3. Old Testament’s Book of Genesis and Book of Exodus

In my rereading of selections from Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program, I’ve reached the Bible’s Book of Genesis and Book of Exodus. They constitute the third reading in the fourth volume of The Great Ideas Program, Religion and Theology by Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961).

Adler and Cain introduce the reading by describing Abraham and Moses, identifying the former as “a patriarchal ancestor” and the latter as “the founder of a people and a religion.” They conclude their introduction thus:

The Bible deals with the whole of human life as imbued with religion: mating and begetting, war and work, historical events and communal acts. In the Bible, domestic, ethical, and political activity‒as well as religious worship‒express and embody the service and imitation of God. These early books of the Bible help us to realize the full scope of the religious life. ( Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain, Religion and Theology, volume 4 of The Great Ideas Program, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961, page 32)

Adler and Cain go on to explain what the Old Testament is and why they chose the passages that they did for the reading, to seek the “special Old Testament version of the relation between God and man” (Adler and Cain, Religion and Theology, page 34). Next they comment on the passages which they’ve chosen from Genesis about Abraham‒12:1-9; 13:14-18; 15; 17; 18:17-33; and 22:1-19. Then they comment on the passages which they’ve chosen from Exodus about Moses‒3-4 and about the Israelites‒6:1-8; 14-15; 19-20; and 24. Finally they ask and discuss some questions about the passages. Here I’ll just pose the questions which they ask and summarize what they say in response to the questions.

What, exactly, is a covenant, in the Biblical sense?
Adler and Cain had considered the Covenant on Mount Sinai in their earlier comments. Here they look at a few other covenants in the Bible, most between a higher party and a lower party. They describe the one at Mount Sinai as “a binding relationship with a people, bestowed by the higher power [God]. The higher power rules and guides; the lower one serves and obeys.” (Adler and Cain, page 42)

What is the religious meaning of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac?
Adler and Cain identify the two main interpretations of the episode, one seeing it as an advance from human sacrifice to animal sacrifice and the other stressing Abraham’s utter obedience and trust.

Is Old Testament religion essentially personal or communal?
Adler and Cain note that, although the experiences of Abraham and Moses were personal, they were done in the context of Abraham’s seed and the people. They ask a number of questions on the personal and communal elements of religion.

What does the name I AM THAT I AM mean?
Adler and Cain identify and discuss the two main interpretations of God’s giving it as His name, one holding that He is announcing Himself as eternal being (I AM) and the other that He is announcing His continual presence with Israel.

How can the God of one people be the God of the whole world?
Adler and Cain reword the question “[Is] the idea of a special revelation of the Eternal Being to a particular people at a particular place and time…not offensive to reason‒especially when the claim is made that this revelation discloses God’s nature, will, and purpose for all men at all times and places?” and discuss it at length.

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2. Plato’s Euthyphro and Laws

The relation between the good and the holy, between the ethical and the religious, has perplexed men for thousands of years. Is holiness or piety a matter mainly of ceremonial correctness and ritual purity, or is it above all a righteous life? Does the ultimate power over things care what men do or do not do on this earth? Why do the wicked prosper if there is a righteous divinity overseeing things? Plato takes up these and other questions in the Euthyphro and in the famous Book X of Laws. (Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain, Religion and Theology, volume 4 of The Great Ideas Program, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961, page 17)

In my rereading of selections from Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program, I’ve reached Plato’s Euthyphro and Laws. They constitute the second reading in the fourth volume of The Great Ideas Program, Religion and Theology by Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961).

After a brief introduction, which opens with the passage quoted above, Adler and Cain (I) explain why Euthyphro charged his father with murder, (II) summarize Socrates and Euthyphro’s discussion of piety in Euthyphro, (III) present Plato’s views on religion given in Book X of Laws, and (IV) ask and consider six specific questions on religion raised in Euthyphro and Laws. Here I’ll identify Plato, summarize briefly what Adler and Cain say in (I) to (III), and pose the questions which they ask in (IV).

Plato

Plato was a Greek philosopher who lived in the city-state of Athens from 428/427 to 348/347 B.C. For several years he operated a school of higher education, called the Academy, in his home. He composed a number of dialogues in which an earlier philosopher, Socrates, discusses philosophical topics with various people.

