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02 August 2020

Exhortation to Salvation

J. D. Gallé | Sunday, 2 August 2020

        Keep seeking the Lord Jesus Christ with all diligence until you find him. Keep beseeching the Father to draw you to his Son, without which you will be unable to come to him (Jn 6.44). He is worth everything (Lk 9.25–33). His blood alone will cleanse you of all your sins (1 Jn 1.7, 9).  Eternal life, age-lasting life, the life of the age, is knowing God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, whom he sent (Jn 17.3). 
        Repent; turn from your sins to God. Live no longer for yourself but for Christ, the one having died and been raised for your sake (2 Cor. 5.14–15). Believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. Be immersed (i.e. baptised) in Jesus Christ and confess your allegiance to him as Lord, calling upon him for salvation (Acts 2.38; 22.16; Rom. 6.3–4; 10.9–13). You will be forgiven of all your lawless works (Rom. 4.7–8), declared righteous (Rom. 5.1), reconciled to God through the death of his Son (Rom. 5.10–11), and granted a new heart (Ezek. 36.26). You will be regenerated by the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit, adopted as a son or daughter into the family of the living God (Jn 1.12–13; 3.3, 5; 1 Cor. 12.13; 1 Pet. 1.3). You will be transferred from the dominion of Satan and darkness into the marvellous light of God and the kingdom of his Son (Acts 26.18; Col. 1.13; 1 Pet. 2.9). Wrath and destruction in the age to come will not be your lot, but incorruptible life in the new heavens and new earth in unhindered fellowship with God, the Lamb, and his holy ones when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead (Rev. 20–22).
        Never be ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ or his gospel. Confess him before people. Be seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness principally (Mt 6.33). Deny not the Lord Jesus. Rather, disown yourself, take up your cross, and follow him for the rest of your days (Mt 16.24), bearing his reproach (Heb. 13.13). As the world loves the darkness and hates the Light, Jesus Christ (Jn 3.19–20; 7.7), so the world, including false religious professors, will hate you if you are one of his (Jn 15.18–19; 1 Jn 3.13).
        Keep seeking the Lord Jesus Christ with all diligence until you find him.

Copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2020. All rights reserved.

31 May 2020

Alienation of the Body of Christ

        If you have found that appearing in a building (incorrectly) identified as ‘church’ amongst persons who profess to follow Christ to be one of the most alienating and lonely experiences in your lifetime, you are not alone.
        The death, or non-life, of fellowship cannot be supplanted by shallow entertainment and activities.
        May we find fellowship someday.

20 September 2019

Jacobus Arminius on Scripture as the Sole Unquestionable Theological Authority

Certain Articles to Be Diligently Examined and Weighed:

Because Some Controversy Has Arisen concerning Them among Even Those Who Profess the Reformed Religion.



I. —On the Scripture and Human Traditions.

        1. The rule of Theological Verity is not two-fold, one Primary and the other Secondary; but it is one and simple, the Sacred Scriptures.
        2. The Scriptures are the rule of all Divine Verity, from themselves, in themselves, and through themselves: And it is a rash assertion, “that they indeed are the rule, but only when understood according to the meaning of the Confession of the Dutch Churches, or when explained by the interpretation of the Heidelberg Catechism.”
        3. No writing composed by men,—by one man, by few men, or by many,—(with the exception of the Holy Scriptures,) is either […], “credible of itself,” or […], “of itself deserving of implicit credence,” and, therefore, is not exempted from an examination to be instituted by means of the Scriptures.
        4. It is a thoughtless assertion, “that the Confession and Catechism are called in question, when they are subjected to examination:” For they have never been placed beyond the hazard of being called in doubt, nor can they be so placed.
        5. It is tyrannical and Popish to bind the consciences of men by human writings, and to hinder them from being submitted to a legitimate examination, under what pretext soever such tyrannical conduct is adopted.
—Jacobus Arminius, ‘Certain Articles to Be Diligently Examined and Weighed’, in The Works of James Arminius, James Nichols and William Nichols (trans.), London edn, 3 vols (repr., Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press, 1986), 2.706, emphases in original


(The complete, three-volume set, The Works of Arminius, is no longer in print via Beacon Hill Press or Baker Books. However, Randall House Publications have reprinted the set, along with a new introduction by Free Will Baptist Stephen M. Ashby. In order to view or purchase the set, see the following link to Randall House’s online shop: <https://store.randallhouse.com/product/the-works-of-arminius>.  —J. D. Gallé)

10 September 2019

The Beginning of Revelation: The Demythologisation of Creation, Sin, and Death in Genesis 1–3, and Its Inevitable Christological Trajectory

 J. D. Gallé | Tuesday, 10 September 2019

        The introduction of sin and death into the world as a consequence of the disobedience of the first human beings is recounted in the first three chapters of the book of Genesis. Christian theism has traditionally assumed an actual, literal, historical existence and expulsion of the first human male and female pair, Adam and Eve, from Paradise[1] and access to the Tree of Life as a result of their transgression of God’s edict to abstain from eating of the forbidden tree.[2] The posterity of the first human parents, namely humankind of all ethnicities throughout the millennia to the present day, have inherited an environment of emptiness, suffering, disease, decay, and death. In the present age, all of creation is in a state of groaning (Rom. 8.22).

The interconnectedness of the biblical record
        Apart from the scriptural narrative of the originally good, suffering- and death-free creation of the world in which the first humans were brought into being rightly and harmoniously related to their Creator, to each other, and all animal, plant, and non-human life in a flourishing, safe, untainted environment, the concepts of redemption and the final restoration and renewal of creation[3] lose their theological moorings. The biblical doctrines of humankind (anthropology); sin (hamartiology); and death (thanatology) are intimately related to the person, attributes, and works of the Last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ (Christology); salvation (soteriology); the future bodily resurrection and immortality to be granted to those who are united to Christ at his second advent; the final judgement, condemnation, and death of the unrighteous; and the establishment of a new creation where unbroken communion between God and his redeemed people will carry on everlastingly, for ever free from Satan, the curse, human and non-human adversaries, danger, affliction, and the bondage of sin and death (eschatology).[4] In other words, creation, sin, death, Christ, salvation, eternal life, judgement, damnation, and re-creation are not disjointed tenets of the Christian faith; rather, they are interrelated doctrines which stand or fall together.

