I just wanted to get a gauge on what Christian Universalists think of the doctrine of “soul sleep”, i.e. the idea that the dead are utterly unconscious until the resurrection.
I just wanted to get a gauge on what Christian Universalists think of the doctrine of “soul sleep”, i.e. the idea that the dead are utterly unconscious until the resurrection.
Yes! I believe the doctrine is both Biblical (The Intermediate State of the Dead) and consistent with current scientific knowledge.
Thanks, Aaron. I’ve been curious about Philippians 1:21. What do you think Paul meant when he said, “to die is to gain”? I must admit that at first glance this verse/passage seems to militate against soul sleep.
I think there are two possible ways of understanding these words in a way that is consistent with “soul sleep.” When Paul spoke of his death as a “gain” he may have had in mind the furtherance of the gospel and the magnifying of Christ (see Phil 1:12-20). Or, Paul may have viewed his death as a “gain” because it would have not only released him from his suffering (recall that Paul is writing from a Roman prison), but because his next conscious experience after dying would be “with Christ” (v. 23). Or perhaps for Paul it was both/and rather than either/or. For more on my understanding of Phil 1:23, see The Intermediate State of the Dead.
No, I do not believe in soul sleep — for I do not believe in “souls”, at least not in the Platonic sense, the “real you” being a soul clothed in flesh, but separate from it. Plato taught that the “soul” is eternal and is re-incarnated in another body, human if you have lived a good life, and animal, if you lived a bad life. Incorporate this into Christendom, and you have the “immortal souls” of people going to heaven or hell.
My belief is that when you’re dead, you’re dead! And you’ll stay dead until God raises you to life again, either in the resurrection of life or the resurrection of judgment.
How does Genesis 2:7 read in the King James Bible?
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man received a living soul.
NO! That’s not how it reads. But that’s how it should read if we possess eternal souls given to us by God. Rather it reads that the man that the LORD God formed became a living soul. What was the man before God breathed into him the breath of life? He was just a material body formed from dust. There was no life in him. When God breathed the breath of life into him, he became a living being. The Hebrew word translated as “soul” in the King James is “nephesh”. Animals are also said to be “souls”.
Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living **nephesh **after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
However, the King James translators do not render the word as “soul” in the above verse. Rather it translated as “creature”.
Have you ever read about dead souls in the Old Testament? With the Platonic concept of immortal souls, there could never be a “dead soul”! But one of several verses which contain the phrase follows:
And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes; Neither shall he go in to any dead nephesh, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; Leviticus 21:10,11
Now the King James translators render the word not as “soul”, not as “creature” but as “body”! Is there a single word in English which fits each and every instance of the occurrence of the word “nephesh”? Indeed there is. The word is “being”.
Let’s see whether this translation applies to the three passages I quoted:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living **being **after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes; Neither shall he go in to any dead being, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother; Leviticus 21:10,11
The apostle Paul stated that if the dead are not raised, then those who are “have fallen asleep in Christ” (a euphemism for “died”) have perished. Perished — dead ---- gone forever! *
Furthermore, Paul implied that if the dead are not raised, we may as well “eat, drink, and be merry” (to put it in current language, for there is nothing to look forward to. He wrote:
1 Corinthians 15:32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”
The great hope for the disciple of Christ is not going to heaven at death, but being raised to life. Part of Paul’s defense before Felix concerning the charges the Jewish leaders had brought against him, was as follows:
“But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets. I have a hope in God—a hope that they themselves also accept—that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Acts 25:14,15 NRSV]*
Good post, Paidion.
I don’t believe we have a soul either, but that we are “souls”. However, the “soul” that sins, it shall die… so that one can “be dead” (in sin) even while they are physically alive. And just as God breathed the breath of life into Adam to make him “a LIVING soul” so does He send forth His spirit to quicken us and “resurrect” us from the dead… making us “a LIVING soul”.
I don’t believe that any of that has anything to do with physical life/death outside of the natural bearing witness to the spiritual in a figure. For we, as souls, are either “dead” and living" now. And physical death is, to me, only a type or shadow of a spiritual reality.
If the flesh were to be counted (and it’s not, which can even be seen in Genesis, in the generations of Adam, as Cain - a figure of the first/natural man - is not counted in the generations of Adam “In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him”) then Jesus would not have said: “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”
We are not “created” in the image of God until God sends forth His spirit, even the spirit of His son, into our hearts so that we can be conformed into the image of His Son (the LAST Adam, not the first; the first was A FIGURE of Him who was TO COME).
As I see it, the “grave” that we need to be delivered from - resurrected our of - is not a physical one (the flesh is dust, and returns to dust; it progits nothing) it is “the body of this death” of which Paul spoke, that is “full of dead men’s bones” and whose THROAT is “an open sepulcher” and whose TONGUE is “a world of iniquity… set on fire of hell”.
So I believe that when we die, the flesh returns to dust and the spirit returns to God who gave it. And since it is THE SPIRIT that is saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5), I can’t image that we “sleep” until a future resurrection. Jesus Christ IS the resurrection and the life (and we were quickened together with Christ, even when we were dead in sins) and those who are “asleep in Jesus” (ie “the dead in Christ”) are not physically dead, but those who are dead in sin - still waiting on “the appearing of the Lord”.
Hi atHisfeet! Haven’t seen you on the forum in a while; hope everything’s going well. As is probably no surprise to you, I just couldn’t resist responding to your most recent post! So here goes…
It is true that we are souls. But it’s equally true that we (who are souls) are said to “fall asleep” when we “breath our last” and physically die (e.g., Deut 31:16; 1 Kings 2:10; Ps. 13:3, 76:5; Job 3:13, 7:21, 14:12; Jer. 51:39; Isa. 26:14; John 11:11, 13; Acts 7:59-60; 13:36; 1 Cor. 11:30, 15:6, 18, 20, 51; 1 Thess. 4:13-15, 5:10; 2 Peter 3: 4). Hence, “soul sleep.”
(I should also point out that in Scripture “soul” can refer to a person’s natural life as well: Gen 1:20, 30; 19:17; 35:18; Ex 4:19; 21:23; 1Sam 22:23; Job 12:10; Esther 7:7; Prov 12:10; Jonah 4:3).
Regarding Adam: since he wasn’t a “living soul” until God breathed into him the “breath of life” (i.e., the same breath or spirit that returned to God when he died) then I think it can be reasonably inferred that Adam ceased to be a “living soul” after he breathed his last and “fell asleep.” Would you agree?
And do you think the man that God formed from the dust in the garden of Eden was able to think and enjoy a conscious existence before God breathed into him the breath of life? If not, why should we expect him (or any other human being) to be able to think and enjoy a conscious existence after the breath of life returns to God who gave it?
A person can be physically alive and either “dead in sin” or “dead to sin,” but I don’t think these two states have any relevance for those who are physically dead, since I don’t see it taught in Scripture that those who are physically dead can either keep or violate God’s law.
Moreover, where do you see it taught in Scripture that physical death is “only a type or shadow of a spiritual reality?” I agree that literal, physical death is not always in view when the words “death,” “dead,” “died” (etc.) appear in Scripture (e.g., Jesus said “Let the dead bury their dead,” Paul refers to being “dead to sin” and “dead to the law,” and John refers to the second overthrow of the nation of Israel as the “second death”). I also agree that the “death” of which Paul speaks in Rom 8:6 (i.e., being “fleshly minded”) is a state from which we need to be saved. But this fact hardly warrants the view that physical death is not also something from which we need to be saved. Even if God intended physical death to bear witness to a “spiritual reality,” this fact would in no way mean that physical death is not an “enemy” from which mankind needs deliverance. The author of Hebrews seemed to understand physical death as something from which Christ needed to be saved (Heb 5:7), and if Christ needed to be saved from physical death then I think it’s reasonable to think that those of whom he is the “firstfruits” (1 Cor 15:20) need to be saved from this as well.
If I’m not mistaken, it’s your view that Christ’s resurrection is but a shadow, and the “spiritual truth” that his resurrection is meant to convey to us is the substance - and that, consequently, the only (or primary) significance of Christ’s resurrection from the dead on the third day is the “spiritual application” that can be drawn from it. Is this correct? When you talk about types/shadows of a “spiritual reality,” I can’t help but think of Col 2:16-17, where Paul says, “These (i.e., the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic law) are a shadow of things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Hebrews 8:5 also comes to mind: “They [the Levitical priests] serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things…” But neither of these verses say anything about Christ’s death and physical resurrection being only a type or shadow of a greater “spiritual reality.”
And I’m still not entirely sure what you even mean by “spiritual reality.” In general, the word “spiritual” in the NT seems to mean something like “belonging to or concerning the Spirit” (i.e., the Holy Spirit). When referring to our spirit then I suppose the expression “spiritual reality” would pertain to that aspect of our existence that is “inward” and can only be discerned by how it manifests itself in outward behaviour (i.e., that which pertains to our motives, desires, thoughts, attitudes, feelings, values, etc.). But if this is what you mean by “spiritual reality” then I’m not sure how there can even be a “spiritual reality” for human beings without our having a physical, embodied existence. In this present state of existence, our having thoughts, feelings, desires (etc). seems to be dependent on our being physical, embodied beings, and I’m not sure why this would change after death. If we need a functioning brain to have thoughts and feelings while we’re alive, why should we expect anything different after we die?
It may be that Cain is to be understood as “a figure of the natural man.” But of course, the word “natural” in the expression “natural man” doesn’t denote that which is “physical” or “embodied,” and the word “spiritual” in the expression “spiritual man” doesn’t denote that which is non-physical or disembodied. As Paul used the words, a physical man of “flesh and blood” (or “flesh and bone,” as Christ was after his resurrection) can be either “natural” or “spiritual.” And it’s true that when Christ says, “shall never die” in John 11:26, he’s not speaking of physical death. But this in no way means that physical death is not also something from which need to be saved.
When you say “if the flesh were to be counted…” I assume you’re alluding to what Jesus says in John 6:63. But Jesus was not affirming a Gnostic view of the body when he said “the flesh profits nothing,” or seeking to overturn the idea that the physical body is inherently good and essential to human life and existence. As I’ve noted elsewhere, what Jesus seemed to be saying here is simply that his “flesh” (i.e., his physical body) was not able to impart spiritual blessings (“life”). That is, merely touching his body or eating his body (gross!) cannot effect a positive change in our character. Rather, it was the Spirit alone that could accomplish this. So this verse has absolutely nothing to do with Christ’s resurrection body or whether our resurrection body will be physical or not. We can still be raised with the same kind of body with which Christ was raised (i.e., a physical one with flesh and bones) and Jesus’ words in John 6:63 still be true.
Again, I don’t think it’s a matter of either/or here, but rather both/and. Paul believed we needed to be delivered from having a fleshly mindset (which he figuratively calls “death”) and he believed that we needed to be delivered from physical death/the grave. Yes, we need to be saved from that kind of thinking that leads to sin. This salvation is essential to our happiness. But when our brain stops functioning we stop thinking, period (whether the thinking leads to sin or not). And when our brain returns to the dust it simply means we need a new brain if we’re ever going to think again.
Right. But if the “spirit” (i.e., the “breath of life”) that “returns to God who gave it” was not a conscious thing before God gave it, why think it’s a conscious thing when it departs from us at death and returns to God?
Where does Paul say that the saving of the man’s “spirit” on the “day of the Lord” would take place in a post-mortem state of existence, after the body returned to dust? The word “spirit” simply denotes some kind of invisible, active force (i.e., that which is unseen but has visible effects). It can refer to the wind (Gen 8:1; Ex 10:19; 15:10; Num 11:31; 2Sa 2:11; 1Ki 19:11; Job 1:19; Ps 83:13; 107:25; Ecc 1:6; Isa 64:6; Jer 10:13; Dan 7:2; etc.), the vitality or life of human beings and animals that is manifested through breathing (Gen 2:7; 6:17; 7:15; Num 16:22; 1Ki 10:5; Job 7:7; 12:10; Ps 146:4; Eccl 3:19; 12:7; Jer 10:14; Eze 10:17; 37:5; Matt 27:50; Luke 8:55; 23:46; Acts 7:59; James 2:26; etc.), and the “inner self” of a person (e.g., their will, affections, thought-pattern, desires, mental disposition) which is made known through their actions and behaviour (Deut 34:9; Num 5:14, 30; 1 Sam 1:15; 1 Kings 21:5; Psalm 51:17; Prov 16:9, 18, 19; Eccl 1:14; 7:9; Isa 11:2; 19:14; 61:3; Mark 2:8; Luke 9:55; John 3:6; 4:23-24; 11:33; 13:21; Acts 17:16; 18:5; Rom 2:29; 11:8; 1 Cor 2:11; 4:21; Gal 6:1; Eph 4:23; Phil 2:19; 2 Tim 1:7; 1 Pet 3:4; 1 John 4:6). In 1 Cor 5:5 Paul is probably using “spirit” in the last sense (cf. v. 3). But there is no indication that this “spirit” can exist apart from a functioning brain to suffer or enjoy in a disembodied state of existence. In any case, there is no indication that anyone’s post-mortem existence is in view in 1 Cor 5:5.
It may be objected that Paul speaks of the destruction of “the flesh.” But he’s not talking about the termination of physical, bodily existence at death; rather, he’s talking about the destruction of that disposition or mindset in which we habitually yield to and gratify the desires of our animal nature, carrying out the “works of the flesh” (Gal 5:19-21). What Paul was hoping would take place in the case of the sexually immoral man in the Corinthian church is that which had already taken place in Paul’s own life: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). That is, those who belong to Christ have overcome the sinful disposition to habitually (and unlawfully) gratify the bodily appetites and desires, and have thus been freed from the bondage to sin. And of course, “crucifying the flesh” has nothing to do with dying and returning to the dust. So I don’t think 1 Cor 5:5 has anything to do with the question of whether or not we “sleep” until the resurrection.
In 1 Cor 15:18 Paul speaks of “those who have fallen asleep in Christ.” Earlier in this chapter Paul wrote, “Then [Christ] appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep” (v. 6). What do you think Paul meant when he spoke of some of the five hundred brothers as having “fallen asleep?” Do you think he meant they had become “dead in sin?”
And when Paul wrote to the Thessalonians regarding “those who are asleep” (1 Thess 4:13) and “those who have fallen asleep” (v. 14) and declared, “We who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep” (v. 15), do you think he was saying that those who would be alive at Christ’s coming would not precede those who are “dead in sin” in being caught up to meet the Lord in the air?
All is well, thanks!
No doubt that the “dead” are said to be “asleep” (whether physically or spiritually), but just exactly how does that prove “soul sleep”?
Just because a dead body appears to be “asleep” to the living doesn’t prove, to me, that the person who once inhabited that body has ceased to exist (consciously).
When I thought that was the case (as, for a time, I did) it was because I was looking at “the resurrection of the dead” in relation to either (1) the resurrection of our physical body or (2) the resurrection of a “soul” out of “the grave” to be put into a glorified body. But the words of Jesus have convinced me that “the resurrection of dead” has nothing to do with the physical body or even physical death.
