Friday, February 1, 2008

The Amillennialism of Athenogoras [A.D. 177]

Athenogoras was a Christian Apologist who defended the Trinity (while not yet called such), as well as the Doctrine of the Resurrection. He wrote an entire thesis on the resurrection and the final judgment, yet makes no mention of a millennium. Like most church fathers, Athenogoras has the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked occurring at the same time, for the purpose of being judged.

“Now, if the righteous judgment awards to both together its retribution for the deeds wrought; and if it is not proper that either the soul alone should receive the wages of the deeds wrought in union with the body (for this of itself has no inclination to the faults which are committed in connection with the pleasure or food and culture of the body), or that the body alone should (for this of itself is incapable of distinguishing law and justice), but man, composed of these, is subjected to trial for each of the deeds wrought by him; and if reason does not find this happening either in this life (for the award according to merit finds no place in the present existence, since many atheists and persons who practise every iniquity and wickedness live on to the last, unvisited by calamity, whilst, on the contrary, those who have manifestly lived an exemplary life in respect of every Virtue, live in pain, in insult, in calumny and outrage, and suffering of all kinds) or after death (for both together no longer exist, the soul being separated from the body, and the body itself being resolved again into the materials out of which it was composed, and no longer retaining anything of its former structure or form, much less the remembrance of its actions): the result of all this is very plain to every one, — namely, that, in the language of the apostle, “this corruptible (and dissoluble) must put on incorruption,” (1 Corinthians 15:54) in order that those who were dead, having been made alive by the resurrection, and the parts that were separated and entirely dissolved having been again united, each one may, in accordance with justice, receive what he has done by the body, whether it be good or bad.” (Resurrection - Chap. XVIII. — Judgment Must Have Reference Both to Soul and Body: There Will Therefore Be a Resurrection.)

Like many church fathers, he is not clear on the timing of the Second Advent in relation to the above events. He could very well be postmillennial, though the lack of a millennium in his writing more than likely makes him amillennial.