Life and Death
Two trillion years from now the last remaining embers of our once vibrant universe will be dim galaxies containing only a few burning stars radiating out into an empty universe. The universe will appear empty of other galaxies because all of them will have expanded past their ability of light to reach each other (Krauss 2012). In effect the universe breaks up into ever smaller parts as it fades away.
So is that the end of existence forever? Probably not. The universe is most likely a part of some eternal cycle meaning something in this universe must be feeding back into the eternal divine substrate to prepare it to trigger another creation. This something is probably conscious experiences, specifically those which build connection, balance, and growth because those are the underlying principles of the universe.
(Image from Wikimedia commons)
The Universe is Structured Just Right for the Evolution of Conscious Beings so They Must Be Important in the Eternal Cycle
The mathematical equations of modern day physics have about twenty arbitrary numbers which relate one physical property to another. As an example, one of these numbers relates the strength of the force of gravity to mass. All these numbers are determined by experiment and are thought to be unchangeable. Consequently, they are called physical constants. These physical constants turn out to be just right for the development of conscious life. For example:
- If the ratios of the physical constants which define the strength of the electromagnetic force relative to the strong force were different by more than 1% then carbon which makes up all life could not be synthesized in dying stars. (The strong force holds the positively charged protons together in the nucleus of atoms.) (Davies, page 138)
- If gravity were twice as strong then stars like our sun would last only 100 million years because they would burn hotter and faster compared to its existing lifetime of 10 billion years. This would not give life enough time to evolve. (Davies, page 143)
- If the electromagnetic force was not almost exactly 1040 times stronger than the force of gravity then planets would not form because supernovas would not be able to make the elements heavier than iron.
- If the constants governing the percentage of dark energy was just an extremely small fraction greater (1 divided by 119 times 10) it would have prevented galaxies from forming. If this were random it would be equivalent to getting heads in a coin toss 400 times in a row, an extremely low probability (Davies, page 149). The matter of the universe is divided into three types. Dark energy makes up 68.3% of all matter. The equally mysterious dark matter makes up 26.8% and it exists around all the galaxies. The visible known matter of physics (electrons, protons, neutrons, quarks, etc) makes up only 4.9%. ( Planck Team published in 2013). Normal matter is only the tip of the iceberg.
Some have proposed that our universe is a part of a multi-verse which creates these constants at random and we just happen to live in a universe which works. If this were true then Nature is very wasteful needing to create a huge number of universes before one was created which was suitable for life. No other piece of evidence indicates that nature is wasteful. This model also does not explain the inherent structure of the universe like why it needs only twenty physical constants and not more or less. If the structure needs to be innate then so can the physical constant values.
Davies, P.C.W. (1979) The Forces of Nature. Cambridge University Press
Krauss, Lawrence, M. (2012) A Universe from Nothing. Simon and Schuster
But this soul labeling is what uniquely identifies souls so while an infinite number of souls can be stored they will no longer be unique individuals. They will be merged together like the Borg in Star Trek.
What Happens to Soul After Death
Our collection of conscious experiences defines our souls. Most likely they continue on after death because not being based upon physical energy they have no way to decay. Instead they sleep because without a material brain no method exists to activate their conscious impressions. Yet possibly they could act as reactive storage batteries which respond when emotionally pinged by living beings tuned into their consciousness.
After that we are faced with two possibilities, either souls are reincarnated in an eternal cycle or they are stored for eternity. The first choice allows for a finite number of uniquely identifiable souls while the second ends up with souls losing their unique identities.
Most nature spiritual people and Druids come down on the side of reincarnation viewing life as a learning process. Souls having emotional memories of connection, balance, and growth will be progressively reincarnated into creatures having ever greater conscious experiences, powers, and responsibilities. In contrast Christians think souls go to heaven and are stored there for eternity. This means all those souls are merged together and lose their individuality.