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What if there were no afterlife?

Postby Yum Yum » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:15 pm

If there were no afterlife, would that make this one life on Earth more or less meaningful?
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:23 pm

In Christian theology, this is an impossible premise. People (souls) are never-ending, but definition. On that basis, what you are asking is, "If there were no life, would that make our life more or less meaningful?" The teaching of the Bible is that human life has a beginning, but no ending. Death is not a cessation but rather a transition. You are posing a hypothetical like, "If circles were square would they still be round?" I don't assume you knew you were posing that kind of question, but that's what it is. Human life, once given, never ceases (as far as we know). The speculative consequent of "If there were no afterlife" shuts even the antecedent of "this one life on earth" down. It's impossible to have one without the other.
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby Righteous One » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:53 pm

> In Christian theology, this is an impossible premise. People (souls) are never-ending, [by] definition.

Huh? Aren't you aware that some Christians (such as I) have the position that God will destroy some souls, and that the existence of those people will come to an end?
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 25, 2018 3:53 pm

I'm certainly aware of annihilationism, but it doesn't hold logical or theological water. Cessation steals God's justice. If a person can do what they want and then just be gone, there is no accountability and no punishment for their action (1 Cor. 5.10; Rev. 21.13). In addition, the multi-repetitious "eternal" and "everlasting" in Scripture pulls the rug out from under annihilationism. We can discuss it if you wish.
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby Yum Yum » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:37 pm

> People (souls) are never-ending, but definition.

The fact that you used two different words -- people and souls -- implies that those have 2 different meanings, even to you. My question relates to life ending with the biological life of a person/people ending. You introduced the "soul" aspect in order to rearrange my question so that it felt logically impossible based on your personal definition of "soul."
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 25, 2018 4:37 pm

> The fact that you used two different words -- people and souls -- implies that those have 2 different meanings, even to you.

Not necessarily. Some people think we are monadic (people are souls). Some go with dualistic (bodies and souls), and yet others with tripartite (body, soul, and spirit). I was avoiding that controversy, which is not part of the discussion, and merely stating that by "people" I meant "human life that never ends." Don't read more into it than was intended. Thanks.

> My question relates to life ending with the biological life of a person/people ending. You introduced the "soul" aspect in order to rearrange my question so that it felt logically impossible based on your personal definition of "soul."

No, that's not what I was doing. I was just trying to answer your question. No games, no twists intended.
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby Yum Yum » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:08 pm

> I was avoiding that controversy, which is not part of the discussion, and merely stating that by "people" I meant "human life that never ends." Don't read more into it than was intended.

You were avoiding controversy by using a definition for "people" that not only strays from the ordinary meaning but also forces a logical contradiction in my OP?

How about I rephrase my question as what if when biological life ends, there is nothing more? If you do not believe that snails have an afterlife, then we would be like snails in that we die forever when we die. Does that biological life with no after-biological-life become more or less meaningful compared to the biological portion of life that does have an after-biological-life? (Is the query still logically impossible?)
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jun 26, 2018 2:12 pm

Sigh. I was not avoiding controversy, just trying to be clear.

> what if when biological life ends, there is nothing more?

OK. My answer is that this is impossible. In the Bible human death is a transition, not a cessation. On that basis, what you are asking is, "If there were no life, would that make our life more or less meaningful?" The teaching of the Bible is that human life has a beginning, but no ending. You are posing a hypothetical like, "If circles were square would they still be round?" Human life, once given, never ceases (as far as we know). The speculative consequent of "If there were no afterlife" shuts even the antecedent of "this one life on earth" down. It's impossible to have one without the other.

Biblically, human beings are in a separate category than all other biological life, so we can't use comparisons with a snail in any meaningful way. Human beings have the breath of God and are in the image of God, and so biologically and spiritually unique.
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby Yum Yum » Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:19 pm

Purposely or not, I think you are dodging the question.

Let me rephrase in your new lingo: If what we call "death" were not a transition and, instead, the end to a person's existence, would that period of that person's existence (between fertilization and "death") be more or less meaningful than what is obviously currently true that "death" is simply a transition?

> The teaching of the Bible is that human life has a beginning, but no ending. You are posing a hypothetical like, "If circles were square would they still be round?" Human life, once given, never ceases (as far as we know).

You and I are able to comprehend something starting and later ending, correct? Now, let's comprehend human life the same way. It is clearly not inherent that life starts but never ends because you specifically referenced the bible to support that statement. You would not have used the bible or any other extrinsic evidence to support that statement if it were truly inherent.
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Re: What if there were no afterlife?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Aug 01, 2018 8:36 am

You are posing a contradictory hypothetical. "What if death were not a transition..." But in Christian theology it is, and you are asking a Christian what our theology teaches. I'm insisting, by analogy, that circles are round, and claiming that your hypothetical, "but what if circles were NOT round..." is a contradictory hypothesis denying the very definition as given by Christian theology. So the question can't be answered with your hypothetical, because you are asking something contradictory.

"But if circles were not round and, instead, square, then would that shape have roundness or corners?" But circles can't, by definition, have corners. You are asking, "But what if death were final, not transitional, would your life be more or less meaningful?" It's an impossible hypothetical.

> You and I are able to comprehend something starting and later ending, correct?

Of course we are (like my night at the movies). It starts and ends later. Human life isn't like that.

> Now, let's comprehend human life the same way.

Let's comprehend circles as square.

> It is clearly not inherent that life starts but never ends because you specifically referenced the bible to support that statement.

??????? I used to Bible to show that according to Christian theology human life has no ending, so that proves clearly that it's not so? You confused me with that one.


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