Demythologisation and scriptural trustworthiness
       In our (post-)modern context, the temptation for Christians to demythologise Genesis’ creational narrative and its depiction of the original human pair descending into sin and death as an ahistorical, pre- or non-scientific account which cannot be reconciled with actual, historical, cosmological reality is ever present. The rejection of Genesis 1–3 as non-allegorical, non-fictional, historical narrative, and the adoption of some form of theistic evolution (or evolutionary creationism) instead, is an inherently unstable position in the realm of Christian theology. Once accepted, this syncretistic approach raises serious questions regarding the coherence and reliability of the scriptural story of redemption. If scripture cannot be trusted concerning the origin and nature of creation, sin, and death, can it be relied upon in its treatment of the divinity, virginal conception, mission, teachings, miraculous healings, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, enthronement, intercession, and second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Christological compromise all but certain
        The logic is not complex: the demythologisation of the first three chapters of Genesis is not likely to end there. The unhappy consequence of attempting to incorporate facets of evolutionary thought into the interpretation of scripture will give way to further doctrinal erosion and compromise over time. Most significantly, the naturalistic drift that is part and parcel of evolutionism will work its way towards rethinking and reworking vital aspects of Christology (i.e. Christ’s identity, characteristics, and deeds).
        Take, for example, the doctrine of Mary’s virginal conception of the Lord Jesus by the Holy Spirit (Mt 1.18–23; Lk 1.30– 35). I do not imagine it unlikely that this doctrine will eventually come to be viewed by professing evangelicals as no longer a ‘primary’ or ‘essential’ teaching, but one amongst an ever-expanding repository of ‘secondary’, ‘non-essential’ doctrines which may be accepted or rejected by Christians at will. Aberrant, heterodox views such as the denial of the virginal conception will undoubtedly assist in no small way towards paving the way to apostasy.

Unintended consequences: leaving Christ
        If I may project a probable, sad, but all-too-predictable, course: some, having surrendered to the untenability of integrating evolutionary concepts into the scriptural narrative of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration, will defect from a profession of Christianity and go on to deny the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead as unprovable, supernatural superstition; others, having accepted the ‘Jesus mythicist’ position, will go so far as to abandon belief altogether in an authentic, historical Jesus of Nazareth who walked the face of the earth approximately two thousand years ago. If scripture is essentially mythological in respect of its cosmology, it stands to reason that its Christology may be considered fantastical in nature as well.

Conclusion
        Scripture provides an internally logical, harmonious portrayal of the supernatural creation of the world, its original state of goodness, relational wholeness, security, and deathlessness; and the fall of the first human beings from life and fellowship with God in Eden to their breach of the divine command, subsequent condition of shame, loss of intimacy with their Creator, eviction from Paradise and the Tree of Life, and inevitable deaths. The sombre inheritance of the human race is that which our first parents, Adam and Eve, bequeathed to us: sin, death, and a cursed creation.
        It is only in the light of this tragic backdrop that we can begin to appreciate the glory of redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the way back to God. Through his obedient death on the cross in submission to the will of his Father, he has undone the death, misery, and sin brought into the world by the one transgression of Adam (Rom. 5.12–21). Deliverance from the wrath of God in the coming judgement, salvation from the power and practice of sin, and everlasting life in the age to come may be freely obtained by all those who come to God through him. Even whilst earnestly awaiting the redemption of their bodies (Rom. 8.23), those who are united to the Lord Jesus are already new creations in him (2 Cor. 5.17). In the new heaven and new earth, pain, death, and the curse will have been brought to a permanent close, and uninterrupted communion between God, his Son, Jesus Christ, and his redeemed people, will carry on without end (Rev. 21.1–5; 22.3, 5).
        When an anti-supernaturalistic world view and a supernaturalistic world view (in this case, evolutionism and Christian theism [respectively]) are effectively commingled, the results yielded will be inconsistent and unstable at best, and disastrous at worst. The question is, ‘Where will evangelicals draw the lines of scriptural demythologisation?’
        This article has sought to demonstrate that the biblical account of redemption cannot be abstracted from its account of creation and the fall of humankind. Scripturally, both Adam and Christ are treated as real, historical figures. Treating the creational narrative of Genesis 1–3 as fundamentally mythological and ahistorical in nature undermines the reality, purpose, and necessity of Christ’s work of redemption in undoing the work of the first man (1 Cor. 15.45, 47), and the future restoration of all that was spoilt and lost in Eden (Rev. 21–22).

Notes
        1. That is, the Garden of Eden (Gen. 2.8; Rev. 2.7).
        2. That is, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2.9, 17).
        3. That is, the new heaven(s) and new earth (Isa. 65.17; 2 Pet. 3.13; Rev. 21.1).
        4. That is, pivotal aspects relating to ‘the last things’. (In Christian theology, thanatology is often subsumed under the category of eschatology.)

Copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2019. All rights reserved.

Latest revisions: assorted emendations made (10 Sept. 2019); changed ‘that is’ to ‘namely’ in par. 1 (11 Sept. 2019); added scriptural references in square brackets in par. 5; added a term in par. 4; modified ‘person and work of’ to ‘person, attributes, and work of’ in par. 2; modified third sentence in par. 4 (12 Sept. 2019); added a comma and the term ‘reality’ in par. 9 [par. 10 as from 22 Sept. 2019] (13 Sept. 2019); added a paragraph break (22 Sept. 2019); added two commas in par. 6 (24 Sept. 2019).

02 September 2019

Assurance of Salvation and Justification: A Remonstrant’s Reflections

 J. D. Gallé | Monday, 2 September 2019
Who will bring an accusation against the elect of God? God is the One justifying. (Rom. 8.33, BLB[1])
        The justification of persons before God – that is, the divine juridical act of declaring-righteous those who are trusting in the God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead – is never subject to any doubt or debate in the mind of God. Justification is strictly God’s domain.
        Regardless of human frailty or presumption, God has determined the criteria[2] by which persons are, and will be, justified. Some individuals may doubt whether they are united to Christ. Such persons are yet uncertain that they are in the condemnation-free condition to be found solely in Christ.[3] Others, with seemingly little anxiety, may believe that they are presently in a state of justification before God, and expect the reiteration of their divine acquittal on Judgement Day.

Conclusion
        Though a thousand accusations may arise from within and without, from natural and supernatural enemies alike, for those in Christ, for those loving God,[4] the charges shall not stand. The objective truth of who is and is not (or will or will not be) justified remains unaltered. Our personal misgivings concerning our status before God, present or future, as justified or condemned, do not detract from the reality that it is God’s declaration that stands and will stand.

