thought in (christian) heaven

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articwind4
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 04:18 pm
@articwind4,
LEONARD GEORGE is a psychologist and lecturer living in Vancouver, Canada. He has published articles in both popular and scholarly journals and is the author of Alternative Realities: The Paranormal, the Mystic and the Transcendent in Human Experience.
<paragon house (publishing compony)>
sorry this was all i could find, if you still doubt it i could find more given time.

---------- Post added 07-27-2009 at 05:13 PM ----------

baal,
"Heaven (Gan Eden, Garden of Eden) is considered the realm of Divine Souls".
just one question, in the Jewish faith Heaven and the Grden Of Eden are the same place? could you please clarify?
 
Baal
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 05:41 pm
@articwind4,
Yes and no.

Initially the Garden of Eden was considered to be a physical place. But after the sin of adam and eve it (apparently) was abstracted from its physical existence.

The Garden of Eden is in middle of a spiritual Hierarchy upon which at the very bottom resides this world, and at whose top resides "Essence".

It sounds linear, but there are many many parallelism, triads, interrelationships, webs etc. -- to which I alluded to by saying this is a very complex matter.

If I were to give a more accurate analysis, more emphasis is placed on the existence and task of this soul than its destination and its own traversal. E.g. what of the soul is a concern to Judaism is the form in which it interacts with the Law and the Commandments (as well as their study, included therein the study of God).

Thus much of the topic is not very cut-out and there is no official doctrine on it (although many have commented on this throughout the ages).

Likewise, the later stage of the Jewish eschatology (which is more emphasized, and upon which the specifications are more clear-cut) is the World-to-Come and the Messianic age, which is a full physical state encompassing resurrection of the dead, and the re-establishment of all the Laws.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 05:50 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Didymos Thomas;79850 wrote:

Is there any less indication of symbolism in that phrase than there is in his parables? Jesus does not preface parables by saying, "okay, figurative, didactic tale here..." nor does he preface his mention of Judgment with, "okay, this is purely literal."

No, but it's usually written by the narrator. "Jesus opened His mouth and spoke parables", or something to that end.

Quote:
Again, what criteria are you using to make your determination?

The context. For example, if it flat out tells you that it's a parable, it's a parable. If it's obviously poetic language, then He's using using metaphors and similes. If He makes statements that are not poetic, they probably are not poetry.


Quote:
Look, I understand that is not an easy question to answer. It would be difficult for me to clearly explain my criteria. So, to make this fair, perhaps you could sight a passage that you find to be literal (and it would be best to sight one that I find to be figurative) and one you find to be figurative and explain how and why you reached your conclusions. I would be more than happy to do the same.

I'll try.

This might work for literal:
Matthew 5:31: "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Christ says it plainly and simply, 'if you divorce her, you make her an adulteress'. There's no real poetry used here, He's talking 'if, then'.

Now for figurative:
Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."
Here, Christ opens with a metaphor. We know He's not calling them literal salt because it's obvious, and He goes on to call salt by 'it', and not continuing with 'you', making it clear that He means man is like salt, but not literally salt.

Quote:
Did Jesus not say that what he taught was not easily understood?

In some cases, yes. Such as when He spoke parables that people would not understand, so that they would not understand, and He later explained it to the Apostles. He also says at one point that He has "many things to tell you [Apostles] but you can not bear them". But this doesn't mean that He'll be ambiguous and mystical in His speech. This just shows that it takes the Holy Spirit's internal witness to correctly interpret God's word, and that the true meaning is revealed to some, and not all.

Quote:
The problem with saying that the Day of Judgment is literal is that everything said about the Day of Judgment is figurative. How do we have a literal event (a single day) when the content of that event is figurative. If everything comprising the event is figurative, then the event itself must be spoken of as figurative.

But not everything compromising the event is figurative. There's a real Judgment, and a real time period within which this Judgment takes place. Maybe it's not a day, maybe it's after the end of time, etc. But, there is a clear Judgment being taught. I think I may be able to see what you mean by it being figurative though.


Quote:
When we discuss what we, mortal men, are to call a Christian we are speaking of something quite apart from what Jesus would call a "true" or "good" Christian.


