Book Review: Death and the Afterlife

Death and the Afterlife: Biblical perspectives on ultimate questions (IVP Academic, 2018) by Dr. Paul Williamson is a great guide into a subject that impacts everyone on earth.

The contents of the book were originally part of a lecture Dr. Williamson gave during the 2016 Annual Moore College Lectures, so the book has some field testing as well as careful thought into such an important topic.

Death and the Afterlife is part of IVP’s New Studies in Biblical Theology series. The purpose of the series is to help thinking Christians understand their Bible better. Dr. Williamson’s new book certainly does that.

While I don’t agree with all of the author’s conclusions, I appreciate how carefully he laid out evidence for each chapter. Dr. Williamson looked at how ancient people viewed the issues of death, along with Old Testament, Inter-Testament, and New Testament perspectives.

Dr. Williamson’s sourcing is excellent. Serious students will find the Index of ancient sources very helpful in their own research, along with multiple footnotes in each chapter.

Death and the Afterlife will certainly help thinking Christians understand their Bible better, which meets the basic purpose of the New Studies in Biblical Theology series. I highly recommend this new book for your “thinking” library.

Contents

Introduction

  1. After death, what? Ultimate questions about death and the afterlife
  2. Death – the ultimate separation?
  3. Resurrection – the ultimate makeover?
  4. Judgment – the ultimate verdict?
  5. Hell – the ultimate honocaust?
  6. Heaven – the ultimate destination?

Conclusion

  • Bibliography
  • Index of authors
  • Index of Scripture references
  • Index of ancient sources

About the Author

Paul R. Williamson is lecturer in Old Testament, Hebrew and Aramaic at Moore College, Sydney. He is the author of Sealed with an Oath, a contributor to New Dictionary of Biblical Theology and Dictionary of the Old Testament, and coeditor of Exploring Exodus.

Publisher’s Description

“Significant aspects of death and the afterlife continue to be debated among evangelical Christians. In this NSBT volume Paul Williamson surveys the perspectives of our contemporary culture and the biblical world, and then highlights the traditional understanding of the biblical teaching and the issues over which evangelicals have become increasingly polarized. Subsequent chapters explore the controversial areas: what happens immediately after we die; bodily resurrection; a final, universal judgment; the ultimate fate of those who do not receive God’s approval on the last day; and the biblical concept of an eschatological “heaven.” Taking care to understand the ancient Near Eastern and Greco-Roman backgrounds, Williamson works through the most important Old and New Testament passages. He demonstrates that there is considerable exegetical support for the traditional evangelical understanding of death and the afterlife, and raises questions about the basis for the growing popularity of alternative understandings. Addressing key issues in biblical theology, the works comprising New Studies in Biblical Theology are creative attempts to help Christians better understand their Bibles. The NSBT series is edited by D. A. Carson, aiming to simultaneously instruct and to edify, to interact with current scholarship and to point the way ahead.” IVP Academic

Reviews

“This volume is likely to become the stimulus for more than one series of sermons . . . More importantly, it may well stimulate its readers to live life now and die well because they have learned to live with eternity in view, cherishing the blessed promises and consolations of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (D. A. Carson)

Death and the Afterlife: Biblical perspectives on ultimate questions (IVP Academic, 2018, 256 pages)

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