There is life AFTER life-after-death
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).


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.


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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Thesis #81 of 95 - There are verses in the bible that hint of absolute universalism. Given that the wicked shall undoubtedly receive post-mortem punishment, the matter should have no impact on one's conduct or life choices.


1Tim4:10 [NASB] – We have set our hope on the living God, who is the Saviour of all mankind, especially of believers.

Rom7:23-25 I see another law in my (bodily) members, warring against the law of my (spiritual) mind bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of THIS death? Thanks be to God, (it is) through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I in my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.

Rom8:20-21 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it,  in hope  that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 

1Pet4:6 [KJV] For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.


Many Christians, not least those of my former ilk, have problems with the verses I have quoted, particularly the one from Paul’s letter to Timothy concerning God being the Saviour of all mankind ESPECIALLY of those who believe. It appears to undermine their raison d’être, indeed the very purpose of the gospel as they understand it. As a former Evangelical myself I remember questioning my pastor about the verse. I was assured that theologians were working on the matter; the matter being the meaning of “μάλιστα” rightly translated as I have quoted from the NASB as “especially”. Presumably, these theologians are still working on it for “μάλιστα” is “μάλιστα” – it can only be translated as “especially” or some very similar synonym/phrase such as “chiefly” or “most of all”. It cannot be translated as “specifically”, “exclusively” or “that is” which is what most would have expected Paul to have written in this context. The Greek word’s usage can be verified by examining every occurrence of μάλιστα in the New Testament on bible hub and noting that in all cases it can only sensibly mean what has just been stated.

Other attempts to explain this verse in the context of traditional binary soteriology include the notion that Paul is referring on the one hand to human life and on the other to a soul’s eternal destiny. The problem is that whilst God certainly sustains all life, He does not in any sense save everybody from the disasters of life, even from an early grave. A significant proportion historically have through no fault of their own or their parents failed to survive infancy. Paul must therefore be referring to people’s eternal estate. For, after all, why did God create man in His own image in the first place? It was surely that as the pinnacle of His creation along with the angels, we should come to know Him, worship Him and enjoy Him – if not in this life, then in that which follows.

Others argue that Paul meant that God is the only One who can save anyone. But read the verse through again – “μάλιστα” (=especially) simply cannot be made to fit that meaning. Others again (μάλιστα😊 Arminian Evangelicals) say Paul is making the point that Christ’s atonement was unlimited – He died for all. He did, but, as they would agree, only those who come to know Him as their personal Saviour are saved in the gospel sense. So again, μάλιστα” cannot be made to fit the bill.

No, either Paul is being dangerously clumsy with his wording, or he is theologically unsound (in which case we cannot really trust his teaching at all) OR he means exactly what he writes. That is effectively that there is salvation and there is SALVATION – which is precisely the case I have been making throughout. My other quotation from Romans 7 indicates how this comes about, but only when that passage is taken literally (e.g., “flesh”= bodily flesh, not “sinful nature”). As I have been explaining, the central soteriological problem he identifies in that chapter is “the body of this death”. That is, the procreated intellectual vessel in which (from a  soul-creationist perspective) the God-given spirit temporarily resides.

The result is that whilst our “inner man”/”heart”/spiritual essence/conscience  inclines us to do what Paul affirms elsewhere fulfils both the spirit and summation of God’s Law (treating others as we would ourselves – Rom13:9), we tend to act more selfishly in view of the “different law in the bodily members” (Rom7:23), i.e. the opposing impulses of the bodily senses as they are processed through the brain. So, asks Paul, who alone can deliver us from the body of this death such that we are consistently enabled to overcome our fleshly instincts?  It is our Saviour God through Jesus Christ (v25).

Thus, only the Christian can be saved from the corrupting influence of the procreated intellectual vessel whilst the soul and spirit inhabit it. In Paul’s language, only the Christian “can possess his own vessel in sanctity and honour” (1Thes4:4). The remedy for the rest is more drastic – physical death when body and brain are buried or incinerated. But except they die in infancy, their souls will have been tainted, potentially poisoned and corrupted by the lives they have lived in mortal flesh. As covered in the previous thesis, that could require what Jesus described as “salting in fire” before the soul can rest in heaven prior to bodily resurrection within “the new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells” (2Pet3:13).

