When one hears and thinks of the word “resurrection,” one’s mind tends to immediately think of other concepts that surround and reinforce it; eternal life, God’s victory over death, glory, celebration. All of these thoughts usually congeal around a positive attitude. But what happens if we actually view the concept resurrection not just through Easter, but through the eyes, mind, and teaching of Jesus?
Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation. –John 5:28-29
From this statement of Jesus we can surmise that for some or many, resurrection may not be all it’s cut out to be. But who among us really believes that they will be part of the resurrection of “damnation?” We automatically assume that we are part of the “life” camp. Preston Harold may give us pause to question our certainties on this issue. He begins by giving us an excellent theology of inevitable sins within the context of life:
There is that in every person’s life that he knows to be damnable, knows to be corrupting… But all his sinning is not so easily bedamned, so wantonly forgot – nor can it be ceased, for there is not the will in him to have done with it at the time; even when what might be called “an episode of sin” is over, he cannot truly regret it – the experience has raised the level of his understanding and he would not possess less. He can say of such sin only this: “I did it knowing it was wrong, but I cannot regret that I did it; I know now, however, that I could not bring myself to do this again because I know its cost to me and to others.” Such experience represents, in truth, a lesson learned.
But here is where the rubber hits the road. Harold goes deep:
But there are other deeds that even though they have brought new understanding, one must regret to the end of his life and in the very-depths of his being, saying of them, “god be merciful to me, a sinner,” as though to pray, “forgive me this terrible toll of life I have taken, toll of my own life and of another’s, for which I shall be bitterly sorry in every breath I draw now and forever.” Or he quickly represses and forgets the sin he cannot forgive himself – the sin that must await the resurrection of damnation.
…there are sins that blaspheme the preciousness of life itself – these are unforgivable because a man cannot bring himself to forgive himself: they sever his connection with his own Authority-Ego and still the voice of the ego-member in the world of selves, as Judas’ voice was stilled.
Jesus says…in part of a statement in itself contradictory: “I tell you, therefore, men will be forgiven any sin and blasphemy, but they will not be forgiven for blaspheming the Spirit. Whoever says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the holy Spirit will never be forgiven, neither in this world or the world to come.”
First, Jesus says man will be forgiven any sin and blasphemy. Then, any is contradicted – man is not forgiven for blaspheming the holy Spirit. Is the holy Spirit not life itself? Who can live without in some way at some time cursing or reviling life? Is true repentance of no account? What, exactly is the mortal sin?
It is this question we explore in the next installment. Until then, peace.