The only thing we can do is define "Christian" for us men to use; we cannot define "Christian" for God and it would be rather presumptuous for us to even make an attempt at providing God such a definition.

Christian, for use in scholarly work, is something quite different from a true and good Christian, just as Muslim for scholarly work is quite different from a good and true Muslim. For example, Osama Bin Laden is a Muslim, but most certainly not a true and good Muslim.

Well, if you believed in the whole Bible, I could just point you to John's first epistle. That entire epistle is basically a series of contrasts between a saved man and a lost man, ended with "these things I have written to you that you may know you have eternal life". That is what I would use to define a 'true Christian', and I hold it's God's criteria revealed to us.

Even so, I agree that when looking at history, we can use the word 'Christian' for a much broader people. That is, all professing Christians.



Holiday20310401;79860 wrote:
Would you be mad at God if your children did not make it to heaven and you unconditionally and truly loved your children, and you yourself thought them worthy of heaven?

What you need to understand is what the Bible says about humanity. It describes it as 'wicked from it's youth', and that there is 'none who does good, not one.' and that 'all our works are filthy rags to the Lord'. There is no rational way that I could deem my children worthy of heaven, as they are born in sin. I'm also not worthy. Salvation is of the Lord, through faith in Jesus Christ.


Quote:
There was an aphorism told by a war veteran (I think anyways), though I can't remember it word for word, it was a sign of maturity, understanding, and piety. "Having been there, I would not want even my worst enemy to got to hell". And it's spread around the internet so I can't find the original quote, lol. He's obviously speaking of the war, and how much worse of course hell must be.

Yes, I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy either, but it is what both me and my worst enemy deserve, and justice is something to rejoice in, is it not?

Quote:
The point is what you just quoted above assumes your fellow member here hasn't a heart, and it hints upon your views as well, which I only find to be heartless at the same time; simply have a heart, that's what God would've wanted, even if God or Jesus doesn't state that explicitly.

Actually, the bible says the heart is 'deceitfully wicked'. We shouldn't leave decisions up to the heart. We need to use wise and proper judgment. And, I am not heartless, you just don't seem to understand how incredibly evil the human race is.
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 06:37 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:

What you need to understand is what the Bible says about humanity. It describes it as 'wicked from it's youth'


Aedes where is a picture of your lovely son?

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
and that there is 'none who does good, not one.' and that 'all our works are filthy rags to the Lord'. There is no rational way that I could deem my children worthy of heaven, as they are born in sin. I'm also not worthy. Salvation is of the Lord, through faith in Jesus Christ.


Sin is inevitable since it is both conceivable and conditional.

I would hate to think that the only think I own is evil, and that I can never own benevolence and joyousness, that I must be penitent in order to receive it; that I could not 'harden' and refine my own heart. A literalist's heart when hardened would turn to stone.

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
Yes, I wouldn't wish it upon my worst enemy either, but it is what both me and my worst enemy deserve, and justice is something to rejoice in, is it not?


Justice is a paradox, and when one reads literature beyond the bible, into the wonders of human creations, one realizes that justice is blind.

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
Actually, the bible says the heart is 'deceitfully wicked'. We shouldn't leave decisions up to the heart. We need to use wise and proper judgment. And, I am not heartless, you just don't seem to understand how incredibly evil the human race is.


Well you don't know how much that stings my heart to hear that.


I won't get into moral relativism vs. absolutism because I'm sure you've heard it all, and it's a dead end to too many cases in terms of convincing someone. I will just withdraw from this thread before we hurt each other more.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Mon 27 Jul, 2009 06:51 pm
@Holiday20310401,
Holiday20310401;79889 wrote:
Aedes where is a picture of your lovely son?

Hey, I love babies and children, believe me, I do. However, I can not deny the truth of the Scriptures.


Quote:
Sin is inevitable since it is both conceivable and conditional.

Also it is inscribed in human nature.

Quote:
I would hate to think that the only think I own is evil, and that I can never own benevolence and joyousness, that I must be penitent in order to receive it; that I could not 'harden' and refine my own heart. A literalist's heart when hardened would turn to stone.

I don't care what you'd like to think. The if we're going talk about a biblical heaven, we're going to talk about a biblical view of the human heart.


