I feel bad for people that aren’t convinced in a “next world” or hereafter, as they call it. Where is their comfort when they lose a loved one? How do they understand anything that’s going on in the world now or throughout history? What do they have to look forward to?
The Next World puts all of life into perspective. After all, if God can do anything, and there isn’t a next world, He sure made a very flawed existence for us. Don’t get me wrong, there are awesomely beautiful and wonderful things about life from beginning to end: love, accomplishment, wisdom, Beethoven, Michelangelo, etc. But we could have done without all the war, ignorance, tyranny, and famine, Hitler, mosquitoes, Beevis and Butthead, etc.
We often see the hand of God at work in this world, but we also see injustice. It must be, if God is just, that another realm exists that recompenses the sufferers in this world, and does justice with the wrongdoers.
Here is what the great kabbalist Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto had to say about it:
The needs of the experience determines how God designs the environment, each environment according to its needs. The time of effort and striving for closeness to God has one set of criteria, in which we can find all the things needed for this effort, in other words there has to be an environment conducive to a struggle between the intellect or conscience and physical desires….And the place of reward should be completely different. The physical world confuses and hides the soul’s true connection to God. Therefore it’s fitting that the place for reward be a place where the soul is completely dominant.
Therefore God created two worlds: this world and the next. This realm is a world of natural laws, everything fitting for our spiritual struggle, the next realm is a world of spiritual laws, everything fitting for the pleasure of the reward.
The next world is not a side point; it is a crucial component of Monotheism. Ancient Bible scholars, sages and kabbalists referred to an afterlife. The Medrash and Talmud make many many references to the next world. It’s incontrovertible that throughout history it has been a cornerstone of Judeo-Christian belief. You can believe what you want. It’s a free country. But the Bible says there is a next world. There is an afterlife.
Not only for justice, but for our true reward. The real awesome experience of being one with God, which is the reward for doing good acts in this world, can only be experienced in a realm designed specifically for reward and closeness to the Infinite. This world is perfectly designed for challenges; the next world is perfectly designed for pleasure and delight with the Creator. That’s why there needs to be two realms. That’s why the world looks the way it does. There are poor people as a test and challenge for those with the money. Every aspect of this world is a test and a challenge. The next world is designed for its own purpose which is pure bliss.
When put in their proper perspective all of life’s difficulties become understandable. Not easy, not pleasant, but understandable. And as the great psychologists have said, when a person understands his/her suffering, the burden is alleviated greatly. We can still have tranquility of soul. We can still have peace of mind.
No matter what the difficulty, we can emerge with inner peace, and happiness.