« PreviousContinue »
It was a very natural result of this extreme perversity attributed to Satan that he was soon conceived of as turned out of heaven altogether. That this was a very general belief about the time of the establishment of Christianity, perhaps no well-informed person questions. The testimony of the Rabbins and of the Fathers is manifold and explicit as to their belief it it. And where an idea prevails almost universally among both Jews and Christians, while mutual animosities cut off all intercommunication, it is very safe to infer that the idea is older than Christianity. Also where the statements of the Rabbins and the Fathers are full and clear, and where passages of Scripture bear plainly on the face of them the appearance of relating to the same subjects and asserting the same things, there arises a strong presumption that the import of the two classes of authorities is the same. Hence the present writer cannot escape the conviction that all those passages which speak of war in heaven, and especially of a contest between Michael and the Devil; of the Devil's being cast out and falling from heaven, do relate to that well-known idea, as familiar to the ancients as to us,-of the expulsion of Satan for bad conduct. He even thinks that Isaiah xiv. 12 refers to him who was "Archangel once, but ruined now," and that the words of Christ, (Luke x. 18,) “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven," are a commentary and confirmation of that disputed passage.
Finally, we think from all the information we have that the doctrine of the Devil is indigenous among the Jews, as much as any part of their religion. There is indeed a resemblance to the symbolism of many peoples, in particular to the Egyptian Aphophis, or Typhon, the great serpent, the representative of Sin and Evil, also to the Babylonian Hea, the serpent, the lord of the great deep, and of understanding, as well as to Ahriman. But the Satan of the Jews is as distinct from each of these as they are from each other, and may fairly be considered an independent idea of native growth.
Difficulties Surrounding the Doctrine of the Resurrection.
THE QUARTERLY for April last has an article upon "The Resurrection." Its first words are, "The doctrine of the Resurrection is surrounded with many and great difficulties." The present article has grown out of a thought which sprang up in our mind on reading those words,-the thought that most of the "difficulties" attending the Bible doctrine of the resurrection are its mere surroundings, and are not at all inherent in the subject.
Scarcely any one approaches the subject of the resurrection without bringing to it the doctrine of the "immortality of the soul." All such might do well to consider that the Holy Book says nothing of any such doctrine, no scripture writer ever affirming or denying that the soul or spirit of man is, or is to be, either mortal or immortal. We do not overlook the Bible declaration, that the soul that sins shall die; but every intelligent person is aware that, in that passage, the word "soul" signifies person, and is not used in the sense it bears when we speak of the soul's immortality; also, that death therein denounced is the wages of sin, and has no special reference to dying in the ordinary sense. Nor are we insensible to the fact, that, from our preconceptions, the doctrine of the soul's immortality rather seems to be implied in several scripture texts. What we now affirm is, that that doctrine is not taught in the Scriptures in di
Man's mortal part is clearly his earthly body, scripturally denominated "a natural (or animal) body;" and what could be more philosophical than for immortality to be affirmed of the heavenly, or spiritual body? "There is a natural body," says Paul, and," he adds, "there is a spiritual body." The former he elsewhere speaks of as "our earthly house of this tabernacle," which is to say a temporary earthly residence for the spirit; the latter he characterizes as a permanent heavenly habitation, denominating it "a house not made with hands, eternal in the
11 Cor. xv. 44.
heavens." The earthly and the heavenly, the natural and the spiritual, the temporary and the permanent-what are these, if not the mortal body on the one hand, and the immortal body on the other?
When the Saviour affirms concerning the raised, "Neither can they die any more," his language implies that these had died, even as those concerning whom the Sadducees' question was put, were expressly said to have died. But the death they had experienced was unquestionably that of the body; hence the Saviour's affirmation clearly is, that the subjects of the resurrection can no more die a bodily death. And since we are to have bodies in the resurrection state as truly as we have bodies here, what less does the Saviour teach then that the resurrection organism is truly immortal?
The doctrine of the soul's immortality was unquestionably held by heathen philosophers long before the advent of the Saviour; and it is certain from Josephus, that the Pharisaic Jews held the doctrine in his time, if not earlier ;3 but it does not hence follow, by any means, that the immortality of the soul is a fundamental doctrine of genuine Christianity. And the assumption that it is, might rather naturally be expected to involve the whole subject of the resurrection in "difficulties " neither few nor slight. Let our meaning not be misapprehended. The question we have been having in hand is-not whether the soul is immortal, but-whether the soul's immortality is truly a scripture doctrine, and thus necessarily and intimately connected with the scripture doctrine of the resurrection.