But just because David “slept with his fathers” and “did not ascend into the heavens” (Jesus’ tomb was empty – compared to David’s) doesn’t mean that David (or anyone else) ceased to exist consciously when they died physically. I believe that the only tomb that will ever be empty is Jesus’ tomb. Dust returns to dust. I believe that Jesus’ tomb was empty for the very purpose of proving “the resurrection of the dead”. However, that which SEEN (His physical tomb that was lacking a physically dead body, for it had been resurrected from the dead) is meant to show us those things that are NOT SEEN.
The Jews didn’t understand this, that’s why THEY CLAIMED: “Abraham IS DEAD, and the prophets” when JESUS SAID: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death.” (John 8) And how many times did I quote THE JEWS to try and prove my belief in soul sleep (when I held to it)? Too many times to count. Even Martha was looking forward to “the resurrection at the last day” (how many times did I quote HER??) when Jesus said: “They brother shall rise again”. But what did Jesus say to that? Did he tell her she was correct or did he correct her when He said: “I AM the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in men shall never die.”?
And what about when the Sadducees asked Jesus about the resurrection of the dead and He relied to them: “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living”? (Matt 22)
If we do not understand who “the dead” and “the living” are after a spiritual truth, then we end up asking our questions after a carnal understanding, which is (as I see it) exactly what Paul was addressing when he said: “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?” Why do you believe Paul answered with: “Thou fool”? Why would any man even ask that question if all we have to do to understand the resurrection of the dead is to look at Jesus’ empty tomb and physically resurrected body to know the answer to the question?
I would say that God breathing the breath of life into Adam to make him “a living soul” is a figure of God sending forth His Holy Spirit into us to make us “living souls” and I would say that Adam ceased to be “a living soul” when Adam sinned.
Where do you get the idea that Adam was “formed from the dust of the garden of Eden”? As I understand Genesis 2, the garden was not even planted until after Adam was formed out of the dust of the ground. It is, therefore, the “living soul” (made so by the breath/spirit of God) that is placed into the garden. Again, I see this as a figure. Therefore, I have no reason to require that Adam (man) be physically dead between that time he was “first formed” (out of the dust of the ground) and the time that God breathed the breath of life into him to make him “a living soul” (and placed him in the garden he had planted).
I’m not sure how you get that Christ needed to be saved from physical death out of Heb 7. Yes, Jesus prayed: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” But not even that proves to me that Christ needed to be saved from physical death. His physical death was required because His blood was required. But I don’t believe that His physical death is the “death” he tasted for every man. I believe that He tasted that death when He took on the form of man and came into this realm of the dead and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”.
So what? It’s not written that Eve is a figure of the church, either. But we know that she is because of what is written about Adam and how Paul used the husband/wife relationship to teach us about “Christ and the church”. And it is because of the many other things that are written about “the dead” and “the resurrection of the dead” that I see physical death as a type or shadow of man’s spiritual condition with regard to their natural state. Some of those things I discussed above, but that is just a limited list made from some of the things that I believe I lacked an understanding of when I did believe in soul sleep.
First of all, I never claimed that anyone ceases to have a body after physical death. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body and our “house not made with hands” is reserved for us “in the heavens”. Secondly, if you are claiming that a physical, embodied existence is required for thoughts, feelings, desires, etc to exist, then I’d like to know how explain the existence of God?
Not in and of itself, no. But in light of the rest of scripture I might beg to differ. And just because Jesus’ physical body lay in a physical grave until the third day, after which He appeared in “a body of flesh and bones” (the tomb then empty) doesn’t prove the doctrine of soul sleep either. However, it does prove “the resurrection of the dead” in a way that can be seen. But we are supposed to be looking upon those things that are not seen, right? (2 Cor 4:18)
I never said otherwise, nor am I gnostic. And while the idea that “the flesh profits nothing” is part of the reason that I believe as I do, that is certainly not the only verse that comes to mind. God’s spirit bears witness with OUR SPRIRIT that we are the children of God. Even Paul speaks of turning one over to satan for the destruction of the flesh that THE SPIRIT might be saved in the day of the Lord. This, to me, speaks of the “spiritual man”, the “inward man”, the “second man” THAT IS “the Lord from heaven”. I don’t believe that “dust returns to dust” only to be “resurrected” later. Paul said that our desire is not to be unclothed, but to be CLOTHED UPON. And it is, indeed, THIS MORTAL (not corpses of rotting flesh in physical graves) to whom all of these things pertain. It is THIS MORTAL that “is dead”, suffering the wages of sin, and THIS MORTAL that needs to be redeemed from “sin and death”.
Paul did not believe that he needed to be delivered from a physical grave. He desired to be out of the body and present with the Lord, knowing that if this earthly tabernacle were dissolved that WE HAVE an house not made with hands reserved for us in the heavens and that this has nothing whatsoever to do with being unclothed (dying physically) but with being CLOTHED UPON.
Surely the natural/physical man cannot function without a functioning brain, but what has that to do with the spiritual man or the spiritual body? Can you prove that we need a physical body/brain to think/exist?
What makes you think that the spirit that returns to God “the breath of life”? Is it “the breath of life” that God is bearing witness to when Paul said: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom 8:16)? Is it “the breath of life” that is “saved in the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:5)? Is it “the breath of life” that God is the Father of in Heb 12:9 where it is written that He is “the Father of spirits”?
Where did I say anything even remotely close to that?
Aaron, how is the world can you even justify your faith in God when you don’t even seem to believe that life can exist apart from or outside of this physical world/existence?
But, again, I never said anything about anyone’s “post-mortem existence”?? Are you still waiting for “the day of the Lord” to begin?
Aaron, I never claimed that the spirit is saved “post-mortem”. Your own assumptions about what I believe (or maybe just your own beliefs) are causing you to read more into what I wrote than is actually there.
No, I believe they already were dead in sin, even as we all were, even when they/we were “quickened together with Christ”. (Eph 2:5) As such, they/we are no longer “dead” (though that is still true, spiritually speaking) but “asleep”. “Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Eph 5:14) It’s not about corpses in physical graves.
Yes, for it is “the tares” who are gathered FIRST at the time of harvest, according to Christ. (Mat 13:30) It cannot be any other way, for “if one died for all, then were ALL DEAD”. (2 Cor 5:14)
Hi atHisfeet! Thanks for the response.
I’m glad you acknowledge that those who are physically dead can be said to be “asleep!” Now, I think I may not have been clear enough, and that you may have misunderstood the point I was trying to make. When I said, “hence, soul sleep,” I meant, “hence the expression, soul sleep.” I was simply pointing out the fact that human beings are “souls,” and a physically dead human being is said to “sleep.” So if a human being is a “soul,” and a dead human being is represented in Scripture as “sleeping,” then the expression “soul sleep” would be a pretty accurate way to describe this. What we disagree on is simply whether the word “sleep” (when used in reference to physically dead human beings) entails a loss of consciousness. You think there are verses in Scripture which reveal that, appearances notwithstanding, consciousness doesn’t actually end when we physically die, and that the “sleep” metaphor refers only to the natural body, which you see as something that the person leaves at death. I, on the other hand, believe that what Scripture teaches is consistent with the view that human consciousness is dependent on a functioning brain and does not survive physical death, and that the “sleep” metaphor refers to the person (or “soul”) and not merely to the person’s body.
In Scripture, it’s not just the “dead body” that is said to be asleep. It’s the person himself. As I’ve shown in another thread (https://eu.ltcmp.net/t/the-intermediate-state-of-the-dead/1077/1), the person who died is often identified by the inspired writers with the body that is buried. We see this identification in both the Old and New Testaments. It seems as if the inspired writers understood that a person is constituted by his body, and not by the “spirit” (i.e., the life) that it said to depart from the body at death and return to God. When a man’s “spirit” (i.e., his life) “departs” from him and returns to God, it is the man himself - not merely his body - who is said to “return to the earth” (e.g., Gen 15:15; 1 Kings 2:2; Job 10:9; Psalm 90:3; 104:29; 146:4). When Jesus died, his “spirit” (or life) returned to God, its source (Luke 23:46), and his body was buried in a tomb (Matt 27:59-60). But notice that after his death, Jesus was always said to be wherever his body was, and not where his spirit went (Matt 12:40; Acts 2:39, 13:29; 1 Cor 15:3-5).
Or consider Acts 7:59-60, where we read, “And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” It wasn’t merely Stephen’s body that fell asleep; it was Stephen himself who was said to fall asleep.
And in Matthew 27:52, we read that “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” At face value, this verse seems to stand at odds with your view that, following death, people are still alive and conscious while only their bodies are “asleep” in the grave. According to Matthew, it is not merely the bodies of the saints, but the saints themselves who are depicted as having “fallen asleep.”
Similarly, when speaking of his friend Lazarus, Christ told his disciples that Lazarus had “fallen asleep” (John 11:11). And by this, of course, Jesus meant that Lazarus had physically died (v.13) - not that he was “dead in sin.” But if this “sleep” metaphor applied to anything other than that which was essential to Lazarus’ personal identity, then it would have been inaccurate and inappropriate to say that Lazarus died or “fell asleep” (for the name “Lazarus” applies to the person and not to some unessential part of his personal identity). And when Christ raised Lazarus from the dead and restored him to a mortal existence, there is no suggestion that the “real” Lazarus had been alive and well in another state of conscious existence, waiting for Jesus to call him back from heaven so that he could reanimate his body. Instead, John’s language presupposes that the “real” Lazarus – i.e., the man himself - was indeed dead and in a tomb. When, at Christ’s command, Lazarus’ life (or “spirit”) returned to his body, the dead man was “awakened” from his “sleep.” That is, his life was restored to his body, his vital organs began functioning again (including his brain), which allowed him to regain consciousness.
Well I should be clear that I don’t think the “resurrection of the dead” of which Paul speaks in 1 Cor 15 and elsewhere has anything to do with the mere reanimating of the same mortal bodies that die (i.e., like Lazarus’ resurrection). I don’t think the body with which Christ rose was the same exact body that was entombed. The dead body that was entombed was, I believe, changed into a different body (what Paul calls a “spiritual body”). And I believe all who die - as well as those who will be alive when Christ returns - will undergo the same kind of instantaneous “change” (1 Cor 15:50-53).
While I do think the “spiritual body” will be a physical, flesh and bone body (like Christ’s body), I don’t think it has to necessarily be made of the same matter of which our “natural body” was composed. It is not the matter that comprises our body that makes us who we are, but rather how the matter is organized. So I think the resurrection body will be organized in such a way that the person who once existed as a “living soul” will exist once again as a living, conscious person, regardless of what matter God will use to re-create us with.
Now, I can’t remember what your view is on this, so I need to ask: do you think Christ was raised with an immortal, “spiritual” body, and that it was this body which left the tomb? Or do you think he was raised in a mortal, “natural” body? Paul writes, “So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body” (1 Cor 15:42-44). Do you think Paul’s words here apply to Christ as well as to us? That is, do you think Christ’s body was, at death, sown a perishable, dishonourable, weak, natural body, and that on the third day it was raised an imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual body? And do you think that it was this kind of body which left the tomb empty? If this isn’t your view, clarification would be appreciated.
Above you said, “compared to David’s,” meaning, “David’s tomb.” This language is consistent with what Peter tells us: “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day” (Acts 2:29). Similarly, Paul wrote, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption” (Acts 13:36). But such language as this is, I believe, entirely inconsistent with your position. According to your view, the person “David” is not in a tomb and never was. The person named “David” didn’t “fall asleep.” The person “David” didn’t “see corruption.” According to your position, if David ever could have been identified with his body, death would have put an end to it, for you believe the person named “David” left his body at death and went somewhere. That which was entombed and “saw corruption” was simply the organized matter that the person “David” used to inhabit. Right?
Yes, the empty tomb was evidence that Jesus had risen bodily from the dead (in, I believe, an imperishable, spiritual body), but Jesus was definitely seen (and touched) after the tomb was found empty, so I’m not exactly sure I understand your point here.
Jesus didn’t tell Martha she was mistaken for thinking that her brother would rise again on the “last day,” for Jesus had previously taught that he would raise up all who’d been given to him by God on the “last day” (see John 6:38-39). When Jesus said “I AM the resurrection” (your emphasis), he was claiming to be the one who would raise the physically dead from physical death (which was Martha’s hope as well as, I think, Paul’s). What Jesus does in these verses is simply place an emphasis on his mission to save people from that “death” that Paul says is being “fleshly minded,” and to impart spiritual blessings (“life”) to all who believe on him. It was this aspect of his mission that Martha was’t as familiar with. But simply placing the emphasis on this important part of his mission in no way means that it is not also a part of Jesus’ mission to raise the dead in the sense of restoring to those who have died a living, embodied, and physical existence. Believing that we must be “raised” from a state of sinfulness doesn’t at all mean we will not also be raised from a state of physical death. Jesus came to save us from both literal and figurative “death.” It’s both/and, not either/or.
Like you, the Sadducees denied that those who physically die will, at some future time, be restored to a physical, conscious and embodied existence. But Christ doesn’t challenge this view; rather, I believe he implicitly affirmed it. What Christ challenged was the mistaken view that there will be a need for marriage in this state of existence - and he does this by pointing out that those raised will be immortal and “equal to the angels,” making procreation - and the institution designed for this - unnecessary. But the kind of resurrection of which the Sadducees were in denial as a result of their being “ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God” was the kind of resurrection that Christ himself experienced; i.e., the resuming of one’s conscious, personal, embodied existence at a future time, after it had previously ended due to physical death. They were denying that anyone’s conscious, personal and embodied existence would be resumed at some future time after they died. This is the “resurrection” that is in view, which the Sadducees denied and Christ affirmed. It has nothing directly to do with people being “dead in sin” or becoming righteous and holy (although I do think all people will be righteous and holy in the resurrection state). So the “resurrection” of which Christ is speaking in his response to the Sadducees has to do with the continuation of conscious, personal and embodied existence after physical death, and is not (I don’t think) the same kind of “resurrection” that is in view in (for example) Ephesians 5:14, where Paul states: “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Here Paul is not talking about the continuation of conscious, personal and embodied existence after physical death, but rather a positive, spiritual change that takes place in the hearts and lives of those who believe on Christ.
Like the words translated “spirit,” the words “dead” and “living” can carry different meanings in different contexts, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to apply the same meaning to the words “dead” and “living” wherever they appear in Scripture. For example, when Jesus said, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead,” it’s obvious that he was using the word “dead” to mean two different things. The first sense is clearly figurative (and intended to be understood as such), and the second is literal (and intended to be understood as such). To make the literal figurative, and the figurative literal - or to understand them as either both figurative or both literal - is to completely misunderstand what Jesus is saying. But when you speak of understanding the words “dead” and “living” “after a spiritual truth” you seem to be disregarding this fact and ascribing the same “spiritual” meaning to the words “dead” and “living” wherever they appear in Scripture. If this isn’t what you’re doing, please explain.
