As terrestrial beings we are the result of a “genetic crapshoot” by our parents (which includes ovarian cycles and a swimming competition between millions of sperm). I am sure there are times all we wish we had been born as someone else—who is perhaps better looking than us, has more wealth, better hair, more fame and friends, exceptional talent, has a more perfect spouse or enjoys better luck.
According to scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg we can indeed become whoever we want to be. We can even have eternal life. However, the caveat to this wonderful news is that our success at becoming who we really want to be will not become fully apparent to us or anyone else until we enter the spiritual world. Swedenborg claimed that while we live in a physical world with physical bodies we have complete control over what we like most and how we choose to judge things. So while on earth we are continuously molding our inner spirits to be exactly what we want them to be. If you contemplate this for a moment you will see that what you love and how you think is your true spirit and inner identity (otherwise, how would you preserve your unique personality in the hereafter?).
Neuroscience is gradually discovering the importance of feeling to cognitive function. Our feelings (volitional leanings) not only focus our attention to the things in the world that most capture our interests but they actually organize this material into a real-structured and coherent belief or value system. What Swedenborg brings to the table is that this formation of heart (will) and mind (intellect) represents the living structure or bio-complexity of our spiritual bodies. It represents the very fabric of our being.
These inner or rarefied bodies are not only adapted to function in the non-physical realm of the spiritual world but they are perfectly tailored (by us) to take us to that part of the spiritual world which most reverberates with the qualities and choices we have adopted in life. So in the spiritual world we become exactly who we really are!
This outcome can be heavenly or hellish. The purpose of God’s religion is to provide a guide or manual to help us make the proper choices in order to enjoy the happiness of the former. So, do an honest inventory of your heart and mind. Determine what it is that you want and “treasure” most, then compare those things with what God wants most from us.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
I explore this important topic in great detail in my new book Proving God.