repression of memories to sleep to coma, still experiences emotional and sensory pain.

We can conceptualize this with the experience of Edgar Allen Poe’s Fortunato. Horrifically walled up in a standing position, he was unable to move to relieve pain from multiple causes – immobile cramping muscles, hunger, unsanitary bowel and bladder discharges, desperation to communicate to anyone to be saved from his torment in utter darkness, despair of salvation, and most of, unable to maintain a state of oblivion to his worst nightmare for an interminable length of time.

As you read the following account, consider how the narrator is the very likeness of Satan, carrying out Satan’s pride-based hatred of humanity. See the post Light and Life for details.

Fortunato had hurt me a thousand times…I would have revenge…[This and the following emphases added.]

I have bought a full cask of a fine wine which they tell me is Amontillado [playing to his lust] But….”
“Amontillado! Quite impossible.”
“I know. It does not seem possible….”
“Ho! — Come. Let us go…To your vaults. To taste the wine.”

As he spoke, Fortunato took my arm, and I allowed him to hurry
me to my great stone palace [the earth, Satan’s domain]…

I went down before him, down under the ground [hell], deep under the old walls of my palace…We
were entering the last resting place of the dead of the Montresor family…We could see the bones of the dead lying in large piles along the walls…We went on, deeper and deeper into the earth. Finally we arrived
at a vault in which the air was so old and heavy that our lights almost died. Against three of the walls there were piles of bones higher than our heads. From the fourth wall someone had pulled down all the bones, and they were spread all around us on the ground. In the middle of the wall was an opening into…a little room about three feet wide, six or seven feet high, and perhaps four feet deep….

“Go on,” I said. “Go in; the Amontillado is in there.”

Fortunato continued to go forward, uncertainly…He stood there a moment, facing the wall, surprised and wondering. In that wall were two heavy iron rings. A short chain was hanging from one of these and a lock from the other. Before Fortunato could guess what was happening, I closed the lock and chained him tightly to the wall. I stepped back…I found the stones which earlier I had taken down from the wall. Quickly I began to build the wall again, covering the hole where Fortunato stood trembling.

“Montresor! What are you doing!?”

I continued working. I could hear him pulling at the chain, shaking it wildly. Only a few stones remained to put in their place…

“Let us go.”

“Yes. Let us go.”

As I said this I lifted the last stone from the ground.

“Montresor! For the love of God!!”

“Yes. For the love of God!”

I heard no answer…only a soft, low sound, a half-cry of fear…I hurried to force the last stone into its position. And I put the old bones again in a pile against the wall. For half a century now no human hand has touched them. May he rest in peace!

The closest experience I had to this condition was a patient of mine who was admitted to the hospital’s psychiatric ward because he endlessly verbalized suicidal desire. He was a mass of medical disabilities – physically immobile, blind and deaf. The only distraction left to him from his interminable suffering and isolation was the pleasurable sensation of having the earwax flushed out of his ears.

Everyone buries painful memories into their unconscious. Imagine an immortal soul being tormented forever by the inability to engage in the usual distractions of watching television, social interactions, and generally going about one’s daily routine to replace, overshadow, or suppress memories of abuse, guilt, and horror, or relieve physical pain. My experience working with bedridden nursing home residents with dementia gives me a good impression of this condition.

Paul’s teaching on disembodied – what he calls unclothed souls as being a highly undesirable state is substantiated by the scientific knowledge that the soul still experiences physical sensations even when dematerialized. This is demonstrated by the medical neurological condition of phantom limb pain after the loss of a body part.

L0075250 Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew, 17th centuryThe equivalent term “naked” clarifies that this is not simply embarrassing, as is commonly dreamed, but painfully unprotected. The loss of the all the protective covering of the skin over the nervous system is one of the worst forms of torture. The apostle Nathaniel,  AKA Bartholomew, is memorialized for being flayed alive.

