I finished the Humanity and Sin course (part of the Theology Program) which is a requirement for my Unschooled Master of Theology program. But, shortly after I finished the lecture videos and before I could complete the discussion questions, I was accepted into my doctorate program, so everything was put on hold.
Now that I’m finished, I wanted to finish the discussion questions for this course and post them on the blog.
So, lets jump in and see what I learned from this course…
Case Study 1
1. Do you think man has an immaterial and material part? 2. If so, what is the immaterial part? 3. When does a person gain this immaterial part (e.g., conception, birth, “age of accountability”)?
The first human was created from the dust of the ground, formed into the likeness of God (and those with God) and then was breathed into by God, which gave the spark of life to this inanimate object, making it become a “living being.” This is nephesh in the Hebrew, psychi in the Greek. We can only assume his composition is similar to our own: he had a physical body (though it was immortal), he had a soul (psychi), and within that soul he had a mind (could think), he had emotions (could feel), and he was aware of not only his surroundings but also himself (consciousness). It is the spirit that serves as the quickening spark of life, that animates and sustains the body. This is the makeup of the human being, even today, though our composition is somewhat different due to the consequences of the Fall.
Our physical bodies are material. But everything else that makes up the human is immaterial. All immaterial components, along with the physical body, our initiated at conception. The human body is a shell, and, thus, it is not essential for the continued existence of the identity. The soul, albeit fallen in nature, is still immortal and will exist forever. It is inseparable from the other facilities that reside within the soul: the mind (thinking and memories), the emotions (heart), and consciousness (self-awareness). These facilities make up that which we classify as personal identity. It is the essence of the perpetuated individual known as I.
We are distinct from Adam, in that we were not created by God (as he was), nor were we born Sons of God. But our redemption will ultimate reveal the Sons of God from humanity, and we will join the ranks of the Angels, though not in perfect identity, but in similarity.
[NOTE: at the time I wrote this answer I was fully convinced that the soul had been subjected to the consequence of the fall, but I have since changed my position on this issue. Since the payment for sin is death which is the result of the fall and the curse, the consequence then is the decoupling of body from soul. At this point I think the soul remains untouched by the fallen nature and such nature pertains only to the physical body, the flesh. Otherwise, it would logically lead to the soul suffering death along with the body, but this is not biblically the case. So, in my estimation, the curse affects the physical body, in which resides the fleshly human nature. Upon death we are separated from this fleshly nature but likewise still remain without the spiritual nature or the nature of immortality.]
What are the different theories concerning the constitution of man including the significance of the body?
There are two main views concerning the constitution of man. There is Monism and there is Dualism. Monism (physicalism) states there is only the physical body. Consciousness arises from physical processes of the brain and when the body ceases to sustain life, the consciousness and the individual identity dies along with it.
Dualism (Dichotomy or Trichotomy) states there are primarily two (or three) separate and distinct facets to the human being. In Dichotomy, there is the physical body and then the Soul (or spirit, as these two terms are used synonymously). In Trichotomy, there are three separate and distinct (though integrated) facets, the body, the soul, and the spirit. I would argue the Trichotomy is best represented in Scripture.
The physical body is the mechanism by which the soul interfaces and interacts and manipulates with and in the physical reality. I argue there is no other mechanism by which the soul can do this. The physical reality consists of three spacial dimensions and one temporal dimension, but is encapsulated within a greater spiritual reality that boasts an additional seven more dimensions. It appears as if we do not have access to these higher dimensions when residing within the physical body (though sometimes access is permitted, such as through the use of DMT or other drugs, through witchraft, etc).
What are the different theories concerning the creation of the soul? Demonstrate the relevance of this topic to the current issue of abortion.
There are three primary theories on how the soul is created. Pre-existence would state that souls (all souls) existed before the were born into a body, all souls pre-existed creation. This lends to a Christian type of reincarnation.
The second theory is that of direct creation by God at the moment of birth or possibly sometime after birth. If souls are not created until the age of accountability, it stands that there are a multitude of tiny, soulless monsters running around out in the world (which could explain certain behaviors).
The third and last theory is souls, along with the body, are created at conception by the parents. This would stand to reason, since we are not children of God (as are the Angels or as Adam used to be), but are children of Adam. It is not until we are born again, and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and are given a new spirit and a renewed mind, that we are qualified to, and will one day become Sons of God.
Case Study 2
Is man essentially good or essentially evil? Why?
Humanity is essentially, corporately, and individually evil, in the sense that he has a fallen nature inherited from Adam and through that inheritance, is incapable of pleasing God or fulfilling the righteous requirement of the Law. If we were able to keep the law, we would be saved and would live for as long as we kept the law. But, because of our fallen nature, we are incapable of keeping the law and, thus, are condemned in our sin. The idea that people are fundamentally good is a rebellious belief by humanity itself, against God’s declaration and his future judgment of all people, great and small, living and dead. Every attempt man has taken, has been in hopes of escaping God’s judgment, even to the point of denying his existence altogether. But, there is no escaping God’s wrath, no matter how much we choose to delude ourselves. And our wickedness is apparent in all of our cultures, in our societal norms and in how we treat each other. Most everything in society is corrupted in one way or another. Every benefit that we extend to our fellow human beings is somehow twisted or perverted or abused. Selfishness is the fundamental engine upon which our society and our existence operates. God is correct when he declared, “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).
What is the doctrine of the Fall of Man? How has the sin of Adam affected us? What are the different theories about the Fall? Specifically, what are the differences between Augustinianism and Pelagianism?
This is the doctrine that through Adam sin entered into all people, from the Fall, the event in the Garden of Eden. By somehow violating God’s command, Adam and Eve both lost their standing before God as direct creations, lost immortality, not only for themselves but also for their offspring, and severed the efficacy by which they were kept in good standing before God’s sight.
Because of Adam’s sin, and the infection of that sin throughout the human race, death reigned over humanity (and over all creation) from then until now. Death is not only separation from direct, intimate relationship with God (enmity with God), it also is the unnatural separation of the soul from the body, in which the living being ceases to sustain life and the body is jettisoned and the soul remains disembodied in the intermediate state.
Due to this separation from God, each person is incapable of bridging the expanse between our current position and right standing before God. If left without inoculation, the soul is destined to eternal destruction and separation from God in the Lake of Fire.
Some would argue man did not inherit Original Sin from Adam, that we have the ability to choose right from wrong, and only when we choose wrong do we take on the penalty. Others contend there is no possible way humans can choose right with the fallen nature. This is seen in the two historical camps on this subject, with Pelagianism stating that people are basically good and capable of choosing right from wrong. Augustinianism, on the other hand, argues that humans, by their very nature, are corrupt and incapable of choosing right.
What do you think Original Sin is? What does the bible say about Original Sin? Is it fair that we are held guilty for the sin of another (Adam)?
Original sin is the fallen nature we have inherited from Adam. I think there is a great misunderstanding on this topic. I don’t see there is an Imputed Sin. We are not guilty of the acts that Adam and Eve committed in the garden. They were guilty of this act and, subsequently, they received their punishment, or better, the consequence of those actions. We are, as children of Adam, descendants, and as such, we inherit not only Adam and Eve’s genetics but also the infection that is sin (whatever that actually entails). Adam and Eve were both fundamentally and irreconcilably changed after the Fall, not only genetically but also internally, within the soul itself.
We know the nature was altered, but it is unclear where exactly the nature resides. Does it reside in the flesh of the physical body? Does it reside in the soul? Does it span both? When we are born again, do we receive a new nature, a spiritual nature, yet the physical, fleshly nature remains? Is this what Paul was talking about? Is the spirit the nature? Adam and Eve were changed after the fall, but we, as their offspring, had no means by which to be born into immortality or to possess that which they lost. At the resurrection, that which they lost will be restored.
What is federal headship view as it relates to imputed sin? What is Aquinas’ view of angels that explains this?
It is claimed the headship of human beings is Adam. Through Adam entered sin into all humanity because he was the headship of human beings. The example provided in the lecture was Aquinas believed Angels were individually and uniquely created by God and, thus, do not constitute a distinct species or “kind.” As such, this is why they are not offered salvation through Christ because Christ would have to die for each and every Angel.
I disagree with this Angel theory. I would argue the Angels most likely constitute a composite of multiple races of beings (hence there are different kinds of Angels), all with their own salvation stories. They came before humans, were created before humans, and are now Sons of God. We will, too, become Sons of God if we are predestined to do so (and don’t end up as vessels of wrath destined for the Lake of Fire) and will journey on with God into the spiritual realms where I’m predicting he will create a new physical world (our world will no longer be the physical world, but will be part of the greater spiritual reality). I don’t think the previous or the future acts of creation will be like the human one. I think each is utterly unique and will be the subject of great inspection and inquiry on behalf of the heavenly host (just as our salvation has been for those who are already Sons of God).
Discussion Questions Lecture 1
1. In the lesson, the statement was made that understanding the doctrine of humanity is as important as studying the doctrine of God. In what ways might this be true?
As sentient, self-aware beings, it is part of who we are, how we are constructed, to assess and assimilate our surroundings, our circumstance, and determine from these data sets (and those of our internal states) who we are, where we stand within that environment and in relation to other sentient beings, and, ultimately, to God.
Likewise, by studying and understanding how we are created, how we function, what is God’s intended purpose for us, and where we stand in God’s sight and within his creation, we come away with a better understanding of God himself.
2. In the lecture, it was said that the doctrine of humanity will greatly affect the way you vote. Discuss further how this might be true with regards to various
political issues (e.g., abortion, social security, foreign affairs).
