By David Albert Jones
David Albert Jones considers easy questions: how will we stay good within the face of loss of life? and while, if ever, is it valid intentionally to deliver human lifestyles to an finish? He focuses upon the special theological methods to demise proven through 4 amazing Christian thinkers: Ambrose of Milan, Augustine of Hippo, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Rahner. Jones's target isn't basically to contribute to the heritage of theology, yet quite, via engagement with the concept of theologians of the previous, to mirror on a few of the useful and existential matters that the strategy of loss of life provides for we all.
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Extra resources for Approaching the End: A Theological Exploration of Death and Dying (Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics)
10 The Wrst answer given is that death can only be considered an evil if it does harm to the soul: ‘should death do injury to the soul, it can be considered an evil, but should it do the soul no harm, it cannot’ (BM 1. 1). It seems that life is to be regarded as a good thing. In the Scriptures life is thought of as the reward for the good, death as the punishment for the wicked (in the book of Deuteronomy, for example). However, if life is a good, death would seem to be an evil. Before answering this point, Ambrose Wnds it necessary to distinguish diVerent kinds of death, and so, straightaway, introduces his doctrine of three deaths: ‘death due to sin’; ‘mystical death’ (in baptism); and ‘the death by 9 FR 123.
Mortal sin may give way to repentance. Bodily death may give way to a glorious life in the resurrection. Yet, even though they may later be redeemed, the death of the soul and the death of the body are still, in themselves, evils imposed as a punishment for sin. D E AT H A S M A LUM It is obvious that ‘the second death’, that is hellWre, is not good for anyone. But the Wrst death (the death of the body) (CD XIII. 2) would seem to be an evil for those whom it prefaces hellWre, but a positive good for those for whom it is the preface to eternal happiness: ‘It can therefore be said of the Wrst death that it is good for the good, bad for the bad; but the second death does not happen to any of the good, and without doubt it is not good for anyone’ (CD XIII.
If believers shy away from developing an explicitly theological account of death, then they will operate according to an implicit theology that is unexamined and perhaps mistaken. Just as there is no avoiding philosophy, but those who do so operate with an implicit and unexamined philosophy, so for those who have faith, there is no avoiding theology. Not only prayer and spirituality but also Christian consideration of ethics or politics imply theological judgments which will either be explicit or implicit, either examined or unexamined.
Approaching the End: A Theological Exploration of Death and Dying (Oxford Studies in Theological Ethics) by David Albert Jones