Notes
        1. Berean Literal Bible (2016). (This translation may be accessed by utilising the following link: <https://literalbible.com>.)
        2. Some might prefer ‘criterion’ (singular).
        3. See Romans 8.1.
        4. See Romans 8.28.

Copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2019. All rights reserved.

19 August 2019

Resolution of Repentance

        Cast aside everything that prevents you from pursuing the Lord Jesus Christ with an undivided heart. Let today and the rest of your life be one of repentance.

27 June 2019

The Table of Contents for ‘Salvation: Contours of Adventist Soteriology’

J. D. Gallé | Thursday, 27 June 2019

        What follows is the table of contents for the twenty-chapter, four hundred-plus-page, multi-essay, multi-contributor volume edited by Martin F. Hanna, Darius W. Jankiewicz, and John W. Reeve, Salvation: Contours of Adventist Soteriology (Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 2018).[1] The names of the various essayists and comprehensive chapter (and index) pagination are included.
Introduction (pp. ix–xiii) 
Section 1 | God’s Plan in Christ: Is Salvation for Everyone? (p. 1) 
1. History of the Relationship among Human Free Will, God’s Character of Love, and the Great Controversy | Nicholas P. Miller (pp. 3–18)
2. Love at War: The Cosmic Controversy | Norman R. Gulley (pp. 19–32)
3. Foreknowledge and the Freedom of Salvation | Martin F. Hanna (pp. 33–59)
4. Divine Election and Predestination: A Biblical Perspective | Hans K. LaRondelle and John K. McVay (pp. 61–88) 
Section 2 | The Sin Problem: Are Humans Born in Need of a Savior? (pp. 89–90) 
5. Sin and Human Nature: Historical Background | Darius W. Jankiewicz (pp. 91–117)
6. Origin of Sin and Salvation according to Genesis 3: A Theology of Sin | Jiří Moskala (pp. 119–143)
7. The Nature of Sin: Understanding Its Character and Complexity | Roy Adams (pp. 145–157)
8. The Sinful Nature and Spiritual Inability | George R. Knight (pp. 159–171) 
Section 3 | Jesus Saves: A Perfect Solution? (pp. 173–174) 
9. Historical and Theological Background of the Doctrine of Atonement | Denis Fortin (pp. 175–188)
10. Atonement: Accomplished at the Cross | Jon Paulien (pp. 189–220)
11. The Meaning of the Intercessory Ministry of Jesus Christ on Humanity’s Behalf in the Heavenly Sanctuary | Jiří Moskala (pp. 221–240)
12. At-one-ment Forever in God’s New Heaven and New Earth | Roy E. Gane (pp. 241–258) 
Section 4 | Amazing Grace: Can Believers Earn Their Salvation? (pp. 259–260) 
13. Grace: A Brief History | John W. Reeve (pp. 261–299)
14. The Grace That Comes before Saving Grace | George R. Knight (pp. 287–299)
15. The Grace That Justifies and Sanctifies | Ivan T. Blazen (pp. 301–313)
16. The Grace of Christian Perfection | Hans K. LaRondelle and Woodrow W. Whidden (pp. 315–323) 
Section 5 | Blessed Assurance: Can Believers Be Sure about Their Salvation? (p. 325) 
17. From the Apostles to Adventism: A Brief History of Assurance | Jerry Moon and Abner Hernandez-Fernandez (pp. 327–359)
18. Wind and the “Holy Wind”: Divine Assurance of Salvation | Jo Ann Davidson (pp. 361–374)
19. Assurance of Salvation: The Dynamics of Christian Experience | Woodrow W. Whidden (pp. 375–394)
20. Assurance in the Judgment | Richard M. Davidson (pp. 395–416) 
Epilogue (pp. 417–418)
Contributors (pp. 419–420)
Scripture Index (pp. 421–442) 
Subject Index (pp. 443–464)
Note
        1. At the time of this writing (27 Jun. 2019), neither the publisher of this volume (Andrews University Press) nor any large online book retailer, to the best of my knowledge, yet has a comprehensive table of contents listed for Salvation: Contours of Adventist Soteriology (2018), a year past its original publication date.  —J. D. Gallé


In order to purchase a copy of AUP’s Salvation: Contours of Adventist Soteriology (2018), see the following links:

23 June 2019

Oscar Cullmann on the Immortality of the Soul, the Heinousness of Death, and the Beauty of Resurrection in the New Testament

        If we want to understand the Christian faith in the Resurrection, we must completely disregard the Greek thought that the material, the bodily, the corporeal is bad and must be destroyed, so that the death of the body would not be in any sense a destruction of the true life. For Christian (and Jewish) thinking the death of the body is also the destruction of God-created life. No distinction is made: even the life of our body is true life; death is the destruction of all life created by God. Therefore it is death and not the body which must be conquered by the Resurrection.
        Only he who apprehends with the first Christians the horror of death, who takes death seriously as death, can comprehend the Easter exultation of the primitive Christian community and understand that the whole thinking of the New Testament is governed by belief in the Resurrection. Belief in the immortality of the soul is not belief in a revolutionary event. Immortality, in fact, is only a negative assertion: the soul does not die, but simply lives on. Resurrection is a positive assertion: the whole man, who has really died, is recalled to life by a new act of creation by God. Something has happened—a miracle of creation! For something has also happened previously, something fearful: life formed by God has been destroyed.
        Death in itself is not beautiful, not even the death of Jesus. Death before Easter is really the Death’s head surrounded by the odour of decay. […] Whoever paints a pretty death can paint no resurrection. Whoever has not grasped the horror of death cannot join Paul in the hymn of victory: ‘Death is swallowed up—in victory! O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?’ (1 Corinthians 15:54f).
—Oscar Cullmann, Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead? The Witness of the New Testament (1964; repr., Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2010), pp. 26–7, emphases in original

Copyright © Epworth Press, 1964. All rights reserved.

