Updated June 1, 2003
A fundamental (if not simplistic) purpose of philosophy is to provide the ready means by which choices can be made. The establishment of some basic principles to live by allows for consistent and more easily obtainable decisions. Instead of taking the time to completely analyze every situation that requires a decision, philosophy allows us to set up guidelines to which we can always resort whenever the need arises.
Religions offer a convenient set of rules and principles for anyone who has neither the knowledge, the time, the inclination, nor the mental capacity to develop and evolve their own set of principles. As such, religions can be thought of as prepackaged philosophy, something you might be able to pick up at the local supermarket. Such a concept makes it no longer necessary for each individual to thoroughly contemplate what is best for that individual. Independent thinking is no longer necessary. As a matter of fact, religions have actually been known to discourage their followers from independent thinking. Imagine!
Religions also offer the convenience of understanding and predicting the actions of others. If everyone else subscribes to the same set of rules and principles as yourself, then you can generally anticipate what their actions and reactions will be. In effect, this allows you greater control of your interactions with others and, consequently, is highly sought after. On the other hand, someone who believes in a different set of principles -- or worse yet his own unique and custom designed set of rules -- is the type of person who cannot be easily anticipated and thus poses a possible danger to others. Such a person appears to be acting without known controls.
People who profess to follow a particular religion may have moments when they question specific rules or principles laid down by that religion. As long as the religious rules work, everything is fine, but if there is a “crisis of confidence,” if somehow a portion of the philosophical base does not appear to accommodate a person’s evolving picture of themselves and their universe, then that person may feel the necessity of making slight or major changes in her or his religious beliefs, or even disregard them altogether.
The key is basing a personal philosophy on a set of basic rules or principles that allow a person to consistently and quickly arrive at day-to-day decisions. Without such a base the individual may meander from decision to decision, as if staggering from too much alcohol.
In Chapter XVI, the implications of reincarnation and related psychic phenomena gave us a few clues as to what might be thought of as rules to live by. However, we only briefly considered some of the possibilities, and clearly did not evolve any basic rules. What is needed is a more fundamental principle or principles, that can be used as the basic criteria for all of our choices—choices that are, inherently, a result of having free will.
The Principle of Karma
Karma seems a logical choice for one such decision-making principle. If the goal of living on the earth plane is a reduction in karma, one can then make decisions on the basis of whether or not such a decision will increase or decrease karma. Furthermore, if one does not eliminate karma, one supposedly has to return to earth until s/he does.
Keep in mind that we not only have a set of rules, but we also need a means to enforce them. The good news with karma is that the enforcement agency is the universe -- as opposed to the possible arbitrariness or downright corruptness of human agencies.
One of the disadvantages of karma as a decision-maker is that there is within societies no consistent view of karma. One can view karma as “an eye for an eye,” a law of more flexible compensation, a law of cause and effect, or a personal view of balancing one’s own books. Some might even ascribe to an “instant karma,” where one’s actions and decisions are immediately reflected back -- a “one day at a time” scenario. (The latter view has the distinct advantage of not worrying about what you did before as, theoretically, you have already paid the price for your indiscretion.)
Karma appears to be defined very much in the eyes of the beholder, in effect, a “custom karma.” As such it constitutes a rather poor choice as a decision-making criteria for two reasons. In the first instance such a view does not allow others to easily predict another’s actions, a somewhat antagonistic situation. Secondly, a custom-designed karma is open to easy manipulation in times of stress or inconvenience. It is definitely not a set of hard and fast rules.
Karma has other flaws. What about “good karma”, the type where you do something good for someone else? One view of karma is that you must receive compensation in return, but if you have to return to get your just desserts, then the problem in exiting the Wheel of Life becomes an attempt to achieve “zero karma.” The best way to accomplish this is simply withdrawing from all contact with others. If interacting with other souls implies the likelihood of causing karma (either good or bad), then such interactions should logically be avoided.
Such a view tends to have numerous flaws. Withdrawal from contact with the rest of humanity would appear to be less than beneficial in contributing anything to the world, in learning anything from the world, and more of an attempt to just exist without having a purpose in life. Trying to find your Higher Self is a good idea, but if done exclusively, there’s not a whole lot of reason to be here. To some degree it automatically pre-supposes a belief in the Fall of Man, and that our only purpose is to find our way home. Rather a pathetic set of circumstances, when you think about it.
