Saturday 26 February 2022

We are assumed to want what Jesus offers

It is a universal problem for mortal incarnate Men here on earth that we are subject to disease, decay and death. Jesus offers an answer to this problem - resurrection to life eternal in Heaven. 

This - in turn - puts this mortal life into a new and different perspective... 

Instead of being 'the whole thing', full of difficulties, and with a bad ending; this mortal life becomes a period of learning and preparation for a better thing.  

This was not supposed to be controversial! 

It was assumed that people would already want eternal resurrected life in Heaven. 

Christianity was just about telling people how to get them. 

In other words; Jesus assumed that everybody already-wanted what he had to offer them - his job was 'merely' to tell people how to get it.

(That is, by following him. By loving, trusting, having faith in him as sheep do the Good Shepherd. So Jesus could lead each Man through death to resurrection.) 

For the offer to be convincing, for people could know that Jesus really could deliver what he offered; Jesus also needed to argue and demonstrate that he was divine.    

This was not supposed to need to be argued! 

Once you find yourself in the position of trying to persuade people that resurrection is desirable, to justify why eternal life is better than death, Heaven better then Hell... well, the situation has become absurd! 

People should only need persuading that Jesus really could provide what he offered - not that what he offered was indeed Good... 

Anyone who doesn't already want life and Heaven is clearly not going to be interested in how to get them!  

Note: Sin can be understood in this light. Despair is a sin because such a person does not want resurrection, or does not believe it is possible. Pride is a sin because it falsely believes that resurrection can be achieved without following Jesus. Existential fear is a sin because it is a consequence of lack of faith in the power of Jesus to save us from death - which means he will not be followed. Etc. 


Lucinda said...

This goes along with your post the other day about freedom needing to be about doing Good, rather than anti-evil. Anti-anti-Good is not something that can be desired, or even really understood.

I think that the primary Good that forms the basis for desiring Heaven is happy family relationships, which is the reason for the attack on healthy sexuality. Even the birdemic seems to have primarily been about ruining families, pitting feminine purity/safety social cooperation against masculine ... not sure what goes here ... independence?

At church, I've seen many husband/wife interactions where it is clear the wife is 'insisting' the husband follow birdemic rules.

whitney said...

I have noticed this also that people will reject the eternal life offered by Jesus as something undesirable while at the same time and they're utterly consumed with their health, all news that extols extending human life and the chance to merge with machines so that they can live eternally. It's very strange.

ben said...

I wonder if bad souls are incarnating now because they want the autonomy and sensory intensity of being bodies but preferred to come now with the world as evil as it is now. Maybe it's also necessary to incarnate here before moving on to hell and they seek hell.

Maybe God doesn't have that much control over the system of incarnation; the reason would be having to do with consent. Another layer of consent. There are instances of populations (in collaboration with demons) seeming to have bred themselves more evil. Evil people can reproduce and draw other evil souls into incarnation (with their consent). Examples are the other major monotheism, and North/West Europe over the last 300 years. There are other examples.

jorgen said...

"This was not supposed to need to be argued!"

Because the message was made by Jews for Jews. Jews didn't believe in a soil like the Greek so had no notion of an immortal soul as in Plato. As a carnal minded race they identified purely eith the body and their "nephesh" was only a life force not the personality. So to Jews the only possible afterlife was zombification, i.e. resurrection of the fetid corpse. But to Greek that was not needed as the immortal soul can carry on without the body. Paul ends up against a rock and a hard place on this when some converts reject resurrection and he tries to argue that eithout it Christianity is meaningless but he eventually realizes the resurrection rejectors are not rejecting afterlife but only bodily afterlife so he spiritualizes the term resurrction to meet them half way. I.e. "it is soen a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." So Paul's resurrection, to try to please the Greek mind yet retain the Jeeish term resurection, has the body turning into a spirit.

Bruce Charlton said...

@jorgen - Some interesting ideas - but my understanding is that 'Greeks' believed in a Hades very similar to Sheol. Platonists were, I think, always a small minority; probably a closed society of initiates - which later developed/ merged into some of the 'gnostic' groupings.

Lady Mermaid said...

This harkens to your recent post about why repenting in hell is so difficult. Jesus asked His Father to forgive the soldiers who crucified Him for "they know not what they do". Many of us have a distorted version of what Jesus offers. I believe our physical bodies limit how much of God we can process. This allows us the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. In contrast, spirits w/ full knowledge of God cannot repent b/c there is nothing more for them to learn. 1 Cor. 13 states that we "see as a reflection in a mirror, then we shall see face to face". I believe that our death is the opportunity to fully comprehend what Jesus is offering and to make a final decision to accept or reject this offer. Despite my evangelical background, I pray for the dead hoping that prayers can influence this decision in favor of Christ.

Whitney's interesting point that many people are afraid to die despite rejecting Jesus's offer demonstrates that modern man does want eternal life, but on his own terms rather than God's. He wants to live forever, but he does not want to surrender his sins. Queen Jadis from the Narnia books is an example of how eternal life in a state of unrepented sin can be a nightmare.

Bruce Charlton said...

@LM - "I pray for the dead hoping that prayers can influence this decision in favor of Christ."

I believe that those who follow Jesus to heaven are a link for those who they love.

For example, someone who dies who loves someone that is already resurrected in Heaven will be able know of this, and know that Heaven is real and what it is like; and that the one who has gone ahead wants him or her to join with them in Heaven.

And in other ways - at the time of decision for or against Heaven, love between persons enables positive 'influence' (or knowledge) to encourage the undecided towards Heaven.