Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hilbert's Hotel

Supralapsarian Calvinism is sometimes classified as a felix culpa theology. Conversely, you have atheists who say, Why did God create Satan, knowing what would happen? 

Suppose Adam and Eve never fell. What would the world be like? Would it be better, worse, or both better and worse?

Minimally, Adam's posterity wouldn't die of old age. Perhaps, if Adam and Eve ate from the tree of life, their immortality would be transmitted to their posterity. Or perhaps their posterity would need to eat from the tree of life. Or perhaps, as they colonized the earth, they'd take seeds from the tree of life and plant it elsewhere. 

Or maybe God would simply confer immortality on Adam's posterity, apart from the tree of life. It's unlikely that fruit from the tree of life had chemical properties that conveyed biological immortality. How is that naturally possible? Rather, it's more likely that God simply attached a blessing to that object. 

In theory, Adam's posterity might still be vulnerable to death by causes other than senescence. Perhaps God might providentially protect them from death by other causes. Or perhaps God would let them die, but miraculously restore them to life.

It seems unlikely that an intermediate state would exist in an unfallen world. In a fallen world, the intermediate state exists because people die at different times over the millennia, but at the Parousia, death will cease, and all the dead will restored to life all at once. (According to amil eschatology. Premil eschatology is more complex, but the net effect will be the same.)

But in an unfallen world, there wouldn't be that cutoff. So there wouldn't be any point in people dying, then passing into an intermediate state. 

The upshot is that in an unfallen world, the human race would continue to reproduce until it reached an optimum population level. In theory, that might be confined to the garden of Eden. If so, that would be a small population.

Or perhaps Adam's posterity would outgrow the garden and proceed to colonize the more hospitable regions of the globe. But to avoid the detrimental effects of overpopulation (e.g. famine, starvation), it would have to plateau. Suppose at that point God made the women infertile. 

Reproduction would terminate with a stable, unchanging population. However many generations of Adam's posterity until it hit the optimum population threshold. That would be the last generation. Frozen in place. Further procreation would be unnecessary to maintain a replacement rate, since no one would die–or if they died, they'd be restored to life. 

That would be a good world. Better in some respects than a fallen world. However, the overall population would be far smaller. An absolutely static, invariant population.

One fringe benefit of mortality is that it frees up time and space for far more humans to exist. Some of them are hellbound but some of them are heavenbound. Yet the heavenbound humans wouldn't exist in a world where there's a final generation once reproduction reaches the optimum population size. There's no more room for additional generations. The cutoff comes early in human history.

In one respect, a fallen world is worse because it contains hellbound individuals. But that's offset by the greater number of heavenbound individuals, since they don't have to coexist at the same time and place. Because they exist diachronically rather than synchronically in the same place, procreation can continue indefinitely. 

God might still decree a terminus, but it will be very far out compared to an unfallen world. The cumulative population will be vastly larger. Eventually, they all exist simultaneously, but not at the same location. 

Heaven is more capacious than Hilbert's Hotel. Never runs out of guest rooms. Always a vacancy! 


  1. The intermediate state is like Hilbert's Hotel, but the final state is presumably more or less like the first. The total diachronic population will eventually become a single synchronic one, so how can it be a solution to synchronic population density...?

    1. I didn't offer that as a solution to the final state but a solution to objections to a fallen world as inferior to an unfallen world. I've discussed challenges to the population density of the final state on other occasions. That involves different conjectures.

    2. The solution to the population density of the final state is the fact that the elect are Presbyterians. God created limbo for Baptists. I hesitate to even discuss the fate of Lutherans and evangelical Anglicans. It isn't pretty.

    3. Think of futuristic science fiction with floating islands, floating cities, cloud cities, underwater cities. Even now, consider the popularity of cruise ships that visit scenic parts of the globe. I plan to spend eternity on my superyacht with my trophy wife.

    4. Heaven will be populated with Presbyterians because only God has the patience to put up with them!

  2. If not time, then perhaps space? Perhaps we'll be able to establish habitable colonies on other planets or worlds (e.g. asteroids, moons).

    Of course, eventually even the universe itself would run out of room. Unless God keeps expanding the universe. Eternal time as well as eternal space.

    Or God allows different peoples to live in different parallel universes in a multiverse.

    1. Or those sci-fi scenarios in which sedated test subjects like in beds hooked up to VR programs, some of which involve collective consciousness.