As G. Peter Fleck once remarked:
“The saints may derive holiness from being alone but they can only express it in their relationship with other human beings. Similarly, the insights man gains in solitude can only find expression in his relationship with others, in a growing awareness of their needs, in sharing their joys and sorrows, in trying to comfort those who are desperate, to make life more tolerable for those who suffer.”
Evolution of the Soul
One of the more consistent themes in reincarnation theories is the Journey of the Soul. We find ourselves on a Wheel of Life, reincarnating over and over again, trying on each attempt to further the evolution of the soul. Contrary, and sometimes in addition, to the choice of karma as a principle for our decision-making, we have the principle of the soul’s evolution.
Sounds good, but what does it mean? What are we expected to gain by our routine returns to earth? How do we evolve? How do we grow? Must we search for suffering and pain, must we tread the straight and narrow, or can we throw caution to the winds and do whatever comes naturally? Are we faced with the classic, “no pain, no gain,” or is God’s plan for us a great deal easier? How do we make life decisions and for what purpose?
In Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah, Richard Bach views our purpose in life as essentially to learn and have fun. That’s it? To learn and have fun? That’s all we need do? As you may have guessed, there are a great many proponents of this idea.
The concept certainly has appeal. Searching for knowledge and enjoying the ride sounds both philosophically and scholarly sound, while at the same time, being attractive to the masses. And there has to be a whole slew of ways to do both. Clearly God has been more than considerate in providing this playground for our edification and enjoyment. We can learn our way around and avoid boredom at the same time. Perhaps, on our return to heaven, we should do as the playwrights do, and say to God, “Thanks for the use of the hall.”
However, it may not be quite that easy. Ram Dass takes a slightly more involved view. He argues that you’re not here because of some mistake or fall from grace, but in order to be human. He advises you to be in the world, only not of it; take the curriculum and don't begrudge the fact you’re still in school. The modern guru also suggests freedom is gained by overcoming suffering, and that which freaks you out is precisely what you need to work on. He cautions you, however, not to get trapped in the want of doing good or become involved in what might be called a spiritual materialism.
Richard Bach, in his later work, The Bridge Across Forever, seems to agree with Ram Dass:
“There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.
“Learning is, after all, not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.”
Enlightenment and Identity
Learning can be thought of as a search for enlightenment, a knowing and understanding of all things. Certain aspects of reincarnation imply that the ideal is where we seek to find ourselves, to understand our Higher Self, and to become enlightened.
However, our identity is in large part based on what we know, what our opinions and prejudices are, and the unique way in which we view the universe. But if one becomes enlightened, i.e., begins to understand all things, then our opinions converge to what all other enlightened entities believe (i.e. the ultimate truth). Enlightenment thus implies a loss of identity.
Is this a good idea? Do we want to seek enlightenment if reaching such a goal automatically assumes a loss of identity? Maybe we’re not ready for enlightenment, at least not in its ultimate form. Why have an ego if the goal in life is to eliminate it? As a reason for our being, it does not seem to have a great deal of appeal.
This is particularly true if enlightenment turns out to be nothing more than learning what is already known. If we are part of God, if we someday return to the bardo where we will have access to all that is known, why struggle to learn our lessons now? We already know the truth; we’ve just temporarily forgotten it while we take a holiday on earth. Enlightenment of what is already known would appear to be a complete waste of time.
Besides, the ultimate truth or the final answer, according to Douglas Adams (in his trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy), is 42. Adams is still working on the final question, but it appears that it may be: “What is 6 times 7?”
Finite and Infinite Games
An appropriate concept in this regard is the fundamental differences in finite and infinite games. A finite game is one with boundaries. These boundaries imply rules, and include time and space limits. When the game is over, the game is over. The confines of the boundaries limit the range of play. Change may be allowed within the confines of the game, but even change has limiting rules. Enlightenment in this sort of game, therefore, would just be learning all the rules, limits, and boundaries.
On the other hand, infinite games have no boundaries. They cover all time and space, and more importantly, they are forever changing. The rules of the infinite game must change as well. In fact, one could view a finite game as one played for the purpose of winning, while an infinite game’s purpose was for the play itself. In this way, a finite player consumes time, while an infinite player generates time. Thus enlightenment in an infinite game is ever changing, a goal that is never quite reached.
This concept of finite and infinite games carries with it a very significant implication in that, if the universe is infinite, it must be changing. There is no other alternative. Any limit on change is a limit on the infinite -- a contradiction in terms.
An Infinite Universe?
Is the universe infinite?