In order to purchase a copy of Cullmann’s Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?, see the following links:

25 May 2019

LeRoy Edwin Froom on ‘Aiōn’ and ‘Aiōnios’ in ‘The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers’

Preface
        What follows is the unabridged twenty-fourth chapter, ‘Terms and Usages: “Aiōn” and “Aiōnios” ’, from LeRoy Edwin Froom’s The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers: The Conflict of the Ages over the Nature and Destiny of Man, 2 vols (Wahington, DC: Review and Herald, 1959, 1965), 1.431–44. Unfortunately, this volume is currently out of print. I have attempted to remain faithful to the same basic structure and formatting as seen in the original. I have retained all the original emphases of the author. The heading titles are the author’s (i.e. Froom’s). The only significant alteration I have made is in converting the footnotes to endnotes (of which there are seven). Additions to the text will be contained in square brackets, followed by the initials ‘J. D.’ so as to prevent possible confusion.  (There are two instances in which I have done this, both of which are cases where I have added relevant scriptural citations omitted by Froom.)  —J. D. Gallé


Terms and Usages: “Aiōn” and “Aiōnios”

I. Principles Governing the Meaning of Aiōn and Aiōnios

        1. Definitions and Usages—According to Young, the noun aiōn (meaning “aeon” or “age”) occurs 128 times in the New Testament, in 102 passages—34 times in simple form, and 64 times in prepositional phrases and forms. The adjective aiōnios (belonging to an age) is used 67 times—42 times rendered “eternal” and 25 times as “everlasting.” Even if aiōn meant “eternity”—which it does not—aiōnios could only mean “belonging to eternity,” not necessarily lasting through it. And in not one of the passages does the word itself mean endless. There are classical Greek words that do stand for endless, but such words are not used in the New Testament. That too is significant.
        Aiōn may be defined as a period of existence, or continuous being, whether a lifetime or an age. It is sometimes limited and sometimes denotes boundless periods and endless eternity. In 23 instances aiōn is doubled. The basic thought is always continuity, whether for a definite period, long or short, or for all time. It is often a “hidden” period—hidden as to precise length, sometimes terminable, sometimes interminable. So aiōn, like our term “age,” denotes a period of undefined length.
        In order to determine its length in any given instance, even relatively, the context and other passages where used must be considered, and especially the substantive to which it is attached. Therefore aiōnios does not, and cannot, always have the same meaning, for it is modified or even altered by the substantive that it modifies.
        2. Specific “Aiōnios” Usages Outlined.—According to the Englishman's Greek Concordance, in the 24 passages in the New Testament where aiōnios is rendered “everlasting” 14 are used with zōē-life—meaning life without an end. Of the remaining 10, two are used with “fire” (continuing unquenchable until that on which the fire feeds is consumed); once with “punishment” (permanent in effect); once with “habitations” (doubtless the new earth) without end; once with “destruction” (like punishment); once with “consolation” (unending for the saved); once with “power” (ascribed to God, and hence without limit); once with “covenant” (unending in results); once with “kingdom of our Lord” (hence unceasing); and once with “gospel,” or “power of God” (and thus limitless in duration—Rom. 1:16). So AIONIOS always takes its meaning from the word to which it is attached.
        In the Authorized Version, in prepositional phrase form (with aiōn as the base), it appears some 68 times, and has been variously rendered: “since the world began” (Luke 1:70; Acts 3:21); “from the beginning of the world” (Eph. 3:9); “for ever” (20 times); “ever” (Heb. 7:24); “for evermore” (Heb. 7:28); “for ever and ever (20 times), et cetera.

II. Aiōn and Aiōnios in the Contrasts of Scripture

        1. Golden Rule: Perpetuity within Limits.Aiōn and aiōnios, when used in connection with life (zōe) for the righteous, mean constant, abiding, eternal, measureless. It involves unbounded existence and duration in the world to come. But when used of the continuance (or more accurately of the consuming) of the wicked, who are to be destroyed, it is transitory, and comes to an end. Everything consequently and consistently depends upon the nature and destiny of the substantive that it modifies. That is the golden rule of interpretation of these terms. It is perpetuity within limits—the duration being determined by the person, or thing, or condition to which it is attached.
        Thus with the fate of the wicked. It is until their destruction is accomplished—not a process going on forever. The "fire" that shall not be “quenched” does not mean that it shall not ultimately cease. The fire that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah was “unquenchable” (no one could put it out), but it finally ceased burning. But this was not until its objective was accomplished. (This is discussed under “destruction,” and “punishment.”
        2. Two Determinative Principles Re “Aiōnios”—All are aware that aiōn and aiōnios have been the subject of avid dispute among proponents and opponents of the Innate-Immortality postulate. The issue has been: Do these terms mean endless or age enduring, or both, upon occasion? Two things need to be noted at the outset:
        (1) Aiōnios is constantly predicated of the new supernatural life, received through regeneration by the Spirit of God. But, in contrast with this, aiōnios is never, in any of its forms, used in Scripture of the old, or natural, life of man. Furthermore, (2) it is never, anywhere throughout the entire Word of God, predicated of a continuing death as the penalty of sin. When used of death, it means a period of limited duration. These principles are determinative.
        The terms “eternal death” and “everlasting death” are consequently not found in the Bible. Life may be brief, or long—or endless if it pleases God to perpetuate it—but death is a finality in itself, and needs no qualifying epithet. And that is the doom denounced upon sinners—“Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15; cf. Rom. 6:23). This is the “second death,” which follows the judgment of the wicked. From this there is no resurrection. But of the new life, the spiritual life, the divine life, upon which the people of God enter, and of which the epithet aiōnios is predicated, and no other, is zōē aiōnios. It is without any limitation.
        3. Gehazi's “For Ever”-Leprosy Lasted until Posterity Extinct.—The master key that unlocks the meaning of any passage employing the terms aiōn or aiōnios is that they are to be taken to mean as long as the thing or person under consideration (in the light of the surrounding circumstances) can exist. Its duration is always determined by the noun to which it is attached. That simple principle will solve all problems and meet all cases.
        Take an Old Testament example: The curse of leprosy upon Gehazi (2 Kings 5:27)—that the leprosy of Naaman “shall cleave unto thee [Gehazi], and unto thy seed for ever”—simply means that it should continue as long as Gehazi and his posterity should continue to exist. In other words, until the line became extinct. Then it would cease. And, under the terms of this prophecy, it must have taken place fairly soon. It is restricted to the extent of the duration of the thing or person to which it is applied. The “for ever” of Gehazi was consequently only until his posterity became extinct.
        4. Length Governed by Noun to Which Attached.—When aiōn and aiōnios are applied to Divine Beings, or to the eternal home of the saints, or to the redeemed, immortalized saints, they then obviously denote eternal duration, or eternity of being. But as noted, when aiōn and aiōnios are applied to things that will have an end, they are correspondingly limited in meaning. Thus, when they are applied to the existence of the wicked—who will finally cease to be as the result of the “second death”—they must be limited, according to their signification.
        We must consequently conclude that the modifiers aiōn and aiōnios, with reference to the two classes—“saints” and “sinners”—mean, respectively, bliss throughout all eternity, on the one hand, for the eternally righteous, and on the other hand coming to an end forever, after a due and just period of suffering for the unrepentant and doomed sinner. The wicked are ultimately and utterly extinguished because they refused the eternal life so freely offered to them, which is nevertheless to continue throughout the ages without end for the righteous, who accepted its provisions.
         5. Body Blow to Immortal-Soul Theory.—We have already established the fact that aiōnios (“eternal” or “everlasting”) is constantly coupled with zōē in Scripture—giving the meaning of endlessness to the life. And we have stressed the point that aiōnios is never, in Scripture, joined with psuchē. It therefore follows that such terms as “immortal soul,” “never-dying soul,” and the like, though frequently used by many ecclesiastics and philosophers, are not found anywhere between the covers of Holy Writ.
        That inexorable fact is a body blow to the Immortal-Soul theory. Those who possess nothing higher than the natural psuchē-life from Adam are destined to perish, and ultimately cease to be. And inspired Bible usage counterbalances and nullifies any and all human opinions to the contrary.
        6. Restricted Use in the Apocalypse.—And observe this added point: In the Apocalypse, where the plural form eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnon (“to the ages of the ages”) appears frequently,[1] the reference is usually to personified organizations, systems, or associations (such as “beast,” “Babylon,” “false prophet”) which must be punished, but which will not exist in the world to come.

