A Layman’s View Of Dr. Fairfield’s Eschatology -- By: Henry Anselm Scomp

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 048:191 (Jul 1891)
Article: A Layman’s View Of Dr. Fairfield’s Eschatology
Author: Henry Anselm Scomp


A Layman’s View Of Dr. Fairfield’s Eschatology

Henry A. Scomp

May a layman have a word or two by way of suggestion and inquiry in the eschatological discussion excited by the article in the January number of the Bibliotheca Sacra?

First, then, Why is it that, of all the cases of recall to earthly life mentioned in the Scriptures, only the recently deceased are the subjects? With the single exception of Lazarus, none of them had yet, so far as we know, been committed to the tomb; for it is not claimed that such “appearances” as those of Samuel at Endor, or of the “many that slept” at Jerusalem on the day of the Crucifixion, were resurrected. Lazarus was probably buried in February, or at least in the colder season of the year between the Dedication Feast and the Passover.

Furthermore, Why is it that no case is mentioned of a limb restored to the body from which it had been amputated,—unless, forsooth, the instance of Malchus can be an exception? Even here the diminutive ὠτίον, “a little ear,” used in the first three Gospels along with the verb ἀφαιρέω, “to take away” or “off,” leads to the natural inference that only a small part of the ear was clipped. John alone uses οὖς and the verb ἀποκόπτω, “to cut off.” Luke alone mentions the healing of the ear by the Master, and for this he employs the verb ἰάομαι, “to heal” or “cure,” the word originally used only in reference to the curing of wounds or external bodily hurts. So Homer constantly employs it.

Naturally then, we infer that there was in Malchus’ case no restoration of a cut-off part of the ear, but rather, a stanching of the blood.

We ask, then, Why is there mention of only the recently departed as recalled to life, and that there is no instance of the restoration to the body of a severed limb? Why, for example, did not the Master interpose to bring back to life the great Baptist, his own harbinger, and to whom, of all men, he would seem to have been most indebted, if we may use such a term?

May not the answer be, that there is a line, in the shadowy border land between worlds, where the real death of the body occurs and the real separation of the soul from its clay tenement takes place? We are all perfectly familiar with the fact that, for a considerable time after the apparent death of the body,—after all consciousness has ceased and the nerve currents between brain and members are stilled,—there is still present an animal vitality, though no longer perceived by the departed, nor subject to...

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