Euthyphro

Socrates and Euthyphro meet on the porch of the chief magistrate of Athens in charge of religious matters. Socrates is there for preliminary hearings on a charge of impiety, and Euthyphro is there to lay a charge of murder against his father. A field labourer on the father’s estate had died of neglect while being held for the murder of a domestic servant. Viewing his father as responsible for the labourer’s death and thus involved in religious pollution, Euthyphro thinks that he must prosecute him even though he is his father.

Socrates and Euthyphro’s Discussion of Piety

In the discussion Socrates tries to arrive at a general definition of piety. Euthyphro auggests, “Piety, then, is that which is dear to the gods, and impiety is that which is not dear to them” (Plato, Euthyphro, Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952, volume 7, page 193). Under questioning by Socrates, he suggests two alternate definitions of piety, “Piety or holiness, Socrates, appears to me to be that part of justice which attends to the gods, as there is the other part of justice which attends to men” (in the same work, page 197) and “piety or holiness is learning how to please the gods in word and deed, by prayers and sacrifices” (in the same work, page 198). However before leaving, he returns to his first definition, that piety is what is pleasing to the gods.

Plato’s Views of Religion in Laws

The people engaged in dialogue in Laws are an Athenian stranger with experience somewhat like Plato’s, Cleinias (a Cretan), and Megillus (a Lacedaemonian). Book X deals with religion and theology and is the only systematic presentation of Plato’s views on religion. The Athenian argues against three positions which he thinks are irreligious: (1) that Gods do not exist, (2) that if they do, they don’t care for man, and (3) that they may be swayed by sacrifice and prayer. He also considers the penalties that should be meted out to those who hold these positions.

Questions

Should filial piety outweigh all other religious and ethical considerations?

What kind of service should men render the gods?

Are the mental aspects of reality primary, rather than the physical?

Is the world ruled by a supreme will?

Does God care about human affairs?

Do sacrifice and prayers have any ethical and religious value?

3. Archimedes’s Equilibrium of Planes

The names of many ancient mathematicians and scientists are quite unfamiliar to most of us. But there is one shining exception‒Archimedes of Syracuse. His name usually brings to mind a man sitting in a bathtub with the water running over, then running out into the streets unclad, crying “Eureka (I have found it),” the “it” being the answer ro a scientific problem. We like to think of him as typical of the man of science who is so immersed in his studies that he pays no attention to his surroundings. We also remember Archimedes’ famous boast: “Give me a fulcrum (a place to rest a lever on), and I will move the earth.” (Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff, Foundations of Science and Mathematics, volume 3 of The Great Ideas Program, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960, page 33)

In my rereading of selections from Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program, I’ve reached the third reading in the third volume of The Great Ideas Program, Foundations of Science and Mathematics by Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960), Archimedes’s On the Equilibrium of Planes. Adler and Wolff consider the first seven propositions in Book One of On the Equilibrium of Planes and divide their study of them into these sections:
I ‒ a consideration of what the subject of the book is; after observing that it is neither a purely mathematic treatise nor an introduction to experimental natural science, they describe as an example of mathematical physics.
II ‒ a discussion of how a book about physics can get along without any experiments; they conclude that they aren’t necessary because “The Equilibrium of Planes takes existing experimental and observational knowledge and, with the help of mathematics tools, refines it and recasts it in different language” (Adler and Wolff, page 37).
III ‒ a close look at Propositions 6 and 7, which together constitute the Law of the Lever. They show how Propositions 1-5 prepare for Propositions 6-7; then they assign numerical values to the weights and distances involved in Proposition 6 and go through Archimedes’s proof of it (I got stuck going through Archimedes’s proof but was able to follow Adler and Wolff’s explanation of it); and finally they use Proposition 6 to prove Proposition 7.
IV – a presentation and discussion of three questions on the reading; see below.

Here I’ll identify Archimedes, present the questions which Adler and Wolff present on On the Equilibrium of Planes, and indicate how Adler and Wolff answer the questions.

