Descent of Christ…

Gregory of Nyssa
Gregory of Nyssa

Bones has requested we add this piece on the descent of Christ.

Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: Christ the Conqueror of Hell

The Descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern and Western Theological Traditions

A lecture delivered at St Mary’s Cathedral, Minneapolis, USA, on 5 November 2002

The Byzantine and old Russian icons of the Resurrection of Christ never depict the resurrection itself, i.e., Christ coming out of the grave. They rather depict ‘the descent of Christ into Hades’, or to be more precise, the rising of Christ out of hell. Christ, sometimes with a cross in his hand, is represented as raising Adam, Eve and other personages of the biblical history from hell. Under the Saviour’s feet is the black abyss of the nether world; against its background are castles, locks and debris of the gates which once barred the way of the dead to resurrection. Though other motifs have also been used in creating the image of the Resurrection of Christ in the last several centuries[1], the above-described iconographic type is considered to be canonical, as it reflects the traditional teaching on the descent of Christ to hell, His victory over death, His raising of the dead and delivering them from hell where they were imprisoned before His Resurrection. It is to this teaching as an integral part of the dogmatic and liturgical tradition of the Christian Church that this paper is devoted.

The descent of Christ into Hades is one of the most mysterious, enigmatic and inexplicable events in New Testament history. In today’s Christian world, this event is understood differently. Liberal Western theology rejects altogether any possibility for speaking of the descent of Christ into Hades literally, arguing that the scriptural texts on this theme should be understood metaphorically. The traditional Catholic doctrine insists that after His death on the cross Christ descended to hell only to deliver the Old Testament righteous from it. A similar understanding is quite widespread among Orthodox Christians.

On the other hand, the New Testament speaks of the preaching of Christ in hell as addressed to the unrepentant sinners: ‘For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirit in prison, who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited’[2]. However, many Church Fathers and liturgical texts of the Orthodox Church repeatedly underline that having descended to hell, Christ opened the way to salvation for all people, not only the Old Testament righteous. The descent of Christ into Hades is perceived as an event of cosmic significance involving all people without exception. They also speak about the victory of Christ over death, the full devastation of hell and that after the descent of Christ into Hades there was nobody left there except for the devil and demons.

How can these two points of view be reconciled? What was the original faith of the Church? What do early Christian sources tell us about the descent into Hades? And what is the soteriological significance of the descent of Christ into Hades?

1. Eastern theological tradition

We come across references to the descent of Christ into Hades and His raising the dead in the works of Eastern Christian authors of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, such as Polycarp of Smyrna, Ignatius of Antioch, Hermas, Justin, Melito of Sardes, Hyppolitus of Rome, Irenaeus of Lyons, Clement of Alexandria and Origen. In the 4th century, the descent to hell was discussed by Athanasius, Basil the Great, Gregory Nazianzen, John Chrysostom, as well as such Syrian authors as Jacob Aphrahat and Ephrem the Syrian. Noteworthy among later authors who wrote on this theme are Cyril of Alexandria, Maximus the Confessor and John Damascene.

Let us look at the most vivid interpretations given to our theme in Eastern Christian theology.

The teaching on the descent of Christ into Hades was expounded quite fully by Clement of Alexandria in his ‘Stromateis’[3]. He argued that Christ preached in hell not only to the Old Testament righteous, but also to the Gentiles who lived outside the true faith. Commenting on 1 Pet. 3:18¾21, Clement expresses the conviction that the preaching of Christ was addressed to all those in hell who were able to believe in Christ:

Do not [the Scriptures] show that the Lord preached the Gospel to those that perished in the flood, or rather had been chained, and to those kept ‘in ward and guard’?… And, as I think, the Saviour also exerts His might because it is His work to save; which accordingly He also did by drawing to salvation those who became willing, by the preaching [of the Gospel], to believe on Him, wherever they were. If, then, the Lord descended to Hades for no other end but to preach the Gospel, as He did descend, it was either to preach the Gospel to all or to the Hebrews only. If, accordingly, to all, then all who believe shall be saved[4], although they may be of the Gentiles, on making their profession there…[5]