As should also be evident from the previous thesis, my endeavour has been to outline a vastly broader benign providence than traditional bible-based Christianity has previously envisaged, not to make the case for absolute universalism. Paul on the other hand could be, if he had been given insights concerning what is to happen in future epochs (cf. Eph2:7). Unlike him, I have not been “caught up into paradise to hear unspeakable words which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2Cor12:4). I have to rely on what has been at least implicated in Scripture. So going back to Jesus’s teaching, He indicates that some people are  beyond salting or purging (Mk9:50). That implies they could never repent or change from what they have become – whatever enlightening or processing they might receive. They refuse to be saved.

Yet even if that is the case, God can still be regarded as the Saviour of all humanity. For, if given further opportunity to repent and having been enlightened with gospel truth (which is assuredly not the case for the majority in this life  – cf. 1Pet4:6), a soul still refuses to acquiesce, God, however loving, would not force anyone against their will to act and be what they are incapable of doing and being – most especially to love and serve Christ. But then such a soul might no longer be regarded as fully human – if there is not so much as a flicker of resemblance to the divine image, at the heart of which is love. And so, it could be said, for all true humanity, God is their Saviour, but more immediately and gloriously so for those who having believed (and also shared in Christ’s suffering), become the heirs of God and co-heirs with His Son (Rom8:17).    

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Thesis #78 of 95 - Hell is as much a reality as Heaven and may involve sensual pain for its inhabitants.

Thesis #79 of 95 - As in life, post-mortem punishment can be for the purpose of healing as well as destruction.

Thesis #80 of 95 - God has intimated that every soul that can be healed and restored shall ultimately be so, for He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.


Luk16:24 Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame

Mk9:45-50 If your foot should be your downfall, cut it off; it is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. And if your eye should be your downfall, tear it out; it is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, in which their worm will never dies nor their fire be put out. For everyone will be salted with fire – salt being a good thing but if salt has become insipid, how can you make it salty again. Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.

1Cor3:14-15If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire.


This is undoubtedly a perplexing area of biblical study and not surprisingly has been a catalyst for distortions in both the practice of the Christian faith and the presentation of the Gospel. These three related theses affirm that such a place as hell exists, but also that judgemental fire can be for the purpose of purification as much as for punishment.

The featured photo is the township of Hell in Michigan, USA. Likewise, Gehenna (the hell of the bible) was named after a place on earth – the Valley of Hinnom outside Jerusalem. That had been used as a waste dump for the city, constantly smouldering and smoking. Heinous deeds were also associated with this valley during the time when Jerusalem was ruled by pagans, including the sacrifice of children.

As Jesus makes clear in his parable, the hell of the bible is a place of punishment and is best avoided. But for most attendees it is likely to be a place of learning (the hard way), self-enlightenment, purging and preparation. For there is no distinction between the fires of hell and “purgatory” either in the bible or the writings of those who had received the Faith directly from the apostle.

And whilst we have a merciful and pardoning God, pardon per se is not sufficient for souls that have been poisoned and corrupted. Pardon is one thing; fittedness to play a part in the Apostle Peter’s longed-for “new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells” is another. Purging and salting will be necessary for some; neither can such be guaranteed to be devoid of suffering – sensual and mental.

In terms of longevity, if punishment is to be proportional – the principle applied to God’s peoples’ offences against Old Testament Law – it arithmetically cannot be eternal. The New Testament speaks of post-mortem punishment enduring for an age (Greek: αἰώνιος which tends to be translated as “eternal”). The notion that punishment in hell can be temporary should be evident from Jesus’ teaching regarding name calling. Note the gradations: “I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be answerable to the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be answerable to the Sanhedrin, whilst whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to experience hell fire” (Mt5:22). Think about it.

Think also about what was scripturally established in the previous few theses – that God is equitable and reasonable, even from a human perspective. What is more, He is rich in mercy. The Creator’s predisposition is as follows: “As I live!’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure at all in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek33:11). He desires that all who can be redeemed are redeemed and knows that that process will not be completed for many in this life (Jn6:44; Mt7:14).

An earlier post  citing Paul’s reference to those who are saved “as through fire” covers the subject of post-mortem judgement in a bit more detail, including what Jesus meant by the need for souls to be salted. That is the key to unravelling this more fearsome dimension to the God-who-is-love’s providential plans for humanity (Rev10:7).

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Thesis #77 of 95. Everyone is to be judged and rewarded according to their life and legacy; not for the gifts they were privileged to receive but how they have been utilized


Rom2:6-11 (God) will repay each person according to his works: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek after glory, honor, and immortality He will give eternal life. But to those who are self-serving and do not obey truth but unrighteousness He will give wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of mankind who does evil, for the Jew first and for the Greek, but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who does what is good, to the Jew first and to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.


1Jn4:16b-17 GOD IS LOVE, and anyone who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in them. Thereby love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because just as God is, so are we in this world.

Mt16:27(KJV) The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works.

Mt5:45-47 Prove yourselves to be sons of your Father who is in heaven! For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. So if you only love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors, do they not do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Even the Gentiles, do they not do the same?


The two Pauline texts included above are regarded by many as anomalous, i.e., contrary to what they understand to be at the heart of the rest of Paul’s teaching. As I am in the process of demonstrating, that is because in the footsteps of Augustine they are misunderstanding the apostle’s teaching concerning faith, justification, law and the economy of grace. My earlier post summarizes the juridical aspects, whilst the above texts from Romans chapter two and Titus summarize Paul’s understanding of what God is like and how He will judge the world. And it is in line with every other author and teacher of the New Testament including Jesus Himself.

God is a rewarding God, fair and just towards all; utterly impartial. His judgements will be on the basis of our works and legacy – whether or not the world is a better place for us having been a part of it. And as Jesus and James tend to emphasize, that judgement will also be redistributive and compensatory. As another earlier post explains, it will take account of  circumstances and opportunities (disabled beggar Lazarus had little of either whilst the rich man had plenty).

The Creator’s ways may be extraordinary but in the starkest contrast to the god of Luther and the Reformers, Paul’s God and mine is thoroughly comprehensible and reasonable in terms of His justice and judgements. And that is just as well, for as John astonishingly affirms (above), Christians are to be like God in the world. God is love personified; everyone who loves is of God whilst the Christian is being perfected in love such that God abides in him and he in God.

Volumes more could be written concerning the subject of this thesis, and they have been.  The above biblical references summarize the situation regarding God’s nature, justice and judgements. And I have capitalized the passage from Titus where Paul summarizes the pivotal role Jesus Christ and His elect people play within God’s saving purposes for this fallen, broken world. [Note who the Christian elect are and what they are for, according to Paul: “a specially chosen people for God, purified and burning with zeal to perform good works”]

All this has to be (and now has been) reconciled with the rest of Scripture to provide a cohesive account of God’s wondrous providential purposes for humanity and the Good News of His coming kingdom. According to One who should know, such is to be proclaimed to the nations before the current arrangements on Earth are concluded (Mt24:14).


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Thesis #76 of 95 - Covenantal admission is by grace alone; faithfulness is required to continue benefitting from its privileges.


Jn15:2 “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit

Gen4:7(Masoretic) If you (Cain) do well, shall you not be accepted? But if you do not do well, Sin lies at the portal. And his desire shall be for you but you must rule over him

1Jn3:12 Be not as Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And for what reason did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil, but his brother’s were righteous

1Jn4:7-8 “Beloved, let’s love one another; for love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love

Rom8:29 For those He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers

Rev3:21 He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne

Rev5:9-10 You (Christ) purchased people for God with Your blood from every tribe, language, people, and nation. You have made them into a kingdom of priests to our God, and they will reign upon the earth

Mk8:34-35 “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it

1Cor9:27 I (Paul) strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified!

Rom8:17 Being heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if in fact we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him


This thesis is affirming that everyone who enters a covenant with God does so on the basis of grace alone, i.e. divine favour and generosity not dependant on merit. Unmerited grace clearly applied to a Jewish baby born within the Abrahamic Covenant; equally to the Christian baby baptized by the Church and incorporated within the Covenant of Christ’s blood. Likewise, to the adult convert given faith to apprehend Christ (Eph2:8) and receive Christian baptism. And the human baby, starting with Cain as the world’s first infant, freely incorporated within the theologically eluded Universal Covenant of life through the two-way age-enduring merits of Christ’s righteous act that universally nullifies Adam’s act of disobedience (Rom5:18).