You ask why I believe Paul answered with “Thou fool?” I like what Methodist commentator Adam Clarke has to say:
The man was probably referred to as a “fool” because, even in view of the evidence for it, he didn’t believe in the physical, bodily resurrection of Christ, and such questions reflected a belief that such a thing was ridiculous and impossible. Like in Athens (which was relatively close to Corinth), the very idea of a resurrection like Christ’s (i.e., being restored to physical, bodily existence sometime after death) was something to be “mocked” by some rather than taken seriously and investigated further (Acts 17:32; cf. v. 18, which suggests that those mocking may have been Epicurean philosophers).
Regarding what I said about Adam’s being “formed from the dust of the garden of Eden,” that was a careless mistake! But I don’t think my minor slip up detracts any from my general argument, and I’m not sure how your correction of it really bolsters your argument. We’re told that it wasn’t until God breathed into Adam the “breath of life” that he became a “living soul” (I think it’s interesting that the expression translated “living soul” occurs about twelve times in the OT, and of those twelve times, it is applied to human beings only once, in Gen 2:7). From this I think it can be reasonably inferred that Adam would’ve ceased to be a “living soul” only when the “breath of life” departed from him and returned to God who gave it. But we’re not told that the breath of life departed from Adam when he sinned. While it’s true that Adam “died” (in a figurative sense) when he sinned, it’s equally true that, in addition to this figurative “death,” we’re told that he physically died many years later: “Thus all the days that Adam lived were 930 years, and he died” (Gen 5:5). So here (as in Jesus words quoted earlier) we have two different “deaths” in view. One is figurative and took place on the day Adam sinned, while the other is literal and took place many years later. So is it your view that the “breath of life” that made Adam a “living soul” did not depart from Adam when he died at age 930, but rather had departed from Adam and returned to God before this time (i.e., when he sinned)? It’s irrelevant to me whether you understand Genesis chapters 1-3 or 1-11 as completely literal and historical, completely mythical and allegorical, or as having elements of both. Whether Adam actually existed or not is, I think, beside the point as far as this discussion goes; the fact is that, in the narrative, we’re told Adam “died” at age 930, and elsewhere in Scripture (in the same book, in fact) it is implied that the “breath of life” which is in every “living soul” - whether it is a human or a lower animal (Gen 1:30) - departs from them at the time of physical death (see, for example, Gen 6:17; 7:21-22; cf. Job 34:14).
Regarding Heb 5:7, I think it can be inferred that Christ was saved by God from physical death, and that God wouldn’t have saved his son from physical death if he didn’t need to be saved from it. I think Christ benefited from being saved from physical death, and that all human beings will benefit from being thus saved.
Regarding Heb 2:9, I must admit that I’m very much puzzled by your view that the “death” of which the author is speaking is not the physical death that Christ suffered on the cross, so some further elaboration of your position would be helpful! I don’t believe Christ pre-existed his conception in Mary’s womb, but assuming he did, where else do you see Scripture as speaking of Jesus’ incarnation as a “death?”
As you know, Paul speaks of our being raised with an imperishable, powerful, glorious, spiritual body (1 Cor 15:42-44), and of our being “raised imperishable” (v. 52). As I understand Paul, this being raised with an imperishable, spiritual body is the “resurrection” of which he is speaking in 1 Cor 15. So my question is this: When do you think we will be (or were) raised with the kind of imperishable, powerful, glorious and spiritual body of which Paul is speaking? Do you see it as something that takes place before we physically die, or as something that takes place after we physically die? Or does it depend?
I believe man requires a physical, embodied existence to be alive or conscious because he is, by virtue of the way he was created, a physical and embodied being. Moreover, the only real, living human persons I know of, or have read anything about, are all physical, embodied beings. To speak of non-physical human persons existing in immaterial, intangible bodies is, for me, like talking about leprechauns, as I see no good reason to believe that either exist. When someone loses consciousness and then dies there is nothing which suggests to me that they are still just as conscious as they were before they lost consciousness. There would have to be a clear revelation from God to the contrary to convince me that death is not what it looks like, for all of my God-given senses contradict the idea.
So in light of this, how do I explain the existence of God? Well for starters, God is in a completely different category of being than man. He is an infinite, self-existent being, and we are not. And while I do think it’s reasonable to believe that, insofar as God relates to and interacts with his finite creation, he chooses to assume a localized and embodied form, I don’t think God is, by necessity, a localized and embodied being (although I suppose he could be, as Mormons believe, and as some evangelical theologians such as Clarke Pinnock have speculated). So your question is, to me, akin to saying, “If you are claiming that man is finite and localized and thus cannot be in an infinite number of places at the same time, then I’d like to know how you explain the existence of God.”
Certainly; but I believe our resurrection body is “not seen” because it doesn’t actually exist yet (I believe Paul is speaking proleptically when he refers to the resurrection body as being “in the heavens” in 2 Cor 5). But the same goes for Christ: his resurrection body was unseen before he was raised on the third day because it didn’t actually exist yet, either. So it could just as truly be said of Christ that, before his death, he was “looking upon those things that are not seen” (i.e., his resurrection body). But when he was raised, what had previously been “unseen” (because it didn’t exist yet) became visible and tangible to him and to those to whom he appeared after his resurrection. So I believe it will be for us.
Is it your view that “the spirit” of which Paul is speaking in these verses is the “spiritual body” of which he speaks in 1 Cor 15? And are you suggesting that “the man of heaven” in 1 Cor 15:47-49 is the “inner man” of 2 Cor 4:16? If not, please explain.
My understanding is that the “inner man” which Paul spoke of as being “renewed day by day” is the mind (which Paul elsewhere exhorted his readers to “renew” in order to bring about transformation - Rom 12:2), which is often denoted by the word “spirit” (since this word refers to anything invisible which has visible effects). But the “man of heaven” refers not to our mind but rather to Jesus, who was raised with a spiritual, flesh-and-bone body, and is currently sitting at the right hand of God waiting for his enemies to be “made a footstool for his feet” (Heb 10:12-13).
Paul writes, “For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must put on the imperishable, and the mortal must be put immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory’” (1 Cor 15:52-54). When do you think the trumpet will sound, and when do you think you will “put on immortality?” Or do you think you have already “put on immortality?” And if so, when did this instantaneous change take place for you (I say “instantaneous” since Paul said this change would take place “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye”)?
Also, you seem to believe that Paul is speaking of the same “death” in Rom 6:23 as he is in the above passage from 1 Cor 15. If this is so, what leads you to believe this?
No, not a physical grave (for many people are not buried in a physical grave at all), but rather the grave, in a general sense (i.e., the state or condition of those who are physically dead). It is a state or a condition and not a “place” from which the dead need to be delivered, and this state or condition is what I believe is meant by the words “Sheol” and “Hades” (i.e., when the words are used in reference to the physically dead, as they frequently are).
Paul desired to be away from his mortal, natural body and to be present with the Lord in his immortal, spiritual body. And because from his conscious, first-person perspective, dying would introduce him into that future state of existence in which he would find himself clothed with his immortal, spiritual body and “with the Lord,” he thus wrote, “My desire is to depart (i.e., from this present, mortal existence) and be present with the Lord (i.e., at the resurrection of the dead).” He’s speaking from his own perspective, and the same could be said by any believer in “soul sleep.” If I was having to endure the kind of suffering and hardships that Paul was at the time he was writing, I could say along with him, “My desire is to depart (i.e., from this present, mortal life) and be present with the Lord (i.e., in my future, immortal body).” From my own conscious perspective, dying would introduce me into this desired future state of existence, for I would have no conscious awareness of the passing of time between my death and resurrection.
First, you seem to be speaking of the “spiritual man” (referred to in 1 Cor 2:15) and the “spiritual body” (referred to in 1 Cor 15:44) as if they’re the same thing. Is this what you believe? And if so, why?
Second, can you prove that a human being can think without a brain without referring me to a handful of verses from Scripture that you think support this view (but which are, I believe, less clear on deciding this question than you may think)?
Yep; again, the same breath or “spirit” (i.e., the life) that God breathed into Adam (which is the same “spirit” that is present in all humans, as well as in lower animals - Eccl 3:3) departed from Adam when he physically died and returned to God who gave it. But this “spirit” or life wasn’t conscious before it entered Adam, so why think it’s conscious after it departs and returns to God who gave it?
The “breath of life” is spoken of as being in all “living souls,” whether human or animal (Gen 1:30; 2:7; 7:22). Moreover, it is evident that the Hebrew words translated “breath” and “spirit” are often used synonymously. For example, in Gen 6:16 (ESV translation) the expression “breath of life” appears yet again, but this time the word translated “breath” is not neshâmâh (as it is in Gen 2:7) but rûach. This is the same word Solomon used when he declared that both man and beast have the “same breath” (Eccl 3:19) and that, at death, “the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Or consider Job 27:3, where Job declares, “…As long as my breath (neshâmâh) is in me, and the spirit (rûach) of God is in my nostrils…” Here the “spirit of God” that was in Job’s nostrils is almost certainly a reference to the “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam and gives to all “living souls.” Similarly, in Job 34:14 we read: “If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit (rûach) and his breath (neshâmâh), all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust.” Or consider Isaiah 42:5: “Thus says God the LORD, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath (neshâmâh) to the people on it, and spirit (rûach) to those who walk on it…” This is an example of the same kind of Hebrew parallelism found in the examples from Job above.
Consider also Proverbs 20:27 (ESV): “The spirit (neshâmâh) of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts.” Here the same word translated “breath” elsewhere is translated “spirit” (which means the translators understood that these two Hebrew words can have the same meaning). And in Psalm 104:29 (ESV) we read, “When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath (rûach), they die and return to their dust.” Here the same word translated “spirit” elsewhere is translated “breath” (which, again, means that the translators understood that these two Hebrew words can have the same meaning). The same can be said for Psalm 146:4 as well: “When his breath (rûach) departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.” What is the “breath” or “spirit” of which the Psalmist is speaking? I think it can be reasonably inferred that the Psalmists had in mind the same “breath of life” that God breathed into Adam and gives to all “living souls,” whether human or animal.
In light of the above I think it’s reasonable to understand the “spirit” that returns to God as being the same “breath of life” that was breathed into Adam and which is given to all “living souls.” This “spirit” or “breath” is simply the life (or “life-force”), which is an attribute of all living things.
No; as I’ve pointed out, in both the OT and the NT the words translated “spirit” can mean different things. In these verses the word “spirit” (pneuma) is being used in a different sense than “breath” or “life.” As in 1 Cor 2:11 (cf. v. 16), “spirit” here refers to our mind (i.e., our consciousness, thoughts, self-awareness, understanding, etc.). In other places the word “spirit” refers more specifically to our mental disposition or “state of mind” (i.e., the “spirit of your mind” - Eph 4:23). God is the “Father of our spirits” in that he is responsible for the “birth” of our new “spirit” or renewed mind, which is called the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). And for human beings, this “spirit” (whether it be understood as “mind” or “mental disposition”) is dependent on our having a functioning brain, for that is what allows human beings to think, desire, be self-aware, etc.
I asked: Where does Paul say that the saving of the man’s “spirit” on the “day of the Lord” would take place in a post-mortem state of existence, after the body returned to dust?
My mistake. You seemed to arguing that because the “spirit” is said to be saved in the “day of the Lord,” it wouldn’t make sense to say we “sleep” until a future resurrection (for you said, "And since it is THE SPIRIT that is saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5), I can’t image that we “sleep” until a future resurrection). So, if you don’t mind, please elaborate on how you think 1 Cor 5:5 supports your position that we don’t sleep until a future resurrection.
Again, I must have misunderstood your argument. And no, I believe the “day of the Lord” spoken of in the NT was a 1st century event. When do you think the “day of the Lord” began?
Again, my mistake. It’s just that your statement (“And since it is THE SPIRIT that is saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5), I can’t image that we “sleep” until a future resurrection”) suggested to me that you understood “the spirit” as something that, in the case of the sexually immoral man in Corinth, would be saved after physical death (meaning he wouldn’t be “asleep” after death). Since this evidently wasn’t what you were arguing, please explain how you think 1 Cor 5:5 supports your view that we don’t “sleep” until a future resurrection.
Paul says, “…most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.” So are you saying that Paul’s meaning is, “most of whom are still (spiritually) alive, though some are ‘dead in sin’ (while physically alive)”? Is that correct? If that’s not what you think Paul is saying here, clarification would be helpful. And if you do think Paul is talking about most of these “brothers” being spiritually alive (rather than “dead in sin”), does that mean they’d already been raised with the imperishable, glorious, powerful spiritual body of which Paul speaks later in this chapter? Again, if that’s not what you believe, please explain.
Ok, I’m just trying to understand your view here. So you’re saying that the “dead in Christ” in 1 Thess 4 are the “weeds” of which Christ is speaking in Matt 13:30, which were to be gathered first and bound in bundles to be burned, and those whom Paul said would be alive at Christ’s coming are the “wheat” which were to be gathered into the barn. In other words, is it your view that the living of whom Paul is speaking in this chapter are the “children of the kingdom,” and the “dead in Christ” are the “sons of the evil one” (Matt 13:38), who, at the “end of the age,” were to be thrown into the “fiery furnace” where there would be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (v. 42). So when Paul says, “the dead in Christ will rise first” he means, “then the sons of the evil one will be gathered out of the kingdom and thrown into the fiery furnace.” Is this correct, or have I misunderstood your view?
On the doctrine of “Soul Sleep” I think it is important to understand the words used in the verses that are used to support it.
I believe that the soul is the “personality” so to speak, but the spirit is the seat of an individual’s unique “personhood”, and the essence of sentience, conscience, and life (being the breath of God who is Life).
The spirit, according to Solomon in Ecclesiastes - goes back to God, who in the Old Testament is certainly still omnipresent, and according to David present even in Sheol [Hades] the unseen realm of the dead and disembodied.
Psalm 139:8 CLV - If I should climb to the heavens, You are there, And should I make my berth in the unseen, behold, You are there.
Ecclesiastes 12:6-7 KJV - Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.[/size]
It would seem to me that in Sheol the soul and spirit still function collectively as the “inner man” of an individual, even when disembodied of the “outer man”, or the vessel that the body functions as. I say this because of the evidence provided in 1 Samuel 28 - where Saul disguises himself and requesting the services of the medium woman at Endor, “raises up” Samuel from the grave.
[size=85]1 Samuel 28:15-19 KJV [/size]
[size=85]And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?
And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.
Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day. Moreover the LORD will also deliver Israel with thee into the hand of the Philistines: and tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me: the LORD also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hand of the Philistines.[/size]
Samuel is seen here having a conversation with Saul, and expressing consciousness, sentience, personality, and especially memory. His spirit and soul (inner man) are intact, conversative, remembering, prophesying, and vibrant loosely speaking considering he is disembodied and dead… But the important facts are that he is for all intents and purposes, both disembodied yet still functioning - and he is Samuel, which is to say “still himself”.
