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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Glenn Peoples – Is the Resurrection Necessary?

According to the New Testament, it’s the resurrection or nothing. There is no other way to have any existence after death. This means, among other things, that there is no conscious soul able to survive without a body.

Every Christian who takes a stance on the mind-body issue is going to have to live with the fact that there will be certain “problem texts” in the Bible that appear to conflict with the position they take. As a materialist,1 I think there is a very small number of such texts for a materialist view, and I think there are plausible explanations for all of them (for example Jesus’ words to the criminal on the cross Luke 23:43, or Paul’s expressed hope to depart and be with Christ). What one hopes to do is to settle on a view that has fewer problems than all others, and a view with problems that have an explanation in sight. 1 Corinthians 15 presents a problem for a dualistic view of human beings, and it is a problem that appears to have no solution.

To continue reading Glenn Peoples’ article, click here.

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Eric Watkins – Cain and Abel: More than Sibling Rivalry

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Heb. 11:4)

Few biblical stories are more intriguing and saddening than that of Cain and Abel—the Bible’s first scene of death, martyrdom, and sibling rivalry. The book of Hebrews mentions Abel twice, in 11:4 and in 12:24. For now, we will focus on the first of these two references, though the second is both profound and edifying. In Hebrews 11:4, we are given the first instance of an Old Testament hero of faith. Abel is the first “witness” to testify to the better things that God promised to the saints of old and has now fulfilled in these “last days” (v. 3) in Christ. It is important to remember that in the book of Hebrews, God has not simply spoken to the Old Testament saints, He has also spoken through them. Thus, revelation of the better things to come in Christ was something of which the Old Testament believers were not only recipients of, they were also participants in—participants in the drama of redemption that would climax in the person and work of Christ.

To continue reading Eric Watkins’ article, click here.

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Anthony Buzzard – What Happens When We Die? A Biblical View of Death and Resurrection

If contemporary secular society has retained a flicker of interest in any department of religion, it is surely in the question of life after death—if only to provide answers for inquiring youngsters. Faith in the reality of life beyond the grave seems to be faltering, since an article in the NOW magazine of December, 1979 quoted the astonishing statistic that 50% of those who claim to be Christians and churchgoing members of the Church of England do not believe in an afterlife! And yet, in New Testament terms, Christianity without a belief in the afterlife represents an absurd contradiction. Indeed, the tendency to doubt the future resurrection of the faithful called forth some of Paul’s most forceful words. To the church at Corinth he wrote:

First and foremost, I handed on to you the facts which had been imparted to me: that Christ died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures; that he was buried; that he was raised to life on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter] and afterwards to the Twelve. Then he appeared to James, and afterwards to all the apostles. In the end he appeared even to me…This is what we all proclaim, and this is what you believed. Now if this is what we proclaim, that Christ was raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there be no resurrection, then Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, then our gospel is null and void, and so is your faith; and we turn out to be lying witnesses for God, because we bore witness that he raised Christ to life, whereas, if the dead are not raised, he did not raise him. For if the dead are not raised, it follows that Christ was not raised; and if Christ was not raised, your faith has nothing in it and you are still in your old state of sin. It follows also that those who have died within Christ’s fellowship are utterly lost. If it is for this life only that Christ has given us hope, we of all men are most to be pitied (1 Cor. 15:3-8, 11-19, NEB).

To continue reading Anthony Buzzard’s book, click here

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Lex Meyer – A Forgotten Fundamental Belief

According to the book of Hebrews, the resurrection of the dead was considered to be one of the “elementary principles of Christ”, and was a foundational doctrine among First Century believers.

“Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits.” (Hebrews 6:1-3)

The writer of Hebrews seems to indicate that these things are so basic and fundamental that he did not see the need in “laying again the foundation”. Unfortunately, it seems that the doctrine of “the resurrection of the dead” is no longer a fundamental teaching among believers. Today, popular teachings about eternal life center around heaven, rather than the hope we have in the resurrection.

Nearly all Christians are aware of the resurrection of Yeshua, but they have little or no knowledge about their own resurrection. In fact, a great number of preachers and teachers have no understanding whatsoever about the resurrection of the dead, which is why they are incapable of teaching their congregations this elementary principle of Christ.

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Simon Turpin – How Do Some Among You Say There Is No Adam?

adam-and-eve

1 Corinthians 15: Adam and the Gospel

Introduction: Greek Philosophy and the Rejection of Adam

The Apostle Paul often found himself in a cultural context in which he had to deal with many objections to the Christian faith. In 1 Corinthians 15, for example, the Corinthian congregation was questioning the future resurrection of believers: “How do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Corinthians 15:12).

