Many years ago, atheist Bernard Williams wrote a celebrated essay on the tedium of immortality. He argued that immortality would be an interminable bore.
No doubt some Christians wonder the same thing. We take it on faith that eternal life won't become a crashing bore, but it's hard to imagine how we'll pass the time.
I'll discuss this from an apologetic standpoint. Admittedly, what I say will be speculative, but the objection is speculative. Moreover, Christian metaphysics has nearly limitless metaphysical resources. There's almost nothing an omnipotent God can't do. And God's imagination is immeasurably vaster than ours. So, if anything, the danger is to underestimate the live possibilities, not overestimate the live possibilities.
i) In this life we only skim the surface. There are lots of places it would be interesting to see, but due to the brevity of life, we only get to see a tiny sampling.
There is, moreover, a difference between visiting a place and staying there long enough to really get the feel of the place.
ii) In addition, there are many fascinating sites and events in the past that we never had a chance to see because we didn't live at that particular time. In this life, human existence is severely restricted by time as well as space.
Some natural wonders exist in the past, but not the present. Take a supernova. Or a spectacular waterfall which, due to erosion, no longer exists.
I'm not suggesting that in the world to come, the saints could physically travel back in time. But God could enable us to experience the past. An immersive experience. As if we were actually there.
iii) Same thing for space exploration.
iv) Same thing for possible worlds.
In principle, there are literally an infinite number of interesting things which the saints could do. Things to keep you occupied forever.
v) However, let's approach this issue from the opposite perspective. One of the regrets we experience in life is that we can't repeat the past. We can never experience the same event more than once.
For instance, there are parents who lament the fact that their children grew up too fast. Likewise, there may be particular days we fondly remember. It would be fun to repeat them.
Even if we can repeatedly do that kind of thing, we can never repeat that exact experience. And even if we can repeat that kind of thing, the element of surprise is lost. It's no longer a discovery.
As you age, there are fewer pleasant surprises. You know what to expect.
That can be good in a different way. We look forward to some things precisely because they're familiar. Predictable. Expectation and surprise can both be distinctive goods, but they are mutually exclusive.
There's a paradox about hearing your favorite musical numbers. Because these are your favorites, you'd like to hear them more often, but the more often you hear them, the less you enjoy them. We get tired of hearing the same piece of music. The charm wears off. So we have to space it out.
There's an episode in Millennium ("A Room with No View") where captives are subjected to the very same song. "Love is blue" plays on a loop-tape. As soon as it ends, it starts right over again–ever few minutes–hour after hour, day after day, week after week, month after month.
That alone is enough to drive you bonkers. Even if you made your escape, you'd still hear it in your head. Any silence would be filled by that tune playing in your head. You'd have to play other music to counter it.
In his old age, my great-grandfather moved in with my dad's parents. My grandmother used to bring him books from the library. I think they were murder mysteries. Maybe by the same author.
Problem is, the local library had a very limited supply of murder mysteries. So her solution was to rotate the same dozen books. He'd read through the same dozen books in the same order, then start over again.
Because he was forgetful at that age, he never quite caught onto the fact that he had done this before. For him, rereading the same murder mystery for the fifth time was just like reading it for the very first time. Just as intriguing. Just as surprising.
vi) Apropos (v), suppose, for the sake of argument, that you'd find the first 500 years of the afterlife sheer bliss, but after that it would begin to pall. It would't be possible to sustain the same level of interest indefinitely.
In that event, suppose that God gave you a blissful 500-year experience which he repeated every 500 years. At the end of 500 years, you went to bed, forgot it all, and woke up the next morning 500 years earlier. Even if you did it a billion times, it would be new to you because you didn't remember having done it before.
I'm reminded of an episode in Star Trek: TNG ("Ship in a Bottle"):
TROI: You mean he never knew he hadn't left the holodeck?
PICARD: In fact, the programme is continuing even now inside that cube.
CRUSHER: A miniature holodeck?
DATA: In a way, Doctor. However, there is no physicality. The programme is continuous but only within the computer's circuitry.
BARCLAY: As far as Moriarty and the Countess know, they're half way to Meles Two by now. This enhancement module contains enough active memory to provide them experiences for a lifetime.
PICARD: They will live their lives and never know any difference.
TROI: In a sense, you did give Moriarty what he wanted.
PICARD: In a sense. But who knows? Our reality may be very much like theirs. All this might be just be an elaborate simulation running inside a little device sitting on someone's table.
In principle, you could push the rewind button, and they'd experience the same thing all over again, never knowing the difference.