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What happens when we die? Is there a resurrection? Is there a Heaven and a Hell?

Bible study that hits the spot
Bible study that hits the spot

One of the questions that everyone should ask themselves is “what happens to me when I die?” Well, I’m an evangelical Protestant Christian, and I think that view of the world is correct according to logic and evidence. Well, I found an article on this that provides the philosophical theology perspective, from Dr. William Lane Craig. You can’t do better than him.

He writes:

The first and most fundamental truth that we must hold on to is that the biblical hope of immortality is physical, bodily resurrection. I repeat: The biblical hope for immortality is physical, bodily resurrection. The biblical hope is not that the soul will someday be separated from the body and fly off to heaven and be forever with God in heaven in this disembodied existence. That’s actually a very Greek understanding of the afterlife, from the Greek philosophers like Plato, and it’s very different from the Jewish-Hebrew way of thinking of the afterlife. For Jews and for the early Christians alike, the hope of immortality was not the immortality of the soul alone but rather the resurrection of the body. This physical body will be raised from the dead and transformed to immortal life.

He cites 1 Cor 15:20 and Phil 3:20-21 as support.

And do we get our resurrection bodies right away?

Now that raises the next question: When do we receive our resurrection bodies? When do we get our resurrection body? Is it immediately upon death? When we die, do we immediately receive our resurrection body? Well, the answer to that is, no. That idea fails to take seriously the physical nature of the resurrection. The resurrection body is not some different body. It is this body transformed into a glorious, immortal, Spirit-filled, incorruptible form. So if we received our resurrection body immediately upon death, the graves of all the Christians would be empty! There would be no corpses left in the tombs because our resurrection bodies are the transformation of this earthly body. Therefore, the resurrection doesn’t take place immediately upon death. Rather the Scriptures are fairly clear that this takes place at the second coming of Christ, when Christ returns to earth.

He cites 1 Cor 15:21-23, 51-52 for support, as well as 1 Thes 4:13-17.

And what about the time in between death and the second coming of Christ? After all, in Luke 23:39-43, Jesus tells the dying thief who believes in him that he’ll be with Jesus in Paradise that very day:

39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 

41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Dr. Craig says:

[T]he Bible indicates is that the soul does survive the death of the body. Human death does not mean extinction. Human death is simply the separation of the soul from the body. While the body dies biologically and decays away, the soul continues to exist and continues to live in a disembodied state. In between your death and your resurrection you will exist as a disembodied soul, a soul without a body, in a conscious state.

And he cites Phil 1:21-24, where it talks about how life after death, but before the resurrection, is an improvement, because he will be with Christ, which is “far better”. Those who don’t accept Jesus as Lord and Savior will also have a life after death, but apart from Christ. And they’ll also have a resurrection, but not to eternal life with Christ:

In John 5 there’s a very interesting passage where Jesus speaks about the resurrection, and He says that there will be a resurrection, not only of the righteous dead, but even also of the unrighteous dead. John 5:28-29. Look at this saying by Jesus: “Do not marvel at this. For the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life and those who have done evil to the resurrection of condemnation.” Jesus envisions that all people will be raised from the dead. Those who are believers, the righteous dead, will be raised to the resurrection of life; but the unrighteous dead, those who have rejected God’s grace and His love, will be raised to the resurrection of condemnation.

Dr. Craig also talks about the story of Lazarus, where the rich man, who is not saved, is in Hades, which is the Greek word for the Hebrew word “Sheol”, which you may recognize from the Psalms.

Dr. Craig writes:

When people die, the righteous go to be with Christ, where they will await their resurrection from the dead. The damned go to Hades, where they are in a disembodied state where they await their resurrection to final judgment. Only then are people ushered in to their final state, which is heaven or hell.

I cannot wait until I get my resurrection body. I have a very good idea of what I’d like it to be, too. I think about the resurrection a lot, and really look forward to it. I had a difficult life in many ways. There are things that have not been resolved, like not being married, and being stuck as a virgin! And then there’s the troubles I sometimes have at work, when atheists who are younger and more dedicated than me make me feel inadequate. I was a hard worker in my 20s and 30s, but now in my 40s, I just feel like I would rather be doing things I really care about, and it’s sometimes hard to focus, especially when retirement is just around the corner – around age 50.

