Monday, September 8, 2014

For Heaven to be Perfect, You Can’t be There

If heaven is defined as the best possible afterlife, there are at least as many concepts of heaven as there are religions in the world. I’d argued there are as many different concepts of heaven as there are people who have ever considered it. Perfection is seemingly a subjective idea as strange as that sounds. Be it virgins, streets of gold, reunions with family, or nirvana, most agree that the bad things we experience in life, do not occur in heaven. They don’t occur because they fundamentally can’t.

If I’m in heaven and a fellow worthy dead guy wants to do something I don’t like, they just can’t do it because it would conflict with my perfect world. Yet if they can’t act on their desires, then their experience is lacking and therefore not a fulfillment of their ideal. The only way around this is to say, despite appearances, perfection is not subjective. There is one perfect experience for all of us, we are just not yet able to know it. This still poses a problem--that person who knows this hypothetical objective perfection, isn’t you.

Even predicting you will become that person is folly. That person is so fundamentally not you that I’m completely justified in saying that aren’t going to heaven. Heaven, as understood by believers, is an infinite dimension after our finite life. That means any being that can experience things will experience an infinite amount of happiness there. That being will also experience an infinite amount of sadness, guilt, suffering, envy, ect. In fact, an eternal timeline for any of us will result in an infinite amount of every positive and negative emotion and response. If the being who goes on to such a place is anything like us, it really doesn’t matter whether we go to heaven or hell--the experience is functionally the same. For heaven to be devoid of the negative, we must be rendered incapable of experiencing everything from pain to boredom. By the time you are a being who is like that, that being won’t bare any resemblance to you.

Think about yourself at five years old. You are likely made up of entirely different atoms today. You think entirely different thoughts and have entirely different knowledge. Some memories may be shared, but chances are most only feel the same and are different from what actually happened. That child is the you of the past, but is only tangentially related to the you of the present. Imagine how much more different the you of the future would be divorced from most of the experiential ability, intelligence, and freedom of will we’re capable of now. It would be like a saying a computer that has had all it’s software and hardware replaced is the same computer. No, you’re not going to heaven. If heaven exists, that other guy is.

Come to terms with the fact that collectively we aren’t compatible with a universal perfection and work towards a best-case world in which everyone gets a fair shot at social happiness.


  1. Assuming heaven is like the state of things before the Fall (including Satan's fall), then either we have freewill and there is the possibility that this all happens again, or there is nor freewill and heaven is not really heavenly at all.