The Hope of Glory
It seems evident to me that, if we are to be maintained in being after the present life is ended, there must be continuity of some kind between the life we lead now and our life ‘hereafter’. For otherwise there seems to be little point in our having a further existence. It was maintained earlier that we would be the persons we are now in another life even if we had no awareness of our previous existence, and if there were no other form of continuity. This needs to be made clear to bring out properly the nature of the self. On the other hand, it would be odd to have conferred upon us, or in some way to attain to, a further existence (or a series of them) altogether divorced from our existence now. Why not create new beings for whatever purpose is to be served? One form of continuity would be that by which our lives at present affect or determine a future life without our knowing this ourselves or recalling the earlier life. This holds on many forms of the doctrine of Karma. It seems to me, however, that, short of fulfilling some universal requirement of justice in the way implied in that doctrine, there is little to be said for our being maintained in existence with no continuity known to ourselves between one life and another. Admittedly, one life could have some effect on our dispositional set-up in another life without our being aware of how this had come about. But it is hard to see why the same result could not be achieved in some other way, by new creations for example. The great likelihood, it seems then, is that, if we survive our present existence, it will be with some awareness, including, I should add, remembrance, of our life here and now. This is the expectation that most people have if they hope for some future life for themselves. It seems to me that they are fully justified in thinking of it in those terms and that, if it matters for them, it is most likely to do so in the form indicated. This is much enhanced if the hope in question includes, as it usually does, the expectation of a renewal of our fellowship with those whose love and friendship we esteem most now, those who are ‘lost awhile’ but with whom we hope to be reunited ‘some day’.
KeywordsFuture Life Categorical Imperative Present Life Explicit Argument Divine Disclosure
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