III. Texts Exemplify Diversified Meanings of Aiōn and Aiōnios

        Before testing out these principles with a diversified group of New Testament passages, let us first establish the connection between Old Testament and New Testament usage.
        The Septuagint again constitutes the vital link between the Hebrew Old Testament ‘olam and the Greek New Testament aiōn and aiōnios, and provides a second valuable key to right understanding. In the Septuagint’s use of aiōnios, God and His attributes, kingdom, and covenant are set forth as unlimited and eternal. But earthly objects, belonging to a passing dispensation, and divine dealings not lasting beyond the continuance of the earth in its present form are always set forth as limited, or restricted, in duration.
        Thus it is with the priests’ office (Ex. 29:9), “perpetual” statutes (Lev. 3:17), the burning of Ai (Joshua 8:28), “perpetual hissing” (Jer. 18:15, 16), “perpetual desolations” (Jer. 25:12; Eze. 35:9; Zeph. 2:9), “perpetual wastes” (Jer. 49:13), et cetera. This mixed usage constitutes a reliable guide to New Testament practice.

Eighteen Dissimilar Examples Typify Differences

        Here are eighteen annotated New Testament examples of this multiple usage with the Greek original, and its literal meaning:

        Matt. 13:39—“The harvest is the end of the world [sunteleia tou aiōnos, “consummation of the age,” or aiōn].”
        Matt. 21:19—“Let no fruit grow on thee [barren fig tree] henceforward for ever [eis tōn aiōna, for the remainder of its life—not to all eternity].”
        Luke 1:70—“Which have been since the world began [tōn ap’ aiōnos, “since time began,” “from all time,” “from the age,” "from of old”].”
        Luke 20:35—“Accounted worthy to obtain that world [tou aiōnos, “that other age,” “the age to come”].”
        John 9:32—“Since the world began [ek tou aiōnos, “out of the age”] was it not. …”
        John 13:8—“Though shalt never wash my feet [eis tōn aiōna, “never while the world lasts,” “as long as I live,” “not to all eternity”].”
        Acts 15:18—“All his works from the beginning of the world [ap’ aiōnos, “from the age,” “from of old,” “eternity”].”
        Rom. 16:25—“Which was kept secret since the world began [chronois aiōniois, “through ages long past,” or “along with times eternal”].”
        1 Cor. 2:7—“Which God ordained before the world [pro tōn aiōnōn, “age or age-time,” “of indefinite duration”].”
        1 Cor. 10:11—“Upon whom the ends of the world [tōn aiōnōn, “of the ages”] are come.”
        2 Cor. 4:4—“The god of this world [tou aiōnos toutou, “of this present age”] hath blinded.”
        Gal. 1:4—“Deliver us from this present evil world [ek tou … aiōnos, “out of the present age or period”].”
        Eph. 2:7—“That in the ages to come [en tois aiōsin, “in the periods of the future”] he might shew.”
        2 Tim. 1:9—“Given us in Christ Jesus before the world began [pro chronōn aiōniōn, “before the ages of time” or “before times eternal”].”
        Titus 1:2—“Eternal life, which God … promised before the world began [pro chronōn aiōniōn, “before times eternal,” “before the commencement of the ages,” “long ages age”].”
        Heb. 1:2—“By whom [His Son] also made the worlds [tous aiōnas, “ages”].”
        Heb. 11:3—“The worlds [tous aiōnas, “ages”] were framed by the word of God.”
        Jude 25—“Be … dominion and power, both now and ever [eis pantas tous aiōnas, “to all the ages,” “before every age and now and unto all the ages”].”
        Let us now analyze the evidence, seeking out and applying the sound guiding principles disclosed by these and other passages wherein usage alone is determinative.

