Theology: March 2005 Archives

One Hand Clapping and JollyBlogger are disagreeing on what the intermediate state is like for believers. Donald argues that we are not Cartesian souls encamped within bodies but body-soul unities, and thus when we're unbodied we won't really exist for a time until the resurrection. David argues that we will be fully conscious in the intermediate state, awaiting resurrection. I disagree with both of them. What seems to be the best way to take all the biblical data is to see the intermediate state as a genuine state with some level of consciousness but not with anything like the kind of consciousness we have in our embodies state. It's hard to get any sense of what level or kind of consciousness this will be without making interpretive decisions on which passages one takes as primary, and I'm not going to do that here. My main point is to argue for something in between the views of David and Donald.

I think this is one of those issues where each view has some scripture that seems to contradict it. I'm not going to deal with the details of any passage, though if people want to raise details in the comments, I'll be happy to engage with those then. Donald raised a number of linguistic and cultural issues that I also don't want to deal heavily with. That's also fair game in comments. I wanted to focus this post on two issues.

The Nature of Wrath

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(I can't think of a better time to start posting again about my model of the Atonement than Easter, so here goes...)

The Father pours out His wrath upon the Son on Good Friday.

This statement, while accepted by most evangelicals as true, is very disturbing until we have a clear understanding of the nature and purpose of wrath. If wrath is seen as an expression of hostility and hatred, then the Cross must be seen as an event of hostility of the Father against the Son. Such a Trinitarian dynamic is contrary to all orthodox Trinitarian thought and must be rejected, for Trinitarian theology asserts that the Father is ever and always acting in love toward the Son.

Therefore, the wrath that the Father pours out upon the Son on the Cross must be an expression of the Father's love for the Son.

Rebecca is posting about environmental issues. Regarding our relationship to the earth, she says:

The earth belongs to the Lord, of course, but he's chosen to give human beings rulership over the plants, the animals, and the rest of the earth's resources. God told Adam and Eve to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:27), and we inherit that command. The idea of subduing the earth, in context, is that of managing the created order to our advantage, or harnessing it's potential for our continued benefit. We need what the earth has to offer us, and God have given us the authority and the responsibility to use the earth's many gifts as we see fit.

I disagree. In particular, I disagree with this statement: "The idea of subduing the earth, in context, is that of managing the created order to our advantage, or harnessing it's potential for our continued benefit." Basically, I don't think that the subduing the earth is primarily for our advantage or benefit. As Rebecca, rightly points out, "The earth belongs to the Lord". Therefore, our subduing the earth should be primarily for His benefit. We are stewards of His property; we are to manage it for His sake, not ours.

Allthings2all has put together The Science and Christianity Showcase, an excellent collection of posts from Christian bloggers about the relation between science and Christianity, excluding anything on creation and evolution at least partly because a recent Apologetics Carnival dealt with that subject (but I get the sense it's also because all these other issues tend to get sidelined by creation/evolution whenever the topic of Christianity and science comes up). Since there was no expectation that submissions should be recent posts, I submitted my All Creation Groans from almost a year ago. Three posts struck me as worth highlighting:

Sun and Shield has a nice overview of the main themes throughout scripture on the use of our abilities to make things and to explore and learn about God's cration, thus providing a basic biblical theology of science and technology. As with anything good, people can use it as an instrumental bad, and he spends some time listing some ways that can happen, with examples of each from the biblical record.

Blogotional develops some of the same themes, focusing in on the value of science for the Christian as a way to explore what God has done.

A Physicist's Perspective also covers some of the same ground. One intriguing argument in his post is that what we do in science is something God commanded Adam to do before the fall. He also emphasizes the rationality of the world and the God who made it, which encourages us to use science as a rational means of understanding it.

wacky search of the day: ralph nader preterist

ridiculously exaggerated search of the day: 1000 reasons why premarital sex is bad

Both of those were actually yesterday, but that's when I put most of this post together.

Dory at Wittenberg Gate takes on old-earthers in one of the best presentations of the difficulties with old earth interpretations of Genesis that I've ever seen. I respect Dory greatly, and I think she's got one of the best Christian blogs out there. I have to disagree extremely strongly with her on this issue, though. It seems to me that her normally careful argumentation just isn't present in this post. She argues that the Bible seems to present death as a consequence of the fall, and the old-earth view seems to require death before the fall. I'm not 100% sure of either of those claims, but it's the hardest argument for the old-earth view to deal with. She also presents problems with two of the common views of making Genesis 1:1-2:3 fit a long time frame, but those two views don't seem to me to be the primary views Genesis scholars have. They view those strategies to be just as out of touch with the literary structure of the passage as the 24-hour day view is. Finally, she says an old-earth view threatens the foundations of the gospel, and it's here that I'm really worried about what she's saying, though it's consistent with what she says that she isn't accusing anyone of denying the gospel.



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