Is death an enemy, an evidence of a horrendous evil still operative in our world? Has death been defeated, or does it wait for a final defeat? Resurrection awaits us, yes, but we still must die if our end comes before Christ’s return, and if this is so, what is our posture toward death when it comes?
This is the tension, and it is a tension that I believe needs further nuance and greater care. When we say that the body is mortal, we concede we live with this reality in view, and we must ascribe to this reality a reason for its presence. Death is coming, for the world we have been born into is not as it should be. The enemy, death, remains, though that enemy has been defeated, so that when death comes, it can be received not with despair, but with triumph. Triumph comes by way of Christ and his resurrection, who is the first fruits of the resurrection to come. Though Mr. Anderson asserts the reality of a future hope, asserting strongly a belief in the resurrection, he needs to develop an eschatological line of reasoning, one that develops death as consequence of sin, Christ as victorious over death in the cross, the resurrection as an evidence of future hope, and that future hope as determinative for how we can live without fear of death in the present. Ultimate hope shapes present outlook, including my view of the body and how I am to live while I remain within it. Paul’s remaining in the flesh, I believe, was shaped by just this kind of conviction, as was his posture toward death. Death would come, whenever the Lord so appointed. Until that day came, however, he could joyfully proclaim what he knew to be true concerning Jesus.
I’m curious to hear from you if you’ve read it. What make you of his critique?