David Owen, “The Afterlife: Cutting Back”

david-owen-the-afterlife-cutting-back“. . .Keeping murderers and warmakers submerged in boiling blood, for example, is manageable in the near term but cannot be sustained for all eternity, since the energy expenditure required to heat blood forever will eventually constrain even Our ability to undertake other desirable projects, such as the continuance of the universe as a whole. We face a similar energy crisis with regard to evil counsellors, whom We have promised to incinerate everlastingly; with regard to blasphemers, sodomites, usurers, and doers of violence against Us, who must be tortured without end on heated sand; and with regard to Count Ugolino, Archbishop Ruggieri, and others who are permanently frozen in ice. The avaricious could conceivably be put to work ceaselessly twisting the heads of diviners and fortune-tellers, or keeping flatterers covered with filth, or cladding hypocrites in leaden mantles, but not even We can unwrite the terms of Our own first law of thermodynamics.” [. . .]    –David Owen, The New Yorker, January 7, 2008

Contributed by Patrick Molloy