Re: [asa] A theology question (imminent return of Christ)

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Tue Oct 21 2008 - 10:01:34 EDT

Ed said: *Put those two points together and you get the modern apocalyptic
view that the Bible contains errors.
I respond: Or put them together, and begin to understand the genre of
apocalyptic literature, and you start to move towards an amillennial
position, which is perhaps the best alternative.

Lots of people have "studied" preterism, dispensationalism, and other
Christian eschatological positions, and have developed nuanced views, either
inside or outside those positions. Just like lots of people have studied
cosmology (or any other scientific theory) and have developed divergent and
nuanced views about it. You might as well say, "I've studied string theory,
quantum loop gravity, and classical big bang cosmology. These views are so
different that I must conclude the universe contains errors."

If you are basically a positivist, and you come to the Bible with the
expectation that it will give you a set of simple propositions in plain,
mathematical language about God, the universe, and everything, you'll be
disappointed. If you can imagine a God who reveals himself through situated
human beings using common human literary forms, you'll be thrilled.

On Mon, Oct 20, 2008 at 11:02 PM, Edward T. Babinski <>wrote:

> A word to all,
> I've studied Preterism and Dispensationalism. The Preterists agree with me
> that the predicted time was a generation. The Dispensationalists agree with
> me that the coming of the son of man would equal the final judgment with the
> angels gathering the righteous from the world, etc. Put those two points
> together and you get the modern apocalyptic view that the Bible contains
> errors.
> Neither do you have to be a "skeptic" like Ehrman to note such
> difficulties. Modern theologians including James D. G. Dunn along with the
> host of scholars he cites also recognize such difficulties.
> Lastly, among Preterists, the Partialists and the Full Preterists don't get
> along. There's also different schools of Dispensationalism. It's all pretty
> wild. What I learned after studying such matters is that no matter how much
> you believe the Bible is inerrant, proving it is another thing, and nobody
> so far has claimed that their interpretation is inerrant. And the mere fact
> that interpretations are necessary in order to either try to pull all the
> loose strings together or acknowledge their looseness (the latter of which
> is my view), should make one step back and acknowledge that perhaps people
> are putting too much faith in their interpretations, especially since all
> these difficulties inherent in each interpretation arise from a plain
> reading of the texts themselves and have never been solved, not by prayer
> nor theological cunning. So maybe there's something to be said for
> agnosticism after all.
> "The Lowdown on God's Showdown"
> N.T. scholar James D. Tabor lists "New Testament Texts
> on the Imminence of the End" on his website, "The
> Jewish Roman World of Jesus":
> See also Tabor's article, "Dead Messiahs Who
> Don't Return: Millennial Hope and Disappointment in the
> Dead Sea Scroll Community"
> Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet (Minneapolis:
> Fortress Press, 1998)
> Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium (New York:
> Oxford University Press, 1999).
> The Apocalyptic Jesus: A Debate (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge
> Press, 2001)
> The Stars Will Fall from Heaven: Cosmic Catastrophe in the
> New Testament and Its World -- (Library of New Testament
> Studies 347, 2007) delves into conclusive evidence for a
> belief in the end of the created world in works written
> either just before or during the N.T. period.
> In God's Time - The most moderate Evangelical book on
> the topic
> The video for the above book is even sold along with N.T.
> Wright's videos at this website:
> __________________________________________________
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David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Tue Oct 21 10:02:02 2008

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