The possibility of pain is inherent in the very existence of a world where souls can meet. When souls become wicked they will certainly use this possibility to hurt one another; and this, perhaps, accounts for four-fifths of the sufferings of men. The Problem of Pain
God in the New Testament
If, as the NT texts seem to insist, discourse about “God” now must include reference to Jesus, then this marks a significant alteration from the way that “God” was understood previously. In particular, Jesus’ resurrection constitutes the emphatic reaffirmation of Jesus (and precisely as the embodied human figure) as there after uniquely to be included in the understanding of divine purposes and even (per traditional Trinitarian faith) in what is meant by “God”. To use Trinitarian language, “God the Son” is eternal, without beginning or end. But in the incarnation “the Son” became genuinely an embodied human, and in Jesus’ resurrection this incarnate move was irrevocably reaffirmed by “God”. In short, from Jesus’ resurrection onward, “God” in some profound way now includes a glorified human. That, I believe, represents quite a significant alteration!
Sometimes it is tempting to become cynical and give up. It is important that during times of distress that the Christian always seek to do that which is right. We are told “not to grow weary in well doing.” Why? What’s the use? The promise is made: “For in due season we shall reap.” (Galatians 6:9).
The Psalmist described that season of reaping as a day of prepared tables and cups that overflow; of goodness and mercy and of “dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23). The New Testament reminds us that God is not so unjust that He would forget our work and love (Hebrews 6:10). We are challenged to live in hope, to keep on doing that which is good and to trust in God for the results. To live in hope will make this life better as we prepare for the next.
All of us have our weaknesses, but God’s strength upon which we can choose to depend never diminishes. The Scriptures ask, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator.. does not become weary or tired… He gives strength to the weary. And to him who lacks might He increases power… Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up like eagles…” (Excerpts from Isaiah 40:28-31).
By Jon W. Quinn
Although Paul is the one who introduced this “new creation” vocabulary into the primitive Christian assemblies, this language was being used by Paul’s Jewish contemporaries in a variety of ways. Following Isaiah, the prophetic visionaries responsible for the Jewish apocalypses written during this era looked forward to God’s “new creation” of heaven and earth, when Israel would be vindicated and the oppressing Gentile nations would be finally overthrown (e.g. Jubilees 1:29; see Isa. 66:22). Closer to Paul’s usage here is the imagery found in Joseph and Aseneth, a Hellenistic romance of Diaspora Judaism. In this fictitious work roughly contemporary with the New Testament, the patriarch Joseph prays for the conversion of the beautiful Aseneth, whom he would later marry (Gen. 41:45). The words of Joseph’s prayer bear a striking resemblance to the themes found in 2 Cor. 3-5: