JUDGMENT, DIVINE: The final expression of God's will respecting man's future destiny.

Scriptural Idea.

The idea of judgment in the Old Testament presupposes a transcendent God and a divine interest in the moral order of the world, and was drawn from the analogy of human justice. The divine judgment which precedes the Messianic kingdom is concerned with guilty angels, with Gentiles to be destroyed or to become subject to Israel, with Israel and Judah as nations for which their enemies were to be employed as instruments of retribution, and with individuals of whom a remnant would be saved. The scene is the earthly life. To this judgment evils of various kinds were referred (cf. Job; also Luke xiii. 1 sqq.). Later the judgment was conceived of as following the Messianic kingdom (cf. Psalms of Solomon, i.-xviii., Eng. tranal. in Presbyterian Review, iv. 1883, 775 sqq.): In Alexandrian Judaism no distant final judgment is taught--each soul goes at death to its true place. In the New Testament the final judgment is connected with the parousia of Christ, yet the judgment is there both present and future. The judge is represented as either God or Christ, and judgment is according to works as expressive of character. In the teachings of Jesus this note is repeatedly struck especially in the parables, and apostolic preaching resounds with it. All men appear to be the subjects of it, and not those only who have known Christ (II Cor v. 10; Matt. xxv. 31 sqq.). One aspect of the judgment is that it creates nothing but only discloses what already exists, i.e., the relation of the person and his deeds to the divine moral order. There are particular judgments which, however overwhelming in themselves--the flood, the downfall of Sodom and of Jerusalem--are not final but only prefigurations of the last judgment. The New Testament knows of no gradation through imperceptible stages of judgment from highest to lowest; all men are either within or without the kingdom of God. One is warned against self-deception and against hasty judgment respecting others (Matt. vii.; Rom. xiv. 7-12). A person may be unconscious of his real actions or character, but these will come to light and receive retribution. The full realization may be long delayed, but no stage of the process is indifferent and the end will surely come. There is no evidence of a private judgment at death.

The Nature of Judgement.

The central idea embodied in the various pictures of judgment is that of human responsibility and of infallible retribution. This rests upon the conviction of an indestructible moral order, of laws as expressive of a personal divine will, and of Christ in such essential relation to mankind that God will have no one reach his final destiny apart from Christ. Yet according to the Scriptures the judgment is not final in the sense that ethical development has reached its limit, but only so far as this is conceived as related to the consummation of the kingdom of God. This is a teleological view of man's life in which he is lifted above the necessitated causal order, offered a divine goal, albeit a flying one, as the aim of ethical endeavor, and bidden to rely only upon an all-seeing, righteous God for recompense. The process is essentially teleological, so that, as Schiller declared, the history of the world is the judgment of the world.

Theories of Judgment.

Two general theories of judgment have been proposed: (1) The common view, which is set forth in the following positions. (a) It takes place at a definite moment-immediately after the general resurrection (see RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD). (b) It will be universal; the whole human race is to appear, each one in the completeness of personal life, "body, soul, and spirit." (c) It will


be public--the grounds of it open and evident to all; whether sins of the saints will be disclosed may be left in question. (d) The decision will be based on the deeds done in the body; probation has ended at death. (e) The law of judgment will be the will of God as it has been severally revealed to all men: to those under the written law, by that law; to those without that law, by the law in their hearts; to those under the Christian revelation, by what they have known of it. (f) It will be final and thus fix the changeless state of all-the good in felicity, the wicked in wo. (g) The hour when this is to occur is unknown, but is purposely retained within the secret counsel of God. A modification of this view, while conceiving of the parousia of Christ as a spiritual process and the resurrection as the rising of each man to life after death, holds that there is no other judgment than that which occurs at death. (2) The other idea of judgment presents it as a process which endures as long as law and moral being endure. It involves experience of good and evil results of choice, and the revelation of the nature of these within the moral consciousness. The conscience is the seat of this solemn process. By means of it all that opposes the will of God is gradually disclosed, condemned, and separated from the good, so that the good progressively triumphs. The results of this process of judging abide in the blessed or baleful conditions and character of personal and social life.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: For the idea in the Bible the reader will consult works on Biblical theology, such as those by Schultz and Beyschlag (see BIBLICAL THEOLOGY); for the theological content, the appropriate sections of treatises on systematic theology such as the works by Hodge, Shedd, and others (see DOGMA, DOGMATICS); also the literature under ESCHATOLOGY. Special treatment is given by: J. B. Mosley, University Sermons, pp. 72-96, London, 1883; T. T. Munger, The Freedom of Faith, pp. 337-356, Edinburgh, 1884; J. M. Whiton, Beyond the Shadow, pp. 141-192, ib. 1885; W. N. Clarke, Outline of Christian Theology, pp. 459-466, New York, 1898; C. A. Beckwith, Realities of Christian Theology, pp. 361-366, Boston, 1906. Consult also A. Jukes, The Second Death and Restitution of All Things, London, 1878.


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