I particularly ascribe to the view that humans are innately evil, they are corrupt, have a corrupt and debased nature, and have no inclination, nor ability, to please God, do what is right by God’s standard, or to act in a willfully beneficial way toward each other. Humans are, by and large, especially when gathered into large structures like corporations or governments, always out to hurt, do damage, take advantage, and otherwise wreak havoc on their fellow man.
Because of this, I disdain voting and the process and the theory behind voting. I am convinced the government, at all levels, is corrupt and actively seeks to disenfranchise whenever possible. I typically will vote (especially at the local level) in the direction that will strip away, block, or in some way impede government from doing anything. It’s not that I think there is an alternative, because any alternative to government will quickly become despondent and debased, simply because those who act within it are likewise. Government is an unavoidable stain on the conscience of men.
At the national level I vote in such a way as to reveal the hypocrisy in the entire governmental system. It is a complete waste of time to vote for anyone in Congress, since they are, every last one, whores for votes, debased, megalomaniacal, and seek only to oppress those they represent. The presidency is a joke. Congress is even worse. Bureaucracy is destitute of any more compass and has no aim other than it’s own self-enrichment and the disenfranchisement of the citizenry.
Now, if I thought people were inherently good, I might have more hope in the government or the political system. But, despite how I was raised to believe such, the evidence is overwhelming to the contrary. Man, in his fallen state, is a despicable blight upon this earth.
3. How important it the question: Why did God create man? Please explain.
This is a crucial question, and is one of the fundamental questions in my current research. The answer would provide complete context to our existence. Why did God create us? Why did he create me? Did he (does he still) have a purpose? How close am I to hitting the mark? How far off am I? Was there any intention or predestined “works” outlined for my life as the bible claims? Am I living that out now? If so, I have to say, I am thoroughly underwhelmed. There is nothing in my life that appears planned or predestined. It all seems to be a scam, a ruse perpetrated on one who has no capacity to circumvent the dire consequences of existence.
I was never asked to be born. Never asked for consent when brought into being if I wanted to participate. Is this all just a fantastical experiment? Is any of this actually real? Am I just some fictitious fabrication within God’s mind? Will, if he takes his eye off of me, will I cease to exist? Why can’t I remember what it was like to be born, before I was born? Why is there no contact with those who have died? What are the angels? What is the purpose of Man? Why am I continually burdened with a drive to life, while simultaneously I would love nothing less than ending it all? Why are we subjected to pain and suffering? Why are we are own worst enemies? Why does God not show himself? Why does he not talk to us?
This question is at the core of all other questions that pertain to God and the fundamental existence of all things.
4. Why do you think that God, in the Bible, is not more explicit as to why He created man?
This is another fundamental question I am seeking answers to. Why all the secrecy? Why is there nearly nothing clearly written on the origin of the angels? Why is the church considered a mystery and why was it hidden for all time until Christ? Why this grand choice? What happens if someone has never been exposed to the Gospel and who lives their life and dies as a Buddhist or as an Atheist or something else because of their culture or nation? Does everyone get a chance to make the choice? Is grace different for some people than it is for most? I stand here, at this moment, thoroughly convinced God raised Jesus from the dead, that he is the Lord, the Messiah, the rightful King of all creation. Does that mean we are the only sentient beings in the universe? In the galaxy? Why does there appear to be evidence of vast civilizations on the earth that mysteriously died out? Is this a result of the global flood? Something else? It does not make a whole lot of sense, if God doesn’t actually exist and those who spoke for him, did so so cryptically. Why wouldn’t they make it clear? Close the loops?
It seems the physical, external reality, our existence, all hinge on this fundamental choice of faith. There are hints of a much greater context outside of this dimensionality, but we are, for whatever reason, not yet privy to it. When will we know? At death? In the afterlife? Or will this be yet another series of tests, of choices, of decisions, other obstacles of faith? Will we become like the angels? What does that even mean? Is God like us? Was he once something else? What was God’s origins? What is his past?
Like the Blues Travelers lyric, “I want to touch God in the place he wants to hide.”
5. After reading Psalm 8:3–6; Job 7:17–18, in what ways did this lesson help you to better identify with what Job and David are expressing?
It is a profound mystery, God’s preoccupation with us, as the apparent pinnacle of his creation. Maybe, in the end, we each discover, after death, that the human race is only but one of a multitude of creations, one of countless other universes that he is cultivating toward redemption. It is highly probable the angels were in some way likewise the recipients of a divine intervention before they became Sons of God. With all the great and inconceivable beauty and majesty that we see in creation, it is difficult to think God sees us at all, especially us, the lowly individual, who is one day here and gone the next, whose breath is but a whisper before she shuffle off this mortal coil and engage with the great beyond. Will I die with my questions still on my lips? Will I slip off into nothingness, cease to be, to exist, to know? Will I forever be left with unanswered questions concerning the purpose and origin and meaning of my life? Why was I put here on this earth? Why was I subjected to this suffering and cruelty that is life without consent? What kind of a God subjects his creation to misery and death?
6. Briefly discuss how these passages contribute answers to the question: “Why did God make man?” (Psalm 50:7-12; Acts 17:24-25; Job 41:11)…
God is infuriatingly paradoxical and mysterious and cryptic. He chooses not to tell us about himself, about his origin, about his nature, about his intentions he desires for us. Instead, he desires to predestined works for us to then walk in by faith, while we grope in the dark, baffled and beaten on all sides by those around us and even ourselves. He possesses ownership and manages and perpetuates all animal life, even insects. Everything that is in the physical world is to be accredited to God. He is in need of nothing from us. He does not need our sacrifices. He does not need our tithes. We were apparently not created for his food (Psalm 50:12).
It is by God and because of God that everything exists. He does not live in a home, nor does he dwell in a temple of human creation, nor is he served by humans. He has need of nothing, and everything that lives and breathes does so because God gives it to him.
It is unclear, at least from the passages listed, why God created man. There still remains a large portion of the story, back story information, and motivation, intention, purpose, and ultimate destiny for humanity at God’s hands. It is my hope we will learn all there is to learn upon our death, or, if lucky enough (not sure it is luck), we might see the return of Christ before I taste death.
7. The Doctrine of Aseity asserts that God is not, nor ever has been in need of anything. In what ways do you think that we misrepresent God’s aseity when we say that God created us in order that He could be worshiped and glorified?
I don’t know of a passage in the bible that asserts God has never been in need of anything. We know at this moment, at least, he is in need of nothing from us. In the passages listed from the previous question, God made it clear he needs nothing from any of us. This was not his intended purpose for creating us. To get something from us. So, it makes me wonder what he does get out of our being, our existence? Did he create us out of an inner desire to create, a desire to unleash life into existence without regard for love in return? Why the incredible insistence on us walking in life by faith? A faith grounded and cemented in him, in his ability, in his promises, in his surety to follow through with his claims. Are we simply entertainment? Can God be reduced to nothing more than a people watcher? And the Angels? They inquire into the unfolding of grace and God’s plan in our lives with intense interest. Why? Why are we so enticing? Why do we spark their curiosity? Our creation and the unfolding of our ultimate fate must certainly be different and distinct and even foreign to the origin of their creation. Did they labor through a process as we are currently, before ascending to the state of Sons of God? The bible hints at how we will one day become like the angels, who are our fellow servants. Yet, even the angels fall from their perpetual state of grace before God’s sight and sin, wholly and unequivocally so. Will we, too, as Sons of God, be subject to the same kind of persistent and radical brand of justice? Is our place at God’s side secured only in the moment in which we obey for all eternity? Is there a possibility that we could lose our salvation and place in Christ after having ascended to lofty and eternal positions in the spiritual realms? Will there be another creation, with new worlds and new planets and new stars and a new sun and moon and earth and a new sentient race of living beings that God intends to harvest at some point of all who would follow after him, as we once did in our previous life and reality? Will they, likewise, be kept in the dark about our history and our redemption, as we are now kept in the dark about the origins and purpose and nature of the angels?
God does not need us to worship him. He does not need us to glorify him. A time will come when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord because that is the reality of all of creation. That is the very essence of existence. It is how creation and everything in it was brought into being, through Christ Jesus. He is the Word and the word was with God in the beginning and the Word was God. The Word is God and he spoke us into existence. Is there a difference between what God needs and what God wants? Does God not have a need because he is satisfied with everything he has? Are all his needs met and sated? Or is he, by his very nature, incapable of need or want?
There was an intention when God first began his creative work in this place, establishing these three spacial dimensions for us, setting the clock on the fourth dimension, and winding up all of creation to set loose his masterpiece. But, he does not declare that intention, at least, not to us. Even the end of all of this, is a closely held secret to God alone. Not even the Son is privileged with that knowledge, and how is it possible the Son does not know everything the Father knows? And, if this is true, what has he kept from the Holy Spirit? How much greater in magnitude and so much more fascinating and enthralling is the mysteries of God and of our fates?
8. How was your thinking most challenged by this lesson? Please explain.
I’m most challenged by the lack of answers given to us by God concerning our purpose. He seems hell bent on keeping us in the dark, on keeping us groping for answers throughout our lives, or, at most, insisting that we venture through life without any certainty, with no context to existence, to our purpose or to how we are to conduct ourselves given the greater understanding of the cosmos or, more importantly, what is beyond the known (and unknown) physical universe.
I’m challenged by the incredulity of man, of humanities insistence on rebellion without any real information at all to anchor us, save faith. It is faith that God commands from us. To trust him in virtually everything. To live and breathe without explanation, without consultation, without permission. We have no idea what awaits for us beyond the living, what occurs at the cross over, if, indeed, there is anything there at all.
This lack of explanation, lack of elaboration, leaves rife the temptation to dismiss the existence of God outright. He’s not being straight with us. He is not laying his cards on the table. There is information missing.
