Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thoughts on Raising the Dead

I came across a video of a colleague stating that Christians can have the ability to raise the dead. He cited the passage in Matthew where Jesus sent out the disciples as his proof text. He said God wants us to raise people from the dead.

I don't know if I agree. For one thing, why would the dead want to come back to this earth? If I was in heaven I think I would be quite content. I don't think I would have a desire to come back. Rather, I would want the people back on earth to join me!

Whenever I hear about the raising of the dead in our time I have questions like the one I just posed. I have questions like that because I look at these facts from the Bible.

Before Jesus died on the cross the Old Testament describes the place of the dead as Sheol. Your King James translates Sheol as hell. But the Hebrew meaning is simply the place of the dead. It wasn't a pleasent place, but it wasn't viewed as a torturous place either, at least to my understanding.

Of course, if you were in Sheol, you would long to be back on earth, alive again. But after Jesus died and rose again things changed. Paul writes that to die is to be with Christ. I take that to mean that when we die we are in heaven with God. The alternative, then is hell. If you are in hell then God's judgement is already cast upon you, you cannot get back out! So when we raise someone from the dead then why pratel (sp?) do we think we can bring them back, or they would want to come back?

Of course, this does not answer the instances where Paul brought the young man back to life who fell out the window or other instances. This is a theological puzzle for me. If I die and find myself in heaven, then why would I come back? If I was in hell, and God's judgement already given, then how could I be brought back? For a second chance? That doesn't make sense because after you are in hell there are no second chances.

So my theological question is... when Paul rose that young man from the dead, from where did he raise him from? When we say we can raise people fromthe dead, from which dead place do they come from?

Why do I write this? We are told to test the teaching of others with the word of God, to question, to probe for ourselves the truths of God's word. This is what I am attempting to do. So, anyway, what do you think is the answer to this theological dilemma?

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