Sometimes, I find myself driving home in my beautiful city and state, and I just think, the most important things are not all this prosperity and freedom God blessed me with, but that vertical relationship with God. And I wish I was doing more to really show Jesus that he is Lord of my life. But my hope is that in the end, I will share in his vindication, being clothed in a righteousness that I did not earn myself.

Why are Christians allowed to eat shellfish but not allowed to have sex before marriage?

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery
I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

Here’s a wonderful article from Peter Saunders.

The challenge:

An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.

The Old Testament may forbid homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:2; 20:13) but it also forbids eating seafood without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9, 10).

So how can Christians then justify upholding laws on sexual morality whilst at the same time ignoring the food laws from the very same books of the Bible? Why may they eat shellfish but not be allowed to have sex outside marriage? Isn’t this inconsistent and hypocritical?

The solution is that God enters into “covenants” with his people, and the terms of those covenants change.

Especially dietary laws:

The answer to this question lies in an understanding of biblical covenants.

A covenant is a binding solemn agreement made between two parties. It generally leaves each with obligations. But it holds only between the parties involved.

There are a number of biblical covenants: Noahic, Abrahamic, Sinaitic (Old), Davidic and New.

Under the Noahic covenant, which God made with all living human beings (Genesis 9:8-17), people were able to eat anything:

‘Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything’ (Genesis 9:3).

But under the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant, which God made with the nation of Israel, people were able to eat certain foods, but not others.

Jesus clearly created a new covenant with his followers, where the dietary laws are lifted:

Jesus said that he had come to fulfil the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44). He would establish this new covenant with new laws, with himself as high priest based on his own sacrificial death on the cross.

This new covenant would completely deal with sin (Hebrews 10:1-18) and protect all those who put their faith in him from God’s wrath and judgement…

[…]‘In the same way, after the supper (Jesus) took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”’ (Luke 22:20). ‘…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10)

People would come under the protection of this new covenant, not by virtue of belonging to the nation of Israel, but through faith in Christ. In fact the function of the Old Testament Law (Sinaitic covenant) was to point to Christ as its fulfilment.

[…]So what then did Christ say about foods? He pronounced all foods clean for his followers to eat:

‘ “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them?  For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:18-23)

Jesus was making that point that under the new covenant God required purity of the heart. Internal thoughts and attitudes were as important as external actions.

Food is OK for Christians, but sexual immorality – which includes premarital sex and adultery – are NOT OK for Christians.

I think sometimes when you are talking to people whose motivation is just to get rid of any objective moral law entirely, they tend to ask questions without really wanting a good answer. This is especially true when it comes to the morality of sex. They ask the question not to get an answer, but to justify getting rid of the moral rules governing sexuality. The answers are there for people who are willing to respect God in their decision-making to find. The answers are not found only by people who have a reason to not want to find them.

In case you’re wondering, I am one of those Christian men who takes chastity seriously. Marriage is about having a close connection with your spouse. Sure, I could break the rules and have a lot of fun now. A lot of Christians have a hard time turning down fun. But when I look at Jesus, I don’t see a man who is pursuing fun and thrills. I see a man who sees a need and then sacrifices his own interests to rescue others from peril.

Does the “legacy of slavery” explain black women’s 72% out-of-wedlock birth rate?

James White asks: does the Bible apply to black women?
James White asks: does the Bible apply to black women?

I don’t like Calvinist theologian James White very much, but at least he’s willing to defend the moral teachings of the Bible against the woke identity politics that is taking over Christian churches. A few months ago he tweeted something very controversial (see above), and got into a lot of hot water with fake Christians. In this post, I’ll explain why he is right.

So, as you can see above, James is concerned that black women are having so many abortions, and he thinks that the solution to this is to encourage black women to take the Bible’s advice on sexual morality. Shocking, I know.

If you read the replies to his tweet on Twitter, you’ll see millions and millions of comments calling him a racist, and telling him that slavery is to blame for EVERYTHING that black women do wrong. Basically, the James haters say that black women can do anything they want, and should never be told that it’s wrong according to the Bible, because their bad choices are all the fault of slavery. So the Bible doesn’t even apply to them, or something.

