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Christianity and the Afterlife

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posted on Jan, 1 2012 @ 08:18 PM
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reply to post by autowrench
 


Remember an earlier life? Unlikely. Your life started as a sperm cell united with an egg. There was no memory in the sperm and no memory in the egg.

There was a story about a Californian who was in an auto accident. She was in critical condition for a long time after the accident and later told people that a shining angel had pushed against the car and had saved her life. This was on Unsolved Mysteries and the woman was absolutely certain that an angel had been there. I immediately saw it as a hallucination that the woman only believed was true...what good would a shining angel be if he couldn't stop an accident and keep the woman uninjured? I don't think god would want or need a weak angel.

All of those near-death experiences are synapses firing and creating something pleasant in mind in the presence of an otherwise unpleasant experience. There's no other logical explanation.




posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
First you would have to produce evidence that there is a such thing as "outside the created universe".

In Biblical terms, since this is part of the theology forum, that is easy.
If God created the universe (which is a Biblical fundamental), then God is not part of the universe which he created.
There is a distinction betweern them.
Therefore God. for a start, is "outside the created universe", as the Christian theology of Creation has always recognised.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 02:13 AM
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reply to post by Magnificient
 

Stephen Hawking does not know there is nothing outside the four dimensions.
I refer you to my reply to jmdewey, where I pointed out the implications of the Biblical teaching that God created the world..
If that is the case, then he created the four-dimensional world, and is in that sense "outside" it.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 06:53 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

If God created the universe (which is a Biblical fundamental) . . .

That is a big IF.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was what we directly walked on, as in the dry ground. The heavens was the air we breath and above that you could say that there were the sun and moon which rule the day and the night, respectively, which of course since we can not touch them, must be in a second heaven, thus giving us the plural word, heavens.
You could make the argument that the writers of this line did not realize there were planets and more than one sun.
But you can also argue that the writers thought the sun and moon and stars were only torches or something high in the sky, just out of reach, so the creation which this line is talking about is amazingly local, such as a couple hundred miles from the point of the observer who is documenting this event.
The next chapter goes on to describe how God made the heavens and the earth and He actually made nothing but persuaded the water of the abyss to relinquish enough of itself to form a canopy for the sky, and also removed enough of the ocean to expose the land which was already there but previously under the surface.
edit on 2-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 09:12 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Does not the Bible present God as the ultimate maker of all things?
John says about the Word "All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made".
If that sweeping statement applies to the Word, it must "a fortiori" be applied to the Creator God. He can't be understood as working with pre-existing material, because if he works with pre-existing material he falls short of being the Creator "of all things". In fact he ceases to be the ultimate source altogether.
The logical conclusion, which was drawn at a very early stage, is that if God created "all things", he cannot be included in the "all things" which were created.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 09:26 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

John says about the Word "All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made".
If you read Colossians it specifies it to where it is principalities and powers, meaning that the realm of the spirit is spiritual matters, meaning things that are ideas and concepts and not a material thing though they do effect things directly in the physical world.
God is the source for all things good. Do you want God to also be the source of all things evil? It seems like it, anyone wanting to make such extravagant claims to a deity. Once you make Him all-inclusive, then you are taking in all the bad aspects of the universe and making those attributable to God, which I find counter to the role of, and the purpose of, having a God in the first place.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 09:49 AM
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reply to post by Magnificient
 


And you have already formed pre-conclusions on the matter, so no argument whatsoever will sway your mindset, so anything I say is moot. Tell you what, you just keep right on thinking that, friend.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 10:08 AM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
If you read Colossians it specifies it to where it is principalities and powers, meaning that the realm of the spirit is spiritual matters,

No, you cannot limit it this way. The statement in Colossians ch1 vv15-19 is deliberately all-embracing.-
"...all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...", up to and including, but certainly not limited to, the spritual powers. "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together"
That "all things" has to be taken seriously. It is intended to mean "all things"

God is the source for all things good. Do you want God to also be the source of all things evil? It seems like it, anyone wanting to make such extravagant claims to a deity. Once you make Him all-inclusive, then you are taking in all the bad aspects of the universe and making those attributable to God, which I find counter to the role of, and the purpose of, having a God in the first place.

I don't make these extravagant claims. The Bible makes these claims, and I'm simply drawing attention to the fact.
Having separate creators for good things and evil things is the Zoroastrian/Manichean solution to the problem, not the Biblical approach
But if we start getting into the "problem of evil", we move away from the topic of this thread, which was a question about Christian thinking on the "afterlife".



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 11:00 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

I don't make these extravagant claims. The Bible makes these claims, and I'm simply drawing attention to the fact.
Hmm.
Seems I noticed a lot of added commentary by you.
Anyway your main contention is that God exists outside the universe and so can take other people out of the universe and into whatever realm God exists in, which is outside time and space.
The support for your contention is that this is possible since God created the universe, while I don't think that is something universally accepted. I don't think any mainstream mythology or ancient philosophy says that God created the universe. If you think the Bible supports that, then I think you are stretching it to make it say that and if it was held by the writers of the Bible, I think they would have made it a little less ambiguous.
The place that people normally point to as backing for such notions is the Book of Job, but you have to realize that Job was dealing with Satan who was presenting himself as something greater than he really was.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 11:32 AM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