Flaying—or skinning—was perhaps the most painful of all ancient world execution methods because of its slow process. The…executioner would begin peeling away the individual’s skin with a sharp blade, often starting with the head as this area would inflict the most suffering due to the victim still being conscious…ways one could die from flaying: shock, blood or fluid loss, hypothermia, or infection. The time of death could also be anywhere from a few hours to a few days…a flayed body was a message: an eloquent canvas on which the punitive…authority may be written.

Flaying was practiced by the Assyrians, Aztecs, Chinese, and several Medieval European peoples.

The fictional but historically based Game of Thrones book and TV series realistically portrays the utter depths of evil perpetrated by humans. Its “Most Evil Character” is:

Ramsay Bolton…for flaying prisonersit’s Ramsay’s sheer joy in the suffering of others, and his endless creativity in engineering that suffering, that make him the most vile character this series has ever seen.

And flaying continues to be perpetrated by evil people everywhere.

vnwddptvdwldlli-800x450-nopad

Are you beginning to feel as well as cognitively process information? Any psychosomatic reactions, like nausea? Need more input? flaying alive dogs – YouTube.

Decent people shy away from exposure to such sadistic material. I understand. I don’t watch horror movies because they’re not only unsettling at the time, the images and emotional reactions are forever embedded in the memory and stay a part of the personal history, however vicariously obtained. 

Understand, I am making a point. The most important information everyone needs to learn is what happens to the immaterial soul at the disintegration of the matter composing the body, and the worst case scenarios are so horrific that they are shut away from even being considered by most people. But eternity is not the time to start considering one’s fate after death.

Based on what we know of 1) the indestructibility of energy and 2) the ability of the unconscious mind to experience pain in the absence of body parts, we must derive the scientific theory that the soul continues after death, forever, in a state of physical and emotional torment.

This is consistent with the oldest religious belief, the Sumerian, present at the dawn of history and perpetuated through religious permutations to the present: “only pain and suffering in Kur [which is the same name as the Lord of that realm, i.e. the Alien]. Cosmically located between the earth’s crust and the primeval sea [under the flat earth] , and incredibly similar in description to the Greek Hades.”

Scientifically or religiously, the logical conclusion is that the immortal soul experiences eternity in hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off…And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame / neurological pain is described as “burning”.” (Luke 16:23-24)

Popular media acknowledges that immortality is an undesirable state of affairs both individually and socially.

I have always been intrigued by the social space…that the possibility of immortality might generate.

I would argue that the single best example of social effects that the possibility of immortality might create is Clifford D. Simak’s Why Call Them Back From Heaven? (1967).  In similar fashion, James Gunn’s The Immortals (1962) takes place in a world where immortals do exist, they skirt at the edge of the narrative, but are hunted by mortals for their “sacred” blood.  The possibilities (good and bad) if they are caught are endless. Other SF works try to evoke the repetitive nature of existence of the immortal — for example Raymond Z. Gallun’s The Eden Cycle (1974) is often just as tiring as the “ennui of the immortal” he is trying to evoke.

Contrast the recognition of the problems associated with immortality with the benefits that accrue with death – a complete break from the suffering endured in this life. Therefore many people simply refuse to believe in existence after death, most especially the idea of judgment for how one’s life was lived while in the body.

quote-i-don-t-actually-believe-in-the-extension-of-consciousness-after-death-zadie-smith-156-47-73

And on what do you base your belief? Whatever abates your anxiety? Defense mechanisms are notorious for worsening, not solving, problems.

Nothing is more vital to life, freedom, preventing pain and tragedy than truth and following it... Dr. Sean Illing from Yale said that the best way to enslave people is by smashing truth and this is what totalitarians have always tried to do…

Throughout history…many cultures have said that truth describes reality accurately. This means truth can have many aspects, rational, scientific, personal, relational, emotional, supernatural, material, objective, subjective…Some of the most respected scholars who specialize in figuring out how to identify truth fairly, say that there are 3 effective ways to find truth… [Emphases below added.]

