The following is a response to Mary’s question below. She wrote me a very generous letter complimenting me on the Magic Tree. She clearly sounded a traditional Christian approach and so my response is, as much as possible, oriented to this tradition. I have changed her name to protect her privacy.
Response to Mary’s question: Do you know for sure that you have eternal life???
January 27, 2009
Thank you so much for your generous words complimenting my work with the Magic Tree, the flier, and the website. It is gratifying that it is appreciated and it is always good to hear about it. Whatever the good, beautiful and true you see is because these attributes live within you. There it may thrive for you are God’s own creation.
The donation is also helpful to offset the cost and I happily share it with the charities I mention on the website.
It is thoughtful for you to share a little bit of yourselves and your work with me in the Christmas letter and your brochures written with care and concern for others and their well being.
Thank you too for your thought provoking question regarding my confidence in whether I have eternal life. Eternal life is something that I have taken for granted for so long now that your question caused me to ponder it afresh.
Forgive my long winded response but I so enjoyed contemplating the topic and your evident sincerity encourages a thoughtful response.
August 1, 2009
Hi Mary, I have worked on this letter off and on for some time and now feel ready to send it to you. Thanks again for your question. I plan to put this on my website. I will change your name unless you let me know that you would like me leave your name as is.
The first thing that comes to mind is that God is so very good. I am so grateful for His goodness; so amazed by His goodness; His absolute perfect unconditional love, that it becomes in my mind, (when I’m in my right mind) all that matters. The concern for preservation of my little self pales in comparison to even the tiny inkling of awareness I am blessed to have of such goodness. The promise of eternal life is a fine thing but one that I don’t want to be preoccupied with. Just let me see more of what it is like to be in Absolute Perfect Unconditional Love right now!
Jesus taught that you must lose yourself to find yourself. I can’t think of a better place to lose myself than in the goodness of God since it is this that is the end all and be all of all things, the Alpha and the Omega. And if I am lost to myself there, of what concern is it to me whether I am to have eternal life? To concern myself with this, it seems, is to come out of being lost in God back to the idea that I am separate and alone from God. It is enough to be lost in God’s goodness and is this not in essence the same thing as having eternal life?
For what is life? Is it the intelligent life “as we know it” that scientists, out of principle, (and rightly so, for the sake of quality research not dependent on faith) must be skeptical of being anywhere else in the universe but here on earth, and limited to the human body and brain, until it is proven otherwise? Is all life but that which we acknowledge is evident in the three kingdoms of flora, animal and human? No, to my mind, life is everywhere present throughout all of cosmos, for so is God and God is Life.
The very atoms and subatomic particles are alive with God’s presence, God’s goodness, God’s Life, and God’s Light and even God’s Love. It is at a rudimentary level, yes, but none the less alive with the power of God. I take this on faith, I guess, although to me it seems irrefutably obvious when the energetic principles of these subatomic particles are taken into account.
Life itself is eternal. How could anything created by God be anything but? Oh, I know your question regarding my confidence in eternal life refers to the life span of a human being and whether the specific consciousness of a particular human (myself specifically) may, or will, or will not survive bodily death. But I tell you that in the ultimate scheme of things it matters not one iota, for Life itself is eternal, and the Life that you and I are dots of, and that God shares with us, is one Life and it is enough to be immersed in that eternal Life without asking the question: Will I survive my bodily death?
Life goes on and on and whatever is of God survives the temporarily individualized bodily formations that Life takes on and that is good enough for me. Let all that is not good pass away and if God judges that to be ‘me’ so be it. Let’s not be attached to anything but God.
The prayer of St. Francis says all that I have just said much more succinctly:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light:
Where there is sadness, Joy.
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Again, thank you for your question. I have found, however, much more to say concerning eternal life. Just in case you are interested in further elaboration and explanation I have repeated below what I have written above with a great many additional thoughts and subtitles.
(Please see separate page entitled Eternal Life Long Version.)