Since you question how far my stance on the distinction of God and the universe is "mainstream", I am going to quote from a work on my bookshelves;
This is the "Systematic Theology" of Professor Louis Berkhof, who was teaching at the Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids .My copy was published by the "Banner of Truth Trust" in 1958. That ought to be sufficiently mainstream.
Looking at his chapter entitiled "Creation in general", there is a subsection (p134) which begins;
"The world has a distinct existence[his italics]. This means that the world is not God nor any part of God; and that it differs from God, not merely in degree but in its essential properties. The doctrine of creation implies that, while God is self-sufficient, infinite, and eternal, the world is dependent, finite, and temporal. The one can never change into the other. This doctine is an absolute barrier against the ancient idea of emanation, as well as against all pantheistic theories."
Another subsection (p129) says "Creation in the strict sense of the word may be defined as that free act of God whereby he, according to his sovereign will and for his own glory, in the beginning brought forth the whole visible and invisible universe, without the use of pre-existent material, and thus gave it an existence, distinct from his own and yet always dependent on him" (his italics again)
In another subsection on the history of the doctine (p127), he remarks "...The Christian church, from the very beginning, taught the doctrine of creation ex nihilo and as a free act [his italics] of God. This doctrine was accepted with singular unanimity from the start. It is found in Justin Martyr,Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others".

My use of the "God distinct from the universe" concept to answer the query about the afterlife was speculative.
However, the "Creator God distinct from the universe" concept, in itself, is right at the heart of historic mainstream Christian theology.




edit on 2-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 11:47 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

. . . published by the "Banner of Truth Trust" in 1958. That ought to be sufficiently mainstream.

That was after I was born so I would not consider that ancient philosophy.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 12:01 PM
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reply to post by jmdewey60
 

That is why I quoted his section on the history of the doctrine, where he points out that it was being taught by Christian theologians nearly two thousand years before you were born



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 01:23 PM
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reply to post by autowrench
 


It's like I said, there's never an end to religious argument. That's actually how Christianity has survived through the generations, endless arguments.



posted on Jan, 2 2012 @ 01:43 PM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

It is found in Justin Martyr,Irenaeus, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and others".

Does he give citations for those?
I'm looking at the page (in Google Books) and he does not give any.
I'm reading Origen right now and he says creation is spiritual and that the physical is just the way we perceive spiritual things, in that you can seem to be looking at something. OK, then this seems to support what I said, that God created the spiritual world, according to your cited authority.
The italics on page 129 just indicate he is giving a definition and not that he is quoting anyone in particular. Or he may be paraphrasing Calvin, not sure.
On page 133, in section d. Scriptural basis for the doctrine of creation out of nothing, he says the strongest point is made in Hebrews 11:3. He quotes one version but the NRSV says:

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

The main theme is faith, and the secondary theme is how something visible comes from the invisible and creation is used as an example, so it is not about creation primarily. So this verse, to me, again reinforces what I said, that God arranged (according to the NETBible version, and 'framed' in the KJV) things to where we could have a life, with a limited ocean, air, and a clear sky to see the sun.
It looks to me from reading the book you quoted, that this concept of creation as a doctrine does not predate Augustine and seems to be his invention.
Here is what Wikipedia says about creation ex nihilo:

Ancient Near Eastern mythologies, classical creation myths in Greek mythology envision the creation of the world as resulting from the actions of a god or gods upon already-existing primeval matter, known as chaos; this is also the scenario envisaged by the authors of the Hebrew Genesis creation narrative.

edit on 2-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 3 2012 @ 06:23 AM
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Originally posted by jmdewey60
It looks to me from reading the book you quoted, that this concept of creation as a doctrine does not predate Augustine and seems to be his invention.

At least you've got away from implying that it was my personal idiosyncracy ("...if you think the Bible says that...").
If this has been the standard teaching of the church since at least the time of Augustine, then it is, as i said, just mainstream theology.

On the subject of Augustine, I came across this passage from City of God Book 11 which matches my original proposition that Time is part of the created universe. (Or rather, it is probably where I got the idea from in the first place. It would not be the first time that I have borrowed ideas from Augustine and forgotten where they came from)


CHAP. 6.—THAT THE WORLD AND TIME HAD BOTH ONE BEGINNING, AND THE ONE DID NOT ANTICIPATE THE OTHER.
For if eternity and time are rightly distinguished by this, that time does not exist without some movement and transition, while in eternity there is no change, who does not see that there could have been no time had not some creature been made, which by some motion could give birth to change,—the various parts of which motion and change, as they cannot be simultaneous, succeed one another,—and thus, in these shorter or longer intervals of duration, time would begin? Since then, God, in whose eternity is no change at all, is the Creator and Ordainer of time, I do not see how He can be said to have created the world after spaces of time had elapsed, unless it be said that prior to the world there was some creature by whose movement time could pass. And if the sacred and infallible Scriptures say that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, in order that it may be understood that He had made nothing previously,—for if He had made anything before the rest, this thing would rather be said to have been made "in the beginning,"—then assuredly the world was made, not in time, but simultaneously with time. For that which is made in time is made both after and before some time,—after that which is past, before that which is future. But none could then be past, for there was no creature by whose movements its duration could be measured. But simultaneously with time the world was made...

(This particular translation from Catholic-culture.org, I think.)


edit on 3-1-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 3 2012 @ 06:35 AM
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reply to post by DISRAELI
 

. . . just mainstream theology.

I wasn't trying to deny that.
It is a Medieval invention, and wrong.
And you are wrong too if you believe it.

To recap for anyone who may just happen onto this and not know what we are talking about:
I was saying the idea of God creating the universe from nothing was not something anyone believed in until you had these innovative people such as Augustine having free reign, apparently, to invent a whole new theology for the church, during the Dark Ages (when other fun things like Hell and purgatory were also apparently invented).
Arius would be an exception which comes to mind (believing God existed outside time before the creation) but he was later on discredited, along with "Arianism" by the church.
edit on 3-1-2012 by jmdewey60 because: (no reason given)





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