These verses (and surrounding verses) show me that there is still “life” (sentience, and conscience, and even functioning consciousness with memory, personality, and power, or presence) after death, or disembodiment. Not just for Samuel only, but for others as well - even the sons of Saul will join him, and the medium woman saw others besides Samuel ascending out of the Earth.
“…And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.”
Now, for the New Testament, the verses that state things like:
[size=85]1 Corinthians 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed;
The word for “sleep” here, is not “hypno” as seen in the Greek of verses like these;
[size=85]Matthew 1:24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:[/size]
The word for sleep in Paul’s sense, the sense that people use to support Soul Sleep - unconsciousness in death, is “koimao” which is more like “repose” in translation, rather than “sleep”.
[size=85]1 Corinthians 11:30 CLV Therefore many among you are infirm and ailing, and a considerable number are reposing.[/size]
Reposing carries with it a sense of rest, or sleep in the sense of repose carries that same idea. This is not a “hypno” or unconscious sense of sleep, but a lying down to rest from labours and troubles, quietness, and stillness - not unconsciousness.
“A peaceful rest at long last” Sort of idea, like Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, being comforted.
It is a sabbath rest, rather than a disconnection or turning off of existing.
Our life is hidden with Christ, and is eternal upon entering into that life, we are seated in Heavenly places, God is the God of the living, not the dead, or unconscious, or the in tantamount “temporarily annihilated”.
It makes sense to me that soul sleep, if it is a doctrine to be believed - should be thought of in the sense that the person is in a state of resting, lying down in comfort, reclining in consolation, and maybe even sleep of a sort; what might be considered a rejuvenating meditative relaxation full of quietness, stillness, peace and freedom from the troubles and labours of the fallen world: A Sabbath away from the land of the Living. But it should not be thought of as unconsciousness, or emptiness of being, no matter how temporary.
From the perspective of the living, yes.
I understood your point. I used to believe the same as you, so I understand your perspective very well. I simply no longer see it the same way is all.
I think you’re missing the whole point of the type? In order for there to be “a resurrection of the dead” there have to be those who “are dead”, right? We can only see those things that are not seen (which are eternal) through the types and shadows that have been given to us to see them (that which is seen, which is temporal). So, from the perspective of that which IS SEEN the physically dead “sleep”. They are lying still (lifeless) and, generally, buried in a physical grave or tomb in which there is “no work”, where there is “no knowledge”, where they “cannot praise God”, where they “know nothing”. All of which are types of our SPIRITUAL condition when we are “dead in sins”. This is no different from Jesus healing the physically deaf, the physically blind, the physically lame… even raising the physically dead back to life. These were all figures of the true ailments from which we need to be healed in order to have “eternal life” (as opposed to mere physical life).
That is still from the perspective of the living, though. And, as far as I can tell, the “spiritual body” is “spirit”. And even if it’s not the scriptures tell us that if this earthly tabernacle (our natural body) WERE DISSOLVED that we should know that WE HAVE “a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”. We know that “that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.” (1 Cr 15:37-38) But given that our desire is not to be “unclothed” (die physically) but to be “clothed upon” with this “house not made with hands”, I believe that both the natural body and the spiritual body exist together as long as we are physically alive. And, yes, when we die the spirit returns to God who gave it. And that, as I see it, is not simply the breath of life that is the spirit of God, but is the spiritual man, the inward man. That man does not cease to exist just because he ceases to exist within his natural body.
This is still from the perspective of the living, Aaron. What sense would it make to claim that “the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised”? Should we assume the saints were not “in” those bodies? But again, what this is showing (I believe) is “the resurrection of the dead”. And we can only see that which is NOT SEEN through their natural types and shadows. They are given to us as “an example” of those things that are eternal/unseen.
Are you expecting the body that you currently have to come out of its grave one day?
Christ’s body never saw corruption. Again, a figure (as I see it) but none-the-less true even naturally. So I have to ask again, are you expecting your natural body to be resurrected one day in order for it to be changed and for you to “put on immortality”? Paul says that it is THIS MORTAL (not corpses) that must “put on” immortality and incorruption. We do that not by being unclothed but by being clothed upon.
I believe that Jesus appeared in a physical body in order to prove “the resurrection of the dead”. But I believe that this “resurrection” needs to be understood spiritually, not carnally/physically. And I believe that the reason that Jesus made it clear that HIS BODY was “flesh and bones” is because WE are now “His body”, a many-membered body joined together by one spirit. I don’t believe God has told us anything at all about how or where we will exist in eternity. The scriptures are for those who are in this world and part of this physical creation. All we know of eternity is that we shall “ever be with the Lord”. (1 Th 4:17) That may be as part of a physical creation or it may not. I don’t know. But I do not expect my corpse to one day pop out of its grave. I expect to be “given” a spiritual body and, indeed, believe I already have been “clothed upon” with that body. And if this earthly tabernacle were to be dissolved today then I would expect to HAVE “a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”.
You’re asking me if I believe that Christ was raised mortal? No! But, as explained above, neither do I believe that the “spiritual body” is “flesh and bones”. I do not believe that Jesus’ appearance in a body of “flesh and bones” was intended to show us what “the spiritual body” is. I believe it was meant to prove “the resurrection of the dead” and demonstrate a spiritual truth about “His body” (made up of many-members… all “flesh and bones”).
I don’t believe that 1 Cor 15:42-44 has anything to do with physical death. That is why Paul answered the question: “How are the dead raised up and with what body do they come?” with “thou fool”. That is why Jesus told the Sadducees that they erred not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God.
Yes, David DIED and WAS BURIED and his sepulcher was still with them to that day – even with us to this day. What is the point being made? That David is unconscious in his grave? Or because David’s tomb is not empty and Jesus’ tomb is, we know that David did not prophesy of himself, but of Christ?
As I see it, the only reason that we know anything about “the dead” is because of what we can SEE/OBSERVE about those who are PHYSICALLY dead. The same with “the resurrection of the dead”. But we are not to be looking upon those things are are seen, but upon those things that are not seen, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, which is (as I see it) how we “rightly divide the word of truth”, dividing between the natural the spiritual, the types/shadows (that which was given “as an example”) and the Truth.
I’ve never said “either/or”. I know that death takes place both spiritually and physically. But I don’t believe that proves soul sleep. And, yes, Jesus said that He would raise us up “in the last day”. But what does that mean and did Martha (do we) understand what that means? When comparing spiritual things with spiritual, it seems (to me) that “the last day” is the same as “the third day” which is the same as “today”, which is connected to when we hear His voice and harden not our hearts. (Heb 4:7). As I see it, we enter into THE DAY of the Lord when we pass from death/darkness (THE NIGHT = “yesterday” when it is past) unto life/light (THE DAY = “today” when we hear His voice and harden not our hearts). Hence the words of the Lord to the thief on the cross: “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise”. But it is all ONE DAY to the Lord who has a covenant with both the night and the day, who is Lord both of the living and the dead. That DAY comes “as a thief in the night” because Christ “comes” unto them that “sleep”, unto “the dead”, and His reward (a crown OF LIFE) is with Him. It’s not about the placement of a comma (as I used to argue and might anticipate your response to argue) when you understand what “today” means in relation to our entering into HIS REST, into THE PROMISED LAND, into THE DAY of the Lord.
And where do you get that from the text? The text says: “The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection…”. They denied the resurrection of the dead. It does not say they denied a physical resurrection, only believing in a non-physical resurrection. You are adding to the word and doing so, it would seem, because of your own preconceived notions of what “the resurrection of the dead” encompasses. But if you look at Jesus’ reply more carefully you will see that neither does Jesus speak of a physical resurrection to take place after physical death when He speaks of “the resurrection of the dead”. He said: “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
According to Jesus, who are “the angels of God”? Are they not “the reapers” who are sent “at the end of the world” to harvest? (Mat 13:39) and didn’t Jesus come “in the end of the world” to “put away sin by the sacrifice of himself”? (Heb 9:26) And did He not send HIS DISCIPLES “to reap” because the field were “white already to harvest”? (John 4:35-38)
So then how does that which was SEEN (God manifest in the flesh, in the only begotten Son of God, the man Jesus) relate to that which is NOT SEEN? Especially in relation to the fact that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” and God himself said” “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? And in relation to Jesus being “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (slain, in this world, in a place called “the skull”, buried “in the heart of the earth” until “the third day”)?
That is not what I believe Jesus had in view at all, nor Paul when he spoke of THIS MORTAL and THIS CORRUPTIBLE “putting on” immortality and incorruption – not by being unclothed, but by being CLOTHED UPON. The reason that those “in that world” (age = the age of “a son”, as opposed to that of “a child” in bondage to the elements of this world) are not given in marriage is because they have already been “espoused to Christ”. (2 Cor 11:2)
As explained above, I do not believe that Jesus is talking about a physical resurrection of the physical body that takes place after physical death either.
Explain what? I’ve never denied physical death. Men die every day. I buried my own daughter a few years ago. I know, very well, the difference between physical death and spiritual death. That doesn’t change the fact that we can only see those things that are not seen (eternal/spiritual) through those things which do appear (seen/temporal/physical), through their types and shadows. And it’s not just about the words and the fact that “death” can be understood both physically and spiritually. I would have no reason to exclude one or the other on that basis alone. It is because of the way that I have come to see OTHER THINGS that has caused me to go back and take another look at not only how I see “death” and “the dead” but how I see “the second death” and “the first resurrection”. Neither of which do I currently believe are post-mortem events but see as having to do with our baptism into Christ and coming to know the power of His resurrection.
Again, you seem to add to what is written. Nowhere in that verse does it say that what they “mocked” was a bodily resurrection, though it could be that they mocked the resurrection of Jesus, not believing that Jesus was raised from the dead. But, while Christ was raised “bodily” (his tomb being empty and his appearing in a body of flesh and bones after His resurrection), this was to give assurance unto all men that “he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained” (in that HE/JESUS was raised from the dead). How many, even today, mock Christians for believing Jesus was raised from the dead?
When God said: “…the soul that sinneth, it shall die”, do you think He was speaking of man’s physical death? IOW, do you believe that physical death is “the wages of sin”? I don’t. I believe that man has always been mortal, which takes physical death completely out of the equation when it comes to the “sin and death” that we need to be redeemed from and is why, as I see it, physical death is not counted. Again, the “death” that we need to be saved from is that which is “the wages of sin” - which only applies to those who are physically alive. And, according to Paul, we were quickened together (and raised) with Christ “even when we were dead in sins” (= “the second death”), which is why even “the dead” are said to be “in Christ” and why “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (all were dead… and all have been baptized into Christ’s DEATH and what we are striving to know is “the power of HIS resurrection” = “the first resurrection”). I don’t see that as having anything to do with physical death or the physical body. It is receiving “the adoption” (of sons) that IS “the redemption of our body”. (Rom 8:23) It is when we have been CLOTHED UPON (not unclothed) that MORTALITY has been “swallowed up of life”. (2 Cor 5:4) It is CHRIST IN YOU, that is the hope of glory. (Col 1:27) Those who “live and believe” have already passed from death unto life (having been quickened to life by the spirit of God/Christ IN THEM). You may, indeed, recognize that as “the resurrection of the dead” after a spiritual application, but what you are saying is ‘that’s not enough, we need to be saved from physical death’. And if you see “the first resurrection” and “the second death” as post-mortem events then perhaps that is the only way you can see “the resurrection of the dead”. But that is not how I see the second death and the first resurrection as I see them both tied to our baptism into Christ and I believe that we have to take part in “the second death” (HIS) before we can have part in “the first resurrection” (HIS).
I believe that salvation from physical death can only be inferred as far as the type of death it was that Jesus was to die is concerned, not that Jesus needed to be saved from His physical grave after He died or he would have ceased to exist.
Recall what Jesus said to the Sadducees? That “in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven”? Who are “the angels”? As I see it, they are MEN, those who HAVE PASSED from death unto life, those who “live and believe” and “shall never die”. They are His disciples, those who are sent “to reap”. That has nothing to do with Jesus (a man) “pre-existing his conception”. It has to do with His being made “a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death” (“angels” have already passed from death unto life and can “never die”). Remember that it is “the angels” (not men) who “ascend and descend” upon the Son of man, which is why Jesus saying: “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” doesn’t prove “soul sleep” either (as I once thought it did).
I don’t believe that Paul is speaking about the physical resurrect of corpses in 1 Cor 15. Corpses are NOT “mortal” and it is THIS MORTAL that must “put on” immortality and THIS CORRUPTION that must “put on” incorruption. As I see it, we do that by being “clothed” with Christ. So I guess the answer would be that we do that before we physically die. Though it could “depend” on whether or not we believe and could happen “at” physical death, the fact that Paul said we were quickened together with Christ “even when we were dead in sins” makes me believe that it has nothing to do with physical death.
Well, it’s up to the Lord to give you that revelation. All I can do is show you what I believe the Lord has shown me on the subject which is why I had a change of mind. Perhaps you will see it and perhaps not, but just as you cannot go against your God-given senses, neither can I go against the revelation that I believe I have received on the matter, which seems (to me) to take into account many things that you have not, as of yet, considered. At least so far as I can tell from the conversation so far, evidenced by the differences that exist between your understanding of what Paul said and my own.
You claimed that thoughts, feelings, etc cannot exist apart from a physical body with a physical brain. That is what I asked you about, not the finite nature of man compared to the infinite nature of God. So you believe that God, as an infinite being can exist, think, feel, etc without a physical body/brain but man can’t? What makes you so sure that we will always live in a physical world with physical bodies surrounded by physical things? Or so sure that we do not already have that “spiritual body” and that is all that exists once this natural body dies and returns to dust?
I disagree. Just because something is not seen doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. Even the temple that Moses built in the desert (natural) was made after the pattern of that which was in heaven (spiritual). One is seen and the other isn’t, but it is that which is not seen that is the “true” temple of God. The other is but a shadow of the true. And Paul did not say that we WILL HAVE (future tense) “an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” one day, but: “we know that IF OUR EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS TABERNACLE WERE DISSOLVED, WE HAVE a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (present tense). How much clearer can that be? If I told you that you should know that if your natural body were dissolved that you HAVE a spiritual body eternal in the heavens, you would assume that I was talking about a body that doesn’t even exist and that you will not receive until some time – long distant, perhaps – after your natural body is not only dissolved but resurrected so it can be changed? You seem to be focused on Christ after the flesh, seeing the natural as important as the spiritual, but Paul said we are not to know any man (not even Christ) after the flesh. (2 Cor 5:16) It was the first Adam who was made “a living soul”. The Last Adam was made “a quickening spirit”. What do you believe that means?
Yes, I believe that the spiritual body is connected to the spiritual man or the inward man, the second man that is the Lord from heaven. Paul tells us that there are “bodies terrestrial” and “bodies celestial”. He identified that terrestrial (natural) body with “the flesh” (not all flesh being the same… there is the flesh of man, another flesh of the beasts, another of fish and another of birds). And he likens the celestial body to the glory of the sun, the moon and the stars where one star differs from another star in glory. So now what do “the stars” have to do with the church, the body of Christ? Are not “the stars” (held in His right hand) in the book of revelation “the angels” of the churches? And who are “the angels”? Are they not men, those who walk after the spirit rather than the flesh, being governed by the spirit of God, sent to reap and gather out of His kingdom all things that offend and them which do iniquity? Even Paul was received by the church “as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus, right?
