Ephesians and the Fullness of Life Here and Now

This is the first of two parts of the author’s reflections on Ephesians, the theme of this quarter's Adult Bible Study Guide. Next week, the second part will focus on a comparison between key themes in Ephesians and themes in other letters attributed to Paul’s.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/sabbath-school/2023/ephesians-and-fullness-life-here-and-now
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Dr. Weiss is always insightful and clarifying when he opens the Bible. The letter’s “summons” to rejoice in what God has done in Christ still finds ready respondents, But time has not made it easier, to be sure. The divide in the Christian community seems more egregious as life on this planet teeters on the edge. We need a “witness” such as the world has not seen that what Ephesians proclaims can be trusted, that our faith will be rewarded–eventually, if not soon. God’s faithfulness is eternal.



Then this “one thing” would necessarily include the here and now but neither of which are mentioned anywhere other than in the title of the article.

And for good reason, it seems.

For most Pauline Christians, and particularly for Adventists, this world is anathema in the sense that it is deplorable, something to be endured at best, detested in the worst case. Given this mindset, life will only become enjoyable and fully appreciated in the hereafter, while the here and now is only manageable due to the belief that it is not a world without end.

But if god has unified all things, including all time and every place, and considers all of these to be a part of him-, her- or itself, is this essentially antagonistic attitude toward our current circumstance reasonable? Or is it instead antithetical to a true and unconditional acceptance of our creator in all its manifestations?

IOW, is so-called Christianity’s real sin the misconception that our creator could somehow achieve perfection as a status, or that heaven will be a place where change is eternally eschewed on the grounds that the grounds cannot be made better, when it might be much truer to think that what we experience on a daily, even momentary basis-while necessarily incomplete and subject to perpetual improvement-is as good as it gets, at least for the time being?


More SDA doomsday mongering?

I actually thought you were better than this, @JXLB75.

The way I read history, we’ve had countless such “witnesses” during the past two millennia, all pushing their supposedly “Christian” brinkmanship but few, if any, of whom would consider that a Christian’s ultimate reward might be nothing more than a good life, lived right here, in this one place, and in the right now, this one, interminably long nanosecond called the present.

(According to Elmore Leonard I should probably delete that last bit because it sounds too much like “writing”.)


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The mystery of Jews and Gentiles coming into unity around the messiah Jesus, and the vision Paul had of one, united, new humanity in Christ, seems no closer 2000 years later than it was during the 1st c. empire. The church, especially since the reformation, has divided itself and has kept on dividing over arcane points of doctrine and praxis. Add to that it’s many unions with the state, and we have a far different picture of Christianity than what Paul was outlining.

Adventism has only helped to keep the divide going, insisting that the remnant of true believers will be sabbath and kosher observant, its own form of Judaizing minus circumcision. It serves to reinforce the walls of us vs. them, rather than tearing them down.

If Paul were around today, according to one well known theologian, he would be most shocked by the division of the body of Christ. I would agree!



Yes…and with continued misogyny, along with deliberate exclusion of the LGBTQ+ community, the SDA ‘big tent’ is getting smaller and smaller.


We have, obviously, an either-or situation. Evil and suffering are either endemic to reality requiring us to do what we can to blunt its most horrific aspects with no hope of victory (evil only exists of course in human consciousness, where “moral” sensibility is located); or, we live in hope that wherever human consciousness “originated” (not plausible has always been there incipiently from eternity), we are in a battle which will be won for righteousness, justice, and peace by a power greater than ours. Either view has its own magnificence.

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If all things have been shown to be one thing, we are integral parts of the creative force which makes all things and there is no reason to believe that there is a higher power than our own, incipient and emerging self; i.e., The Self that empowers the cosmos.

Thus, if the battle against evil is to be won it seems the victory must come from within ourselves but not as we hate and try to destroy evil-particularly within our own minds-but as we understand it, get creative and help it find something else to do:

Otherwise, and as Nietzsche warned, in our attempt to defeat monsters we run the risk of becoming monsters ourselves.

Other options are available one of which is to accept that evil and suffering, as overwhelmingly sad and all-encompassing as they might seem at any moment, are a minuscule part of our existence-tantamount to a mouse frightening an elephant. Thus we acknowledge evil as a challenge that might never go away but we are no more deterred by it than a freight train is derailed by a child’s penny being squished on the track.

Says who?

You know someone who can prove a negative?

Is there a universal law which states that consciousness must always be as it has forever been and cannot evolve eternally or must not engage in a process of perpetual refinement?

Isn’t it obvious that change is the universal constant and that all things, including that singular consciousness of ourselves and our creator, is actively engaged in the requirement that it morph into something else, even if no one knows what the final product will be?

Particularly given that the concept of an end to the process might be as fanciful and nonexistent as the beginning?

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