The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 31
To which I replied as follows: — Messrs Stobo and Co's* Inherent Immortality
To which I replied as follows:
Messrs Stobo and Co's* Inherent Immortality.
Sir,—Mr. Stobo seems to be offended my statement, "that when foul so—history failed our traditional theologians in their assertion to make the again fable of the immortal soul good, hey had to lie, and have to do so to his day. "What does Mr. Stobo call his? Scripture says, "If you live after he fleshes you shall die." But Angusne says, "The soul of the wicked cannot die." The Bible says, "Broad is way that leads to destruction." But Tertullian says, "The soul of the ticked is lost, but not in the sense of destruction." Scripture says, "Who shall be punished with eternal destruction," J. Grant says, "The eternal destruction of human life, at, or after death, is a theological error of the day." God says to Adam, "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shall return." J. Wesley says, "Their bodies are incorruptible. I am now an immortal spirit." I could quote a thousand instances of the same purport. And I appeal to the reader to judge whether the Bible tells these lies, or the traditional theologians? It is with reluctance that I have to analyze Mr. Stobo's theological jugglery, but as he will not accept the teaching of the Bible as conclusive, I am forced to do so. He adduces the following texts, by which he endeavors to prop up Plato's fabled immortality of the soul, in a state of conscious existence after death. 2nd Corinth. v. 8, he lays down his modus operandi how Paul is to be with Christ, and then crams it into Paul's mouth. I ask him, does Paul anywhere express a desire to be with Christ as a naked ghost? Does he not in the 2—4 verse inform us how he groans and longs for his house, the glorified immortal body which is from heaven: and does not desire to be unclothed, i.e., become a naked ghost-man of Mr. Stobo's. And in the 8th he informs us again that, "as long as he is in his mortal body he is absent from the Lord." It is not wonder that Mr. Stobo through Plato's spectacles cannot see, "What the house with the Lord "in the 8th verse means, which with Paul meant the glorified body which he was to have from the Lord. And when Paul everywhere informs us, that it is at the resurrection when he is also to receive his crown of righteousness, and when his mortal body shall be swallowed up in immortality. And so in Phillip. i. 23, page 9 Mr. Stobo again tries hard to force Paul's naked ghost into his traditional heaven. But Mr. Stobo's modus operandi, Paul does not accept, for he fully describes it in 1st. Corinth. xv. 50-54, and also in Collos. iii. 4, when he says, "When Christ, who is your life, is manifested, then shall you also with him be manifested in glory," and as to his being with Christ, he informs us in 1 Thessl. iv. 15-17, that it shall not be before "the coming of the Lord." Neither Jesus, Paul, John, nor James, ever made a promise to any believer that he would be with Christ as a naked ghost man apart from the body, before his coming. In Matt. x. 28, Jesus speaks of the souls (animal life) of those who believe in him, when he says, "that they cannot kill the soul," because their life is laid up, or hidden with God in Christ, who shall receive it again at the resurrection. But in case they do not believe in him, then be says, "that there is one (God) who is able to destroy both body and soul in Gehenna" a metaphor signifying the lake of fire in Revelations. Mr. Stobo again reads the parable of Dives and Lazarus through Plato's spectacles, seeing that he makes of these men in their bodies disembodied ghosts, but not a word is said about such, for it represents them all as living men in their bodies. .Now if this but proves anything at all in favor of disembodied ghosts who have a conscious existence after death, it goes to prove a great deal too much for Messrs Stobo and Co., viz., it proves that both body and soul live after death before the resurrection. But Jesus never meant to prove either the one or the other by it. He only meant to prove by it what would be such a man's fate in the day of judgment, who had not done according to the law and the prophets. And it is for this reason that he had to antedate the judgment and connect it with men's actions during their lifetime, in order to work out the moral it conveys. Jesus in his parable did the same as Nathan in his parable to David about the poor man and his only pet sheep which, when it had wrought out the desired result upon David, who pronounced sentence on the man who, did such a thing, Nathan then threw away the fictitious contents of the parable, and told David to his face, "thou art the man." The souls under the altar in Revel. vi. 9, signify dead bodies at the feet of the altar of sacrifice. Mr. Stobo must be aware that in the Hebrew Old Testament souls in 10 different places signify dead bodies. Plato's spectacles have caused Mr. Stobo to mistake again the question brought to Jesus for decision by the Sadducees, "shall man rise again and live?" to mean, do men's souls live after man is dead? No man reads, or can make it to mean, Do the souls of the dead live, but "shall the dead rise and live again?" And in this sense Jesus answers it, when he says, "But touching the dead, that they do rise have you not read," &c. As concerns all the disembodied spirits of Messrs Stobo, and Co., (by "Co., "I Mean, co-religionists,) I never found one word of such in the Bible. If they do exist somewhere else, surely they must be of his own manufacture. Mr. Stobo certainly must have attained to a very high state of civilization above me and the Apostles, to possess a spirit capable when disembodied to be conscious after death.
