Berkouwer on the Intermediate State

G. C. Berkouwer, in The Return of Christ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1972), p. 51, says: “It should not surprise us that Scripture nowhere gives us a theoretical explication of the intermediate state. The anthropological critique of this doctrine, we noted, holds it to be beleaguered by contradictions and based on a false dichotomy of man that involves a conscious anima seperata capable of enjoyment and anticipation. But to look for scriptural proof of the anthropological possibility of this doctrine is a vain effort.”
On page 170, he says, “The only legitimate doctrine of the intermediate state is one that maintains the unity of the eschatological expectation and keeps this expectation free from egocentric individualism, which precludes an expectation of the Kingdom, of the new heaven and the new earth, and of the resurrection of the body. Already in the early church this great perspective on the resurrection of the body was incorporated into the confession. Later this confession was the subject of numerous ecclesiastical controversies, which often threatened to submerge this belief in spiritualism or individualism. In the early creeds the resurrection was already confessed: it was only later supplemented by the confession “and the life everlasting.”

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