The issue then becomes how one retains the benefits of that covenant as opposed to defaulting. The answer is faith or faithfulness [same word in biblical Greek] evidenced by fruit. The Jew who turned from JHWE to idolatry defaults his covenantal privileges. Those in Christ who fail to produce fruit may remain in the Church but will not participate in the marriage of the Lamb, for every branch in Christthat fails to bear fruit will be removed (Jn15:2). Members of humanity who fail to produce any fruit in the form of compassionate love (agape) like Cain and the Matthew 25 “goats” remain on earth but become alienated from God’s loving care. They have a new master to look after their interests, and at least as far ahead as Scripture permits us to foresee will not be incorporated within God’s eternal Kingdom but will receive post-mortem punishment (Mt25:45-46).

The above is almost diametrically opposed to what so many Christians believe today. They understand men and women to have an innate ability to come to a saving relationship with Christ. And for those who do it is “all of grace” thereafter; perseverance being guaranteed. Hard-line Calvinists such as myself in the past rightly understand covenantal election to be unconditional. But in view of their binary soteriology, they cannot avoid impugning God’s equitable and loving nature. For the logical implication is that those excluded, being the bulk of humanity, have been destined for eternal misery at the Creator’s behest. Not only is this an odious distortion of divine providence, but it is clearly at odds with the Christmas angels’ message of “Good News of great joy for all people”. Thankfully, such a denigration of Christ’s saving work cannot be squared with Scripture as a whole.


In the starkest contrast to the Reformed theology that I grew up with, the covenantal arrangements outlined in para one are entirely equitable; the economy of a Creator who is comprehensively and comprehensibly adorable. That is, at least once it is understood that the vast majority who are excluded from the covenants of promise (non-Jews in the OT, non-Christians in the current age) are not all “bound for hell”. The destiny of the soul after death, as Jesus indicated in the definitive final judgement passage of the New Testament (Mt25:31-46) and as I have been delineating in my writing has little if anything to do with religious faith or practice. It pertains rather to whether one is “of God” or from the Evil One [Greek: ek tou ponerou” 1Jn3:12; cf. Mt13:25-28 (see note#1); Mt15:13]. As Mt25 affirms, such a categorization is not determined by religious faith or practice but whether one has shown in life the capacity to exercise “agape” (compassionate love), of which our Creator is the personification (1Jn4:7-8 vis-a-vis 1Jn3:12).

In terms of God’s justice, God’s “elect” enjoy privileges now and shall do so immeasurably more in the ages to come compared to the rest. But their glorious inheritance is something that the majority have simply not been prepared for, in this life at least (Rom8:29; Rev3:21; Rev5:9-10). And as related in this thesis, their rewards are dependent on continued faithfulness. “Rewards” indeed, for as Jesus and Paul in particular make clear, to “attain to the prize of the high calling of God in Christ” involves personal sacrifice, self-discipline, even suffering in the present (Mk8:34-35; 1Cor9:27; Rom8:17).

Truly, we shall praise God with uprightness of heart when we have learnt of His righteous judgements (Ps119:7).

NOTE#1 The parable of the wheat and darnel is often portrayed by commentators as relating to the church whereas Jesus makes clear the satanic seed has been planted in the world (Mt13:38). The related parable for the Church is provided by Paul (2Tim2:19-21).

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God’s elective choice
Thesis #75 of 95 - Christ as personal Saviour may only be apprehended by those the Father chooses for Him


John6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

John1:12-13 As many as received (Christ), to them God gave the capacity to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.

Rom7:24-25a Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God (it is) through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Rom8:29 For those He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

Heb1:3 (Jesus) is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, who upholds all things by the word of His power, and who when He had provided a purification of sins (καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος), sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Jn14:9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been such a long time with you and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He that has seen Me has seen the Father; so why say ‘Show us the Father’”?


Jesus is later joined by Paul, John and Luke (in Acts) in affirming that fallen man is incapable of coming to gospel salvation unless fore ordained and divinely enabled to do so (e.g., Jn1:13 & 6:44; Rom8:29; Acts13:48). This is a profoundly difficult concept for many bible-believing Christians to get their heads round – evangelistically, theologically and philosophically. At least that is the case for those who think the matter through. In reality, many do not, or dare not.


So, should one “go liberal” and reject the bible’s teaching on the matter altogether? Or, like myself in the past, one could adopt the Protestant Reformers’ maxim, “Let God be God”, i.e. He may appear incomprehensibly unjust and harsh to us but that is His prerogative. Such might be a feasible supposition if the One who “exactly represents His Father’s nature (Heb1:3) even during His earthly ministry (Jn14:9) had not demonstrated that that simply cannot be the case. Like Jesus, our Heavenly Father is comprehensively and comprehensibly adorable. He is compassionate, loving and equitable from an enlightened human perspective. Satan (gleefully) and many Western theologians (reluctantly) would have us believe otherwise.

