Romans 8, Part 2: Calling and Resurrection

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The divine action of “calling” is frequently understood to refer to God causing an individual human person to become regenerate or saved. This call is an event in history that is a necessary precondition for the salvation of individuals.

But is the call to salvation addressed solely to individuals in respect to their salvation from sin and hell and alignment with the Gospel, or can calling refer to something else as well? Several verses indicate that in some contexts, a wider meaning can be operative:

1 Thess 4:16

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first…

John 5:28-29

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation…

Romans 4:17

As it is written, “I have made thee a father of many nations”. [Abraham] is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed–the God who gives life to the dead, and calls those things which are not as though they were.

In these verses God’s call is a summoning of something ontologically dead to return back to life. Though the word “calling” is not explicitly used in John 5, it is clear that this kind of concept is operative, and Jesus is here doing something that can be legitimately labeled as “calling”.

Thus, calling can refer to God causing a thing that is dead to come back to life by his creative word.

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2 Responses to “Romans 8, Part 2: Calling and Resurrection”

  1. MissingNo. Says:

    I dont know were I can respond to you about your reponse where you will be notified of it, so I will write this here for now, and if you know of a place that I can respond that is better, I will do that next time.You say: “‘what about Rahab, who, despite having many more years in a destruction-worthy heathen nation as a prostitute, was still incorporated into the Jewish people after an act of obedience? ‘Mercy killing’ seems like an untenable solution.’How does the Rahab example provide support for the idea that mercy-killing is untenable?”It seems that is God was able to recover a woman who is spend at least 20 years within a perverse heathen nation, that it would be even easier to aid in the recovery of kids growing up in perverse heathen nations who do not know their right from their left. You said:Also, regarding Euthanasia, different things may be permissible at different times for different reasons. Perhaps God had a reason (cultural, economic, health, familial conditions?) at that time for taking the lives of the children that does not apply today anymore. I never want to deny that there could be some reason unkown to me that can account for any why any action is commited, but on the face of it, it seems like the God of the Old Testament is disregarding these kid’s lives, and doing so without giving any justification for it. I would suppose there would be many people in Israel (unless their conception of morality was alien to our modern day sensibilities) who would have found this appualing, and it seems like it would have been expident for God to have told them this potential understandable reason for why he did what he did. If not for the israelites, it seems like God could have at least said something knowing that a myraid of modern readers including myself would find his actions objectionable, I mean, maybe this asking alot of God, but if he is omnipotent, he has the power to direct the history of the synthesis of his holy book, and it would seem feasible to do this within his own-self impossed limits (within Christian theology) or not interferring (extensively) with human volition and society. you said:”Also, it is important to remember that if you are claiming the judgments you are making are moral, then this probably presupposes theism. I assume that you are actually communicating something like “well, if Christianity (or maybe just theism?) is true, then the moral principles implied thereby would be incompatible with God’s activities here”. But if you are actually making claims about ontologically-real moral properties of actions, then this might presuppose both moral realism and theism.”This is what I am stating to put it in exact wording: I feel that this is wrong, this is a description on my own feelings as well as a description of a morality that modern society commonly holds to, which does not seem to necesitate some sort of thiesm (though I am not arguing that there is necesarily a lack of theism). On top of this, yes, you are also correct in saying that my allegation is in someway tautalogous. “if Christianity were true” but not becuase it elicits more realism but because the Bible would have to be true in order for me to pass a judgement on God’s charceter. You said:”Lets assume that there are such things as demons. Furthermore, lets assume that the rituals of some extra-wicked ancient pagan nations where they consecrated children for sacrifice to the gods would result in the indwelling of demons in those children. Lets also assume that for some reason (perhaps because God knows that if He let them live they would just get morally worse) God decides it is best to take the lives of such children early. Does this scenario increase the intelligibility of the command to kill the children?”If they were demon-possessed (which I am guessing is not implied in any text concerning these isues), first of all, why would God allow kids who are not morally culpable to be demon-possessed because of their parents actions? this seems unjust. Secondly, why then couldn’t God exorcize them, as it is said he did on multiple occasions as Jesus within the Gospels? You said:”Its important to realize that because we all die, God in some sense arranges all our lives so that we die at a certain time and place which is (to some degree) at his discretion. If God decides to do it one way because He anticipates a greater evil coming in the future as a result of our continued existence, would you still say this is morally wrong?”oh, yeah, I mean, if there is a greater evil to be incurred on us, then it would be sound in a strict utilitarian sense to terminate our lives, but then it would seem that God would do the same for every person who would end up going to hell. Yes, there could always be a reason for why God terminates life earily, but it just seems wierd that God would put people on this earth and then cut their lives short if the whole purpose that we were here in the first place was the live a complete earthly life, go through moral trials, and become aquainted with the holiness of God. I mean, maybe those things are just not God’s intention, but I think then, if for some reason unknowable to us, he takes someone away form the earth, espeically a kid, that he should at least do it within a humane way, maybe having them instantly die painlessly by his divine decree instead of having the kid witness the israelites wreaking havoc on his town before they slice him with a sword.