Discussion Questions Lecture 2
1. Read Matthew 15:10–20 (refer also to Jeremiah 17:9). Christ described the “heart” as the “part” of man that houses and produces defilement and sin. Did Christ mean that the heart has a separate cognitive ability other than that of the brain? If not, what did He mean?
The only way to really align this concept of the “heart” with the rest of biblical anthropology is to conclude that Jesus and Jeremiah both refer to the “heart” in these instances as a metaphor for the core of the individual, the modus operandi from which the individual is motivated to speak or do in any given situation. Biblical anthropology does not concede that within the brain resides the cognitive abilities any more than do they reside in the heart literally. Rather, It is within the soul that cognition arises, out of which is formed and maintained the individual conscious “I” that retains the particular history of actions and memories that identify it as that particular individual. Jesus is saying here that it is not literally from the heart (physically) or the mind (euphemistically), but that the outward religious acts of the legalists (or external acts at all) cause the individual to sin, but it is from within the core of the individual that sin arises.
2. Read Matthew 26:41. People often equate the “flesh,” as used in Scripture, with the body. Is the flesh the same thing as the body? If not what is it?
The flesh refers to the body, that which is mortal, fallen, depraved. The human being is, from the Fall of Adam, missing a component in which the first man was created with – immortality. Whatever mechanism, process, state, or transformation that Adam and Eve underwent subsequent to the curse, the resurrection will seemingly undo that which was done, and will restore that which was lost. The flesh is weak because it is fallen and incapable of doing the right thing, no matter how hard one tries, no matter how righteous one appears. After the resurrection, we will all have bodies. But these new bodies will be as we were originally intended to indwell. Immortal bodies. How free from sin we will be is unclear, since even the angels were capable of sinning in Genesis 6:2. Same for Adam and Eve, since both were capable of committing sin even in their immortal states.
3. The teaching that equates the “flesh” with the body was the teaching of an early heresy known as Gnosticism. Gnostics taught that everything physical was evil and everything spiritual is good (dualism). With regard to Christ, Gnostics thought that He only seemed to have a body, but He really did not. For if He did, He would be sinful. A.) If the flesh is the same thing as the body, how do you explain that Christ had a body? B.) If the flesh is the same thing as the body, how do you explain that people will one day have their bodies raised from the dead (read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23)? Discuss both.
Gnostics were not the only one who thought the flesh was the body, but they went further, claiming an entirely different worldview which stated that the entire physical world was evil and that God Yahweh was an evil sub-god. Christ was able to have a body yet still did not sin because, while he took on a fully human nature, he also still retained a godly nature. This is a mystery, but it took God to become a man and die for a sacrifice to be effectual, since sin and death required the payment price of innocent blood. If Jesus had sinned while alive, he would have died justly under the curse and death would have been the wages (consequence of) that sin. But, when he died, because he was guiltless of sin (how this is possible is unclear), he was able to overthrow the power of death and subsequently can stand in our place at the judgment.
When we are resurrected at the end of days, not only will our original, physical bodies be brought back to life, reanimated, reformed, but we will all be, as Paul describes, “changed.” We will be “raised incorruptible.” The “corruptible must put on incorruption” and the “mortal must put on immortality” (1 Co 15:51-53).
Yet, I’m not convinced the heaven to come will be without sin, or, at least, the possibility of sin, for the angels sinned as did Adam and Eve, each clothed in their original habitations. Why would we think the new heaven will be any different than the original one?
4. Do you believe that outbursts of anger produced by irritability are sinful? (Answer before moving on). Modern medicine is advanced to the point that a pill can affect the chemical reactions in the brain to reduce irritability. This results in reducing anger. In this sense, sin can be controlled to a certain degree by medication. Do you agree? Discuss. Hypothetically speaking, what if modern medicine produced a pill that would affect a person’s ability to believe in God for those who skeptical by nature? Would this be morally acceptable? If such a pill were produced, would you encourage a skeptical family member to take it? Why or why not?
Whatever is not from faith is sin and I have a difficulty believing that outbursts of anger, frustration or irritability originates from the exercising of faith.
Concerning modern medicine, if you place a person in a medically induced coma, they likewise will no longer commit sin. But you are taking away their choice. The same is the case here with pills. This is sorcery. The same could be said for my heart medication, as it indirectly supports my continual sinning of poor eating. I technically should have died at 43 from a heart attack, which is a natural result of my choices before that date. Yet, we must also consider that nothing occurs in the life of the individual that God is not aware of and is a part of his will (Matt 10:29-30).
In the event that we suppress behavior via medications, this will be judged at the great white throne by perfect judgment. Who are we to judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls (Ro 14:4). We have a choice to take the medications. I have the choice to eat healthy or not. If I ate healthy much if not all of the medications I currently take could stop. But actions have lasting consequences. There are some medications that I cannot stop taking, even if I lost weight, exercised regularly, and was at peak health, simply because the doctors inserted a stent into my artery. But, then again, it is back to the Lord to judge both the living and the dead.
My own conversion is a mystery to me. On many occasions I had read the Bible before that fated date. The fact that my girlfriend was in the hospital had no real bearing on what occurred that night between myself and the Word of God. I was a Buddhist. I was a happy Buddhist. I had no intention or interest in being a Christian. Many people had tried to talk me into it before that point. Many more tried their best to talk me out of it afterward (including my girlfriend!). But something occurred that cannot be explained by logic or reason. It was not a rational decision I made at that moment when I read 2 Peter 2.
So, if a pill could be created that moved people to believe in God, I would be hesitant to recommend it. Firstly, it would be a pill made by human beings and nothing done by the hand of man is good in and of itself (Ge 6:5). It is also sorcery, despite its claimed intentions, which is prohibited. I think there would be, by its very nature, some sort of side effect that would render it inauthentic or incapable of bringing about a true conversion. Additionally, this is an invalid hypothetical, since the spirit that rules over this world and the people on it is one of lies and deception. The prince of the air is not going to entice people to draw closer to God.
5. Why do you think that God did not inform people in the Old Testament about the intermediate state?
There were multiple things God left the OT believers in the dark about. They did not have a clear picture of their Messiah, though Jesus himself held them accountable to know about his coming. Yet, the question is not correct, for we see the existence of departed OT believers such as Samuel when he was conjured by the Witch (1 Sa 28:7ff). As Moreland points out in his Body & Soul, the Old Testament does depict an afterlife after death, mostly a disincarnate one without flesh, where people dwell in the shadowy real of the dead known as Sheol. If the Jews of the past (or the present) refuse to understand the clear teaching of the text, that is something they will be held responsible for.
6. The doctrine of Progressive Revelation teaches that God did not immediately inform humanity of all truth, but that He progressively gives truth in increments through the ages. Christians often think that because all biblical writers have correct doctrine, they also have complete doctrine. Discuss the fallacies of this.
When the biblical authors were writing they often had no idea that what they were writing would be later understood as biblical truth. Matthew quotes Hos 11:1, but I’m certain Hosea never pictured writing about Jesus as a child. The same with Revelation 4:4 and the seven thunders that uttered something. John heard what was said by these enigmatic “thunders.” He was even about to write down what they said, but was forbade at the last minute and told instead to seal them up and not write them. Why not? What did they say? Why was it so important that no one but John know what they said? Who will in the future be privy to their message? Is there a separate book or document hidden away somewhere or buried in the ground, waiting for its opportune time to be “discovered” and for the utterances to be unleashed? Were they bound up for another generation? Another race? Will they one day be given as sacred text to an extra-terrestrial creation that knows as much about humans and our history and narrative as we know about the history and origins of the heavenly host? We don’t even know with certainty that the canon of scripture is truly closed. Could something else be written today that 200 years, 1000 years, 10000 years from now will be added as a third testament of Christ? We know from the biblical record that there are texts and documents that were referred to by biblical authors that we do not have access to. How can we, then claim the canon is complete? How do we know revelation from heaven is finished when we have no idea what comes after the New Jerusalem’s descent from heaven to earth, or what it truly means to be Sons of God in the new order of things.
7. What are some other Scriptural examples of things revealed to later saints that was unknown to earlier saints?
I would argue the doctrine of the trinity, protestantism, the gospel itself was likewise hidden throughout the history of humans until the Messiah came and Jesus was revealed to the world.
8. How does the doctrine of Progressive Revelation affect the arguments of Monism and Dualism? Please discuss.
Other than the cryptic references found in the Bible, we really have no idea what the individual consists of. We do not know if we are simply our bodies (monism) or if we are a composite (dualism) of two or more parts (body, soul, spirit). It has not been revealed to us. We know much about the body, how to repair the body, how to feed it, how to harm it, and how to abuse it. But, we cannot fathom how it originates from conception and grows and is born or lives or dies. What comes after death, if anything, is still a mystery, despite all of our knowledge and running around.
9. How was your thinking most challenged by this lesson? Please explain.
It is a mystery what happens, if anything, after death. There is no way to know if we have a soul, if our experiences are genuinely real, or what the origin of the living being is or what comes after we are gone. I struggle with the reality that everything is about faith. I’m filled with a great deal of regret, of disappointment, of questions, of condemnation, of feeble hope that I will somehow find grace and mercy and favor in the eyes of the creator of the Universe. Who am I that you are mindful of me (Ps 8:4)?
Discussion Questions Lecture 3
1. One argument for Dualism is that it is a common belief among people of all cultures and civilizations that they are more than just a body. Most believe the “I” or the “me” transcends the physical. Do you feel this way? Please explain. Discuss the values and problems with this type of argument.
