Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

Searching Sabbath 26: Death and Resurrection


There just two more to go in this series on Adventist beliefs and while I’ve enjoyed doing it I’m glad in a way that they’re coming to an end, because I haven’t really had time to do any blogging except the Wednesday and Sabbath videos, and I’d like to get back to more actual writing here on the blog, much as I like doing the videos.

This week we’re on a topic about which I am a very traditional Adventist. I am heartily in agreement with the Biblical nature of our teaching about death and the afterlife — I don’t believe the idea of an immortal soul is Biblical, which does away with the (evil, in my opinion) doctrine of an eternally burning hell. I wrote a column for Adventist Today  a couple of years thing that talked about the odd gaps that occurrences that sometimes make me question this belief — the people who genuinely believe, for example, that they have received a sense that a dead loved one is present with them. Yet in the end I always come down firmly on the side of one of the first “proof texts” I ever learned — “The living know that they shall die, but the dead know now anything” (Ecclesiastes 9:5).

Everything else I have to say on this topic is in the video; everything you have to say can be put in the comments.



2 thoughts on “Searching Sabbath 26: Death and Resurrection

  1. This one isn’t as clear cut as it seems. The “proof texts” predominantly come from the Old Testament where there is no belief in an afterlife. At the time of Christ, the Sadducees didn’t believe in an afterlife and the Pharisees believed in an eternally burning hell. What is interesting is that Christ didn’t bother to contradict either view, other than to say there is no marriage in heaven. This was a dismissal of the intellectual trap the Sadducees were setting rather than an exposition on their error.

    It is this apparent ambivalence on the part of Christ to an issue that is so pivotal to SDA belief that started me on my journey to the view that having “correct doctrine” is not at all important. In fact when it comes right down to it, Christ’s only doctrine was “love one another as I have loved you.” We do find that the doctrine of an eternal hell is “evil” as you put it. Yet, Christ did nothing to discourage this view. In fact it could be argued that he gave it tacit approval by using it in a parable. (I choose not to believe in hell) Christ’s use of the “beggar in hell” parable is problematic to say the least. If this doctrine is indeed evil, why use this imagery? His one recorded sermon is about behavior – God’s to us and ours to each other and not doctrine, yet “truth,” aka correct doctrine, is our holy grail.

    • As I have written quite (I think … LOL) persuasively in another place, Jesus’ use of hell in the rich man and Lazarus parable conclusively proves that he believed a good story was more important than correct doctrine! But he was quite consistent, I think, in referring to death as a sleep.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s