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We finish up Chapter 5 of Christopher Southgate’s The Groaning of Creation.
One of the things that our group has learned, especially in this chapter, is how theology can be so speculative. This proves to be true when dealing with a possible afterlife of animals. This in turn transfers over to the speculative nature of what happens after death for humans as well. In other words, there’s a whole lot of guessing and head-scratching involved, and including animals into the mix complicates it way more.
In Christian tradition or theology, it seems someone clear-cut as to what happens after death since we rely heavily upon the Bible as to what happens. However, when you dig deeper, you will see that it is not so clear-cut as you would’ve liked it to have been. For instance, early in the Old Testament there was a belief that all living souls went to an under-realm for the dead called “Sheol” which was very different from more popular understandings of heaven or the afterlife. A post-mortem existence and possible afterlife and a resurrection of the dead appears in the post-exilic portion of the Old Testament (the book of Daniel in particular) that is further developed first by the writings of Paul and then the later gospel writings to varying degrees.
In other words, the Bible carries within it multiple views of what happens after death. Even sparser or non-existent are what happens to animals after death.
Here are our essays related to these topics.
We will finish Chapter 5 of The Groaning of Creation.
Please answer one of the following questions:
Throughout my life I’ve experienced a wide range of beliefs: from Evangelical to agnostic, then to atheist, then a period of dabbling in Eastern religions, to Pentecostal, then to Presbyterian/Calvinist, and now, well, to where I am today let’s just say.
Once you think you have grasped a firm understanding of God, you come across something that catches you off-guard and makes you re-evaluate everything you’ve believed in. As St. Augustine once said, “God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand, you have failed.“
Over the recent years, as I have delved a bit more into the scientific underpinnings of God and theology, as well as my ruminations of the Bible, I’ve adopted more of a “non-interventionist” viewpoint of God.