And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
The annihilation of the wicked was not a popular thought in the sixteenth century. Therefore, when Calvin discusses the resurrection of unbelievers, it is not so much the fact of their resurrection that is in view, but the implications of it. If unbelievers, too, are resurrected to "life," does this imply that Christ came "to give life to all mankind without distinction" (3.25.9). Is universalism true after all as Origen's doctrine of apokatastasis had affirmed (and labeled a heresy by the Synod of Constantinople in AD 543)?
It is important for Calvin to stress that the form of bodily resurrection does not break with the present creation; rather, it will be creations completion. In the resurrection God proves himself as the Giver of Life (3.25.4). The notion that the resurrected soul will not receive the same body but something "new" and "different" is, for Calvin, "monstrous." Strong language for sure, and Lelio Sozzini (Socinus, as we know him in a Latinized version) is in Calvin's sights who had advocated the view.
My car was in the shop this week to fix an evolving A/C apocalypse. When the work was finished, a kind mechanic from the place picked me up to take me to my car. On the way, we talked about the things of God, and he asked me how could God send a good Jewish Rabbi to Hell? After all, he said, the Rabbi is only doing what he was brought up to do; he is doing his best to live up to the light he received.
This is a common objection to the Christian message. It deserves a compelling answer. What would you say? You might try something like this:
We live in a day of comfort. Every new product boasts a greater measure of ease than that which preceded it. Our public discourse insists that the highest form of virtue is that we do not make others feel uncomfortable about their beliefs or lifestyles. Then we read the Bible and, in many places, we find it to be extremely uncomfortable. Of course, we all have our "go-to" encouragement passages; and, it's right that love them. These are the cherished Gospel promises and comforts.
You can read the text of his prayer below:
I feel like I woke up in a burning building late last week. If the United States is not on the brink of political revolution, it is certainly already in the thick of an ideological one. And one of the primary drivers behind this situation is what we now know as critical theory.
How has this affected our nation and churches?
Studying our little newborn has caused us not only to say, “Aww!” but “Wow!” It is amazing that our son arrived all ready to go. He had perfect little fingers that had begun to grasp his umbilical cord even before birth, practicing to take hold of our own fingers as we caress his cheeks; ears that had heard our voices even in utero; and deep blue eyes that first saw some semblance of light while still in the womb, now looking right back into our souls—and clearly thinking something!
A Workman Not Ashamed: Essays in Honor of Albert N. Martin. Edited by David Charles and Rob Ventura. Conway, AR: Free Grace Press, 2021.
Samuel M. Zwemer and the Glory of Christ
“The deity of Christ makes all the difference in our Christmas joy. He who came to the manger was God’s Son. To deny this is to deny essential Christianity. If the Savior of men is not identical with their Creator, there are no good tidings of great joy for the human race and no help in the cross for the sinner.”
Ann Griffiths and Her Sea of Wonders
“O to spend my life in a sea of wonders!” Ann wrote in one of her poems. And her life, spent in a Welsh farm in the small village of Dolwar-Fach, was lived in the constant and exciting discovery of God’s revelation.
A Short and Intense Life