Is Heaven Really a Human Construct?
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – June 5, 2021
Let me respond to this question in a way that it can be integrated as one of the basic tenets in our Catechism. But the presentation below is still technical, though. It has still to be reworded in layman's terms.
1. Heaven is not a place. It's a state. Therefore, if I'm in a state of bliss, joy, peace, and happiness, even while still here on Earth, I'm in heaven.
2. The state of bliss, joy, peace, and happiness is a mental state. Once the mind dies, there's no more bliss, joy, peace, and happiness.
3. But there's that somebody who is consciously observing what's going on in the mind, without being carried by it. It simply observes the things and events that are passing by in front of it and around it.
4. This Conscious Observer is what many in science, philosophy, and theology call the "Self" or "I am" and which is often referred to as the essence, substance, and core being.
5. The Consciousness of the observer is pure awareness, watching all the things and events surrounding it. It is not a package of thoughts, feelings, aspirations, longings, or visions; all of these are product of the operations of the mind.
6. This Consciousness, which is who and what we are, is not subject to the restrictions imposed by the laws of science, philosophy, causality, theology, and any religious belief. It is not bound by the laws of matter, space, and time.
7. In other words, it is timeless, infinite, immortal, formless, nonlocal, etc. Consciousness remains even after the physical body dies.
8. To the extent that we accept the above premises, then, we can pursue the following question:
9. "If there's life after death, where do we go from here when our body dies?
10. Buddhism calls this Nirvana a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self. Another term for this is Moksha, a state of perfect happiness; an ideal or idyllic state.
11. There's no equivalent and definite word for the term "heaven" in Christianity, in particular, Catholicism. The closest is the Garden of Paradise, which is in modern-day Iran.
12. Heaven is an anthropomorphic term, as far as my research is concerned. It's a human invention to refer to a space-time in the "sky" where God, the gods and goddesses, angels, seraphim, and Cherubim dwell in varying hierarchical order.
11. But even if heaven is only a human construction, as long as it serves my purpose, then, it's fine with me. As long as it's able to give me sense and meaning to all the chaos, killings, manipulations going on today, then, it's fine with me, compared with those who say there's no heaven at all and that it's only an opium of the people.
At least I know there's something out there I can go to after my mortality expires.
If I Were a Rich Man
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – May 6, 2022
“If I were rich [man], I'd have the time that I lack to sit in the synagogue and pray. And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.” ~ Fiddler on the Roof. Then, all my troubles would soon be over (PPM). For I would be assured of a seat in heaven where I will have all the time conversing and communing with the Lord all by myself (CD).
But this is not the case. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mark 10:25).
Jesus was angered and even felt insulted when the rich man didn't accept his offer to sell everything he has, give the money to the poor, and then come and follow him.
Undoubtedly, the rich man have had other ulterior motives. His attachment to his wealth and possession far outweighed his intentions of giving his possessions to the poor. He turned his back away from Jesus and left hurriedly without a word.
I imagine myself to be that rich man that was invited by Jesus to come and follow him. What would have I done? Would have I done the same?
Would I also turn my back on Him and walk away? Or, like Peter, would I immediately drop my nets and follow him? Good that I was not born then.
But Jesus maybe also inviting me now, as He is to you: “Come to me. Sell what you have and give them to the poor. Then follow me.”
I can only leave this invitation open for each and every one of us to reflect and respond.
Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – June 6, 2021
If heaven is not a place then how can you "go to" it after your mortality expires? ~ Edwin P. Mirabueno - XVD Association
First, Buddhism is not able to give us a direct answer to this. It simply teaches us to sit down, do nothing, and go inward and think of nothing, as they do in a prolonged state of meditation.
Even Tibetan Buddhism could not tell us what we will find inside us, much less how we will be able to attain that state of blissfulness.
Second, the experiences of the founders of new physics tell us many diverse ways of arriving at that state of blissfulness. One may just be walking idly along the beach, engrossed purely in its own little world, thinking also of nothing, just relaxing, and purely in communion with one's Self.
One of the oldest and well-known tales is Archimedes' legendary “Eureka!” moment. While taking a bath in a tub, he made a remarkable discovery of what is now known as the Archimedes Principle.
But how we will arrive at that Eureka state, nothing is said. Archimedes does not know also.
Many scientists also experience communing with the beyond during and after their moments of near-death-encounter(s) or when they have tasted an afterlife experience.
This triggered them to undertake several experiments that tried to verify this subject of going beyond. Indeed, there's an emerging interdisciplinary science in the academic circles devoted solely for this endeavor. Scientists call it NEURO-BIOLOGY.
This new science advances that we have our own direct personal experience of God which is distinct for each one of us. This concrete, subjective experience makes it possible for us to "feel" or "sense" the physical manifestation of God within us.
Neurobiology is now offered as a course. It's basic program includes topics like "the structure and function of neurons, the role of synapses in neural communication, cellular signaling systems, and membrane receptors."
This ecstatic experience is something we cannot ignore, much less dismiss. Laboratory findings, in fact, show how our brain reacts when we think of religious and spiritual things or God.
So, as far as these neuroscientists are concerned, whatever we are looking for is within us. Our brain is already finely structured to answer whatever we are looking for. What we are looking for is not out there up in the sky.
