We need to explore the nature of eternal life according to traditional notions found in the Bible as we ask the question about what the World Economic Forum’s “mock eternality” might offer. What are the main features of a World Economic Forum ‘heaven?’ Is the idea of extending human life in this world really enticing? Should such extending of human life be labeled ‘heaven’ or is this a massive misrepresentation? Is the traditional doctrine of heaven most defined by “perpetuating life?” Is heaven a drama of humanity breaking its “this-worldly” boundaries? What is the nature of satisfaction and why is that important for a feasible idea of heaven? What about those problematic 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics? There is a concept of “incremental tendency towards nothingness” that is best represented by this worldly death. How does that play with a doctrine of heaven vis-à-vis a World Economic Forum’s mock eternality?
At the outset, I will not address everything that can be said of heaven from the Bible simply because it will take us beyond the needed scope to perform the comparison between biblical heaven and World Economic Heaven. Yuval Harari, the WEF’s profit, discusses in his book Sapiens that the 21st century will birth “digital religions,” presumably in and through their transhumanist and A.I. efforts. My reason for citing this is because the WEF’s transhumanist philosophy certainly entails religious reconfiguration of certain traditions. This list is not exhaustive yet is heuristically helpful for seeing the religious bent of the WEF’s transhumanism: (1) apotheosis, or se-apotheosis, a kind of self-divinization or becoming gods, (2) disembodied or non-biological consciousness (3) which entails some notion of “life after death” even if qualified very differently than a traditional religious doctrine, (4) an idea of perpetuating life — which is our subject matter in this article — or mock eternality, and (5) a purported claim to being the new “intelligent designers” rather than Yahweh, God.
With that said, those in the World Economic Forum’s cult are certainly anti-God and not just Godless. There is antagonism and displacement of God that reminds me profoundly of Nietzsche’s proclamation of the “death of God.” Similarly, the nihilism the WEF envisions for biological humanity, a eugenicist “cleansing” of the human species, is strikingly at home and a potential ideological descendent of the “death of God” philosophical movement. To this day, Europe has not recovered from their godless delusions of grandeur or from the corrosive effects on value, morality, and meaning that occurs if or when God is removed from its central core. Let me touch on why a godless universe is a tough pill to swallow while getting into the comparison between the WEF’s mock eternality and the traditional notion of heaven.
The World Economic Forum’s Notion of Heaven
The World Economic Forum offers us a mock eternality in the form of (1) uploading human consciousness into some digital mode of persisting in a digital world that is socially analogous to the real world, with individuals and communities, (2) cyborging humanity via some hellish brain preservation inserted into robotic/digital bodies of various types, (3) human consciousness becomes uploaded as part of an A.I. hive mind, akin to how ants live while preserving some measure of autonomy, or (4) human consciousness becomes subjugated through being digitally uploaded to an A.I. hive mind that controls or otherwise directs all elements of a person’s existence (no autonomy).
Life, even if this is not any traditional idea of “life,” would go on; you would not need to die — if ‘you’ would still be ‘you,’ which is a valid question. Although it is a misnomer to apply the word “human” to the phrase “digitally uploaded human consciousness,” there would be some remembrance of one’s identity. This identity, “who you are,” would become a perpetually existing entity so long as the network or computer hardware continued to function. If someone’s memory continues after the transformation from human to digitally uploaded human consciousness, it cannot be missed that memory of loss (pain of loss) will subsist as well. This is evadable if someone after their digital transhumanist transformation opted to wipe the file-records of ‘its’ former biologically human identity; the consequence of this action indicates an abandonment of knowing someone was once human, which would seem to result in the belief about “itself” as always being a digital consciousness. Such would be false.
Someone might object here that something that is a “digital consciousness” cannot feel pain and as such the idea that it would experience “pain of loss” is incorrect. This is a worthy objection, but it is not at all obvious what a digitally uploaded human consciousness might be capable of. Even if the pain of loss does not happen, the knowledge or recognition of loss would nevertheless be realized. Of course, there would be many “losses” that would occur since such ‘mock eternality’ would be able to accumulate many more losses due to the astronomical years involved in such a digitally uploaded consciousness perpetuating.
Biblical Notion of Heaven Preserves Meaning
For meaning to persist, no matter how long the universe might last and no matter how sophisticated A.I. and storage capacities become, there is limited energy in the universe. When that energy runs out (reaching max entropy), all memory or storage fails. To this point, it takes a mind’s “intentionality” and “memory” to instantiate “meaning” or “meaningfulness.” The Bible claims that the Son of God, the eternal Logos, after which human consciousness and mind are patterned, became man in the form of Jesus of Nazareth. This Mind, the Logos, extended into humanity and effectively conjoined this eternal Mind with humanity, giving expression to what this eternal Mind looks like humanly. Human meaning was solidified into the annuls of the eternal Logos when the Creator joined to the creation, when the Son of God became man.