I don’t disagree that the spiritual man is connected to the renewed mind. But if you are saying that Jesus Christ is sitting in a physical place, on a physical throne, in a physical body then I think I would have to disagree. How and when do you believe Christ’s enemies are made his footstool given that now is the judgment of this world, the earth is his footstool, and we are recompensed in the earth?
First of all, I don’t believe that Paul is talking about corpses (or souls sleeping in hades) here. The “dead in Christ” (them that “sleep in Jesus”) are among those who are “alive” and remain, making “the dead in Christ” those who Jesus called “the tares” when He said: “gather ye together first the tares”. If that is not the case then Paul is contradicting Christ who said that in the time of harvest it would be the tares that are gathered first. And yes, I believe that I have already been “clothed upon” with immortality, which only Christ has – by being clothed with Christ. When did that happen? When I was baptized into Christ. When did I become aware of it? When I became aware of what Paul was saying. I can’t give you a date and time if that is what you are asking for. But I do know that I had my own personal “road to Damascus” experience on February 27, 2004.
Already explained in some of my responses above.
Exactly my point! The state or condition of the sinner is “dead” and the abode of the dead (sheol/hades) is “this world” (generally speaking) and “the earth” or “the body of this death” that is full of dead mens’ bones and whose THROAT is an open sepulcher and whose TONGUE is a world of iniquity, set on fire of hell (specifically speaking). I don’t see that having anything to do with the physically dead. In the parable of Lazarus and the rich man both men died, but Lazarus was caught up by the angels to the bosom of Abraham while the rich man was buried and found himself “in hades” being “tormented in this flame” (on his tongue). This is not about physical death and corpses.
I’ve made the same argument countless times. It’s flawed, IMO. First of all, the conjunction “and” joins the two statements together. So while (as some argue, as I once did) that Paul did not say “to be absent from the body IS TO BE present with the Lord” (continuing with the same argument you are here that it is at some later time that Paul expects to “be with the Lord” and not as soon as he is “absent from the body”) that doesn’t change the fact that (1) Paul said his desire was to be absent from the body AND PRESENT WITH THE LORD or (2) when we are “at home in the body” WE ARE “absent from the Lord” and vice versa (with regard to the spiritual application of the same). And I cannot believe that Paul was TORN between staying and departing TO BE WITH CHRIST “which is far better” (no matter how much he suffered in the flesh) if he believed that “departing” meant falling asleep and having no conscious existence until “the resurrection of the dead”, when he knew that abiding in the flesh was more needful to them who he considered his “little children”.
Not only that but another passage that is used to try and prove that Paul had not attained unto “the resurrection of the dead” is found in Php 3. But a closer examination of the passages revealed to me that Paul was not saying that he had not attained/apprehended unto the resurrection of the dead, but that he “counted it not” and continued to strive for it, “not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect”. In verse 15 he even says: “Let us therefore, AS MANY AS BE PERFECT, be thus minded". He tells us to “walk by the same rule”. Why? Seems to me because “if I bear witness OF MYSELF, my witness is not true” (John 5:31) and “If I justify MYSELF, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse” (Job 9:20) and “If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.” (John 9:41) and the like.
I’m not the one who made a claim, you did. My disagreement with you doesn’t hinge on man’s existence being contingent on his processing a physical body/brain, yours does. My argument hinges on the fact that I believe that there is sufficient scriptural evidence to prove that “death” and “the resurrection of the dead” are meant to be understood spiritually rather than physically, that physical death is simply the shadow or type, the means by which we can understand what “death” is and what “the resurrection of the dead” is, as it related to a spiritual truth.
Aaron, I said that I see “the breath of life” breathed into Adam as a FIGURE/TYPE of God sending forth the Holy Spirit by which we are “born again” and pass “from death unto life”. I did not say they are one and the same nor are we physically dead when God sends forth HIS SPIRIT to quicken OUR SPIRIT. Obviously, man had a beginning and had to be given life, both naturally and spiritually, but I don’t know what you mean by saying that “this “spirit” or life wasn’t conscious before it entered Adam”. What “spirit” are you talking about?
So you believe that “and” makes two things (neshâmâh “and” rûach) the same thing? Job says: “All the while MY BREATH is in me, AND THE SPIRIT OF GOD is in my nostrils; My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit” and ““If he should set his heart to it and gather to himself his spirit AND his breath, all flesh would perish together, and man would return to the dust.” Seems, to me, that your reference proves my position far better than it proves yours. For even if Job is speaking about physical death one can “perish” and “return to the dust” without dying physically. But we can only see that which is “not seen” through those things that “are seen”. You seem to think that we should be looking at both the natural and the spiritual, giving both the same measure of importance/relevance, but I don’t believe that is the case. I believe that the natural is only relevant in so far as it reveals those things that are not seen, which we are supposed to be looking upon as we compare spiritual things with spiritual in order to rightly divide the word of truth.
Once again, I never denied that death can be both spiritual and physical, Aaron. While it is true that “when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust” can refer to physical death (that which is seen), it ALSO refers to spiritual death (that which is not seen) – the physical being the shadow/type of the spiritual. But that, to me, doesn’t prove “soul sleep”. Especially not when considering all of the other things that I have mentioned which would all have to be false in order for soul sleep to be true and I don’t believe they are false. I believe soul sleep to be false, but I could only see that once I began to see all of those other things. Before that I, too, believed in soul sleep.
So now they are not the same, but different? And your argument still hinges on the flesh, as we can only exist in a physical realm, in a physical body, with a physical brain? Again, it was the first Adam/man that was made “a living soul”, but the Last Adam/man was made “a life-giving spirit”. What do you believe that means? Especially in relation to the fact that He “maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire”? I don’t disagree that these things pertain to men who have physical bodies and functioning brains, but then I am not looking for the resurrection of the dead to take place post-mortem. Who do you believe these angels/ministers are?
Because I see “the DAY of the Lord” as something that we enter into here/now “by faith”, which is when we PASS “from death unto life” (from THE NIGHT into THE DAY). ONE DAY is as a thousand years and a thousand years as ONE DAY to the Lord, right? Well, as I see it, that ONE DAY is “divided” between THE NIGHT (darkness/death) and THE DAY (light/life). And THE DAY is called “today” and THE NIGHT (when it is past) is as “yesterday”. This passing from death unto life, entering into THE DAY of the Lord, is what I see as “the resurrection of the dead” and it has nothing to do with physical death because it takes place while we are physically alive. But whether we are “awake” or we “sleep” it is still ONE DAY to the Lord and, as far as God is concerned we were quickened together with Christ “even when we were dead in sins”, so we are found IN HIM whether we LIVE or DIE. And having been baptized into HIS DEATH (= the second death) we have also been raised with Him. But we cannot walk in the newness of life until we come to know THE POWER of HIS RESURRECTION (= the first resurrection). I do not believe that we die physically and then come forth in the first resurrection (or the second – scripture never mention a “second resurrection”), then we are judged and then those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life are cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. As I see it the second death comes BEFORE the first resurrection and we were “cast into the lake of fire” when we were “baptized into Christ’ (into HIS DEATH) and NOW is the judgment of this world (for this is what Christ said, even that “I am come TO SEND FIRE ON THE EARTH”). And what we are striving to know is the same thing Paul said he was striving to know… the power OF HIS RESURRECTION. That is how we “have part in the first resurrection” (“every man in His own order”… AT HIS “COMING”….not all at once). And if we never come “face to face” with the Lord in this life and we die in our sins then we will surely come face to face with Him when we exit this world and I do not believe that we “sleep” for an undetermined amount of time first. I believe that we depart to be with the Lord and when we see Him we will see Him as He is and we will fall to our knees and call Him Lord, just as Paul did when he came face to face with the Lord on the road to Damascus.
I do not believe that there has ever been such a time that the day of the Lord did not exist, but we do not enter into it until we hear His voice and hardened not our hearts. Then are we given access to the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the paradise of God, then do we enter into the New Jerusalem, that city that is set on a hill and cannot be hid but is called to be the light of the world.
I don’t believe that anyone is save post-mortem. I believe that we have already been saved by the blood/cross of Christ – whether we walk in the knowledge of it or not. Though, for some, that knowledge may not come until after physical death I don’t believe that is when they are saved but when they come to the knowledge of their salvation which was wrought through the blood of Christ shed on the cross (which is, even in and of itself, a figure of that which takes place WITHIN US, as I see it - which is why Christ was crucified in a place called “the skull” ).
I think it’s two-fold, but then I don’t believe that we have to shed this natural body in order to be raised a spiritual body. I don’t believe that we have one or the other (or have to die, physically) to receive the latter). I believe that they exist “together” and are not (fully) “separated” until this earthly tabernacle is dissolved (we either die, physically, or the Lord comes to gather all of those who remain – the dead/tares first, then we who are “alive”). Then shall we ever be with the Lord!! Amen!!?
When it comes to the wheat and the tares, I see it as two-fold. One can be seen as a “tare” while another can be seen as “wheat”, but I don’t believe that we are either “tares” OR “wheat”, as both are “growing together” in the same field (growing together within all of us). This speaks, to me, of “the flesh” vs ‘the spirit” and that which is manifested outwardly is that which is at work inwardly. IOW, if we are walking “in the flesh” then we are “children of the wicked one” (subject to the lust of the flesh and the things of this world, having “the devil’ as our father). If we are walking “in the spirit” then we are “the sons of God”, who is our Father. So, for those who believe, the separation of the tares from the wheat and the goats from the sheep is already taking place. But those who believe not still abide in death, the wrath of God abiding upon them – they are still in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, until they hear His voice and harden not their hearts and pass from death unto life and enter into THE DAY of the Lord. (The way of LIFE IS ABOVE to the wise, that he may depart from HELL BENEATH.) If they do not do that then they are counted among “the tares” or “the dead in Christ” of which Paul speaks when He says that it is they who will rise first when the time of the end comes and the Lord comes to gather those who remain. But with regard to “the end of the age”, I see the “ages” in relation to the various stages of spiritual maturity that we go through - from “babes” (who are yet carnal) to “sons” (who are led by the spirit of God). But I won’t get into that right now since it’s getting late and this is already ridiculously long.
Hi Lefein (and welcome to the forum )!
I don’t think the words translated “soul” and “spirit” always have the same exact meaning in Scripture. For example, while the words translated “spirit” seem to convey the idea of some kind of unseen force (i.e., that which is invisible to us but has visible effects), depending on the context it can denote breath, wind, life, mind, mental disposition, etc. But I’m not sure where in Scripture the word ever denotes some part of us that is conscious after physical death.
While the idea that “Sheol is the unseen realm of the dead and disembodied” is fairly common, I just don’t see it as being taught in Scripture. Rather, when used in reference to the physically dead, I understand “Sheol” to simply refer to the grave in a general sense - i.e., wherever the dead happen to reside. And because (in general) the dead are out of sight, referring to where they reside as the “unseen” (i.e., Hades) is appropriate. But when Scripture speaks of “the dead” in Sheol I don’t see it as referring to that which is represented as departing from the body at death and returning to God (i.e., the “spirit,” or breath of life) but rather to the body (with which the person if often identified in Scripture).
The following is something I wrote on another similar thread where this topic has been discussed (The Intermediate State of the Dead):
Moreover, we know that when a person dies he (i.e., the person) begins to decompose and return to the dust of the earth from which he was made (Gen 3:19; 1 Kings 2:2; Josh 23:14; Ps 90:3; 104:29; 146:4; Eccl 3:18-21; 12:7). So it’s no surprise that Sheol (the grave in a general sense) is described as a place of corruption (Ps 16:10) and destruction (Job 6:8; Ps 40:2; 55:23; Isa 38:17-19) where one’s form is “consumed” (Ps 49:14). It’s also not surprising that Sheol would be associated with dust (Job 7:21; 17:13-16; Ps 30:3, 9), as well as silence (Ps. 3:17; 6:6; 30:10; 88:13; 94:17; 115:17) and darkness (Job 3:16; 10:20-22; 17:13; Ps 88:12).
Ah, but Sheol is not spoken of in Scripture as being where the “inner man” (which I understand to simply mean the mind of a living person - see 2 Cor 4:16; cf. Rom 12:2) resides in a disembodied state until the resurrection. The OT portrays Sheol as a place of corruption and dust, not of conscious, disembodied persons. And recall that Korah and his company went down bodily into Sheol (Num 16:32-33). It’s true that the “inner man” of Korah would’ve gone down into Sheol along with his “outer man,” but this was only the case because Korah was still alive - and his brain still functioning - when the earth swallowed him. But I believe Korah’s “inner man” or mind would’ve ceased to be as soon as he lost consciousness and died (or died and lost consciousness, whichever came first ).
If, when Samuel died, his spirit “returned to God who gave it” (as does the spirit of all “living souls”) what was it doing in the ground? For that’s where “Samuel” is described as coming from when the medium “conjured him up.” In view of this fact it just seems unlikely to me that the entity described as “Samuel” in the narrative is to be equated with something that left Samuel’s body at death and returned to God. I think the interpretation of 1 Sam 28 you suggest becomes even less likely when we realize that Solomon (who would have undoubtedly been very familiar with this story about his grandfather Saul) expressed a view concerning the state of the dead that is, I think very much inconsistent with the interpretation of 1 Samuel 28 which presupposes that a dead prophet could do or know anything. Apparently, Solomon did not understand this account to reveal anything about the dead that conflicts with his declarations that both man and beast return to the dust after death (Eccl 3:19-20), that “the dead know nothing” (Eccl 9:5), and that “there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol” (v. 10). It follows, then, that Solomon probably interpreted this passage somewhat differently than you and others do.
The following three views are, I believe, more likely than the one which assumes that people continue to exist in a conscious, disembodied state after death:
Thus if Samuel had indeed been temporarily restored to a living, embodied existence within this pit, then Saul would not have been able to see him initially unless he was looking down into it (as the medium would have been).
Samuel wasn’t actually present at all; rather, the author or editor of the narrative was simply adopting the inaccurate perspective of Saul (who had been duped by a phoney medium: bertgary.blogspot.com/2009/05/ps … -fake.html). If this is the case, then this would be one of a number of examples in Scripture where the inspired authors are not describing things as they actually were but rather as they appeared to be from the perspective of those whose beliefs or knowledge was deficient.
