So this is actually part 2 to a post I wrote about a month ago. Basically in the last post I asked for every one's thoughts and opinions on life after death. I really appreciated all of your comments. I planned on writing a follow up post about my own thoughts and opinions and this is it. Please take note: like I said these are my opinions and interpretations, this is not a sermon or a statement- you are free to agree or disagree. No one has to read this, these are just my own narcissistic thoughts:)
*Contains biblical material so if it that makes you feel uncomfortable better not read this.
My belief at it's very basic- with everything else stripped away-is that it is possible for a person's consciousness to exist separate their body and to possibly go on after the body has died.
Even when I was an atheist, after I had let every thing else go, the one thing I struggled with was believing that when we died that was it. And believe me, at that time it was not because I secretly wanted to go on for ever- I actually liked the idea of ceasing to exist after death.
My interpretation of the Bible's "eternity": I don't know if this will surprise you but I do read the bible rather a lot. As a historical document it is fascinating. I had been hearing about God my whole life from other people and had them telling me what I should believe in. I decided that I wanted to get to know God by myself and decide what I believe, I figured the best way to do that was read the bible. I actually love it.
In Revelations...(my least favorite part of the bible) 21 Paul talks about a " New Earth". My interpretation of the Bible's heaven/ eternity therefore is the earth made new and whole again. It will be just like the earth is today except absolutely perfect without any evil or pain. I have to say I like this idea better then the pearly gates stuff and there will be lots of places to hide from those...ahem...irritating fanatical Christians I spoke about in my previous post.
There seems to be a growing idea amongst Christians that when you die you go to a place of waiting... in other words not the real heaven. I think that this could be possible since in Revelations it says that God's kingdom will only be revealed on Christ's return. This belief mostly comes from Luke 23:43: When Jesus was on the cross the thief that was next to him asked His forgiveness and that Jesus would remember him. Jesus said to him, "Today you shall be with me in Paradise". People argue that because he didn't say "heaven" or "house of my Father" people go elsewhere when they die and we all go to heaven together.
A large part of my family is Seventh- Day Adventist, they believe that your soul "goes to sleep" and only awakens once Christ returns. I don't believe this.
But then....if you believe in heaven there's got to be the darker side....you know what I am talking about...The Eternal Barbecue, The Lake of Fire, HELL. I haven't thought much about hell in my life, for obvious reasons. I have been condemned to it more times than I can count, mostly by some very well meaning Christians. Because I haven't thought much about hell I don't have any definite thoughts. My Mom has an interesting belief, she does believe there is a hell now but she believes God will destroy it and that there will be a spiritual death of everyone that isn't saved (my mother is a born again Christian). She believes this because the she God she loves and has a personal relationship with is not capable of letting people suffer in agony for all eternity. I would love to believe this but I just know.
My hope is that one day I can resolve all my confusion and jumbled up ideas and have a belief and a faith that is strong an unwavering. I don't like the spiritual state I am in at the moment. I feel I either need to be for or against something...being in between is no good.
What I want heaven/ eternity to be: This is very simple and personal thing but bear with me...my idea of heaven is South Africa, the house we live in now. I would have my Mom young, carefree and playful again. My Dad before life did things to him, a dashing young man with great charm and the ability to make every one
roll around with laughter. My sister would never have had her heart broken and her and I would have a second chance at becoming best friends before our childhood tore us apart.
All our beloved pets that have passed on would be with us: Muffin, our Maltese "lady", "Cat" our first cat, Jock- not sure what he was!, the sheepdogs, Tosca and Sheba and of course my precious bunnies, Basil and Buttercup and my baby kitty, Milo.
Our house would be in the most peaceful, green valley. All our loved ones that had passed on would be with us, my best friend Karen would live down the road, not across the globe. And there would be perfect peace...no more death, no more sickness, no more fear, anger, war. And of course the would be loads of chocolate :)