John iii. 36—" He that believes on the on has eternal life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him." Mr. Stobo cannot understand "how a man can be said to have everlasting page 10 life, when until the resurrection he is dead, body and soul." Every believer in the promises of God understands it quite well, because the life God has pledged to him by his promise be receives back at the resurrection. This promise and pledge of God makes it as sure to him as if he possessed it already. Faith and hope are the hands by which he has and holds it. Had Mr. Stobo such faith surely he would understand it. If Plato's immortal soul is possessed by all men alike, then "the believing in the Son "would cease to be a condition to obtain that life. And Mr. Stobo's air-castle of inherent immortality falls to the ground. And will Mr. Stobo inform me, why the unbeliever "shall not see," i.e. possess life? I will answer it for him in anticipation. Because the promised life is one only upon condition of faith in "the Son," and without it he remains under the sentence of death, "under the wrath of God." Yet Jesus does not add for ever, for the "wrath," the justice of God, is satisfied, when the unbeliever has suffered his due stripes in the lake of fire, and has succumbed under the power of the second death. Mr. Stobo says, "Then Mr. Richter has sufficiently demolished his own doctrine, for Hades in the New Testament never denotes the grave merely." With Messrs Stobo and Co. it may denote the unseen world, or place of disembodied spirits in a state of happiness or misery. But with me and the apostles it absolutely means, the grave, the abode of the dead body and soul. It is not much to Mr. Stobo's credit to interpret Hades according to his fore-gone notions, then cram his definition of it into my mouth, and then triumphantly exclaim, "Mr. Richter has (by my definition of Hades) demolished his doctrine." I have yet to learn what right Mr. Stobo has to craw his definition into my mouth. Mr. Stobo asserts on that great authority, I say so, "That the soul of Jesus was not dead in the grave," because he said to the thief on the cross, "To-day thou shall be with me in Paradise." And, "Paradise," he proves on his infallible authority, "We see this was one department of that Hades, in which the soul of the thief was with the soul of Jesus in a state of conscious happiness." Just the old sophistical defence of all Platoniaus which they all with a vengeance put into the mouth of Jesus. For every man must see if lie has any eyes at all to see with, that neither Jesus nor the thief ever said a word about their souls—but spoke of themselves, the I, and the thou, and concerning this I, Jesus says most positively, that, like Jonah in the belly of the whale, he had to be three days and three nights in the heart (the grave) of the earth. And after he had risen from the dead, he said to the women that "lie had not as yet ascended up to his father," i.e., into Mr. Stobo's Paradise. The plain fact is, that Jesus never said such a thing to the thief on the cross as the authorised version has put into his mouth. What he said is this, "Verily, to-day I tell thee, thou shall be with me in my Kingdom," literally my Paradise, which are synonymous. All traditional theologians assert that the soul is the real man, the real I; the body being with them only a little earth which at death the real man, the soul, shakes off like an old garment. And thus of necessity it must follow, that the soul, the real man of Jesus, was alive in Paradise, after the little earth of his had died on the cross, and the real man Jesus bad never died yet. We ask Messrs Stobo and Co. do they believe that the little earth that died for them, can save them from their page 11 Augustinian eternal hell-fire? It so they must indeed have a very elastic faith, strong enough "to break the back of all" the Christian doctrine contained in the New Testament in regard to man's salvation from death by the death of Jesus. Mr. Stobo seems to rely but little on the strength of his scripture texts which he has brought forward in support of his hobby, the innate immortality of the soul. If he had, he need not go a begging and hunt up all the pagan notions of it to prop up his hobby with. The Paradise and immortality of the soul as held by the North American Indian hunters, just like his preceding crotchet; go to prove again a little too much for his theory; for he must be aware that these Indians not only believed that they had immortality themselves, but their dogs' ghosts also survived the shock of death and accompanied them on their paradizaical hunting ground, so that they could hunt with ghost dogs, ghost buffalos, ghost deer, and ghost elks. And as Mr. Stobo quotes these Indian fables in support of his theory, we are almost led to conclude that Mr. Stobo in his ghost Paradise will also ride his ghost cob when visiting sick ghost men, and preach to his congregation of ghost men. Mr. Stobo classes my theology in the catalogue and identifies it with the Christadelphian rubbish of infidels, Epicureans, &c. His omniscience in this, as in every other case in this controversy, is wholly at fault, for I can assure him that I have learned my theology from the Bible 25 years before I ever knew there were any Christadelphians. The rest of Mr. Stobo's traditional lucubrations I have to leave for the present unnoticed. If, however, he desires another lesson or two on Bible theology, he will please drop me a note through the Times newspaper, and I will with great pleasure give him some more lessons gratis.
J. A. Richter.Waikiwi,
August 16, 1876.
* I mean co-religionists—of the same persuasion.—J. A. R.