An angel sent from God was impersonating Samuel. This is a modification of the view that an evil spirit (or “demon”) was impersonating Samuel, which was held by a few “church fathers” (such as Tertullian and Gregory of Nyssa) as well as by some Protestant theologians (most notably, John Calvin), among others. In De Engastrimytho contra Origenem, Eustathius of Antioch argues for this position against Origen (who believed that Samuel actually appeared): books.google.com/books?id=Xt5U2g … en&f=false
If an angel of God was impersonating Samuel then it may be that the angelic being was called “Samuel” not merely because he appeared as Samuel, but because he was speaking on Samuel’s behalf (in which case we may understand this as an example of the Hebrew “law of agency,” which, according to the The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion is expressed in the dictum, “a person’s agent is regarded as the person himself”). That is, if it was an angel sent by God to “fool” Saul and the medium, then what he said to Saul should be understood as being what Samuel would have said had he actually been present. To this view it may be objected that a holy angel wouldn’t engage in such deception. But in 2 Thess 2:6 we read that God was going to send the wicked people in Paul’s day a “strong delusion” so that they would “believe what is false” and be “condemned.” So it would seem that God’s sending an angelic being to deceive Saul as an act of judgment upon him is not inconsistent with God’s righteous and benevolent character (cf. 1 Kings 22:19-23). Moreover, it would not necessarily be sinful for an angel to deceive Saul by impersonating Samuel if the impersonation was done out of obedience to God, and was without evil, self-serving intent (we know Christ himself engaged in some benevolent “deception” on at least one occasion! See Luke 24:28-29).
Not necessarily; if “elohim” is to be understood here as an intensive (or “emphatic”) plural then we need not understand there to have been more than one entity seen by the medium (if indeed she saw anything at all). The ESV, for example, translates the medium’s words as follows: “I see a god coming up out of the earth.” (For a discussion of “elohim” as an intensive/emphatic plural, see the following thread: The OT and the Trinity)
While it’s true that koimao is commonly used by Paul to speak of the state of the dead, I’m sure you would agree that the word does not, in itself, necessarily suggest the idea that a person is conscious. In the LXX, for example, the word koimao can be used to convey the same meaning of “sleep” as hupnos (e.g., Judges 16:14, 19, 20; 1 Kings 19:5; Ps 3:5; 4:8; 13:3; Prov 4:16). Job 14:12 is especially relevant, for here both koimao and hupnos are used in reference to the “sleep” of the dead. In Psalm 13:3 hupnos is used in the expression “sleep of death,” and in Psalm 76:5 the word appears yet again in reference to death. Same goes for Jer 51:39 (“sleep a perpetual sleep”).
Moreover, in the NT koimao seems to have been used and understood to convey the same general meaning as hupnos (Matt 28:13; Luke 22:45; Acts 12:6). John 11:11-12 is especially significant. There, we read (ESV):
“After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep (koimaō), but I go to awaken him (exupnizō, “to awake out of sleep”).” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep (koimaō), he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest (koimēsis) in sleep (hupnos).”
Notice that when Jesus told his disciples that Lazarus had “fallen asleep” (koimaō) they thought he was talking about literal sleep (hupnos). Jesus then has to tell them plainly that Lazarus was dead - and when he spoke of “Lazarus” he was talking about the dead occupant of the tomb he was soon to visit, not a disembodied spirit that was being comforted somewhere in a conscious state of existence. So while it’s true that hupnos is the more “literal” word for “sleep,” koimao is often used to convey the same meaning. And when applied to the dead, I submit it carries the same idea (since those who are dead appear to the living to be “sleeping” or “reposing”).
Moreover, in Matt 28:13 it would be pretty strange if koimaō didn’t suggest an unconscious sleep!
Jesus’ statement “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” was said in support of the doctrine of the resurrection, not in support of the doctrine that people continue to exist in a conscious, disembodied state after death. I understand Jesus’ argument as follows: If God called himself the God of Abraham (who had died hundreds of years prior), and if God is not “the God of the dead but of the living,” then, logically, it can only mean that Abraham either had been restored to a living existence, or that he would be restored to a living existence (for more on my thoughts on this passage you can check out the following thread where this passage in particular is discussed ad nauseum by myself and Bob Wilson: Will People be Raised as Immortal Sinners?).
Again, while koimao doesn’t necessarily suggest an unconscious state (as does hupnos), I believe an unconcscious state is certainly implied when used in reference to the dead. During the intermediate state, the dead are “resting” in the sense that they are no longer engaged in conscious thought or vital activity, as are the living (Job 3:11-19; Ps 6:5; 30:9; 88:10-12; 115:17; Eccl 9:5-6, 10). This view of the state of the dead is, I believe, assumed by Jesus and all of the inspired authors of Scripture.
Well, there is that part where Jesus tells the thief; “Truly, Truly today you will be with me in Paradise”.
Paradise might be a little bit useless to a person in spiritual-coma. It would seem to me that Jesus and the thief were conscious in their state of being disembodied - afterall, he did say “Today” and that was before, or on the first day the three days between their deaths, and the resurrection of Christ.
And even if it was not Sheol that the thief went to, but to Heaven, or what ever Paradise refers to here - it would seem strange for him to be…well…unconscious, and unable to enjoy it even briefly. That isn’t Paradise, it is nothingness.
Then there is the verse in Revelation:
And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
There is no reference to any resurrection of these saints (by which the doctrine of soul-sleep would require for them to be conscious) at any point before verse 6. The resurrection of bodies occurrs after this verse (as far as I have been able to find without getting really deep into my scanning of that book), yet here in verse 6 these souls are certainly conscious - speaking, and remembering, and asking for avengeance, as well as receiving robes - and commanded to rest, which is not even the koima word, but “anapano”, which also means “to repose” according to Strong’s concordance.
*G373 anapano an-ap-ow’-o
from G303 and G3973;
(reflexively) to repose (literally or figuratively (be exempt), remain); by implication, to refresh.*
There are more references to such a conscious state of being in Heaven in the book of Revelation, but I shall move on to the Old Testament, where there David says this;
2 Samuel 12:23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.
I don’t think it would be much of a reunion for David if he were not conscious.
The idea of Sheol being the unseen realm of the dead is however, historically believed as it is perceived; the realm of the dead, not just the physical coffin, or the body. Paul himself has expressed that the body is only a tent, I see little reason why it should not infact, refer to when a spirit departs its vessel and returns to God - though in the Old Testament, “separated” and not in relationship with him in the Christian sense, being still under The Law, and therefore, under Death.
Yes, but man is not his body, his sentience, his person, his “being” for lack of a better word is capable of cognitive experience - as shown in Revelation, by Samuel, and also by the appearance of Elijah, and Moses before the transfigured Christ on the mount.
Yet, the inner man still exists independent of its body, where does it go? Before Christ, it surely went into the unseen.
For the Old Testament portrayal of Sheol, certainly it would. Death is very gross, and so is decay, it is unclean and God is Life - “Death” is essentially ungodly, being the opposite of him.
As for Korah, he still perished, and hence he would surely have departed from his body into the unseen.
Yet, it does not say that he was risen to bodily life, only that he was risen - and quite impressionably, being mistaken for a god.
This however, is not what is written. It is specifically stated to be the prophet Samuel, Saul knew it was Samuel, and the medium found out quite quickly that Saul was infact, Saul. Sufficed to say, there was alot of identity revealing going on in this verse.
Saul: “Samuel!” Medium: “You’re Saul?!” Samuel: “SAUL! Why have you disturbed me?!”
Speculatively speaking, God may have given them the ability to see into Sheol, the unseen realm of the dead. This is supported by other passages that say things along the lines of; “Let my servant see the angels and chariots around the city!” It would make sense that if God could give a servant of a prophet the ability to see into the unseen to see the spirits of angelic beings, then God could give Saul, and a medium the ability to see into the unseen realm of the disembodied spirits/souls of men.
I am certain she was a false medium, but in this case it seems more likely to me that God being quite full in his abilities, and especially his truthfulness, would have let Saul have his audience with the real resting prophet, rather than create an illusion.
Still, singular or plural - Samuel is not represented as having been bodily raised. Neither Elijah and Moses in the New Testament either, nor the saints under the altar in Revelation. Yet, they were conscious, and percieving.
It would seem strange for Lazarus to be in a permantent comatose state, seeing as even sleep does not always imply dreamlessness, or lack of cognitive functions.
Yet, what of Paradise?
Implied, but not absolute, and unconsciousness is not the only implied idea, but the other end of the spectrum (restful repose) is also a valid implication.
The body is certainly not functioning, but the human being is not his vessel, dwelling, or tent.
It would seem to me, that being no longer engaged with any form of consciousness would render Paradise (as Jesus himself expressed to exist even on the cross, which was no parable like with Lazarus and the Rich Man) - little more than useless.
It is based on Jesus’ words “truly truly today you will be with me in Paradise” that shows me - in ways that are more than assumption, that there was a place for which the disembodied go, that is beyond the burial site for their bodies. A paradise is little considered paradise if it isn’t an experiential state of being. I don’t believe Jesus would have tried to comfort the thief if what he were saying amounted to;
“Truly truly today you will be with me in paradise, but we’ll be unconscious and unable to experience it, or enjoy it, so it is really just an over-glorified morgue really…But none the less, we’ll be there.”
But that is what I believe anyway.
It is possible. But I don’t tend to believe it.
I don’t see what the purpose would be, I don’t see why God would need to power us down so to speak.
I think the revelation of knowledge continues as we pass from this life. I believe this life here is just the beginning and much more continues to unfold for us as we pass on. I think we’re all in this together. I don’t know what form we are in when we pass, I really don’t. And perhaps we DO wait for a BODILY resurrection all together, all of us. But I don’t see why there would be a need for our spirit to “power down”. and “wait” unconscious.
Having had some “special” dreams of loved oned who have passed on and a few other personal things that have happened in my life, the belief that soul sleep is incorrect is just so strong within me. This isn’t something I debate with others. If they believe in soul sleep and feel they have reason to, I respect that fully. I just personally do not see the necessity of it. And yes, I have thought about some of the things that have happened, seeing loved ones that have passed on and experiencing things that have happened at the moment of death of those loved ones, BUT… perhaps it was a FUTURE event that I was kind of blessed with having seen or something, I don’t know. I believe 99% that “soul sleep” is a NO. BUT… I’m not so closed minded to not leave that little crack in the door (1%) open for future revelation.
Just my view from over here in sparrow-land
Aaron you said: “This view of the state of the dead is, I believe, assumed by Jesus and all of the inspired authors of Scripture.”
You also claimed that the “inspire authors of the Scriptures” often described things NOT “as they actually were but rather as they appeared to be from the perspective of those whose beliefs or knowledge was deficient”.
You can’t see how this could be true when it comes to “the dead”, especially given the fact that we can only see the “unseen” (spiritual/eternal things) through those things that “are seen”? So can only what it means to “be dead” after a SPIRITUAL TRUTH by looking upon that which “is dead” (corpses) in the natural realm?
You mention passages like those in Ecc that speak about there being no knowledge or work, etc “in the grave”, but all of those same descriptions apply to the living who are dead, according to a spiritual truth, even though the spiritually “dead” can, literally, “do” lots of things, including work, think, know things, etc.
As I see it, hell (Sheol/Hades) is not full of “disembodied spirit” (or “sleeping” souls). The “abode of the dead” is right here “in the earth” and it is MEN (alive physically, but dead spiritually) who are “in the depths of hell”. (Pro 9:13-18)
The way of LIFE IS ABOVE to the wise, that he may DEPEART FROM HELL BENEATH!! (Pro a5:24)
Jesus said: “Ye are FROM BENEATH; I am FROM ABOVE: ye are OF THIS WORLD; I am NOT OF THIS WORLD.” (John 8:23)
In Isa 14:9 it is written: “HELL FROM BENEATH ((is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming)): it stirreth up THE DEAD for thee, even ((all the chief ones)) OF THE EARTH; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”
We are lifted up FROM THE GATES OF DEATH, while THE HEATHEN are SUNKEN DOWN IN THE PIT… THE WICKED shall be turned into HELL, and ALL THE NATIONS THAT FORGET GOD!! (Psa 9:11-20)
Jesus said that “the gates of hell” shall not prevail against His church, right? Well, “the gates of hell” are equivalent to THE MOUTH with A LYING TONGUE!
Again, the grave (sheol/hades) that we need to be redeemed from is “the body of this death” that is “full of dead men’s bones” and whose THROAT in “an open sepulchre”.
IMO, you are looking at the shadows and types (the natural body and its natural death) and claiming that those natural/physical things are “just as important” as the TRUTHS that they are meant to reveal. That, to me, is not much different than claiming that we should be keeping the OT Feast naturally/physically even though we know that they were intended to reveal spiritual truths (so are no longer necessary – for those who can see the Truth they reveal).
But, like you said, you can only go with what your God-given senses tell you so none of this will matter if you can’t see it… so continue to try and argue over it (or let the discussion get to the point where it turns into an argument) would be about as beneficial as arguing with someone who believes in eternal torment because they can’t get past their “God-given senses” to see “everlasting punishment” any other way. And I say that knowing that the same applies to me, if I am the one in error here. So please do not take this as a jab or anything like that. But just as I came out of believing in “eternal torment”, I came out of believing in “soul sleep” – and for what I believe are “good reasons” (sound biblical reasons). Doesn’t prove that I am right but I have argued from both sides of this argument, so know that I have (at the very least) examined the merits of both arguments thoughtfully and prayerfully… as I try to do with all of my scriptural studies. Fully aware, though, that there may be things that remain hidden to me today, that I have not yet been given “the eyes to see and the ears to hear”.
You make a very excellent point, it reminds me of something I’d written for another Universalist site concerning the Dead vs. the Saved.
Thanks! And excellent write! I agree, wholeheartedly!!
Thanks again for such an in-depth response. I’ll try to keep my replies as brief as possible, since these posts are getting really long!
I’m pretty sure I get what you’re saying about that which is physical/seen being a “type,” with that which is spiritual/unseen being the “reality.” It’s just that, to me, to interpret most (let alone all) of Scripture in such an allegorical fashion seems like a rather haphazard approach, and does violence to the actual meaning of numerous texts.
Also, I think one could agree with everything you say above without, at the same time, affirming that there will not be a physical resurrection for all people, or that there is no need for such a resurrection. Wouldn’t you agree?
Correct, but what I’m not seeing is where it is revealed in Scripture that the “perspective of the living” (i.e., the perspective that Luke is giving in Acts 7:59-60) is an entirely misleading one, and doesn’t provide us with the actual truth regarding the state of the physically dead.
Ok, so here’s one fundamental difference between our views. I understand the words translated “spirit” to denote some kind of unseen force or influence with visible effects. For example, when Christ said, “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63) he means that his words are an unseen, active force that produce visible effects in people’s lives (i.e., effecting a positive change in a person’s behaviour) and impart blessings, or “life.” But Christ’s words are not “spirit” in the same sense that an angelic being is a “spirit” (Heb 1:14). Nor are angelic beings “spirit” in the same sense that the life/vitality that is in all mortal, living beings is “spirit” (Gen 6:16; Psalm 104:29 ; Eccl 3:19; Luke 8:55; 23:46; James 2:26). Nor is the life/vitality in all living things “spirit” in the same sense that the disposition/attitude of our mind is “spirit” (Deut 34:9; Num 5:14; 1 Sam 1:15; 1 Kings 21:5; Psalm 51:17; Eccl 7:9; Acts 17:16; Rom 11:8; Eph 4:23). The word “spirit,” while conveying a similar idea (that of an active influence or force), does not refer to the same exact thing every time it appears in Scripture.
