R. C. Sproul vs. Rudolf Bultmann
In promoting his new book Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons, R. C. Sproul claims, “”I believe that if we are to be consistent Christians, believing all of the Bible rather than portions of it, we must recognize that the supernatural places and beings described on its pages are real. There is an uncompromised supernaturalism at the heart of the Christian worldview, and we must not let the world’s skepticism with regard to these things affect our belief systems. We must trust and affirm that there is much more to reality than meets the eye.”
Without comment from me, other than suggesting you read the entire essay, I give you a snippet of Rudolf Bultmann’s “New Testament and Mythology” from Kerygma and Myth.
Man’s knowledge and mastery of the world have advanced to such an extent through science and technology that it is no longer possible for anyone seriously to hold the New Testament view of the world–in fact, there is hardly anyone who does. What meaning for instance, can we attach to such phrases in the creed “descended into hell” or “ascended into heaven”? We no longer believe in the three-storied universe which the creeds take for granted. The only honest way of reciting the creeds is to strip the mythological framework from the truth they enshrine–that is, assuming they contain any truth at all, which is just the question that theology has to ask. No one who is old enough to think for himself supposes that God lives in a local heaven. There is no longer any heaven in the traditional sense of the word. The same applies to hell in the sense of a mythical underworld beneath our feet. And if this is so, we can no longer accept the story of Christ’s descent into hell or his Ascension into heaven as literally true…
Now that the forces and the laws of nature have been discovered, we can no longer believe in spirits, whether good or evil. We know that the stars are physical bodies whose motions are controlled by the laws of the universe, and not daemonic beings which enslave mankind to their service. Any influence they may have over human life must be explicable in terms of the ordinary laws of nature; it cannot in any way be attributed to their malevolence. Sickness and the cure of disease are likewise attributable to natural causation; they are not the result of deamonic activity or of evil spells…
It is impossible to use electric light and the wireless and to avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time believe in the New Testament world of daemons and spirits.
Who would you agree with, and why?