Quote:
Justice is a paradox, and when one reads literature beyond the bible, into the wonders of human creations, one realizes that justice is blind.

Argue it.


Quote:
Well you don't know how much that stings my heart to hear that.

I won't get into moral relativism vs. absolutism because I'm sure you've heard it all, and it's a dead end to too many cases in terms of convincing someone. I will just withdraw from this thread before we hurt each other more.

Well, alright then. Thanks for the discussion. Smile
I would urge you to believe and repent of your sins, that you may be saved!
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Tue 28 Jul, 2009 02:05 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
No, but it's usually written by the narrator. "Jesus opened His mouth and spoke parables", or something to that end.


Take the salt of the earth parable: Matthew says 5:2 "Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:" and then Jesus proceeds with the famous "Blessed are the poor in spirit", meek, ect When we get to the salt of the earth, 5:13, there has been no further preface. Here we have Jesus speaking figuratively without any indication that he is, in fact, doing so.

It is in that same sermon that Jesus speaks on adultery, 5:27,28. The next passage, 5:29, has Jesus telling us to pluck out our eye if it offends us.

Jesus gives quite literal teaching and figurative teaching side by side, interspersed, without direct indication as to whether or not the teaching is literal or figurative. The bulk of his figurative statements do not have a preface that identifies them as such.

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
The context. For example, if it flat out tells you that it's a parable, it's a parable. If it's obviously poetic language, then He's using using metaphors and similes. If He makes statements that are not poetic, they probably are not poetry.


I agree that it is context. But there has to be something to the process of looking at context.

I mentioned your examples already, about how they appear in the same sermon, literal and figurative teaching side by side, and no indication given as to which is which.

So, now we go back to the initial issue: is the Day of Judgment literally an event that will happen on some specific date in the future? Or is it a figurative teaching that is meant to instruct man in some way?

So let us look at Jesus' teachings in the Gospels; back to my favorite, Matthew:

We find Jesus speaking of the Day of Judgment in Chapter 10. He is speaking to his disciples and the content seems to be figurative. He tells them to heal the sick and the lepers and cast out demons (10:8). Obviously, these are purely figurative. At 10:9,10 he begins giving them directions about what to take with them, saying not to take gold or silver nor a bag with various supplies. This direction about what to carry seems literal, but I argue that it has literal and figurative meaning: when you go out to teach do not be concerned with your material well being. If you happen to have two tunics, for example, I doubt Jesus would be offended.

Now we get to the day of judgment. In 14,15 Jesus says that whoever will not hear or receive the disciples will be worse off "in the day of judgment" than those in Sodom and Gomorrah. In the day of judgment, not on a particular date sometime in the future.

Let me bring up something else, which I find to be the most important issue. Many scholars argue that Jesus was an apocalyptic teacher, who taught that the end times were at hand, that they were to happen quite soon. If we read the day of judgment as literal, then Jesus was clearly an apocalyptic teacher who was wrong - human beings are still around two thousand years later.

In some cases, yes. Such as when He spoke parables that people would not understand, so that they would not understand, and He later explained it to the Apostles. He also says at one point that He has "many things to tell you [Apostles] but you can not bear them". But this doesn't mean that He'll be ambiguous and mystical in His speech. This just shows that it takes the Holy Spirit's internal witness to correctly interpret God's word, and that the true meaning is revealed to some, and not all.

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:
But not everything compromising the event is figurative. There's a real Judgment, and a real time period within which this Judgment takes place. Maybe it's not a day, maybe it's after the end of time, etc. But, there is a clear Judgment being taught. I think I may be able to see what you mean by it being figurative though.


Whether or not there is a real day of judgment is exactly what we disagree upon, so let's leave that until we've decided on the matter.

You bring up a real time period: okay then, on what day, or what days, will this judgment occur? If it is some unspecified, who knows when, then it smacks of figurative language rather than literal. Not an uncommon technique.

Is there judgment? Sure. But there is no literal Day of Judgment, instead, we should take such talk of that day as a reminder that all of our works have an impact, and that we cannot escape that impact. Let's see if this makes any sense: all lies are eventually revealed, but there is not some Day of Lie-Revealing. We can talk of such a day, and doing so would serve as a reminder that all lies are revealed in lofty and emotionally impacting language.

