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Extra info for Beyond Death: Theological and Philosophical Reflections of Life after Death
These were his last words: 'The royal doors are opening! '1 For him death was not the closing but the opening of a door, not an end but a beginning. Like the early Christians, he saw his death-day as his birthday. Let us think of our human existence as a book. Most people regard this present life as the actual text, the main story, and they see the future life - if, indeed, they believe that there is any future life - as no more than an appendix. But the genuinely Christian attitude is the exact reverse of this.
The individual becomes timeless and therefore no time passes. ). The content of the vision may vary between individuals depending on their capacities at the time of death. It is easy to see why this idea should have appeared so attractive to the Church. It enables the believer to see that his only end lies in God, yet a God identified with the supreme Platonic values. However, the ideas Aquinas puts forward seem to suf- A Christian Approach to Eternal Life 21 fer from real difficulties. Almost all the issues are arguable for instance, the claim that man's ultimate happiness rests on the contemplation of God seems to be an assumption that could be challenged.
In the past some theologians have tried to circumvent the problem by suggesting that we enter a new form of timeless existence, but is is hard to see what this could mean for creatures with bodies.