Re: Death before the Fall

From: <>
Date: Tue Apr 19 2005 - 21:16:52 EDT

In a message dated 4/19/05 4:06:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:
Jan did not want to continue a discussion on this topic,
so I thought I would post it seperately. I want to know
if any of you have an opinion, and evidence to support
your view of the following question(s).

After death, do our souls/person/mind whatever you want to
call it, cease to exist until the general resurrection?
Or is there an intermediate state of conscious existence
until the resurrection? And if there is an intermediate
state, is this corporeal or only spirit?

I am still working through the monism/dualism question.
And scientifically it seems to me the best evidence is
leading me towards monism. But the Bible, from the best I
can tell, seems to say that there is an intermediate
conscious state, followed by a general resurrection into a
"spiritual" body. This would disagree with Jan's idea
that there is no "time" in hades/sheol because the souls
there are conscious.

But I am looking for different perspectives on this.


I no longer ask those questions although I know no longer asking those
questions is something I may have the luxury of doing while many of you must teach
those questions to people who are still asking them and you do not have the
luxury of avoiding them.
When I became aware of the gnostic experience and Buddhist concept of
enlightenment I looked for the essential elements of those ideas in other
places/religions including my birth religion. I found that the nature of the self
sacrifice in Christianity in its essential elements was similar to those mystic
experiences of the other religions.

We call the act that demonstrated this universal religious experience the
Sacrifice of the Cross. The essential element that I found to constitute each
expression of this universal experience was selflessness, the kind of
selflessness that subordinates one's life to an ethic, such as what Jesus called the will
of God. What I found in the other religions that I didn't find in
Christianity were examples of specific disciplines to get you to this state of
selflessness and novel explanations for the phenomena that shed a different though
revealing light on my own religion's expression of selflessness. Herrigel wrote Zen
and the Art of Archery, an explicit reference to the discipline and the
practical fruits of Zen.

There was this ancient and eastern discipline and then there was the
discipline of the Cross. What the Chrtistians weren't doing was teaching the proper
frame of mind to assume the self sacrifice upon one's self with explicit
disciplines. Maybe they were but I didn't see them. One reason might be my church's
antipathy for the gnostics, the most visible expression of an ancient spiritual
discipline that was not amenable to hierarchalization (gnostics don't need
priests - their goal is to be with God spiritually via discipline). But despite
the institutional resistance gnosticism was still strong. The late Pope John
Paul II warned against the gnosticism that has always existed side by side with
the church in his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

 Simone Weil has written some beautiful essays on Jesus. She said Jesus
expressed his total faith and complete love for God when he was at the furthest
possible distance from God and salvation; hanging on a cross. In those absolute
extremes Weil described I understood that a deliberate act of faith and total
selflessness was refusing to think about your own resurrection. If you could do
that you would be in the proper frame of mind when you were called on by God
to make the self sacrifice because you had already begun discipling yourself
to it. Jesus continued to love the God he called his father when to all
appearances and indications he had been completely forsaken by God, his father. What
a love. What discipline.
In Zen, to reach enlightenment, a specific discipline is stopping your
internal dialog, especially all your internal dialog about your self. When you stop
your internal dialog and refuse to consider your own resurrection - give up
heaven, sacrifice the self, so to speak - resurrection is no longer an issue. It
just isn't. This I find to be a paradox, a paradox that must be considered.
In the east, it is expressed in koans, in the west in parables.
Imagine Jesus on the cross as Simone Weil saw him, in the middle of a
horrifying death, loving with all his heart at the greatest possible distance from
the God who could save him. What an image of selflessness, of spiritual
discipline and complete and utter faith.
In the sequence of things, you die first, then you are resurrected. You can
discipline yourself to the self sacrifice in the here and now and render heaven
a non-issue. At death, resurrection takes care of itself. You won't have a
working body and "no hand" in it. So you do what you can do in this life here
and now to discipline yourself to the self sacrifice so that you are strong when
you are called. Discipline prepares one for the self sacrifice. If you let go
of your own resurrection aren't you really letting go of your self? The kind
of selflessness that gives you the courage to face dying on the cross, comes
from discipline. The kind of selflessness that gives you the courage to face
what is beyond the cross comes from faith. Letting go of yourself to be in the
proper spiritual frame of reference to face your own cross(es) is something you
can discipline yourself to, it is doable. Nothing you ever do will enable you
to conquer death unless that has already been done for you. Have faith that
it has.

"By gaining his life, a man will lose it; by losing his life for my sake, he
will gain it."

(Matthew 10:39)."

Received on Tue Apr 19 21:18:22 2005

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