procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

pre-incarnate souls?

a couple of years ago a friend asked whether i believed we all existed eternally. whether 'you' and 'i' were beings, in the broadest sense possible, since before the creation of the world, and existing until after it's wrapped up again.

he was come from a broadly 'spiritualist' position i guess, partly buddhist, partly hindu, partly his own thinking - your average 'western spiritualist' for lack of a better category.

i went straight to Ephesians 1 -
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, in Christ; 4 for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love 5 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favour and will, 6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favoured us with in the Beloved.

- and i sort of agreed with him, that we were in some sense 'existent', in that we were an idea in God's 'mind', thus in some sense, sure, we are before and after all created 'stuff'.

i hadn't thought about it much since then until this morning, rereading this passage, plus the thinking i've done since reading The Fire that Consumes: A Biblical and Historical Study of the Doctrine of Final Punishment by Edward Fudge.

although not coming to the same conclusions as him regarding hell (see this post among others over at Soli-Deo-Honoria for some great thoughts on this), i appreciate his courage to question the axiom of eternal human souls.

and as i re-read Ephesians 1:1-2:10, i feel that it's not so much about us, as about Christ; that to draw too much out regarding ourselves is not being faithful to the passage. it feels as though the gist is 'because of Jesus, the fate of anyone who is linked to him is as if they were there with Jesus before creation, so secure is their fate.'

i wouldn't want to push this too far, but to say that i'm not so certain we are pre-existent sprites, who for a time inhabit human frames, being incarnate for a time until we are released again into a spiritual reality, much like the gnostics and other spiritualists would conjecture.

indeed, any spiritual existence, if any, is for the short time between our deaths and the new creation, when we will again be bodily beings.

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