TheLonelyPuritan;79883 wrote:

Even so, I agree that when looking at history, we can use the word 'Christian' for a much broader people. That is, all professing Christians.


And that is exactly what I am doing. After all, not all Christians have accepted that Epistle. Many have downright rejected it. Whether or not you and I accept it or not is beside the point: we still, as scholars, must call all honest, professing Christians, Christians. Whether or not we think they are true Christians, or Christians practicing the proper way is another matter altogether.

For example, I find infinite flaws in fundamentalist Christianity - but I none the less recognize that they are Christians.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Fri 31 Jul, 2009 04:35 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Sorry about the late post. I've been quite lazy lately, and I won't be able to post within the next five days either, sadly. I'm going on vacation!

Didymos Thomas;80046 wrote:
Take the salt of the earth parable: Matthew says 5:2 "Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:" and then Jesus proceeds with the famous "Blessed are the poor in spirit", meek, ect When we get to the salt of the earth, 5:13, there has been no further preface. Here we have Jesus speaking figuratively without any indication that he is, in fact, doing so.

Yes, my mistake. He doesn't always tell us when he is being figurative, but in this particular sermon, and in most any sermon or speech I've ever listened to, metaphors are almost always easy to understand as metaphors, and easily distinguishable from that which is taken literally. For example, if I were to say something such as:
"Do not be worldly anymore! Accept Christ's sacrifice and cry out to God, and you shall be saved! Cling to the cross!"
Not the best thing I could come up with, sadly. In any case, I think it's very easy to distinguish the first part as being literal, while the latter part figurative, as there is no literal cross to cling to.

Quote:
I agree that it is context. But there has to be something to the process of looking at context.

I mentioned your examples already, about how they appear in the same sermon, literal and figurative teaching side by side, and no indication given as to which is which.

Well, there are multiple contexts to take into consideration. In order, I would say we should look at the immediate context, the context of the entire book, the context of the entire bible, and historical context, in order. And then any other contexts that would be relevant.

Quote:
So, now we go back to the initial issue: is the Day of Judgment literally an event that will happen on some specific date in the future? Or is it a figurative teaching that is meant to instruct man in some way?

So let us look at Jesus' teachings in the Gospels; back to my favorite, Matthew:

We find Jesus speaking of the Day of Judgment in Chapter 10. He is speaking to his disciples and the content seems to be figurative. He tells them to heal the sick and the lepers and cast out demons (10:8). Obviously, these are purely figurative. At 10:9,10 he begins giving them directions about what to take with them, saying not to take gold or silver nor a bag with various supplies. This direction about what to carry seems literal, but I argue that it has literal and figurative meaning: when you go out to teach do not be concerned with your material well being. If you happen to have two tunics, for example, I doubt Jesus would be offended.

Well, I think we agree here.

Quote:
Now we get to the day of judgment. In 14,15 Jesus says that whoever will not hear or receive the disciples will be worse off "in the day of judgment" than those in Sodom and Gomorrah. In the day of judgment, not on a particular date sometime in the future.

Well, the day of Judgment isn't just a day somewhere in the future. It's the judgment on all people at the end of time, I believe. I think I should repeat myself here and tell you I'm not very well learned in the book of revelation, as I'm more into soteriology an the character of God when it comes to my studies. There is, however, going to be a time where God will judge mankind. This is said in many of Jesus' parables, when He talks about, for example, the wheat and tares, and how there is a point where they are separated, and the tares are removed and thrown into the fire. Why would Jesus figuratively talk about something figurative? Also, if He spoke of this figurative judgment for so long, why did He never explain what it was? Why not even to the apostles?

Quote:
Let me bring up something else, which I find to be the most important issue. Many scholars argue that Jesus was an apocalyptic teacher, who taught that the end times were at hand, that they were to happen quite soon. If we read the day of judgment as literal, then Jesus was clearly an apocalyptic teacher who was wrong - human beings are still around two thousand years later.

There are tons of opinions from scholars. This is not what the bible testifies at all, though. If Jesus did teach that there was a judgment, an apocalypse, if you will, he never gave any certain date, He just said it would come soon. Soon, though, is very relative.

