So, to begin . . .
(Very well, I guess I began my response by a short greeting to Dennis and Mark, followed by this text—broken into short segments for you:)
3rd issue in series (find the other parts here.)
Post-Death Consciousness (Leg 1)
. . . I found some of your arguments more persuasive than others. I don’t know how I will proceed here, but probably more with scriptural references NOT utilized than with refutation of those you cite. However, I do hope to refute a few of the proofs you offer. Perhaps I will use NIV as a default, except where noted.
In the first place, this is not my area of theology, though it interests me some, and I do have an opinion on the matter, which is unabashedly pro- I have entered into Eternal Life, and as such, death cannot separate me from the love of God. Happy consciousness, and some level of glory, will be mine upon death. Notwithstanding, I agree that God will give me a super-glorified body at the same time every other believer gets his/hers, as Heb 11:40 clearly states.
As I read, I did find myself curious as to why you believe so strongly in a post-death negation of consciousness, or more particularly why you feel the topic merits the energetic attention you give it. In fact one statement puzzled me more along this theme than any other, causing me to want to ask, “Is this a salvation level issue with you?” Probably your answer is no, but, as I say, I read a statement within that made me wonder. Perhaps I will locate that passage again before I finish.
At any rate, I assume we are all approaching our theological “variance” as a pleasant topic to look into, not as a matter apt to put us at odds with each other. I hope that is the case, but find some people whose theology I would love to discuss critically feel threatened by what I had supposed could be a fun, non-contentious “debate.”
I will begin by saying that whatever else may be up for consideration as a parable in the Scriptures we both consider inspired, I consider ironic passages in Ezekiel 31 and 32 as factual, except perhaps for small particulars, such as the given recipients of the tidings. I do not have a strong opinion on whether the message reached (or was intended to reach) that nation or person to whom it was ostensibly addressed (in a timely manner). I will put the text below for Eze. 32: 17 through the end of the chapter (reformatted and in blue) for ease of perusal.
In the twelfth year, on the fifteenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, wail for the hordes of Egypt and consign to the earth below both her and the daughters of mighty nations, along with those who go down to the pit. Say to them, ‘Are you more favored than others? Go down and be laid among the uncircumcised.’ They will fall among those killed by the sword. The sword is drawn; let her be dragged off with all her hordes. From within the realm of the dead the mighty leaders will say of Egypt and her allies, ‘They have come down and they lie with the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.’
“Assyria is there with her whole army; she is surrounded by the graves of all her slain, all who have fallen by the sword. Their graves are in the depths of the pit and her army lies around her grave. All who had spread terror in the land of the living are slain, fallen by the sword.
“Elam is there, with all her hordes around her grave. All of them are slain, fallen by the sword. All who had spread terror in the land of the living went down uncircumcised to the earth below. They bear their shame with those who go down to the pit. A bed is made for her among the slain, with all her hordes around her grave. All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword. Because their terror had spread in the land of the living, they bear their shame with those who go down to the pit; they are laid among the slain.
“Meshek and Tubal are there, with all their hordes around their graves. All of them are uncircumcised, killed by the sword because they spread their terror in the land of the living. But they do not lie with the fallen warriors of old, who went down to the realm of the dead with their weapons of war—their swords placed under their heads and their shields resting on their bones—though these warriors also had terrorized the land of the living.
“You too, Pharaoh, will be broken and will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.
“ Edom is there, her kings and all her princes; despite their power, they are laid with those killed by the sword. They lie with the uncircumcised, with those who go down to the pit.
“ All the princes of the north and all the Sidonians are there; they went down with the slain in disgrace despite the terror caused by their power. They lie uncircumcised with those killed by the sword and bear their shame with those who go down to the pit.
“Pharaoh—he and all his army—will see them and he will be consoled for all his hordes that were killed by the sword, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Although I had him spread terror in the land of the living, Pharaoh and all his hordes will be laid among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword, declares the Sovereign LORD (Ezekiel 32: 17-32).”
[So as not to overtax my—er, that is, Dr. Agonson’s—readers I snipped my response into sample sized segments, which had to break somewhere. (This one may be shorter than average.) If the one red word within the above blue text seems out of place, in the next installment, I ever-so-slightly suggest, that it may be. Hope to see you next week for the micro explanation, and even more good fun.]
–Martin D. Carlson
Found it at last: It was not a statement, per se, but three intense sentences. I confess myself startled a second time by how much passion Mark assigns this topic. Since I responded to Mark before I re-found the passage, I will give him a chance to respond to me on the topic. If he allows, I may place this portion in a future post.
Mark (against whose monograph position I am arguing) insists the story Jesus told of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) is a parable. Most readers assume it is, yet the Bible doesn’t label it as such. It falls among parables and seems to take the basic form of a parable. In all likelihood it’s a parable, yet I take more of a let’s wait and see attitude on this one.