Many, in considering this subject, encounter "difficulties" from not keeping in mind the natural distinction between existence and life-between existence and a mode of existence. Existence is properly simple being; life, on the other hand, is a mode or manner of existence or being. The present life of man and his future life are by no means the same, nor does it seem likely that they are very similar; but our existence, in this life and in that, must be all of a piece. Our present life is our existence in these gross bodies; the future life of man is an existence in bodies far more refined that these, and probably differing from these in very
2 2 Cor. v. 1. 3 Antiquities of the Jews, book XVIII., chap. i. sec. 3; Jewish War, b. II., chap. viii. sec. 14.
many respects. Hence, though our mode of existence is destined to interruption,-though it must change from corruptible to incorruptible, from mortal to immortal, from animal to spiritual, and so of the rest,-our existence itself must be changeless and uninterrupted-the thread of our being be constantly unbroken and unattenuated. From failing to keep the above distinction in mind, death, which is but the cessation of a mode of existence, has been spoken of as though it were a cessation (temporarily) of existence itself; and the new life, or future mode of existence, has had language applied to it naturally conveying the idea that such life is actually a new existence. It is perhaps possible that vagueness of language like this may not proceed from vagueness of ideas in the mind of the writer; but admitting such a state of ideas to be present in the mind of a reader, the perusal of such language would seem illy calculated to remedy the evil.
The christian world in general regard the resurrection as specifically the re-uniting of soul and body. Starting from this point, the resurrection of the earthly body is of course held; and "difficulties" seemingly insurmountable have been encountered in the attempt to explain how it can be possible for each individual to have the same body in the future life as in this. Universalists in general have quite outgrown this absurd dogma; yet it may not be altogether useless to observe that though the Latin from which the English word resurrection comes may perhaps import a renewal of life, and so may favor the popular idea as to what the resurrection is,-yet anastasis, the Greek term translated "resurrection," is quite as applicable to the reasonable doctrine of a new life as it is to the unreasonable one of a renewal of a former life.
Some appear to suppose that the rising, raising, or resurrection of the dead, as taught in the New Testament, is specifically an upward movement, like that of a balloon in a quiet atmosphere-in other words, that such rising is a going up to a more elevated locality. Accordingly, with such, the most that is deemed necessary in order scripturally to establish a certain point relating to the resurrection, is to refer to the remark of Peter, that "David is not as
cended into the heavens,' as if that were indisputably equivalent to saying, "David has not been raised." But the expressions ascend, ascended, caught up, &c., in the English version of the New Testament, are by no means from the same in the original as are the words rise and raise; nor have the two classes of expressions any very great similarity of import. It is easy to see that the resurrection of Christ and the ascension of Christ are very dif ferent things; and a similar difference exists between rising and ascending in general.
The Greek words rendered "rise" and "raise" are indeed verbs of motion-the one primarily so, the other so by usage; but the specific movement expressed or implied isnot an elevation of the entire person, but-a getting up, or being assisted up, from a reclining posture to an erect position; as when Luke tells us that Saul of Tarsus "fell to the earth" on beholding the glorified Saviour, and that the Saviour said to him, "Arise, and go into the city;" or, as when he tells us that Cornelius prostrated himself before Peter, and that "Peter took him up, [literally raised him,'] saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. primary ideas expressed by what we call rising and being raised, (when the dead are in mention,) are thus getting up on to one's feet and standing and erect, being helped up on to one's feet and caused to stand erect. A dead body being incapable of standing, dead persons were, in the early times, conceived of as lying prostrate, and were spoken of as having fallen into that position from being unable to stand, or else as having lain down, and so taken that position voluntarily. A reclining posture being thus used to symbolize a state of death, it was entirely natural that living after death and being caused to live after death, should be represented as getting up and standing erect and being helped up and caused thus to stand-in brief, as rising and being raised.
Some argue as if they supposed that the resurrection of the dead and the resurrection from the dead are convertible expressions in the Scriptures, only that in their view the latter is somewhat the stronger of the two, being equivalent (so they seem to suppose) to saying "the resurrection from death." Accordingly, the position which the common ver
4 Acts ii. 34. 5 Acts ix. 4-6; xxii. 7-10; xxvi. 14-16; x. 25, 26.