IV. Sound Interpretive Principles Emerge for Guidance

        The fact that the adjective aiōnios is applied to some things that are “endless” does not for a moment prove that it always means endless, for such a rendering would, in many passages, be manifestly impossible and absurd. Further, the adjective “eternal” (aiōnios) and the adverbial phrases that express eternity (such as “forever” and “forever and ever”), indicate an indeterminate duration, whereof the maximum depends upon the nature of the person or thing that it modifies.
        It is clearly infinite when predicated of God and eternal things, which are above and beyond time, or or beings who live by faith in communion and connection with Him. On the contrary, it is only relative for other beings, such as mortal man. Thus the sufferings of perishable creatures logically cannot be prolonged longer than is compatible with their perishable nature.
        The length must be inferred and determined from the context and nature of the thing or persons under consideration. For example, in Romans 16:25, 26 the mystery of the gospel, hidden in times past—“chronois aiōnios” (along with eternal times, but which have come to an end)—is placed in contrast with aiōniou Theou (“eternal God,” v. 26, R.S.V., endless and independent of all time). To hold that aiōnios in the one instance must mean the same as the other is manifestly an absurdity.
        The Old Testament equivalents of aiōn and aiōnios were applied to the Aaronic priesthood, the inheritance given to Caleb, the period of the slave's life, the burning of the fire upon the altar, the leprosy of Gehazi, et cetera.[2] One notable case in point was “the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever” (Isa. 34:9, 10). And in Deuteronomy 23:3, 6 “for ever” is limited to the “tenth generation.” Such examples afford sound principles for our guidance.
        1. Vast Scope of Meaning of “Aiōn” Exhibited.—In the Authorized Version aiōn is frequently translated “world.” Later, the revisers usually rendered aiōn by “age,” at least in the margin. The Greek word for “world,” in its material framework, is, of course, kosmos, while aiōn is earth's history in the larger setting of eternity. It is finite man in a finite world, preceded and followed by the timeless eternities of past and future. God, the King of the “ages,” laid His redemptive plans before the ages began to unroll, and sent forth His Son at the appointed time to consummate His matchless plan for the redemption of humanity.
        In its backward look in depth, aiōn was a period lost in the mists of past eternity—the farthest dawn of time (Luke 1:70; John 9:32; Acts 15:18; Jude 25). But it may refer not only backward to time without beginning, but forward as well, as without end in the future. Thus we see that one group of aiōn texts tells of that which is divine and endless—God Himself (Rom. 16:26); His attributes (1 Tim. 6:16); His kingdom (2 Peter 1:11); His covenant (Heb. 13:20), et cetera.
        Another group tells of the “ages” planned by God (Rom. 16:25; 2 Tim. 1:9; Titus 1:2). A third group tells of His various acts and activities—“punishment” (Matt. 25:46); “judgment” (Mark 3:29; Heb. 6:2); “destruction” (2 Thess. 1:9); “salvation” (Heb. 5:9); “redemption” (chap. 9:12), et cetera. And there are lesser categories, but there is no conflict. Let us note a few important points.
        2. God Has Infinity; Man Does Not.—There is a common misconception that any existence beyond this life is eternal, and that anything that is indefinitely extended is infinite and endless. But infinity is an attribute of God alone. He is the “King eternal, immortal, invisible," et cetera (1 Tim. 1:17), “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto” (chap. 6:16). Therefore, intrinsic eternity of being cannot be the attribute of any creature, or he would be equal to his Creator.
        Man does not, and cannot, possess God’s infinite attributes. Man can and does have wisdom, intelligence, power, and other attributes of free moral agents. But because of the very fact of his creation he must be dependent upon God for all that he is and has (Acts 17:28).
        God gives to man “life.” But this life is subordinate to God's own absolute, original, underived, self-existent life. God may prolong man’s life, even without end. But such life is ever conditioned on God’s will, power, and pleasure. It is contingent, and cannot be an independent life. The life everlasting, or immortality—which He has promised to all who are united to Him—is everlasting simply because such beings are in vital connection with Him. Such life is not absolute, but conditional. It is because He thus keeps them that the redeemed will be immortal.
        Again, because the wicked will live again after the first death, some jump to the conclusion that such life after death will be endlessly perpetuated. But the Scriptures solemnly assure us that the wicked dead are to be raised, judged, and destroyed with an everlasting destruction, which is the “second death” (Rev. 20:6, 14, 15; 21:8 [see also Rev. 2.11 —J. D.]).
        The present earth and sinners are not to be forever in process of destruction by the purifying fires of the last day. The new earth is to rise from its ashes (Rev. 21; 22; 2 Peter 3:10-13). And the new earth, purified from all the deformities of the curse, is to be the everlasting abode of the righteous forever. Those are the contrasts left on record for our guidance.
        3. “Aiōnios”—Eternal in Results, Not in Process.—Many illustrious scholars recognize that the meaning must be sought not in aiōnios but in the noun to which it is attached.[3] Let us apply the principle: If the noun stands for that which is essentially eternal, then the accompanying adjective (aiōnios) is properly translated eternal. But if it is applied to that which is temporal and terminable, then aiōnios simply means lasting to the natural limits of the noun. Thus the “eternal God” (Rom. 16:26, R.S.V.), “eternal Spirit” (Heb. 9:14), and “eternal kingdom of our Lord” (2 Peter 1:11, R.S.V.) are all clear and incontrovertible. Here the adjective has the meaning of endless, for the existence of Deity and His divine attributes and kingdom are without end.
        But when aiōnios modifies nouns of action, such as an “eternal judgment” (Heb. 6:2), “everlasting punishment” (Matt. 25:46), and the everlasting fires of Gehenna [see Mt 18.8–9; 25.41 —J. D.], it must be understood as lasting “forever” in the sense of everlasting results rather than an everlasting process. It is the verdict of the judgment that is immutable and stands forever—eternity of result, not of process. The same is true of “eternal redemption” (Heb. 9:12). This is not an endless process, but the eternal result of Christ's once-for-all redemptive activity for man's salvation.
        Similarly with “eternal destruction.” A thing that is not destroyed until the act of destroying comes to an end. The results of the destructive process are therefore eternal. When aiōnios modifies “punishment,” the process is not one of eternally punishing but the eternal result of a terminative process. When a criminal is hanged, electrocuted, or gassed, the process is not one of eternal hanging, electrocuting, or gassing. The criminal is deprived of life forever.
        In the case of “eternal fire” (Jude 7), the duration is determined by the nature of the fire, which burns until it consumes that upon which it is feeding, and then ceases—as with Sodom and Gomorrah, where the complete destruction of the cities is set forth as an example of the puros aiōniou which will destroy the wicked.
        4. Revelation 20:10—Example of Limited Torment.—That the terms aiōn and aiōnios often denote a limited period, and not always one of eternal duration, is apparent even from Revelation 20:10.
        “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever [eis tous aiōnas tōn aiōnon, “to the ages of the ages”].”
        The limitation in the text is explicit. The verse does not refer to all the wicked, but speaks only of the devil and the symbolic “beast” and the “false prophet.” The “lake of fire,” as the place and means of torment, is mentioned in verse 14. But there it is the declared symbol of complete and final utter destruction. “Death and hadēs” are cast into the lake of fire, after which it is recorded, “There shall be no more death” (Rev. 21:4). It comes to an end. Whatever was cast into the lake of fire, after it has wrought its destruction, no longer exists. In Revelation 20:15 is the declaration that “whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” This marks the final disposition, through destruction, of all who are not saved in the kingdom of God.[4]
        Again, Revelation 14:11 represents the duration, or period of the unrest of a special group. It, too, represents a limited period that will end. As seen elsewhere, this allusion to the smoke ascending is clearly a figure of speech, and to make that the basis of a doctrine which contradicts all the plain teaching of the Word on this question, as well as making God infinitely cruel, cannot be the proper exegesis.[5]
        5. Beware of Unscriptural Foundations and Unsound Reasoning.—The rendering of the same word (aiōnios) once by “everlasting” and the other by “eternal”—as they appear twice in the same verse—is a purely arbitrary translator variation. Note it: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment [kolasin aiōnion, “everlasting in result”]: but the righteous into life eternal [zōēn aiōnion]” (Matt. 25:46).
        But, far more important, we must beware of eisegetically reading into the word kolasis (“punishment”) a sense that it does not possess. “Punishment,” here, is the opposite of life only if that punishment be “death”—which it is. The eternal result is the same in both cases. There is no validity, for example, to Augustine's argument that if we do not make aiōnios kolasis mean endless punishing,[6] we have no assurance that the aiōnios zōē that follows means endless living—and that we thereby lose our promise of everlasting happiness.
        Such an Immortal-Soulist contention is utterly invalid. Our sure and certain hope of everlasting happiness rests on no such flimsy foundation as the disputed meaning of a Greek adjective, which is often used of things that are transitory. We have the clear, positive, and explicit foundations of God’s nonfigurative affirmations recorded for our assurance.[7] Sound doctrine is based on solid Scripture, and sound reasoning therefrom.