The Corinthians struggled with the idea of a bodily resurrection because it did not fit into their cultural worldview. The city of Corinth was permeated with Greek philosophy. The Greeks loved speculative philosophy and were proud of their intellect as they sought after and trusted in the “wisdom of men” (1 Corinthians 1:22, 2:5). In their own wisdom, some of the Corinthians rejected the resurrection from the dead because of the Greek idea of the immortality of the soul apart from the body. Many saw the body (matter) as corrupt and not worthy of any form of immortality, and therefore mocked the idea that it would be resurrected (Acts 17:32).

Two thousand years later, not much has changed. Just as the culture in Paul’s day was permeated with Greek philosophy, so it is today. The worldview that undergirds Darwinian evolutionary thought is essentially Greek at its core.1 Many Christians are still integrating Greek philosophy into Christianity; however we have just given it the name science rather than philosophy.

Whereas Paul specifically asked how the Corinthians could say there is no resurrection, today’s Christians must ask, “How do some among you say there is no Adam?” Because Greek thinking has been synthesized with biblical thinking, it is becoming increasingly popular among many evangelicals to reject a historical Adam.2 Theistic evolutionist Denis Lamoureux believes not only that Adam never existed, but also that this fact has no impact whatsoever on the foundational beliefs of Christianity. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 15:1–7 he states:

This is the Gospel as stated in the Bible, and there is no mention whatsoever of Adam and whether or not he existed. Christian faith is founded on Jesus, not Adam…We must also separate, and not conflate, the historical reality of Jesus and His death and bodily resurrection from the fact that Adam never existed.

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Wilhelmus a Brakel – The Efficacy and Benefit of Christ’s Resurrection

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In the third place we must consider the efficacy and benefits of the resurrection of Christ. This is most extraordinary, and therefore Paul was so desirous and continually occupied in reflecting upon the resurrection of Christ. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection” (Phil. 3:10).

The first fruit is justification. “But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:24–25). As long as the Surety still suffered and death had power over Him, the final penny had not as yet been paid. His conquering of the last enemy, death, and His triumphant appearance as being alive, were evidences that sin had been fully atoned for, the ransom had been paid, God’s justice had been satisfied (being satisfied with this atonement), and that thus the Surety was justified (1 Tim. 3:16). Consequently all God’s children have been reconciled in Him. There is not one sin, not even the least part thereof, for which satisfaction has not been made, and therefore they are free from all guilt and punishment. If someone senses the dreadfulness of guilt and punishment, views God as being provoked by sin so that there is no peace but only terror within the conscience (to such justification is most desirable), let him then turn about and by faith behold this Surety as having risen from the dead, which is the evidence of perfect satisfaction. Receive Him by faith who calls you and offers His fullness without price. Let such a person go to God and ask the Lord, while pleading upon the resurrection of Christ from the dead (1 Pet. 3:21), “Are not my sins punished? Has not my guilt been atoned for? Has not my Surety risen from the dead and thus entered into rest? Art not Thou my reconciled God and Father? Am I not at peace with Thee?” May such a person thus wrestle to apply all this to himself on the basis of the promises made to all who receive Christ by faith, until he experiences the power of Christ’s resurrection unto his justification and being at peace with God.

The second fruit is sanctification. The apostle demonstrates this in Romans 6:4–5, “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life, for if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection” (Rom. 6:5). The apostle emphasizes this also when he states, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Col. 2:13); “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above” (Col. 3:1). Even if believers may know themselves to be justified, they cannot find satisfaction in this. Their whole desire and life is to discern the image of God within themselves, to be conformed to that image, to thus be united to Him and to live in Him—that is their salvation. They cannot but find delight in knowing God, in loving Him, in fearing Him, in being subject to Him, and thus in thoughts, words, and deeds be in a spiritual frame which is fully and entirely in agreement with His will. Sin is therefore despicable to them: they abhor themselves: they are ashamed before God and inwardly sorrow over their deeds. How it would be their delight to be delivered from the sins which so grieve them! How this causes them to long for heaven, knowing that they will there behold God’s face in righteousness, being satisfied with His likeness when they awake (Ps. 17:15)! Oh, yield to this heartfelt desire and let it motivate you to be engaged in the way of holiness, for it is the Lord’s way to cause His children, while thus engaged in battle, to increase and proceed with joy in sanctification.

