judgment n.
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  1. Judgment

  2. Judgment • Classical Liberalism has rejected the idea of judgment • But does this not lead to sentimentality and compromise of idea of righteousness and justice? • At the same time, those outside the Church may believe the Church focuses too much on judgment- with negative connotations • Concept of judgment features prominently in the biblical text both in Old and New Testaments • E.g. Dan. 12.2; John 5.25-29, Rev 20.11-15, etc. • Necessity of Judgment because of: • the holiness of God • The establishment of justice

  3. Judgment (cont.) • Criterion of Judgment is Christ • The same one who judges is the one who died for us; thus we are judged by the loving savior • Those who believe in Christ are not condemned (e.g. John 3.18) • Works are judged • We are not judged according to our merits, but our works demonstrate our deepest commitments and thus the authenticity of our faith • What is especially important is our response to God’s offer of grace through Christ • All are judged, not just non-believers so there is no room for superiority • Judgment is not the end in itself; rather it is transition • Grenz speaks of it as “Transition from Creation to New Creation” because “En route to the new creation, all creation must pass through judgment” (p.624) • Judgment is always related to God’s nature and his purposes; It is God who is directing the course of history towards its final consummation and who will redeem his promises regarding creation

  4. Judgment (cont.) • Goal of judgment is: • To establish the holiness and justice of God • To liberate creation and prepare us and the creation for eternal fellowship with God

  5. What About Those who Have Never Heard of Christ? • This is still an open question for evangelicals. Different traditions have negotiated this question differently • Inclusivist/Christocentric (Karkkainen) • RC View • Growing number of evangelicals (what Paul Knitter terms, “Partial Replacement). • C.S. Lewis • Pluralists • Restrictivist/Exclusivist/Ecclesiocentric (Karkkainen) • What we can say is that God will be fair in his judgment • He takes into account lack of knowledge of those who are without the Gospel message (Rom. 2.12-16) • But, people who have more knowledge of God’s will be held account for their knowledge (Luke 12.48)

  6. Four Views Regarding the Destiny of Unbelievers • Four Views Regarding the Destiny of Unbelievers: • Traditional view • Souls go to eternal torment (hell) or are with God eternally • Evangelical Scholars include • J.I Packer • Robert Peterson • John Blanchard • Paul Helm • Universalist View • Everyone is saved and will be with God eternally • Church Father Origen • Jürgen Moltmann • John Hick • Divine perseverance • Donald Bloesch (evangelical)

  7. Four Views Continued:Annihilationism/Conditional Immortality • Annihilationist View • The soul is not inherently mortal and for the impenitent this means they will suffer extinction • Evangelical scholars include: • John Stott • Clark Pinnock • Michael Green • J. W. Wenham • Church of England Doctrine Commission (1995) • “Hell is not eternal torment, but is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being.” • I think you might be interested in very brief (2 page) reaction to the Commission's report by Richard Bauckman – click here

  8. Annihilationist View • Some arguments for the view: • Immortality is a gift of God and when we receive Christ we receive eternal life; this is not inherent to human beings. Those who are not God’s do not inherit eternal life (immortality). • The primary way the Bible speaks is in terms of finally impenitent is destruction, perishing, death, ruin etc. • The images of fire and destruction point more to annihilation than continued existence (see for example Psalm 57); or the impenitent will be burned like chaff in the unquenchable fire (Matt 3.10, 12). • What is eternal is God’s judgment that cannot be reversed, not the punishment itself • Traditionalists would point to other verses which would seem to indicate eternal punishment • For Clark Pinnock, because sin has been committed against an infinite God, that does not make the sin itself infinite. Sin is finite, so why would punishment be infinite? The Destruction of the Finally Impenitent, 254-5 • Eternal punishment for finite sin seems to be out of keeping with God’s love (which is infinite)

  9. Annhilationist View (cont.) • How can God be all in all (I Cor. 15.28) at the end with all things being made new (Rev. 21.5)and reconciled to himself if people continue to be in rebellion to Him in Hell • i.e. with the eschaton, can we speak of there being an “unclean” cosmos in which God’s kingdom is not fully extended? Can there be two states without end? • Traditionalist answer: • Hell exists for the glory of God; as the heavens reflect God’s glory, hell reflects the glory of God’s justice While some may think that ceasing to exist is “letting some off easy”, the removal of God’s sustaining hand on life in Judaism was considered to be truly terrible • We have never been without God’s sustaining hand or truly separated from him, even as unbelievers. So perhaps we underestimate how terrible/tragic it is to truly be separated from God for eternity, even if that means the cessation of existence

  10. Annihilationist View • Agnostic Position in Regards to Annihilationism (we cannot know with certainty) • Evangelical Biblical scholar F.F. Bruce does not support the position of annihilationism, but neither does he reject it as a legitimate in interpretation of New Testament passages • C.S. Lewis wrote: • “But I notice that Our Lord, while stressing the terror of hell with unsparing severity usually emphasizes the idea, not of duration but of finality.  Consignment to the destroying fire is usually treated as the end of the story- not as the beginning of a new story.  That the lost soul is fixed in its diabolical attitude we cannot doubt: but whether this eternal fixity implies endless duration-or duration at all-we cannot say.” The Problem of Pain, 126-7.

  11. Some Issues with Annihilationist View • Questions remain regarding God’s justice and the seriousness of sin • While annihilationistsquestion whether the traditional view has done justice to the exegesis, some of the passages used to support annihilation are not self-evident • For example, some passages seem to point more towards everlasting judgment • E.g. the passage on the sheep and the goats (Matt. 25.31-46); Mark 9.43-7; Luke 16.19-31; Rev. 14.9-12, 20.11-15 • For an exegetical counter on the traditionalist passages above from an annihilationist perspective see Glen Peoples, “A Critique of Robert Peterson and other Traditionalist Scholarship,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS) 50/2 (June 2007), 329-47. For a counter on the counter, see Robert A. Peterson, “Fallacies in the Annihilationism Debate: A Response to Glen Peoples,” JETS 50/2 (June 2007), 349-55. • A final thought • Whether one takes the traditionalist or annihilationist position, sin, judgment and final consequence are serious matters • For a considered look at both sides of the debate see the Evangelical Alliance Report, The Nature of Hell (Acute, 2000)

  12. New Creation

  13. Heaven • Heaven • In the past “heaven” was usually considered to be something “up there” and not connected to the created earth • Contemporary theology • A closer connection between the current created order and the redeemed, transformed “New Jerusalem” • The material hope of Christianity, especially as seen in the resurrection • The lasting value of God’s creation • Although it has sometimes been thought of in this way, heaven in the Bible is not described as timeless or space-less or as a merely “spiritual” reality • That said, there is something truly new about what will happen; whatever its location, heaven is not something about which human language can say much • There appears to be a dynamic tension between continuity and discontinuity between original creation and New Creation • E.g., in Rev. 21, heaven descends and the Earth is taken up

  14. Heaven is the consummation and the fulfillment of reconciliation and relationship with the Triune God. • It is not a return to Eden but something greater: a fulfillment of God’s intentions for the created order • Shalom