Temporal vs Eternal Life

8994638_f260In C.S. Lewis’s book “Readings for Meditation and Reflection in the chapter entitled, “The Christian and the Materialist”, the author observes,

“…a Christian and a non-Christian may both wish to do good to their fellow men.  The one believes that men are going to live forever, that they were created by God and so built that they can find their true and lasting happiness only by being united to God, that they have gone badly off the rails, and that obedient faith in Christ is the only way back.  The other believes that men are an accidental result of blind working of matter, that they started as mere animals and have more or less steadily improved, that they are going to live about seventy years, and that their happiness is fully attainable by good social services and political organizations, and that everything else (vivisection, birth control, the judicial system, education) is to be judged to be ‘good’ or ‘bad’  simply in so far as it helps or hinders that kind of ‘happiness’.”

As I meditated on this aspect of men living forever (in heaven or elsewhere), it struck me that there is unanimous agreement that men generally live seventy years or so.  Thus, if we factor this earthly life into the eternal remainder, it will seem practically insignificant, unmemorable, and inconsequential to the whole, in fact, any finite number  compared to infinity is zero.  It is like a seed that is placed in the ground to germinate in suitable conditions; within a few days it bursts through the surface and transforms into the plant it was destined to be, perhaps a tree with a life span of several hundred years.  A White Oak in Smyrna, Tennessee was cut down this year after 487 years of growth.m A Hemlock near Tracy City, Tennessee on the Firey Gizzard trail is over 500 years old. One giant Sequoia was cut down and determined to be 3220 years old, and the bristlecone pine in eastern California is over 4800 years old.

This is the motivation that scripture gives to believers:

“So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;  it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;  it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.  If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.”  “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ” ( 1 Cor. 15:42-44, 54).



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