Peter Grice – The Neglected Doctrines of Resurrection and Bodily Transformation

Today in Protestant circles we still hear a lot about the immortality of the soul, despite this doctrine being passionately rejected by Martin Luther 500 years ago. But we rarely hear of the immortality of the body, an important feature of resurrection, nor do we even hear that much about resurrection in general! Will all rise physically from the dead, like Jesus did—or only the saved? And if all rise in physical bodies, will the bodies of all be fitted with immortality, never to die again — or only those of the saved?

These kinds of questions are essential for assessing any doctrine of salvation and damnation, and yet they are often absent from the hell debate, and from broader discussion. Both heaven and hell are widely seen as ethereal destinations, to be arrived at immediately upon dying. But this truncated version of the biblical schedule of events renders resurrection and final judgment superfluous, even incoherent. Why were the unsaved sent straight to hell before Judgment Day, the very point at which they will be sentenced to hell? And if the saved and the unsaved already reside in the place where they’ll spend eternity, why bring them out? If they are brought out in resurrection, only to be shortly sent back there but this time in a physical form, how can those realms be suited to both physical and nonphysical habitation?

To continue reading Peter Grice’s article, click here.

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Nick Batzig – The Judgment-Mercy of God

Whenever some particular natural disaster occurs – e.g. an earthquake, hurricane, Tsunami, etc. – a segment of Christians vocalize their opinion that the particular disaster was God’s specific judgment on a specific people for a specifically egregious sin. As soon as these opinions air they are jettisoned by a floodwater of retaliatory and equally impetuous statements of antipathy and contempt towards those who have spoken them. As opinions are brandished, indecisive bystanders feel compelled to choose between one of two polarized options–namely, that they must either (1) conclude that God sends every catastrophic natural disaster as a judgment on men and women for their wickedness, or (2) conclude that God would never does any such thing. There is a more theologically nuanced answer to this issue. We must acknowledge that the Scripture speaks to this issue, and that it does so in a multi-variegated manner. So what exactly does the Scripture teach about natural catastrophes and their relation to personal or communal sin?

From Where Do Disasters Come?

It’s interesting to note that even many of those who reject the Bible’s authority–and who sneer at those who appeal to it’s teaching on this subject–nevertheless tend to personify nature when natural disasters strike. This is, no doubt, due to the sensus divinitatis. There is, in every fallen image bearer, a remnant of a principle of justice–or of personal governance–at work in their conscience. All men know that there is a Creator – even though they constantly seek to suppress the truth about Him (Rom. 1:18-32). Instead of acknowledging God the Father as the ultimate efficient cause of all things – guiding all things for His own purposes – they attribute the efficient cause to “Mother Nature.” Secular commentators frequently employ such personification phraseology as, “Mother Nature is really upset” or “Mother Nature protects.” While unbelievers attribute the cause of natural disasters to “Mother Nature,” Scripture everywhere tells us that God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is sovereignly exercising His eternal will and power over all things.

To continue reading Nick Batzig’s article, click here.

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Mike Leake – Why Denying Future Judgement Undercuts the Call of Lady Wisdom

In college, I had an English Literature professor who posited a hypothetical question to get us thinking. “What would God do if the devil in hell repented?” he asked. That question would then extend a bit further out—surely we cannot doubt God’s ability or desire to forgive repenting souls after life. I heard something similar a few years later in the writings of Rob Bell:

And so space is created in this “who would doubt God’s ability to do that?” perspective for all kinds of people—fifteen-year-old atheists, people from other religions, and people who rejected Jesus because the only Jesus they ever saw was an oppressive figure who did anything but show God’s love. (Bell, Love Wins)

The problem, though, with Bell’s hypothesis and my English professors question is that it misunderstands the reason for folks being in hell in the first place. It creates an imaginary scenario where somebody would have gladly repented on earth if given the proper circumstances. What it inevitably ends up doing is putting the blame at the feet of God.

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D. A. Carson – Are You Sure You Want God’s Justice?

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When we suffer, which we will, there will often be mystery. Will there also be faith?

In Christian thought, faith is never naïve or gullible, but rather relies on the strength of its object. Faith that depends on a God who is a cruel tyrant or cheap trickster will be bitterly disappointed in the end.

When Christians think seriously about evil and suffering, one of the paramount reasons we’re certain God can be trusted is because he sent his Son to suffer in our place. The One for whom we live knows what suffering is about—not merely in the way he knows everything, but by experience.

When we’re convinced we’re suffering unjustly, however, we may cry out for justice. We want God to be just and exonerate us immediately; we want God to be fair and mete out suffering immediately to those who deserve it.

We Make Assumptions

The trouble with such justice and fairness, though, is that, if it were truly just and truly fair and as prompt as we demand, we would soon be begging for mercy, for love, for forgiveness — for anything but justice. For very often what I really mean when I ask for justice is implicitly circumscribed by three assumptions, assumptions not always recognized:

1. I want this justice to be dispensed immediately.
2. I want justice in this instance, but not necessarily in every instance.
3. I presuppose that in this instance I have grasped the situation correctly.

We need to examine these three assumptions. First, the Bible assures us that God is a just God, and that justice will be done in the end, and will be seen to be done. But when we urgently plead for justice, we usually mean something more than that. We mean we want vindication now! Second, to ask for such instantaneous justice in every instance is inconceivable: it would too often find me on the wrong side, too often find me implicitly inviting my own condemnation. But justice instantaneously applied only when it favors me is not justice at all. Selective justice that favors one individual above another is simply another name for corruption. And no one wants a corrupt God. And third, when I plead so passionately for justice, it’s usually because I think I understand the situation pretty well. I wouldn’t be quite so crass as actually to say I need to explain it to God, but that is pretty close to the way I act.

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