Orthospherean Bruce Charlton writes:
Non-Christian religions are often good at explaining the eternal perspective, and arguing in favour of an eternal perspective which shrinks (sometimes to microscopic levels) the importance of mortal life. But they tend to have trouble explaining why mortal life is of any value at all: why bother with it?
Mainstream Orthodox Christians also often have the same trouble – but this is not intrinsic to Christianity, but is a consequence of building in inappropriate Greco-Roman derived philosophy, and then seeing Christianity through its lens.
In one of his weaker arguments against theism, Bertrand Russell made the same point: to an infinite, eternal being, how could petty evanescent human affairs be even noticeable, let alone worthy of his attention? Wouldn’t he be rather too busy with the collisions of galaxies to worry himself over whether little George is grieving over the loss of his toy airplane?
The argument collapses the instant we realize that, being omniscient and omnipotent, the Eternal One cannot be “too busy.” His cognitive resources are infinite. They cannot be used up. So he values every hair, every sparrow, every moment of every trivial thing, as much and as perfectly as it can possibly be valued. He feels George’s pain with all the intensity of George’s own experience. No thing whatever is too small or unimportant to escape his notice, and his care.
Orthodox Christianity has no trouble at all explaining the value of mortal human life from the perspective of eternity. Every new mortal life is an incipient immortal life, each of which – being everlasting – will generate an infinite number of valuable events, an infinite quantity of beauty. Each new human life increases the beauty of creation infinitely.
Nor has orthodox Christianity any difficulty explaining the value of mortal life that does not persist everlastingly. What good is a moment in a morning’s flight of a mayfly to the Eternal One? All the good that there is to that moment. It is a prejudice of the immortal rational soul that the experiences of mortal souls are not enjoyed by God. Think of how we love our pets. This is how God loves them; except that, as knowing their feelings perfectly, he loves them far more thoroughly and accurately than we could.
It is a mistake to think that an evanescent event passes out of God’s awareness, the way it does with us. To him, all events are present at once. He feels the joy and beauty of each moment of each flight of each mayfly, not in passing, but eternally.