It is a serious thing to live in a world of possible gods and goddesses, to realize that the dullest person you meet may one day be something which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption which you meet now only in a nightmare. All day long we are helping each other to one or the other of these two destinations. There are no ordinary people. You have never met a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations, these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we work with, play with, marry, snub, or exploit: immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. (from C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”)
God has given you the ultimate gift. The gift of existence. The gift of life. But not just any ordinary existence or life. For when God created you he created not just your physical mind and body but he gave you a spiritual soul. An immortal soul. Your soul contains your consciousness, intellect, and will. Your soul is unique and is the innermost essence of what makes you, “you”. You will always exist.
Recently I read a book on the nature of stars and galaxies. Astronomers tell us that the universe may be around 14 billion years old. Many of the stars that have now evolved into “white dwarfs” have the potential to burn for another trillion years! Even after those stars have long since been extinguished, even after the material universe has had its final end, you will continue to exist because your soul transcends the material universe. You are immortal!
Some people believe that the damned will not exist forever but will be annihilated in some kind of “second death”. The problem with that belief is that God never destroys what he has designed to live forever. Everything in our material universe undergoes destruction and continual change. We see plants, insects, fish, birds, mammals, and all creatures being born, living their life, and then dying with their matter turned into other types of matter--often as nourishment for other creatures. Stars and galaxies have their birth, life, and eventual death. But this will not be so with the angelic spirits and immortal souls that God has created for us humans. The angels, whether good or bad, will exist forever. Each human being, good or bad, will exist forever. While our earthly bodies will one day die and decay, our souls will exist into eternity. (Additionally because we are human, it is in our nature to have a body. So God will, on the Last Day, to both the saved and the damned, provide each of us with a new body for eternity. )
For as long as I can remember, the immortality of the soul has always been burned into my consciousness. It is this “permanent existence” that has often kept me from committing mortal sins. One of my favorite versus from the (Catholic) Bible, comes at the very end of Chapter 7 in Ecclesiasticus (verse 40): “In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin.” Of course all of us, here on earth, are sinners. Thus (unfortunately) we frequently sin. But by meditating on the eternity of the afterlife, we can go a long way towards avoiding mortal (serious) sin.
Being immortal is one way that we are created in God’s image as God himself has existed for all eternity. Thus human life is sacred. It should be respected at all stages of its existence. That’s why the taking of human life, including abortion and euthanasia, are wrong. We should also treat everyone we meet with dignity. Slavery, prostitution, and all forms of human-trafficking are so very wrong due to the sacredness of human life. We are commanded by Jesus (in John 13:34) to “…love one another, as I have loved you…”.
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(This article was first created on August 19, 2017. Last update: 8/26/17)