Good question. Just don’t expect a final answer; especially if everything is constantly changing. It might have been infinite last week, but on next Thursday, who knows?
Philosophically, an infinite universe seems preferable. Why limit ourselves or anything about us? Why limit God? Why place upper bounds on what the universe can become? There appears to be no good, defensible reasons to limit the universe in terms of either time or space. If there was a beginning, we would need have an end. If there is no limits in either direction of time... ah yes, what then?
Is there any evidence to suggest a finite universe? Perhaps. One such speculation is due to Olber’s paradox. This paradox assumes the universe is infinite and populated with galaxies in a homogeneous fashion. If this assumption is correct, then the sky should not be dark at night, inasmuch as the infinite galaxies would make the night sky infinitely bright. The “solution” to the paradox comes under the following possibilities:
1. The amount of matter in the visible universe is finite, i.e. the basic assumption is wrong. (Note, however, that this still allows space to go on forever, and the amount of matter in the universe can change),
2. There is a beginning of time, i.e. some of the light has not yet reached us. (Note that this does not imply an end to time).
Aside from this possible physical limitation there appears little to suggest any need to establish universal limits. In fact, the limits implied by Olber’s paradox do little to modify the possibility of change. If this is the case, the universe can be relied on to change. So why is this latter point important?
This prelude of finite and infinite games is meant to introduce the idea of the essential requirement of a changing universe. For if the universe is constantly changing, then the answers we seek must also change. Hopefully not so fast that we can’t progress in our understanding, but fast enough so that we will always have to seek new answers. In other words, a soul can never rest on its laurels, its enlightenment, and/or its worldly understanding. Because of this, there can be no hard and fast answers given in this book (or anywhere else, for that matter). We can only tally the points and perhaps point in the direction of future questions. If you take away nothing else from this reading, remember that there are no final answers, only the continuing need to question.
(Sorry to have to be the one to give you this bad news.)
Creation of Knowledge
Equally important to the idea of an infinite universe, is the concept of free will. If the universe is changing and evolving, it follows that one technique to accomplish this universal evolution is to allow all souls the free will to create. It’s more efficient that way.
Why else, for example, would God give us free will, knowing that we could use if for evil? What’s the trade off? What was there to be gained by such a rash act, if the gift of free will also carried with it the possibility of major variations in the direction of evil?
The simplest answer is: Free will allows for each soul to create!
If we are made in the image of God, can we be less than creative? Is the reason we do not remember our past lives or the bardo, or know the future with any degree of certainty, due to the fact we would then be less creative and simply follow some preplanned and predetermined program? Total determinism eliminates any spontaneous creativity. Likewise, planning is inherently limited by prior knowledge. Too much planning and we reduce the possibilities of unforeseen events and the resultant potential for creativity and a changing universe.
By our experiences on earth we can create knowledge; we can learn from all our many defeats and relatively fewer victories. The purpose of all these souls incarnating and reincarnating over and over again may very well be to increase the sum of knowledge in the universe, to create knowledge, to create knowing. Perhaps God is learning as well! Perhaps God dispensed free will to the masses, because He knew that they would try anything and everything, and thereby create whole new realms of knowledge.
In Far Journeys, Robert Monroe, notes the report of one subject:
“The part that we have to play in this daydream is one of education, one of learning and bettering ourselves, striving to become more. Now, I’m not clear why this kind of over-soul or over-consciousness is having this daydream, but I have the feeling that it is for its own education. It learns as we learn.” [emphasis added]
One theological assumption is that God is omniscience. If so, then he knows all there is to know. However, the assumption of God’s omniscience does not necessarily imply that God also possesses knowledge that has not yet been created. And without new knowledge being created, God could become, if nothing else, slightly bored. As a part of God, one might object to a situation where we can only look forward to enlightenment, a joyous homecoming, and ultimately, boredom. On the other hand, the idea of creating knowledge as our goal in the Wheel of Life provides us with a concept whereby we can have a positive and useful purpose in the universe. We may be “reversing entropy,” by the very creation of information.
The Last Question
The idea of “reversing entropy” is beautifully told by Isaac Asimov in his short story, "The Last Question". Dr. Asimov begins by describing a brief scene where two slightly drunk technicians ask the very latest in modern technological and very large scale computers how entropy of the universe can be reversed. The only reply they receive from the very sophisticated computer is: “INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR MEANINGFUL ANSWER.”
