What We Were, Are and Will Be

Courtesy of Schopenhauer.org

After your death you will be what you were before your birth.
Arthur Schopenhauer

We all wrestle with the concept of death.

Most of each day is spent in blissful ignorance of our fleeting nature. Other than the occasional action to push our last day further into the future via exercise or eating a certain way, the majority of our time is swept away in the river of mental occupations we encounter.

That’s fine, maybe even necessary.

Here, though, the German philospher taps squarely on the immutable fact of this life:

The soul is boundless.

What makes me me and you you is shuttled around in a body of four dimensions — length, width, height and time — for a set period before shaking free of the mortal coil. The qualities that define us, our quirks and habits and motivations, would all remain if we could somehow trade bodies as though they were T-shirts and jeans.

What does this mean?

Our uniquity is undeniable and unending.

Scripture speaks to this in various places, yet one in particular evokes a telling image:

The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way,
Before His works of old.
I have been established from everlasting,
From the beginning, before there was ever an earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
When there were no fountains abounding with water.
Before the mountains were settled,
Before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet He had not made the earth or the fields,
Or the primal dust of the world.
When He prepared the heavens, I was there,
When He drew a circle on the face of the deep,
When He established the clouds above,
When He strengthened the fountains of the deep,
When He assigned to the sea its limit,
So that the waters would not transgress His command,
When He marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman;
And I was daily His delight,
Rejoicing always before Him,
Rejoicing in His inhabited world,
And my delight was with the sons of men.
Proverbs 8:22-31, NKJV

God had all of us under His arm as He breathed the universe into existence.

Before there was heaven or earth, light or dark — before before — He set about forming every soul to ever exist, each one different and precious — sacred.

Then, like any attentive parent, He must have huddled us together and gone to work shaping a cosmos so vast and intricate and beautiful we are able to comprehend a mere fraction of it.

He sculpted every mountain and valley and stream.

He flung the stars across the sky.

He set galaxies in motion.

We were present.

And we will be again.

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