A reader writes:
I’m sure you get a heroic amount of email, so if you’re reading this at all: Thank You! I have a question that’s bothered me nearly every day since I came back home to Rome: Isn’t the whole “state of your soul fixed at death” thing sort of arbitrary?
I understand the illogic of there not being any cut-off date, and I get that if everyone knew exactly how much time they had left there could be some problems re: the “drink tonight for tomorrow we repent” attitude, but, seriously? One accident and then—poof—your soul is frozen in amber like so many dino-DNA containing rocks?
You can imagine the relevant hypotheticals. Sure God might (in His mercy) give everyone a last-moment chance at repentance/forgiveness, but the injustice I think I see is the injustice towards him who would have sought said last-moment chance of repentance had he liven another twenty years.
That’s it. Thank you in advance whether you can answer this or not!
I think we have to remember that we are dealing here with the mystery of revelation. Any discussion of what happens to the soul at death is basically something where we are flying blind and can only rely on what Jesus, who oughtta know, tells us. As such, I take it on faith, much as I take on faith the weird things Einstein tell me, cuz I know nothing, and he knows what he’s talking about.
Acting on that basis–that God knows what he’s talking about and I don’t–I then look at things and it occurs to me that I may not know what I’m talking about when I use the word “accident”. For of course God is hard to surprise. There are no “accidents” to him who sees the end from the beginning.
Also, I’m a bit skeptical that “fixed” is exactly the right word if it communicates the notion that those in Purgatory or Heaven are no longer free. Those in Hell have abandoned–freely–their own freedom and imprisoned themselves in their own paralyzing pride. But those who have chosen Life are “fixed” only in the sense that they will to continue growing in Him Who is Life forever.
Dunno if that helps, but it makes sense to me.