For some unknown reason Sam Frost wrote,
Aside from Paul’s “bravo” (which I accept), he does still have a problem with me being a Clarkian in the first place. How can we be Presuppositionalists on one hand, and heretics on another? Easy.
Clark’s system was deductive. It is linear.
We believe that Futurism is illogically derived and contains contradictions, and therefore, cannot be what the Bible teaches (it is what the Church teaches, but that doesn’t mean the same thing). Yes, yes, we know that this means that brilliant men have not seen the full ramifications of their otherwise brilliant analysis throughout church history, but this is where the idea of “organic development” comes into play. I don’t expect the church to have all its doctrinal ducks in a row immediately. http://thereignofchrist.com/criticism-on-machens-view-of-image-of-god/
Why would Sam think I would have a problem with him being a “Clarkian”? Frankly, I think it is great that he aligns himself with a conservative reformed evangelical Christian. The problem, as I see it is he isn’t a consistent “Clarkian”. I wouldn’t necessarily describe myself as a “Van Tilian” although I do think Dr. Van Til and Dr. Bahnsen (whom I quoted in my acknowledgement of Sam’s fine actions taking those to task who don’t recognize the self-authenticating Scriptures as the only authority), were great men of the faith. However, even if I did, describe myself as a Van Tilian” at least in contrast to Sam’s less than logical claim, I wouldn’t contradict those who I uphold as of sound mind and logic. The question is, how can Sam seriously suggest the brilliant Clark, an expert on Greek philosophy didn’t think through the Biblical definition of the meaning of the resurrection of the dead? Sam, I would suggest if you employed Dr. Clark’s paradigm consistently you would have to acknowledge passages like, Philippians 3:21 really mean what they state.
“Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
Sam we’ve noted in the past that you seem to be blurring the dividing issues between the different commentators you’ve reviewed regarding 1 Corinthians 15. Frankly, this seems to be the sense you are getting at here in your reply to James Metzger.
James,I dealt with those commentaries in my book Exegetical Essays. I would be interested in hearing your take on them. They do disagree, you know, and fumble (Thiselton, admittedly) around the text. They are committed to the orthodox framework, and would not ever entertain any notion whatsoever of a first generation fulfillment. However, there is enough, when they are all read together, to see “red flags” in their views.One of the things they (with Witherington, who admittedly changed his mind) have a problem with is the scope of what was being denied. Was Jesus’ resurrection being denied? I could go on, but as one who has thoroughly engaged with virtually every major commentary on I Cor. 15, I am all ears. I consider Max King’s treatment of I Cor. 15 better and far more thorough than anything I have read from these genetlemen you point out.I realize that you are committed to the “consensus” view of I Cor. 15, but this view is committed in turn to the Nicene view as its bounderies. It has no imagination to venture outside those walls. And, this, in my scholarly opinion, is their problem (and it shows in their writing). http://thereignofchrist.com/major-split/
Sam, you may want to go back and reread pages 1176 and 1177 of Dr. Thiselton’s commentary for there you will find, “Most commentators believe that few if any denied the resurrection of Christ…”, (NIGTC, The First Epistle to the Corinthians, Anthony C. Thiselton. Eerdmann’s, pg 1176) Dr. Thiselton goes on to state, “There is also virtually universal agreement about the distinct stages of the argument. The section of the resurrection of Christ (15:11-11)…The first refutation (15:12-19) begins to explain the dire consequences of denying the resurrection: If the resurrection of the dead is in principle impossible, how could Christ have been raised (15:12-14, 16?)….The third main block within this chapter concerns the logical possibility or conceivability of the resurrection of the dead (15:35-58), (Ibid, pg 1177, 1178)
Dr. Thiselton’s comments would seem to make your assessment problematic. “Universal agreement” would seem to be a bit more forceful than your term a “consensus” view. Perhaps your survey of the commentaries wasn’t as thorough as you surmise or allow me to suggest was conducted with a jaded eye. However, we have noted in the past that you’ve written,
Jerel Kratt, above, gets the point. Bultmann saw a complete fumbling on the part of Paul here. Well, we would agree with Bultmann IF Paul is seen as supporting the credo-traditionalist interpretation here. It runs into problems. In our view (and this is not a proof), these problems disappear. In other words, full preterist exegesis is an attempt to solve the difficulties.
The above statement coupled with this assessment of yours,
Now, of course, we have a long way to go. Many see the fallacy of appeal to history, and go straight to the real issues in the Bible, namely, the resurrection of the dead. The Church History argument is an easy hurdle for some, but the biblical issue, tied to proper exegesis, is the real deal. The Bible can be made to appear as if it teaches a resurrection of dead bodies. I stress, “can be made to appear”. I don’t believe it does teach this. I don’t think a deeper reading of it teaches this at all, but, in fact, as history DOES demonstrate, and as any academic scholar I have read would readily admit, the idea of dead bodies being reunited with souls runs into numerous problematic issues within OT and NT interpretation. That is, it is an easy subject to read on the surface, as I did growing up, that “obviously” and “clearly” I Corinthians 15 teaches the resurrection of individual, physical bodies that died at sea, in the tomb, or on land. The problem is, when you start reading Schweitzer, Bultmann, Cullman, Dodd, and many, many others, and, when you start learning to translate Greek, reading the technical commentaries, the “details” used to support such an “obvious” doctrine become not-so-clear anymore. There are noted problems with this view when it comes to interpreting the NT text on a deeper level.
