Re: [asa] Tough question for TEs

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Mon Aug 20 2007 - 14:44:45 EDT

All tough and interesting questions.

On the question of physical human death, it seems to me that a "conditional
immortality" position can be helpful for those of us who lean towards TE
views. This view holds that Adam (or the first group of humans having the
image of God and represented by Adam) possessed ordinary human bodies that
are, in the usual course of things, subject to decay and death. However,
Adam would not have experienced death had he not sinned. Perhaps God would
have "caught up" Adam and his progeny as He did Enoch (with Adam then
remaining in fellowship with the "living" -- i.e., without the psychological
pain of separation); or perhaps if Adam and humanity had remained in perfect
fellowship with God and with each other, biotechnological means of
sustaining life would have been realized early on; or something along both
of these lines. The point is, Adam was *liable* to physical death, but he
did not *have to* experience it, at least not in the way we experience it
now as an absolute gulf between the dead and the living. A number of
conservative evangelical scholars hold this view (John Walton, Millard

The conditional immortality view seems to make sense in light of the
Resurrection. Through the Resurrection, Christ bridged the gap created by
sin -- he died, but he rose bodily and fellowships with us even now. He
thus began the restoration of the state in which humans do not *have
to*die, which will be completed for believers in the eschaton.
Perhaps our
resurrection bodies also will be a sort of "ordinary" body that conceivably
*could* die, but that *will not* die because the condition of death is
removed by Jesus' victory in the cross and Resurrection.

On 8/20/07, Brent Foster <> wrote:
> I ask this because I see questions like this as likely in an upcoming
> Bible study class on Genesis. Particularly since we just finished one on
> John!
> As a card-carrying TE, I see the fall as a spiritual event. Adam's sin
> resulted in death. It brought death into the world where there was none
> before. Spiritual death that is. As Paul said (paraphrased), just as the sin
> of one man (Adam) brought death into the world, so the ritgheous life of
> another man (Jesus) brought life back to the world. Spiritual life that is.
> Physical life was obviously already in the world, just as physical death was
> already in Adam's world. The curse is spiritual and is on mankind and all
> the ground that mankind touches. We are all Adam's spiritual offspring when
> we follow after him by sinning. And we are all Abraham's spiritual offspring
> when we have faith in Christ. Faith in Christ saves us from the consequences
> of sin, death. Spiritual death that is. We still suffer physical death. If
> physical death were a consequence of sin, then Christ's work on the cross is
> incomplete, because we still suffer the consequence of sin. Some would say
> the comming !
> ressurrection removes this consequence of sin. But all will be
> ressurrected including unbelievers, as Daniel said, some to everlasting
> glory and some to everlasting shame and contempt. And ressurrection doesn't
> erase the fact of death. If it did, it would erase the fact of Jesus' death.
> So why is a ressurrection necessary if physical death is not the
> concequence of sin? Those who see physical death as a consequence of sin see
> the ressurection as the reversal of the consequences of sin.
> I'm no Bible scholar, but in my view of the atonement, it really is
> necessary to have a real Jesus who really lived a sinnless life and died and
> suffered separation from God (spiritual death) to pay for our sins. But is
> the ressurrection necessary for atonement? Is it necessary demonstrate
> victory over the grave if the grave is not a consequence of sin?
> Brent
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Received on Mon Aug 20 14:45:06 2007

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