Emil Brunner on “instantaneous” resurrection 7

brunner_tvzI wrote years ago on a personal theory about “when” resurrection occurs in “’Soul Sleep’ or Immediate Resurrection?” Over the years it has, for obvious reasons, become a subject I have thought about often, but until this week no one had pointed out other scholars with similar views. I never thought I was original in my thinking, nor particularly articulate. This week Charles Miller commented on that previous post and shared this quote from Emil Brunner’s The Eternal Hope. I am not familiar with his work (a lacking in my education, clearly, and I am waiting for Jim West rightly to chastise me and hopefully offer a primer) but have ordered this volume and look forward to reading it. Brunner says what I was trying to articulate in a much more elegant manner:

It can be solved the moment we become clear that there is a before and after to the earthly world. Here on earth there is a before and an after and intervals of time which embrace centuries or even millenniums. But on the other side, in the world of the resurrection, in eternity, there are no such divisions of time, of this time which is perishable. The date of death differs for each man, for the day of death belongs to this world. Our day of resurrection is the same for all and yet is not separated from the day of death by intervals of centuries– for these time-intervals are here, not there in the presence of God, where a thousand years are as a day.

Eternal Hope, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1954), p. 152.

[I corrected the title. Charles had used the term “instantaneous” and I think it a much better term than “spontaneous.”]


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7 thoughts on “Emil Brunner on “instantaneous” resurrection

  • David Reimer

    This is F.F. Bruce’s view too, is it not? This post stirred a memory — and I found it! Here is a footnote from Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free (as published by Eerdmans, 1977 = Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit, Paternoster 1977 in the UK), p. 312 n. 40:

    The tension created by the postulated interval between death and resurrection might be relieved today if it were suggested that in the consciousness of the deaprted b eliever there is no interval between dissolution an dinvestiture, however long an interval might be measured by the calendar of earth-bound human history.

    He is commenting on 2 Cor 5 and 1 Cor 15, and there is more reflection on these matters in context.

    • charlesenancywmiller

      That is a good quote from Dr. Bruce, Mr. Reimer. W.D. Davies has a good book on the subject also. It is called Paul and Rabbinic Judaism. Frank Stagg’s book called New Testament Theology is also a good text. I must say that I enjoy our conversations with Chris Brady. All of you are fine scholars and I enjoy your company. God bless.

      Conservative Neo-Orthodox Charles Miller

        • charlesenancywmiller

          I see that you are an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, the sister organization of the United Methodist Church. It seems that your wife, Elizabeth, is a writer. My wife, Nancy, is in dental hygiene and was a professor at Old Dominion University. In October, I shall be sixty years old. Nancy is going to purchase for my birthday a James Moffatt Bible. I like the way it translates 2 Corinthians 5: 1-10. It seems more that the Apostle Paul is talking about instantaneous resurrection. I wrote my father’s funeral in 1985 and used those verses. The Rev. Scott Good was the minister. He said: It is my belief that today Charles Miller, aged fifty-six years, has a new body. In 2006, my mother went to be with the Lord. They must find the new heaven and new earth very beautiful. I have a question for you that is unrelated to this wonderful blog. Do you know about Dr. Francis Collins and the BioLogos Foundation. They believe that God through Jesus the Son created the universe through evolutionary creation, a conservative view of Theistic Evolution. I find the universe very interesting. Is it possible that our universe in an atom of a larger creation and that smaller atoms are in fact tiny universes. I often wonder about that. I also could believe in Progressive Creationism, a view held by Dr. David Snoke who is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh. God bless, Charles

  • charlesenancywmiller

    A number of years ago, I wrote Dr. Thomas G. Long of Candler School of Theology at Emery University. Dr. Long is very friendly and said the following to me: There are two images in the New Testament about what happens. First, The Resurrection Day, when the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised up incorruptible. If you only had that image, what we would imagine is that when people die, they lie in some intermediate state awaiting the great Resurrection Day. The other image, however, is that death contains no victory over us at all. As soon as we die, we are with God. We get this in the Book of Revelation where John looks up and already the saints who have died are praising God around the throne. In terms of linear time, we can’t work this out. We’ve got these two competing images. You either wait until the general resurrection or you go immediately to be with God. But the imposition of linear time on what is an eternal idea is what creates the contradiction. I don’t try to make a theologian out of Einstein, but he did show us that events that happen in sequence can also be events that happen simultaneously. If Einstein can image that in terms of physics, theologians can imagine it also in terms of the intrusion of eternity into linear time–that we are both immediately raised and raised together.

    I have believed this view long before I contacted Dr. Long. It was just nice to share our thoughts that we had. I have found it nice with you as well. Dr. Long was talking about Revelation, Chapter 7. I hope you find this interesting, Chris. You might want to know that I visited a friend of my late cousin, Alf Mapp, BA, LLD of Old Dominion University. He was the Rabbi Arthur Steinberg, who is Reform Jewish. We discussed some of the some things. This Methodist who is an erstwhile Cooperative Baptist really enjoyed it. I will keep you and Mrs. Brady in my prayers. Charles

  • Charles E. Miller

    Next Sunday is the celebration day of the Resurrection of our Lord. I wish everyone a Happy Easter. May God bless each and every one of you. Charles