Wednesday, November 12, 2014

An Old Reply to Rob Bowman Concerning the Meaning of "Life"

ROB: The eternal state of the wicked is not properly called "life." To have life means to participate in a realm where relationships with others is possible. For example, to be physically alive means to participate in the physical realm where relationships with other physical beings, especially other human beings, is possible. The wicked will not have life; they will be cut off from everything and everyone.

EDGAR's REPLY: Come now, Rob. I cannot believe that you are concocting an arbitrary definition of life to explain how the wicked can exist forever and yet be devoid of life. Rudolf Bultmann writes that ζωὴ "denotes in Greek the physical vitality of organic beings, animals, men, and also plants. Life is understood, not as a thing, but as vitality, as the nature or manner which characterizes all living creatures as such" (TDNT 2:832).

BAGD says that βίος can have the sense of "life in its appearance and manifestations" (141). The Greek word is used to describe "earthly life in its functions and its duration"; "of manner of life"; "means of subsistence" (BAGD 141-142).

See Luke 8:14; 2 Tim. 2:4; 1 John 3:18; 5:20.

Based on the lexical and conceptual evidence we have at our disposal, I cannot accept your arbitrary definition of life, Rob. Even if a person is incapable of having relationships with anyone, it still doesn't mean that he or she is not alive. The same thing can be said for a solitary animal or tree in a wilderness, so your definition of life does not work. If the wicked are consciously separated from God for all eternity, then they would be alive for all eternity. Life is not limited to relationships or the capability thereof.


Duncan said...

I presume this is a "hell" argument. In the Hebraic sense the breath is the life. No breath or visible perception thereof = death.

An integrated system.

JimSpace said...

Thanks Duncan for that link. That's one of my favorite websites.

I wonder if this Trinitarian apologist considers people in comas to be dead?

Then again, another Trinitarian apologist from the Dallas Theological Seminary has publicly declared on his blog that Trinitarianism is supported by intellectual absenteeism. So people in comas would make the best Trinitarians, but according to Robert Bowman, they are dead. The irony is as comical as it is astronomical!

Duncan said...


Trinitarian arguments usually end up unwittingly becoming a defence for modalism. Its fairly unavoidable.

Sheol in the Hebraic thinking is the no place of no thought.

"The Ancient Hebrews did not know where or even what she'ol was. To them it was an unknown place hence, the use of a word related to sha'al meaning "unknown." It should also be noted that the Ancient Hebrews never speculated on something unknown, it was simply not known and left at that.... It is our Greco-Roman western mindset that needs to know where and what she'ol is."

JimSpace said...

Yes, Trinitarianism frequently resides between Scylla and Charybdis.