The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Intermediate state

“Timelessness” makes no sense to me. “Time” is the measurement of the temporal distance between events. If there were no time, there would be no events.

I believe that all people will be raised to life in a resurrection. Paul made this defence before Felix:

  • "…but this I admit to you, that according to the way which they call a sect I do serve the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the law and that is written in the prophets; having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. (Acts 24:14-15 NASB)*

When one dies, and is raised from death, it will seem to the one who died as if no time has passed between these two events, even if a thousand years have passed.

I recall being in a room where I was about to have surgery. I looked at the clock. It was about 1 P.M. Then I thought I heard a kind of tinkling sound. I glanced at the clock again and it was about 3 P.M. I said aloud, “This is amazing”. It seemed to me that I had glanced at the clock once, and immediately glanced at it again. But, in fact, two hours had passed, and the surgery had been performed.

I began to think that our experience (or should I say non-experience) will be much the same between our death and resurrection.

I’m guilty of fuzzing the lines of my Monist position by using the term soul-sleep, but it does carry a lot of meaning quickly to mind.

Question: What are your own personal ‘problem verses’ for post mortem continuance? For me it’s not an actual didactic verse per se, but the implications derived from narratives. Such as the Repentant Thief. Was he(whatever we think ‘he’ was) in paradise in the 24 hr period following his ‘death’? My response is a mix of grammar class and shedding doubt on the questioner’s view of Jesus Himself being in paradise in the same 24 hr period. I must admit that even I find my explanation under-whelming.

So, What is your Monist Nemesis?

The only Biblical nemesis of which I am aware is that of the apostle Paul referring to our body as the “tent” in which we live.

Of course 2Cor 5:8 would be the BIG one, if it actually made the statement as it is misquoted:

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (Misquote of 2 Cor 5:8)

If this were a true quote, it would demolish Monism. However, when you read this verse as it is actually written, and if you observe the context, you will see that it is actually about the resurrection.

Tonight is apparently the time for me to share more perhaps heterodox theology.

If you are living, you are in time. If you are dead, you are in eternity. I don’t believe there is any intermediate state. In eternity you are timelessly present, as God is.

I’m not a conventional rapture believer. I believe that death is rapture, as you move from time into eternity. To you, it will feel like “you are caught up in the air with Christ” and to those still in time, you just died.


I keep seeing you post that “Timeless” doesn’t make sense to you. Then you attempt to refute it. Can you clarify - A)Do you mean you don’t understand it, therefore it is wrong or B) You don’t understand it and this is why it doesn’t make sense to you?

Thank you for that Trey.
For some time I too have considered that view of death/the rapture. It seems to make sense both scripturally and logically.

Neither. I mean that I don’t understand it because I OUGHT NOT to be able to understand it. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense.
What if I claimed that there is an “existless state of existence” after death. Could anyone accept it?

Time is but a measurement of the temporal distance between two events. As long as there are events, there will be time.


OK so you believe A. Thanks.

I’m sure this can be explained away by whatever position it doesn’t suit, but here’s one to consider…

Rev 8:1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. :mrgreen:

Thanks for that verse, Davo. Bye-bye “timelessness in heaven”!

I checked the Greek, and it is “in the heaven” (singular)— not “in the heavens” (the sky).
And, yes, ἡμιωρον (hāmiōron) means “half hour”. It is derived from ἡμισυ (hāmisu—“half” which occurs 5 times in the NT) and ὡρα (hōra—“hour” which occurs 100 times in the NT.

By the way, “ἡμι” is usually transliterated into English as “hemi” (for some reason “ā” become “e”) and has become the English prefix “hemi” as in “hemisphere”.

No problemos. :smiley:

Do I need to point out that Revelation is an apocalypse and that John would necessarily speak in his and our terms regarding time – because he could hardly do otherwise? It’s a good verse, but I don’t see that it proves anything one way or another. It isn’t the bible that sways me toward timelessness (or at any rate, symmetrical “time.”) The bible doesn’t address the topic at all that I can see.

It’s the quantum physicists who have me leaning toward timelessness. Certainly they could be wrong, and I wouldn’t be dogmatic about it, but they make a very compelling case and I’m inclined to suspect they may be on to something.

Tell me about it.

Does Einstein’s Theories of Relativity convince you, since time supposedly slows down as one approaches the speed of light?

It may well be that Relativity is not about an absolute speed of light, and a variation in time, but absolute time, and a variation in the speed of light.
Some physicists hold to that position. That’s where I got the idea.

No, it’s not so much about the speed of light – that’s only part of it. Yes, if time slows as we approach the speed of light and if it’s different for the observer than it is for the observed, that gives it certain morph-ability, makes it less of a thing in my view. Presumably my computer is the same whether I’m holding it or you’re holding it. We may perceive it differently, but objectively it’s the same structure, shape, etc. (If there’s such a thing as objectivity for anyone but God.)

