This question has popped into my head and caused confusion. If we evolved from primates, would these primates also have an afterlife? What’s so different from them and us? Is it simply because we are conscious that we must have an afterlife?
I think most Christians would say eternal life is a gift given by God, not something we biologically evolved into. Even in the Bible, it is not possible in our current physical bodies, it’s something we need to be “raised” to in new bodies. (See 1 Corinthians 15.)
Accepting evolution doesn’t entail you must reject God as Creator or a spiritual reality that transcends our biology.
When in human history this gift was extended to humans is something we can only speculate about.
Your question seems to be, granted evolution, why are we ontologically different than any other animals? Most people do get one thing out of the creation stories in the Bible, that man is created in the imagio dei.
Though certainly speculative, mankind may be imbued with a soul as well. Also, many Christians believing in evolution will anthropomorphically tell you human beings are the desired end result of that process. Also Jesus died for our sins. Animals can’t sin. A lion can eat a person but it’s not considered a sin. Of course in the extreme case there were some other hominoids anatomically like us but I don’t know of anyone who thinks an ape can sin. Not sure we can answer exactly where that distinction occurred in the evolutionary chain but I think the distinction between man and animal is pretty well demarcated for most people.
If evolution is real, why would we have an afterlife?
If we have an afterlife, why would evolution not be real?
How are these two things even connected?
If you are expecting evolution to justify the existence of an afterlife then you are asking it to do something strange. It was never meant to be a replacement for theism or Christianity. All it was ever for was to give an explanation for the origin of the species in agreement with the evidence we find buried in the earth all around us (and now in the genetics of all living things as well). But to expect it to justify an afterlife is like asking the rules of football to explain chemistry, or asking the legal system to explain the literary metaphors of a fantasy novel.
But if you want everything put into a coherent picture how about this:
God is infinite, perfect and complete in Himself. What would such a being do? What is there for such a being to do? How about give of His unlimited abundance to others than Himself? But to do that He would have to create others. But how to do that? Anything He creates would simply be what He made it to be and have everything He gave to it already. Why would it ever be anything more than that? And that is exactly what we see in the angels. It is not enough for the reasons I have just explained. They are hardly any more than extension of Himself.
To create something truly other than Himself, He would have to bring into being others who would not simply be what He made them to be, but would also be what they made of themselves. So God created this self-organizing phenomenon we call life which requires a whole system of rules by which things would exist and change, all working automatically by themselves. This way He would have others that are also made according to their own choices in a process of growth, development, and evolution, but they would be someone to whom God could give of Himself to help them in their process of becoming more. Their infinite potentiality would be a reflection of God infinite actuality and they could have an eternal relationship with God of parent and child.
But in order for that to work their existence would have to continue beyond the limits of their physical life in an imperishable spiritual body – created from their physical existence like a tree growing from a seed (just like Paul explains in 1 Cor 15). In this way the physical universe would be like a womb giving birth to imperishable spiritual beings who unlike the angels are not simply products of design but are also the creation of the choices they make in a relationship with God – children rather than servants/tools.
Why not? Why would I want an afterlife which is devoid of any other life? Why would anybody? Why would God want that?
That might depend on the person.
What makes you think other primates are not conscious. I don’t think any veterinarian would agree with you.
They have P(phenomenal)-consciousness, there is no warrant for A(access)-consciousness.
Many humans never develop the latter and many, many more lose it one way or another. The biggest cause of death in the first world being dementia. So if you haven’t said the sinner’s prayer before you go ga-ga, you’re damned. Or does it count if you say it after, parrot fashion?
So, the capacity for ‘sin’ is the determinant of transcendence? I’m having my childhood budgies Jenny and Lucy back. Whatever suffers, transcends.
Point of order Madam Chairman, I’d use spirit reality rather than spiritual.
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