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A Live Dog is Better than a Dead Lion? (Ecclesiastes 9: 4) – Enjoying Life between Misery and Mystery

Dog-Thoughts as we enter into the Year of the Dog: Part 1 Better to be  a Live Dog than a Dead Lion There are times when life disappoints us even to the point of despair. Ecclesiastes 9: 3 confirms our fears: “This is the miserable thing in all that is done under the sun: One … Continue reading “A Live Dog is Better than a Dead Lion? (Ecclesiastes 9: 4) – Enjoying Life between Misery and Mystery”

Dog-Thoughts as we enter into the Year of the Dog: Part 1

Better to be  a Live Dog than a Dead Lion
There are times when life disappoints us even to the point of despair. Ecclesiastes 9: 3 confirms our fears: “This is the miserable thing in all that is done under the sun: One fate comes upon all. Moreover, the human heart knows its full measure of misery and folly during life—and after it, they join the dead.”

It is good at such times to take heart the counsel given by Qoheleth, the author of Ecclesiastes.

9:4 But whoever is among the living has hope;
a live dog is better than a dead lion. Continue reading “A Live Dog is Better than a Dead Lion? (Ecclesiastes 9: 4) – Enjoying Life between Misery and Mystery”

Biblical Dualism and the Soul Between Death and Resurrection (the Intermediate State)

Death, Resurrection and Life Everlasting DRLE Pt.2

Death involves disintegration of a person’s vital power (nepesh, “soul”; Gen. 35:18; 1 Kings 19:4), cessation of bodily life, and separation of the body and the soul. Does the soul continue to exist after the death of the person? The monist theologian’s answer is “no”. Monism argues that according to the Bible, a human being is not divided into separate parts, i.e. body, soul, and spirit, but he exists as a unified or holistic self. Since the soul and the body are just different aspects of a person, existence entails bodily existence. There is no possibility of disembodied existence of the soul after death. The purpose of this post is to show that monism contradicts the Bible which ascribes to the disembodied soul some forms of consciousness in the intermediate state between death and final resurrection.1This post focuses on the biblical teaching on the soul’s disembodied existence in the intermediate state. For a philosophical defence of the tenability of disembodied existence of the soul, see Paul Helm, “A Theory of Disembodied Survival and Re-embodied Existence,” Religious Studies (1978), pp. 15-26; Richard Purtill, “Disembodied Survival,” Sophia 12 (1973), pp. 1-10. Continue reading “Biblical Dualism and the Soul Between Death and Resurrection (the Intermediate State)”

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    This post focuses on the biblical teaching on the soul’s disembodied existence in the intermediate state. For a philosophical defence of the tenability of disembodied existence of the soul, see Paul Helm, “A Theory of Disembodied Survival and Re-embodied Existence,” Religious Studies (1978), pp. 15-26; Richard Purtill, “Disembodied Survival,” Sophia 12 (1973), pp. 1-10.

Talk: Signs of Intelligent Design in a Fine-tuned Universe and the God Hypothesis.

Link to video – Intelligent Design & the GOD Hypothesis

This talk was delivered originally at the Christian STEM Nexus Forum in Nov. 2023. It explains why the “God Hypothesis” offers an explanation of the origin of the universe better than chance in the light of new developments in contemporary cosmology. Issues discussed include (1) How the Universe came into existence, (2) Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexity in fine-tuned universe.

1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world (Psalm 19: 1-4).

Originally published on 25 Nov 2023. Updated on 13 June 2024

Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds—This and the Next (Ecclesiastes 2/5)

Enjoying the Best of Both Worlds—This and the Next (Ecclesiastes 2/5)

Kairos Podcast 7: Ecclesiastes and the Human Quest for Meaning 2/5

Only two out of thirty over English translations of the Bible render the theme of Ecclesiastes as “Everything is meaningless.” Most translations retain the traditional rendering “All is vanity.” Yet most Christians today assume that Ecclesiastes says, “Everything is meaningless.” Since this robs Ecclesiastes of its God-inspired message, this video seeks to defend the traditional rendering. It shows that “All is vanity” is an objective description of reality whereas “Everything is meaningless” is a pessimistic response to that reality. Ecclesiastes itself teaches a realistic response. The Gospel empowers Christians to also have an optimistic response. Hence they can enjoy the best of both worlds—this and the next.