Now, regarding my understanding of the expression “spiritual body,” allow me to quote William Lane Craig, who says the following concerning it:
According to Craig, the resurrection body is called “spiritual” not because it (as you say) “is spirit” (or as some might say, “made out of spirit”) but rather because it is empowered by, and under the direction of, God’s Spirit.
But notice that, according to Paul, the “spiritual body” (i.e., our “building from God” or “heavenly dwelling”) is not something within him (unlike the “inner man”); rather, it was something he expected to “put on” be “clothed upon” with. And Paul did not anticipate being “clothed upon” with his “house from heaven” until sometime after his mortal body was “dissolved” (i.e., returned to dust). He speaks of his resurrection body as being “eternal in the heavens” not because it already existed in heaven but because he was so confident of ultimately coming into possession of it. That is, he is speaking proleptically here. Moreover, in 1 Cor 15 Paul makes it abundantly clear that we will not be raised with a “spiritual body” until Christ’s coming at the sounding of the “last trumpet,” when death, the last enemy, is universally (and instantaneously) “destroyed” and “swallowed up in victory.” This, of course, doesn’t happen at anyone’s physical death; it’s a future event.
And again, I believe Scripture sanctions the view that the “perspective of the living” (i.e., the perspective that Luke is giving in Acts 7:59-60 and which Matthew is recording in the above verse) is correct and provides us with the actual truth regarding the state of the physically dead. That is, I don’t see where any inspired writer “corrects” what is the “perspective of the living” concerning death.
Moreover, I think it makes good sense to claim (as Matthew did) that “the bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised.” And regarding the risen saints being “in” their bodies, if by “the saints” we’re speaking of the persons themselves (i.e., their first-person perspective/centre of consciousness), then I think it’s appropriate to speak this way. But this doesn’t mean “the saints” = their “spirit” or their “inner man,” for who then does the word “their” refer to? Obviously, it refers to “the saints.” In other words, if my “spirit” or my “inner man” was the “real me” then how could I speak of “MY spirit” or “MY inner man?” The “real me” can’t be something that belongs to me. Your body belongs to “you” just as your “inner man” belongs to “you.” But “you” are neither your body nor your “inner man” (otherwise we couldn’t speak of your body or your “inner man”). But while neither a person’s body nor their “inner man” can be identified with them in an absolute sense (for both can, in one sense, be said to belong to them), it remains the case that, in Scripture, the dead are spoken of as being wherever their bodies (or whatever’s left of their bodies) are. And this fact tells me that we, as persons, are constituted by our bodies rather than by something else.
I don’t even think the same exact body that Christ had prior to his resurrection (which was a “natural body”) is the same exact body that came forth from the tomb (which I believe was a “spiritual body”), so no. His perishable “natural body” was, I believe, changed into an imperishable “spiritual body.” And while there is undoubtedly some continuity between how the bodies are organized and appear, they are still different bodies in a very real sense. If my “natural body” is placed in a grave after I die, then what I expect to be raised and to come out of it (assuming God uses the same matter from the old body) is not the same perishable “natural body” but a different immortal “spiritual body.” That is, if something comes out of the grave in which my natural body is placed, it won’t be the old natural body (i.e., the body that was “sown”). It will be a new, spiritual body (the body that is raised). At the resurrection (which Paul says will be in “the twinkling of an eye”), the “lowly body” I once possessed (i.e., the natural, weak, dishonourable, perishable body that will be “sown” after I die) will be “fashioned anew” to be like Christ’s “glorious body” (Phil 3:20-21). That is, my new body will be a “new and improved” version of my old body. And again, I don’t think God has to use the same exact atoms of which my “natural body” is comprised with which to create my “spiritual body,” although I believe he could. But whatever matter he uses (whether from my old body or not) will be used to bring into existence a new body that didn’t exist before. It will be like the old body in some ways, but in other ways it will be radically different.
That’s correct; Christ’s mortal, natural body was changed into a glorious and imperishable spiritual body before the natural body “saw corruption.” That is, God took that matter that comprised Christ’s natural body and changed it into something new and different, so that what left the tomb was not the same “natural body” that was placed in it. Or do you disagree? Do you think Christ was raised in his natural body? And do you think the “glorious body” of which Paul speaks in Phil 3:21 is the body with which Christ was raised on the third day after his death?
No, I don’t believe the natural body will be resurrected.
As far as the word “mortal” goes in 1 Cor 15, I believe Paul used the word to refer specifically to those who will still be alive at Christ’s coming, while the word “perishable” refers to those who will have died before this time. When “the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality” then death will have been “swallowed up in victory.” Paul speaks of that which is “mortal” being “swallowed up by life” in 2 Cor 5:4 because he was still alive at the time, and was thus speaking as someone who still possessed a mortal body rather than as someone who was already a decomposing corpse. But when death is destroyed I believe all people will be both imperishable and immortal.
I don’t believe my corpse is going to one day pop out of its grave, either. But since I believe Paul presents Christ’s resurrection as the pattern that our resurrection will follow (Phil 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:20-22, 42-49), I believe our resurrection body will be just as physical and tangible as Christ’s is. Again, “spiritual body” doesn’t mean “non-physical body.” And I expect to be “given” a spiritual body as well - but if we’re to be “given” a spiritual body then it means we don’t already possess it. It’s not “within us.” And I think it can only be spoken of as already being in existence (i.e., “eternal in the heavens”) in a proleptic or anticipatory sense.
Ok, so is it your view that Christ’s immortal body is a “natural body?”
Ok, so you think Paul’s objector in this chapter (the “fool”) mistakenly thought the resurrection had to do with physical death. Gotcha. So what in Paul’s response to the objector do you see as being intended to correct the objector’s mistaken view regarding the nature of the resurrection of the dead? That is, where in Paul’s response to the objector do you see him arguing that the resurrection doesn’t have “anything to do with physical death?” Where does he clear up such a “misconception?”
I completely agree that Peter and Paul’s point in referring to David was to show how Jesus was the Messiah of whom David had prophesied. No one’s arguing that they were trying to prove the doctrine of “soul sleep” here. What I’m arguing is that this doctrine was presupposed by them and is being taught implicitly in the language they used concerning David. IOW, while they’re not explicitly arguing against the doctrine that people are raised with a spiritual body immediately after physical death (or sometime before physical death, as you seem to be saying at times), what they’re saying is, I think, nonetheless inconsistent with such a belief. Had Jesus not been raised by God to an immortal, imperishable existence then it would mean he was still being held by death (Acts 2:24) and that God had abandoned him to Hades (v. 27, 31). Similarly, if we aren’t to be raised to an immortal, imperishable existence as Christ was, then it could be said that we will be forever “held” by death (i.e., the death that Peter said Christ could not be held by), and that God had abandoned our soul to Hades (the grave in general). But since death is going to be universally “destroyed” and “swallowed up in victory” then it means that all who are dead - David included - are going to be raised with the same kind of immortal, imperishable body with which Christ was raised on the third day after his death. The difference between our resurrection and Christ’s is not one of nature or kind, but rather of timing. As noted earlier, Paul speaks of Christ as “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:20), which implies that Christ’s resurrection is the pledge of a future, general resurrection for all who die in Adam, and which is necessarily of the same kind or nature as Christ’s resurrection (otherwise, he couldn’t be called the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”). And it’s evident that by “those who have fallen asleep” Paul doesn’t mean “those who are dead in sin” because Christ was never “dead in sin.” Paul’s talking about literal, physical death.
But not only does Paul call Christ the “firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (which implies a future, general resurrection like the resurrection that Christ experienced), in Acts 26:22-23 Paul declares: “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the FIRST TO RISE FROM THE DEAD, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” Of course, others had been raised to a mortal existence and died again (e.g., the son of the Shunammite woman, who was raised by Elisha, and Lazarus, who was raised by Christ), but Christ was the “first” (prōtos) to be raised to an immortal, imperishable existence, never to die again. But for Christ to be the “first” implies that others (i.e., those of whom Christ is the “firstfruits”) will be raised in the same sense as Christ was raised. Paul also states that Christ will “fashion anew” our “lowly body” to be like his “glorious body” (Phil 3:21). And since the immortal, “glorious body” with which Christ left the tomb was just as physical as the perishable “lowly body” that was laid in it after his death, it follows that our resurrection body will be physical as well.
I’m simply not following your logic here. How do you go from understanding the “last day” as the “third day” as “today,” etc.? There just doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to your method of interpretation when any word or verse in any given context can be given some kind of allegorical spin.
I didn’t say they believed in a non-physical resurrection. But wouldn’t you agree that the Sadducees rejected the idea of a physical resurrection (because I doubt you’re suggesting that they only rejected a non-physical resurrection)? Moreover, Acts 4:1-2 and 23:6-8 suggest to me that what the Sadducees rejected and found so disagreeable was the doctrine of a physical, bodily resurrection - i.e., the very resurrection which Paul and the other apostles were boldly proclaiming that Christ had experienced on the third day after his crucifixion.
As you know, the word “angels” can refer to both human and non-human beings. In his response to the Sadducees it seems evident to me that the kind of “angels” in view are immortal, supernatural beings rather than mortal men with mortal bodies. The Sadducees mistakenly thought that the doctrine of the resurrection involved the absurdity expressed in their question to Jesus. But Jesus corrects them by declaring that, in the resurrection, people will be immortal because they will be “equal to angels” (see Luke 20:35-36). That is, it will be our inability to physically die that will make us like the angels (for it is clearly physical death that is in view here - see Luke 20:28-33; cf. v. 36).
In Matt 13:39 I agree that the “angels” in view most likely refer to Jesus’ apostles. But this in no way means Jesus is speaking of the same persons when, in Matt 22:30, he speaks of people in the resurrection being “like angels in heaven.” Not only were the apostles not “in heaven” when Christ spoke these words, but they were all mortal men who died/tasted death. So it would have made no sense at all for Jesus to have said that those raised from the dead will be unable to die because they will be “equal to the apostles.” Moreover, Jesus isn’t even talking about the resurrection of the dead in Matt 13:39. It’s simply not in view here. No one became immortal and “like angels in heaven” at the time period of which Christ is speaking in this passage (which was Christ’s coming in the overthrow of Jerusalem). While there was a “resurrection” at this time in redemptive history (Dan 12:2; John 5:282-29), it was not a literal, physical one involving all who die in Adam but a figurative one involving the people of Israel.
Again, when Paul speaks of that which is “unseen” in 2 Cor 5:18 he’s talking about our future resurrection bodies. They’re unseen because we can’t see them yet, just as Christ couldn’t see his resurrection body until he was actually raised with it. The fact that something is presently “unseen” doesn’t mean it will never be seen. Nor does “unseen” necessarily mean “non-physical.”
I understand Jesus’ argument for the resurrection as follows: If God called himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who had ceased to exist as living persons hundreds of years prior to God’s declaring himself their God), and if God is not “the God of the dead but of the living,” then, logically, it means that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob either had been restored to a living existence (meaning they’d already been raised from the dead), or that they would be restored to a living existence (meaning they were going to be raised from the dead, and God was speaking in view of their future resurrection which, to him, was certain to take place).
As far as Jesus being “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (etc.), I’m not sure I understand your point.
There is no indication in Christ’s response to the Sadducees that he’s speaking of “marriage” as spiritual union with him rather than the divinely-sanctioned institution which presently exists as an appropriate context for procreation to take place in (but which there will be no need for when all are immortal and “equal to angels in heaven”).
Ok, so is it your view that Jesus is talking about the same “resurrection” in his response to the Sadducees as Paul is speaking of in Eph 5:14? Or what about 1 Cor 6:14, where Paul wrote, “And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power”? Do you see this “resurrection” as the same resurrection spoken of in Ephesians 5:14?
Well at least we can agree on some things! I don’t see the “second death” or the “first resurrection” as having anything to do with our post-mortem existence, either.
You seem a little too eager to accuse me of “adding to what is written.” That some of the Athenians were mocking the kind of physical, bodily resurrection that Paul was telling them Christ had experienced on the third day after his death seems like a reasonable inference to me.
I think you’re wrongly assuming that Paul is talking about the same “death” that God is speaking of in Ezekiel 18. In Ezekiel 18 I believe it is a premature physical death inflicted as a punishment for sin that is in view (hence, “his blood shall be upon himself” - 18:13; cf. v. 10), and has no relevance to every person who ever lived in every age of history. It is the people of the nation of Israel who are in view, and the sins of which God is speaking are those that made an Israelite deserving of a premature death, in which a person’s life would be cut short because of his sins rather than “saved,” or prolonged (v. 27) . Moreover, it wouldn’t make as much sense if God were speaking of the same figurative “death” that happened to Adam on the day he sinned, for we’re told later in this chapter that if a wicked person repented of those sins that made him deserving of death he would “not die” but “surely live” (v. 21). But if God is speaking of the same kind of death that Adam died on the day he sinned (i.e., the “death” that Paul has in view in passages such as Romans 5:12-21 and 6:23) then the wicked man would have already been dead. That is, he would’ve already suffered the “penalty” of which God was speaking. One might argue that the wicked man wouldn’t remain in his state of “death” if he repented, but that’s not what God says, and to make him say that would be “adding to what is written” (as you’ve accused me of doing). But if God is speaking of a premature physical death (i.e., having one’s natural life cut short), and of prolonging physical life and living out one’s days, then his threats and promises make more sense.
I agree that “man has always been mortal” (and I’ve never argued otherwise), but how does this “take physical death completely out of the equation?” I think you’ve jumped to a false conclusion here which doesn’t necessarily follow from the premise.
I agree with you (and, even before I believed in “soul sleep,” have believed) that the “deaths” to which you’re referring above have absolutely nothing to do with anyone’s post-mortem existence.
But when are we (as you say) “CLOTHED UPON (not unclothed)” with our “heavenly dwelling?” Not when we are “born again” (as Christ speaks in John 3:3), and not when we are “made alive together with Christ” (as Paul speaks in Eph 2:5). For Paul, being “born again” and being “made alive together with Christ” had already taken place. It was not something that was still in Paul’s future. But in 2 Cor 5:1f, Paul is talking about something that he was still “longing for” and for which he “groaned.” It was not something that had already taken place, but rather was something he expected to take place sometime after his “earthly home” (i.e., his “natural body”) was “destroyed.”
You really didn’t answer my question: Assuming that Jesus was incarnated (as most Christians believe), where else (other than Heb 2:9) do you see Scripture as speaking of this as his “death?”
I don’t believe Paul is talking about the physical resurrection of corpses in 1 Cor 15 either, and haven’t thought this for a long time (longer than I’ve been a universalist, in fact). I also don’t think he’s talking about corpses when he uses the word “mortal.” Rather, I believe he’s talking about the “natural body” prior to physical death. And I believe “perishable” refers more specifically to the natural body after death. When Christ returns from heaven to subject all people to himself, those who are still alive will “put on immortality” and those who have already died will “put on the imperishable.”
Ok, so you seem to think we are “clothed” with our “heavenly dwelling” (i.e., our spiritual body) when we are “clothed with Christ” and “made alive together with Christ,” as Paul speaks in Romans 13:14 and Ephesians 2:5, respectively. The problem with this interpretation is that Paul speaks of being clothed with his “heavenly dwelling” as something that would follow the destruction of his “earthly home” (i.e., his “natural body”), and not as something that had already taken place for he and other believers. While Paul was in his mortal, natural body he “groaned,” desiring to put on his immortal, spiritual body. This, of course, means he hadn’t already been “clothed” in the sense of which he speaks in Romans 13:14. Paul had already been “born again” and was already a “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor 5:17), but he had not yet been raised with an imperishable, glorious and powerful “spiritual body.” This was something that he “longed for” while he was alive in his “earthly home” or “natural body.”
I’ll be more open to believing that the Lord has given you a greater revelation than he has given me when you can show me that, at the time Paul wrote to the Corinthians, Paul had already put on his heavenly dwelling, had already been raised with his spiritual body, or that Paul said anything at all in 1 Cor 15 to correct what you believe to be the mistaken view of the “fool” that the “resurrection of the dead” of which Paul speaks in this chapter (i.e., being raised with an imperishable, powerful, glorious, spiritual body) had “anything to do with physical death.” And the same goes for Christ’s response to the Sadducees: can you point out where Christ said anything at all to the Sadducees which was intended to correct what you believe to be the mistaken view that the resurrection of the dead spoken of in these passages (i.e., the event by which those who have died will be made like “angels in heaven,” never to die again) had “anything to do with physical death?” I’ll also be more open to believing that the Lord has given you a superior revelation than he has given me when you can show me that Christ’s coming at the “last trumpet” to “change” both those who “sleep” and those who are still alive (1 Cor 15:50-52) has already taken place (or is progressively taking place), that death has already been “swallowed up in victory” (v. 54), and that “we who are alive, who are left” have already been caught up together in the clouds with those who were “dead in Christ” to “meet the Lord in the air” where we will “always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:13-18). Until then, I suppose I’ll just have to keep waiting for the Lord to reveal to me what you think he has revealed to you.
When I spoke of thoughts, feelings (etc.) not being able to exist apart from a physical body with a physical brain I was speaking about those finite, physical, embodied creatures that the Bible classifies as “man.” Nowhere do I see it revealed in Scripture that a human being can have thoughts, feelings, etc. apart from a physical body with a physical brain (and such a thing would have to be pretty clearly revealed by God if I am to believe it, since the only conscious human beings I know of are physical, embodied beings). If you can show me where this is taught in Scripture (without begging the question) then I’ll be grateful for the revelation.
As far as God’s existence goes, God can do and be a lot of things that man can’t, so I’m not sure what your point is. It’s like asserting, “If ‘man’ is, by virtue of creation, an embodied being, then I’d like to know how you explain the existence of God, who never had a body.” If God never had a body then he never needed a body. But we were created as physical, embodied beings, so unless it is revealed by God that being physical will at some future time no longer be necessary to human existence then I think I’m justified in believing that we will continue to be physical, embodied beings post-mortem just as we are physical, embodied beings ante-mortem. I just don’t see any reason from personal experience or Scripture to believe that finite, localized beings such as ourselves can exist apart from a physical body or a physical world. And for those who disagree, then I think the burden of proof should be on them to prove it rather than to simply take it for granted as if it were common experiential knowledge for all human beings (although I’m not saying you’re necessarily doing this).
Moreover, I’m pretty confident that we have not already been given a spiritual body because Paul speaks of it as something that he expected to “put on” and be “clothed” with at some future time, after the destruction of his “natural body.” Similarly, in 1 Cor 15:42-46 Paul taught that the “spiritual body” is not raised until after the “natural body” is “sown” (which he had previously illustrated using a “seed” analogy in vv. 36-38). IOW, Paul taught the same thing in 1 Cor 15 as he did in 2 Cor 5 - viz., that we are not raised with a “spiritual body” until sometime after the “natural body” dies. And of course, the “death” that the natural body “dies” is physical death. Right now you and I possess a mortal, “natural body.” This mortal, natural body - like the seed in Paul’s illustration - is “sown” at death, and it is not until Christ returns from heaven (as described in John 14:2-3; Acts 1:11; 3:21; 1 Cor 15:23, 52; Phil 3:20-21; and 1 Thess 4:13-18) that we are raised with an immortal, spiritual body to “bear the image of the man of heaven.” The idea that we already possess and have been raised with a “spiritual body” seems contrary to all of the above passages.
That’s true. But it’s equally true that just because something is presently “unseen” doesn’t mean it will always be “unseen.” Again, the immortal body with which Christ was raised didn’t exist - and thus wasn’t something that could be “seen” - until after he was raised from the dead.
Again, based on what Paul says elsewhere it is evident that he was speaking proleptically here. How much clearer can it be that Paul speaks of his putting on, and being raised with, a spiritual body as a future event which would take place after his natural body was destroyed, and at the sounding of the “last trumpet” when both those who are dead and those who are still alive will be instantaneously “changed” and death will be “swallowed up in victory?” But let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that everyone’s “spiritual body” is already in existence. Even if it is, Paul represents it as being “in the heavens” (not inside of us), and also speaks of it as something he didn’t expect to “put on” or be “clothed” with until sometime after his natural body was “destroyed.”
If you’d previously said that we presently have a “natural body” that is perishable, weak and dishonourable, but that we would, at some future time (i.e., after the “natural body” is “sown” and when Christ returns from heaven at the sounding of the “last trumpet”), be raised with a “spiritual body” that is imperishable, powerful and glorious, then yeah, I’d assume you were speaking proleptically if you subsequently spoke as if we already have a spiritual body which is presently “in the heavens.” That is, I would understand you to be speaking of the “spiritual body” in such a way as to emphasize the certainty of our ultimately possessing it at a future time.
No, I’m not focused on “Christ after the flesh” in the sense that Paul speaks of regarding Christ or any man “according to the flesh” in 2 Cor 5:16. What Paul is saying here has nothing to do with whether or not the resurrection body is physical.
My view on what Paul meant by calling Christ a “life-giving spirit” is perhaps best expressed in the following from the “Tektonics” apologetics website:
In other words, calling Christ (who was raised with a flesh-and-bones physical body) a “life-giving spirit” is a figurative way of describing him as the one who has been giving the power and authority to restore the dead to life just as God took Adam (who was formerly an inanimate organization of matter) and breathed into him the breath of life, thereby making him a “living soul.” The imagery Paul is trying to convey is this: Just as God (who, according to Christ, is unequivocally said to be “spirit” - John 4:24) imparted life to the “first Adam” after creating him by breathing into him the “breath of life,” so Christ (the “last Adam”) will impart life (i.e., immortality) to the human race when he raises us from the dead with a glorious, spiritual body. It is in this sense that Christ is described as a “life-giving spirit.”
But doesn’t Christ give “life” to people right now as well? Of course, and no one’s denying this. But the “life” that Christ is presently giving to those who believe on him (John 5:21, 24; 11:25-26) isn’t Paul’s focus or emphasis in this chapter. Here he’s talking about the same kind of “life” (i.e., physical immortality) which Christ himself received on the third day after his crucifixion, not the spiritual blessings presently given to those who believe.
I’m not sure why you’re equating the figurative “stars” of Revelation 2:1 with the “stars” of which Paul speaks in his illustration in 1 Cor 15. What is it in this context which suggests to you that Paul is not talking about literal stars?
Christ’s enemies are, I believe, whatever is inconsistent with the final happiness of those for whom he died, and with God’s becoming “all in all” (e.g., sin, pain and death). The “last enemy” is death, which will be destroyed when all people are made immortal and imperishable. After death is destroyed, Christ will deliver the kingdom to God and God will be “all in all.”
I’m not sure I’m following you here. Why can’t Paul and Jesus be referring to two different events taking place at two different time periods? Why must the “dead in Christ” in 1 Thess 4 be identified with the “tares” in Jesus’ parable? The fact that the dead in Christ are said by Paul to “rise first” and the “tares” in Jesus’ parable are said to be “gathered first” doesn’t mean Paul and Jesus are talking about the same thing in these two (very different) contexts. For one, Paul doesn’t say anything about the “dead in Christ” being “cast out of the kingdom” at this time, or of anyone’s undergoing any kind of judgment or punishment. Rather, they are being raised so that both they and those who were still alive can be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, where both those who were dead and those who were still alive will “always be with the Lord.” IOW, what Paul is describing in this context is not a separation (as Jesus is describing in Matt 13:36-43 as well as Matt 25); rather, he’s describing all people being brought together to enjoy a common and glorious destiny (cf. Phil 2:10; Eph 1:10).
If you’ve already been clothed with immortality then it seems as if you beat Paul to it, for this was something he was still “longing” for, and something for which he and those to whom he wrote were “groaning” (cf. Rom 8:22-23). Do you also think you are already “at home with the Lord?” Because Paul wrote that while we are “at home in the body” (i.e., before we are clothed upon with our immortal, spiritual body), we are “away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6-8). But elsewhere you speak as if this refers to a post-mortem reality (for if I’m not mistaken you’ve used it as a proof-text against the doctrine of “soul sleep” which you used to believe in). So which is it? Are you clothed in your immortal, spiritual body (your “house from heaven”) and thus “at home with the Lord,” or are you at home in your mortal, natural body and “away from the Lord?” It would seem that, for Paul, the only alternative to either of these states is to be “unclothed” and “naked” (vv. 3-4) but I know you don’t think you are “unclothed” right now, right?
How is what I said “exactly your point?” When Sheol/Hades are used in reference to physical death and not as metaphorical imagery to represent a moral state in this lifetime, the “dead” who are in Sheol are the physically dead.
Regarding Jesus’ story of Lazarus and the rich man: I don’t see it as being at all relevant to what actually happens after physical death anyway, since it’s a parable and not a historical account. Can we both agree to that?
I’m still trying to figure out where the flaw is in the argument which you’ve felt the need to abandon because of your changed views regarding the “resurrection of the dead.” The fact that the conjunction “and” joins the two statements together is in no way problematic for the view that the dead are unconscious. From Paul’s perspective, “departing” (i.e., dying) would introduce him into that future conscious state of existence when he would “be with Christ.” That is, from Paul’s perspective he would “be with Christ” immediately after “departing” from this conscious state of existence. So while you may believe this interpretation to be inconsistent with your new position that there is no unconsciousness after death (or need for a physical resurrection), it doesn’t make it “flawed.”
As far as Phil 3:10-12 goes, I agree that Paul is not referring to himself being physically raised here. That’s not my position. I believe he is employing figurative language here. When Paul speaks of “becoming like [Christ] in his death” (v. 10) it is obvious that it was not his aim to be literally put to death as Jesus was (as you would agree). What he desired was to be so victorious over sin as to attain to that perfect, self-sacrificing spirit which Jesus exercised even unto his death on the cross. The same idea is essentially expressed in Rom 6:6 (“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin”). And as this “becoming like him in his death” in v. 10 denotes the “crucifixion of the flesh with its passions and desires” (cf. Gal 5:24), of course the next words (“that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection of the dead”) is simply an extension of this metaphor that pertains to the Christian walk and life. Paul’s attaining to “the resurrection from the dead” here evidently signifies his reaching the zenith of Christian maturity - i.e., what he goes on to refer to as being “perfect” (v. 12), that is, complete moral conformity to Christ’s image. But from Paul’s words in 2 Cor 3:18 (and elsewhere) it is evident that Paul had not yet attained this, for he writes that he was still being “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” The same, of course, could not be said for Christ. That is, Christ was not being “transformed from one degree of glory to another,” for it was his perfect moral image that Paul and those to whom he wrote were progressively approximating. So the “resurrection from the dead” of which Paul speaks in Phil 3:10-12 (complete and full conformity to Christ’s image) was not something to which he had already attained. And of course, then there’s Paul’s actual words concerning this matter: “…that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” I’m not sure how anyone can read these words and then boldly assert that Paul had already obtained this and was already perfect in the sense of which he speaks here, because it’s the exact opposite of what he wrote. So when Paul later writes, “Let those of us who are perfect think this way,” he’s referring to the degree of Christian maturity (or “glory”) to which they had attained, not that for which Paul was still striving.
I’m talking about the “spirit” that is in all “living souls,” and without which they would begin to return to the dust.
Actually, Job is employing what is referred to as “Hebrew parallelism.” It’s a figure of speech by which the same or similar idea or meaning is expressed using two different words or expressions, and is very common in the Hebrew Scriptures (see jewishencyclopedia.com/view. … 7&letter=P).
Just a couple well-known examples of this are as follows:
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Ps 119:105)
“My son, my teachings you shall not forget and my commands your heart shall guard.” (Prov 3:1)
And here are just a few more examples from Job:
“Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his Maker?” (Job 4:17)
“Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh? Can reeds thrive without water?” (Job 8:11)
“They lean on the web, but it gives way; they cling to it, but it does not hold.” (Job 8:15)
“My lips will not say anything wicked, and my tongue will not utter lies.” (Job 27:4)
In the original examples from Job given, the word “and” should be understood as joining words that are meant to express the same basic meaning or idea (as in Ps 119:105, above). For example, when Job speaks of “the breath that is in me” and “the spirit of God in my nostrils” he’s not referring to two different things. Rather, the same idea is being repeated for emphasis; the “breath” that was in Job and the “spirit of God” that was in his “nostrils” both refer to his life, or vitality (of which God is the source).
I never said the words translated “spirit” always referred to the same thing; rather, my argument has always been that the words can refer to any kind of unseen influence or force, such as wind/a breeze, our life/vitality, our mind or mental disposition, etc.
In this context, the author seems to be referring to non-human, supernatural beings (such as the angel Gabriel).
Christ came to save us from our sins, but if people live and die in their sins then won’t their salvation from sin have to be a post-mortem event?
From what do you think all people have already been saved?
But what do you think the primary idea was that Paul was trying to convey to his readers when he wrote the words, “Then [Christ] appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep”? Or when he wrote that Christ is “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep”?
Do you believe that Christ’s words in Matt 13:36-43 were already being fulfilled when he spoke them, and that they are being fulfilled in the same sense today?
What do you think Christ’s coming at the “close of the age” refers to in Matt 24:3?
And regarding the “day of the Lord,” I’m confused as to how you can see it as something that has “always existed” when it is often spoken of in the NT as if it were not already present but rather was “drawing near” (see, for example, Heb 10:25). If this “day” was “drawing near” at the time the author wrote, then it can’t be the same “day” that Paul was speaking of in (for example) 2 Cor 6:2.
22 pages in not “short”.
I’m embarrassed to even admit it, but I spent hours on my last reply. I just can’t keep doing that. So I am going to try and take a different approach this time and instead of copying your whole post and answering as I read, I am just going to read through the whole thing first and see if I can’t just address the highlights all together without going “point by point” and see how that goes.