As I have been explaining, such mystifying and unintentional maligning of the divine nature arises from a misunderstanding of the context of election/predestination within broader providence. That in turn results from a failure to understand what the elect are being saved from and for what purpose . The verses from Rom 7&8 (above) supply clues for each aspect, the solution is set out in full in the Little Book of Providence.

Free PDF of The Little Book of Providence

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A cause of rejoicing AND LAUGHTER יִצְחָ֔ק

Thesis #74 of 95. Like Isaac, those within the Covenants of Promise are elected through unmerited grace.


Gen17:18-20 Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!”  But God said, “No, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you shall name him Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him.  As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly.

Gal4:28 And you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are the children of promise.

Phil3:13-14 Brothers, I do not regard myself as possessing it as yet, but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.


This follows on from the previous thesis’s assertion that the Church like Isaac are the children of promise. Yet the Church has generally understood there to be one covenant for each testament period and an exclusive one at that. Such a concept should be repudiated, firstly by the reality of Abel and others declared righteous before the Abrahamic Covenant was established. Still more so by the story of Ishmael. He had been circumcised, blessed by God and by his father Abraham, sent on his way in peace. Yet he was excluded from the covenant initiated through his father, for the seed of his union with Sarah were to be the children of promise.

And such is the Church in the current dispensation (Gal4:28). Yet through Abraham, all nations were to be blessed, and that included the twelve that would spring from the seed of his son Ishmael, yet not necessarily through incorporation into an exclusive covenant.

Covenantal election

The point of the thesis is that Isaac had been elected to that exclusive covenant, and Paul mentions him by name as effectively he is its patriarchal head, Abraham’s other son Ishmael having been excluded. It therefore hardly needs to be said that Isaac’s election was entirely a matter of grace. He was chosen simply because he was the child promised to Sarah and Abraham in their old age.

The same is effectively the case for those who are called out from the world and into the Church [Greek ἐκκλησία = the called-out ones]. Such all-of-grace election and the staggering rewards that go with it (Rev3:21😲) may appear to challenge God’s loving and equitable nature. Not so once the self-sacrificial demands and conditionality of attaining such a goal has been grasped (Phi3:13-14 above) together with an understanding of biblical salvation’s context within broader benign providence that i have been outlining.

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The bible – a puzzle to many adults also
“The righteous shall be victorious in the name of the Lord of Spirits and He will cause the others to witness this that they may repent and forgo the works of their hands. They shall have no honour through the name of the Lord of Spirits yet through His name they shall be saved, and the Lord of Spirits shall have compassion on them, for His compassion is great. And He is righteous also in His judgement, and in the presence of His glory unrighteousness shall also not maintain itself: at His judgement the unrepentant shall perish before Him" [Enoch ch50 Charles translation]

If you have been following this timeline since its inception you will know that 90%+ of my posts concern the bible, not ex-canonical Enoch. Yet it does have a role in helping our understanding of canonical scripture, which for many remains something of a puzzle. The Book of Enoch’s opening verse indicates why it was providentially excluded from the biblical canon. It was not intended for the Church through her history but for the final generation of Christians: “The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and the righteous who will be living in the day of tribulation when all the wicked and godless are to be removed [Enoch ch1 verse 1]

The key point I am highlighting from Enoch chapter 50 is that there are not two but three categories of people identified at the end-of-age judgement. The same eschatological trichotomy is implicit in the last chapter of the New Testament with respect to the New Jerusalem. Rev21 describes this mystical entity as a bride adorned for her Husband.


The city is enormous in size and the saints of God are its inhabitants – they are the bride. Yet we also read in verse 24 that “the nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it”. Or as some versions/manuscripts render it “the nations of those that are saved…” (e.g. KJV). These cannot be the saints of God who are the “wife of the Lamb” and who inhabit the city. The likes of the Apostle Paul, Moses and Elijah do not “walk by New Jerusalem’s light” or pay occasional visits.

No, the group being referred to are those who have been saved (spared from punishment) through the compassion of God and in view of their willingness to repent and bow the knee to the King of Kings aka “the Chosen One” as the Book of Enoch describes the Son of Man.

