Saturday, November 26, 2005

More Thoughts on the Afterlife

Not too long ago, DovBear had a surprisingly remarkably insightful post. In it he wondered how does God think without a physical brain. Today we are fairly certain that our mental processes are a result of our wonderful, physical brain. The rational answer is that the idea that God has thoughts and emotions is anthropomorphism run amok. I guess the apologetic answer is that God created man in His image, replete with the same cognitive processes He possesses.

To extend the question further, how do Jews imagine the afterlife. Death, by any religious definition, is the soul departing from its physical shell. The brain is part of that physical shell. How can we experience the pain of hell without a brain? My elementary school rabbis taught me that Heaven is the joy of experiencing the nearness of God's presence. A Chabad rabbi taught me that Hell is the experience of not being reincorporated into the God's essence and regret at what could have been. These emotions are impulses from the emotional center of the brain. Without it what else is there?