Eternity & infinity are abstract concepts that give us humans a difficult time. We see most things as beginning & ending.. almost everything in our lives has a start & a finish, including our own lives. But the concept of eternity has no beginning.. time drifts on from the past, with NO apparent start, & no explanation. Gurus, holy men, & philosophers have speculated & pontificated about eternity for as long as man has the capacity of thought. But we are no more closer to understanding it or grasping its meaning than when we first defined the term.
1. We have no awareness of eternity past. Eons passed before our brief existence.. Universe after universe could have come & gone, while we were yet unborn. Go back as far as you can imagine.. before any 'big bang', or creative action from a deity. Some theorize that the universe is expanding. How can this be? If matter has been simplifying & spreading out, how can it come together for any reason? Was there a 'beginning'.. a 'start' of matter? Matter is incredible. Life is irrational. All matter should have drifted to infinity in complete equilibrium.. stars burnt out eons ago, & the miracle of life not even a dream. The vastness of our universe is a tiny speck in the face of infinite space. How can there be matter? It is only a collection of infinitesimal, tiny space particles.
2. The existence of an 'Eternal soul' is just as disturbing as if there is not a soul. How is it even possible that life should exist, or that our minds could even grasp things like eternity? Eternity past went on without us.. it can easily go on for eternity future, & our existence a meaningless blip in the face of time. We are a collection of matter & molecules, with a mysterious mechanism giving us life. Mixed in with that is the ability to grasp abstract thoughts, like eternity, & our existence is amazing. Whether we cease to exist at death, or go on in some mysterious supernatural state, the mere ability to see those possibilities is troubling. We went from eternal nothingness, to a brief awareness. And now we try to make sense of our existence. It is no wonder there are so many religions, philosophies, theories, & abstract reasonings to explain ourselves. Our existence is amazing & unbelievable.. impossible, really, yet here we are.
3. Existence is terrifying, non existence is worse. As humans age, we become tired of life.. at least many of us do. How can we face the idea of eternal existence? As terrifying as non-existence is, eternal existence is equally disturbing. Soul or not, our future is grim & mysterious. Will we drift through eternal time & space with some kind of awareness, linked to other souls, or deities? Or will we simply cease to exist, like we did for eternity past?
4. Some people seem to be mad at god &/or the universe, throwing tantrums because they exist. Man is not comfortable with his existence, but needs an explanation. There is a 'why' that gnaws at us, that no other life forms or matter seem to have. This angst is an awareness of eternity, & it's awful implications. If there is a god involved in our existence, we do not know why, or have a definitive reason. He has shrouded the explanation & himself in mystery. Holy men, witch doctors, philosophers, & spiritual gurus speculate, but we do not really know. The universe is awful, terrifying, & too vast for our finite minds to grasp. So we either cling to someone else's explanation, or avoid the subject, living in denial about our eternal fate. If there is no god, our tantrums for understanding fall on eternal darkness, devoid of any reason or meaning. God or not, the universe is terrifying.
5. If there is not a god or some kind of supernatural power, life is short & pointless. If there is a god, it is short & uncertain, & we still do not know why we exist. It may still be pointless, & our existence just as fleeting. We live. We die. The universe goes on until all the stars burn out in eternal darkness & silence. Or, if there is some kind of divine order, we don't know what it is.. even a vague definition of heaven or hell is only a blurry glimpse into something we do not have the capacity to understand.
When I gave my heart to know wisdom and to see the task which has been done on the earth (even though one should never sleep day or night), and I saw every work of God, I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under the sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover; and though the wise man should say, “I know,” he cannot discover. Solomon c. 1000BC