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Something about atheists in Human Nature in its Fourfold State

Thomas Boston in Human Nature in its Fourfold State points out part of Satan's gospel is 'Ye shall not surely die." Which is part of what he said to Eve. And Boston goes on to say that unbelievers actually believe that. Or act as if they believe it. And not only will they not thirst in hell but will experience drunkenness. That's what they believe.

This made me think of one of the main things atheists do: they accuse believers of being afraid of death. They - the atheist - embrace the fact that they will die and go into 'nothingness' or annihilation. Supposedly they embrace this. We Christians, on the other hand, are too afraid to face this reality. Hence, we make up fairy tales, etc.

I've found that, though, whenever I engage atheists my best move is to say, "You guys don't really think you will go into nothingness when you die." And I press them on this, and I've always been a bit surprised to see how easily they admit that they really don't believe this but believe in some sort of reincarnation. Even the famous atheist Sam Harris says he's a Buddhist and believes in some kind of reincarnation.

So atheists are being dishonest when they say they embrace the fact of death and nothingness. They actually believe the devil's gospel that they surely will not die.

Christians know they will die, but that death has been defeated. Actually, to be honest, Christians have a sort of normal take on death. It's a mystery, it happens, it can be unpleasant, but everybody has gone there before everybody else, i.e. Christians aren't blustering or bluffing, nor are Christians buying the devil's line that we won't die. We are sort of leaning on the words of God regarding it all. In faith. For some a weak faith, for others a strong faith, yet faith nonetheless.


Anonymous monax said...

c.t., i tried to leave something for you at ja's blog but she's been screening me, so let me leave what i wrote for you here:

"c.t., monax gives you a holy kiss"

and then i wrote something about loving the light you face us with.


June 22, 2012 at 7:59 AM  
Anonymous monax said...

i like what i just read,

however, what's the Fourfold State of Human Nature?

what's that?

June 22, 2012 at 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a link to the PDF.


June 22, 2012 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Thank you for that, monax.

Human Nature in its Fourfold State is a book written by Scottish theologian Thomas Boston in the 1700s structured on the four states of man:

Man in a state of innocence (in the Garden)

Man in the state of sin (after the Fall)

Man in the state of regeneration (after being born again by the word and the Spirit)

And Man in the state of glorification in heaven, or, of course, judged to hell (after physical death)

Another way to see the four states is by their relation to sin.

Adam in the Garden was 'able to sin, able to not sin'.

Fallen man is 'able to sin, unable to not sin'.

Regenerated man is 'able to sin, able to not sin'.

Glorified man is 'unable to sin.' This last state is a new state, higher than the state the original Adam was in.

These four states of man are famous from Augustine's writings, and they were also given confessional status by being included in the Westminster Confession of Faith, in Chapter 9, Of Free Will.

June 22, 2012 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

Thanks for posting that link, anonymous.

Here's a short post I wrote six years ago on some common category mistakes people make based on not knowing these four states of man:


That post actually touches on some of the issues at Julie Anne's blog.

June 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM  
Blogger c.t. said...

The original post these comments are under is a little bit confusing I admit. Here is a paragraph where I tried to sort out how perhaps atheists are forced to think about death:

"An atheist would have to both deny death so as to deny the existence of Satan and the power of Satan regarding death, while also embracing death as going into 'nothingness' forever to deny Jesus and to deny the resurrection of Jesus and the saints. Maybe that's it. (Then for their own real beliefs - unconscious beliefs - they are relying on recurrence, which they see as reincarnation, for a comforting thought about it all."

'Recurrence', as I referenced it, is a theory that unlike reincarnation a person actually 'comes back' as themself in their same time, same life, perhaps with slight differences depending on any essential change they might have experienced (though in higher aspects of time which we can't perceive it's not really a 'revolving', but that's how we can only think of it). I'm just saying what atheists might believe, even at a level where they are not really even 'thinking' it consciously.

But this doctrine of Satan about you shall surely not die, we see it in New Age language and elsewhere, "you are immortal, you are beings of light and immortal," and so on.

June 22, 2012 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous monax said...

c.t., i know and embrace those four categories!

saved the pdf for future reference, thanks

June 22, 2012 at 12:11 PM  
Anonymous monax said...

'What are we without the help of that which does not exist?' ~ Valery

June 22, 2012 at 12:14 PM  

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