Flesh and Blood: the Problem and the Solution

Flesh and Blood of the Word. From FlickrI have always puzzled over the language used by the Apostle Paul in describing the Christian life. My problem came in reading 1 Corinthians 15:50. The language seems so strange.

NAU 1 Corinthians 15:50: “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.”

In English a dead person cannot inherit anything.  Actually the dead persons property is inherited by those still alive.  In both Greek (NT) and Hebrew (OT) the word translated “inherit” frequently simply means “possess”.  By understanding the Bible language we can restate the text to “flesh and blood cannot possess the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable possess the imperishable”.

KJV Numbers 13:30 “And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.

The idiomatic phrase “flesh and blood” is used to describe living human beings.  Notice how Jesus used this expression in Matthew 16:17.

“And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Obviously, God is not “flesh and blood”.

Paul used the expression 4 times including 1 Corinthians 15:50.

Galatians 1:16 , “immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia..” Here Paul is referring to humans in contrast to God.

NAU Ephesians 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places .”

Clearly this separates supernatural forces from human powers.

KJV Hebrews 2:14 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;”

This text tells us that Jesus participated in humanity, i.e . flesh and blood.

Do we have to cease to be human to get into the kingdom?

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Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement

On September 6, 2008 following Dr. Ford’s presentation “Forensic Atonement Theory in Light of the Christian Gospel” at Loma Linda a distinguished panel engaged in a dialogue and discussed various aspects of the lecture.

Distinguished PanelThe panel was composed of scholars from La Sierra and Loma Linda Adventist Universities: Professor Fritz Guy and Professor Kendra Haloviak from La Sierra University School of religion, Larry Christoffel, Pastor of the Loma Linda campus Hill church and Professor Jon Paulien, Dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University, the moderator of the discussion.

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Dr. Jon PaulienJon Paulien, PhD: Let me introduce our members. We’ll be going a little less than an hour, and around 5 o’clock written questions will be delivered to me and by some magical system I will choose a few of those to share with the panel. …

Dr. F. GuyWe have Fritz Guy who is with us from La Sierra University – a systematic theologian, philosophical theologian, and one of my Professors at seminary, for which I will always be grateful.

Pastor Larry ChristoffelWe have Larry Christoffel, who is one of the pastors here at the campus Hill church. He will bring us, I think, a bit of a perspective of practical pastoral theology.

Dr. K. HaloviakTo my right is Kendra Haloviak, who I was deeply privileged to have as a student at the seminary. And sometimes your students go beyond you, and Kendra would be one of those who I’m very proud of. And she is at La Sierra University, and we share a specialty in the New Testament and in the book of Revelation in particular.

Dr. Desmond FordTo my left of course in the man of the hour [Dr. Desmond Ford] and I’d like to open this discussion with a short testimony. We have hardly ever met, I think just in passing a couple of times. So this is really our closest acquaintance. And I would like to tell you that growing up as a Seventh Day Adventist I was one of those weird children who spent a lot of time in the Bible, and kind of knew the Bible back and forth. I was even in New York City on some Bible quizzes and came out very successfully over the radio as a small child. But there were two books of the Bible that always troubled me. They were not Daniel and Revelation, they were Romans and Galatians. And it just seemed to me, if somehow those could be left out of the Bible, the Adventism I knew could be perfectly defended [laughter in the audience].

Continue reading Panel Discussion of Dr. Desmond Ford’s Presentation on Forensic Atonement