Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Responding to Scientology

Tommy Davis from Scientology International stated:
In Scientology, we believe that you have lived before and that you will live again. The spirit, which is you, is immortal and you are not your body. You as an individual are an immortal spiritual being and simply put, you have lived before and will live again, lifetime after lifetime. In Scientology, these past existences are simply referred to as past lives.
(as reported at MSN News)

I respond:

Christianity rejects Scientology, and these doctrines of man. The Bible is the Christian's source of authority when it comes to the nature of man.

1. Reincarnation is False

The Christian doctrine of man is that man lives once, dies once, and will be raised on the day of judgment.

Scripture teaches that man has one life on earth, and after that the judgment:

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

Scripture teaches also that the resurrection is general:

Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.

Although the resurrection is general, there will be a division - some will be raised to life, other will be raised to the second death: hell.

John 5:29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

2. Our Body is a Part of Us

As noted above, we await a bodily resurrection. Although we will have the same body, it will be changed. The mortal body we have now will be changed into an immortal body.

I Corinthians 15:35-44
35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

We can also see that our bodies are a part of us from other places in Scripture, such as the following:

1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thus, God told Adam:

Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

3. Our Spirits are Immortal in a Limited Sense, but are not eternal.

Men come into being. They are not eternal beings. Thus, Jesus said he was before Abraham.

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Furthermore, although our souls will never cease to exist, if we do not now repent and trust in Christ, there will come a time when both our body and soul will perish (eternally) in hell.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Conclusion

We reject the errors of Scientology, because they are contrary to the revealed word of God, our Creator and Redeemer. If one follows Scientology, one will eventually discover its errors. Man does not have an infinite number of lives to "get it right" - this life is it.

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

-TurretinFan

16 comments:

natamllc said...

Yes and amen! I Kiss the Son!

I shall live forever in Him, now that God has revealed Him to me.

In fact, I now am living in Him and it does not yet appear to me all that God has planned for me. I understand in part, now. When the fulness of the times will come, I will know fully even as I am now known!

My role now, as yours, is to Love God and serve my neighbor, daily. I give myself to this Hope while I yet live.

A Psalmst wrote this:::>

Psa 86:3 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Psa 86:4 Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psa 86:5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Psa 86:6 Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
Psa 86:7 In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me.
Psa 86:8 There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.

Highway dog said...

Because I enjoy science fiction, I feel the attaction of scientology. Of course, any person would like to believe the feelings of their own heart! I considered it, but I see that it is a deception. In the book Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately wicked: who can know it?" sums up the problem. This is the blind that touches all of us. What will you do? (To other readers)

After a short search, I found this sermon:
http://www.the-highway.com/deceitfulness_Black.html
by David Black, a Scottish pastor at the end of the 18th century. Can any of you guys give me a better article?
Sincerely,
Rob.

Terry Rayburn said...

Your points are well taken against Scientology.

It is appointed to men once to die, and then comes the judgment.

However, I would rethink your statement that our spirits are not eternal.

We certainly were not born with spirits which are eternal, but such is the miracle of rebirth that we are given "eternal life". And we are made one spirit with Him.

This is how it can be that when Jesus died on the cross, WE died on the cross -- died to sin, died to the law, etc. We were "in Him" when He died, was buried and rose. Thus we were raised with Him, and seated in the heavenlies with Him at the right hand of the Father.

Physically? No. What then? Spiritually, having been given eternal life.

This is an aspect of the New Birth which is often ignored, IMHO.

It still, of course, gives no support whatever to Scientology nonsense.

Turretinfan said...

To clarify: our spirits will have no end. They did have a beginning. So they are "one-sided eternal" in contrast to the "two-sided eternality" possessed by God alone.

Our union with Christ is, like our previous union with Adam, a legal relationship. By virtue of the meritorious work of Christ and his suffering in our stead, we obtain never-ending (one-sided eternal) life. But, as an historical reality, we (including in our bodies and our spirits) had a beginning. That historical reality doesn't change.

