Sunday, September 16, 2007

Samuel, Saul, and the Sorcerer: Part 1

Gloria from the HCR forum recently asked a question regarding the following passage:

1 Sam 28:8-15a So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments, and went, he and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit, and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you." 9 The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?" 10 But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." 11 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me." 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul." 13 The king said to her, "Have no fear; what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth." 14 He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up; and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance. 15 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"

What she wanted to know was from where did Saul actually bring him up. Here is my answer, which sparked a debate with "PoLemiCs" that I have also provided.
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Well, no man could enter heaven until Jesus returned to the Father, and there is no communication with the souls in hell, for they are completely severed from the body. Thus, the only possible solution is that Samuel rose from Sheol (cf. "Limbus Patrum"). This would also explain why he "rose" (instead of coming down from the sky), b/c Sheol was traditionally considered to be an abode deep in the earth.
So in layman terms, purgatory. right?
No, I do not believe that Sheol/Hades and Purgatory are the same place or thing, most importantly b/c there is no possibility of purging without the work of Christ on the Cross.
So Phat or Neb, where was Samuel's spirit? If it wasn't in Heaven or Purgatory or Hell then where was he? I know Abraham's breastases lol
His spirit was in Sheol (Gk., Hades), the abode of the dead, where both the righteous and the unrighteous went before Jesus conquered that place with his Resurrection and opened the gates of Heaven with his Ascension.
But where is that according to your understandings?
Well, traditionally (as in, according to both Jewish and Christian tradition), it was thought to be deep in the bowels of the Earth, which is why it is also called "the underworld" and why Jesus is said to "descend into Hades" in the Apostles' Creed. Now, ontologically speaking, this location deep in the Earth is not true. After all, you can't dig and dig and dig until you find Hades anymore then you could find Hell. But, that was the common belief.
I don't agree that ANY believer in the OT waited anywhere for Christ resurrection I believe that they went to heaven based on their faith alone in the coming Messiah's work of crucifixion and resurrection.
You don't believe that the sin of Adam closed the gates of heaven? This is the first time I've heard of a Christian not believing that. Heaven was shut off to man once Adam and Eve ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This shutting off is symbolized by the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden (which was Paradise) and the placing of the cherubim with a flaming sword to prevent access to the tree of life, which gave eternal life to those who ate from it (cf. Gen 3:22-24). No more Paradise. No more eternal life.

Keep in mind that the bosom of Abraham is a place of happiness and peace. That is why the OT writers are able to speak of "heaven" and "paradise." But, this is not heaven as we know it, where the souls of the just enjoy the Beatific Vision (the unmediated face of the Trinitarian God) for all eternity.
So, why did he come up?
I do not believe that he came up b/c of the power of the sorcerer. For one, she seems shocked at Samuel's arrival (vs. 12), which would be odd if she expected to raise him by her own power. Also, by Samuel's words to Saul (vs. 16-19), he appears to be giving Saul a message from the Lord, or speaking for the Lord. This tells me that he comes as a messenger sent by God, not as a random soul conjured from the dead by a witch.

I hope that helps.

Pax Christi,

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