Life: between two tunnels
It was always interesting for me to read about near death experiences (NDEs). One near-death phenomenon always puzzled me; the travel through a tunnel towards a light at the end. This phenomenon is very similar, but not exactly like, the journey a baby takes getting out of the womb[i]. Two tunnels mark our entry and our exit from this life. Before we go through the first tunnel, we grow in the uterus and develop organs like a heart, a brain, kidneys, lungs, a liver and many others that are required for a life on earth. We are not conscious with the whole process of getting ready to move out from a tiny world of warmth in the uterus into a very wide world of earth. Similarly, if we think about it, we have to get ready before passing through the second tunnel. We have to ask ourselves: what kind of organs do we need to develop before passing the second tunnel? Do we have to develop spiritual eyes to know the truth? Do we have to grow in faith, hope and love? We are challenged with a very fantastic journey, to come closer to the Triune GOD and spend all eternity trying to know Him better[ii]. Imagine the awe we experience in nature and studying it; how much more if we are trying to experience its creator? Shouldn’t we get ready on earth before the second tunnel, as we were prepared in the womb for a life on earth?
We know that our first preparation in the womb was unconscious, while the second preparation on earth should be partially conscious. In Christianity, we are told that we should get ready[iii], building the body of Christ. To be sure, we don’t know exactly, how the other world looks like. We have been told of that other world is what “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”[iv]. However, we are allowed to make a wild guess. By comparing how tiny the womb is to the whole planet earth, we can imagine how rich this new world would be compared to the life on a tiny planet earth.
Still to remain in awe, we have to keep in mind that the journey through the second tunnel is not towards our final destination. It is just a transit to even a richer and wider world; the world of transformed new heaven and earth that St. John mentions in Revelation. St. John told us in his vision (I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”).[v]
We are not going to need any more tunnels to get to our final destination. And we are promised with transformed earth and heavens where the laws of physics don’t apply anymore. The second law of thermodynamics (of decay) is no more, as St. Paul tells us “that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.”[vi]
In the end Christians have to be reminded that our ultimate goal is not leaving earth to go to heaven, which is just a transit. Our goal is the Resurrection; to get back our bodies in a transformed and glorious form, and to live with God in a transformed earth and heaven. God is not going to abandon whatever he created, He is going to transform it and liberate it from its current decay into something we don’t grasp yet. Therefore, we are invited by His grace to share in building his Kingdom; His new order of the universe. He’s given us hope saying: “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.[vii]
[i] There are a lot of points that don’t match: a baby being born does not float at high speed down a tunnel, but is buffeted along with difficulty by its mother’s contractions.
[ii] Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3
[iii] Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)
[iv] 1 Corinthians 2:9
[v] Revelation chapter 3
[vi] Romans 8:21
[vii] Revelation 22:20