You can watch the full video at
Kairos Podcast 7: Ecclesiastes and the Human Quest for Meaning 2/5

OT Anthropology: Dualistic Holism or Holistic Dualism

Death, Resurrection and Life Everlasting – DRLE Pt.1b

We shall in this post argue that scholars like N.T. Wright, Nancey Murphy and Joel Green are mistaken when they reject substance dualism, the long-held belief that the human being is a compound entity comprising two distinct substances interacting with one another, that is, the body and its immaterial soul. /1/ It is indisputable that this has been the belief of most Christians throughout history. Nevertheless, these scholars claim that this belief owes more to Greek thought than to the Bible. Christians should be mindful that Greek thought and Hebrew thought are incompatible paradigms. Greek or Platonic thought regards human beings partitively since the soul is dichotomizes from the body. In contrast, Hebrew thought views human beings holistically.

However, while these scholars may be justified in rejecting Platonic dualism, they fail to distinguish biblical dualism from Platonic dualism. As we shall see, there are nuances in biblical dualism which should caution scholars from assuming that supporting biblical dualism amounts to supporting Platonic dualism unreservedly. Continue reading “OT Anthropology: Dualistic Holism or Holistic Dualism”

Everything Is Not Meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1/5)

Everything Is Not Meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1/5)
Kairos Podcast 7: Ecclesiastes and the Human Quest for Meaning (1/5)

1) Ecclesiastes is about the human quest for meaning. This quest became pronounced in the 20th century and even more so in the 21st century. Hence Ecclesiastes is needed today more than ever. However, the message is presented in a way so unique that it is often misunderstood. Most biblical scholars see pessimism and contradictions in the book. This has undermined the authority of Ecclesiastes as Scripture inspired by God.

This is the first in a series of five videos which seeks to reclaim the authoritative message of Ecclesiastes. This video introduces the series as well as seeks to remove the immediate obstacles to accepting Ecclesiastes as authoritative Scripture—apparent pessimism and apparent contradictions. It shows that the theme of Ecclesiastes is realistic, not pessimistic, and that the supposed contradictions are indeed apparent, not real.

You may read and comment on the video at
Everything Is Not Meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1/5)

OT Anthropology. The Constituent Elements of Man. DRLE Pt.1

Death, Resurrection and Life Everlasting – DRLE Pt.1

A. Contemporary Criticism Against Biblical Dualistic Anthropology
Our understanding of death and afterlife depends on what Scripture says about the nature of man. However, the OT presents no systematic discussion of the nature of man, any more than it does of the nature of the triune God. Nevertheless, the Bible often refers to human nature as dualistic, that is, human nature is a combination of two distinct and separable entities, the material body and the immaterial soul which survives death.

However, the contemporary intellectual climate is inimical toward the traditional Christian teaching of dualism. The various objections raised against dualism include the following: 1) The theory of evolutionary psychology and scientific naturalism undermines belief in the human soul. 2) New research in neuroscience and behavioristic psychology claims to have identified direct causal relation (although this at best could be correlation) between brain functions and states of consciousness. This has rendered irrelevant the idea of the faculties of the soul & a fortriori the idea of the soul. Continue reading “OT Anthropology. The Constituent Elements of Man. DRLE Pt.1”

The Creedal Imperative and Trinitarian Confession of Christian Faith and Theology

Kairos Podcast 6: Early Trinitarianism from NT to Nicaea. Part 6/6

LINK: The Creedal Imperative and Trinitarian Confession of Christian Faith and Theology

Recapitulation – how the doctrine of Trinity unfolded as the early church countered heresies.

Tertullian defined the Trinity as three persons in one essence, thus highlighting the foundational biblical teaching on the oneness of God and the three distinct yet equal persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Council of Nicaea, with Athanasius, applied the term “essence” (ousia) to the person of Christ. Christ is of the same essence (homoousios) with the Father. Yet Christ also exists as a separate person, distinct in his own identity as Christ the Son. In short, biblical-Nicene trinitarianism succinctly insists that Christ is truly God and anyone who teaches otherwise is teaching heresy.

The Creedal Imperative – Biblicism insists that one only needs the bible to formulate Christian belief by relying on rigid proof-texting of selective bible verses at the expense of context and other biblical teachings. In contrast, the historic church affirms that creeds (like the Nicene Creed) are essential as they assist the church in understanding Scripture, provide succinct and normative summary of the foundations of the Christian faith (rule of faith) and protect believers from false doctrines.