Archimedes

Archimedes was born in the Greek city-state of Syracuse around 287 B.C. As a young man he spent some time in Egypt, where he may have studied with the pupils of Euclid in Alexandria and where he invented the water-screw as a means of drawing water out of the Nile for irrigating the fields. His mechanical inventions won great fame for him and figure largely in the traditions about him, such as those referred to in the passage from Adler and Wolff with which I introduced this article. However, except for a lost work On Sphere-Making, he wrote only on strictly mathematics subjects. His absorption in his mathematical investigations that he forgot his food and neglected his person. It may even have caused his death. “In the general massacre which followed the capture of Syracuse by Marcellus in 212 B.C., Archimedes was so intent upon a mathematical diagram that he took no notice, and when ordered by a soldier to attend the victorious general, he refused until he should have solved his problem, whereupon he was slain byb the enraged soldier” (Great Books of the Western World, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1952, volume 11, page 400).

Questions

– What are the assumptions underlying Archimedes’ proof of Proposition 6?
Archimedes doesn’t define “centre of gravity” but seems to use two different meanings for it. “The first meaning, used in Propositions 4 and 5, is apparently that of a point of balance, or the point at which a fulcrum should be located in order to balance a system of weights.… The second meaning [which is used in Proposition 6] is a point at which we imagine the entire weight of a body or system of bodies concentrated” (Adler and Wolff, page 41). In Proposition 6 it has to be assumed that both meanings are the same.
– Why must there be two proofs of the Law of the Lever, one for commensurable and one for incommensurable magnitudes?
Adler and Wolff give a lengthy explanation, which includes: “Archimedes’ proof of Proposition 6 depends on finding a common measure of weights A and B and dividing each of them into parts equal to the common measure. These equal parts are then strung out along the line LK. It is obvious that this method of proof will not work for incommensurable magnitudes, since by definition tehy have no common measure.” (Adler and Wolff, pages 43-44)
– What is the Law of the Lever for magnitudes that do not balance?
Adler and Wolff show that Archimedes seems to know it in proving Proposition 7 and express it in modern terms as “The side with the smaller moment will rise, while the side with the larger moment will be depressed,” where the moment (of force) is “the product of the weight and the distance from the fulcrum at which that weight is applied.” (Adler and Wolff, page 45)

1. Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound

Divine power has not always been regarded as just and beneficent. The tension between the divine and the human is a perennial problem. Aeschylus, the Greek tragedian, has dramatized this tension by staging the myth of Prometheus, the Greek hero, or demigod, who was cruelly punished by Zeus for bringing culture to mankind. This myth of the benefactor of man, chained to a rock and tortured for countless ages but always maintaining his defiance of the supreme power, has stirred the imagination of readers for thousands of years. (Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain, Religion and Theology, volume 4 of The Great Ideas Program, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961, page 1)

In my rereading of selections from Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program, I’ve reached Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. It is the first reading in the fourth volume of The Great Ideas Program, Religion and Theology by Mortimer J. Adler and Seymour Cain (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1961).

Adler and Cain introduce their study of Prometheus Bound with the above quotation and the presentation of some basic religious problems raised by Prometheus Bound. They go on to: (I) describe the mythical background of Prometheus Bound, (II) outline Prometheus Bound, (III) discuss what Prometheus Bound says about the nature of the ultimate power in the universe and of man’s relation to that power, (IV) compare Prometheus Bound and the book of Job, and (V) pose and discuss three questions. Here I’ll identify Aeschylus and share briefly from Adler and Cain’s study.

Aeschylus

Aeschylus was a Greek poet who lived in Athens around 525-456 B.C. He write more than eighty plays, of which seven (including Prometheus Bound) survive. He is regarded as the founder of Greek tragedy because he added a second actor to the single actor and chorus previously employed. He won the prize at the annual contest in tragedy at the festival of the City Dionysia at least twelve times. He is noted for the religious element in his tragedies.

Mythical Background of Prometheus Bound

Essential parts of the mythical background of Prometheus Bound are that Zeus is the supreme ruler of the gods; that Prometheus, one of the gods under Zeus, angered him by stealing fire from heaven and bringing it to men and by teaching men all the useful arts for maintaining themselves on earth; and that Zeus punished Prometheus by having him chained to a rock on Mt. Caucasus, where an eagle ate his liver every day and it was restored at night.

