photo by jaqian
I was at a funeral in an Anglican church last year, and Paul’s letter to the Corinthians was read out.
I thought it was an amazing statement in support of the ideas in this blog.
Here it is:
Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,
nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.
Listen, I will tell you a mystery!
We will not all die, but we will be changed, in a moment,
in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
For the trumpet will sound,
and the dead be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
For this perishable body must put on the imperishable,
and this mortal body must put on immortality.
When this perishable body puts on the imperishable,
and this mortal body puts on immortality,
then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
“Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gave us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable,
always excelling in the work of the Lord,
because you know that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
The meaning is pretty clear, isn’t it? Now I’d be the last person to suggest we take the Bible literally, but in this case, what interpretation could there be other than it’s our destiny to have an immortal physical body? And having one is a victory, no less!
I’m also not suggesting we should pay attention to something because it is in the Bible—I’m commenting on this because it is commonly read out at Christian funerals, I gather.
“this perishable body must put on the imperishable”
“this mortal body must put on immortality”
…these statements are about the physical body—what else could they mean, other than that the physical body is not meant to die?
But I think my partner Frank and I were the only people in the church that day who saw it that way.
I felt sad the person who’d died hadn’t cottoned on to the idea of having an immortal body, like the reading said, in this incarnation. The Christians in the church seemed to think the reading was a joyful passage celebrating either “life after death” or the idea we will become physically immortal in some mysteriously distant scenario. Or it was just something mysterious that they liked. I don’t know.
Regarding the first line “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God”, I would agree with the interpretation that the term “flesh and blood” referred to the fallen or untransformed state of mankind, rather than the physical body, in Paul’s writings.
I don’t think we need wait for some mysterious trumpet from somewhere on high before becoming immortal. We can blow our trumpet right now—trumpets have actually been sounding for quite a while.
We have the technology
We need to heal ourselves if we are going to start living forever. That takes quite a bit of courage because it’s the very things we really don’t want to look at or experience that we most need to heal. We would rather die! (And having said that, I obviously don’t know what all people need to do to heal themselves.)
But like any new venture, once you start on it with a clear purpose, the path opens up in front of you and the journey becomes enjoyable and fun. The tools are around these days for healing ourselves of emotional traumas and educating ourselves on how intuition, feelings and thoughts work together in a healthy person.
I would be interested to hear what you think about all this, if you would like to leave a comment.
Cheers – Robin
trumpeter photo by scottfeldstein
I think it’s an idea… an interesting idea, a beautiful idea. But taking it from an idea into a reality? Not so sure it can be done.
Robin: I think that you can find support for your idea of living forever in religion. Look at the Egyptians, for example: they were buried with all of the things they were going to need (I understand even with their favorite wife and servants) and their bodies were perfectly preserved (they probably thought they would be needing those to).
Technology will definitely be the ones that will bring upon prolonged life or immortality. We are living longer and healing faster. For sure in the near future people will be longer than ever before…it’s the next step, which is immortality, that will be tricky.
i thought paul was talking to those to which jesus had made a covenant with to be rulers with him in his kingdom in heaven…they wouldn’t be in heaven in the flesh (flesh/blood), but a spirit body
ie: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,
from what i know about the bible god’s original purpose for mankind began on the earth..that’s where he put adam and eve to live..if not for their sin they would have fulfilled his purpose and filled the earth with humans to live forever.
just recently i learned that god does not plan the way humans plan, but he purposes. even when things go wrong, he can still fulfill his purpose and makes provisions to do so. it doesn’t look like it, but i do believe this earth will be transformed, through the kingdom of god, not man’s government, into the earth he purposed or intended with man living forever on it.
@ Vered and Chris – I see physical immortality as our natural, healthy state, so changing our expectations and healing ourselves emotionally is what will “make it happen”—then technologies will be developed, if they are needed (the same as medical advances are happening now maybe because we all expect to live longer and be healthier)
@Marelisa – yes, I think so :=)
@Natural Woman! – I actually did a little bit of research on the “flesh and blood” bit, and it confirmed what I thought it meant, which was that Paul was referring to the people of the time in their unenlightened state—it’s a matter of interpretation, though, obviously!
I personally see God as (among other things) the loving, creative energy that flows through us – if we are a movie projector, God is the light that shines through the film (our mind) and projects onto the screen, making the movie (our life)… (I got this from somewhere). I think it is part of “God’s purpose” that we have freedom of choice to create our lives how we want them to be—then when things go wrong, we can see how we need to change. It says in ‘A Course in Miracles’:
“God’s will for us is perfect happiness”
Thanks again, everyone
Hi Robin – I certainly think we can have heaven here on earth, rather than it having to be some place up in the sky. That is what the Lord’s Prayer says, after all: “in Earth as it is in heaven”, but I’m not convinced that this implies physical immortality. Neither do I think that it really matters all that much whether we live on in our physical bodies or not: immortality is immortality, whether we’re wearing this body or a shiny new one made of light (or whatever it might be).
Mind you, I’m not saying you’re necessarily wrong either. I heard the other day on the radio that scientists have decided that ageing is not, after all, inevitable. Just because it happens now doesn’t mean to say that it’s always going to happen. But I still don’t understand what you’re going to do about all the children being born if people aren’t dying any more. We don’t have to give up sex, do we?
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Robin: Excellent! I liked this post a lot. And yes, “healing” must be the first step toward eternal life.
I love the image of the trumpets sounding. I know you said you don’t need to wait to hear them, but I believe it’s a powerful image. Thanks for an enlightening post. It was beautiful…
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Dear robin, I enjoyed reading this post. It is motivating to see you looking for eternal life. I am eager to see your next post.
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@Simon – might our physical bodies one day become shiny and light-filled?! – lovely to hear from you again.
@Herrera – thanks – yes
@ssgreylord – thanks very much and lovely to see you here (I just meant that maybe the angels are already blowing them – that the angels are extensions of ourselves – or something!)
@rainer – lovely to hear from you Ray. I’m a bit slow to post at the moment because of some work commitments (I’m working on my latest books with an editor) and we have some other stuff on.
Very thoughtful post. I like this statement, “I don’t think we need wait for some mysterious trumpet from somewhere on high before becoming immortal. We can blow our trumpet right now—trumpets have actually been sounding for quite a while.”
As Chris, said we are living longer and before we know, immortality gene will be found by Einstein of next generation.
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It is interesting what we see and hear. I do believe that Paul was talking about our eternal being. I also believe that the resurrection of our physical body and making that eternal is what he said, however that this was most likly said more for effect rather than talking about what was really going to happen.
Good thoughts, thanks for sharing.
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What is changing is man’s idea that he is a mortal being. Many are beginning to see that they are “spiritual”, divine beings and as such are not subject to “corruptibility.” Man does not die because that is “just the way it is.” Man decays and dies because of the BELIEF in the IDEA that they can die.
You must go beyond the surface. What Paul meant is exactly what he said…and more. The eternal validity of the soul is absolute. Yet, those souls who are set on self, not on the whole, and work against the greater purpose of God, must be dealt with..segregated if you will. The bible, and Jesus reiterates, says that we are gods. And a god must have control of him (her)self. Just common self. Don’t quickly disregard the KJV as a nice story. Study to show thyself approved. For the bible is of no individual interpretation but revelation. The more you learn the more is revealed. You will see no real contradiction. It is all about eternal life. This life is merely a beginning.
You’re all so very awesome.