Monday, April 27, 2009

Heaven and Hell: the only difference is a mediator

Ligon Duncan has recently written:

It is a surprising thing to note, because so often we speak of hell as a place where God is not. Let me, however, say something provocative. Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God, with a mediator. Hell is eternity in the presence of God, being fully conscious of the just, holy, righteous, good, kind, and loving Father’s disapproval of your rebellion and wickedness. Heaven, on the other hand, is dwelling in the conscious awareness of your holy and righteous Father, but doing so through a mediator who died in your place, the One who absorbed the fullness of the penalty of your sin. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with the One who totally eradicated sin from your life, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hell is eternity in the presence of God without a mediator. Heaven is eternity in the presence of God with a mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

HT: Dave Bish, Tim Challies.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Narnia Code

Hugely enjoyed watching the Narnia Code last night on BBC1. Not only was it great to see Spud (Michael Ward) on TV in something other than a Bond Movie, but more importantly fantastic to have a programme on TV that was so unapologetically God-glorifying.
As well as the thesis of Planet Narnia being fascinating and compelling (that Lewis structured the plots of the seven Narnia books and the depiction of Aslan within those books around the characteristics of the seven planets of medieval cosmology) but more importantly it opened up a very useful line of dialogue with the New Atheism.
Whereas Atheism starts its understanding of the world from the "basic building blocks" of matter, energy and time, and then somehow asks how on earth these things randomly generated something as extraordinary as consciousness, Lewis starts at the other end. The fundamental thing is consciousness (cogito ergo sum). Everything else must be explained in terms of its relation to consciousness.

In fact, what is science apart from an experiment of the imagination, trying to see how this world relates to particular ideas? The study of the world may be dependent upon science, but the existence of science is entirely dependent upon the existence of imaginative beings.

I consider this a far more fruitful line of conversation than the (still useful and compelling) intelligent design arguments, that seem to give away the premise that we must start with the same toolbox as the atheistic materialists.