The above accounts suggest to us that we don't have "go to it" after we die. We don't go outside looking for it. Rather, we go inside us and look for it in there. What we are looking for is already inside us.
After we die, we carry this with us in the other dimension. There's no need to go anywhere since it has been with us ever since. It's only a matter of being conscious and aware of this. It's the mind that looks for it outside, either by going to the past or by looking forward into the future, but never in the here-and-now.
How About Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory?
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – May 10, 2002
Do they really exist? In my FB posts, I sometimes say that there is no heaven, no hell, and no purgatory. At other times, I say there is. Again, it’s high time to put these highly controversial issues at rest, at least as far as my own personal experience and interpretation is concerned.
Life in my class is much better than heaven, hell, or purgatory. Heaven requires that students must pass the examininations given here on earth. For it is only those who pass the test are worthy of the kingdom of heaven.
In my class, all that the students have to do is just to finish and defend their doctoral dissertation in flying colors. They can easily do this if they want to. For they have the brain of Albert Einstein. Then, they go sraight to heaven.
But if the students fail, they'll just have to repeat everything, which is hell-of-a-lot of work, time, and money.
They can take their time too. They are not pressured to complete their degree. They can stay in purgatory for as long as they want. I have students who took life in stride (as in 30 years of hibernation), enjoying and savoring their title, Ph.D. candidate. It is as if ASI has become their permanent address.
In the final analysis, students only have to make a choice of their future. As teachers, we only give our best shots.
But do heaven, hell, and purgatory really exist?
The dictionaries define heaven as “the abode of God or the gods, as well as of angels, deified humans, the blessed dead, the spirits of the righteous after death, and other celestial beings.
It is “a state of peace, love, communion, and worship, where God is surrounded by a heavenly court and other heavenly beings” and “where everything operates according to God's will.”
It is also described as a “condition of utmost happiness: something that is very pleasant or enjoyable.” This is, most especially, the view espoused by the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition.
Science, on the other hand, has its parallel description of heaven, as expressed in its concept of "white hole", where light reigns supreme.
A white hole is where no particles or objects outside it can enter. As if an imposing sign is posted on its door: "No entry. Violators will be prosecuted!" For only those who are worthy of entering heaven can enter heaven. And once you're in heaven, you are in heaven.
Hell is the opposite of heaven. From the anthrophomorphic point of view, it is described as an imagined state in which there is great suffering or injustice. Applied to our world, this is similar to societies typically run by totalitarian, fascistic,
authoritariam, militaristic, and violent regimes.
In many religious beliefs, hell is defined as a state of existence in which one is severely tormented by suffering--whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
It is defined more picturesquely in the Holy Bible as outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mark 25:30), and where the “wrath of God” is experienced without end (Revelation 14:10-11).
Science does not use the term “hell” but it speaks of a “Fire in the Hole!”. Cosmologists and astrophysicists theorize the existence of dark holes (also called black holes) that exist in the world of planets, stars, and galaxies. Dark holes are the entrances or gates to this hellish place.
Deep inside this entrance is a “wormhole,” which is where the "fire-and-brimstone" takes place. Inside, objects and particles, caught by the black hole, bump into each other, smashing their heads into each other, producing sounds similar to the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).
Physicists say black holes can come in various sizes. Some are so small that they can be inside our bodies and are becoming an integral part of our life, influencing our thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Others could also be passing through us in droves exercising much stronger influences on our bodies, minds, psychosocial, and spiritual make-up.
Even light, passing close to the perimeter of dark holes, gets swallowed and ceases to exist, giving way to total darkness. Individuals devoured into this hole are “tormented with fire-and-brimstone” with zero possiblity of escaping or returning. It’s a one-way ticket.
What grinds particles inside a black hole is the strong suction force of the gravitational pull that triggers the twisting, swirling, bending, stretching, screaming, and rotational motion of captive particles, producing sounds similar to the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28).
This experience of hell goes on and on in a cyclical fashion and ends only when we totally get rid of our materiality and truly become pure energy unsoiled by the duality of the physical world. We experience this grave suffering here on Earth, the reason why hell is considered as a place.
Between the wormhole and the rest of the universe is what scientists call “event horizon”, which is the point of no return. Science says that particles entering into this horizon are "in a limbo" (similar to what Christians call "purgatory"), as if waiting for the day of reckoning to come.
Over some undefined waiting period, quantum physicists say there is that possiblity for the imprisoned particles to exit and land on another realm, which could be another blackhole.
What happens when somebody is already outside the white hole?
The individual will find itself in another universe. If there is another dark hole nearby, the person will be easily swallowed into it, thus, repeating the same experience of what it means to be in a hellish place. "To hell and back."
If there are no dark holes nearby, then, the individual remains in a state of limbo or purgatory.
Yes, there is heaven, hell, and purgatory here on Earth. These three cosmic elements exist here with us mortals as a place.
And, yes, there is no heaven, hell, and purgatory from the metaphysical or religious perspective. For in the world beyond, there is no locality, no time, no matter. These three cosmic elements do not exist as a place. They are states or conditions of existence.
Everything, therefore, is dependent on which dimension one is viewing reality.