"John 5:28-29 (NIV). "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned."
I have said what I think about Paul and his ‘Johnny come lately’ way of expounding the Gospel. Reactionary, retrogressive and punitive; Paul leads the way to segregation and foolishness. John on the other hand repeats again and again the idea of the Resurrection into ever lasting life. There are similarities between John and Paul in that life ahead is more important than this world. Rather than improve humanity on this plane of existence we have what has been called jam tomorrow. This ‘jam tomorrow’ is the idea of heavenly glory.
My alarm bells ring when I hear John banging on about the afterlife and especially when John starts to threaten and admonish. John purveys the idea of the policeman that dwells within us and we have the idea of a threat developing. John is saying “do this or God will punish you!” This is hardly an adult way to enter into a relationship with God or to consider the ever after. John troubles me because although he sells the idea of love he clearly sells the idea of threats.
|Saint Margaret's Parish King's Lynn|
© Godric Godricson
Whatever your view on Christianity, it is clear that John is offering the idea of the grave as the parking lot where we wait for the resurrection. The grave is like a womb where we wait and sleep before rising to heaven or hell. The idea of hell is a threat and treating humanity like a child.