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Abraham van de Beek

Abraham van de Beek

Abstract

One of most contested Christian doctrines is about original sin. In this article is argued that on this point modern evolutionary thought and traditional Christianity match very well. They have the same basic structure, with similar problems and similar features. In both cases a first human being with moral awareness and conscience of failure is put forward, aspects that were transferred to the offspring by sexual intercourse.

The same is true for the connection of sin, law and death: human beings do not keep to the standards of natural or divine law. As a consequence, human beings do not exist due to their failure to do the right things in their real identity.

Abraham van de Beek

Abstract

In cases of severe conflicts, e.g. in South-Africa during the time of apartheid or in Indonesia during the war of Independence, people are deeply wounded. Both victims and perpetrators bear memories of the past as heavy burdens that close the future for them. They keep their stories silent in order to not be confronted with the past. Telling the story seems to open up the future, but, in the end, it turns out that victims and perpetrators cannot develop a shared story. Only death can deliver them from the past. Christian faith proclaims the death of human beings in the death of Christ. It opens a new future in the resurrection of a new being.

Abraham van de Beek

Abstract

Referring to Marinus de Jonge, the author calls Jesus a stranger from heaven—he is the king of the kingdom of heaven. Christians are his members and share his life. As strangers on earth, they do not have an enduring city in the world (Heb. 13:14). They are not foreigners somewhere, but they are principally foreigners. They do not strive for earthly power, but participate in the life of foreigners. Due to this position, they feel acquainted with foreigners. They share the experience of exclusion, and, by consequence, strangers share their community—they believe by their exclusion.

Abraham van de Beek

Abstract

The author compares three models of the relation of church and state. The Hungarian king Stephen(± 1000 AD) pleads for a plural society with different cultural and ethnic traditions. Different religious traditions easily fit into this model. The model of the Roman Emperor Constantine (beginning of the 4th century) provides an intertwining of church and state. The unknown author of the epistle to Diognetus (± 200 AD) describes a church that is spread among the nations and does not identify itself with any one nation. The first and the last model are compatible while both exclude Constantine's. The difference with the modern idea of religious freedom is that this idea deals with individual believers while the model of Stephen and Diognetus speaks of a plurality of communities. That is a more solid base for human dignity because the community provides people a place to be at home.

Abraham van de Beek

This article deals with the reception of Athanasius in systematic theology. The first section focuses on quantitative data. It turns out that Athanasius, though often hailed as one of the greatest Church fathers, is not quoted very frequently when compared e.g. with Augustine. Major systematic works do not refer to him at all, or scarcely. The second part directs its attention to the content of the reception. The core of Athanasius’s importance is found in his Christology: God became human so that humans become God. Soteriology and Christology are one and the same and this can also get the face of pneumatology: participation in the Spirit of God. Other aspects of Athanasius work whereto is referred, are his list of canonical books and his view on theological epistemology. In the final section the author stresses once again the priority of Athanasius’s interpretation of the homoousios over any other Christological model.