Plot of Prometheus Bound

The play opens with Kratos and Bia bringing in Prometheus and holding him while Hephaestus, the divine smith, shackles him to a rock. It closes with Prometheus (and, because of their loyalty to him, the daughters of Oceanus) sinking into the abyss. Others appearing are Oceanus, the god of the water which surround the earth, who offers to intercede with Zeus on Prometheus’s behalf; Io, a girl with whom Zeus had fallen in love and turned into a heifer to protect her from the wrath of his wife Hera and who is now being driven by a gadfly sent by Hera to wander over the face of the earth; and Hermes, the messenger of Zeus, who threatens Prometheus with horrible punishment unless he reveals a secret which he knows about Zeus’s future.

What Prometheus Bound says about the nature of the ultimate power in the universe and of man’s relation to that power

Adler and Cain discuss whether Zeus is the ultimate power. They observe that in the play he is “overpowering force, not only omnipotent, but tyrannical, merciless, and unjust” (Adler and Cain, page 6). However they also present evidence to show that he is bound by Fate or Necessity, that his power is not eternal, and that he is not omniscient.

Adler and Cain also discuss the characteristics of Prometheus and why he protests against the divine power. They note these interpretations: he is “the benevolent enlightener of mankind and the defiant protagonist of spiritual liberty against a divine tyrant”; he is “a tragic hero of noble character who falls through the defect of self-willed pride”; or he is “a heavenly being who tries to ursurp the supreme power, in this case for the good of mankind” (Adler and Cain, page 10). They conclude that perhaps none of the interpretations is quite true.

Prometheus Unbound and the Book of Job

The Great Ideas Program considered the Book of Job in an earlier volume. See https://opentheism.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/7-the-bibles-book-of-job/. Here Adler and Cain discuss how the Book of Job deals with the problem of the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked in a world ruled over by a Good of righteousness and compare Prometheus and Job,

In the latter Adler and Cain begin their comparison of Prometheus and Job by observing that there is one basic similarity between them‒both question the sufferings they are forced to endure. Then Adler and Cain show how Prometheus and Job have different attitudes: Prometheus complains about the injustice of his punishment but doesn’t expect justice from Zeus, whom he views as the Enemy, but Job’s resistance is that of a man of faith who can’t understand why he is suffering so when God is the Friend. Finally Adler and Cain show the different ends for Job and Prometheus, Job’s accepting (“I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes,” Job 42:6, ESV) and being rewarded with earthly happiness and Prometheus’s remaining intransigent and being punished with endless torment.

Questions

Is it right or wrong to rebel against divine power?

\What is the religious evaluation of man’s acquisition of the arts and sciences?

Is there a nonrational, nonethical element in the divine?

Adler and Cain discuss what both Prometheus Bound and the Book of Job say about each question.

1-2. Euclid’s Elements

Euclid’s Elements…is the classic textbook of Greek geometry, which has served as the basis of study for over twenty centuries, It is a model of clear and orderly presentation.… It has the classic simplicity and order that so often characterizes a great work which summarizes generations or centuries of study. (Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff, Foundations of Science and Mathematics, volume 3 of The Great Ideas Program, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960, pages 1-2)

It is sometimes said that next to the Bible, the Elements may be the most translated, published, and studied of all the books produced in the Western world (“Euclid,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, 1974, volume 6, page 1019).

In my rereading of selections from Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program, I’ve reached Euclid’s Elements. Its Book I constitutes the first and second readings in the third volume of The Great Ideas Program, Foundations of Science and Mathematics by Mortimer J. Adler and Peter Wolff (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1960). The first reading considers Definitions, Postulates, Common Notions, and Propositions 1-26, which deal with triangles, and the second reading considers Propositions 27-48, which deal with parallel lines (27-32) and parallelograms (33-48).

Adler and Wolff divide their guide to the readings into these sections:
First Reading
I ‒ the structure and unity of Book I
II ‒ some difficulties with Definitions
III ‒ the function of Postulates and Common Notions
IV ‒ questions on problems in Propositions 1-26 and discussion of them
Second Reading
I ‒ the order of the Propositions in Book I
II ‒ Proposition 47, the Pythagorean Theorem
III ‒ the kinds of proof used by Euclid in Elements
IV ‒ questions on problems in Propositions 27-48 and discussion of them

Here I’ll identify Euclid, present the questions which Adler and Wolff present on problems in the readings, and indicate how they answer the questions.