I would argue for a trichotomic view of the human composition but only because of the assumptions make by the biblical writers and individual’ comments. The reality is, no one truly knows what or who we are as living creatures. We don’t know how the body, the individual operates, we don’t understand where thought and experience and self-awareness originate or how they are processed, and we certainly have no information about where we’ve come from or where we are going after we die. To say that just because much of the world is convinced that we transcend the physical doesn’t mean this is a valid argument. But, as Peter said, we have “a more sure word of prophecy,” (2 Pe 1:19) and, because of my first-hand experiences, the Bible carries an inherent authority of its own – a much greater weight than the rest of the world. If I am wrong, Paul says I am to be the most pitied (1 Co 15:19). But if there is a resurrection from the dead, if there is a savior who alone can save by faith alone, then he will one day rescue me from the grave and from death and when I stand before him all he’ll see is his own righteousness. “May God be true and every man a liar” (Ro 3:4).
2. Dualism teaches that people are more than just a body. How has your own personal experience confirmed or denied this doctrine.
I have no personal experience that validates a dualistic view of the human composition. I simply accept the assumption made by the biblical authors and those represented in their work. Personally I would be fine with a monist view of the human makeup. But the Bible presumes a trichotomic composition. But other than this, there is no evidence of anything beyond the body. There is no measure by which we can gauge the existence of a soul, of a mind, of consciousness, or even the validity or accuracy of our own perceptions.
3. Read the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. Does this parable support Monism or Dualism? Please explain. How might a Monist respond to this parable?
This account (not a parable) presumes a dualist view of the human composition. The souls of the departed men are separated from their bodies, which are buried, but Lazarus is carried off by the Angels to Abraham (presumably Paradise) and the rich man ends up in Hades and in torment (though no account of how he gets there is provided). This account not only points to a dualist worldview but it also elucidates for us an intermediate state between death and the resurrection.
The typical response of the monist is 1. The bible is just a book of myths and has no bearing on the modern life. 2. Since the account in question is myth then there is nothing we can determine from the account, save for what the writer thought while writing it. In the end, they must simply ignore it or discard it as myth and irrelevant.
4. Which of the three positions, (Dichotomy, Trichotomy, Conditional Unity) most persuades you? Please explain why.
Trichotomy is the most accurately represented in the Bible. The human is a constituent of three: body, soul, spirit. They are not interchangeable and are genuinely unique component pieces that make up the living being. At death, the three are severed from each other unnaturally, as the body returns to the earth, the soul enters the Intermediate State, and the spirit returns to God. It is the full union + immortality that makes the individual a Son of God and like the angels in heaven.
5. When you are physically sick, how is your spiritual life affected?
There really is no change, other than my perspective and priorities narrow greatly to the very basics of survival. Most things do not matter when I’m sick, though, I’m not often sick the last decade since isolating myself, which has been a tremendous blessing to my own personal wellbeing.
6. Read Psalm 32:1-4. When you are spiritually sick, how is your physical life affected? Give personal examples.
I’m not certain I know the definition of spiritual sickness, but if this refers to a conviction that is spiritual in origin, which typically manifests as having to contend with someone who is wicked or committing sin and I have to interact with them, or I’m convicted of my own sin, then I would say this has little to no bearing on my physical life. I can’t say it causes me to not exercise or to overeat because I do all these things regardless of my spiritual health.
7. Review Gnostic Dualism. In what ways do you see the influence of Gnostic Dualism in society?
Gnostic dualism is the idea that the physical world and everything in it is evil and that we must transcend this reality and become pure spirit, surpassing the God of the Bible entire who is considered by Gnostics as evil. This is similar to modern ideas that anything is okay as long as it is against the God of the Bible, who is most often perceived by the fallen world as an uptight judger of their deeds. Of course, this is because people want to do whatever is right in their own eyes, they want to sin with abandon and not be held responsible for their actions afterwards.
Likewise, this world chases after the supernatural world as if it is something to strive for and abandon this world, and any approach will do as long as it is not the Christian path.
8. In what ways do you see the influence of Gnostic Dualism in your own personal life? How can you change this?
I do have a tendency to reduce this world and everthing in it to corruption, evil, and sinister motives. It is difficult not to see evil in everything on earth. There always seems to be a an ulterior motive, a scam, a criminal intent in whatever people do. It is tempting to see this world as evil and the spirit world as the aim or goal.
9. How is your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
It is difficult for me to have hope in this life. Everything seems, in my perspective, to be utterly and irreconcilably corrupt, evil, and debased. The government, the modern church, the business world – everyone seems to be out for themselves and simultaneously criticizing me for not wanting to be part of their deplorable behavior. It is difficult to find a place where I feel I belong, and have risked the conclusion that there is no place for me on this earth, that I should always be left out, feeling abandoned and misaligned and disjointed from ever fitting into society as a whole.
Discussion Questions Lecture 4
1. Many people would see this lesson as irrelevant to real life and therefore not important. Do you think the study of the creation of the soul is relevant? Please explain.
Not only do I think this topic is relevant but I find it quite fascinating. I do find it rather ironic that the subject is so well defined despite there being absolutely zero evidence of the soul’s existence in the first place. How could we determine whether the soul is created by parental volition, God’s volition in the womb or that they pre-existed birth if we can’t even know there is a soul? Yet, it is a peculiar subject and I find it eye opening.
2. The pre-existence theory says that our souls pre-existed the creation of our body. How have you seen this view implicitly evidenced by people’s beliefs?
Many people claim they remember past lives, that they have memories of living on other planets. I don’t know what kind of credence I give such claims, but at least some of them are credible. A coworker at work believes she remembers past lives, but I think that is just her overactive imagination and a determined and willful rebellion against God as a means of exerting her dominance over an authority she wishes to rebel from (i.e. God). I put much more credence to the young children who have detailed memories of past lives of other people who lived previously. Then again, I also think this has more to do with 1. Overactive imaginations, 2. Delusion 3. Rebellion.
3. The creation view of the soul has been popular throughout church history. Why do you think that this view is attractive?
I think this view is attractive because it not only keeps the will of fallen humanity out of the creative process, but it presents humans as divine in origin. It is a simple explanation that lends well to the doctrine of the time.
4. The traducian view of the soul says that parents are intermediate causes for the creation of the soul. Do you think that it is possible for this to be the case? Please explain why or why not.
The Bible claims that God formed the individual in the womb (Ps 139:13; Isa 44:24), but God also claims to have known the individual before he was formed in the womb (Jer 1:5). Likewise, there is much to be said concerning the passing of DNA and genetic traits on to offspring. At the age of 18 my father and I could have been identical twins. This cannot be environment as could the similarities in our behavioral traits. Something certainly originates with the parent. The question, of course, is how much originates with the parents and how much is God’s.
It could stand to reason that the answer is both. The physical attributes, the essence that is the individual, the mechanisms all originate from the parental source while God, knowing all things and is aware of all things would certainly be aware of me before (here’s the catch) he formed me in the womb. It was God who made at least my physical body. Because, in reality, we have no idea the originating spark behind conception or the myriad processes during gestation, or what impels the single to suddenly diverge course and spread out into a diversity of traits and forms: to ears and skin, and nose, and heart, and brain.
Then again, despite all of this, there is no evidence for the existence of a soul at all so there really is no way to know with any kind of certainty at all whether the soul is preexistent, whether it is God created at conception, or the progeny of the parental union. There is no way to know if there is even a soul to begin with, other than the biblical revelation provided and this revelation does not relate definitive information but such knowledge is derived incidentally by what is simply assumed by the biblical writer. As such, it is quite possible that the biblical writer could have been wrong to assume such, or simply assumed what was prevalently assumed during his day (i.e. the earth is flat, the woman’s hair length affects conception).
Is it possible? Yes. Is it likely, not exclusively since the Bible argues for God having some part to play in the forming of the individual before birth (even before conception). Is there a way of knowing or validating this view? No, since there is no way to even determine if there really is a soul to begin with.
It is, in the end, a faith proposition made incidentally by biblical revelation.
5. Do you think that it is possible to be a creationist and to support abortion. Keep in mind that, according to the creationist view, we cannot be absolutely certain when God joins the soul with the body? Why or why not?
Yes. I think people support all kinds of abhorant and wicked things and believe the exact opposite against it. There are democrats and liberals who support the second amendment. There are pro-choice Christians. There are pro-life Christian women who get abortions. I don’t think one’s belief in how the soul originates or is created (if it is created at all) has any bearing on the support of abortion. People are simply wicked and do wicked things. I think the very fact that humans have devised a means of killing a child in the womb is evidence of that fact.
6. The study of the creation of the soul has become somewhat of a theological pastime. Most people have never dealt with the issues presented in this lesson. Why do you think this is the case?
The first reason I think is that there is no way to progress in such subjects. There is no evidence of the soul so there is no means by which we can determine how a soul is formed. Most people have no patience for such abstract exercises. Most people are more focused on the basic needs and desires/lusts of their own fallen natures to be concerned with the origin of the soul.
7. How is your thinking most challenged by this lesson? Please explain.
It really puts into question my entire research area: personal eschatology, biblical anthropology, and Christian Philosophy and Metaphysics. Much of what I’m trying to determine is indeterminable. I guess, maybe, I’m simply trying to prepare myself for the inevitability of death so that when it does come for me I will be more prepared than I see most people. Most seem obsessed with the things of this earth, with things they don’t even care about or like, about family and about arguments, and about wealth and stuff.
I want to know where I’m going when I die, if I’m going anywhere at all. I want to know what God has in store for me, what is awaiting me after I draw my last breath. Am I to be carried away by the angels to Hades and to torment to await my inevitable fate to join Satan and his fallen angels in the Lake of Fire or will God look at me at the Judgment and see only the sacrifice of Christ Jesus? Will I find mercy and be able to enter through the gates into Paradise and into eternity? If so, what then will I be doing, who will I be? What is the destiny of the saved? What is the experience of the lost who are thrown into the Lake of Fire?
