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September 28, 2013

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Fossils and the End of Mortality

by Jim

OMSI Paleontology Lab
This is the Paleontology Lab at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and is my “Mortality” entry for the World Wide Panorama project.

(Click here to view the interactive picture in a new tab.)

This is the paleontology lab at OMSI — the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. OMSI exhibits include both natural science and technology, and they offer many educational opportunities. The paleontology lab showcases work on real fossil excavation, as well as the fossils themselves.

Fossils remind us that mortality has been around for as long as life itself, yet fossils also illustrate immortality. In a sense, these animals continue to exist, almost as humans persist as statues. But there is a big difference: fossils are not just representations of animals — they are the animals themselves, only now with slower and simpler chemistry. For what has really changed about them? Is there any real difference between chemical reactions that are fast and complex, and those that are slow and simple? Is there any real difference between life and death?

Of course! There is far more to life than fancy chemistry, and even more to humanity than natural life. This truth is the beginning of the end of mortality, for mortality itself has an end. The spark that makes us uniquely human exists beyond mortality, although flickering because of this world’s darkness. But what we physically sense is not all of reality, and with open eyes we can see a path beyond. There is one who defeated death, and because of that he is a door onto this path of light, and is himself a pure light into eternity. Christ is the end of mortality.

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