Monday 31 August 2020

Can Christians be sure of salvation?

Christianity is other worldly, next worldly, in its nature.

But because Christians are resurrected into a Heaven of persons, this life is a necessary and potentially valuable prelude.

As a loose analogy: a doctor must first attend medical school. School is finite and much shorter than medical practice; but (If opportunities are grasped), that which is learned at school may have "permanent" and beneficial effects on the large future beyond.

Thus the benefits of medical school are best grasped when the student knows he is destined for a long professional practice.

Thus we are meant to be confident in our salavation, confident that we resurrect and go to Heaven after this life. Confidence is correct.

But we will go to Heaven only if we make the choice to follow Jesus, just as we will only become a doctor if we learn at medical school.

If we fall into bad habits at medical school, we will cease to want to become a doctor; and will drop out. Likewise, when our mortal life is wrong, we may choose to reject Heaven.

Otherwise, our own salvation is indeed assured.


Bruce B. said...

Isn't this Arminian soteriology?

Bruce Charlton said...

@BB. No.

Joel said...

Having listened to the William Arkle lecture that you linked earlier, the idea that would strike me is that at the next level after this life, God builds what he can on the foundation and identity that exists after a single or multiple runs through this life. Whatever he builds on the next level, however, has to be a true and perfect continuation of the foundation (medical school) here.

I would think that God could no doubt correct for mistaken beliefs and understandable misjudgements and even organic mental derangement as he creates the next level for us. But if we have internalized into our own identity something truly incompatible with his plan, his only option would be to build us into something more compatible with our identity, and go with the "second-best" plan. Perhaps the next level would not be our "final destination", but it no doubt looks infinite from our limited perspective here.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Joel. I believe that Jesus intends that those who choose to follow him will be resurrected into Heaven after death; and he made this possible - even for grossly imperfect sinners. By choosing to follow him, we make a permanent commitment to Heaven and to leave behind all our sins (ie repent them).

Our job in mortal life is to learn fromit, and thereby develop that which is resurrected. If we have lived well, that which is ressurected is more developed, greater, more Grown Up (in Arkles terms).

And that is the the basis for our eternal life.

In other words, I don't believe that Christians are, as a rule, reincarnated - although clearly it could happen if needed - resurrection could be delayed... But that would, I think, be very unusual since the time of Jesus; although it was probably usual before then.

...since reincarnation seems to be the innate belief of most pre-Christian societies, and remains so... However, the nature of reincarnation is extremely varied and this may reflect the nature of souls born in other times and places.

In general God grants us what we most want, or a simulacrum of it - and the versions of reincarnation could be human communications of these different desires.

But genuinely to want reincarnation after this mortal life is Not to want ressurection and Heaven; or at least Not Yet.

S.K. Orr said...

I enjoyed this, and was inspired to write a bit about it.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SK. Thank. Such things are important to consider, I believe. And perhaps now especially.