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David Bentley Hart. He lives in South Bend, Indiana. Brought to you by Curio , an Aeon partner. This created a satisfying package of ideas: the martyrs and other faithful people would be ultimately rewarded and their persecutors would receive an ultimate punishment. The tables would be turned on the oppressors and retributive justice would be meted out by God. But in all of this thinking, resurrection of the dead was never connected to an afterlife in heaven. According to its proponents, when the general resurrection occurred, people would be restored to a physical life on earth.
Presumably, after some period of time, the resurrected people like the resurrected Lazarus , would die again just like everyone else. There would be no continuing eternal existence. After a short period of temporal joy, the dead would be dead forever. On two occasions, groups of Pharisees questioned Jesus about his views on the topic of the resurrection.
If the gospel accounts are accurate, Jesus was quite familiar with the Pharisaic position and apparently accepted the concept of a physical resurrection as a possibility, but it was definitely not a central part of his mission or message.
Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering
He too was seen as a martyr by many in the Jesus movement because of his prophetic stance against a powerful and oppressive political and economic system. His crucifixion as a insurrectionist was seen as an unjust consequence of his bold demonstration and his radical teachings in the Jerusalem Temple. The apostle Paul, who was trained as a Pharisee, accepted the idea of the resurrection of the dead as a theological given and wove it into his developing theology about the crucified Christ.
For Paul, if the claim about the resurrection of Jesus was true, then it was a sign that the general resurrection of the dead had begun. Jesus was simply the first of many martyrs who would be raised, and the rest would soon follow. Paul was emphatic that the general resurrection was immanent. He declared that many who were then alive would witness it, yet Paul himself died waiting for it.
Salvation in Christianity - Wikipedia
Two thousand years later, it has still not occurred. The resurrection of the dead and an afterlife in heaven are two very different concepts which Christians have managed to mush together without much critical thinking. The idea of resurrected bodies being transported to heaven is simply not a biblical concept and was certainly never espoused by Jesus. It has no biblical basis. It is wishful thinking, not good theology.
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Beliefs about a heavenly afterlife are many and varied, and there is little agreement about how the transformation from an earthly life to a heavenly existence will supposedly occur. If you put ten Christians together in a room and asked them about life after death, you would get ten very different answers. They are satisfied with their own misguided beliefs. For the ancient Jews, the body and the soul were inseparable. When you died, everything about you died.
The idea that the mortal human body is inhabited by an immortal soul was adopted by a church that was rapidly moving away from its Jewish roots. At death—some theologians now speculated—there is a separation between the body and the soul. But what happens to the soul at that point was open to even more speculation. Does the soul go to heaven immediately?
Two Minute Apologetics
Or does the soul have to wait for a final judgment sometime in the future before it is assigned to heaven or hell? Does the soul go to a waiting place, like purgatory, for a period? Is there a preliminary judgment at death and a final judgment later? Are the body and the soul reunited when Christ returns? Are they reunited for an earthly existence or a heavenly existence?
What kind of bodies will we have in the resurrection? Will our resurrected bodies be perfect? Will my need for orthodontia be resolved? Will I live with my first wife or my third one? This was one of the questions the Pharisees asked of Jesus. There is no widespread agreement on any of these questions because there is simply no biblical basis for all of this bizarre speculation. Our various understandings of what happens after death are simply human inventions to satisfy a natural human longing that life should not end at death. These understandings also fulfill a basic human need for justice—the need to believe that undeserved suffering on earth will be reversed in heaven, that the evil which flourishes here will be punished there, and that faithfulness in the face of persecution will be rewarded.
For millions of Christians, the Christian faith is primarily centered on what happens after death. It is less centered on what it means to follow Jesus while we are alive. Following Jesus is far too demanding and far too difficult for most Christians. Many churchgoers would rather simply praise Jesus than follow him. In Popular Christianity, the sole mission of Jesus was to die for the sins of humanity.
End of story!
What’s a Christian Worldview?
His mission and message had little to do with a radical transformation of life on this side of the grave. Too many Christians today seem disconnected from a suffering world. In an age of massive human suffering from poverty, war, unjust social structures, and the quest for world empire, the real mystery is the moral and political complacency of middle-class American Christians. It reflects a church that, by its silence and inaction, tacitly supports the status quo of the wealthy and powerful. Moreover, by supporting national wars of aggression, the church acts as a chaplain to the powers and principalities of empire.
By urging personal acts of individual charity to the exclusion of acts of social justice, churches have effectively turned their backs to the real needs of the least of our brothers and sisters. But since the fourth century, a Christian theology focused on personal salvation has played a significant role in crafting the moral indifference of Christians to those in dire need. Evil and the Blueprint 3. Freedom and Risk 4. Complexity and War 5. Omnipotence and Two Variables 6. Prayer and Ambiguity 7. Life and Hope 8.
Mercy and Hardening 9. Read the full starred review here. Gregory A.
Paul, Minnesota. Previously, he was a professor of theology at Bethel University, also in St.