Here is an example from a radical feminist progressive named Karen Swallow Prior:

Karen Swallow Prior says that black people have no moral agency
Karen Swallow Prior says that unlike whites, blacks have no moral agency

According to the fake Christians, it’s not that black women make poor choices with sex, it’s that the ghosts of white slavers who raped their great-great-great grandmothers reach through time with magic and force them to have sex with hunky bad boys who won’t commit to them before sex. It’s not rap music calling black women hoes! It’s the ghosts of slavery past. And even if this ghost theory isn’t true, we shouldn’t tell black women not to sin, because… it would hurt their feelings. After all, the Bible isn’t a book that’s designed to set boundaries to prevent self-destructive behaviors. It encourages us to listen to our hearts, be reckless, and sin as much as we can.

So when did black community problems with sex and abortion start? Did it start with slavery times? Actually, blacks were doing GREAT at marriage and sexual matters just 50 years ago.

This reply to James White explained:

Blacks married at rates comparable to whites before welfare
Blacks married at rates comparable to whites before welfare

That’s true. Black children weren’t fatherless, so they weren’t having early sex outside of marriage, and so they weren’t getting abortions.

As the header graphic shows, black women were just as likely to be married as white women in the 1960s,  FAR AFTER the days of slavery.

The reason that the graph is going upward is because daughters raised in fatherless homes tend to engage in sexual activity at younger ages, because they are seeking approval from a man which their (single) mother cannot give them. It’s a tragic downwards spiral, and it affects all races. The only way to stop it is to tell women to choose marriage-minded men (not hot bad boys) and marry before having sex, like the Bible says. But woke fake Christians think the Bible is too mean, and better to allow sin by saying that sin is inevitable because slavery ghosts or something.

What’s neat is that black men who take Christianity seriously are totally on board with the facts:

Black man here. Can confirm that the Bible applies to black women.
Black man here. Can confirm that the Bible applies to black women.

On this blog, I don’t talk about my ethnicity myself, for confidentiality reasons, but I have said that my skin is darker than Barack Obama. I’m not white or Asian. And the reason that I don’t fall into this trap of causing babies to be born out of wedlock is because I think that when the Bible says that sex outside of marriage is a sin, that this is true. I don’t make excuses or shift blame. It’s incumbent on me to obey, since I claim to be a follower of Jesus.I’m not interested in identity politics. I’m not interested in racial divisions. I’m not interested in blame-shifting. The rules are the rules. And my following of the rules caused me to not cause abortions, according to Christian specifications. Period.

When it comes to sex outside of marriage, the answer of every Bible believing Christian is simple: I’m against it. That is the correct answer, and anything more or less than this answer is demonic. If you are a Christian, sex outside of marriage is always morally wrong. And if you try to justify it, or blame someone else, in order to excuse it, then you’re not a Christian at all. If you try to make excuses for why someone did it, you’re not a Christian. Whether you have had it and been forgiven, or never had it, the answer is always the same: it’s morally wrong. Don’t do it. Never do it.

What I am seeing from people who are critical of James White’s tweet is that they are basically trying to attack those who make moral judgments based on what the Bible says. They want to make room for sinners to sin. The root of abortion sin is sexual sin. Real  Christians discourage sexual sin, and therefore protect unborn children. Fake Christians want to be liked by appearing compassionate, so they make excuses for sexual sin. If you take the Bible seriously on morality, you won’t be liked. Those who try to excuse sin do so because their need to be liked is more important than their need to promote what the Bible teaches.

Some fake Christians will say “oh, but I do think the Bible is right about sex and marriage, but we have to care about slavery reparations and global warming and refugees and illegal immigrants and trasnsgender rights, too”. Baloney. An authentic Christian is concerned about the things that the Bible teaches are “major” things. Drunkenness is a major thing. Sexual immorality is a major thing. Divorce is a major thing. Homosexuality is a major thing. If you meet a Christian who treats those issues as minor issues, and instead majors in what the secular left tells them are major issues, then you’re talking to a fake Christian.

Christianity isn’t a brain-dead faith. You get your priorities from the Bible, and you argue those priorities using facts. The facts about marriage rates are clear and they show that the problems in the black community aren’t caused by slavery. They’re caused by single mother welfare programs. Those welfare programs taught women of all races that they didn’t have to listen to their fathers when choosing men. Those welfare programs taught women that feelings were a better guide in relationships than the Bible. Those welfare programs taught women that their eyes were a better judge of character than performance of traditional marriage roles. Those welfare programs taught women that recreational sex was a way to get a man to commit and stop being a bad boy. We need to go back to the root cause of the problem. The root cause of the problem was making excuses for disobedience to the Bible, and transferring money from married homes to out-of-control women. Of all races.