Woodward Norm Civ WRALC/TIEDM wrote:
> Thanks for the response.
> Perhaps as expected, I do not agree with much of your conclusions, but you
> have opened my mind on some concepts which I did not think about before...
> In that passage in Romans, it does seem to indicate that all creatures are
> yearning for the time that we may reunite in that eternal Paradise on High,
> just as we were together in that earthly Paradise long ago.
> However, no where in that passage does it say that they are assured of any
> redemption from the Blood of Christ. Their individual destinies appear to
> be based on their service to God and, in some cases, Man. Likewise, in
> Hebrews, I again found no reason to believe that the angels have such an
> assurance. Indeed, a demon, which I have always assumed to be a "fallen"
> angel, can "believe in God," and recognize Christ as His Son, to no avail
> (James 2:19, and elsewhere.)
> In Hebrews 2:9-18, it is obvious that the author was explaining why Christ
> was willing to temporarily humble Himself below the level of angels, and the
> making "...propitiation for the sins..." of angels wasn't it.
> In the verses in Colossians and Ephesians, it is unfortunate that the
> translators decided to add "things" to the adjective "all," and other
> places. If they had added "men" instead, with equal justification, then much
> of this confusion would have been eliminated.
> Some of God's creatures will make it to heaven, some will not. But through
> the sacrifice of His Son, we, alone, have the path of forgiveness open to
Start with the Colossians verse, which is perhaps clearest in this
regard. Though I called attention especially to v.20 the whole context, &
especially 15-20, have to be considered. The phrase translated "all things" is
neuter, _ta panta_, and is most naturally translated "all things." This is
especially so when we see how the same phrase is used in earlier vv, most
clearly in v.16: "In him _ta panta_ were created, in heaven and on earth,
whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities, - _ta panta_ were
created through him and for him." The use here is clearly not restricted to
So this does say that "all things" are indeed to be reconciled to God
through the blood of the cross.
In Ephesians 1:10, the same phrase _ta panta_ is used, & means (as the
following words show), "things in heaven and things on earth."
(There is also some manuscript evidence for a reading of the neuter
_panta_ rather than a masculine _pantas_ in John 12:32. But here there's
nothing in the context to keep this from being read as a general masculine
plural, as Raymond Brown, e.g., suggests.)
The Romans 8 passage speaks about creation being brought to its
fulfillment, but _not_ of a return to an original paradise. Even though many
people have thought that it's the biblical teaching, scripture does not portray
salvation simply as a return to a pre-fall initial state. If that were so, it
would mean that history - not just history as it's actually occurred but the
whole concept of creation _having_ a history - would be a result of sin, & not
God's intention for the world.
This passage doesn't refer explicitly to Christ or the cross. But if
creation is to be rescued from its "futility", how is it to be saved if not
through Christ. Does the rest of the world have a savior different from that of
Allow me to skip over further discussion of angels for now because of
lack of time. For now I stand by what I wrote earlier.
I think that part of the problem that many Christians, & especially
Evangelicals, have with the salvation of "all things" is that it's hard to fit
it in with particular models of salvation, ones in which
Christ is seen as paying the penalty for human sin or making satisfaction to God
for sin. Such models have been very influential & may be quite helpful, but
they are not the only ones either in scripture or in the theological tradition.
George L. Murphy
"The Science-Theology Interface"
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