As Paul indicated, others (a third category) who refuse to believe the Good News of Christ even after it has been made clear to them (which has not been the case for most in the current age) are to be ignominiously dealt with (“set ablaze”) at Christ’s appearing (2Thes1:8).


Likewise in Enoch’s prophecy there are three groups. Firstly, the elect righteous, sometimes referred to as “the chosen ones”. They are those who had been “victorious in the name of the Lord of Spirits” and who shall receive honour and praise, even from the angels (40:5) [If you are uncomfortable with that idea then you should observe how Jesus describes His elect in Revelation (3:21) – for the LJC regards His faithful disciples as His own kith and kin and corporate bride-to-be, indicating the elect are to attain both royal and divine status (cf. Heb2:10-11)].

As should be evident from Scripture as a whole, this group are, proportionally speaking, a minority. Given the world’s cultural and religious formation, not to mention the catastrophic historical ecclesiological fracture brought about by the “Reformation”, most human beings have never received an accurate account of the path to glory, still less embarked and persevered along it.


Hence the divinely ordered but confusingly depicted “natural law”. For as I have previously explained, it pertains to that which is spiritual and to Christ as Logos as much as to any laws of nature. An effectual role for such was acknowledged by the earliest Christian writers such as Irenaeus (pupil of Polycarp, the pupil of the apostle John) and Eusebius (3rd century Church historian) who through his explicit references to natural law indicated such had been understood within the Church up to that point. But (typically) such divine benevolence was rejected by 4th /5th century Augustine and much later by the Protestant Reformers who built on that fearsome Western Father’s “theology of sovereign grace”.

For natural law in this context (outlined below) infers a benevolence on God’s part and an underlying goodness on humanity’s part that such theologians and their adherents regard as abhorrent. It undermines “the gospel” as they understand it. Satan would despise it also (the clue is in the meaning of his name – the Adversary). He will have been more than happy for the Creator to be presented as incomprehensibly harsh and unjust from a human perspective, and for men and women to be regarded as virtually depraved by nature, with gospel evangelism adapted accordingly.


Second century Christian writers knew better, not because they were superior biblical exegetes but because they had received the full deposit of faith in written AND verbal form (2Thes2:15KJV), either from the apostles themselves, their proteges such as Timothy, Titus and Philemon or those men’s immediate successors – which takes us into the early 2nd century.

Hence, Justyn Martyr had spoken of God’s benevolence towards all who endeavour to walk uprightly and in accordance with right reason[1];  God, he wrote, is One who accepts those who imitate His own qualities of temperance, fairness and philanthropy and who exercise their free will in choosing what is pleasing to Him[2]. Irenaeus, also 2nd century, recognized that God in His providence is present with all who attend to moral discipline”[3] paying heed to the natural precepts of the law by which man can be justified[4].


To such men, God was comprehensively and comprehensibly adorable. He was just, He was good, He was compassionate, just as human beings understand those terms. And that is why the Creator has ensured that every human being has been provided with the innate ability ultimately to be united to Himself, but NOT to be delivered from the corrupting influence of mortal flesh in the present except they encounter the grace of Christ in the gospel – Rom7:24-25). Only such are “saved” in the gospel sense. Unlike everyone else, the true Christian has no reason to dread the coming “Day of wrath”, for (s)he shall not have to face it (Lk17:34-36; 1Thes4:17).

Yet through the faculty of conscience, most people have an internal urge to do what is right. They admire what is noble and virtuous even though they usually fail to live up to their own moral aspirations (cf. Rom7:22-23). The architect-in-chief of Western theology on the other hand asserted that man by nature could do “absolutely no good thing, whether in thought or will, affection or action[5]. That is an affront to divine providence as much as it is to humanity.


Yet there are some to whom Augustine’s description does apply: the twice dead (in mind AND spirit– Jud1:12). These are the theologically eluded category threes: children of the devil. In Enoch’s language they are the wicked and godless. In the secular world they are akin to psychopaths, whether criminal or respectable. Such peoples’ universally observed characteristics closely align with Scripture’s presentation of those who, like their archetype Cain are not “of God” (1Jn3:12). They are devoid of a functioning conscience, lacking compassion and empathy, and with no compulsion whatever to speak the truth. This eluded soteriological category of people is typically lumped in with “the unsaved”. The Little Book of Providence (chapter six) elucidates.