Clement emphasises that there are righteous people among both those who have the true faith and the Gentiles and that it is possible to turn to God for those who did not believe in Him while living. It is their virtuous life that made them capable of accepting the preaching of Christ and the apostles in hell:

…A righteous man, then, differs not, as righteous, from another righteous man, whether he be of the Law [Jew] or a Greek. For God is not only Lord of the Jews, but of all men[6]… So I think it is demonstrated that God, being good, and the Lord powerful, save with a righteousness and equality which extend to all that turn to Him, whether here or elsewhere[7].

According to Clement, righteousness is of value not only for those who live in true faith, but also for those who are outside faith. It is evident from his words that Christ preached in hell to all, but saved only those who came to believe in Him. Anyway, Clement assumes that this preaching proved salutory not for all to whom Christ preached in hell: ‘Did not the same dispensation obtain in Hades, so that even there, all the souls, on hearing the proclamation, might either exhibit repentance, or confess that their punishment was just, because they believed not?’[8] According to Clement, there were those in hell who heard the preaching of Christ but did not believe in Him and did not follow Him.

In Clement’s works we find the notion that punishments sent from God to sinners are aimed at their reformation, not at retribution, and that the souls released from their corporal shells are better able to understand the meaning of punishment[9]. In these words lies the nucleus of the teaching on the purifying and saving nature of the torment of hell developed by some later authors[10] . We will come back to the question of whether the pains of hell can be salutory when considering the teaching of Maximus the Confessor on the descent of Christ into Hades. An exhaustive discussion on this question, though, is beyond the scope of this paper.

Gregory of Nyssa entwines the theme of the descent in hell with the theory of ‘divine deception’. On the latter he builds his teaching on the Redemption. According to this theory, Christ, being God incarnate, deliberately concealed His divine nature from the devil so that he, mistaking Him for an ordinary man, would not be terrified at the sight of an overwhelming power approaching him. When Christ descended in hell, the devil supposed Him to be a human being, but this was a divine ‘hook’ disguised under a human ‘bait’ that the devil swallowed[11] . By admitting God incarnate into his domain, the devil himself signed his own death warrant: incapable of enduring the divine presence, he was overcome and defeated, and hell was destroyed.

This is precisely the idea that Gregory of Nyssa developed in one of his Easter sermons on ‘The Three-Day Period of the Resurrection of Christ’. Judging by its contents, this homily was intended for Holy Saturday[12], and in it Gregory poses the question of why Christ spent three days ‘in the heart of the earth’[13]. This period was necessary and sufficient, he argues, for Christ to ‘expose the foolishness’ (moranai) of the devil[14], i.e, to outwit, ridicule and deceive him[15]. How did Christ manage to ‘outwit’ the devil? Gregory gives the following reply to this question:

As the ruler of darkness could not approach the presence of the Light unimpeded, had he not seen in Him something of flesh, then, as soon as he saw the God-bearing flesh and saw the miracle performed through it by the Deity, he hoped that if he came to take hold of the flesh through death, then he would take hold of all the power contained in it. Therefore, having swallowed the bait of the flesh, he was pierced by the hook of the Deity and thus the dragon was transfixed by the hook.[16]

A very original approach to the theme of the descent to Hades is found in a book entitled ‘Spiritual Homilies’ which has survived under the name of Macarius of Egypt. There, the liberation of Adam by Christ, Who descended into Hades, is seen as the prototype of the mystical resurrection which the soul experiences in its encounter with the Lord:

When you hear that the Lord in the old days delivered souls from hell and prison and that He descended into hell and performed a glorious deed, do not think that all these events are far from your soul… So the Lord comes into the souls that seek Him, into the depth of the heart’s hell, and there commands death, saying: ‘Release the imprisoned souls which have sought Me and which you hold by force’. And He shatters the heavy stones weighing on the soul, opens graves, raises the true dead from death, brings the imprisoned soul from the dark prison… Is it difficult for God to enter death and, even more, into the depth of the heart and to call out dead Adam from there?… If the sun, being created, passes everywhere through windows and doors, even to the caves of lions and the holes of creeping creatures, and comes out without any harm, the more so does God and the Lord of everything enter caves and abodes in which death has settled, and also souls, and, having released Adam from there, [remains] unfettered by death. Similarly, rain coming down from the sky reaches the nethermost parts of the earth, moistens and renews the roots there and gives birth to new shoots[17].