Euclid
Euclid flourished about 300 B. C. About all that is known of his life is that he taught at a school at Alexandria in Egypt. His great work was the thirteen books of the Elements, which he compiled from a number of writings of earlier men and which became a classic soon after publication.

Questions on the First Reading
– Why does Euclid begin Book I with Propositions 1-3?
Noting that Propositions 1-3 are construction propositions rather than theorems, Adler and Wolff answer that constructions are needed in the proofs of theorems and that, like postulates, they show that certain geometric operations can be performed.
– Is there any need for Proposition 2?
Proposition 2 involves placing at a given point (A) a straight line equal to a given line \(BC). Adler and Wolff show how Proposition 2 adds to Postulate 3, to describe a circle with any center and distance, by showing that, given a point and a distance, a circle can be drawn around the point with the distance as its radius without the distance having to start at the center of the circle.
– What are the various parts of a Euclidean proof?
Noting that Euclidean theorems can be restated as if-then statements, Adler and Wolff explain how their proofs consist in going from the “if” clause or hypothesis to the “then” clause or conclusion by a series of steps using postulates, common notions, and previously proved propositions.

Questions on the Second Reading
– What is the role of diagrams in Euclid’s proofs?
After observing that diagrams help us follow Euclidean proofs, Adler and Wolff discuss whether they must be present or are just a convenience. They present the case for them thus: “Geometry is about figures. Figures can be drawn and seen. Hence a geometrical proof should begin with a diagram. It shows us the very thing being talked about.” (Adler and Wolff, Foundations of Science and Mathematics, page 28) They then present objections to the need for diagrams and answers to them.
– Does the way in which Euclid presents his propositions indicate the way in which they were discovered?
Adler and Wolff explain why they answer negatively..
– Does Euclid tell us how to measure the size of a triangle?
Adler and Wolff observe that Euclid tells us in Proposition 41 that a triangle is half the size of a parallelogram with the same base and within the same parallels but that he doesn’t deal with the area of a parallelogram until Book VI of Elements.

17. The Head of New Creation

I am making all things new. (Revelation 21:5, ESV)

Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home considered Jesus Christ as the head of the new creation promised by God guided by chapter 17, “The Head of New Creation,” of Jesus: The Life and Ministry of God the Son–Collected Insights from A. W. Tozer, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2017. The chapter consists of an introduction, three titled sections, and four Reflect questions. Here I’ll summarize the introduction and each of the sections and present the Reflect questions and how we responded to them.

(Introduction)

God has promised a new order that is the opposite of the present order. The present order is marked by temporality and mortality. The new order will come to live and remain forever.

A New Man, A New Creation

The first Adam (the one of Genesis 2-3) was the head of everything in the old order. When he fell, he pulled everything down. The second Adam (Jesus Christ) came to bring God’s promise of an new order. He died, but rising again lives forever. Because he triumphed over sin and death, he is the head of the new creation, which is marked by perfectivity and eternal life rather than by temporality and death.

Waiting for God’s Promise

However people ignore God’s promises. One reason is their almost always being in a hurry and thus becoming interested in other things when the return of Christ is delayed. Another reason is their having so much that they are satisfied with their present condition.

Be Expectant

Moreover too many people have an inadequate view of Jesus Christ and there is confusion among teachers of prophecy. As a result “real Christians, who should know better, are now ‘rethinking’ their faith” (Tozer, Jesus, page 160). Even worse, multitudes of Christians hold the doctrine without feeling any hope for it. We need to try to recapture “the spirit of anticipation that animated the early Christian church and cheered the hearts of gospel Christians only a few decades ago” (Tozer, Jesus, page 161). Although they were wrong about the time of his coming, they were not mistaken in their hope of his coming in God’s time.

Reflect Questions

1. How would knowing that Christ is the Head of new creation inform the way you live your life now?
We felt that knowing that Christ is the head of God’s new creation informs the way we live our lives now.