Yet, if nothing can be determined, , what will be the point? I guess, once all is said and done, I will be well versed in the different possibilities that await me? Maybe I would be better served to simply eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow I will most certainly die.
Discussion Questions Lecture 5
1. In what ways does our society measure the dignity of a person? Is this biblical?
Dignity or honor in fallen society is aligned with doing good, but more often in wealth, fame, success, being persuasive, outgoing, laid back, well dressed, cool, notorious, rebellious, controversial. There is something biblical about how the world chases after these things. In fact, the Bible views dignity as possessed by God and Christ and utterly absent from fallen humanity. There is nothing good in man, but only by Christ’s finished work on the cross are we acceptable to God.
2. In what ways do you “follow the crowd” in using the wrong criteria to measure the dignity of man? How can you correct this?
I do desire the good life, the leisurely life, wishing I could win PCH and have an abundance of money so that I would not have to work for my necessities, where I could travel extravagantly, where I could pursue pleasure and have no responsibilities or limitations. But, I know the realities would not be like I imagine. I know wealth is not a good thing, and probably would only get me into trouble, lead me head long into perpetual sin, and may even cost me my life. Now I am no one and have nothing. I am no draw to criminals. If I had wealth there would be people lining up to take it from me. The Governmment. Family. The stranger. The Church. I could imagine I would limit myself to only this much, but the reality is I have no way of knowing what I would do or what my response would be if someone started handing me thousands of dollars each week. I would like to think I would fund go’d s work, but I’m skeptical of my own propensity to sin.
3. Do you really believe that all people have dignity as image bearers of God? What often makes you question whether this is true?
I actually do not agree that people are God’s image bearers. I think they used to be. Maybe when they were formed by God, when God knew them before he formed them in the womb, they were made in the image of God and had dignity in that way. But, I would argue that humans have lost the image they were made in, the image of God and resemble instead the image of their fallen Adam, the first man who lost immortality for the entire creation. I think once we are revealed as Sons of God, we will once again stand in the image of God. But, what this actually means and what its ramifications are I have no idea.
4. In what ways do you see unbelievers reflect the image of God more than believers? Please explain.
I do not see unbelievers as having the image of God, nor do I see believers as having the image of God, simply because God does not have a fallen nature. If we are made in the image of God, then that image has been marred by sin and a fallen nature, genetically, to the point that we no longer represent God or his image.
5. How do Christians often have an unbalanced pessimism about man? Give examples.
I don’t think we can have an unbalanced pessimism of man. I think humans are, by their very mortal natures, abysmal creatures, on par with the beasts of the field, though such lowly creatures have no idea or concept or awareness of what they do, and thus are incapable of committing sin, though they are subjected to the consequence of sin (death) on man’s behalf. One cannot go too far in describing the wickedness of humanity. Where I would say they do have an imbalance is in their view of man’s beneficial nature. Most people, even Christians, will tell you that humans are inherently good. They have worth, they do what is right most of the time. This is in error, as even the greatest person on earth is still the wickedest and vilest person in the presence of God. Any benefit man brings about on earth is either by the effort of the Holy Spirit or it is dirty rags.
6. How do Christians often have an unbalanced optimism about man? Give examples.
This was answered in the above question.
7. In what ways do we treat others (believers and non-believers) with less dignity than they deserve, being created in God’s image? Give examples.
I don’t think being created in the image of God has anything to do with how we should treat each other. I think we should treat people as God instructs us to treat them – to forgive, to serve, to put their needs before our own, to treat them as God treated us, that, while in our sin, he forgave us and died for us, that we might live. To treat people as if there is something inherent within them that is worthy of good treatment is to still claim a benevolence of man when there is nothing in man that is good. God described it best in Genesis 6:5, “every intent of the thoughts of their heart was only evil continually.”
8. How should the knowledge that all people are created in the image of God affect ministry? (For example: teaching and evangelism).
It should not. This concept should be abandoned. If we were initially created in the image of God, we have certainly lost that image or the ability to reflect that image due to the fallen nature we have inherited from Adam. It may be possible to represent that image again once reborn in the Spirit, but while we might be indwelled by the Spirit we still embody the flesh and bone of this body and this then renders us not like God. God has a body, but it is unlike this fallen body I inhabit. His is a spiritual body (not necessarily ethereal, but not at all physical either). Until the fallen nature is removed and immortality is put on by mortality, and we are fundamentally transformed at the last trumpet, we will not image God.
9. How was your thinking challenged the most by the lesson? Please explain.
This concept of being created in the image of God seems to have a modern resurgence. I think this is the modern Church’s attempt at side-stepping the utter depravity of man. People think too highly of themselves and of each other. They think they are incapable of genuine sin. Yet, I do know there are references in the Bible that talk about individuals being created in the image of God that need to be analyzed in more detail.
Discussion Questions Lecture 6
1. Pelagius believed that people are born with a neutral will. In other words, people are unaffected by the fall of Adam and only do wrong as a result of bad influences. How have you seen this view evidenced in society?
This is the same belief that humans are in herently good. It is the same kind of ideology that produced universalism, claiming it is impossible that God would actively punish (torment) the lost for all eterinty, and that they will be able to work off their sin and eventually enter heaven. But this is the same concept being repeated again and again by both the lost and those within the modern Church. Thinking too highly of the self. Thinking what is right in their own eyes. To think that people are born neutral to sin is to deny the scripture where it is pointed out that through Adam came sin to all people and through one more, the second Adam, Christ, eternal life is offered to all peoples. People sin because they are incapable of doing anything but sinning. Once they are saved and indwelled by the Spirit, then they are capable, moment by moment of walking in the Spirit, but even then the spirit is strong but the flesh is weak.
2. Do you believe that people do wrong as a result of bad influences?
People do wrong as a result of bad influences and that includes the flesh. Their fallen nature. It has just as much of an influence on them that their peers or their environment do. Young children are not taught how to lie or cheat or steal. It is inherent in their nature, the nature they inherited from Adam. All After Adam were born into the world differently than initially intended for them. They were initially designed by God to inhabit eternity, to embrace immortality like a cloak. It is impossible to say with certainty that they could not sin since Adam and Eve both sinned from the state of immortality and so did the fallen angels from Genesis 6:2. Likewise, if this be accurate, there is a very good chance there will be the potential for sin in heaven, though grace will no longer extend to anyone who commits sin after the Judgment – just as there was no grace for the angels who willfully sinned in Genesis 6:2, nor was there any grace to cover the sins of Lucifer or his angels (1/3 of heaven) when they rebelled.
People commit sin because of the wicked and corrupt desires of their heart. They might be tempted by those around them and the external influences, but Jesus said from outside nothing defiles a man, only that which comes from within the heart of a man defiles him.
3. Do you agree that people are born neutral? Why or why not?
No. I completely disagree. If we are born neutral that means there is something inherently good in humanity or that there is no inherited derogation within the human nature. If there is no consequence of the curse then there is no reason for Christ’s sacrifice.
4. It has been said that all people are born Pelagian until they are told otherwise. Do you agree? Please explain.
I knew from an early age that there was something very wrong with the world and especially the people who were in it. My early instinct was to dislike the company of people, of other kids my own age, of anyone. I preferred the solitude of my own company. I somehow knew instinctively that people should not be trusted, despite the world telling me that I could trust my parents, that I could trust family, friends, lovers, the government, the Church. Deep down I knew better. It was this unsettled feeling that drove me to Buddhism because I knew there was something off about this reality. Buddhism offered me an escape from this horrific world, told me that reality was only a persistent delusion, and that there was a way to short circuit and escape it.
There are many things in this world and behaviors of people that society deems as perfectly natural and healthy, but are corrupt, sinful, and debased. At birth, we inherit a nature that is twisted beyond recognition from what we were originally designed to live with.
5. Do you agree with the Pelagian view that man did not inherit the sin of Adam? If not, how do you reconcile your view with this verse? Ezekiel 18:19-20.
This passage as with all references in the Bible must be taken in the context and totality of all other Scripture. You cannot establish sound doctrine on a proof text. This question is the same in the inverse: if you disagree that humans are born with an inherited fallen nature how can you argue against the verse that says through Adam sin came to all people?
6. How was your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
There is good reason for the struggle between these kinds of concepts as the Bible often contradicts itself, especially if taking proof texts out of context to support a claim. It illustrates for me a few things, 1. I am in no way ready to be a teacher to other people 2. I really need to study the Bible more.
Then again, is there really an argument to be had here? Does it matter if we are capable of not sinning from birth (that we learn sin from influence) or if we are destined to sin because of a fallen and defective nature we inherited from Adam? Either way, as the last 2000 years has proved, humans are incapable of pursuing righteousness on their own. They struggle to do so when using the Bible as their litmus and guide. The only hope any of us have in this life or whatever comes beyond it is the mercy and covering of Christ’s work on the cross. If not for that, if he did not rise on the third day, if the biblical account is fraudulent and elaborated, then none of us have any hope at all and we are all doomed. But if there is a resurrection of the dead and there is a judgment day and there is an afterlife, then our only hope is in him. May he be the savior of us all!
Discussion Questions Lecture 7
1. Augustinianism was accepted by the early church at the council of Orange, while Pelagianism was condemned. While this was not an official ecclesiastical council, it has been a reference for orthodoxy for about 1500 years. Why do you think that the church was so emphatic in its condemnation of Pelagianism and in favor of Augustinianism?
I’m certain it is not so simple as a single reason but I would imagine it has a great deal to do with scriptural evidence for inherited fallen nature rather than a neutral nature. There would also have to be something behind Pelagianism that erodes the confidence in it’s teachings, something extra biblical or an addition or subtraction from Scripture besides this one tenet.
