Thesis #82 of 95 - The Christian's ultimate destiny is bodily resurrection as Joint-Consort to the King of Kings, not "Requiem Eternam"
Thesis #83 of 95 - There is to be a new Heaven AND a new earth where righteousness dwells
1Cor11:30 For this reason (disrespecting the Eucharist) many among you are weak and sick, and a number even asleep.
1Cor15:51-52 I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised!
Rom8:23 Also we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons and daughters, i.e., the redemption of our body!
2Cor5:2 In this tent we are groaning, longing to be clothed with our dwelling which is FROM heaven [Greek: ἐξ οὐρανοῦ]
2Pet3:13 According to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness has been established.
The essentials of these two related theses are summarized in the verses above. Firstly, that physical death, as depicted by Paul and others, is described as falling asleep and those who have died are regarded in Scripture as being asleep. It follows therefore that what departed souls are currently experiencing in the afterlife is a temporary situation. Just as in life, sleep is a transitory and confined state of being.
The Good News is there is to be life after life-after-death, and it shall be physical in nature – both in terms of individuals’ state of being and their environment. That is not speculation but the indisputable teaching of the bible. It was demonstrated by Christ Himself after His resurrection when he met and breakfasted with His disciples. And Paul describes Jesus in this context as the first-fruit of all who sleep (1Cor15:20).
THE SOURCE OF MANKIND’S PROBLEM WITH SIN
As I have been explaining, mankind’s problem resulting from the Fall is what Paul variously describes as our “vessel” (1Thes4:4), “tent” (2Cor5:2) “body of sin” (Rom6:6), or “body of this death” (Rom7:24). I tend to refer to this entity as our “procreated intellectual vessel”. “Procreated” to indicate its immediate and material origins and “intellectual” in that it incorporates the brain. As an earlier thesis explains, Paul’s teaching here is at the heart of what gospel salvation is for and seemingly has been misunderstood by virtually everyone. It is evident from the verse quoted from Rom8 that what Paul understands the Christian awaits so as to be adopted into God’s immediate family is the redemption of the body (v23).
Christians have traditionally understood the source of fallen mankind’s problem to be his “heart” and soul. In terms of the spiritual component’s origins, soul-creationists rightly understand that God implants our spiritual essence (that which survives physical death) within the embryo at or prior to birth. This accords with Paul and Peter’s vessel/tent language – the spiritual essence is the real us, the body and brain make up the vessel in which our eternal souls temporarily reside. That, no doubt is why Augustine came to reject soul-creationism. The implication in the context of his theology (largely adopted by the Western Church), is that man had been divinely provided with what is sin-ridden and then punished for possessing it. The alternative perspective (traducianism) is the extraordinary idea that the spiritual and eternal essence of man is derived from that which is material and temporal (sperm and ovaries). Soul-creationism (in the context of Western theology) is unavoidably God-maligning whilst traducianism is quite irrational. Both will have delighted Satan’s ears, for in the first case it depicts the Creator as perverse or hateful, and in both cases depicts man as rotten at his core.
Not so, writes Paul in Rom7:14-25 – at least, that will be seen to be the case once it is accepted that the apostle affirms man to be comprised of body, soul and spirit (cf. 1Thes5:23). Also, that his references to “flesh” literally mean flesh, not “sinful nature”. Likewise, his references to “mind” in that passage pertain not to the brain but to the moral outworking of the spirit or “inner man” (v22). The latter, Paul affirms in v20 is his true self – not his temporary vessel, but the eternal essence it houses which departs the body at death. That is itself an intellectual, memory-retraining entity (cf. Lk16:25). This contextualizes the inner mental conflict he is describing in Rom7 that results in two opposing laws or governing principles within his psyche (v23). And when the apostle speaks of “the law in my members” he is of course referring to the bodily senses as they are processed through the brain. That organ, wondrous as it is, is the ultimate, albeit temporal source of man’s problem with sin.
LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENT
2Cor5:2 when rightly translated affirms that the soul’s eternal dwelling is not “our heavenly home”, as in many bible versions, but that which is from heaven (ἐξ οὐρανοῦ), namely our resurrection body (the NASB rightly affirms this in its annotation). And as the apostle Peter (2Pet3:13) writes, the current earth is to be either renewed or replaced by another earth in which righteousness has been established” [Greek: κατοικεῖ]. It should be evident by now, even to non-premillennialists, that such cannot happen on this earth until Christ has returned.
This, like much else I have set out, will be alien to many. But unlike any theological system I am aware of, these interpretations are integrated within a cohesive synopsis of the whole bible in The Little Book of Providence. It is that intrinsic cohesion that, apart from the extraordinary experiences I have encountered, is the greatest evidence of the Holy Spirit’s enabling in this undertaking. For I know it to be far beyond anything I could possibly devise unaided.
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