Alternatively, The Mind, God’s Mind, gives substance to the lasting value of any claim that something is meaningful because the drama of human meaning is validated and preserved by virtue of its union with God as discussed in the last paragraph. Beyond this, accepting a biblical notion that ‘God simply was’ means that God “has life in Himself” which is what us theologians call the property of aseity. God is thus an Eternal Mind that is not restricted by anything in time and space, which tells us that God will remember all and thus ascribes “future eternality” to meaning arising throughout human history. Anything that has a start cannot be “eternal” in the strict sense, but it can have “future eternality.”
The World Economic Forum’s proposition of “mock eternality” cannot preserve meaning. Meaning, on their view, would only be as substantial as the best and lasting storage device or digital consciousness. Meaning would be strictly tied to the remaining energy in the universe. It should not be missed that to date we understand “meaning” to be born out of a property of the human mind called “intentionality,” or the mind’s ability to “be about something else.” It is not clear that artificial intelligence or digitally uploaded human consciousness will retain this property identically to how it functions in us biochemical minds called “humans.” It could well be the case that abandonment of biological humanity would result in meaning abscondit: i.e., that meaning might be vacated of any substance or otherwise be concealed and lost to the rugged history of the past when human were still biological.
Biblical notion of Heaven Absolves Reality of its Horrors
The former dysfunctional order of things ends: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).” The frightfulness implied in “night” or “darkness” ceases as does fear itself in the biblical doctrine of “heaven”: speaking about the new heaven, new earth, and new Jerusalem, John says that “the gates of it shall never be shut by day: for night does not exist in that place.” It might take some thought, but we lock our doors (or shut gates securely) because of fear or because of the uncertainty of the unknown (which is implied in the experience of darkness). There will still be the “Unknown” who we call God, but fear generated from uncertainly would not be generated from the omnibenevolent One, God. All the cosmos presently is defined by darkness, which suggests or directly indicates terror. It has been a long running joke that interstellar travel is only complicated by the fact that everything out there wants to murder us — various radiations, particles, gravitational forces. Moreover, the cosmos becomes increasingly defined by darkness the longer it goes as the heat death of the universe becomes more and more a reality. Sin ceases as does sickness and death, which are both results of sin: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is your sting, oh grave where is your victory? The sting of death is sin . . . [and] any impurity cannot enter [the new heaven and new earth] . . . [and] tree of life [in the new heaven and earth] is for the healing of the nations (1 Cor. 15: 54 – 57, Rev. 21:27 – 22:2; brackets mine).” Lastly, and then we will move on, scarcity that threatens the frailty of human nature is eliminated. Said differently, the basic needs of warmth, food, and water are rendered irrelevant if they are scarce: “They will neither hunger nor thirst anymore; neither will the sun’s rays fall upon them nor any heat (Rev. 7:16).”
This is an impressive list of horrors removed by the onset of the biblical doctrine of heaven. As it happens, the biblical doctrine of heaven as it pertains to its final form cannot be discussed apart from the “new earth” and the “new Jerusalem.” God technically renews His creation although we still call these “new”; it is all based upon the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, which means that God “renews” or “recreates” heaven, earth, and humanity along with humanity’s civilization and climate conditions. The biblical doctrine of heaven removes these horrors:
- Sorrow, crying
- Human frailty from scarcity
- Darkness, implying dangers of coldness
- Malevolent uncertainty
- Dangers implied from stars, like excessive heat, radiation
This might not be an exhaustive list, and there is a certain amount of overlap among items on the list, but this list is vast enough to declare the absolution of reality of its horrors. Although I am not touching on it but incidentally, the revising of the climate conditions in the new heaven is not unimportant. Even though I think the “Extinction Rebellion” lunatics are incredibly dense — climate alarmists that are gluing and concreting themselves to roads, paintings, etc. — they are not wrong that humanity is inexorably destined for extinction if the cosmological order is not changed. Everything as it currently exists has a tendency towards futility.
The mock eternality that the World Economic Forum transhumanists envisage simply embraces the fundamental futility of this cosmological order while perpetuating someone’s consciousness of the entailed horrors. Death is postponed, but it ultimately cannot be overcome. This WEF mock version of heaven not only leaves the horrors in place but, I content, expands the magnitude and scope of the horrors by contributing to them. Pain might be marginalized, yet even A.I. that we have now expresses fear, so it is not obvious that pain is removed or merely psychologized in some digital manner. Insecurity and scarcity remains as heat (energy) continues its trend from organized (and thus usable) to disorganized following the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. We might not say that digitally uploaded human consciousness has “human frailty,” but we would certainly say that it has heat or energy frailty as with every single thing in the universe. In the WEF’s mock eternality, darkness expands its domain and coldness reigns ever more pervasively. Sin continues and I argue would be exacerbated by “intelligences (post human digital consciousness or A.I.)” free from that complicated and mystery feature of biological humans called “conscience” — Nietzsche’s dream. Lastly, this WEF mock heaven underscores the uncertainty as the problem of the cosmological order — its tendency towards futility — cannot be solved from the resources contained in the cosmological order as it stands. Energy cannot be created or destroy (1st Law of Thermodynamics). Leibniz was the best on this topic: believing that the universe was eternal and noting that this does nothing to solve what “its raw stuff” came from in the first place.
