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David Layman
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Mr. Ballor: Thanks for the pointer.
Your final comment is so worded to imply that anyone advocating a non-dualist understanding of body-soul is holding questionable theology. I didn't realize that either shamanistic or Platonic ideas of immaterial souls were part of the Christian canon, or that dualism was required by the defining creeds and confessions of Christianity. (I teach a unit on "self" in intro philosophy every semester, so I know the problems involved.) On the major issue: I think one must distinguish between the OT and the NT usage here. While not a Hebrew scholar, I think "one like a man (not, 'human')" is defensible in Daniel. However, the technical quality of "Son of Man" as it applies to Jesus ought to be preserved. The connection can be explained in footnotes.
Having agreed with Mr. Srigley, now I must dissent. I know of no biblical or creedal reason to claim that "at the moment of conception a human being is created with an eternal existence which God will not destroy [emphasis added]." I would hold that this is a philosophical concept of immortality, not biblical, and questionable for number of reasons outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy. Humans were created with the potential for eternal life, but lost it in the fall. Now only a regenerate man must live forever (due to the supernatural life implanted him by regeneration). This agrees with Mr. Srigley's comment that "God cannot revoke 'eternal life' as regards any of His redeemed." Whether an unregenerate man simply "disintegrates," or God rejoins the sinner's body and soul, which is then punished eternally, I do not have an opinion. I.e., apart from the apparent teaching of Christ and the rest of the NT on eternal punishment, I do not know how we would know that God must preserve the soul of every human who ever lived. It might follow from the NT that he does, but that is a separate issue.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2011 on Bell & Hell at Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments
Two other quick points: In support of Mr Srigley, and continuing with his reference to C. S. Lewis: I assume most of the readers have read The Great Divorce, in which Lewis gives his version of purgatory. As Lewis hints at, our sense of time and God's sense of eternity is utterly different. It may well be that "purgatory," or Mr. Srigley's "encounter with the Savior," takes place in that infinitesimal moment before the brain flatlines. In that (literally) "split" second, our human consciousness encounters a just and holy God and makes its decision. What the brain knows as a "split second," human consciousness, elevated by its proximity to eternity, might experience as a temporally extended reality. Secondly, I remind everyone of Romans 2:15-16, in which Paul clearly says that "on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ" every man, Jew or Gentile, will judge himself in accordance with Torah/Law, "their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them (NIV)." "Bearing witness" is summartureo, "to witness with, in addition to". That implies to me that "divine judgment" is the act of human consciousness (conscience) acknowledging either submission to or rebellion against God, as (as Lewis suggests) the penultimate expression of a lifetime of decisions.
Toggle Commented Apr 22, 2011 on Bell & Hell at Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments
Edits to the previous post: Obviously, I meant "heaven father" in the second paragraphs, not "fathers." And I only intended the second sentence of the final paragraph to be italicized.
Mr. Walker: You might be able to make that case in the Lukan version (6:27-31), for there it is preceded (v. 27) directly by the teaching to "Love your enemies," etc. But the Matthean version is more homiletically more awkward. In Matt. 7:7, we have "seek and you shall find." Vv. 9-11 uses the human analogy of earthly fathers, to say: if human fathers give good gifts, "how much more" will our heavenly father give us good gifts. So the meaning of vv. 7-11 seems to be: always keep asking for good things, since our heavenly fathers intends and wills to give us such gifts. We then have your text, "So in everything, do...." This implies that since our heavenly father is one who always gives good gifts, therefore we must do to others, as we want them to do to us. The previous admonition to keep asking, and promise of divine answer, is the ground on we stand when we "do to others". "Doing to others" is a form of prayer by which we seek our heavenly father to return such deeds to us, through the agency of the other.
Question: Apart from the church, how do you know who or what Jesus is? How can one have a relationship with Jesus without also have a relationship with his body, the church?
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Jul 27, 2010