CORRESPONDENCE TRUTH
Correspondence truth tries to gather evidence from people’s experiences so we can understand reality accurately…
1) Correspondence truth treats all experiences from everyone as evidence (assuming innocence unless lying or some other deception is proven)…
2) Correspondence truth treats all observations in scientific experiments as evidence (assuming innocence unless lying, corruption due to greed/pride, mistakes in setting up experiments is proven)… 

COHERENCE TRUTH
3) True claims have the best track record of accuracy in describing reality over time.
4) True claims have clear (or the best) cause and effect mechanisms.
5) True claims makes predictions that are confirmed by observations.
6) True claims explain and harmonize all evidence from all categories best. This often is called a theory, like the theory of relativity or germ theory.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER? Sometimes we can’t see whether something is true with our eyes directly, or an issue covers long periods of time or covers many types of evidence and truth is not simple to figure. In these cases, we often use coherence truth methods like the above to help us make the best choices.

PRAGMATIC TRUTH
7) Pragmatic truth uses information gathered from correspondence and coherence truth to help people make choices that brings the best quality and quantity of life at all levels of society, from individual to community to nation and worldwide, as well as nature… 

The goal of all science that relates to humans is also supposed to be to do good to all levels of society.  But because humans do science, it can be very fallible at times for various reasons:

A) CORRUPTION: Harvard mathemetician Samuel Arbesman and others have found that up to 50% of “facts” in academia are found to be partly/wholly wrong within 50 years…This is partly because greed and bribery (often from corporations) can corrupt scientists just as they do anything else.

B) FALLACIES: False ways of reasoning like the a priori fallacy of materialistic methodological naturalism (which denies that any evidence can point to God) or theistic presuppositional apologetics (which denies that any evidence can point away from God or away from one’s denominational beliefs) can also pervert and end a genuine search for truth…

The universal experience of death as much as the complexity of life is a reality that should direct our attention to the reliable and validated message provided to humanity since the beginning of history that there is a Creator and sustainer of life who gives humanity hope for a blessed eternal life. Not a pointless existence now nor an undesirable immortality of the soul ranging from a boring to an excruciating endlessness.

And that blessed hope is not immortality of the soul.

It is transformation of the soul and its physical casing.

The most scientific generation in known history, the one that grew up when computers were already a routine MO of life, should instinctively understand how intangible “memory” can be created in a physical machine then “stored” in a “cloud” to be retrieved intact at a later date, location, and in a new “casing”. And that only by discarding the old can improvements be obtained through “upgrades” in both hardware and software.

Only death, through the fundamental condition of change inherent to mortality, allows transformation to a new and improved quality of life. This is achieved only through dying to divest ourselves of destructive forces / sin, accomplished by overriding our inner program of commands and memories that define our existing sin-sick soul with an upgrade of godly commands and programs of interaction with each other and with God. Some neuronal connections in the brain literally die while new neuronal connections are created as the soul thinks through, deliberates, makes choices, and motivates new actions of the body and emotions in social interactions.

“the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:

And they that are God’s Promised Savior’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Galatians 5:19-24)

This is what “the gospel” and “being saved” means. Much greater detail on the limited discussion below can be found in the post Lust Kills, Love Dies.

“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved…if ye have believed...

Is it not logical that belief – a function of the soul – drives the soul’s experience?

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that

  • Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
  • And that he was buried,
  • and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
  • And that he was seen of / witnessed by
    • Cephas / Peter,
    • then of the twelve:
    • After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once…
    • And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.” (I Corinthians 15:1-8)

former atheist and homicide detective J. Warner Wallace has recently released a book and training curriculum called Forensic Faith which helps people learn how police verify truth and then shows how by those same standards, Jesus resurrection is proven way beyond any reasonable doubt.

Belief in Jesus’ resurrection is extremely important, not just for eternal life, but for this world. Confidence in the resurrection of Jesus is actually one of the most important facts for human life and the stability and peace of nations. This is because as history shows, if this life is all a person thinks they have, then they often think they had better get every experience they possible can out of it without much if any regard for morality…

A person without confidence in eternal life believes they have only one short life to live and so has a powerful motivation to get all the money, all the power, all the sex, all the fame, all the fun, etc. by any means necessary whether it is moral or not, since death is the complete end and everything they want to experience in life must happen before that time.  For a person who believes in eternal life and knows that one of the most valuable things in this life (gold) is considered just pavement in the next, is far more willing to reorder his priorities and sacrifice for others.

