That Split Second Before Death

'death becomes her (10)' copyright Douglas W Jerving 2014

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That Split Second Before Death

Copyright © February 8, 2015 Douglas W. Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.

Bear with me in this. It is not just about philosophy.

What is the nature of eternity? We think of it only in relation to time, which is all that we know or understand. Time is a measurement of space in general relativity theory. It is the fourth dimension (a point on a graph shows height, length and depth, x,y and z). The same point can be graphed as traveling through time (w?) Still, we are constrained in our understanding to those four dimensions, and still have no experience beyond them.

It is entirely possible that eternity is as expansive as all of time as far as we can imagine it, and is therefore everlasting. It is also possible that time is as extensive as this very second drawn out infinitely, since the second can be broken down into infinitely smaller pieces of time. Thus eternity, from our limited view may be nothing more than the infinitely drawn out moment of present existence for any object within the time-space continuum.

Of course this is no consolation for ethical beings living within the constraints of such a universe. Either way eternity still lasts forever, whether eternally linear going forward or eternally dividing into itself.

Here lies the conundrum. Either direction time may be added or divided, yet it still equals eternity, particularly so if existence is linked to the xyz graph (that is to say, to our material existence) since xyz have no relevance apart from w. Our existence within space is a non-existent point until time is added to it, and time is inherent because without it there is no material existence. There is only a non-point, or nothing.

Without time nothing exists. But there is no such thing as nothing. As soon as you call it nothing it becomes the thing known as nothing. It is a theoretical concept that by our recognition becomes something. Idealist philosophy recognizes this becoming as mind, or logos. Being and becoming, etc. Therefore, in idealist philosophy ethics are inevitable. It becomes impossible to escape the concept that existence is ethical because existence implies the recognition of things or of no-things. Without recognition things or no-things are within themselves without relationship and therefore have no real existence. But of course we know that is nonsense because we are first aware of ourselves.

Descarte showed this to be true when he argued "I think. Therefore I am." The skeptic David Hume declared the opposite when he said that the thought was just a point on a graph in time that the next point in time might disprove. But Hume failed to account for the fact that any point in time is only understood by itsí relationship to other points in time as interpreted by mind. This again assumes the priority of the mind and therefore of ethics (which is the study of what the mind does with the data it is presented).

So once again we are confronted with the priority of the mind and ethics. Those are the a-priory points of idealism as opposed to materialist "realism" in all philosophical debates. They are as old as the Greek Thales, and as new as Alfred North Whitehead. It is the common theme of all philosophy; The argument of priority. Which is first? The mind or matter? Adams or atoms?

Strangely, both sides of the debate have ethical issues to face. The ethical issue of what happens when we die is on the table for the idealist. He knows he has to validate his existence because time equals a mindful eternity of Descartean "I Am"s. The materialist on the other hand has to answer why, if he is just a bunch of atoms, he is so busy thinking about them.

Why, in fact, is the materialist concerned with any matter (besides matter) at all? Or for that matter, why does even matter matter to the materialist?!!

Just for the sake of hugs and kisses, and to be nice to our atomic friends, letís return to that second of time in eternity we looked at earlier. I suggested that eternity could be discovered in even a second of time. In that second we all experience between life and death it is possible that the full weight of eternity may exist because the second is infinitely divisible. Since the mind is an a-prioric experience and therefore eternal, then it is possible that that individual mind, upon death, has a final opportunity before the second of death to change it's mind. I am not saying that such an event is probable; only that it is possible.

I think that the vast majority of mankind go to death's door and maintain their incorrigible position against God even when they are faced with the inevitable next second when they plunge head-long into eternity without God. Their rebellion against God even extends into death and they chose eternal separation from God even in that point in time when God or the devil is closest to them.

But in that horrific moment is it not also possible that the split second of eternity is enough time for a man to realize his error and repent of his sin? I hope that it is so. How many, dying in car crashes, or bullets, or suicides have in that split second of time not had the final opportunity to repent? To say "God, I cannot reverse this. But I am sorry. Have mercy on me and forgive me." And God in His grace receives them, at that last moment into His arms!

How many whom we have loved and prayed for, and witnessed to, yet seemed in the end of their lives to have gone, by our earthly estimation, outside of the grace of God into an eternity without Him? Yet we do not know, and will not know until the final day, that God may have met them in that split second and turned their hearts to Him. We don't know. Yet.

We will know some day.

Hebrews 9:27
"And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment"


Doug Jerving is the publisher of the You may contact him at


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