-TurretinFan

Terry Rayburn said...

Turretinfan,

A study of the Biblical concept of "eternal" will dispell your idea of "one-way eternal".

Although the Gk. word for "eternal" (aionios) can be used correctly as "having no end" in some cases, when used of "eternal life" (aionios zoe) it speaks of a quality of life which is timeless, frontward or backward.

To say that our union with Adam is only legal is another unbiblical error, common in theology books and commentaries, but nowhere found in Scripture.

Scripture indicates that we literally (not just legally) inherit sin from Adam, being "in his loins" at the time of his sinning. (For insight into this concept, see Hebrews 7:9,10, which speaks of Levi paying tithes to Melchizedek, being in the loins of father Abraham).

This idea of "in the loins" inheritance is a key point of the Bible.

Likewise, to say that our union with Christ is merely a legal one is a huge mistake made by much of the Church, with no (I repeat "no") Scriptural warrant.

1 Cor. 6:17 clearly says that ..."the one who joins himself to the Lord is ONE SPIRIT with Him."

While mysterious, there is no reason not to take this literally. In fact, much that is often kicked aside in theology as merely "legal" or "positional" should actually be taken quite literally (though on a higher, non-temporal, spiritual, yes "eternal" sense).

For example, when the Scripture says that we were crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20), or that we are dead to sin and alive to God (Rom. 6:11), we are to take that as a true reality (I realize "true reality" is redundant, but I distinguish is from merely a "legal reality").

Our "old man" (old nature, old spirit) was put to death in Christ on the cross, and we were given a new nature, a new spirit, an eternal one).

In time we had a beginning. Even our spirit had a beginning. But then a [miraculous mysterious] thing happened whereby we were given eternality, eternal life, and by virtue of being eternal, this [miraculous mysterious] life has no beginning or end.

Why press this point? Because it helps us to understand how things happened "in Christ" in the so-called past, on the cross.

And it's also biblical.

Unfortunately, theologians have taken what they can't understand, and simply relegated it to "legal" or "positional".

Don't listen to them.

Sola Scriptura, baby.

Strong Tower said...

"However, I would rethink your statement that our spirits are not eternal."

This conflates the reality that we are in the Son. In Him alone is eternal life. That life is not ours as He said: "...I am the life..." The soul is not typically spoken of as eternal, but as being made immortal. Key word: made.

Eternality does not inhere in us. By definition we are finite and not eternal because we are a creation and not the creator. He alone is the uncreated and by definition has no beginning and no end. We on the other hand only enjoy His life "in Him".

To transfer the essential quality of deity to man is a grave mistake. To say that we are made one in spirit as if the two are in essence one, confuses the presence of the Holy Spirit as in, with "is united" to us. To do that will necessitate that we rewrite the trinitarian doctrine and mix the eternal nature of the Son of God with the Son of Man and end up in heresy. The Son of man is true man, and the Son of God is true God, the two essences not mixed, nor confused. So, not even with the Christ is there eternality inherent in his human nature, instead, Scripture declared that he was conceived, lived, died and was resurrected by the Spirit.

"That historical reality doesn't change."

This is key. Never does history attain to eternality. It is history after all. Since we know that history does indeed have an end in this era, it is error to extend inherent eternality to the "New Creation," likewise. Scripture makes no differentiation between the idea of this era, this world, and the next era, the world to come, as to having any quality other than that which is made to be. And if made to be, it is upheld by the power of his might, not by anything in it and by that fact, not eternal.

One characteristic of eternality is that there is no sense in which the passage of time can be assigned to it. That is contrary to Revelation which speaks of time passing eternally in heaven. For example: "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."

First, there is no night, no sun in the sky to rule the day, to mark the times and seasons. But, in reference to the first creation, neither was there a sun when there was the first day. What marked the passing of time was morning and evening. Time is connoted as passing, therefore. The Revelation reference has several inferrential statements to the same effect: river...flowing, fruit each month, leaves...were for, servants will worship, they will reign... Each contains by necessity the idea of passing. Time is a resultant, being the fruition of an object in space passing from point A to point B. Time is contra-eternality. The term eternal life then must be considered as that which is the benefit of Eternal Life, and that being only in God. Eternal life in this passage is that which is spoken of as light and that Light is the Lamb in which is all that passes. It is not the forever and ever. Eternal life in heaven is shown as being consumed in light such that eternity infinite though it is, is finite and exists much like it was an isolated point in the vastness of space. The Light is the Lamb and the light is not the objects passing through it.

We must take care not to infuse man or the creation with the essence of deity. Never does Scripture imply that our spririts become one with His in such a way that the two are confused or mixed. The incarnation and the attending doctrine serves us to be clear that the Christ is fully man, and fully God. That the two are not one essence. And the fact that Jesus as Christ, is a corporeal finite being, holding place in a finite reality now, speaks to the same. Heaven is a real place, having the attributes of creation so also Christ glorified: substance, time and dependence upon the upholding by the power of God for existence. That dependence rules out any sense that eternality inheres in the created thing.

Groups like scientology have seized upon a confusion that has haunted Christianity from its inception. One that is found in gnostic cults throughout time. Namely, that eternal essence is within, hidden by the corruption of matter. In fact L. Ron was steeped in the gnosticisms of ancient mytery religion around the world and incorporated the eternal essence teaching into his religion.

Some of the offspring of this heresy are eternal salvation, eternal soul movements such as Mormonism that view the soul as having in it a spiritual reality that transcends time. Chrisitian movements who have such a belief that we were "real" spiritually in Christ on Calvary, are of this error. That is contrary to the Christian belief that the actual is distinct from the declaratory. What God has decreed is indeed the truth, and by that we are said to be in Christ when he was sanctified. But, it is made real in time when indeed God does by the Holy Spirit apply that which was decreed and accomplished, to the objects of his favor through the creation of a New Man. That's the point. We did not exist spiritually in Christ as beings on Calvary, but only by fiat of decree that we are counted as there. We existed as beings in Christ only at the point that we were regenerated.

Turretinfan said...

TR, you wrote: Unfortunately, theologians have taken what they can't understand, and simply relegated it to "legal" or "positional".

Don't listen to them.

Sola Scriptura, baby.


I answer:

Sola Scriptura does not mean not listening to other believers. It means that we measure what they say by Scripture.

I wish I had more time at the moment to spell out why I disagree (since I believe Scripture teaches forensic, federal imputation), but perhaps Strong Tower's explanation will provide a good starting point (or a completely adequate defense - I don't want to presume that his comments are in any way inadequate).

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

You know TF, that is an interesting point Mr. Rayburn makes on the level of one's Election.

We know because God did something to us "to know", that we shall all live forever. Some, enjoined eternally to Life with Christ and God. To the other, God does not enjoin them but condemns them to eternal damnation and wrath for the rest of their eternity.

If that Truth doesn't settle it, that God makes the choice about where His Elect spend eternity, actively enjoining them to Christ, I am not sure "any" Truth God speaks will liberate the hearer, blinded and in bondage to self and the devil and this world?

Again, these are God's Words offered to point to the "fruit" of the matter:::>

Psa 80:8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
Psa 80:9 You cleared the ground for it; it took deep root and filled the land.
Psa 80:10 The mountains were covered with its shade, the mighty cedars with its branches.
Psa 80:11 It sent out its branches to the sea and its shoots to the River.

Now, constrast those Words with these Words:::>

Deu 32:31 For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves.
Deu 32:32 For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of poison; their clusters are bitter;
Deu 32:33 their wine is the poison of serpents and the cruel venom of asps.
Deu 32:34 "'Is not this laid up in store with me, sealed up in my treasuries?

So, why the bitterness towards God and His Ways except you are not of God and are unwilling to follow His Ways?

That is a hard saying and a mystery to those who are not elected.

It is not a mystery to me. I read both passages, from Psalm 80 and from Deuteronomy 32 and understand it. I also realize that the understanding is of God and without God giving to me the understanding, I would lack understanding of these things.

I believe we have been enjoined to Christ to preach and Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

If it was going to come any other way, I suppose it would have been shown to us that way in His Word.

p.s., did you have your debut on the Dividing Line yet?

Strong Tower said...

"In time we had a beginning. Even our spirit had a beginning. But then a [miraculous mysterious] thing happened whereby we were given eternality, eternal life, and by virtue of being eternal, this [miraculous mysterious] life has no beginning or end."

As I explained above, eternity is not without time. You conflate the meaning of eternal to be both eternity and eternality. If you are going to go that route, then why not go all the way and say that infinity is infinite and god is infinite, and there for all infinities are god?

Your statement is pattenly false because it is a self-refuting statement. If something was given there was a time when it was not received. Even by saying that we were retrofitted into Christ contains a time element and if a time element, it is not eternal.

Terry, you have defined man as god, having neither beginning nor end. This is the essence of L. Ron's religion, a gnostic heresy. What you are asking people to do is exactly the reason for the removal of Engrams, or, in an Eastern mystical sense to "realize there is no spoon," to clear the confusion of the materially clouded world and become one with the all. The mind science cults all follow your reasoning, and all cults confuse the meanings of words like you have done.

Sure it is biblical, if what you mean by it is that you can take any words of scripture and make them dance to your tune.

Turretinfan said...

NatAmLLC,

Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I debutted on the DL in December.

link to details

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

One of the amazing revelations of that portion of Revelation that Strong Tower points to is, in my view, a shocker, until you realize, this is a "revelation" from the "Eternal" to His creature.

That part then:

Rev. 22:2c "....The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."

Hmmmmm?

Healing for the nations? What? What does this imply? Does it imply sickness? No, rather, forensically it implies, we were made and were not made "self" existent". By implication, one being made is utterly dependent on the One making him or her.

The devil rose up, a creature, attacked God and attempted to overthrow the Godhead.

I believe when you weigh carefully Paul's revelation as is written about here, you might realize that God indeed had a predetermined plan and foreknowledge of the created heavens and earth:::>

Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,
Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,
Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.
Eph 3:11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Eph 3:12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

Here Paul writes about "the eternal purpose".

God, Eternal, Three Eternal Beings, have responded to this creation rebellion.

It is in the creation, the very good creation, that God has assigned the Eternal Purpose to be carried out or conducted.

He has chosen His Called Faithful Elect through being conjoined to and reanimated to His Christ to this Eternal Purpose.

One implication that this creation is not an eternal creation comes clear here when you read these words and wonder, why would these Words be in here in the description of the created heavens and earth, if these created heavens and earth were created to be forever?

Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden,
Gen 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

If Adam was created to be an "eternal" being, God would never had said anything about dying. He would have said something else.

And:::>

Gen 3:22 Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever--"
Gen 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.
Gen 3:24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.

".... and live forever...."

And:::>

Gen 6:6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
Gen 6:7 So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them."

If Adam or any man was created "eternal" God could not have said what He said there:

"....I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land,...."

You cannot blot something out that is Eternal.

Finally, here:

Gen 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
Gen 8:21 And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.
Gen 8:22 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease."

Here God says this about the earth:

"....while the earth remains,...."

Yes, we were known before the foundation of the world. What we shall be once we leave these carcasses shall be known to us only after. We see darkly into Eternity.

We, the Called, Faithful, the Elect, have been "conjoined" already to Christ, the Second Eternal Person of the Trinity.

Now that we have received our calling and election, we too, as Paul wrote, quoted from Ephesians 3, above, now for the rest of our life on earth are engaged in this Eternal Purpose:

Eph 3:10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

That is why we ought all to heed Paul's admonition to Timothy, here:

2Ti 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2Ti 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

Terry Rayburn said...

Strongtower,

1. It's difficult to know where to begin regarding your comments, because you say so many things that are true, but then draw so many straw-men conclusions which totally misprepresent what I've said.

For example, you say "In Him alone is eternal life", as though I had said otherwise. Of course in Him alone is eternal life, but we are in Him.

Example 2, you said "eternality does not inhere in us", by which I assume you mean is not inherent in us. But who said it was? On the contrary, I pointed out that Scripture said it is GIVEN to us.

2. Then you postulate these grand statements of "truth" which hardly mean anything, let alone have anything to do with whether we have been given eternal life or not.

For example, "Never does history attain to eternality. It is history after all." C'mon, ST, that doesn't even mean anything. We aren't history. We live IN history.

Example 2, "One characteristic of eternality is that there is no sense in which the passage of time can be assigned to it. That is contrary to Revelation which speaks of time passing eternally in heaven." So what?

I'm tempted to say that you're merely blowing smoke by such irrelevant statements, but that would imply bad motive on your part, and I certainly can't do that. I don't know your heart.

But it sure seems like you're evading the real issue of whether we have been miraculously given a new spirit with a qualitative life which extends backward in Christ and forward in Christ, eternal in the true sense of the word.

Feel free to argue your point, but not with convoluted grandiosities and theological presuppositions, but with any Scripture that indicates mere "immortality" in the concept of eternal life.

3. You wrote, "Terry, you have defined man as god, having neither beginning nor end."

That's both absurd and slanderous.

First, not all men have been given eternal life.

Second, only the born-again man has been given eternal life, a quality of life in his spirit which is eternal. He is still very mortal in his body, and he is not made God (nor a god), but he has become a partaker of the divine nature (you'll have to argue with Scripture, or explain it away if you refute that).

Third, you seem to not distinguish at all between the regenerate and unregenerate, since both will live forever in some sense, thus being "immortal".

Which idea of "immortality" leads to...

4. Scripture says that God is the King "immortal, invisible" (1 Tim. 1:17). In fact it says that He "alone possesses immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16).

Would you say then that we are God because we have been given immortality? Or would you say that we are God because we have a spirit which is invisible?

Of course not.

Nor would I accuse you of Gnosticism for asserting those Scriptural truths.

Your implying Gnosticism on my part discredits you, or at least shows your little knowledge of Gnosticism.

5. I welcome anything from Scripture that would indicate that the eternal life given to the believer is merely "immortality", but you haven't come close.

You've merely rehashed the old theology lines about "legal" or "positional" truth, to replace the biblical truths about our being "in Christ" -- saved before the foundation of the world "in Christ", crucified with Christ, buried with Christ, raised with Christ, seated with Him far above all rule and authority and power and dominion in the heavenlies.

These are eternal realities which came with the eternal life given us mere men as a gift.

You confuse the eternal with the merely "legal".

The Puritan said...

This is one of the more interesting comments threads on a Christian blog on the internet that I've come across because I can't make out who is saying what, or disagreeing with what, yet it all sounds very interesting. Can someone reset with a cliffs notes summary?

Strong Tower said...

I had at first attempted to cliff note this for you Puritan but couldn't stop myself from explaining the notes.

I try to boil it down to one short comment ;)

The difference between what I was saying and what Terry is saying has to do with the concept of essence and whether or not the expression of the attributes which alone belong to God attain to the same nature in man simply because of lexigraphical definition.

Terry goes too far in proposing a foreign view that because we have inherited eternal life that certain attributes of the eternal life of God belong to it. But this is akin to saying that because we have inherited heaven we are one with it.

Terry wants to go beyond the legal declarations and involve in them essential attributes of God as co-extensive qualitatively in man because certain discriptors used in Scripture have the same lexigraphical definition. And, what I am saying is that that kind of reasoning leads to assumptions which require the denial of other doctrines. Namely, that we have a beginning, God does not, and time is not removed as a boundary, nor is space, because of the accommodation made in the language which applies the benefits of Christ to us as a forensic, legal imputation which have certain fruition in expression. Terry's concept goes beyond the reasoning of Scripture -which makes created life to be a creation -and grants certain attributes of the essence of deity to it, those being a spiritual reality of being a creation transcending time.

To put man in Christ on Calvary in anything other way than by fiat of God's imputation, as granted by the promise made, is to make it an experiential reality. We are not there, were not there, are not in heaven on the throne and will not in any wise be other than in the legal, positional, forensic sense. His concept I called gnostic because it proposes that we attain a mystical experience which is real time as a being in those actions as persons. That flies in the face of the Scripture which defines us as creatures which have time and place reference such as a beginning, the resurrection, et cetera.

Immortal means incoruptable, it also means immutable. The reason that it is equated with eternal life is that death is the corruption and mutation of life. Now, these two attributes belong to God alone, they do not attain within the creature. Which should be obvious, seeing that man is a creation and what can be made can be unmade. What eternal life is then for man can only be that which is proper to a creation.

It is then, as with Calvary, or as it is said that we will judge with Christ, not something in us that makes us what we are, but something that is essential to the one who causes things to be. What Terry wants to say is that because we have been made to live eternally, is that the definition of eternal life which is the nature of God is ours, including transcendence. We are then by his definition "there" in Christ, as much as God was in Christ or as much as Christ is on the throne we are there. That does not mesh with the concept of a new creation though, which places us in time as fixed by it as a temporal work of the Spirit when he applies those benefits purchased by Christ.

The creator creature distinction is maintained in what I am saying, but Terry's use of eternal life breaks it down.

The Puritan said...

OK, I follow your post. Just one probably elementary statement that is probably already assumed in this discussion: isn't it common for Reformed theologians to speak of the immortality of man to be contingent on the immortality of God? I mean, that's the basic caveat.

Here, though, is a quote from Kline's Kingdom Prologue that seems to be relevant to this discussion, and I wonder what the different sides here would think of this (your like or dislike of Kline aside, just what is in these two paragraphs, and I should say the main point is in the second paragraph below, but I include the first for context):

"In an unfallen world [if Adam hadn't fallen], cultural history would have been a tale of one city only. Starting from Eden man was to work at constructing this one universal kingdom-city. Blessed by the Great King of the city, man would have prospered in that task and eventually the extended city might have been aptly called Megapolis. But such a worldwide community of the human family would have marked the limits of the cultural potential of earthly man. God himself must perfect the promise of the covenant by transforming prototypal Megapolis into antitypal Metapolis.

Metapolis [think 'New Jerusalem'] is not just an enlarged Megapolis, but a Megapolis that has undergone eschatological metamorphosis at the hands of the Omega-Spirit. Nothing of earthly culture external to man enters Metapolis. Even man himself cannot enter it as mortal flesh and blood (1 Cor 15:50). Only as the glorified handiwork of God can man pass through the gates of the eternal city. Actually, to speak of glorified men entering Metapolis is to speak with a pronounced typological accent. For Metapolis is not a city that glorified man inhabits. It is rather the case that glorified man is Metapolis; in the redemptive dialect, the bride of the Lamb is the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:9,10). In the Metapolis enterprise materiel and personnel coincide."

Turretinfan said...

I think Kline had a talent, exhibited in these paragraphs, of saying very little, in an indistinct way, using a lot of words.

Scripture doesn't tell us much about what would have happened in an unfallen world. Thus, a speculative city of God on earth is not really typical of a heavenly antetype - or at least that pre-figuring is not one with any explicit Scriptural warrant.

I'm hesitant to condone or condemn what Kline is saying in these paragraphs - it just isn't very clearly written.

In any event, I affirm that heaven is a literal place that will be literally inhabited by glorified mankind forever and ever - in the unending age to come. I hope Kline's not denying that.

-TurretinFan