Select Page

My novel Where’s Sailor Jack? has the characters muse about the possibility of something beyond death. Richard Shackleton remembers an incident from when he was 19, while he was young, fit and innocent, when time seemed to stop, and hopes that was the moment when his resurrection body was taken from him. He’d agree with Bob Swarbrick that he’d like that body to be linked up in eternity with the soul he’d made throughout his life. Bob is strongly of the view that everything he’s lived through, good and bad, has to go into that soul. Richard eventually comes round to that way of thinking having previously tried to miss the bad bits out.
Bob goes further, saying that the soul you become has been in you from the start. He seems to see time almost circular so that the start is also the end and vive versa, but does concede that something must be added by what you’ve learnt from living, something at right angles to the time axis. His lover Wendy faces dementia and loss of personality in her husband, and cannot think that through life you are what you are as you finish. Richard also makes light of that idea of Bob’s.
I recently read something said by John Polkinghorne, the esteemed physicist vicar, in his conversations with Richard Swinburne, the former Oxford theologian. Swinburne has trouble in seeing any of us as ready for paradise having lived but one messy life, and postulates other improving lives to come. Polkinghorne feels that the coding that makes up our soul is saved in the mind of God and transferred to our resurrection body at the eschaton. I too would like to think there’s only one life, and one eternity. I don’t like multiplying entities and confusion, even if the physical universe seems to. I’m with Polkinghorne in wanting an integrated full lifetime view to be my soul and it would be nice for it to joined up with my young, adult body. I can feel why Bob thinks that knowledge of that soul is always with you. I’d like eternity to be more a place of wonderment and conversational reminiscence rather than another journey.
Readers of my other blogs will know that I tend to dual aspect monism as my take on reality. In my life, I think I’ve seen examples of divine will, delusional as you are allowed to think me. For me the mental and physical have links, but if the divine is infinite, it will never be capable of mathematical explanation. The alternative of monism takes away all meaning to will, and I’m scared of it. It would be sad to discover I have never existed a week short of my seventieth birthday.