Quote:
Whether or not there is a real day of judgment is exactly what we disagree upon, so let's leave that until we've decided on the matter.

You bring up a real time period: okay then, on what day, or what days, will this judgment occur? If it is some unspecified, who knows when, then it smacks of figurative language rather than literal. Not an uncommon technique.

How does the date being unknown imply figurative language, exactly?

Quote:
Is there judgment? Sure. But there is no literal Day of Judgment, instead, we should take such talk of that day as a reminder that all of our works have an impact, and that we cannot escape that impact. Let's see if this makes any sense: all lies are eventually revealed, but there is not some Day of Lie-Revealing. We can talk of such a day, and doing so would serve as a reminder that all lies are revealed in lofty and emotionally impacting language.

So Jesus constantly, strenuously, warns against a time where you'll be succumb to human punishment because they've found out what you've done? What about God, in the OT, being a judge?


Quote:
And that is exactly what I am doing. After all, not all Christians have accepted that Epistle. Many have downright rejected it. Whether or not you and I accept it or not is beside the point: we still, as scholars, must call all honest, professing Christians, Christians. Whether or not we think they are true Christians, or Christians practicing the proper way is another matter altogether.


For example, I find infinite flaws in fundamentalist Christianity - but I none the less recognize that they are Christians.

Well, when referring to large groups of people that call themselves Christian, I'll usually say 'professing Christians', as opposed to a 'True Christian' or a 'saved Christian'. Still, it is right to call them Christians, when speaking in a strictly historical or social sense.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 12:49 pm
@TheLonelyPuritan,
TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
Sorry about the late post. I've been quite lazy lately, and I won't be able to post within the next five days either, sadly. I'm going on vacation!


Have fun on vacation!

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
Yes, my mistake. He doesn't always tell us when he is being figurative, but in this particular sermon, and in most any sermon or speech I've ever listened to, metaphors are almost always easy to understand as metaphors, and easily distinguishable from that which is taken literally. For example, if I were to say something such as:
"Do not be worldly anymore! Accept Christ's sacrifice and cry out to God, and you shall be saved! Cling to the cross!"
Not the best thing I could come up with, sadly. In any case, I think it's very easy to distinguish the first part as being literal, while the latter part figurative, as there is no literal cross to cling to.


As much as I agree that it is typically easy to distinguish between figurative and literal passages, many people seem to disagree with my take on many of them.

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
Well, there are multiple contexts to take into consideration. In order, I would say we should look at the immediate context, the context of the entire book, the context of the entire bible, and historical context, in order. And then any other contexts that would be relevant.


Quite right.

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
Well, the day of Judgment isn't just a day somewhere in the future. It's the judgment on all people at the end of time, I believe. I think I should repeat myself here and tell you I'm not very well learned in the book of revelation, as I'm more into soteriology an the character of God when it comes to my studies.


I agree that the day of Judgment is not a day somewhere in the future. But I am not sure where we get this end of time notion, especially as a literal interpretation.

Revelation is a strange book, probably the strangest in the Bible.

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
There is, however, going to be a time where God will judge mankind. This is said in many of Jesus' parables, when He talks about, for example, the wheat and tares, and how there is a point where they are separated, and the tares are removed and thrown into the fire. Why would Jesus figuratively talk about something figurative? Also, if He spoke of this figurative judgment for so long, why did He never explain what it was? Why not even to the apostles?


If it is contained in a parable, shouldn't we recognize it immediately as figurative?

Jesus does not explain exactly what that day was for the reason he gives for teaching in parables in Matthew. He is using figurative language to teach because the message is not easily grasped.

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
There are tons of opinions from scholars. This is not what the bible testifies at all, though. If Jesus did teach that there was a judgment, an apocalypse, if you will, he never gave any certain date, He just said it would come soon. Soon, though, is very relative.


Sure, and I happen to disagree with those who read Jesus as an apocryphal teacher. But I do see why they would read it in such a way: Jesus does use apocalyptic concepts in his teachings - the debate then becomes whether or not he was using those concepts literally or figuratively. If literal, then he was apocalyptic teacher. If figurative, then not.

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
How does the date being unknown imply figurative language, exactly?


Because if it were literal, then it would have an exact date(s). Right?