Notes
        1. Rev. 1:6; 4:9, 10; 5:13, 14; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5. The difference between the K.J.V. and the R.S.V. in the number of occurrences is partly due to the critical text used for translating.
        2. Dean F. W. Farrar states that in the Septuagint, which gives a reliable Greek parallel, the Hebrew ‘olam is rendered by aiōn 439 times. And in Exodus, twelve of its fourteen usages are “of things which have passed away; in Leviticus, twenty-four times, always of things which have come to an end; and in Numbers ten times; in Deuteronomy about ten times.”—Mercy and Judgment (2d ed.), p. 378.
        3. That aiōn can mean either a finite of an infinite period—a human lifetime or an eternity of endless duration, according to the nature of the case or usage—is sustained by many standard authorities, such as Greenfield, Schrevelius, Liddell and Scott, Parkhurst, Robinson, Schleusner, Wahl, Gruden, Strong[,] Young, Bullinger, et cetera.
        4. In this Dr. R. F. Weymouth concurs:
        “The use in the N.T. of such words as ‘death,’ ‘destruction,’ ‘fire,’ ‘perish,’ to describe Future Retribution, point to the likelihood of fearful anguish, followed by extinction of being, as the doom which awaits those who by persistent rejection of the Saviour prove themselves utterly, and therefore irremediably, bad.”—The New Testament in Modern Speech (3d ed.), on Heb. 10:27, n. 1.
        5. According to Archbishop R. C. Trench (Synonyms of the New Testament, pp. 208, 209) aiōn often means the “duration of the human life.” Prof. Herman Cremer (Biblico Theological Lexicon, p. 74) likewise says “Duration of human life, as limited to a certain space of time … hence the duration of life, course of life, terms of life, life term, life in its temporal form.”
        6. As to Augustine, Dean F. W. Farrar soundly remarked that—
        “aiōn, aiōnios, and their Hebrew equivalents in all combinations, are repeatedly used of things which have come and shall come to an end. Even Augustine admits (what, indeed, no one can deny) that in Scripture aiōn, aiōnios must in many instances mean ‘having an end’; and St. Gregory of Nyssa, who at least knew Greek, uses aiōnios as the epithet of ‘an interval.’ ”—Eternal Hope (1879), excursus III, “On the Word Aiōnios,” p. 197. (Italics his.)
        7. Here are a few: Isa. 25:6-8; Hosea 13:14; Luke 20:36; 1 Cor. 15; 2 Tim. 1:10; 1 Peter 1:4; 5:4; Rev. 21:4; et cetera.

Copyright © The Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1966. All rights reserved.

20 May 2019

Adam Clarke on the Universality of the Atonement

        He died for every human soul, for all who are partakers of the same nature which he has assumed; the merit and benefits of his death must necessarily extend to all mankind, because he has assumed that nature which is common to all. Nor could the merit of his death be limited to any particular part, nation, tribe, or individuals of the vast human family. It is not the nature of a particular nation, tribe, family, or individual, which he has assumed, but the nature of the whole human race; and “God has made of one blood all the nations, for to dwell on all the face of the earth,”[1] that all those might be redeemed with “one blood;” for he is the kinsman of the whole. The merit of his death must, therefore, extend to every man, unless we can find individuals or families that have not sprung from that stock of which he became incarnated. His death must be infinitely meritorious, and extend in its benefits to all who are partakers of the same nature, because he was God manifested in the flesh; and to contract or limit that merit, that it should apply only to a few, or even to any multitudes short of the whole human race, is one of those things which is impossible to God himself, because it involves a moral contradiction. He could no more limit the merit of that death, than he could limit his own eternity, or contract that love which induced him to undertake the redemption of a lost world.
        If the many, that is, all mankind, have died through the offence of one; certainly, the gift by grace, which abounds unto the many, by Christ Jesus, must have reference to every human being.[2] If the consequences of Christ’s incarnation and death extend only to a few, or a select number of mankind, which, though they may be considered many in themselves, are few in comparison of the whole human race, then the consequences of Adam’s sin have extended only to a few, or to the same select number: and if only many and not all have fallen, only that many had need of a Redeemer. For it is most evident that the same persons are referred to in both clauses of the verse. If the apostle had believed that the benefits of the death of Christ had extended only to a select number of mankind, he never could have used the language he has done here; though, in the first clause, he might have said, without any qualification of the term, “Through the offence of one, many are dead;” in the second clause, to be consistent with the doctrine of particular redemption,[3] he must have said, “The grace of God, and the gift by grace, hath abounded unto some. As, by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon some to justification. As, by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall some be made righteous.[4] As in Adam all die; so in Christ shall some be made alive.”[5] But neither the doctrine nor the thing ever entered the soul of this divinely inspired man.[6]
—Adam Clarke, Christian Theology (repr., Salem, OH: Convention Book Store, 1967), pp. 117–8, emphases in original