  2. MG Says:

    Brett–I would have been able to locate your responses if they were on your blog, but this is fine too, no worries.Now, to the responses:”It seems that is God was able to recover a woman who is spend at least 20 years within a perverse heathen nation, that it would be even easier to aid in the recovery of kids growing up in perverse heathen nations who do not know their right from their left.”I think that this assumes that the kids would have responded the same way as Rahab or better. But I can’t think of any reason to share this assumption. Perhaps God knew that the kids would not have responded better after all.”I never want to deny that there could be some reason unkown to me that can account for any why any action is commited, but on the face of it, it seems like the God of the Old Testament is disregarding these kid’s lives, and doing so without giving any justification for it. I would suppose there would be many people in Israel (unless their conception of morality was alien to our modern day sensibilities) who would have found this appualing, and it seems like it would have been expident for God to have told them this potential understandable reason for why he did what he did. If not for the israelites, it seems like God could have at least said something knowing that a myraid of modern readers including myself would find his actions objectionable, I mean, maybe this asking alot of God, but if he is omnipotent, he has the power to direct the history of the synthesis of his holy book, and it would seem feasible to do this within his own-self impossed limits (within Christian theology) or not interferring (extensively) with human volition and society.”Regarding the Israelites’ moral sensibilities, I don’t know, of course, what their attitude toward this was. However, if I’m correct most moral objections to God’s actions of punishing people etc. began to arise during the Enlightenment; before then, the harshness of the OT was generally not considered to be immoral–just harsh and uncompromising.As for the idea that God would have provided modern readers with an explanation, what if God made such explanations available to modern readers in an indirect way? For example, perhaps God sends intellectual help to people (who are interested in such answers) by means of influencing people to make Christian apologetics websites. Just as God might send a person who lacks food or water some nourishment by sending a kind person to help them, so perhaps it is the William Lane Craigs and J. P. Holdings who are God’s means of attending to those who are seeking answers for their questions.”This is what I am stating to put it in exact wording: I feel that this is wrong, this is a description on my own feelings as well as a description of a morality that modern society commonly holds to, which does not seem to necesitate some sort of thiesm (though I am not arguing that there is necesarily a lack of theism). On top of this, yes, you are also correct in saying that my allegation is in someway tautalogous. “if Christianity were true” but not becuase it elicits more realism but because the Bible would have to be true in order for me to pass a judgement on God’s charceter.”Okay, got it. Would you agree with me that the personal dislike you express is like a preference for apples over oranges, as opposed to a conviction that the atomic theory of matter is true as opposed to some form of idealism?”If they were demon-possessed (which I am guessing is not implied in any text concerning these isues), first of all, why would God allow kids who are not morally culpable to be demon-possessed because of their parents actions? this seems unjust. Secondly, why then couldn’t God exorcize them, as it is said he did on multiple occasions as Jesus within the Gospels?”Perhaps the reason God permitted the kids to become possessed via their parents’ activities is because it grants greater responsibility to people if they have some degree of control over the destinies of others. Responsibility is a great good, so much so that the possession of it by a creature counterbalances many of the bad consequences of its ill-use.Regarding exorcism, perhaps the exorcism of individuals is only beneficial to those individuals who would respond appropriately if given the exorcism. And so long as it remains possible that the children would not respond appropriately in such circumstances, this response could work (if it made sense in other respects).”oh, yeah, I mean, if there is a greater evil to be incurred on us, then it would be sound in a strict utilitarian sense to terminate our lives, but then it would seem that God would do the same for every person who would end up going to hell.”I was actually thinking more along the lines of the kids doing more earthly damage to Israelite people and property once they grew up.”Yes, there could always be a reason for why God terminates life early, but it just seems wierd that God would put people on this earth and then cut their lives short if the whole purpose that we were here in the first place was the live a complete earthly life, go through moral trials, and become aquainted with the holiness of God.”I think that this discounts the fact that all human beings live in a state that is contrary to how they originally were supposed to be. What would really make sense is if people’s earthly lives were immortal, and they continually proceeded in doing the various things you are talking about. But insofar as no one exists in this state, and everyone shares in death and corruption, it may be the case that God, who knows how people would act in all situations, may take a person’s life in a way that would best fit with the rest of his plan for the history of the world.”I mean, maybe those things are just not God’s intention, but I think then, if for some reason unknowable to us, he takes someone away form the earth, espeically a kid, that he should at least do it within a humane way, maybe having them instantly die painlessly by his divine decree instead of having the kid witness the israelites wreaking havoc on his town before they slice him with a sword.”I think this is your best argument so far. I wonder, though, if perhaps God provides mercy and relief from pain–and even awareness of certain things–in ways that we don’t expect. Perhaps young children don’t experience pain the same way we do? Or perhaps in those special circumstances God took away the child’s awareness so as to help them endure the death of their bodies without the trauma you talk about. Obviously this isn’t directly in the text. But so long as it remains possible, we cannot make the inference that this was wrong on God’s part.Tell me whatcha think of all this.–MG

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