The story then proceeds into the future in successive jumps with various people asking the same basic question and receiving the same basic answer. In each jump into the future, however, the computer has become progressively more complex, advanced and accessible to mankind. At one point the entire earth is devoted to the computer while mankind begins to roam the stars. Then the computer becomes self perpetuating, repairing itself, adding and remodeling as needed. Eventually the computer transforms itself into another dimension, but always in contact with mankind to aid and assist mankind as the human species explores the universe.
Eventually the ultimate fate of the universe becomes all too apparent to mankind. While the computer provides all of the needs of mankind, the apparently irreversible flow of entropy makes it very clear the physical universe is dying. Mankind begins to devote itself to collecting data for the computer so that the computer can finally have “sufficient data for a meaningful answer” to the all important question of how to reverse entropy.
But the answer always turned out to be the same, “THERE IS AS YET INSUFFICIENT DATA FOR A MEANINGFUL ANSWER.” Eventually all of mankind and the universe die, leaving only the computer to exist in some sort of hyperspace. The computer, however, does not cease to exist, because it had not completed its calculations for the unanswered question. It has all the data from the universe now but has to spend a timeless interval correlating the data in order to find the answer to the last question. Only when this is done can the computer cease to function.
Finally the computer solves the question. Unfortunately, there is no one to whom the answer could be given.
Instead the computer decides it has to give the answer by demonstration, such that it will thereafter be obvious to all concerned. The computer thinks about the demonstration, organizes the program and then says: “LET THERE BE LIGHT!”
And there was light --
The intriguing aspect of Asimov’s story is that the computer had accumulated all the knowledge from the universe during the “lifetime” of the universe. And using this as a base, programmed another universe and initiated it as a demonstration. What Asimov does not mention, however, is that the subsequent universe was built upon all of the knowledge in the preceding one. Thus, it may be that succeeding universes are progressively greater or more sophisticated, always benefiting from the previous ones.
Individual evolutions of souls may also be viewed in this light. Each lifetime may be able to take advantage of lessons learned in prior lives and thus progress ever further. Instead of a “wheel of life,” the soul may be involved in a “spiral of life” in which the loci of the spiral is constantly progressing.
Good and Evil
But in our unceasing search for knowledge, can’t we learn a thing or two by dumping all over someone else? If I blow your brains out with my new shotgun, won’t I learn something from the experience? Won’t you learn something? Like for example, not to be around me when I’ve got a shotgun?
Is there good knowledge and evil knowledge? Is the manner in which we gain knowledge, inherently good or evil? Does God have any clear preference on how we learn our lessons? Why bother to possess free will, if the only choice for good is to submit your free will to a divine will? Free will is not free if there is a gun at your head, ready to go off at a wrong choice. Free will implies we can create our own individual good. Note that in Isaiah 45:7: "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.
All philosophical positions require assumptions. If we assume we have free will, if we assume the responsibility for our decisions and choices and act accordingly, then, in the event that we are correct in choosing free will, we will have prepared for such an eventuality. If on the other hand we assume determinism, and it turns out we’re wrong, we could be in BIG TROUBLE! As one sage as pointed out:
“If you bet on the Gods, and they don’t exist, you lose nothing. But if you bet against them, and they do exist, you lose everything.”
For our purposes, it seems the less risky choice to assume free will and that we can make choices in this incarnation for good or evil.
Is the distinction between good and evil limited to the fact that it is perhaps tougher to be good? Are we back to the “no pain, no gain” concept? Do we need evil in order to create love? Is bliss boring? Do we contribute more to an evolving universe by being good? Is there really any distinction between good and evil?
Richard Bach reflects the feelings of many reincarnationists when he says:
“Everything balances, and nobody suffers and nobody dies without their consent. Nobody does what they don’t want to do. There is no good and there is no evil, outside of what makes us happy and what makes us unhappy.
“Anybody who’s ever mattered, anybody who’s ever been happy, anybody who’s ever given any gift into the world has been a divinely selfish soul, living for his own best interest. No exceptions.”
There seems little doubt that all human motivation derives from what that soul considers to be in its own best interests. We may give gifts, but we do so because it affords us status, it obligates others (even if only a “thank you”), it makes us feel good (even if given anonymously), or a combination of all three. We may even give up our life, but in our own best interests and because it is what we want to do.
However, the flaw in this view is that it does not include why we are here. It’s all well and good to say that we’re here for our own purposes; that there is no good or evil. But how are we to use such a principle to make decisions, to choose between alternative possibilities? And what about children? Do we owe them anything, or did they choose us because they knew we would ignore them?