2. Arminianism relies upon the concept of prevenient grace. Prevenient grace, according to Arminianism, has a neutralizing effect upon the will. So while all people were born sinners, unable to choose God on their own, God, at some point in their lives, intervenes with prevenient grace, giving them the ability to choose Him. Evaluate the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace.
I accept the concept that God intervenes in the lives of the lost and brings about within them a conversion of the soul, of the will. What I could not do, was unwilling to do before, God did for me within me at the reading of 2 Peter 2. Or, better, just as I began the reading of the chapter, that change within my soul or my nature or the individuality that represents the “I” of me was touched by God to be receptive to the chapter once read. Then again, it is entirely possible that I have always been capable of receiving the word and had never actually read 2 Peter 2 before. Maybe it was predestined by God providentially that I would be transformed by the hearing (reading) of that particular passage at that particular time.
I can say with definitude, it was not my own intention or volition to be transformed that night. I did not want to be a Christian. I would rather stay a Buddhist and join a monastery. I can’t say that’s what would happen if I had not going into the military, since my conversion occurred beforehand. Then again, I can’t say I was truly saved at that point, either. Maybe I needed the pressure the military enlistment provided to push me. Maybe I needed to be carried away to Germany to that particular Church, to those particular mentors. I do wish I could see what my life would have been like if I had not gone into the military when I did. There is no telling where I would have ended up or what would have transpired.
I do know 4 years later I found college to be abysmal. Plus it would have required in person seat time which I was not interested in in 1993. Plus I did not have the money, nor had I worked a real job before.
My personal experience models prevenient grace in that I was touched and receptive before my actual surrender to Christ as Lord and King. But it is unclear if there was an actual change that occurred or if I was designed to received and only needed the right stimulus. Another question is, if destined to receive given the right stimulus, is the environment necessary as well or just the individual and the reading or hearing of the word? Could I have had the same outcome if I were alone at home or in a college dorm room? Did it require first the overnight at the hospital, that particular bible, and the subsequent entrance into the military? Would I have received the same training in the faith if I had gone to college instead of the military? Would I have left my home town? Would I have moved to the coast?
I know I did not have any desire or intention on being a Christian and fought to return to Buddhism. If I had stayed in my hometown and gone to school, would we have married? Had kids? Divorced? Did military service save me from a bitter life with her? Would I have remained training with Mike?
After 2 years of community college I would have had to leave for college. Would I have gone to college or would I have opened a satellite school with MG? Prevenient grace is impossible to pin down with any certainty simply because there is no evidence of its actual existence or occurrence.
3. Augustinianism believes that all mankind fell with Adam to such a degree that they are completely unable to choose God without God choosing them. Evaluate the Augustinian doctrine of the fall.
I would agree in the utter depravity of the human will as inherited by humanity from Adam. I don’t necessarily agree with headship or Lordship theology in that we were in the seed of Adam at the time he sinned and thus inherited sin because we were there. I look at original sin as a genetic mutation, a malformation in the genetic and supernatural code (if such thing exists – the substance of the soul). Then again, what has been corrupted by the curse and the fall, the flesh and the soul or just the flesh? I would argue just the flesh. Before birth we do not exist or know existence outside of bodily indwelling. Thus we are irredeemably connected to that body and the sin nature of the flesh (to the point that we are one in the same).
I would say Jesus is pretty emphatic about this doctrine. It is impossible to come to Christ unless the father draws him. Those who come to a saving faith in Christ have been drawn by the father to do so. Those who do not come to a saving faith in Christ were never drawn by the father.
4. Having seen and considered all the various positions with regards to our relationship with Adam, which view do you find the most compelling? Why?
We are predestined by God to come to Christ and be saved. It is by his mercy that we are drawn. It is by his mercy that we are saved. It is by his work on the cross that we are found innocent. Through Adam, the first, all humanity received sin, the capability to sin, the judgment and punishment of sin, which is death. We (all but Adam and Eve) had no choice in this, as well did not the whole of creation. Because of the fall and as a consequence of the curse, we are born into mortality. Corrupted from that which we were once supposed to be or once had the potentiality to be if we had been born on a different trajectory (where Adam and Eve had never fell). But because they did fall, we have inherited a fallen nature and are incapable of ceasing from sin. We have a sinful nature that draws us inextricably toward sin. It is only through the second Adam, the Last Man, that we receive the promise through the holy spirit, that we will be redeemed in the end, and will become that which we were originally destined to be, sons of God.
5. How was your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
It is difficult to pursue such abstract concepts when conflicted with personal pursuits. I desire to go to Eden and work and live. But I’m stubborn and lazy and weary and just want to relax and be at ease. I’m able to do so at my house and this causes me to want to remain here and not have to work. But, it brings so many challenges and temptations. Yet, when I’m there I cannot do my best work (if that’s what this is). I should go tomorrow but I am not prepared.
Discussion Questions Lecture 8
1. The concept of free will is notoriously difficult to define. It is a concept that is often used in Christian circles, but seldom articulated and understood. Having been through this session, how would you define free will?
Free will is, as it is concerned of us, the capacity in which one may choose freely from interference of other forces, whether sentient or non-sentient. As such, we exercise our volition by means of choosing. Both and sometimes many options are available and we are unencumbered by our ability to exercise that choice.
Yet, simultaneously, I would argue that everything is predestined, simply because the Bible is very clear in places that it is. Our individual salvations are preset before the foundations of the world as well has the creation of the lost been predestined to illustrate God’s mercy to those who are saved. God not only knows what we each do and think all the time throughout the course of our lives from beginning to end, but he also appears to know every choice we could have made and the things we could have done if we had made those choices that we did not ultimately make. This basically indicates that God is an expert I probability theory, and in maybe even in creating a multiverse where there are limitless numbers of different versions of ourselves living out lives defined by distinct choices made at any given point within particular timelines. Further, it is possible that what we consider the external, physical world (that which is not the spiritual realm) exists only to us as real but actually resides only in the mind of God in a perpetual state of probability. There is, of course, no way to know if any of those other “versions” of ourselves exist as we think we exist, but God may just know the probabilities and consequences that would potentially occur based on the choices given. Example: I don’t really cross the room until I make the decision to cross the room and then execute that decision by crossing the room. But, God knows what would have transpired if I had decided instead to not cross the room, and all other possible outcomes to all possible choices I could have made at that moment and every moment spanning the duration of my life.
In light of this potential of God, it is impossible to consider free will as being free from observation, since God will and does observe everything we do and say and think at every moment. But, we do have free will within this limited sphere of the physical realm up and to the point at which God chooses to intercede on our behalf. He moved Pharaoh to harden his heart, so in that instance he had no free will. He likewise consented to Lucifer’s attack on Job, in which case Job had no free will.
The same is true for myself in my own conversion. I was a Buddhist when, at a particular moment, God chose to place me in a position in which I was to read 2 Peter 2 and was altered forever. Taken from me that night was my ability to meditate or to derive any benefit from meditation. My worldview and belief that the physical world was a delusion and that I could escape through achieving Nirvana was stripped from me. I had no choice in the matter. There was no going back, and I tried for over a year to return to my previous religion. Still to this day I cannot practice the martial arts, no matter what style, what attempt. This again is not by choice. It was taken from me and in its place was put in me an unquenchable thirst for the Word.
There is free will from our limited perspective, in that I choose from day to day if and when I will rise and set, what I will do, where I will go, and what I will think or say. But, I control little about my life trajectory or what will enter my life or be taken out of my life and I certainly have no control over how long I will remain here on this earth in the land of the living.
2. Do you believe that libertarian freedom is possible? How?
No it is not possible depending on the perspective. So, I have libertarian freedom in the sense that I make a myriad of decisions and choices throughout each and every day unfettered by external influence (presumably). Yet, it would be utterly impossible for me to choose to go to the moon or to Mars. I am not trained. I am not a candidate to go on either trip. There is no reasonable scenario in which I could go to either the moon or to mars in my lifetime. Another example: I cannot in any way become a woman. I am a man. I am male. I was born a male, a boy and grew to become a man. There is no possible way in which I could become a female or a woman. I could dress in women’s clothes. I could take medications that could mask male traits and increase female traits. But I would still be a male and a man pretending to be a woman and a female. I would never have the mental faculties of a women. I would not have the experiences or history of being a woman. There would be certain physical characteristics, no matter how much I tried to deny them or hide them they would out me as truly being a male and a man. Hence, there is no libertarian freedom in this instance.
So in certain instances there could be libertarian freedoms while in other instances there could not be libertarian freedom. God chooses to intervene on behalf of some and likewise choses to burden others with curses and plagues and disease. So our libertarian freedom is relative to the rate of intersection with God. The more interaction from God the less our libertarian freedom is.
3. Discuss the outside factors in your life that were beyond your control. How have these factors made you what you are?
I had no choice in being born, in being created, in which parents I would be born to or how I would be raised. I had no choice in my gender, in my sex, in my race, in the economic status I was born into and raised up in.
I likewise had no choice in my religious worldview after a particular point in time. Once I crossed that point I was forced to believe particular things about God and about the Bible and likewise forced to abandon certain beliefs about the world from a Buddhist perspective. I was not “convinced” and changed my mind or my beliefs. The reality was instantaneously revealed to me. At one point I could not see and after that I could see as if something had been lifted from me which previously blinded me to the realities surrounding me.
Much of my life has been a detriment. I have not been a success by the world’s standards in business, in social spheres, in marriage, in family. The Church does not accept me. The government has betrayed me. I am in every way at odds with the world. There is only God and his Word that sustains me. I do not wish to be here any longer. I do not choose to remain. I am burdened to do so. I am possessed with a will to live that is not my own.
