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Parousia

February 7, 2008 Leave a comment

It is interesting to see that the concept of “parousia” is applied to only some instances of this Greek word in the NT.

In the NIV 2-volume commentary, the authors explain that Jesus’ use of this word cannot be reconciled with Paul’s useage.

I know much less than these scholars, and I don’t read Greek, but something feels off about this interpretation. I sense that the Christian community has created an elaborate fiction surrounding what the Bible actually says about the end of history. The reason it is so popular is the same as why dinosaur stories are so popular. It’s on the order of urban legends, stories that feel real but actually aren’t.

The specifics of Jesus’ first bodily appearance on earth were not clear until after he lived, died, and was resurrected. To this day, devout Jews are open the the concept of multiple Messiahs, because if you don’t accept Christ as a fulfillment of OT prophecy, then it is not clear how all of those prophecies will be fulfilled.

In the same way, I don’t think that it is reasonable to conclude that our current understanding of parousia is sufficient or entirely accurate. It is an attempt to apply critical, scientific methods of understanding to a completely mysterious reality.

I am not saying that I don’t believe in Jesus’ return. The Bible makes it clear that this will happen. But I am saying that I’m sceptical of our current, most popular views of these future events.

Just because lots of smart, sincere people say a thing is true doesn’t make it accurate.

Categories: bible
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