C.S. Lewis wrote along these lines, saying:

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in”: aim at earth and you will get neither.”

Rejection of belief in God and eternal life often leads to enormous amounts of greed and inequality which are the main cause and factor for nearly all evils in the world, according to both the Bible and a vast amount of science. Confidence in Jesus’ resurrection gives a person solid confidence that they can have eternal life. Because that is far more valuable than anything earthly life can give,  it inspires people to work and live for justice, equality and the good of all mankind more than anything else in history.

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” (I Corinthians 15:17-20)

The equating of sleep with death in this and other passages indicates that blissful unconsciousness in the manner of desirable deep, dreamless, restful slumber is the condition granted in response to the faith of the believer whose soul is temporarily disconnected from the old body while awaiting the resurrection into a new body.

“There was a certain rich man…And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus…And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-23)

The linking of death with soul sleep is not confined to the Bible, which makes sense because there are obvious comparisons.

Sex and sleep alone make me conscious that I am mortal.” ―Alexander the Great

La petite mort…(the little death) is an expression which means “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness”…The first attested use of the expression in English was in 1572 with the meaning of “fainting fit.”…Specifically, it is defined as “a state or event resembling or prefiguring death; a weakening or loss of consciousness, specifically in sleep or during an orgasm,” a nearly identical definition to that of the original French. 

Paul, who faced death daily, must have been comforting himself as much as his flock when he related the following account, teaching his Gentile previously pagan converts the Hebrew doctrine of resurrection.

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found nakedNow he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [proof] of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord… and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (I Corinthians 5:1-8)

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord [not Caesar, acknowledging that God’s will is being done], beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called…unto every one of us is given grace…When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captivedescended first into the lower parts of the earth.” (Ephesians 4:1-9)

John’s Revelation of the End Times describes the multitude of souls who the Christ released from captivity in Sheol in the lower parts of the earth at his resurrection, but whose bodies have not yet been resurrected.

“I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge..? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.” (Revelation 6:9-11)

“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order:

    1. Christ the firstfruits;
    2. afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming…
    3. Then cometh the end, when he shall…put all enemies under his feet.” (I Corinthians 15:17-25)

“I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first [bodily]: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17)

The purely materialistic Greek world view which dominates modern Western culture scoffs at this other-worldly hope of the resurrection. 

Early in the sixth century B.C. first attempts were started to understand the world in new ways. Until then the mystical world of Homer was explained through tales… about the gods…

In the second half of the fifth century B.C. the tradition of the Sophists emerged…they were worldly, liberal minded humanists…each person had his individual experiences and individual truth. Trying to define an objective reality was pointless…

Socrates… turned his back on science and cosmology and pursued ethics and logic…With his dialectic method of inquiry Socrates developed one of the core columns of Western thinking…True knowledge was something that could not be learned by listening to other people it had to be personally attained.

Plato…taught that every material object also had a transcendental aspect to it…The immortal soul was in contact with the divine prior to birth but lost this connection due to amnesia when entering the physical body… Logos…a divine ordering principle behind all things and events…[was] integrated…into his philosophy of an understandable world.

Aristotle…turned Plato’s principles of a divine order upside down…understanding of the natural world could be attained by perceiving the world with the five senses…logic, empiricism and natural science…turned out to be trend-setting for scientific research of the West

The religion of humanism was born.

humanism

Seriously? Can any one of the above humanist tenets be demonstrated as factual? Even hypothetical? Both the arrogance and the demonstrably impossible aspirations of humanism feed into the enemy’s plan to destroy humanity. 

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.

Hyperdimensional promises to increase the quality and length of life is a Ponzi scheme. They give their upper echelon supporters life by sucking the life out of those lower down the food chain until the whole system collapses.

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