Bridging the Gap in Reformed Eschatology A Preterist Response to
When Shall These Things Be?
The Resurrection of the Dead
Part 7 The Mocking of the Greeks in Acts 17:32
David A. Green
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Strimple Argument #7: The Greeks tended to believe in soul-immortality
and had a low view of the body. This is why the Greek philosophers
in Athens mocked Paul, because he was teaching a physical
resurrection of the dead as opposed to an immaterial concept of the
afterlife like that of the Greeks (Acts 17:32) (300, 311).
Answer: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead,
some mocked: and others said, ‘We will hear you again on this matter’”
From the futurist perspective, it is plausible that the philosophers
were rejecting the idea of a physical resurrection. However, it is also
plausible (even from the futurist perspective) that they were rejecting
the idea of personal existence of any kind after death, whether material
Though many of the Greeks believed in soul-immortality, the Stoics
(Acts 17:18) did not believe in a personal existence of the soul after
death, such as would allow for the dead to stand in judgment for their
works (Acts 17:31). And the Epicureans (Acts 17:18) tended to reject
the very existence of the soul after death.
We cannot infer from the mockery of the philosophers at Athens
what kind of resurrection of the dead Paul was teaching or what kind
of resurrection of the dead they were rejecting. We cannot infer from
the passage whether the philosophers were rejecting the idea of a biological
resurrection, or the idea of a non-biological resurrection, or the
idea of a personal resurrection (whether it be biological or not), or the
idea of any kind of resurrection whatsoever (whether personal, impersonal,
biological, or non-biological). All we know is that “some” of the
philosophers sneered when they heard Paul’s teaching concerning the
resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:31-32).