Why do we need eternal life?


#1

Hi. I have an odd question. Why do we need eternal life?

I know that Jesus died so that our sins may be forgiven and that we may enter heaven into eternal life. My question is why do we need to enter heaven at the end of our earthly lives? Why not just end it there and be done with it?

If our existence ended the moment we died, with nothing carrying over from that point onward, there wouldn't be any need for forgiveness or salvation or such, would there? There wouldn't even be any need for Him to die, right?

Not sure if this is the right thread to post this, or even if this question has been asked before. Any help you guys can give would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.


#2

But death is not the end of our existence. I'll quote the catechism:

1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.


#3

[quote="IvanHR, post:2, topic:336715"]
But death is not the end of our existence. I'll quote the catechism:

1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.

[/quote]

Exactly. So the afterlife is where we either go to heaven or languish in the fires of hell because we rejected God by sin, etc, right?

But if there was no afterlife, there would be no need for God's forgiveness, because there would be no punishment for us to be saved from.

I was discussing this with my friend and he suggested that God created us with souls that exist after death precisely for the purpose of us needing Him.

So his logic runs like this:

God created us with souls that exist after death. So there is an afterlife.

In this afterlife, we are either united in perfect joy with God in heaven, or we burn in hell because we are far from God.

But if there was no afterlife - if God had created us to exist up to the point of death and not beyond, then we won't join Him in heaven, but we also won't risk the fire of hell.

So basically God has given us the choice of following His commandments, loving him, and as our Protestant brethren would say "accepting Jesus as our personal lord and savior" or we will suffer eternal damnation.

So to prevent our souls from suffering forever, we HAVE to love God. Because He has designed it such that to NOT love God would be to suffer.

Which is why I'm asking - why did God make it such that there is the option of eternal life after death?


#4

I'll take a stab at this then sit back and wait for more well-informed answers from others

You begin your logic statement with this statement,"God created us with souls that exist after death. So there is an afterlife". I'll propose the statement may be flawed.

God never created man to die at all. Death is a consequence of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden, where man was to live an everlasting life. Adam was only required to obey his Creator. Adam failed and sin entered into Adam's and Adam's offsprings (us) lives from that day forward. This sin carried with it the consequence of bodily and spiritual death.

Jesus, the second Adam, came to restore the life in us so long as we accept the Grace offered by His eternal sacrifice on the cross.

Therefore we were created in the beginning to live forever, not to die. Death, is the result of man's sin, not God's first plan for us. Of course He knew we'd blow it, but that is another topic.


#5

Aphraxus,

If you could have just a tiny peek of what heaven is like you would want to go immediately.

It is awesome what God has prepared for us, and made possible with His Love.

Prayer and sacraments help us to get to know Him better.


#6

It's quite possible that God needs us.
After all, he didn't have to do anything other than exist quietly for all eternity. He probably got lonely.

(No, I'm not being flippant or dismissive here. In a thread like this, all ideas are on the table.)

As to why we need eternal life: well, God could have done it in any way. We could just be taken up at the end of our lives; we could be reincarnated (and there are a goodly number of people in the world who believe precisely that); we could die and just stay dead, like an eternal, dreamless sleep; we might need to be purged of our iniquity; we might go to heaven for a while and then be reunited with a new, glorious body; we might get a bunch of virgins in a Playboy paradise; we might just go to "the Other Side", which might be neither heaven nor hell, but just a state of eternal being.

If there is a god, he/she/it doesn't logically need to give us eternal life. It might be enough that we live a good life and that's that. Maybe we are short-timers, like the animals.

I personally think that all religion is trying to do is shut out the idea that death might be final.

Is there a religion that believes in a god but no afterlife?


#7

[quote="hansard, post:6, topic:336715"]

Is there a religion that believes in a god but no afterlife?

[/quote]

I don't know, but I think there must be a religion like that.


#8

[quote="StMikhael, post:4, topic:336715"]
I'll take a stab at this then sit back and wait for more well-informed answers from others

You begin your logic statement with this statement,"God created us with souls that exist after death. So there is an afterlife". I'll propose the statement may be flawed.

God never created man to die at all. Death is a consequence of Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden, where man was to live an everlasting life. Adam was only required to obey his Creator. Adam failed and sin entered into Adam's and Adam's offsprings (us) lives from that day forward. This sin carried with it the consequence of bodily and spiritual death.

Jesus, the second Adam, came to restore the life in us so long as we accept the Grace offered by His eternal sacrifice on the cross.

Therefore we were created in the beginning to live forever, not to die. Death, is the result of man's sin, not God's first plan for us. Of course He knew we'd blow it, but that is another topic.

[/quote]

Actually you may be on to something there. I suppose we could argue that man was created eternal even before he fell. Even before there was, so to speak, a need to save and redeem him.


#9

I'm starting to think that the idea of an afterlife is a necessary prerequisite for holding the ideas people entertain when they seek to become as gods. Creative power being limited by nature as it is, it's tempting to engage in creating new worlds in the imagination.

[Edit] -- Now that I've said that, I realize I may have deconstructed my entire world view in one foul swoop. It adds a dimension to the story about the Fall of man I hadn't seen before.


#10

[quote="hansard, post:6, topic:336715"]
It's quite possible that God needs us.
After all, he didn't have to do anything other than exist quietly for all eternity. He probably got lonely.

(No, I'm not being flippant or dismissive here. In a thread like this, all ideas are on the table.)

As to why we need eternal life: well, God could have done it in any way. We could just be taken up at the end of our lives; we could be reincarnated (and there are a goodly number of people in the world who believe precisely that); we could die and just stay dead, like an eternal, dreamless sleep; we might need to be purged of our iniquity; we might go to heaven for a while and then be reunited with a new, glorious body; we might get a bunch of virgins in a Playboy paradise; we might just go to "the Other Side", which might be neither heaven nor hell, but just a state of eternal being.

If there is a god, he/she/it doesn't logically need to give us eternal life. It might be enough that we live a good life and that's that. Maybe we are short-timers, like the animals.

I personally think that all religion is trying to do is shut out the idea that death might be final.

**
Is there a religion that believes in a god but no afterlife**?

[/quote]

The Sadducees believed in God but did not believe in an afterlife.


#11

[quote="Aphraxus, post:3, topic:336715"]

But if there was no afterlife - if God had created us to exist up to the point of death and not beyond, then we won't join Him in heaven, but we also won't risk the fire of hell.

[/quote]

But if there was no risk of the fire of hell, what would the world look like? Much worse than what it is right now (and it's not particularly good right now).

Maybe God knew that, if he didn't create the afterlife, we would be very sad and/or angry because seeing the beauty that is the nature (which God created), we wouldn't feel very good abandoning it all. We'd wish that we hadn't been created, I think. But I don't like to think about stuff like that. :)


#12

If anybody has the real faith in existence of God, the creator ( and nobody else), his extreme faith on the creator to enter the kingdom of God, or to enter the real Eden garden once Adam was admitted to live in, just like the Israelites believed in entering their City of Promise loved by the creator, then he should have the belief and anxiety to lead an eternal life after death which is immortal. If he does'nt have such eagerness within him he would have the chance of falling in the hands (weapons) of the enemy devil and not in the hands of God. Lord has given everything in text clearly, then came down to the man to explain everything, and even then if anybody suspects the eternity who else will save them free from the destiny?


#13

Divine Revelation was first given to the Jews, and then fulfilled and completed in our Lord Jesus Christ.

God created us because He is Infinite Love, and Love wants to share.

Thanks be to the Lord for the gift of faith, and the Catholic Church!


#14

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