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… #Resurrection #Judgment(s) #FutureKingdom

07 Mar

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Previous: Christianity: #AfterDeath #Rapture.  As next appeared the matter of tribulation and antichrist. Dufield and Cleave described these in detail offering much scriptural reference regarding the identity and the various titles of antichrist. As for the tribulation, they outlined the difference between the tribulation of the church, Israel nation and the special time of Gods final wrath for which they suggested a chronological succession (Duffield 1983: 568-577). Wright has not revealed his explanation of these passages, but only asked for the next question.

At this point, the host asked the bishop Wright about his view on resurrection. He then clarified that resurrection is different from the paradise mentioned earlier in the discussion, thus calling it “the life after life after death”. In his view, the resurrection is bodily, yet it will not take place in some distant dwelling place, but will “be brought to birth in this world” and be transformed in the old field of space, time and matter. Again, he cautioned the audience against thinking in dimensions of the Platonic dualism of body and soul, which is sometimes also inaptly reflected in several biblical translations as “a physical body” and “a spiritual body” rather than the “corruptible” and “incorruptible” one. (Wright 2008: kindle location 2403-2607). Both Duffield and Cleave supported Wrights words concerning the bodily resurrection and hereby denied a sort of immaterial, disembodied, eternal existence of a soul. Jesus as the firstfruit of those who slept (1. Cor. 15:20), they said, is a guarantee of resurrection for all the believers. As it seemed to be the custom of the evenings debate, the Pentecostals presented us anew with more unravelled details of these events. They divided resurrection into several consecutive occurences in which believers are to experience the first, good resurrection (Rev. 20:6), while the unrighteous must wait until after the Millennium to then endure the resurrection of damnation (Jn.5:29) (Duffield 1983: 578-589).

This prompted a question from the audience, which inquired whether there would therefore be also more than just one judgment. They affirmed this by listing a variety of judgments that will first include believers (1.Cor. 11:31), Nations (Mt.25.31-46) and Israel (Ez. 20:33-38), then the wicked will be judged near the white throne (Rv. 20:11-14) and at last the focus will turn at Satan and fallen angels (Rv. 20:14). In this exposition they also maintained different rewards in heaven and degrees of judgment in hell. (Duffield 1983: 599-607). When receiving the word, Wright strongly acknowledged the concept of the final judgment, yet remained rather sceptical in regard to all the above mentioned particularities. He however, turned the attention of all to, by many disputed, importance of justification by works. He said “for Paul, there was no clash between present justification by faith and future judgment according to works. The two actually need, and depend upon, one another.”

At last came the long awaited query concerning heaven, hell and the final destination. Much whisper spread among the listeners after Wrights explication of his idea of hell as a certain dehumanization of people. Based on the presupposition that people become like what they worship one can, by turning away from God and worshiping other things, enter an ex-human state. As for the eternal bliss, he repeated his earlier words and summarized his efforts of the nights debate to depict heaven according to the Lord’s Prayer “Thy kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” Duffield and Cleave were outraged and boldly claimed that no teaching is clearer than that of a final destiny beyond this present life on earth. Then they reminded us of some of the classic vivid portrayals of hell as unquenchable fire and a special abode of undying worms. Equally, heaven is in their view a distinct place of eternal happiness and joy.

All in all Wright seems to be more political and earthly oriented leaving many of the passages regarding the eschaton as a mere metaphors and illustrations while Duffield & Cleave holding on to the traditional and more literal interpretations of the Scriptures. In his approach is Wright building on the fact that God pronounced the earth good, and as a good creation, he will not simply destroy it but will regenerate it to its original design. Duffield & Cleave have no such hopes for the present world and are quick to abandon the earthly realm for the future divine scenes of heaven and hell.

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Posted by on March 7, 2014 in Theology

 

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