So, returning to the Judgement, in Enoch’s parable there are likewise three categories. Firstly, the righteous; secondly, those who witness the vindication of the righteous and repent of their own wrongdoings. They are saved (i.e. spared from punishment) through God’s compassion. But they are not honoured to the degree of those who had obeyed the gospel. For only those who have partaken of the means of grace and been formed by divine teaching have souls fitted for immediate magisterial service in Christ’s Kingdom.

Thirdly, there are those who refuse to repent and shall “perish before Him”. One might wonder who on earth WOULD refuse to repent knowing the fate that awaits them. Likewise in New Testament accounts, who would NOT be willing to bow the knee to Jesus Christ when He is revealed to the world in His majestic glory? Category threes will already know the answer. For Jesus Christ is the summation of all that is good. He is therefore an abhorrence to them (for familial reasons – 1Jn3:12). They cannot “repent” any more than a goat can become a sheep or tares become wheat. They cannot become something they no longer are. That is, a human being who in any measure reflects the image of God, being the personification of love.


Be assured, the theology I have outlined does not derive from the Book of Enoch. It is the New Testament – the teaching of Jesus and Paul in particular. And all has been reconciled and integrated with the teaching of the whole bible in The Little Book of Providence. Nevertheless, the Book of Enoch helps fill out the detail and complete the jigsaw. Otherwise, aspects of the bible would remain a puzzle, such as the rationale for the universal flood. Also, the existence of gigantic hybrids referred to in the OT relating to the conquest and ethnic cleansing of Canaanite territories.

Thereby can God’s justice and judgements be clarified and vindicated. For sure, mankind’s contribution to the woes and evils of this world is substantive. But it is secondary to that of fallen members of the angelic realm. That reality is more clearly presented in Enoch than canonical scripture. That is in view of the greater detail provided concerning the judgements and destinies of the respective parties.


That in part is because canonical Scripture’s focus is the salvation history of the world. It is centred on Christ and His peculiar peoples – the Jewish nation and the Church. It was never intended to be a comprehensive account of God’s creation. The origins, history and destiny of the angelic realm are a prime example. Enoch, albeit often obscurely, goes into more detail. Likewise, God’s providential intentions towards creation as a whole. These are alluded to in the bible, but often cryptically so. They are passages that typically biblical theologians label as difficult or anomalous.

Not so this “armchair theologian”, who is no theologian at all in any academic sense. I am merely someone who has received revelatory insights concerning biblical interpretation. And especially those that impact upon the context of Israel and the Church within God’s broader benevolent providence. I believe also that such an eventuality together with this writing has been prophetically foretold; most clearly but not exclusively in the Book of Enoch.


[1]  The first apology of Justin chaps. 43 & 46

[2]  ibid. chap. 10

[3]  Irenaeus against heresies Book III chap. 25 (para 1)

[4] Ibid. Book IV chap. 13 para 1

[5]  “On Rebuke and Grace” – chap. 3


an exclusive covenant
Thesis #71 of 95 - The Abrahamic covenant superseded by the Covenant of Christ's blood are exclusive covenants

Thesis #72 of 95 - Ishmael was blessed by God and his father Abraham but not elected to the exclusive covenant designated for Isaac and his seed

Thesis #73 of 95 - The Church, like Isaac, are the children of promise


Gen4:7 (Masoretic) If you (Cain) do what is right will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, Sin is crouching at the portal and desired to have you – you must master him

Gen4:13-14 Cain replied to the Lord, my punishment is too much for me to bear; THIS DAY you are driving me from the land and I WILL BE HIDDEN FROM YOUR PRESENCE

Gen17:20-21 (KJV) As for Ishmael I have heard thee: behold I have blessed him and will make him fruitful… but my covenant I will establish with Isaac

Gal4:28 And you, brothers (and sisters), like Isaac, are the children of promise.

Eph1:4-5 God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love. He predestined us to adoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will

Jam1:18 Through His own predetermined will He gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.


This pertains to a crucial aspect of divine providence, being the main topic of the second chapter of The Little Book of Providence. Such needs to be consulted to provide an adequate explanation for these three related theses. For that chapter equally concerns a related overarching covenant in which Cain and Abel were the players (Gen4:7-14).

Unlike the Abrahamic and Christian covenants referred to in these theses, that was a universal and inclusive covenant. And seemingly it has been universally eluded by theologians. Christians therefore usually understood there to be one soteriological covenant for each testament period. And whether or not they discern or acknowledge the matter, it is exclusive in nature.