TheLonelyPuritan;80597 wrote:
So Jesus constantly, strenuously, warns against a time where you'll be succumb to human punishment because they've found out what you've done? What about God, in the OT, being a judge?


Jesus never teaches about human punishment outside of this very human life. Not in the Gospels, that is.

As for the OT God, I'd have to ask: which one? El, who sits and has a meal with Abraham, or YHWH who destroys cities and armies?
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 01:16 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Thomas how do you think your progressing on the road of dogmatic understanding? Do you still not think we should not destroy the faith before we rebuild it?Can you honestly believe reason has a place to play?
By the expressed views displayed, i think you have an uphill struggle.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 01:20 pm
@xris,
xris;80770 wrote:
Thomas how do you think your progressing on the road of dogmatic understanding?


Busy. That's how I'm progressing.

xris;80770 wrote:
Do you still not think we should not destroy the faith before we rebuild it?


No. If you destroy the faith, there will be no one to teach in the process of rebuilding. I would not have the Catholic Church dismantled, for example, because in the process we would lose many of the people who would be essential to positive reform.

xris;80770 wrote:
Can you honestly believe reason has a place to play?


Given the two thousand year's history of reason's role, you bet.

xris;80770 wrote:
By the expressed views displayed, i think you have an uphill struggle.


"There's a cross for you to bear
Things to go through if you're going anywhere"
 
Icon
 
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 06:40 am
@articwind4,
This thread amuses me.
 
articwind4
 
Reply Mon 3 Aug, 2009 03:35 pm
@Icon,
out of cureosity (Didymos Thomas, and Thelonelypuritan),
are you reciting verse from memory or the bible it's self, if you are using the bible (nothing wrong with that) i would like to know which translation.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 5 Aug, 2009 05:51 pm
@articwind4,
I am recalling passages from memory, then looking them up in one of my copies to get the wording correct, and find the chapter and passage numbers.

My physical copy (the one I typically refer to and read) is a New King James. I also use online resources like biblegateway.com to look up passages.
 
TheLonelyPuritan
 
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 09:33 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;80759 wrote:
Have fun on vacation!

I'm back! It was quite exciting!


Quote:
As much as I agree that it is typically easy to distinguish between figurative and literal passages, many people seem to disagree with my take on many of them.
Well, they are quite unorthodox, you can't deny. I personally hold that, as you've probably seen me say, the Holy Spirit must witness to the heart for any true understanding of Scripture. I also think if you take a look at the rest of the New Testament and take it all to be true, you'll usually find a much more orthodox theology. Of course by orthodox I mean the Christianity that has been seen throughout history. Namely, the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as the early Church, which would be the catholic church (Not exactly the roman catholic church as it is today, though).


Quote:
Quite right.
Being in agreement is pretty exciting, I think.


Quote:
I agree that the day of Judgment is not a day somewhere in the future. But I am not sure where we get this end of time notion, especially as a literal interpretation.
Well would it not make sense for the Judgment to be at the end of the age, that all men would be judged?

Quote:
Revelation is a strange book, probably the strangest in the Bible.
Indeed it is.


Quote:
If it is contained in a parable, shouldn't we recognize it immediately as figurative?
But the Judgment itself is hardly ever (if not never) in the parable itself, but rather symbolized by something.

Quote:
Jesus does not explain exactly what that day was for the reason he gives for teaching in parables in Matthew. He is using figurative language to teach because the message is not easily grasped.
But then how could your interpretation of what He is teaching in His with these parables be misunderstood by so many, if the sole purpose they were used was to better explain things?


Quote:
Because if it were literal, then it would have an exact date(s). Right?
Not necessarily. If you were in school, and your professor told the class 'there will be a test sometime next week', he would quite obviously be speaking literally.


