Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 092:365 (Jan 1935)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

If a Man Die. By W. Cosby Bell. Charles Scribner’s Sons. 199 pp. $1.75.

The tragedy of man’s philosophy is that it reaches no conclusions which pass beyond the range of the human sphere, and that it proceeds on the assumption that no certain revelation from God had been given. The fact is too often ignored today that life after death is, in God’s Word, not only assured but the way into the highest destiny through divine redemption apart from human merit is revealed. To the believing heart John 14:1–3 alone offers more dependable certainty as to a future life than any two hundred pages of human reasoning, sagacity, or poetic art. It is noticeable the number of books by theological professors now appearing which discuss the problem of life after death. Following Dr. John Baillie’s “And The Life Everlasting” (reviewed in BIBLIOTHECA SACRA, January, 1934), there now appears another by Dr. Cosby Bell (deceased), a former professor in Virginia Theological Seminary, and whose lecture notes have been prepared for publication by his wife.

Two features of Dr. Bell’s book may be commended: (1) His writings express the nature of one intensely human, practical, and appreciative of every good thing; (2) his literary style is fascinating to a point which, it would seem, classifies him among the very few to whom the highest literary honors are given. Over against this, the doctrinal features of the book call for solemn protest. It, like many modern works, attempts to deal with the problem of life after death on the basis of mere human philosophy. If the Scriptures have any message at all they disclose the fact that endless existence is the portion of all humanity alike, and all are entitled to the outer darkness but for the redeeming blood of Christ. Dr. Bell repudiates the doctrine of eternal woe for the unregenerate and sees heaven open to those who have lived their best, without reference to the revealed plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ. He declares the Bible does not teach that, “in the last and final result of things, there will still remain in the universe beings suffering acute and everlasting torment in permanent

rebellion against the divine will and forever rejecting the divine love.” His conception of Satan is characteristic: * * * “we have done Satan himself too much honor in picturing him as a flaming, towering spirit of evil. He is really but a loose-lipped, slack-jawed, doddering, feeble creature, heavy-eyed and dull of brain.” Such statement would have been startling indeed had it been substituted by the Apostle Paul in place of his declaration recorded in You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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