You may view the video at
The Creedal Imperative and Trinitarian Confession of Christian Faith and Theology

Nicene Trinitarian Theology: True God from True God; Of One Substance (Homoousios) with the Father

Nicene Trinitarian Theology: True God from True God; Of One Substance (Homoousios) with the Father

Kairos Podcast 6: Biblical-Nicene Trinitarianism vs Early Heresies. Part 5/6

Theology of the Nicene Creed (325 AD)
Note how the four clauses of the Nicene Creed specifically rebut Arianism.

1. TRUE GOD FROM TRUE GOD – He is also ‘true God’, i.e. not God in a secondary degree.

2. THAT IS, FROM THE SUBSTANCE OF THE FATHER added to give a more precise interpretation to BEGOTTEN FROM THE FATHER – “What we have here is a deliberately formulated counterblast to the principal tenet of Arianism, that the Son had been created out of nothing and had a beginning.”

3. BEGOTTEN NOT MADE – “The Arians were “eager enough to employ such language as BEGOTTEN, but the meaning they put upon it was indistinguishable from MADE… [The Nicene Creed affirms that] The Godhead had never been without His Word or His Wisdom: so the Father had never been other than the Father, and had never been without His Son. The Son and the Father must therefore have coexisted from all eternity, the Father eternally begetting the Son.” (ECD 237-238).

4. OF ONE SUBSTANCE WITH THE FATHER – “This asserts the full deity of the Son. “The Son, it implied, shared the very being or essence of the Father. He was therefore fully divine. Whatever belonged to or characterized the Godhead belonged to and characterized Him.” (ECD 238)

To ensure total condemnation of Arian theology, the anathemas were added to condemn phrases typically used in Arian catchwords or slogans. Continue reading “Nicene Trinitarian Theology: True God from True God; Of One Substance (Homoousios) with the Father”

Genesis 1:1 – The Correct Translation: “In the beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth” (KJV, ESV, NIV) vs “In the Beginning when God Created the Heavens and the Earth (NRSV, JPS).”

The standard translation takes Gen.1:1 to be an independent clause which refers to the absolute beginning of the universe: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The word bərēʾšît (beginning) denotes the start of a whole sequence of events, that is, the absolute beginning of “the heavens and the earth.” The phrase is a rhetorical device (merism) which combines two extremes in order to refer to everything in between them. The translation is consistent with the idea that God created the whole universe ex nihilo.

The NET Bible supports the traditional scholarship in its translators’ notes on Gen. 1:1 – “the translation assumes that the form translated “beginning” is in the absolute state rather than the construct (“in the beginning of,” or “when God created”). In other words, the clause in v. 1 is a main clause, v. 2 has three clauses that are descriptive and supply background information, and v. 3 begins the narrative sequence proper.”

This traditional interpretation has been dominant for centuries. However, it has recently been seriously challenged by scholars who are informed by historical criticism of the Pentateuch which began in the 19th century. Continue reading “Genesis 1:1 – The Correct Translation: “In the beginning, God Created the Heavens and the Earth” (KJV, ESV, NIV) vs “In the Beginning when God Created the Heavens and the Earth (NRSV, JPS).””

The Arian Heresy and the Council of Nicaea (AD 325)

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Kairos Podcast 6: Biblical-Nicene Trinitarianism vs Early Heresies. Part 4/6
Video Link – The Arian Heresy and the Council of Nicaea (AD 325)

Essence of Arianism: God the Father is absolutely unique and transcendent. Since the being or essence (ousia) of the Godhead is unique, transcendent and indivisible it cannot be shared or communicated. Therefore, whatever else exists must have come into existence by an act of God’s creation.

Deductions: 1) The Son must be a creature, 2) As a creature the Son must have a beginning, 3) The Son can have no communion with, and indeed no direct knowledge of His Father, 4) The Son must be liable to change and even sin.

Conclusion: The Son of God was not eternal, was not always with God, but was made by the Father before all time. Key phrase of Arianism: “there was [a time] when he was not.”

For Arianism, the Son of God is of similar substance/essence (homoiousios) with the Father.

Refutation by the Nicene Creed (325 AD): the Son of God is of the same substance/essence (homoousios) with the Father – “We believe…the Son of God, begotten from the Father, only-begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, of one substance with the Father.”