Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? You yourselves are our letter, written in your hearts, known and read by everyone. (2 Cor. 3.1-2)
Here is the late Edward Fudge in a video from 2011. He argues effectively for the consuming of the wicked (after requisite punishment) at God’s judgment. Though I should have read his book by now, I’ve never. I hold to his position concerning the outcome of unredeemed sinners from my own studies and snippets from others’ positions whom I investigated using exegetical resources. The bible is my ultimate authority so I studied this concept to see if it was in the text.
My former pastor and seminary president was Richard V. Clearwaters who held the consuming position also. However, at that time I was smugly sitting in the pew proud that I was sort of “more orthodox” than my pastor since I held to the traditionalist eternal torment position. The motivations for my late and former pastor are not my own today. He voiced the reason for his conclusion largely as a result of the death of his unsaved brother for whom he felt responsible. Clearwaters often described the relief he felt after realizing his brother would not suffer eternal torment. Indeed, who can comprehend eternal torment of humans?
My adherence flowed out of understanding the idea of immortality denied Adam and Eve in their fallen state. If humans are invested with native immortality, then expulsion from the tree of life was superfluous. So, for me, I reviewed the doctrine and the arguments which underpinned the traditional position and started to find assumptions which were philosophical and not biblical.
Here is a nice summary of the arguments from his book “The Fire that Consumes.”
I commend a newly-published study of what is called “harmonization” of texts of the Gospels: Cambry G. Pardee, Scribal Harmonization in the Synoptic Gospels, NTTSD, 60 (Leiden: Brill, 2019). I have just completed a larger review for Review of Biblical Literature which won’t appear till November this year, but the book deserves to be noticed […]
It is widely acknowledged Einstein and Newton were some of the greatest thinkers in history. They didn’t start out as exceptional though. Einstein had a slow development as a child while Newton could only get through 2 or 3 pages a day in scientific reading when starting out. All this to say to not get discouraged by weighty philosophical writing.
Cornelius Van Til is the author of this article and he shows clearly the progression of thought from Plato and Aristotle through Aquinas then Kant as opposed to the revelation of God in scripture. In the end there are only two positions: autonomous man who by definition (self-rule) is his own god, and the truth of scripture. Van Til speaks of the Westminster Confession and Calvin but it should be nuanced to indicate the grammatical-historical reading (plain sense) of scripture.
James Anderson has a PhD in computer simulation from the University of Edinburgh so he knows what he speaks about regarding this concept. To me the concept is purely atheistic since it denies the obvious creation, design, and word of God. However, Dr. Anderson explains using logic what the better solution is:
A couple of commentators on a previous post pointed me to an Arc Digital article by Thomas Metcalf which contends that the Simulation Argument (SA) ought to be taken more seriously. (Metcalf’s article wasn’t written in response to mine, although it appeared a week or so afterward: post hoc sed non propter hoc.) I don’t…
Craig Keener identifies some of the ideas that has led many to think that membership in a certain group is salvific. A better reading of the Torah sees both authentic believers in Israel’s history alongside “wicked fools” (see 2 Samuel 13.13). For certain, the New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant but nowhere does the bible speak of a replacement of peoples. For sure God worked with National Israel but most (10 tribes) were divorced by the Lord for unfaithfulness. Salvation is from the Lord and not based on affiliation of group membership. Since Jesus inaugurated The New Covenant, all peoples weather Jew or Gentile have equal status and are accepted having their hearts cleansed by faith:
Paul certainly cared about Gentiles; his letters are replete with signs of his intimate concern for the members of the many congregations he started, many of whose members were Gentiles. The Bible also suggests that the Lord will return after the good news has been proclaimed among all peoples (Matt 24:14), probably related to Paul’s…
Andy Naselli and Brian Collins advocate for reading the bible theologically. Part of this approach is acknowledging the whole of scripture and reading sections as they relate to the whole. Here, however, the author of the featured work (free E-book download) mainly counters allegorical approaches and multiple-sense ideas. This recommended method will deliver the reader from overly atomistic and irrelevant conclusions. Perhaps it will also redirect our focus on God instead of reading the bible as a book of solutions for ourselves and humanity. The bible offers solutions for humans during this life but it is not humanly-centered.
Appendix “A” in Vern Poythress’ book “Interpreting Eden,” counters Bruce Waltke’s contention that the first verse of God’s word is a summary of the creation account which follows. The “initiation view” has much more to commend itself since, grammatically, it is the most natural way to take the text. I believe its important to remember who the recipients were of this revelatory communication. All the early readers of this text were shepherds and farmers, not students of dead languages creatively working out possible solutions to align with certain constructs. Therefore, the most straight-forward approach grammatically should yield the correct results.
Here is an interview with Logos featuring Poythress’ book “Interpreting Eden:”
By “Modern Science” I mean the Post-Enlightenment idea that man is the standard for explaining himself and his environment. It is as if reality is perceived only through the things that resister from his own sensors. If God cannot be seen or touched then He must not be there according to fallen man. We moderns are easily dazzled by discovery of knowledge and the making of gizmos but often fail to realize that the laws of science which enabled that knowledge and gizmo presuppose an absolute Lawgiver. Those gizmos will not work without His laws either. Here is a post about something that Cornelius Van Til wrote which touches upon and expands this point. Van Til was probably the most incisive theologian of the Twentieth Century.
“It was useful to seek to apply the method of reasoning discussed in the previous chapters to the various schools of philosophy about us. However, since we have constantly sought to bring out that all forms of antitheistic thinking can be reduced to one, and since the issue is fundamentally that of the acceptance or […]
This material I cut from my previous post as it involved another theme to the point I was making. However, studying the prophets is both explicitly and implicitly urged in order to better understand God’s person and program.
Biblical exhortations are important because they are from God. They are also important since in the whole of scripture exhortations are what called the people back to God. Often, what the text of the prophets do not include is the response of groups and especially individuals turning to God after the proclamation. Undoubtedly, many did respond to the prophet’s preaching or when reading his text. Undoubtedly, Daniel and his three friends were influenced by Jeremiah’s preaching since his ministry occurred prior and during Daniel’s exile of 605 B.C.E. (see Jer. 25.3). Daniel would later refer to Jeremiah’s prophecy of the “70 years” (either taken from Jeremiah’s letter or book) as a certainty and pray accordingly (see Dan. 9.2-3). One God-ordained reason for dissemination of preaching in Hebrew society is the biblical observance of attending the central sanctuary for the three yearly festivals by (at least) all males over the age of twelve.
Whenever The New Testament quotes an O.T. passage, the readers and hearers are alerted to the context in which the new information refers. This new message is rooted and grounded in instruction or revelation given previously to others. Seeking to make sense or understand how God’s word applies to modern hearers involves both knowing the O.T. and the New Covenant and how both contents inform each other.
The promise in 2 Pet. 1.19 is stated mildly but is extremely important: We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (NIV). Reading the prophets is important because they illumine this dark world. The ‘dawning of day’ is internal to a believer as is the ‘rising of the morning star.’ The “day” seems to be the believer’s hope, their confident eternal assurance in God’s program. The “Morning Star” undoubtedly is Christ and our growing faith in Him becoming the heart’s focus. Similar calls in the N.T. include: “fixing your eyes upon Jesus” (Heb.12.2) and “cling to the Lord” (Acts 11.23). The more we see God’s working in the O.T. Prophets and their history, the more confident we will be in our deliverance from evil now and in the future.