There is life after death, an eternal life. Divine Principle explains clearly that there are three stages to human life: in the womb, on the earth, and in the spirit world. Life in the spirit world is our destiny; there we find our eternal home.
But what kind of eternal life will it be?
A new publication, Eternal Life in the Spirit World, which I co-authored with the late Dr. Dietrich Seidel, discusses what we know about the spiritual realm starting with the thoughts of the Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle, and their influence on contemporary understanding.
We continue with more recent sources, including Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Dr. Sang Hun Lee, as well as reports from those who had near-death experiences, which all serve to make the spiritual realm seem much more substantial.
If the theoretical sections and testimonies are not enough to convince you of the reality of the afterlife, the inclusion of several heartwarming “letters” between Dietrich, now in the spirit world, and Elisabeth, his beloved wife on earth, surely will.
Writings of this kind enlighten our understanding and, for the most part, provide hope that death is nothing to fear and that our eternal life holds the promise of great joy. However, we must prepare well while we still have our physical bodies so as to realize such a happy state. Otherwise we may enter a prolonged period of suffering and regret.
We can imagine that people would live their lives differently if they knew that there was an eternity awaiting their spirit after their body dies. But how differently?
For example, the late renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, chose science over religion as his way to discover all there is to know about the universe. He believed the simplest explanation is that there is no God who created the universe and, likening the brain to a computer, there is no afterlife for the worn-out body which stops working when its components fail.
Hawking is a special case, having been diagnosed with ALS and given only two years to live. He outlived his diagnosis by more than 50 years and gratefully lived his life to its fullest, using his intellect to push the boundaries of our understanding of the universe and benefit humankind. But given his words, it appears he did not consciously prepare for eternal life. How should we prepare for our eternal life?
The following excerpts from the section on “Preparation for Life in the Spiritual Realm,” based on lectures given by Dr. Seidel, give some insights into how we might prepare:
One is to see our physical lives as a school of love and that the atmosphere in the spiritual world is an atmosphere of love. The metaphor to describe the world of spirit is that we are entering a loving atmosphere. The more we are ready to give love and receive love the more comfortable we feel. If we lived very selfish lives here, then we feel separated from that loving atmosphere, or we feel judged by this vibration of perfect or true love.
The point is always to live up to certain values and standards in our spiritual life which can allow genuine growth, that we would constantly develop, constantly mature, and not be distracted by emotions which are destructive, which are against the law of love. We have pointers from all the faith traditions to the same spiritual laws, and they help us in this world to stimulate the maturation of our spirit.
The law of restitution has to do with repayment of any debt which we incur in this physical life; not just monetary debt, but a debt of having hurt someone, having caused grief or pain to others. That spiritual debt is much more delicate to handle and it needs a special condition. It needs forgiveness, it needs an apology, it needs that ability to say I’m sorry and really humbling ourselves, and overcoming the pride that usually stands in the way of forgiveness. We are always called to make amends for whatever wrong happened. If we can be successful in that area then we will not go to the spiritual world with debt.
Those who commit crimes on this earth, they feel earth-bound because their spirit is not free to move in the spirit world. They want to stay right where they committed their crime, because they realize they need to pay back something; they need to make a condition to be liberated from the effects of their bad deed. Earth-bound spirits are not free to go on to better places in the spirit world, but they have to stay back and have to work out their situation within an earth-bound state. They stay in an atmosphere that is like them. We attract the atmosphere where we are with our own spirit. The criminals stay with the criminals, and those that want to be loving and giving are attracted to similar people. It is a very simple law, a law of attraction.
… if an accident happens, the person may not be bad but there is a shock at suddenly being out of their body, and they don’t even recognize that they died. It takes them a while to realize where they are, and that they started a new life as a spirit and their physical body is dead. They need a certain time to develop their adjustment to their new life.
These laws are universal, they apply to all religious traditions. They are very simple laws and they are attested in many scriptures. We will not be asked what denomination or religion we are, but how much could you love, how much could you be truthful to your own teaching, whatever that is. It is the living out of ideals and values that determines our place in the spiritual world.
Dietrich and Elisabeth Seidel at the Grand Canyon.
Later chapters in the book elaborate further on life in the spirit world, and its relationship to life on earth. Our conclusion is that our ultimate destiny is to realize true love, first on earth and then in the eternal spiritual realm. Dietrich’s life is a testimony to the realization of such love. He and his wife, Elisabeth, were married for 40 years and through those years and struggles, they became each other’s eternal beloved partner. Dietrich’s passing in November 2016 was not the end of their love story. Since then, Elisabeth has received several communications through a medium in Vienna, with messages from Dietrich (or Dieter as he is known in Austria):
My Dear Sister Elisabeth,
Today was a very beautiful day together with you in the City of Eisenstadt. Although the weather managed to reach 40 ͦ C it was very precious to have time in the castle grounds and the city. I wished to share with you something that graces a medium’s life and empowers the life of the other.
During our lunch you could really pour out your heart, sharing a lot of things that you and your children carry from the time you had with Dieter before he left us. Dieter is never far from you and as you spoke he too wished to embrace you all and take all these heavy feelings and memories away. He listened very carefully to all that you shared, holding your hand and knowing how important it is that you share and free your heart. He spoke then saying, “It’s alright now, I’m free. I wish that you hadn’t had to experience all those things and make your heart heavy. Now all that is gone, move forward, forget it, let’s go on.” He kneeled down before you and placed his head on your lap, put his arms around your waist and rested.
Dieter is very curious and as a professor interested in what young people are doing. My daughters sang at a wedding in Vienna. Dieter was very inspired by the words of the song “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri. This song he sends to you with his love and gratitude for your life together.
The last time we were together you asked me if I could find out what Dieter was doing, if he had a mission and how best you can support him.
So, last night I dreamt of Dieter, he was at a desk, books piled up and some in the middle of the desk opened and laid one upon the other. The book that was on the top, opened up had the same lilac color on the cover as the book you recently published.
For me it seems like you are already helping him very much in publishing the books. He is a seeker and continues in the afterlife.
This medium also received a message from Dietrich for his daughter, Diesa. It is filled with the love he shared with her in his time on earth:
My beloved daughter Diesa,
I am so happy. I waited for you to come, to hear your voice, like music to my ears. My heart became full and tears flowing like a waterfall, my chest heaving. I hold you, embrace you, take your hands and we spin around and around and around. I don’t see anything except my daughter. We begin to take flight, up and up. I want to show you things, where I am, what it’s like, all the beautiful things that I see all the time, things you can’t imagine. The spinning slows down, we land softly on the ground. I let go of you, it’s like watching you begin to walk again, carefully then always faster. I am always there, to steady you, keep a balance with your wild love for life. Hold my hands, don’t lose eye contact with me. I will teach you how to fly.
This book may not answer all questions about the afterlife, but it provides an easy to follow introduction to contemporary thought on this significant topic, one that can be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in the spirit world.♦
Dr. Dietrich F. Seidel (1943-2016; UTS Class of 1977) received his Ph.D. in theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto. He taught theology and related subjects for 12 years at Unification Theological Seminary. His publications may be found here.
Dr. Jennifer P. Tanabe earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Edinburgh. She has served on the faculty and in various administrative capacities at UTS, and is the author of The Ideal Family To Be or Not To Be: Testimonies of a Life of Faith – A Biography of David S.C. Kim and Contemplating Unification Thought.