If in fact, “everything balances,” or if some form of karma exists, then such concepts presuppose the existence of good and evil. How can you balance good and evil if they do not exist? Is good and evil purely in the minds of the beholder, or is there a more fundamental nature to these fundamental concepts?
It seems as if a refusal to acknowledge the existence of evil in the world, would constitute the “Joe Cool” approach -- a pseudo-sophisticated approach to avoid real, concentrated thought and the possibly inevitable commitment to wage forces against evil.
Free will implies choices. Choices are the means whereby knowledge is created. In effect every choice allows a slightly different experiment or potential scenario. The more choices, the more we learn. Conversely, if something limits our choices, then it limits our ability to learn, and if our purpose on earth is to learn or create knowledge, any imposed limitation on our choices would constitute a barrier or a lessening of our ability to accomplish our life’s purposes.
Let us assume that God’s purpose defines good. God gave us life and free will and then sent us out to accomplish Her/His goals. We constitute Her/His agents on earth and were sent to create. As long as we assist in accomplishing God’s ultimate purpose, we are accomplishing good. If God’s purpose is creating knowledge, then we do good by creating knowledge and allowing its creation. In other words, good is removing or decreasing limitations on the sum total of our ability to create knowledge.
Evil can be defined as denying or limiting others in their free will to choose. If the sum total of choices in the universe is reduced, the sum total of potential knowledge is reduced. On the other hand, increasing another’s range of choices is good. They can now create more knowledge and assist in achieving God’s purpose.
Why does evil exist? Why didn’t God arrange for good only, and leave evil to the philosophers? We might also ask, as Scott Peck has done in People of the Lie, “Why is there good in the world?” One possible answer is the need for both.
Implications of Good and Evil
The implications of this view of good and evil are truly immense. Suddenly, reincarnation theory combined with the idea that we’re here to create good, love, and knowledge from our choices, can be applied to our day-to-day lives. Steal from a man, for example, and you limit his choices -- therefore, stealing is evil. Murder is even more limiting and is thus a greater evil. Giving someone a gift may increase their choices and is therefore good. But note that if we seek to limit their choice by our giving, the gift becomes evil. Expecting gratitude or compensation in return would turn an otherwise good gift into an evil one. Only if we increase their choices, and the sum of choices in the universe, will a gift be good.
Keeping someone alive by extraordinary means (such as in a comatose state) when they may be ready to die and proceed with their plans for reincarnation would by this definition be evil. Possessive love is evil because it limits the recipient. On the other hand, a gift of unconditional love is good, because it does not limit, and hopefully may increase the potential for greater choice. Abortion may or may not be evil, depending upon several factors, including: whether or not the soul of the fetus had planned to be aborted as part of his or his mother’s experiences in life. The possibility of a conflict with the fetus’ “right to be born” and the mother’s “right to choose” is superceded by the belief that both made the choice while in the bardo state, and by the fact that evil could only be determined by the sum total of the choices of the mother and embryo’s soul.
Karma may be thought of as deriving from the sum total of knowledge gained by all choices, not just one. If your choices limit the choices of other souls, then the sum total of knowledge may be limited and thus your choices are wrong. Evil may be nothing more than denying or not allowing others their right to choose.
An essential question in defining evil as limiting choices is whether or not there is an “organization” attempting evil in the world, i.e. does Satan and his legions of demons exist? Has mankind, in effect, with the species' powers of creating, created The Prince of Darkness and a supporting host?
Why not? If man can create alter personalities, entities like Phillip (Chapter X), psychosomatic illnesses and health, then it seems likely that a cooperative effort by a large mass of mankind can create demons. Why should any form of limits be imposed in an infinite universal game? The existence of free will always implies the possibility of creating evil, as well as good. The duality of good and evil, in turn implies the reality of exorcisms, a natural corollary to the existence of demons.
It is noteworthy that no one who has ever seen a full scale exorcism has, thereafter, doubted the existence of Satan. Even a few observations of demonic de-possessions can convince virtually any skeptic that demons exist.
The Devil and demons may very well exist then, if only due to man’s free-willed imagination. Surely the cumulative effect of man’s centuries long fear, loathing, and thinking of an entity called Satan is bound to produce something!? With all of the thoughts directed in his direction, Satan may very well be the Prince of Darkness, even if he has only recently ascended his throne.
In effect, collective fear may very well have created organized evil, which perpetuates itself with continuing fear and deception -- deception of the strength or weaknesses of evil, as well as the deception of what constitutes good and/or evil.
