The Heavenly Game

Suppose you were to die and find yourself in a typical version of “heaven”. There you can do anything you like, have whatever experiences you like, etc. Everything is wonderful for a very long time. You have fascinating conversations, relive all sorts of wonderful experiences, etc. After a few trillion or so years, however, things just aren’t quite as “fresh” as they used to be. You’ve read every book ever written, talked to every person ever born, sampled every food, seen every play. There simply aren’t any experiences you haven’t tried already. Even if you could have “new” experiences, they would remind you of old ones. Things begin to get downright stale. Then an idea hits you. If only you could put yourself into a temporary state of forgetting – where you could experience things in a fresh way, without the baggage of all that previous experience. This brings new joy to you. You try it again and again, each time experiencing things through new eyes. After another few trillion years, however, it occurs to you that it would be fun, while in your “forgetting” state – to try out a few scary experiences, or perhaps a few tragic ones. After all, like watching a movie or riding a roller-coaster, it only lasts a short while, and then you “wake up” again and everything is alright. You realize it is perfectly “safe” to try out all the infinite experiences that infinite possibility allows, knowing that no real harm can come to you, and that you will “wake up” safe again in your blissful home. Sure, while you are in the middle of the forgetful state, you may be in deep pain or despair. You may even curse whoever got you into this mess (I’ve had the same feeling on many a roller-coaster myself) – but it’s all an illusion. You wake up safe and sound every time.

In effect, this is exactly what God does. He puts on the forgetful mask of you, or me, and has a wonderful time, or a scary time, or a heart-wrenching time. And then he wakes up.

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