2. Have you “demoted” Christ in your mind compared to how Tozer portrays Him in this chapter?
We felt that we hadn’t demoted Christ in our minds compared to the way Tozer portrays him in this chapter.

3. Reflecting on the pace of your life, do you find that you are fixed on eternity or are you primarily concerned with the things of now?
We felt although we are occupied with things of now we are also fixed on eternity.

4. What do you imagine the church would look like today if it were as expectant as the early church for Christ’s new order?
We referred to different things, including increased “religious” activity, holiness, and witnessing.

Postscript

Our Life group has now finished working through Jesus : The Life and Ministry of God the Son – Collected Insights from A. W. Tozer. We plan to study the life and writings of Peter next but to wait until the fall to begin it. Here I’ll resume sharing from my personal reading in The Great Books of the Western World guided by The Great Ideas Program (both sets published by Encyclopedis Britannica). To provide variety, I may alternate between readings from the next two volumes in The Great Ideas Program, 3. Foundations of Science and Mathematics and 4. Religion and Theology.

16. The Second Coming

In this [our living hope] you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7, ESV; all Biblical quotations are from the ESV)

Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home considered the second coming of Jesus Christ guided by chapter 16, “The Second Coming,” of Jesus: The Life and Ministry of God the Son–Collected Insights from A. W. Tozer, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2017. The chapter consists of a short introduction, four titled sections, and three Reflect questions. Here I’ll summarize the introduction and each of the sections and pose the Reflect questions.

(Introduction)

Tozer opens the chapter by asking, “Are you ready for the appearing of Jesus Christ or are you among those who are merely curious about His coming?” (Tozer, Jesus, page 139) He condemns preachers and Bible teachers who encourage curious speculations about Christ’s second coming and fail to stress the need for “loving His appearing” (Tozer, Jesus, page 139) and claims that every passage in the New Testament which speaks of Christ’s second coming is directly linked with “moral conduct, faith, and spiritual holiness” (Tozer, Jesus, page 140). He closes the introduction by observing that 1 Peter 1:7 (quoted above) links the testing of our faith with Christ’s second coming.

Understanding Scripture

In the King James Version I Peter 1:7 has “at the appearing of Jesus Christ” instead of “at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Noting that “appearing” or a form of it occurs frequently in the KJV, Tozer observes that the original word from which the English was translated has about seven different forms in the Greek. He says that among those seven forms are three particular words that together may have these meanings: “manifest; shine upon; show; become visible; a disclosure; a coming; a manifestation; a revelation” (Tozer, Jesus, page 141).

Referring to cults whose prophetic scheme rests upon the words “appearing” or “revelation” or “manifestation” or “disclosure” and distinguishing between them, Tozer warns against giving any thought to a cult which tries to build on a word’s shade of meanings. He concludes the section by exclaiming, “The appearing of Jesus may mean His manifestation. It may mean a shining forth, a showing, a disclosure. Yes, it may mean His coming, the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Tozer, Jesus, page 144).

Returning to Earth

In this section Tozer considers where this appearing of Christ will take place. Noting that those to whom Peter wrote were Christians on this earth, he says that common sense tells us that this appearing could only be on this earth. He also says that since Peter wrote in AD 65 the appearing of Christ would be sometime after AD 65.

Like Before

In this section Tozer argues that if “appearing” is going to mean what it universally means, the future appearing of Jesus has to be much the same as it was when he appeared on the earth the first time. Thus Jesus will appear as a man, although as a glorified man, to living people as he first appeared.

Strengthen by the Word

In this section Tozer returns to an idea that he’d expressed in his introduction to the chapter, “The Word of God was never given just to make us curious about our Lord’s return to earth, but to strengthen us in faith and spiritual holiness and moral conduct” (Tozer, Jesus, page 148). In support of this he quotes from 1 John 3:2-3, “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.”

Reflect Questions

1. Do Tozer’s words on Christ’s second coming line up with what you have thought of it?
2. Are you joyfully anticipating the second of Christ, or do you find yourself conflicted at times with earthly desires?
3. Are you preparing for Christ’s return? What would it be like for you to prepare?