Saturday, September 11, 2010

Everyone is Resurrected; Everyone Exists Forever

No, I haven't become a universalist (ug).

This is sort of an "un, duh" thing. But orthodox Christianity has always taught a general resurrection -- i.e., that everyone, good and evil, is resurrected from the dead.

Paul, for example, proclaimed before Felix:

"But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked" (Acts 24.14-15).

And Jesus taught:

"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment" (Jn 5.28-29).

And, "All the nations will be gathered before Him . . . These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt 25.32, 46).

And Daniel:

"Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt" (Dan 12.2).

So everybody is resurrected, and everybody exists forever. "Eternal life" and "eternal death" are not contrasting eternal existence versus annihilation. Rather, the contrast is that of being eternally united with God (eternal life) or separated from God (eternal death).

After all, God told Adam and Eve that the day they ate of the Tree they would surely die (Gn 2.17). And they did die, being driven out of the Garden and separated from God. Eternal death, or eternal destruction, is being eternally separated from God (2 Thes 1.9).

But if "life" is defined as a person existing forever, then in point of fact Chrisitianity has always taught that everyone lives forever.

Believing in Jesus is not a means to avoid death understood as annihilation or non-existence. It's a question of where we spend eternity - with God or without.


Post a Comment

<< Home