The Armchair Theologian

A Forgotten Model of Salvation

In 1 Peter there is a peculiar remark which continues to generate theological speculation among Christians to this day. After describing Jesus’ divinely sanctioned death, the text goes on to note: ‘being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits  to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built’ (3:19-20). Here the text recalls the gigantic progeny of the sons of God who brought violence and bloodshed to the earth in the days before the flood (Genesis 6:13). Even these creatures, long since dead are said to partake in Jesus’ messianic promise: ‘freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free’ (Luke 4:18). To confirm this conclusion, the author of 1 Peter goes on, ‘For this is the reason the gospel…

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