Table of Contents
Journey Out of Time
THE NATURE OF MAN:
in the plan of
Redemption as set forth in
the Scriptures is in any way
incidental to it: nothing.
It is all of a piece and
stands wholly essential in all
Yet, an established
as sacred as a revealed truth.
. . . .CONNECTIONS. . . .
It may be asked,
Why all this concern about the meaning and nature of time?
Does it really matter?
After all, we are not going to worry about time in heaven anyway!
True. The only trouble is that although Scripture
reveals that we shall pass immediately into the Lord's presence
when we die, we evidently do so without our bodies. The resurrection
of the body is a still distant event belonging to the end times.
Paul himself, who expected to be present with the Lord at once,
is nevertheless still without his body.
Unless we say that the body doesn't
really matter in heaven, we have to imagine this interval of
disembodied "nakedness" as a period of something less
than a totally fulfilling condition of existence. This would
seem an odd situation in which to be, in the presence of the
gloriously embodied Lord.
If we say that embodiment makes
no difference, that we can be completely whole in this "naked"
condition, then the great emphasis placed on the resurrection
of the body in Scripture seems rather meaningless. If we can
be perfectly identifiable without our bodies, both subjectively
to ourselves and objectively to others, why bother about bodily
resurrection? It seems redundant.
Now, man was not created
to be pure spirit, such as angels are, but incarnated
spirit. We and our bodies belong together and the thought of
death, in so far as it disrupts this union, is normally an abhorrent
one. We have a longing for a real new heaven and a real new earth,
and such a setting seems to require some kind of appropriately
real bodily existence. The thing we long for is freedom from
present ills, not freedom from present objects.
was God's purpose in making man MAN rather than angel
i.e., in making him an embodied spirit not just an ethereal
one? What role does the body actually play in establishing our
personal identity and to what extent does the spirit depend upon
the body to function effectively within the framework of the
physical world in which we live? What precisely is the relationship
between spirit and body (from the biblical perspective)
and, alternatively, mind and brain (from the neurophysiological
perspective)? It is a fascinating subject, and the evidence suggests
that the separation of the two components of the human constitution
effectively "extinguishes" the individual, thus demonstrating
the need for the resurrection of the body.
When, therefore, the spirit deserts
the body in death, how can it function while it awaits the new
body that is promised at the end? Perhaps there is no waiting?
The answer to this question is the subject matter of the rest
of the volume, and hinges upon what has been said in Part I.
need to examine two things:
(1) the vital relationship between spirit and
body, a union which appears to characterize the true personhood
of man (for otherwise why the Incarnation of the Lord
Jesus Christ?); and
(2) whether there is a form of "interval"
between death and resurrection that would not have the effect
of extinguishing conscious personal identity even for a moment.
II addresses the first: Part III addresses the second.
Copyright © 1988 Evelyn White. All rights
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