But, I wonder if I had not entered the military, what my life would have become. How my life would have been different. Would I still believe or would college have infected me with their mind virus of intersectionality? Would I have been a success by the world’s standards or would I have ended up so much worse? Would I have gone into teaching? Would I have stayed? Would I have returned to the martial arts, opened a school with my instructor and lived under his thumb? Would I have children? Be divorced? What if I had gone into the military but once I was out and once I was propositioned by Charlotte and I said yes instead of no, how would my life have been different? Would we have survived as a thrupple? Would we have married? Would we be married still? What kind of profession would I be in today? Would I have found happiness in either life?
4. Can it be said that you have true freedom when these factors are considered? Please explain.
No. I do not have true freedom. God has had a hand in a great many things in my life, or at least it appears as such. But I have to wonder if I’m better off now compared to if he had not intervened or would I have been better if he had left me alone? Better how? How much more success and happiness would be required before I would be willing to trade for eternity? Would I trade everlasting life for a long and successful marriage with two women? What about with just one? What about success in business? Would I trade what I believe I have now (salvation) for millions of dollars in this life as a successful writer or professor? Is this life I currently have the very best I can possibly have? Is that a determent of my own making from poor choices and lack of personal worth or character or is it a result of God hamstringing me out of the gate?
5. One of the objections to libertarianism is that if a person’s will is not affected either by predisposition or outside influence, then it is completely arbitrary. Arbitrary choices are not truly free. Do you agree? Why or why not.
I don’t follow the logic that arbitrary is not truly free. If the world and reality is ruled by chaos and random probability then nothing is guiding the universe or the processes within it and thus there is plenty of freedom, again limited by perspective of scale, but there is in this instance no genuine meaning for anything. If there is only random choice then there is no underlining purpose. If there is no purpose there is no meaning and no real context to life.
6. It is said by compatibilists that because of the fall and our outside influences, we do not have true liberty. However, we do make free choices and therefore are responsible for those choices. Do you agree? Why or why not.
Again, we have true liberty in the choices we make in relation to God’s intercession into our spheres. The more interjection God places into the life of an individual the less free will they have and the less choices they can truly make.
7. If compatibilism were true, why would God still find fault in man if He is the first cause that placed him in the circumstances that have determined his choices?
This is where free will and predestination get really interesting. In order for God to satisfy both his mercy and his justice he must find fault with humanity on an individual level. He he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, how can he in turn hold Pharaoh responsible for his actions and ultimate punish him with death? The issue is, no matter what choice one makes, anyone and everyone born into the fallen nature of humanity is guilty of sin and subject to God’s wrath. We do not experience his wrath and judgment out of his longsuffering for humanity, wanting all to be saved. He has given people time, lots of time, lifetimes of time to repent. But those who are saved are first drawn by God. So, in order to satisfy both his mercy and justice, somehow volition still needs to reside in man. For the one act Pharaoh was not subject to death. Death was the consequence of the fallen nature. It is the result of the fallen nature. It is the payment for sin. All who stand before the great white throne on judgment day will be thrown into the lake of fire, not because of their deeds done on earth while they were alive, but because of their choice. Did they choose to believe? Romans 1 paints the picture that those who rejected God and refused to acknowledge him he turned over to the lusts of their flesh to a debased and futile mind. This is what we see in the world today, the natural result of this turning over. No one will be condemned to the second death because of the sins they committed. Every sin they ever did could have been forgiven them in totality if they would have believed.
Who are we the clay to question the potter? It is God who has true freedom of volition and autonomy. Our very existence appears dependent upon his good pleasure.
8. How was your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
These concepts are a struggle because it feels as if I’m not well versed in the topics. But, it has been quite a while, several months, since I completed the videos so I’m bound to be a little rusty on the answers. But there does feel like gaps in my knowledge base. I wonder if there would be in a traditional program? I wonder if my ThD will be approved? It’s been seven days with no word back from my Advisor other than an email from him saying he received my dissertation and would start reading it right away. Additionally, the journal is to be published this month (June) and I have not heard anything back on my article submission. Everything feels up in the air right now. This is probably the biggest challenge at this time while doing this assignment.
Discussion Questions Lecture 9
1. To the women: What do you like most about being a woman?
I personally do not understand the concept of gender or sex. It is not like there is no capacity for or evidence of asexual reproduction in the animal kingdom. Why must the gender separation continue on through the ages, male and female, when alternatives are available (to God if not to humans)? Likewise, we are now coming onto a place in history and technological development when sex will no longer be linked to or needed for procreation and a new definition will need to be define (has already been defined) as sex primarily for personal self gratification. This will continue to objectify women as objects of possession and will further the gulf between the sexes until there is no remedy to be had. Today with the insanity of gender fluidity and forced acceptance of gender reassignment of a vast number of young women, the transformation has begun. As value in gender erodes further, there will be no utility in gender any longer. There will be biblical identity and then the identity of the other, the deluded. This is by design and predicted in the great falling away by Paul, as the fallen in the world are given over to their futile minds. There will be no coming back from this insanity. May the end come quickly by death or by our King’s return.
2. To the men: What do you like most about being a man?
I am very thankful for being born a male and growing up in a time when I could accept and embrace becoming a man. Granted I am not the typical male as normalized by men in the United States. I do not follow sports teams and I have no interest in drinking beer or being rowdy or find pleasure in typical affair (working on cars, mowing the law, etc). I have instead been studious all my life and even more so after Buddhism was taken from me and I was given instead an insatiable desire for the Word of God. It has driven the bulk of my life and today, though I do not appear by society’s standards to be a success in any fashion, I do feel as if I’ve dodged an immediate and perpetual bullet, not being caught up in the trappings of so many men in this world. I am free from chasing after money, after things, after the affections of the opposite sex. As a solitary, I’m drawn instead to the Bible, to study, to research, and find a great deal of satisfaction and fulfillment in those tasks.
I am thankful to God that I was born a male, as I see the state of women to be a difficult burden. They seem often overcome with faulty physical bodies that have complex systems for procreation that too easily break down, malfunction and miss align. I also am thankful to be governed by logic and reason, but more so by the spirit of God. But, to be perfectly honest, I have no care for male or female. I have no desire for this world or this life. I have no interest in the conventional modes of existence: family, children, wives, sex, amassing wealth and material things.
I await for my own destruction. For my death, which, as I understand it, is unnatural to want to die. But it is the only escape from the misery of existence and I find no peace in this life.
4. To the men: What would you like least about being a man?
There is a war coming against men, against society, against civilization. I don’t believe it is necessarily a war waged by thinking minds, but minds given over to futile thoughts, to rage that is not their own but is the devil’s, who knows his time is short. For whatever reason he desires to destroy everything in this physical realm and God has given him so much rope. I don’t predict the future. It is possible this will blow over like every other fad from the radical left. But if not, it will be war on not only my race, but on my gender and on my sex and on who I am arbitrarily. If so – so be it. Let God be true and every man a liar. My only prayer is that God return and bring judgment to this world swiftly and without delay.
5. What arguments of the egalitarian position do you find most compelling?
I would only argue for egalitarianism to the point that the Scriptures support it. There is no male nor female. There is no Jew and no Greek. Slave or Free. All are in Christ. Within the Church there is to be none of this superficial or artificial divisions. There is only the divisions that God has enacted for his purposes for the Church.
6. This was one of the egalitarian arguments. “Despite claims to the contrary, it is hard to see how stating that women are denied the opportunity of exercising spiritual headship over men does not demean the ontological value of women.” Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
Why are women so determined to power? It is rebellion against God. But, in the American Church, there is no god given man any longer. There is a feminized male who has been categorized as “pastor,” rather than an a plurality of elders. This has been increasing for centuries. No longer is the congregation led by the spirit of God but by the whims of effeminate men in the pulpit. This must change if the Church is to continue on this earth. Men must be allowed to be men and women must be allowed to be women according to the scriptural prerogatives given, and neither should seek to overthrow the other. But I view this as an impossible task given the state of the Church today. All hope is lost and the only prayer remaining is for the return of Christ our King. Return quickly and spare the world this insanity that has befallen us.
7. Do you believe that women can be pastors over a congregation? Why or why not?
No. But then again, neither should men. Pastor is not a biblical leadership position. The leadership described in the Bible is a servantship position – where the first is last and the last is first and the leader is servant to all. Likewise, authority rests within the Church in the form of a plurality of elders, men who are equipped and respected in their particular community. The church as an asset driven corporate organization is not biblical. The church as an organization for social activism is not biblical. The church as a mechanism for gathering and exerting power and influence over others is not biblical. These entities and the profession clergy running them are not biblical leaders. They are leaders of a different religious cult. I am convinced the authentic, Christian Church is locally absent from much if not most of America. It is scattered and without hope and weak in faith and absent of love.
8. Do you believe that there is any situation in which women can teach men? Please explain.
For whatever purpose God has in created women, they were made for men not men for women. Whatever their fates are in the end, at the revealing of the Sons of God, only God knows. I have no idea of their fate since there appears to be no evidence of female angels and we are (the saved that is) destined to become like the angels in heaven at the resurrection. Does this mean women will be transformed into men? That does not sound correct. Does it mean that both male and female will be neutered during the transformation and there will be no biological gender any longer? This does not sound correct since God made them male and female in the beginning, before the fall took place. Plus, angels in heaven, if the angelic view of Genesis 6:2 is correct, were not only capable of having sex with human women, but were capable of siring offspring. Were the angels that rebelled only male and the female angels remained in heaven? Is the concept of male and female foreign to the heavenly hosts, and the first female to enter heaven will be at the judgment? Is the female gender something new under the sun? Is God male? Female? Both? Neither? He can, through the holy spirit, produce offspring as well. We are made in his image. Is that not at least partly female?