Quote:
Jesus never teaches about human punishment outside of this very human life. Not in the Gospels, that is.
Though I do believe in punishment from God in this life, I would not agree that He never speaks of human punishment. Look to the story Luke 16:19-31. (It's quite long so I won't be writing it down here)

Here, we have no indication it's even a parable. Even so, I would call it one, as it's similar to all the other parables. So, the poor man, Lazarus, dies, and is carried away by angels. The rich man also dies and is taken to Hades where he is tormented. You might say that this is a parable, and so it is figurative, but I have two objections to that.
1)This might just be a small little thing, but Jesus actually names the poor man as Lazarus, as if He were a real person. More detail is used here, by the naming of the character, than any other parable, which might indicate it's a little more than just figurative. Also, no supernatural beings are ever mentioned by Jesus in His parables, but here we see angels.
2)There is nothing in the immediate context to tell you anything about what this parable, if figurative, is talking about. The people listening to Jesus, then, would have to conclude that He is indeed speaking of a literal punishment after death.
Still, I'd like to know what your interpretation of this story is, and of this quote:
"25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish."

Quote:
As for the OT God, I'd have to ask: which one? El, who sits and has a meal with Abraham, or YHWH who destroys cities and armies?
Both are one and the same.

articwind4 wrote:
out of cureosity (Didymos Thomas, and Thelonelypuritan),
are you reciting verse from memory or the bible it's self, if you are using the bible (nothing wrong with that) i would like to know which translation.

I'm either just paraphrasing what I remember, when it's things I'm pretty sure Didymos Thomas remembers, or, I'm actually quoting verses which I looked up from biblegateway.com. I usually cite the ESV version.
 
prothero
 
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 10:35 pm
@articwind4,
Well, thats just part of the problem with the whole concept of "heaven".
What exactly does existence in heaven mean?
Personally I do not believe in heaven or hell or that a loving God would devise such a system. What exactly is human existence or experience without thought?
 
Serena phil
 
Reply Thu 6 Aug, 2009 11:23 pm
@articwind4,
Heaven itself is a state of mind, it probably could not exist in the first place without the state of thought.
 
click here
 
Reply Fri 7 Aug, 2009 06:02 am
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;79841 wrote:
I'm not sure that is the case - in fact, I disagree. Jesus employed figurative language in most of his teachings; that was his primary tool for instruction, figurative tales and expressions.


I have not finished reading all the replies yet I will respond in hopes this has not been said.

There are many times Jesus would say to his disciples that he now is speaking literal with them. Or he would explain a figurative parable by explaining its literal meaning.

Take for example: Matthew 13-

36Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, "Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field." 37He answered, "The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
40"As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. 41The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

He is literally saying that there will be a literal harvest involving the burning of some and the saving of others. I think it's pretty clear right there.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Sat 8 Aug, 2009 11:07 pm
@click here,
TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:

Well, they are quite unorthodox, you can't deny.


Not entirely. Fundamentalism is a modern, unorthodox manner of reading the Bible. Puritanism is a relatively modern, unorthodox manner of reading the Bible.

If Aquinas and Augustine can catch the figurative nature of the teachings - and if they can notice that Jesus explicitly explains why he preaches in figurative language rather than cold literal renderings of truth - then I would estimate my reading to be more orthodox than not. My unorthodoxy comes from my reading of Apocrypha and the synthesis of those readings with the canon I also use, my rejection of some canonical texts, my tendency to utilize wisdom found in non-Christian sources, and a willingness to appreciate Higher Criticism.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
I personally hold that, as you've probably seen me say, the Holy Spirit must witness to the heart for any true understanding of Scripture.


I agree, but we have to be careful - simply because the Holy Spirit is in the heart does not mean that the human reading the work will have a true understanding. In philosophical language - it is a necessary, not a sufficient condition, for true understanding.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
I also think if you take a look at the rest of the New Testament and take it all to be true, you'll usually find a much more orthodox theology.


This depends upon how we read those texts.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Of course by orthodox I mean the Christianity that has been seen throughout history. Namely, the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox Churches, as well as the early Church, which would be the catholic church (Not exactly the roman catholic church as it is today, though).


And here is the problem, the reason why I remind that how we read the text is important: those various groups you mention had, and have, immense disagreements. If we call of their diverse theologies "orthodox theology" then the term "orthodoxy" has lost all meaning as it means nothing in particular at all - only that the theology has been espoused for at least several hundred years. That is not a very limiting term, and in that sense, I am as orthodox as they come, which as you know is not quite true.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Well would it not make sense for the Judgment to be at the end of the age, that all men would be judged?