These theses repudiate that notion, firstly by observing that Abel and many others were declared righteous before the Abrahamic Covenant was established. Secondly, by the narrative concerning Ishmael. He had been circumcised, blessed by God and by his father Abraham and sent on his way in peace. Yet he was excluded from the covenant initiated through his father. For the seed of his union with Sarah were to be the children of promise. And in view of the indisputably biblical principle of election/predestination featuring in recent posts, such is the Church in the current epoch.

As Paul affirmed, it is the church who like Isaac are the children of promise (Gal4:28). And baptized Christians are in the elective covenant that replaced Abraham’s and they are there by grace alone. Others like Ishmael are loved by God but not elected to that exclusive family predestined before the foundation of the world to form the community in which the education and spiritual resources are provided for individuals to become holy and faultless in love before God through Jesus Christ (Eph1:4-5). Such is the Church, priesthood for the world, brought forth by God’s will to be the first fruit of a restored universe (Jam1:18).

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The “vessel” inhabited by the soul is the body AND BRAIN
Thesis #70 of 95 - By attending to the means of grace and persevering in the faith the Christian is enabled to “possess his vessel in sanctification and honour”. Such is the immediate purpose of Christian salvation as well as a preparation for future glory as the corporate Bride of Christ


1Thes4:4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour (KJV)

1Thes5:23 – Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your SPIRIT AND SOUL AND BODY be kept complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom8:16 – The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God

Gal6:18 – The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.


This thesis pertains to the human soul: its origins and nature, which I described in the Little Book of Providence as follows:

A creationist understanding of the soul’s origin[1] maintains that each person’s soul/spirit, i.e. that which is separated from the body at death, is created immediately by God and planted into the embryo procreated by the parents. Such has been the prevalent view within Eastern Orthodoxy and is also the official teaching of the Roman Church[2] albeit Augustine had wavered from it. Through original sin, the divinely created spirit finds itself within a morally sickly environment, or expressed another way is required to operate through an impure medium – the procreated body of death. Physiologically the physical and spiritual entities (body and soul/spirit) are in union, yet they have opposing moral impulses. Augustine, considered to be the first Christian anthropologist had started well, aptly applying the analogy “your body is your wife”: the couple were once in perfect harmony but following the Fall are in combat with one another. Paul however goes further: these two entities are influenced by separate and distinct laws or engrained principles; the body, being the corrupted medium through which the soul/spirit (Paul’s “inner man”) functions, has impulses of its own:

For I am gratified by the law of God in my inner man, but I perceive a different law in my bodily members warring with the law in my mind and bringing me into captivity to the sinful law that is in my bodily members”[3]

The “law in one’s members” refers to the senses perceived through the members of the body processed by the brain, an organ that, it must be remembered, is part of the procreated vessel through which the divinely planted soul/spirit must operate. Like the rest of the body it ultimately derives from fallen Adam’s loins and is heading for the grave. The human psyche, emotions and motivations cannot be contained within that vital organ or entirely derived from it, for when the soul leaves the body it is conscious and memory-retaining as Scripture affirms; the rich man wondering why he must experience suffering in Hades was told by Abraham to “remember that in your lifetime you received good things and likewise Lazarus evil things, so now he is comforted and you are tormented[4]. Paul’s reference in this context to the “law of God” is referring to a moral sense of right and wrong, in particular the need to exercise love and consideration for others, which the apostle confirms was always the law’s (and the Torah’s) heart and purpose[5]. It is intuitive, being the outworking of the human conscience[6] which is clear or “clean” when one obeys that principle, guilty when one does not.

[Extract from “The Little Book of Providence” chapter two.]

[1] Explanation and historical background:

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church #366

[3] Rom7:23

[4] Lk16:25

[5] Rom13:9-10

[6] Rom2:15


The seemingly obvious yet often eluded point to grasp is that the soul and the vessel (body and brain) it inhabits during mortal life are both intellectual entities. That results in the mental conflict Paul is referring to in Romans chapter seven. It is usually translated and interpretated as pertaining to the Holy Spirit versus sinful human nature as a whole. In fact the apostle is referring to the contrasting laws (i.e. governing principles) of the universal God-given spirit (“inner man” incorporating the conscience) versus the thinking and processing of the human brain. Hence, Paul’s summation of salvation in Christ – what it is from and what it is for – Rom7:23-25.

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A book exploring the mystery of divine providence