How much gnostic & neo-platonic thinking has influenced your theology?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Greektim, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    Seriously. Have you ever thought about? It is easy to claim to get your theology from Scripture. But when you compare your interpretation of Scripture w/ these influences, it is quite scary.

    Example, I hear so often about how they look forward to going to heaven and heaven is their home and etc. Most typical pew-sitter has the idea that to get away from this world and spend eternity in heaven is the goal. But the goal is not a bodiless existence it is a resurrected existence. The goal is not heaven but heaven on earth (aka the new creation).
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    So how does an inaccurate view of eternity ie where one will reside, turn into these influences? Why is it not just inaccurate all by itself without those influences.
     
  3. Earth Wind and Fire

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    RIGHT---so who instructs you on this Tim? How do you id the goals & then how do you stay on the beam?
     
  4. MB

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    2nd Peter 3:10 – 13 Peter disagrees with you. It is a new earth and a new heaven where our final destination is. The present Heaven and Earth shall be dissolved with fervent heat. This final "Earth Heaven" is not the current Heaven and Earth
    MB
     
  5. 12strings

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    I think GreekTiM would agree with this...He was simply refering to the FINAL destination...not the interum "heaven" where current believers go when they die...though I do not think it innacurate to say you are looking forward to heaven...it's just that after heaven, there's more...
     
    #5 12strings, Oct 23, 2012
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  6. 12strings

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    I think an even more glaring issue related to gnosticism is the sometimes promoted idea that we are "good" spirits/souls trapped in a sinful body. I have even seen this on this forum.

    It takes pauls references to "the flesh" or "fleshly" and takes that to mean that the reason we sin is because our physical bodies drag us into it...as if our inner immaterial man doesn't himself make rebellious, sinful decisions.

    Your thoughts?
     
  7. Greektim

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    Absolutely... this is still around too. Thus there is the emphasis to be rapture ready and get out of this world.

    And for the above, MB, I did say new creation to make that distinction. However, if you study the words, this world will be refurbished and in that way new. So in a real sense, it will be this earth, just perfected and paradise surpassed, free of sin and curse and full of God's covenant presence (Rev. 21:3ff.).
     
  8. humblethinker

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    Indeed. Greektim, is that an embodied temporal existence with God that you are talking about? Do you mean to propose that sequence and passage of events will occur and that these are to be experienced and appreciated by an embodied God in a temporal relationship with man forevermore? Can any such thoughts find legitimacy or support in scripture?!!?
     
  9. Greektim

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    Not sure I would use the term "embodied God" unless speaking of Jesus. However, his divine presence will be w/ humanity in a very real and personal (covenantal) way (Rev. 21:3ff.). We usually think of God's presence residing in temple which it always did since the garden on into the church (temple morphed of course from garden to arc and tabernacle to house to Jesus to church). In the new creation, God and the lamb are the temple (Rev. 21:22), i.e. God's presence is fully and completely on earth as the mission to fill the earth with his glory is fulfilled (cf. Gen. 1:28).

    Now there is some thinking that needs to be done on the concept of sacred space. And this is where our neo-platonic influences are hard to overcome. But we usually imagine the supernatural world or heavenly to be an immaterial world. But perhaps it is a material of a divine essence. Like, angels are here w/ us in our world, but their material is of a divine essence that they don't appear (similar to parallel reality only in this case in the same reality). This borders on the philosophical so I'll stop there. But consider this, when Jesus ascended to heaven, did Scotty beam his physical body out of our reality and into a supernatural world? Or did Jesus enter the divine presence w/ his physical body, a presence and reality that could be classified as a divine material not at all inconsistent with our material world? You decide.

    Also, if by temporal relationship you mean an existence where time is able to be measured (like months per se?; cf. Rev. 22:2), then I would say yes, new creation will be what God intended for Adam and Eve to accomplish in the original garden/temple paradise, only perfected and permanent/perpetual. We will work, we will play, we will enjoy God and his presence forever. But there will be no curse and no sin. We will fill the earth w/ God's glory as image bearers properly reflecting his glory (since we are conformed to the image of Jesus who accomplished the task of image bearing and what it means to be human and the human mission of Gen. 1:28). We will rule the animals and subdue the earth.

    Btw... this is my missional hermeneutic coming out.
     
    #9 Greektim, Oct 24, 2012
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  10. OldRegular

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    You might try reading the last two chapters of Revelation!
     
  11. MB

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    How so? Since heaven is where we spend eternity how can there be an after eternity?
    MB
     
  12. 12strings

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    It seems from my understanding that There will be a new heaven and a new earth that endures to eternity...And that the heavenly city will descend to earth, such that the two are unified somehow.

    Now, before that, now when Christians die, they go to be with the Lord. Some would say this isn't heaven, but paradise, but It seems that it is also called heaven in scriptures, so either name is appropriate. So If I were to die now, my spirit would go to be in "heaven" with God. but at the end of the age, there will be a new heaven and new earth, I will recieve a physical resurected body...so that's where the "more" comes in...I will not remain in the current heaven in a bodiless form forever.

    Which is I think the same thing you are saying here:

    So I don't really understand what your question is.
     
  13. Yeshua1

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    Until the time of the rapture of Jesus, and his second coming, the saints who have departed are with him now in heaven, but incomplete, as one day their physical bodies shall be risen and glorified!
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    What a curious thread...:)

    Most people only rationalize the existence they've been given. Something tells me your studies have brought up some interesting conclusions.

    As for the gnostic or neo-platonic tendencies of our theology...well maybe it influences us still. I see more of the Gnosticism as being troublesome with folks emphasizing the correct knowledge leading to justifying faith. When I talk with some, note this is some, of my Pentecostal friends I see Gnosticism rolling around in their theologies more than some other trends. However, the increasing factious nature of modern ecclesiology is looking more gnostic than early church communities imho. Lots of the seeker stuff is laden with Gnostic language and ideas. They just never went to seminary and don't know the difference. Ha! ;)

    I agree. And as we see in this thread people don't like being told they're suppositions are wrong. Its kinda like when I tell people that not all sins are equal, that sure doesn't go over well. Unfortunately they aren't, not all sins are equal. Just because a bunch of people who have never formally studied theology or philosophy have an opinion doesn't mean their opinions are as informed as mine. (Yes, that is the intellectual arrogance coming out.) Just the other day I had a long discussion with a guy about this topic and he told me I was wrong in about twenty different ways. I opened the Bible and showed him I'm not. He had a problem with it still.

    As for your point above, the reality for most Christians is that they haven't had the time or the provocation to sit around and think about what a bodiless, totally different ontological state would be like. Particularly if we understand the eschatological trajectory of the New Jerusalem to be non-material what does that mean for us? A Neo-Platonic answer isn't as satisfying to me here. I guess we just think inside a theological box too often.
     
  15. Greektim

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    Case and point right here. Heaven is not the eternal destination. The Bible puts an emphasis on resurrection not bodiless existence!
     
  16. humblethinker

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    Do you think our embodied existence will be in a temporal or atemporal existence?

    (ahhh, I see that I finally made it into the '1,000 Posts Club' with this post ;-) )
     
    #16 humblethinker, Oct 26, 2012
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  17. Greektim

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    I believe that in eternity, when we are ruling in the new creation, time will be able to be measured. Rev. 22 mentions 12 different fruits sprouting one each month. So you have the measurement of years and months.

    I don't think that eternity necessitates an atemporal existence. It has causality in it, so why not time. It has a beginning, just no end. The sequence can be measured, which is all time really is.
     
  18. humblethinker

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    While I believe that God originally, currently and will continue to exist in immeasurable temporality, I think you make a good point and I have no objections to your view here. Since Jesus is the only one in the trinity that is embodied, I think that God will concurrently exist in immeasurable and measurable temporality, as he has at least ever since creation.
     
  19. thomas15

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    I've found the definition of irony...

     
  20. MB

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    I agree and the Bible's description of it is awesome. However this city is where we will have been if we died before the rapture. It's where Christ is and if absent from the body we are present with the Lord.
    Agreed

    Which is I think the same thing you are saying here:



    So I don't really understand what your question is.[/QUOTE]

    You had said;
    In your last post this statement is what I was asking about. You see the best description I ever heard of heaven was. Is that heaven is being with Christ where ever that may be. In a sense just being with Him is heaven if you know what I mean. It's what I can't wait for. For me it's not the crowns or the luxurious accommodations. It's just being with Him that is the most important.
     

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