What Other Reasons are There to Explain the
Enduring Appeal of Supernaturalism?
The world of time is irretrievably imperfect, whereas delight is only in perfection.
No more washing, shaving, cutting, brushing, flossing, dressing, undressing, or fussing with hair.
No more doctors, dentists, hospitals, drugs or pills.
No more garbage to dispose of, including human and animal waste—i.e. no more trips to the can.
If science ever enables us to redesign our digestive system so that we could turn everything we ate into useable energy, it would be hard to imagine such a development not being universally welcomed. But suppose this feat of bio-engineering was only possible with the help of a special diet and costly gene therapy to fine-tune the digestion, and therefore only affordable by the few. Can you imagine how superior those few would feel to the rest of us! Progress is always problematic.
No more need to eat, drink, sleep, or even rest—the spiritually transfigured, yet corporeal, body is self-sustaining and the activity of living never exhausts it. In fact, the necessities of life—food, clothes, shelter—are no longer necessary, though they may serve some other purpose.
No boring or undignified exercise needed to stay in shape—which also means no exercise equipment to occupy space and collect dust.
No more aging—i.e. no more decline of one’s faculties, functions, energy or appearance.
Due to the limitations of the natural world, beauty is the exception rather than the rule. This applies as much to the human body as to landscapes. Only certain proportions and combinations of features are perceived as beautiful: thus, if bio-technology ever enables us to design the eventual appearance of the embryo and control its growth, indications are that we would end up with a lot of rather similar looking people. Perhaps we’d often be tempted to say, ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’ In other words we might have to sacrifice variety to beauty. But a transfigured body implies a transfigured nature to dwell in, a supernature where the familiar limitations of matter, space and time no longer tightly constrain the physical embodiment of beauty.
No other time-related decay—i.e. no more restoration or replacement of fences, roads, sewers, buildings, bridges, etc.—assuming these things have any place in supernature.
No more traffic—i.e. no object, animate or inanimate ever gets in the way of any other object.
[True or not, it should be noted that there is a significant body of testimony from ostensibly sober sources to suggest that the above possibility is more than just an idle fantasy put into words. The example below is drawn from that testimony.]
Robert Blair Kaiser is an author and a former correspondent for Time magazine. Reviewing a book about miracles he wrote:
In 1994, behind the wheel of my Mercedes, I lurched out of my driveway and was awakened from my dreamy preoccupation by the sight of a speeding car bearing down on me, not five feet away on my left. I knew I was a dead man.
All of a sudden, that car was on my right. The driver weaved a bit, braked for a moment and then drove off, shaking his head in disbelief, as I was. For it was clear to me, there was no way he could have missed crashing into me, no way he could have steered aside. His car had flashed through my car, his steel and glass and rubber passing through my steel and glass and rubber like a ray of light through a pane of alabaster.
Kaiser ends his anecdote with a reflection: ‘This miracle moment was a turning point in my life, for I took it as a sign that God wasn’t finished with me yet and that I had some new business to attend to.’ Mr. Kaiser may well be right. But has he reflected that maybe it was the other guy God wanted to keep alive?
No more annoyance or discomfort due to noise, dust, bad weather, unpleasant odours, certain kinds of background music, and all manner of uncongenial surrounding.
No more bags, boxes or clutter—i.e. things are organized and available as required, just as mathematical objects are.
No more busyness—i.e. no more shortage of time because time, or whatever substitutes for time in supernature, is always available—like everything else.
No more tedious manipulation of matter (such as building houses or nuclear power plants) through slow indirect methods involving tools, machines and intermediate material processes—in other words, the direct and rapid control of matter by mind.
It’s worth noting that two naturalists who personally witnessed dramatic healings at Lourdes, Emile Zola and Nobel prize winner Alexis Carrel (who witnessed two miracles, one in 1902 and one in 1910), did not try to explain away or minimize what they had witnessed with their own senses. However, both insisted on an unknown natural cause for the rapid reorganization of matter observed in these wonderful processes.
No more vulnerability to an indifferent world of matter with its iron laws, faulty processes, and periodic catastrophes—i.e. no more accidents, disease, sudden death or destruction.
No more economic activity (with all its adjuncts: money, debt, accounting, investing, booms, busts, etc.) due to the absence of scarcity and relatively powerless people.
No more exploitation or oppression by those who would abuse any power they had over us the moment an opportunity presented itself. Such people are “happier” with their own kind where they are fully engaged in spoiling life for one another. In other words they are in hell, but a hell of their own construction where they are least miserable given the choices they have repeatedly made and which are now second nature to them.
[The following passage is taken from C. S. Lewis’ book The Great Divorce—the ‘divorce’ here being the divorce between heaven and hell—and is part of a conversation that the narrator of the story, probably Lewis, has with his spirit guide, George MacDonald. (George MacDonald, 1824-1905, was a Scottish novelist and minister who wrote fantasies and fairy tales that dealt with Christian themes.)]
“What some people say on Earth is that the final loss of one soul gives the lie to all the joy of those who are saved.”
“Ye see it does not.”
“I feel in a way that it ought to.”
“That sounds very merciful: but see what lurks behind it.”
“The demand of the loveless and the self-imprisoned that they should be allowed to blackmail the universe: that till they consent to be happy (on their own terms) no one else shall taste joy: that theirs should be the final power; that Hell should be able to veto Heaven.”
“I don’t know what I want, Sir.”
“Son, son, it must be one way or the other. Either the day must come when joy prevails and all the makers of misery are no longer able to infect it: or else for ever and ever the makers of misery can destroy in others the happiness they reject for themselves. I know it has a grand sound to say ye’ll accept no salvation which leaves even one creature in the dark outside. But watch that sophistry or ye’ll make a Dog in a Manger the tyrant of the universe.”
No more passing away of good things, since in a world dominated by eternity—which may be defined as the comprehensive possession of one’s being—rather than time they would have nowhere to go.
In brief, no more insecurity, care, frustration or disappointment.
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