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The Afterlife

Re: The Afterlife

Postby Seeker » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:13 pm

Paidion wrote:
1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Paul thinks of the human body as a house in which we dwell. If this house is destroyed, if we die, when the resurrection occurs, we will have a "building" from God, the resurrected, immortal body in which to dwell.

I don't see a reference to the resurrection body in the verse itself, though you assert that there's one. Paul seems rather to be referring to a state of affairs immediately following our physical death. Your stance would insert a (potentially very long) period of time between our physical death and what Paul is talking about. That's not the natural reading, in my opinion, since Paul makes no reference to such a gap. (Incidentally, I see the "house not made with human hands" as the same structure referred to in Daniel 2:34 -with the same "not by human hands" language - that will grow to fill the earth. We're a part of that structure.)

Paidion wrote:
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven,

We groan while in this mortal body, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our immortal body with which we shall be raised.

There's no reference our immortal body in the verse. It may be a reasonable inference, but it's not stated directly. It says we are clothed with our habitation.

Paidion wrote:
3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.

Being clothed with the resurrection body, we shall not be found "naked," that is, we shall not be found as bodiless souls or spirits.

Again there's no indisputable reference to the resurrection body. It might be one reasonable interpretation to think that "shall not be found naked" is asserting a resurrection body. But the verse just states we will be clothed with our dwelling place, whatever that may be.

Key to understanding 5:1-8 (which you cite) is the verse immediately preceding:

2 Corinthians 4:18. "as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Paul seems to be setting up the verses that follow as referring to something unseen (like our spirits) not something seen (like our resurrection bodies).
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Re: The Afterlife

Postby Seeker » Sun Jul 08, 2018 9:21 pm

TruthInLove wrote:
MMathis wrote:If Jesus was the firstborn from the dead, what was Lazarus? Was he not resurrected? I 'm sure I've heard an explanation but I don't recall.

Seeker wrote:I’ve heard that called resuscitatihion, though I would think it would have to be more than that. Surely the bodies coming out of the graves in Matthew 27 were fully dead and rotting or dust by the time they rose.

There are significant problems surrounding this event regardless of whether it’s viewed as a resurrection or resuscitation. For a thorough examination of these problems and a resolution I personally find reasonable, please see the JBL article “Matthew 27:52-53 as Apocalyptic Apostrophe: Temporal-Spatial Collapse in the Gospel of Matthew” by Kenneth L. Waters, Sr.

Waters has also written a companion paper entitled “Matthew 28:1-6 as Temporally Conflated Text: Temporal-Spatial Collapse in the Gospel of Matthew”. A free copy of both papers can be obtained for new registrants at this link.

In short, here's the case that Waters makes:

First, as Seeker pointed out, if Christ was truly (i.e. chronologically) the first-born of the dead as Scripture teaches in various places, seeing the risen saints as a resurrection in the same sense as the raising of Chist becomes problematic for this teaching.

Second, despite the many events that accompanied the passing of Jesus on the cross, the centurion’s response here seems most logical if he were reacting to the earthquake, the opening of the tombs and the saints coming to life. Those are the only events mentioned that he could have possibly witnessed personally and would have prompted the sort of response he demonstrated. However, the risen saints are said to have come out of the tombs and entered the “holy city” only after Jesus had Himself risen from the dead days later. This situation is very awkward to envision playing out over a period of several days.

Third, the reference to the “holy city” seems in almost all other cases in the New Testament to be most logically interpreted as a reference to a visionary or metaphysical location (i.e. the Jerusalem from above). To see it as the historical, earthly city in Matthew 27 runs counter to this trend.

In the end, Waters concludes that Matthew 27:52-53 is actually an apocalyptic flash-forward to the final resurrection which is woven into the account of the death of Christ.

The bulk of the paper expounds on the above main points and demonstrates that collapsing of time and space in narratives is not at all uncommon in the Bible or other ancient Jewish literature.

- Carmine

Will definitely check out that link. Sounds interesting. The soldiers seem to me to have witnessed the graves opening up physically, as one of the things that stunned them. I think a spiritual understanding of the the curtain tearing or the graves opening up would not account for the soldiers' reaction "centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe".
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Re: The Afterlife

Postby MMathis » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:32 am

If Lazarus was not dead, that would have a profound impact on Christian teachings.

Medical Definition of Cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A life-saving emergency procedure that involves breathing for the victim and applying external chest compression to make the heart pump. Abbreviated CPR.
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Re: The Afterlife

Postby TruthInLove » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:26 am

MMathias wrote:If Lazarus was not dead, that would have a profound impact on Christian teachings.

I apologize if I was misleading. I did not mean to imply that Lazarus wasn't dead in any sense that would diminish the miraculous nature of his being raised. My comments were primarily regarding Matthew 27:52-53, not the account of Lazarus. I quoted your response simply because you had also expressed a concern as to how one's view on raising the dead elsewhere in Scripture might impact our understanding of Christ being the first-born of the dead.

I think the theological definition of resucitation is slightly different than our modern medical definition. Biblical resuscitation and resurrection are different types of raising a dead person. As Seeker mentioned above, biblical resuscitations apparently restore a person to their previous earthly life to die again at a future point. Resurrection is something different than that and a permanent state. Jesus was apparently the first person to ever experience the sort of raising classified as a resurrection.

Seeker wrote:I think a spiritual understanding of the the curtain tearing or the graves opening up would not account for the soldiers' reaction "centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe".

I'm not sure if you are perhaps expressing some initial doubts in the viability of Water's theory but upon reading your response it occurred to me that there may have been some vagaries in my attempted summary above that should be clarified. Waters actually does not argue for a spiritual explanation of these events.

On page 508 of the journal (page 20 of the paper), he says,

Matthew’s reference to “many bodies of the saints that slept” shows that he expects a corporeal event in space-time, not just an occurrence in the spirit realm, although it is in the spirit realm that these events will conclude.

On page 515 of the journal (page 27 of the paper), Waters summarizes his theory saying,

Matthew 27:52–53 is the same kind of apocalyptic prophecy that we find in Rev 21:2–27 and context. It is not history, nor is it presented as history. The ragged fit of 27:52–53 in its context and the cipher of the holy city are literary signals that evoke a new reading. In reality, this reading is only new to contemporary readers ...

Hopefully this clarifies his stance a little.
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Re: The Afterlife

Postby DeGraff » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:55 am

We have very specific ideas about heaven and hell that have no scripture to back them up. As far as I can tell, "heaven" is a generic term for where God is, and to an ancient Hebrew that would have been above the firmament. I'm talking about a flat earth with waters below, land, waters above, and heaven above all that.

All future pictures, of what comes next, seem to focus on Holy Mount Zion, a New Jerusalem, a "New Earth". One can speculate on an intermediate state, or a "soul sleep" between now and then.

All will be judged, but I have no idea where that takes place... heaven seems to be wherever God is so I suppose it's "there".

Regarding "hell", it is a messy combination of Sheol (place of the dead), Hades (Greek underworld), Gehenna (Jerusalem garbage dump), the lake of fire (the Dead Sea?), and the abyss.

I think all of this has been veiled intentionally by God himself. The clear pictures we have are from Middle-age fiction like Dante's Inferno and Paradise Lost.
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