Here is what the Evangelical Theological Dictionary, 2nd Edition edited by Walter E. Ewell claims of each of those with “deeper” understanding;
Schweitzer – believed he had found the real historical Jesus …Schwitzer said Jesus preached the message of the coming kingdom of God as understood in thoroughgoing contemporary Jewish apocalyptic thinking (dubbed “Consistent Eschatology” by theologians) and mistakenly tried to provoke the intervention of God and bring about the end of history by challenging the powers of his own day. He was crushed by the wheel of history, and the eschatology by which he had lived was destroyed. (pg 1070)
Dodd – In his commentary on Romans (1932) and elsewhere argued that the biblical concept of the wrath of God should be understood as an impersonal process of retribution in human history rather than as the divine reaction to the sin of humankind. Along similar lines he rejected the idea of propitiation as essentially unbiblical. (pg 349)
Bultmann – For Bultmann NT ideas such as the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the future resurrectin of the body, blood atonement for sins, everlasting life, an ethical ideal of human nature, and a salvation history only serve to mislead people about what salvation really is. These are primitive, “mythological” ideas that need to be reinterpreted in existentialist terms. (pg 194)
Therefore if your point to Mr. Metzger regarding the “Nicene” framework is meant to distinguish orthodoxy from neo-orthodoxy pointing out orthodoxy won’t venture outside the walls as defined by scriptural proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord, God, Almighty, then you would be accurate. However, if your point is regarding a preconceived notion that all prophecy as it relates to God’s redemptive plan had to be fulfilled by AD70 and thus the text of 1 Corinthians 15 needs to be reinterpreted along those lines then you are sorely mistaken and misleading your readers. The guys who support your position in this area all deny the supernatural transcendent God of Scripture. They are intentionally reading into 1 Corinthians 15 a view that denies the supernatural. The issue isn’t about AD70, the issue is about the fundamental who and what of God.
Getting back to your mentor Dr. Clark, the thing you appear to be missing is that the good Dr. Clark fundamentally believed in the transcendent God as revealed in Scripture, something the 3 scholars who appear to be influencing your thinking today deny. Therefore when you claim Dr. Clark is illogical in his view that God will indeed one day raise the dead inclusive of their body as taught in Scripture you are not being intellectually honest. As you correctly noted, Clark defined man as, “man himself is not the combination-but is precisely the soul, mind, or spirit-one” However, what your theology based on Bultmann caused you to overlook was Dr. Clark’s acknowledgement that while “The body is not the person;” nevertheless the body “is a place in which the soul dwells.” Which is why Dr. Clark also claims, “The home eternal in the heavens is not the soul” but no doubt based on 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4, is why Dr. Clark wrote, “the present body”, as Augustine said, will be “changed” as “an instrument that the soul uses.” This view of Dr. Clark’s regarding man as well as God’s plan of redemption for man as derived from Scripture, (not reasoned into Scripture) fundamentally contradicts your claim,
The key word here is “new”. as I wrote in that post, soul is “substance” and would have “personal identity” and “form” (I should say, has personal identity and form)”
For if the “soul” had “form” as you claim it would not need a dwelling place as Dr. Clark notes that indeed it does. No doubt this is why Dr. Machen points out,
We Christians expect, do we not, the resurrection of the body; we look for a life of man, in the body, that shall have no end. (The Christian View of Man, J. Gresham Machen, Banner of Truth Trust, pg 157)
Now, I don’t agree with Dr. Clark, I believe Dr. Bavinck is correct when he points out that man’s body is a part of the image of God in “its organization as instrument of the soul, not in its material substance as flesh.” (Reformed Dogmatics, Herman Bavinck, Erdmans, pg 559) For the soul/spirit as Bavinck states, “is psychically organized and must, by virtue of its nature, inhabit a body.” This, it seems to me is acknowledged by Dr. Clark who, as previously noted, acknowledges the body is where the soul “dwells”. So while both good Doctors may differ on what comprises the “image” of God, they both recognize the ‘soul/spirit’ requires a corporeal body, which as Scripture reveals is redeemed from the grave.
Sam, just so you don’t go down a rabbit path let me draw a distinction. I’m not stating that man’s existence ends with the body’s demise. The soul’s continued existence after the body expires is unquestionable, however as previously pointed out (here), the body while dead is still in Christ and thus will be redeemed from the grave. Nevertheless, this is a different argument which will be the subject of a future paper. What I’m pointing out to you here is that while Dr. Clark may have differed with Dr. Bavinck over what constitutes the “image” of God, they both recognized by logical necessity the body of man will be redeemed from the grave. Don’t you understand this?
Sam, I think it is great you are a “Clarkian”. However, what I think you need to resolve is why you are not a consistent “Clarkian”. Why did Dr. Clark understand the self-authenticating Scriptures clearly proclaim this self-same body will be raised from the dead? Did he just throw his logic to the wind when it came to 1 Corinthians 15? The good doctor understood Plato and Aristotle. If their understanding that the body was not an integral part of the whole man was accurate, don’t you think Dr. Clark would have understood it the way you do?
The fact is you need to leave Dr, Clark’s camp and introduce Bultmann to find anyone close to your view. It is self-evident Dr. Clark clearly understood nowhere is it taught in Scripture that “His” body is “our” body. What’s your problem? Can you honestly look yourself in the mirror and claim you are following the “Clarkian” system and “interpret” 1 Corinthians 15 as you do? I believe were Dr. Clark alive today, and engaged in a conversation with you regarding 1 Corinthians 15, he would point out your entire position regarding that specific text is nothing but an historic rationalized position. Frankly, I think that discussion would be rather amusing.
BTW, you deserved the “bravo” you are spot on in your defense of the faith regarding the self-authenticating Scriptures. You got Norm, JL, John “Death” Scargy, Tami and the rest on the run. You understand that Adam was the 1st of humanity; you just need to come to grips that Jesus Christ was/is the 1st of the new humanity, not Casper and his friendly spooks.