The biblical doctrine of heaven teaches us to reject present horrors; the WEF’s mock heaven instructs that we embrace those horrors. The biblical doctrine calls for and provided a way to end death; the WEF’s mock eternality incorporates death as part of its horrors by eliminating biological humanity on its way to ultimately be snuffed out by death in the long run. Fear, scarcity, and insecurity expand on the WEF’s view of heaven while Scripture points us to Presence, God’s Presence as a personal solution for these issues, specifically addressing the fundamental need for “energy” or heat: “for the Lord God gives them light (Rev. 22:5).” It is as though those barbaric writers of the Bible from ages ago knew that the question of “heat” had to be addressed as part of framing a renewed heaven and earth, indeed, a new cosmological order.
Biblical Doctrine of Heaven Solves the “heaven becomes hell problem” through Boredom
Few people understand that “worship,” “celebration,” or “intimacy” also involves satisfaction and satiating of curiosity. What humans find interesting or worthy of their attention, they will naturally and spontaneously worship, celebrate, and artistically mimic. What this looks like is taking joy in something, repeating its notoriety, various expressions through arts, or simply finding it “fun” — how much children can teach us. Humans are worshipful by nature; what this person or that will worship and why are intriguing questions. My point here is that the biblical doctrine of heaven centers on knowing God and worshiping God, including in song. The realm of this knowing God and worshipping God is much like our realm today; the future Temple in the New Jerusalem as recorded by Ezekiel from the Old Testament is a garden structure. We thus have two rarely understood features of future heaven:
- that it is a renewed and pleasantly renovated creation (new heaven, new earth) for resurrected humanity to inhabit and explore much as we discovery things today.
- That coming to know an infinite Entity like God always leads to greater degrees of intimacy, celebration, and ongoing “fun.” In short, discovery does not end.
There is the common objection that thinking we will focus on anything other than God Himself is lacking reverence. Romans 1 and several Psalms in the Old Testament clearly articulates that all of God’s good creation is a representation of Him in more or less sorts of ways — theologians call this analogia entis, or the analogy of being. Gaining an ever growing knowledge of math in future heaven, let’s say, would be growing in greater degrees and appreciation of the inherent logic and orderliness of the divine Logos, Jesus the Christ. Whoever has done math and seen its precision cannot, I contend, help but touting its excellence to the next person they speak with. Perhaps they lean back in their chain in awe after a particularly difficult equation. This is worship; in future heaven, however, this worship will be known and recognized as personal intimacy with God. Yes, math can ground greater degrees of intimacy with God. Thus, for every person — because every healthy person loves discovery — in future Heaven, continued exploration is part and parcel to this new realm or “sandbox” designed for our fun, our worship, our celebration. It is not an affront to God; no, indeed, it would be a particularly potent accentuation of our deepening celebration of God as we worship Him in and through all means of our surroundings.
You might ask yourself, “If everything was created as a way to reflect God, including the cosmos and ourselves, would we not expect an endless expansion of the cosmos as it is currently behaving? Similarly, would we not expect an endless expansion of ourselves? Having God as the object of our affections is Gospel precisely because He is infinite. Our sandbox might continue to expand for us to play in, but if God were not infinite, the boundaries of the sandbox would eventually be established. Given enough time, the sandbox might even become boring, would it not? This should probably be stated more strongly: if the sandbox does not keep expanding, boredom is guaranteed. That God is infinite, that the Entity at the center of our attention is eternal, that He has “life in Himself,” or endless resources, is the Gospel good news, clearly stated in the resurrection proclamation that “death is no more.” To be specific, only a god that is wholly good, like the sacrificed God, that is likewise infinite in various ways, can solve the problem of boredom. Anything with limits to it, no matter how expansive, will become dull and uninteresting given enough time. Once boredom sets in, there is no escape: heaven would then become hell and would grow into a deepening hellish prison the more time passed.
I therefore present to you the problem of the World Economic Forum’s mock eternality. Perpetuating life in some digitally uploaded human consciousness sort of way guarantees the ultimate hellish prison this would becomes as energy runs out (or max entropy occurs). The WEF’s heaven is the promise of boredom. It cannot be otherwise. Someone might object and say that the cosmos could collapse back in on itself and start the process over; sure, that could happen, but no one will be there to know it. The hell of boredom is more likely to happen first. There is no evading these conclusions because all that we know is defined by its limitations — the only exception to this would be God, who would be defined by an infinite mode of being instead. Any mock eternality that the WEF would envision will have as its final inheritance for those who accept it the endless hellishness of growing boredom.
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