A precise definition of organized evil is made difficult by its mysteriousness and vagueness. But this is in itself, a part of its definition. As Mary Kay Rae has noted, in her discussion in Whirling Darkness:
“Central to the existence of ‘evil’ is deception -- not merely in its extreme, overt or easily identifiable forms, but in all the slippery, confusing gray areas between the polarities of evolution and disintegration, where most of us make our choices (or forfeit our right and ability to make those choices). What better way to hide the existence of something than to make it hard to define? Alternatively, naming something (i.e. identifying or defining it) is the first step in mastering it.”
Scott Peck has defined evil as a force, within or without humans, whose purpose is to kill life. Evil is thus about killing -- killing of the body as well as the spirit and the various essential attributes of life (sentience, mobility, awareness, growth, autonomy, will). In Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie, the ramifications of evil and its presence in our lives is well documented. It is one of those unpleasant concepts, but one of those essential ones we need to learn, if we are to create good in an evolving universe.
Many proponents of reincarnation advocate the necessity of subduing one’s ego. But this may not be a good idea. For ego allows for unique choices (i.e., unique gains in universal knowledge). Ego is therefore good, unless the effect of ego is to limit others or for that matter, limit yourself. Evil is when the ego’s choices infringe upon the sum total of choices of yourself and others. Ego can be just free will, and free will cannot be evil in and of itself, even though its manifestations (choices) can be. Ego, therefore, like most things has its inherently good aspects, but also carries with it the possibility that it can be used for evil purposes as well.
Therapy can be thought of as helping another person to have choices. Therapy may eliminate roadblocks, mental hang ups, and all manner of constricting external controls. For example, when you are angry with someone, that person controls part of your life. Release the anger, and they no longer have any control over you. (Besides, why would you want to spend any of your valuable time thinking about someone with whom you were angry?)
Is vegetarianism a means of allowing choice to other souls? In other words, do ducks have souls? What about carnivorous animals -- are they evil? If wolves keep the caribou herd fit, are they evil? Are there degrees of choice?
Unwarranted control is the principal form of evil. Entropy implies that the universe moves away from control and toward chaos. Yet, in chaos or confusion, there is more opportunity for creating love. Control is, therefore, anti-entropic and thus, a violation of universal law.
Perhaps even more important than knowledge is love. In the thirteenth chapter of Corinthinians, we have: “...but the greatest of these is love.” Christ and other major religious figures always established love as the primary commandment.
Raymond Moody, in Life After Life, reports that his subjects have stressed “the importance of two things in life: Learning to love other people and acquiring knowledge. Dr. Moody goes on to stress that the whole idea of life is to cultivate a unique and profound love, while at the same time, acquiring knowledge.
Love is certainly the most potent force around. Love begets love. Love (like hate) is omni-directional and cannot be directed, limited, or controlled; it recognizes no boundaries and tends to gently run amok. It is instead a state of being, one that can constantly change in intensity and which has no upper limits. And thus, love, by being infinite and creating infinite choices is the infinite representation of good.
Good is anything that increases choices -- which in turn then allows for the creation of more knowledge and/or love. Greater creation in an infinite universe then implies infinite creativity. On the one hand, hate is limiting, while on the other, love is non-limiting.
According to John Sanford, in The Man Who Wrestled with God:
“...man is different because man has the gift of consciousness with its power of self-reflection. We are not an unconscious part of nature like other forms of life. We have the gift of psychological discrimination and moral responsibility, represented in the story [Adam and Eve] as the power to discern good and evil. We can choose alternatives in life, and our consciousness, with its wonderful, dreadful freedom, separates us forever from nature’s paradisaical wholeness.
“For without evil, without choice, without the opposites in life, no moral or spiritual growth is possible, and evidently the development of man’s soul and spirit is of more value to God than his mere happiness.”
Our grand principle of reincarnation, therefore, may be that we are here on this earth to create love; to act as transformers, creating love from the raw materials of physical experience. And with free will, we can make the choices which will increase the sum total of love in the universe. Reincarnation thus becomes a progression from being one with God, going out into the world in order to create love, then returning to God; hopefully having increased the love in the universe, recognizing our mistakes and planning for our next attempt, and then once again, reincarnating in a universe seeking more love. The grand plan, according to this theory of reincarnation, is the creation of love, whereby the universe is greater at the end than at the beginning. Is the increase in knowledge to be gained in our lifetimes nothing more than an increase in our ability to create love?
Chapter Sixteen: Living with Reincarnation
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