Saturday, November 24, 2007

Russians, Drug Abuse and Death

In addition to factors (crime and alcohol abuse) that account for a life expectancy of 59 years for males and 73 years for females, Russia is now faced with another problem that is wiping out its population. According to Wikipedia, Russia has the highest growth rate of HIV/AIDS outside of Sub-Saharan Africa. But that is not what I am going to say is wiping out its population. Drug addiction is killing approximately 80,000 Russians per year. Because of its geography, Russia is an optimum place for drug trafficking to occur. As a result, many people are becoming addicted to drugs and dying from the abuse of controlled substances. Human Rights Watch is very concerned about the situation in Russia. They want the government of Russia to improve drug treatment schemes which include counseling and medicating patients in an appropriate manner. The death rate from drug abuse in Russia is evidently just another indication that we are living in the last days of this depraved world (2 Timothy 3:1-5).


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Infant Deaths and the United States

The Associated Press has reported that the United States is among the worst nation in terms of infant deaths. Despite the fact that America has "more neonatologists and newborn intensive care beds per person than Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom," the death rate for infants is still among the worst. Granted, the rate for infant mortality in the United States has decreased over the past 50 years. However, it seems hard to believe that a developed nation like America has 7 babies to die for every 1,000 births. Why is infant death such a problem in the United States? Experts attribute the problem to socioeconomic disparities which affect the type of health care that minorities and other poor folks receive. Despite the bleak picture in the United States, however, Africa has an even worse situation when it comes to infant mortality. In some parts of Africa, the infant mortality rate is 144 per 1,000 births. Could infant mortality be another indication that the times in which we live are "critical"?


Sunday, November 11, 2007

World War II and Matthew 24:6-7

Some people think that the world is getting better. They argue that we are far from seeing the fulfillment of Jesus' eschatological prophecy contained in Matthew 24. However, historians and other students of world events think that something momentous happened in the twentieth century, even if these academics do not agree on the significance of particular events that transpired during the twentieth century. For instance, we read:

"Although World War I has been described as a total war, World War II was even more so and was fought on a scale unprecedented in history. The entire populations of warring countries were involved: as combatants; as workers in wartime industries; as civilians who suffered invasion, occupation, and aerial bombing; or as victims of persecution and mass extermination. The world had never witnessed such widespread human-made death and destruction" (_Western Civilization_, Jackson J. Spielvogel, 973).

Not only were World Wars I or II signs that humanity was in for a drastic change, but subsequent events would imply that we are living in a significant time period. In the future, I will submit other posts that will demonstrate that life in this world is not getting qualitatively better.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lewis Ayres on the Cappadocian Use of TROPOS hUPARXEWS

One of the most recent historical studies on the Trinity doctrine has this to say about the terminology TROPOS hUPARXEWS as it is utilized by the Cappadocians:

"In Chapter 8 I noted that in Basil the phrase TROPOS hUPARXEWS served
to identify not a metaphysically dense notion of personhood but merely
the mode of origination of the persons. In Gregory of Nyssa the phrase
is more frequently used, but with equal austerity of meaning (and
directly still only of Son and Spirit). What we know of the persons is
their modes of origination and the characteristics attributed to them
by Scripture--as long as all attributes are understood to be those of
the one simple Godhead" (Lewis Ayres, Nicaea and its Legacy: An
Approach to Fourth-Century Trinitarian Theology
, Oxford and New York:
Oxford University Press, 2004, page 359).

Friday, November 02, 2007


My studies have suggested that PAROUSIA and ERXOMAI
are not semantically identical nor are they interchangeable per se.
But I do believe that PAROUSIA, like ERXOMAI, may mean "arrival" in
certain contexts. It certainly refers to the visit of
important personages in the papyri.

BDAG points out that PAROUSIA can mean (1) "the state
of being present at a place, presence" or (2) "arrival
as the first stage in presence, coming, advent."

Sense (1) is clearly found at Phil 2:12 where Paul
contrasts his own PAROUSIA with his APOUSIA. 1 Cor
16:17; 2 Cor 10:10 also seem to be examples of
PAROUSIA being used to mean "presence," though some
think it may signify "arrival" in Paul's first letter
to the Corinthians. See _The New Linguistic and
Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament_, pg. 391.
But compare Marion L. Soards _1 Corinthians_ (New
International Biblical Commentary), p. 364.

BDAG suggests that PAROUSIA in 2 Cor 7:6 and Phil 1:26
refers to the "coming" of Titus or Paul. However, one
can just as well understand PAROUSIA in the said
verses as "presence" or "the state of being present at
a place." See Moises Silva's _Philippians (The
Wycliffe Exegetical Commentary), pp. 86-87. To see
examples of PAROUSIA employed as a TECHNICUS TERMINUS
for both Christians and non-Christians, consult
Moulton-Milligan, p. 497.

Regarding the use of PAROUSIA as a TECHNICUS TERMINUS
for the "presence" of Jesus Christ, I find N.T.
Wright's comments enlightening:

"But why should we think--except for reasons of
ecclesiastical and scholarly tradition--that PAROUSIA
means 'the second coming,' and/or the downward
travel on a cloud of Jesus and/or the 'son of man'?
PAROUSIA means 'presence' as opposed to APOUSIA,
'absence'; hence it denotes the 'arrival' of
someone not at the moment present; and it is
especially used in relation to the visit 'of a royal
or official personage.' Until evidence for a different
meaning is produced, this should be our starting-point"
(_Jesus and the Victory of God_, page 341).

What does Wright mean by the "arrival" of Christ,
however. In that same publication, he makes it clear
that he is referring to the "enthronement" of Christ
and not to his Second Advent:

"For the ordinary sense of 'arrival', cf. 1 Cor.
16:17; 2 Cor. 7:6, 7; 10:10; Phil. 1:26; 2:12. From
this, the most natural meaning for the word as applied
to Jesus would be something like 'arrival on the
scene,' in the sense of enthronement" (ibid).

TDNT makes the point even clearer in its treatment of

Finally, Louw-Nida shows that ERXOMAI can denote: "to
move from one place to another, either coming or
going." Abbott-Smith has similar comments.