These are important questions and many of them will remain unanswered until the end of all things. But, it is important to recognize the rebellion at the core of this discussion. Women are in opposition of anyone telling them they cannot do something they desire to do. Yet, it was this same mentality that led to the fall in the first place. Not only was the woman deceived by the serpent, led to believe a lie, but then she enlisted (enticed) her husband to do the same as she. It is apparent leading by emotion and irrationality does not work well for the human race. Unless, of course, you are wanting (demanding) to usurp not only the prohibition against women in authority within the Church but to throw out the authority of Scripture altogether. How else can the clear prohibitions be neutralized other than to disregard the biblical message?
9. How was your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
This is a difficult subject full of many land mines. Gender, service, the coming revelation of the Sons of God, being transformed into something that is like the angels – all of these things rub against the sensitivities of many in the modern world. I am convinced that soon such teachings will be outlawed as hate speech and many will be persecuted form the true Church that Jesus is building and some will give their lives in defense of sound doctrine.
I do not know what the fate is of women in the world. I do not understand the wisdom of God in the separation and division of the sexes, especially since it is obviously not needed biologically. It is a mystery. But, the Bible is clear. Is the message of Scripture something that we want to be found trampling when Christ returns? Or do we want to be found defending it, supporting it, and living it?
Discussion Questions Lecture 10
1. What do you believe is the most compelling argument for the complementarian position?
Scripture. It is clear that women were made to complement man, to solve what is now an unknown problem of man (Adam), though I’m not certain it has solved any problem but only made the situation with humanity all that much more worse. Our society (and the supposed Church within it) can claim to no better than God, can second guess the biblical message, or can outright disobey the plan of God, but it does not change the facts or reality of who God is and what God does or what is waiting for humans at the end of the age.
2. Review this argument for complementarianism: Eve was a completer. Adam was lacking (Gen 2:18), and Eve was not a second attempt at perfection. Each were created to complement each other. Their distinctions are essential for humanity to be complete. What are your thoughts?
Eve was a completer. She was created for the man, not man for the woman. There was a specific reason (or set of reasons) for God to determine that it was not good for man to be alone. We are not privy to that information. Eve was created because no other creature was “comparable to him.” But it is just as shortsighted to assume 1. The creation of Adam was an attempt at perfection. 2. Male and female were designed to complement each other. 3. The coupling of man and woman somehow is the optimal design for humanity.
Adam certainly was not perfect as he was created. The question also remains if the angels are considered perfect in heaven? They fell in Genesis 6:2, and Satan fell as did a 1/3 of heaven. It is faulty to think God is trying to perfect creation through humanity.
Males were not created to compliment females, but the opposite is true. What will happen to women at the judgment I have no idea. There currently appear to be no women in heaven. Will this change? Will women cease to exist before then? Will all women be thrown into the lake of fire? I can’t see how this would be possible. Will they cease to be women at the transition from mortal to immortal, from human to “like the angels?” This is unclear.
Lastly, if the coupling of man and women were perfection before God, then there would be no need for the Bible’s clear position that celibacy is the preferred state over marriage. Jesus made it clear, as did Paul. It is better not to marry. It is better to remain single, celibate and to take on the state in which we will spend eternity. In fact, Paul and Jesus both caution against the realities of marriage, the hardships, the sacrifices required. But sin is rampant and is taking over the world. The times are evil. There is no good on the earth. Because of sexual immorality (look at modern dating life), everyone should get married, save for those who have been given the gift of celibacy. If they can accept it they should accept it. But make no mistake, this is the eventuality for all people. For there is no marriage in heaven, apparently no sexual intercourse as well.
3. Having now heard the arguments for both positions, which do you find most compelling?
I would strongly argue that men should live separately from women and both should seek the celibate life. We should stop having children and should turn to the lord and beg for him to return and deliver us from certain death. I honestly think, at least in this day and age, the gathering of churches is an impossibility. I think the world has fallen too far, has sunk too deep into the culture of apostasy. The modern Church is nothing of the Church Christ is building. There are individual Christians within the modern Church but the Modern Church is not Christ’s Church.
Then again, I have no means of measure. I have always been drawn away from people, from groups, from group think, and desire nothing else but to slip off from this planet to whatever awaits me in immortality. The origin and role and destiny of women is God’s plan. There are countless marriages that make no sense and only increasing suffering in the world. Cohabitation, at least in today’s terms, does not seem to work. Raising children in a fallen culture is fool hearty at best. We have plenty of people to spare on the planet. Then again, the world does not belong to Christians. We are sojourners here. Let them do what they will do in their willfulness and disobedience and perversions. They have their reward. Our reward is in heaven.
4. Complementarians believe that their position is evidenced more prominently in Scripture and gives greater honor to women by recognizing their significance. Do you agree? Why or why not?
I think most Christians miss the point. While they should be looking heavenward, they are stuck in the here and now, trying to eek out an existence on a planet we have no future in. This world and all that is in it will be destroyed by fire. There will be nothing left. All of our things, all of our fighting, all of our political maneuvering is futility. None of it matters. Rather than worry about how men and women should interact with one another, we should separate, cease to act as if we are married at all, embrace our celibate futures, and continue in prayer and fasting until Christ returns or death steals our bodies and we wait his return in the Intermediate State. Heavenly things matter. Not earthly things. Men and women should treat each other as if we were of one race in heaven, like the angels, who are neither given in marriage nor are married, who apparently have no provision for sexual relations and serve forever at the pleasure of the king.
5. If men were to value the role of women as nurturers more, do you think that there would be a women’s liberation movement like we see today? Please explain.
I think women have been seduced by Satan in their rebellion against the biblical order. I think they have been once again lied to and have taken the word of their own undependable faculties and seared off their conscience in the name of liberalism and immediate freedom to act in all manner of sin and apostasy. This is the heart of the women’s liberation movement – sin.
I think if men had honored women more by serving them as Christ served the Church, by dying for her – as he was instructed to do, then I think there would have been more resistance to the sexual revolution. But, as it stands, men ultimately failed to live up to their commitments and expectations and, thus, now reap what they have sown.
6. Men: How can you start honoring women more?
Honestly, I think there is no opportunity for this in the future. The culture has fallen to such a degree that logic and rational thought have all but been supplanted by insanity and futile thinking. The best thing men can do at this point is separate themselves from women (1 Co 7:1) and live as monks and preach repentance from sin to a fallen and perverse world, and await soberly and prayerfully for the return of Christ. There is no hope in earthly things. Not in marriage or in family or in business or success or wealth. There is nothing left to honor in women if they are lost in their minds to madness.
7. Women: How can you find more dignity in your role?
Likewise for women, they should repent of their rebellion, but rather than seek to make things worse still in marriage, they should seek the celibate life (actual not superficially) as nuns, in prayerful anticipation of their fates before God. They should cast off the insanity that they have brought to the earth and should repent of it and live he remainder of their days in fear and humility before the Lord.
8. How was your thinking most challenged by the lesson? Please explain.
It is difficult to realize that there is no hope remaining for people in this world anymore. If the insanity of the post-Christan culture continues it will mean the end to the family to marriage to children and will replace these with perversion and corruption and a debased thinking that will destroy everything it touches. The fate of the world will certainly end in flames and madness. But it is up to each and every Christian to stand for Christ even to the death. May we be worthy of such a high call.
Overall, this course was pretty good. It is a subject I’m very interested in, though I do feel as if most courses on the topic only skirt around the fundamental issues and never really dig deeper into the core concepts. I suppose this has more to do with the lack of actual evidences for the existence of the soul or the afterlife in the first place, leaving much of the discussion mute to practicality. But, as Plato stated, “All philosophy is but preparation for death,” there is no higher aim in my estimation concerning heavenly things than to engage in the theological and the philosophical questions as are addressed here. I know of no human concern grater than this, to prepare the way of my own death, to gather strength and wisdom for the journey ahead. May I stand on the grace of Christ who’s shed blood covers me, and may, in the end, I find myself not to be in this world the most pitied.
Until my next assignment…
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Excerpt from The Light Aurora:
The door’s lock released and Dr. Lewis looked around at each of them.
“Stay close, and be ready for anything. I’m not sure if they’re all in the Command Center or if they are trying to secure Level 4. Hell, they could all be evacuating.”
He stared at Scott as he came up onto the landing.
“Let’s go,” Scott said.
Dr. Lewis pushed the door open and walked out into the hall, followed by the others – in ones and twos.
Level 2 was similar to the other level, with a long corridor, doors on either side, all with security displays recessed into the wall next to them.
But, as they entered the corridor, Scott’s breath caught in his throat.
As he stood there with the others, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
In front of them, probably no more than a few yards away, were three bodies lying on the floor. One was sitting up against the wall, the side of his face melted, exposing his right eyeball and a good portion of his right skull.
Another one was laying face down, his entire back opened up at the spine, as if his spinal cord had been ripped out of him from behind.
The last one was a few more feet away from the others, on his back, his eyes seared from his head, black, burnt flesh where his eyes used to be.
The intercom came back to crackling life.
Derrick said over the intercom.
“Don’t worry. You can answer,” he said. “I can hear you.”
Scott looked up, then fixed his gaze on the security camera at the end of the corridor.
“Yes?” Scott finally asked.
There was a pause, static.
“What are you doing, Derrick?” he asked. “Did you do this?”
“Indeed,” Derrick said, coming back on.
“They refused to help me.”
“What are you trying to do, Derrick?” Scott asked.
There was another pause.
“I want to go home, Professor,” the boy said.
“Yes,” Derrick said, his tone soaked with some other-worldly confidence that did not belong in an innocent, ten year old boy.
“I want to go home, Professor,” he said again. “Would you be interested in coming home with me?”
Buy the entire story The Light Aurora today and get ready for the thrill ride of a lifetime! What is this foreign and hostile place these strangers find themselves in? What does it all mean? Will all of them survive?
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