In the original Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role, there is a line in the dialogue that goes “Do you want to live forever?” The way it’s used in the movie it indicates the contrary idea, that it isn’t a good thing to want and stops you from doing what you really want or need to do. But Christians, and those in other religions, take this idea as a goal. Yes, they want to live forever.
But do they really? Have they really thought about what that would mean? I don’t think so. Eternity is just WAY too long and I don’t think anyone who claims to want this has actually thought about it.
Okay, so let’s say God really exists and Jesus comes back to Earth to gather up the faithful. They’re reincarnated into perfect bodies and set upon a New Earth or in the New Heaven and now have eternity to look forward to. With their perfect bodies, they also have perfect recall (wouldn’t that be included in perfection?) so they can remember EVERYTHING in perfect detail. Next you need to ignore the Bible passages that make the claim that the faithful will spend eternity singing praises to God (something a lot of Christians either don’t realize is included in scripture or just ignore it like they do everything else that doesn’t fit with their idea of what the Bible should say.)
But now you, Christian, have eternal life, always another tomorrow. Forever and ever.
What does that really mean, though? I once had it described to me this way (at the time it seemed pretty cool, but now it comes across to me as scary): Imagine a metal ball the size of the Earth. It sits out in space with nothing around it and a butterfly comes up to it and lightly touches it with its wing. A thousand years pass. Again, the butterfly comes up and lightly touches the ball with its wing. Another thousand years pass and it repeats, the butterfly touches the ball very lightly with the tip of its wing. When the butterfly has worn that metal ball into nothing, eternity has just begun.
That’s a long time.
Now, I know I can never get everything I’d ever like to do done in my lifetime. There’s too much and, besides the limited time allowed, I also have limited resources and don’t have the economic wherewithal to do it. But with God’s eternity, neither of those is a problem. With streets of gold, I don’t think anyone is going to need money to get things done and with eternity there aren’t any time limits. Really think about it. When you’ve done everything you ever wanted to do 79 million times, all of it, with perfect recall of each separate time doing it, eternity has just begun. When you’ve had sex with every woman you’d ever dreamed of having sex with 79 million times, eternity has just begun. When you’ve done everything anyone has ever imagined doing 79 million times, eternity has just begun.
Even if you don’t have perfect recall and can forget things, repetition tends to make those things stay in your memory. And if you’ve done these things 79 million times, you’re probably going to remember them pretty well even without perfect recall. So, let’s go back and do it for the 79,000,001 time. Do you really want to? You’ve already done everything. There’s nothing more to do but endlessly repeat the same things that you’ve done millions of times before. And eternity has just begun.
Do you want to live forever? I’m with Conan and Valeria on this one. No, I don’t want to live forever.