We see heavenly things in the present that happened bazillions of years ago – stars that exploded, light that shone at a certain strength, quasars spewing out gasses birthing new stars. If you’re standing at one point moving away from a distant system time moves slower relative to it, while if you walk toward it, time moves faster relative to it. You can approach and approach a black hole, but you can never arrive – never fall into it – because time will stop still before you ever get there. If you look at a distant galaxy from one pov (if you could attain it and your eyes were so powerful (as are God’s)) you will see its past. If you choose another pov, you will see its future. All the maths say there is no reason for time to travel in a certain direction and that direction only. By all accounts, time only seems real to us because that is the way we were designed to perceive it. If these things are true, and they appear to be so, then time is so malleable I cannot feel any certainty that it is a real thing.

I’m not saying this is absolute truth and that people’s understanding of these things won’t change, but looking at it today, it seems most likely to be true. This world is more like a thought than anything else. This is the theater where we learn to be real – where we are formed into His image.

I can’t be adamant about these things; I’m not a scientist or a mathematician, so I can only listen to what they say and judge whether I find it believable. Lucky for us we’re not judged on getting these things right or wrong, so I don’t worry too much about it. This is my opinion at present – it’s what seems true to me. If God’s concerned then He knows how to get to me. It’s not a problem. :slight_smile:

There are many traditions that teach that folks are conscious and alive after death. They are the Eastern Orthodox, the indigenous tribal teachings (i.e. Lakota) and the Tibetans.

And for a Christian (i.e. Roman Catholic and Lakota) view of spirits, I recommend the book The Pipe and Christ: A Christian-Sioux Dialogue by William Stolzman, who is a Roman Catholic priest and Lakota tribal member. He mentions spirits of heaven, hell and the earth.
Then there’s the experiences of Tiffany Snow, who had a near death experience. She became a contemporary Christian healer and stigmatist (i.e. in the Old Catholic Church tradition). Here is her perspective on what happens three weeks after death at After Death
Here’s a Russian Orthodox tradition on what happens 40 days after death at Russian Orthodox. I do remember a Greek Orthodox priest sharing a story in a grief group. It’s how his mother appeared in the back seat of his car and he was saved from a bad traffic acident. This was after she died.
I do remember asking an Eastern holy person about spirits. He said that spirits were all around.

Personally, I do know what the Christian theologians say - historical and contemporary. But I prefer what the indigenous tribal (i.e. Lakota, Ute, etc.), Tibetans, Eastern Orthodox, etc., say about spirits of the earth.

Paidion wrote:

No, A is not my position. There are many, many matters which I don’t understand and which I do not declare to be wrong. Your A and B are not collectively exhaustive. It is true that I don’t understand the concept of timelessness. For there is nothing to understand. I think I am capable of IMAGINING timelessness just as well as anyone else. I can also imagine that the phoenix bird exists. Clement of Rome (30-100 A.D.) described it like this:

Hi Paidion
I have given some consideration to your view of ‘timelessness’ and time (being the measurement of temporal distance between two events), not just recently, but since I first read your view many months ago. I should state that I have some sympathy for your position although I presently prefer (I think that word may be the most honest) to believe ‘timelessness’. I should state that although this is probably a preference, it does also seem to make the most sense to me and seems to agree with some scripture.
Anyway, if I compare your ‘measurement of temporal distance between two events’ with how we measure physical distance between two objects, I note that, the distance can change to an infinite no. of possibilities by employing a different perspective in the third dimension. Doesn’t that actually support the alternative view given on this forum ie one where linear laws of time do not exist and where events separated by any no. of years in this earthly realm/dimension can be simultaneous in the heavenly realm/dimension? Or am I mistaken in some way?

Reminds me of Clive Staples Lewis in his Narnian Chronicles in which the children spent many years in Narnia, and grew up into adult kings and queens, only to tumble back out of the wardrobe into England again as children where but a few minutes had passed.

Basically how does the “existence” or “non-existence” of timelessness relate to the intermediate state?

If we die and remain dead until the resurrection, for us personally, we will immediately be in the presence of God, even if a thousand years have passed on earth before the resurrection occurs. For we will have no consciousness of the intermediate time.

It was like that with my first surgery. I was watching the clock and saw that it was 1:00. Then I took a second glance at it and it was 3:00. Two hours had passed during which surgery was performed, but for me the clock went immediately from showing 1:00 to 3:00. I was totally unaware of the surgery. For me that two hours with its events were missing. My thought is that that’s how it will be in the resurrection. It will seem to us that we have gone immediately from death to the resurrection.

So for us personally, it makes no difference whether we go immediately after death to be with the Lord, or if we are raised a thousand years later to come into His presence.

Mans indestructible soul/spirit that survives death and remains conscious all the while feeling either pain or joy, cannot resist anaesthetic :joy: A simple man made formula can achieve what death can’t [ie] Renders you unconscious, so you are unaware of time / your surroundings/pain or joy. Go figure :roll_eyes: