Monday, October 29, 2007

"Christian Science" and the apocatastasis

Hi, Ed.

Like a lot of apostates, you’re unable to get Christianity out of your system. Why is that? Is it because there is no alternative to Christianity that is equally good, much less better?

So many apostates turn their back on the faith, yet keep glancing over their shoulder. They leave the church, and yet they continue to live within the shadow of the church.

Why is that, Ed? Why are you unable to tear yourself away from the faith you repudiate? Is it because your alternative is no alternative?

Ed, you’ve erected a chain-link fence between you and the church. Yet you keep your nose pressed against the fence, staring wistfully at the very thing you supposedly put behind you. Why is that, Ed?

You find the sermon inspiring. Well, I find many things inspiring as well. I find Perelandra inspiring. I find The Voyage of the Dawn Treader inspiring. I find some short stories by Cordwainer Smith inspiring.

I do not, however, mistake what is inspiring for what is real. I don’t believe that Reepicheep paddled his dingy over the final wave of the Silver Sea and passed into Aslan’s land.

As for Dr. Wells, there’s nothing resembling exegesis in his sermon. He peddles half-truths and pleasing lies. He’s no better than a medical quack or psychic or religious charlatan who exploits grieving men and women at their point of weakness.

Yes, the discarnate state of man is an unnatural state. But there are some solid exegetical arguments for the intermediate state. And the OT has a doctrine of the afterlife.

I reject his polemical caricature of hell, and—as a supralapsarian Calvinist—I also reject the glib assumptions that seduce him to deny a well-attested doctrine of Scripture.

I understand why folks find universalism appealing. It’s appealing in the same way that “Christian Science” is appealing. “Christian Science” finds the spectacle of evil so appalling that it declares evil an illusion. It finds death so repugnant that it declares death an illusion.

It would be nice to believe that my grandmother didn’t die, that my father didn’t die, or even that my pet dog didn’t die. Likewise, it would be nice to believe that all my loved ones are heavenbound.

But just as I don’t confabulate a theological system around the denial of death, however comforting that might be, so I also don’t confabulate a theological system around the denial of hell, however comforting that might be.

-----Original Message-----

Sent: Mon, Oct 29 4:09 PM
Subject: "Rethinking Heaven and Hell" Monism & Universalism

Revd Canon Dr. Sam Wells delivered the following message/sermon at Furman Sunday night, but it's also online because he's been preaching it elsewhere as well such as at Chinchester Cathedral in Britain. He rejects dualism and also slowly builds to his universalistic finale. Intriguing, colorful, inspiring.


  1. Steve,

    Can you recommend some good books on a Christian view of science? Thanks for the help.

  2. Del Ratzsch: Nature, Design, and Science: The Status of Design in Natural Science. Advanced.

    Del Ratzsch: Science & Its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective. Intermediate.

    J.P. Moreland, Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation. Introductory.