mitchellmckain wrote: I think your difficulty is a consequence of your premises which are not mine. Your premise seems to be that the physical represents the limits of reality and so you try to find a places for the spiritual in the context of a physical reality.
I understand why you say this, but I can't agree. I don't have any illusion that I could possibly know what "the limits of reality" are. But in attempting to understand reality, all I have is what I experience. And everything
that I experience depends on physical reality for it's existence. I have no experience of anything that does not.
mitchellmckain wrote: But it is the other way around -- the origin and greater reality is the spiritual not the physical, and so it is the physical that exists within the context of a spiritual reality.
Interesting. In a sense, I do believe in a "spiritual reality." But in my understanding, it is dependent on the physical, which does not necessarily make the physical reality "greater." Actually, if anything, it's the other way around. It's an instance of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. In a human brain, matter comes together in such a way that a "mind" arises from it, which, while completely dependent on the physical atoms that make up the brain, is also more than that, something greater. It is here that "spirituality" arises. But while the mind is more
than the brain, it also cannot exist without the brain.
Thus it is the physical reality not the spiritual which is more like the artificial world of the matrix in that movie.
But you really have to turn the movie on its head to make that claim. In the context of the movie, the artificial world is not physical, but is the immaterial product of computer programming. This intangible world depends for its existence on physical computers and human minds.
In the context of this greater spiritual reality the physical universe is a created object, whose structure includes all these mathematical relationships of space, time and physical law. A thing is physical by virtue of being a part of that structure. A spiritual thing is not a part of this structure and in the context of this greater spiritual reality is more like its own seperate universe, existing by and according to its own rules and nature.
So is what is the difference in saying that this separate universe is a spiritual universe which exists according to spiritual laws, and saying that it is another (a whole nother?
) physical universe which exists according to a different
set of physical laws. It seems that you are saying that choices basically the place of physical laws, but isn't there a mechanism by which
choices create this spiritual reality? Of course I don't expect that you would be able to explain how exactly it works; I'm just asking if you think that it is in theory explainable.
Angela wrote:I went and read the rest of the chapter in Corinthians. What does "the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable" mean to you? It's repeated several times.
mitchellmckain wrote: Well you cannot take this too literally or it contradicts 1Cor 15:50. In 1Cor 15:36-41, it says that the physical body dies though the body to come does take on its own form in accordance with that physical form. Therefore this I think this talk of changing clothing is just a metaphor for the change of existence from physical to spiritual.
Your choices are limited only by your own imagination, values and desires.
Angela wrote: This sounds like a dreamworld, literally. This is how dreams are. But then, in dreams, I don't interact with any other real beings, only those in my imagination.
mitchellmckain wrote: . . . any such connection between [spiritual beings] must come from within them. . . Our spiritual existence comes from the choices we make and thus these define its nature and it is by them alone that our spiritual existence is ruled. So what we interact with is entirely a question of what we choose -- so our values and desires are the window through which the spirit experiences reality.
. . . the danger of ones spiritual existence being nothing more than than a dreamworld of your own making is quite extreme -- this is what comes of your desires and values being too wrapped up in yourself and disconnected from other people. . . . Your choices would indeed be limited by the values and desires of others in so far as your relationship with them is concerned. Since each spirit is a law unto Himself there really is no way of forcing ones own choices upon another. In fact it is ONLY by being sympathetic and in touch with the choices of others that you can have any real connection with them at all. Otherwise all you will perceive is a fabrication of your own desire.
I think I understand. If our choices define the nature of our spiritual existence, then there would be no difference between spiritual existence and a dreamworld unless and until one spiritual being comes into contact with another. Which I understand both beings would have to choose before it could happen? I'm imagining two people dreaming, and somehow connecting their dreamworlds. They would have to agree on a lot of things in order to do this. Unless it is more like one dreamer/spirit entering the dream/world of the other, letting that dreamer/spirit for the most part determine the reality. Otherwise any connection would be extremely complicated. Basically each spirit exists in a separate reality, and in order to interact, two spirits would need to create a reality together
in which to meet. I think the two spirits/minds would have to in effect merge into one spirit/mind in order to do this.
Angela wrote:Seeds, caterpillars, embryoes, don't always develop correctly. And when they don't, they die. They don't go to the next stage, because they can't, they don't have what it takes to succeed.
But if a person doesn't learn what they need to learn in this life to succeed in the spiritual realm, they are "born" into it anyway? What about babies who die? If this physical existence is a womb, they are like 3 day old embryoes.
mitchellmckain wrote: That is correct. I think a lot of lower forms of life have no independent spiritual existence apart from a kind of species spirit. And thus the question for babies is when do they really have an identity apart from their mother and thus an spiritual existence of their own. I think it is quite possible that the attitude and beliefs of the mother play some part in this, but generally I think that before the 20th week of pregancy there is no such independent identity apart from the mother. But that is a concervative lower bound (using science speak), and where is the upper bound after which we can be certain there is a independent identity, I do not know.
Assuming we are talking about after there is an independent human identity and spirit, whenever that may be, then there is no doubt that premature death is not desirable, no more than any other kind of birth defect or physical handicap. And yet responsibility goes together with whatever power and choices we do have, and so in this regard benefit and risk go hand in hand. Jesus suggests in the NT that the child usually has what it takes to connect with God by nature and perhaps this is to be found in the child's dependence upon others and orientation towards learning and thus we are encouraged to regain these in being "born-again". And yet as I said above, I am sure this does not come without the expense of some loss as well.
I am starting to wonder if in your theology hell is really all that bad. If the worst case scenario is that the soul exists in a dreamworld, "a fabrication of its own desire," that actually sounds like many people's idea of heaven. Unlike the Jesus' story of the rich man and Lazarus, where the rich man, suffering in hell, begs Abraham, whom he sees "far away" to send Lazarus from heaven to give him a drink of water, it sounds like in your idea of hell, the soul "in hell" won't know about the existence of heaven. The soul won't be aware of its less than ideal condition, like the dreamer doesn't know he's dreaming.
It also sounds like there may not be a clear line between heaven and hell. Souls create their own reality, and some realities will be better than others. Some spiritual beings will be better able to choose connection with others, some will be able to connect to some degree, but not as well, and some won't be able to connect at all. A child who dies before getting the chance to fully develop her spirit will exist eternally in a lesser state than a fully developed spirit, but I don't guess you would call that state hell.
People are very open-minded about new things--as long as they're exactly like the old ones.
God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought.