“Vapor of vapors!” Solomon once said. “All is vapor.” On a day as festive as Easter, we aren’t usually quite up to taking this to heart. Solomon tells us that life is short, fleeting, enigmatic, impossible to grasp, eluding our control. We find this frightening, so instead we like to focus on the brilliant, the … Continue reading "Easter and the Last Vapor"
In Genesis 23, Abraham’s wife Sarah dies. Probably the most important aspect of this event to biblical history is that it leads to Abraham’s first legal claim to the promised land. In seeking a tomb for Sarah, Abraham spoke to the local Hittites and asked to buy some land. Both these first Hittites and Ephron, … Continue reading "The Promise in the Tomb"
I have crusaded here before against the conflation of life-after-death with life-after-life-after-death (to use N. T. Wright’s terminology), of the “heaven” we go to upon death with the “heaven” which is really the new creation earth united with God’s presence in the future. And my theological focus has mostly been on the latter of these, … Continue reading "Options on the Intermediate State"
This is post 3 of 4 in the series “Apostles' Creed” My series on the Apostles’ Creed must now move on to perhaps what might be regarded as the central section, the section on Christ’s humiliation. This part is gold: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius … Continue reading "The Apostles’ Creed: I Believe in Jesus Humiliated"
This morning I was reading 1 Peter 1 and ran across the following statements: You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so … Continue reading "God Glorifies Us through Suffering"
Every culture in history has had its own problems with the Bible and Christian teaching. Ours struggles especially with the violent judgments of the Old Testament, including broad application of the death penalty and Israel’s conquests of Canaan (a topic I’ve written on recently). Unfortunately, for an increasing number of Christians these days, the solution … Continue reading "Jesus, Love Mascot? (Or, the Wrath of the Lamb Does Exist)"
In my previous post Heaven Is a Myth. Sort Of. I began the question of what the Bible really teaches about heaven. I suggested that most popular ideas of heaven are myths, though I did not specify exactly what is mythical and what is real. Finally, I listed the three Biblical “places” people call “heaven.” … Continue reading "The Real Heavens of God’s Word"
Evil is evil. Could there be a statement more pathetically obvious, yet more profoundly ominous? We live in a world rife with evil. Every day, there is murder and mayhem on the news. School shootings have become more routine than Presidential elections, and more children on this planet are malnourished than well-fed. Many nations reek … Continue reading "When God Steps Back: The Law and The Problem of Evil"
Execution. Such an awful and yet, according to many people, necessary thing. Where one life was taken, another must be. When dealing with death, people usually get touchy, so there’s no mystery behind the death penalty being controversial. I mean, some of the most heated issues in popular debate involve death (abortion, euthanasia, animal rights, … Continue reading "Rare Steak and the Death Penalty"
Tears. They filled Martha’s eyes as she spoke with the man before her. She respected him and was happy to see him, but couldn’t help but be slightly angry at him. He could have fixed things. He should have been there. She’d choked out some words of trust to him, but they were somewhat hollow. … Continue reading "I Am the Resurrection and the Life"