Q: Must a person accept God and have faith BEFORE death, or is there a chance to survive and accept God AFTER death?
Must a person accept God and have faith BEFORE death, or is there a chance to survive and accept God AFTER death?
Thanks for this great question…I’ll do my best to answer you.
I think it’s important here to understand what we mean when we talk about survival. Survival is only experienced when we wake up after dying to our physical life. There is no other kind of “survival.” The way I understand it, we either wake up (survive) after death, or we don’t.
48:7.25 (I am paraphrasing here) Death adds nothing to the intellectual possession or to the spiritual endowment, but it does add to the experiential status the consciousness of survival.
40:5.19 As to the chances of mortal survival, let it be made forever clear: All souls of every possible phase of mortal existence will survive provided they manifest willingness to co-operate with their indwelling Adjusters and exhibit a desire to find God and to attain divine perfection, even though these desires be but the first faint flickers of the primitive comprehension of that “true light which lights every man who comes into the world.”
A simple answer to the first part of your question is spoken here by Jesus:
193:1.2 “If you are the faith sons of my Father, you shall never die; you shall not perish … It is your faith that saves your souls. Salvation is the gift of God to all who believe they are his sons.”
Possessing a growing soul, being born of the spirit, and possessing faith in the Fatherhood of God is the passport to the eternal life. It is also a CHOICE to have that faith.
5:6.8 Having thus provided for the growth of the immortal soul and having liberated man’s inner self from the fetters of absolute dependence on antecedent causation, the Father stands aside. … it remains for man himself to will the creation or to inhibit the creation of this surviving and eternal self which is his for the choosing. No other being, force, creator, or agency in all the wide universe of universes can interfere to any degree with the absolute sovereignty of the mortal free will, as it operates within the realms of choice, regarding the eternal destiny of the personality of the choosing mortal. As pertains to eternal survival, God has decreed the sovereignty of the material and mortal will, and that decree is absolute.
In other words, it is up to each person to CHOOSE to survive. The second part of your question seems to be addressing the possibility that we might be able to survive death without having that kind of faith or without having made that choice…and then acquire it AFTER we experience survival.
Maybe this quote from Jesus will be helpful. Again, he mentions the faintest flickers of faith:
155:6.17 Now, mistake not, my Father will ever respond to the faintest flicker of faith. He takes note of the physical and superstitious emotions of the primitive man. And with those honest but fearful souls whose faith is so weak that it amounts to little more than an intellectual conformity to a passive attitude of assent to religions of authority, the Father is ever alert to honor and foster even all such feeble attempts to reach out for him.
So, we see that even if our faith is nothing more than a faint “flicker,” it’s enough to ensure survival. All of our “feeble attempts” are honored. But it seems that having at least some sort of faith / hope is essential to survival. AND some positive soul-growth is necessary, too, as the soul is the immortal part of us that will experience survival from death.
Once we have experienced the reality of having survived death, we are then faced with the prospect of eternal fusion with our thought adjuster – an essential step in becoming full-fledged spirit ascenders. This step is one that virtually all of us Urantians must wait for until after death, as adjuster-fusion rarely happens to mortals on a planet such as ours…
110:1.6 Today you are passing through the period of the courtship of your Adjuster; and if you only prove faithful to the trust reposed in you by the divine spirit who seeks your mind and soul in eternal union, there will eventually ensue that morontia oneness, that supernal harmony, that cosmic co-ordination, that divine attunement, that celestial fusion, that never-ending blending of identity, that oneness of being which is so perfect and final that even the most experienced personalities can never segregate or recognize as separate identities the fusion partners—mortal man and divine Adjuster.
Again from Jesus:
176:2.7 “Do you not perceive that, when each of you is called to lay down his life struggle and pass through the portal of death, you stand in the immediate presence of judgment, and that you are face to face with the facts of a new dispensation of service in the eternal plan of the infinite Father? What the whole world must face as a literal fact at the end of an age, you, as individuals, must each most certainly face as a personal experience when you reach the end of your natural life and thereby pass on to be confronted with the conditions and demands inherent in the next revelation of the eternal progression of the Father’s kingdom.”
To me, this indicates that all survivors are given a choice to CONTINUE the eternal life once survival has been experienced, and maybe this is what you really want to know…? Once we wake up, it appears from this passage that we are given an idea of what the eternal life will consist, and we can accept it or not. It seems that simple survival may be the lot of many of us, but that perhaps not all of us may choose to go on, once we fully understand what the “conditions and demands” of eternal life actually mean. However, the choice is ours to make.
Being Urantia Book readers places us far along this path, as its teachings regarding eternal life and all that it entails should help each of us make that choice long before we get there…