Never made any literal sense to me, hence my rejection of that concept - which, I suppose, is rather orthodox, and certainly more orthodox than my interpretation.

But the (generally) orthodox opinion comes from a particular sort of reading of Revelations. If we are talking about orthodoxy in the sense you described above, then the orthodox position could be anything from a purely literal reading of Revelations, to a belief in reincarnation and something akin to karmic forces.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
But the Judgment itself is hardly ever (if not never) in the parable itself, but rather symbolized by something.


Sheep and the goats from Matthew? While not a parable, as in a story, the passage is most certainly a figurative tract:
" I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me."

Obviously, this cannot be literally true. And this is in addition to the aforementioned use of the judgment in Matthew, which was figurative.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
But then how could your interpretation of what He is teaching in His with these parables be misunderstood by so many, if the sole purpose they were used was to better explain things?


First, let us remember that the claim I made to which you respond here is in the Bible. According to Jesus he teaches such for better understanding.

To answer: the audience. We are not the same people to whom Jesus preached, nor do we think the same way. Literal readings are a peculiar modern phenomenon. This is so for two reasons: one, in reaction to the snooty attitudes of some Higher Critics, and two, because people are quick to assume that science, which is literal, and religion, which relies upon figurative language, are somehow opposed to one another if they have literal contradictions.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Not necessarily. If you were in school, and your professor told the class 'there will be a test sometime next week', he would quite obviously be speaking literally.


And don't professors typically, at some future time, provide an exact date for the exam? Wouldn't you imagine that through the hundreds of mentions, that some indication of time frame would be present?

And if you argue that indication of time frame does exist, then at best you have destroyed the credibility of the judgment altogether given the numerous attempts to attach a date, all of which appear equally valid estimations, and all of which have been mistaken.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Though I do believe in punishment from God in this life, I would not agree that He never speaks of human punishment. Look to the story Luke 16:19-31. (It's quite long so I won't be writing it down here)


It is a parable, and a response to the Pharisees who do not appreciate the previous parables.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Here, we have no indication it's even a parable.


Go to Chapter 15 for the indication - 16 is a continuation of that setting, and Jesus is clearly responding to the Pharisees in 16 with a parable explaining his statement:
15And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
2)There is nothing in the immediate context to tell you anything about what this parable, if figurative, is talking about. The people listening to Jesus, then, would have to conclude that He is indeed speaking of a literal punishment after death.


Yes, there is: he is further explaining his condemnation of the Pharisees in the form of a story: ie, a parable.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Still, I'd like to know what your interpretation of this story is, and of this quote:
"25But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish."


"The first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first."

Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees, who in the context of the Gospels, live comfortably and also claim to be holy priests. Jesus is saying that truly holy men do not live nearly so well, that truly holy men suffer greatly.

TheLonelyPuritan;81696 wrote:
Both are one and the same.


Not quite: they both become one and the same over centuries of religious evolution. They began as two different deities, and El began as a deity among a whole pantheon. At one point, El's temple also housed the cult of two other deities. That's history. Karen Armstrong covers this quite well in her History of God, which covers that history in the three Western monotheisms.

Click Here - Just because Jesus clarifies his teaching does not mean that his clarification is purely literal.
 
click here
 
Reply Sat 8 Aug, 2009 11:26 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;82016 wrote:

Click Here - Just because Jesus clarifies his teaching does not mean that his clarification is purely literal.


Now you are just being unreasonable, you ask for evidence, I give and you reject. Playing the extreme skeptic gets you no where.

If the author of a poem holds a discussion to talk about the meaning of his poem. At the end of the discussion he explains it yet you raise your hand to ask if he's on drugs, you just want to make sure that he really is telling the truth about the explanation to the poem. He says no, you demand a drug test. The drug test comes back negative. You then ask him if someone bribed him to lie about his supposed summary of the meanings of his poem. He denies it and proves to you that he has not received any large amounts of cash. You accuse him of lying to achieve a secret agenda unknown to everyone else in the room. Etc...

Don't be ridiculous Didymos.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sun 9 Aug, 2009 05:40 am
@articwind4,
Hi I have had a near death experience and based on that thought definitely exists in heaven.

There are countless realms not just one heaven , Christian , but an infinity each at a different level of existence
 
 

 
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