Notes
        1. Acts 17.26.
        2. See Romans 5.17–19.
        3. The doctrine of particular redemption is sometimes referred to as limited atonement, particular atonement, or definite atonement. The essence of the teaching is that Christ died with the intention of securing spiritual and eschatological salvation for a portion of humankind, not the whole. According to this view, those for whom Christ died salvationally will inevitably become partakers of salvation; those for whom he did not, will not.
        4. Contra Romans 5.17–19 (Berean Literal Bible [BLB]): ‘For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one, how much more will those receiving the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ! So then, just as through one trespass, it is unto condemnation to all men, so also through one act of righteousness it is unto justification of life to all men. For as indeed through the disobedience of the one man, the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One, the many will be made righteous.’
        5. Contra 1 Corinthians 15.22 (BLB): ‘For as indeed in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.’
        6. Namely, Paul the apostle.  —J. D. Gallé

Notes copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2019. All rights reserved.

10 May 2019

W. Robert Godfrey on the (Purported) Poor Character of Jacobus Arminius

J. D. Gallé | Friday, 10 May 2018

        The quotations that follow are taken from ‘Appendix 1: Arminius: A New Look’ in W. Robert Godfrey’s Saving the Reformation: The Pastoral Theology of the Canons of Dort (Sanford, FL: Reformation Trust, 2019), pp. 185–227:
[Jacobus Arminius] was likely a dissembler who abused the good will and efforts of the Calvinists to maintain peace with him in the church. If he never changed his theology, then was he honest with [Theodore] Beza, who gave him a letter of recommendation? Was he honest with the classis in 1588 when he was examined for ordination? Was he honest with [Franciscus] Gomarus in their conversation in 1603, which led to Gomarus’ recommending him for the appointment to teach at Leiden? Was he honest with Gomarus, [Lucas] Trelcatius, and the churches in 1605 when together the three of them assured the churches that they were united theologically? If he did change his theology in a way that contradicted the Belgic Confession, was he under no moral obligation to report this to the church?
        […] [Arminius] was a bright and creative theologian. But he had no right to reject theological views that he had pledged to uphold. (p. 226)
        Godfrey writes: ‘[Franciscus Gomarus’] supralapsarian views did greatly offend Arminius, who responded with vicious criticism of Gomarus’ teaching, which he kept private while publicly claiming agreement with Gomarus on basic doctrines. It is Arminius who seems bitter and rather dishonest in this period, not Gomarus. If the positive Arminius narrative falls apart on close examination of this one key piece of evidence, the whole narrative begins to unravel’ (p. 213).
        Godfrey also describes Arminius as an ‘innovator and troublemaker’ (p. 220).

In order to purchase Godfrey’s work, Saving the Reformation, see the following links:

08 May 2019

Thomas Fretwell’s Fallacies on Evangelical Annihilationism

J. D. Gallé | Wednesday, 8 May 2019

        Thomas Fretwell, in an article published on Creation Ministries International’s website entitled ‘Is Christianity Unbelievable? Review of a Book by Influential UK Christian Radio Show Host’ (9 Apr. 2019), under the heading ‘Eternal punishment?’, writes:
One other area where the author [Justin Brierley] says his views have been revised is his understanding of hell. Departing from the traditional view of hell as an eternal reality after death[,] Brierley explains that his present understanding “is one that theologians call ‘annihilationism’” (p. 184)—a view that basically says hell is the end of existence for the unsaved. Although he states that “there are a growing number of significant Christian leaders” who hold this view, it is a frank denial of the plain teaching of the New Testament, not least the Lord Jesus Himself ([…]). Consequently, it is still considered to be an unorthodox view in today’s Church, held only by a minority of professing evangelical leaders.[1, 2]
        There are several problems with Fretwell’s assertions and characterisations of the doctrine of annihilationism. Firstly, evangelicals who hold to the teaching of the final annihilation of the unrighteous no more deny the ‘eternal reality’ of eschatological punishment than do advocates of the conventional view of everlasting, conscious torture. Adherents of both positions maintain the everlasting, permanent, and irreversible nature of the divine verdict to be passed upon the wicked on Judgement Day.
        Secondly, it is true that evangelical proponents of annihilationism believe that the future punishment of those who are not saved will reach its climax in the termination of their existence. That is not to say, however, that the unrighteous will not suffer mentally and/or physically (in their resurrected bodies) for a period of time prior to being finally exterminated. They will certainly be conscious on the day of judgement when they are held to account for their lives and are banished from the presence of the Lord Jesus, the holy angels, and his people, into age-lasting punishment (see Mt 7.21–23; 25.41, 46).
        Thirdly, regarding the charge that annihilationism is a ‘frank denial of the plain teaching of the New Testament, not least the Lord Jesus Himself’, I beg to differ. I would invite Fretwell (and others of his opinion), if he has not already, to carefully read Edward Fudge’s monumental work, The Fire That Consumes (2011).[3] A strong biblical case for the final extinction of the wicked has already been made. It is therefore incumbent upon advocates of the conventional view of interminable torment to counter annihilationists’ actual scriptural and theological arguments.
        Fourthly, I must confess that I fail to appreciate the significance of the observation that, at present, annihilationism is a minority position within the realm of evangelicalism. This is a form of the argumentum ad populum (argument to the people) to which Fretwell is appealing. Ironically, it is precisely this form of argumentation that young-earth creationist organisations such as Creation Ministries International (rightly) frown upon when employed by opposing voices to dismiss their cosmological stance. Protestants/evangelicals who maintain a sola or prima scriptura hermeneutical view need not baulk at adopting, or considering the adoption of, the doctrine of annihilationism because of the scarcity of its proponents. As always, with regard to faith and practice, scripture must be the final authority.

Notes
        1. Fretwell’s article may be read in its entirety at <https://creation.com/unbelievable>.
        2. The book under review by Fretwell is Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? Why, after Ten Years of Talking with Atheists, I'm Still a Christian (London, UK: SPCK, 2017).
        3. Edward William Fudge, The Fire That Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment, 3rd edn (Cambridge, UK: Lutterworth Press, 2012 / Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2011).

Original content copyright © J. D. Gallé, 2019. All rights reserved.

Latest revision(s): corrected a misplaced apostrophe in par. 5 (22 Sept. 2019).