(1) View Christ’s resurrection as an example and a pattern. Christ arose in the morning. Accustom yourself to meditate upon Christ’s resurrection as you awake. Let every occurrence of waking up and arising out of bed stir you up to arise with Christ. Christ arose on the first day of the week . Therefore commemorate the resurrection of Christ on each Sabbath day and, uniting yourself with Him in the resurrection, let it be a renewed revival of your spiritual life. Christ departed from the grave , the place of the dead. You likewise must avoid (as much as your profession will suffer you to do so) familiar interaction with worldly and ungodly men. They are dead, they stink, and their stench is contagious. Christ left His burial garment behind in the grave. You likewise ought to hate the garment which has been polluted by the flesh. Leave all that is sinful behind in Sodom and Egypt, that is, in the grave, and depart from honor, goods, entertainment, and whatever belongs to the world. Christ appeared alive . Let your light therefore also shine and let everyone perceive that there is much distance between you and sinners. Show by your actions that you denounce whatever the world cleaves to. Manifest your love, humility, and heavenly–minded 54 life in the love and fear of God. Let the image of God and the likeness of Christ within you be manifested, doing all this not to be perceived by others as such, but to the glory of Christ, the conviction of the world, and the encouragement of the godly. The purpose of Christ’s association with men was only to convince His own of the veracity of His resurrection and to strengthen them. He also did so to the benefit of His church unto the end of the world, even though this lasted but forty days, after which He ascended into heaven. Let it likewise be the objective of your life to walk godly upon the earth in order that those who are acquainted with you may be convinced and encouraged. Let it also be a preparation for going to heaven itself.

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Dave Dunham – Hopelessness and the Denial of the Resurrection

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This fallen world sometimes falls on us. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with all that’s wrong in our world. Watch the news and you’ll be hit with one horror story after another, one heart-wrench tale after another. War, violence, oppression, terrorism, child endangerment, and death swirl around us. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Our own emotional, psychological, and relation pain runs even deeper. It can be tempting to surrender to despair some days. But to give in to hopelessness is to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ, for it His resurrection is the foundation of true and everlasting hope.

Peter makes the connection between the resurrection of Jesus and hope. He writes:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3)

Peter parallels a “living” hope with a living savior. Our hope is alive because our God is a live. Our hope is “living” because it comes “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” In other words, the resurrection changes everything.

In the resurrection we see a number of significant hope-giving events happening. First, Jesus overcomes our enemies. Death could not keep him in its grip (Acts 2:24). He conquered that enemy (1 Cor. 15:54-57; Rom. 6:9). In fact Revelation tells us He owns death now, the enemy has been made a servant of the King (Rev. 1:18). Grief and loss can be overwhelming emotions. To lose someone we love is easily one of the hardest experiences of our fallen world that we encounter, and yet we can find hope even in this: knowing that God rules over even death. The dead are not gone, not simply exterminated from existence; no, rather they are in the very presence of God himself.

He defeated the power of sin too. The resurrection tells us that sin “no longer has dominion” over us (Rom. 6:14). In Romans 6 Paul draws the parallels between Christ death and our death to sin, and Christ’s resurrection and our “newness of life.” We read:

6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:6-11)

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Michael Licona – When the Saints Go Marching In (Matthew 27:52-53): Historicity, Apocalyptic Symbol, and Biblical Inerrancy

by Michael R. Licona

Reports of the bizarre and unexplainable have been around for thousands of years. A decade ago, an evangelical wrote the following of Christian apologist James White, “I bid God’s blessing on him and His [sic.] work for the kingdom, praying that he will channel his considerable talent and zeal toward the more pressing need of defending Christianity against those who deny the fundamentals of the faith, not those who affirm them.”

What makes that statement so bizarre is the scholar who penned those words is Norman Geisler. Since the beginning of August, Dr. Geisler has made a big issue of the interpretation I proposed for a controversial text in Matthew’s Gospel, the text concerning the saints raised at Jesus’ death. From the beginning, I’ve refrained from participating with Dr. Geisler in what would amount to a circus on the internet while those outside the Church look on. Instead, I believe the most appropriate place to discuss the matter is within the academic arena. As a result, I asked the EPS leadership for permission to change my paper topic in order to address this issue. And I am grateful to them for allowing me to do so. I am also participating in a ‘virtual’ roundtable discussion on the matter in the Southeastern Theological Review, which should be published around the end of this year.

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Michael Boling – Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Sefirat HaOmer (The Early First Fruits)

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Feast of Sefirat HaOmer

20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. (I Corinthians 15:20-23)

23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24 Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain…32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:23-24, 32)

What significance does the Feast of Sefirat HaOmer have for us today? How can a largely agricultural celebration of the early harvest have any possible relevance in the life of the believer? As we alluded to at the end of the previous post, while arguably one of the more overlooked feasts of the Lord, Sefirat HaOmer is nonetheless pregnant with theological importance. So let’s get started looking at how Jesus fulfilled this feast.

The Apostle Paul noted in I Corinthians 15:20-23 that Jesus, haven been raised from the dead has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. Furthermore, in John 12:23-24, Jesus alludes to the idea of the Son of Man falling to the ground in like manner as a grain of wheat which dies, after words producing much grain, a picture of Jesus dying, being raised from the dead and then as noted in v. 32, drawing all peoples to himself. The key resides in this picture presented by both Jesus and Paul. Barney Kasdan rightly notes “the grain that had come from the earth was now lifted up high for all to see!”[1] The symbolism of the grain harvest being lifted up from the ground represents the resurrection of Christ from the grave. But wait, there’s more!

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