This text is significant first of all in that the author regards the descent of Christ into Hades as a commonly accepted and undisputed dogma, which he uses as a solid foundation on which to build his mystical and typological construction. The use of the images of the sun rising over both the evil and the good, and rain sent upon both the righteous and the unrighteous[18], indicates that the author of the ‘Homilies’ perceives the descent into Hades as a reality affecting not only the Old Testament righteous, but also entire humanity. Moreover, it affects every person and inner processes which take place in the human soul. For the author of the ‘Homilies’, the doctrine of the descent into Hades is not an abstract truth, nor is it an event which occurred in the days of old and which affected only those who lived at that time, but it is an event which has not lost its relevance. It is not just one of the fundamental Christian doctrines, not just a subject of faith and confession, but a mystery associated with the mystical life of the Christian, a mystery which one should experience in the depth of one’s heart.

The doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades occupies an essential place in the works of Cyril of Alexandria. In his ‘Paschal Homilies’, he repeatedly mentions that as a consequence of the descent of Christ into Hades, the devil was left all alone, while hell was devastated: ‘For having destroyed hell and opened the impassable gates for the departed spirits, He left the devil there abandoned and lonely’[19].

In his ‘Festive Letters’, Cyril of Alexandria elaborates on the theme of the preaching of Christ in Hades, popular in the Alexandrian tradition since Clement. He views the preaching of Christ in hell as the accomplishment of the ‘history of salvation’, which began with the Incarnation:

…He showed the way to salvation not only to us, but also to the spirits in hell; having descended, He preached to those once disobedient, as Peter says[20]. For it did not befit for love of man to be partial, but the manifestation of [this] gift should have been extended to all nature… Having preached to the spirits in hell and having said ‘go forth’ to the prisoners, and ‘show yourselves’[21] to those in prison on the third day, He resurrected His temple and again opens up to our nature the ascent to heaven, bringing Himself to the Father as the beginning of humanity, pledging to those on earth the grace of communion of the Spirit[22].

As we can see, Cyril emphasises the universality of the salvation given by Christ to humanity, perceiving the descent of Christ into Hades as salvific for the entire human race. He is not inclined to limit salvation to a particular part of humanity, such as the Old Testament righteous. Salvation is likened to rain sent by God on both the just and the unjust[23]. Putting emphasis on the universality of the saving feat of Christ, Cyril follows in the steps of other Alexandrian theologians, beginning with Clement, Origen, and Athanasius the Great[24]. The descent of Christ into Hades, according to Cyril’s teaching, signified victory over that which previously appeared unconquerable and ensured the salvation of all humanity:

Death unwilling to be defeated is defeated; corruption is transformed; unconquerable passion is destroyed. While hell, diseased with excessive insatiability and never satisfied with the dead, is taught, even if against its will, that which it could not learn previously. For it not only ceases to claim those who are still to fall [in the future], but also lets free those already captured, being subjected to splendid devastation by the power of our Saviour… Having preached to the spirits in hell, once disobedient, He came out as conqueror by resurrecting His temple like a beginning of our hope and by showing to [our] nature the manner of the raising from the dead, and giving us along with it other blessings as well[25].

Clearly, Cyril perceived the victory of Christ over hell and death as complete and definitive. According to Cyril, hell loses authority both over those who were in its power and those who are to become its prey in the future. Thus, the descent into Hades, a single and unique action, is perceived as a timeless event. The raised body of Christ becomes the guarantee of universal salvation, the beginning of way leading human nature to ultimate deification.

An elaborate teaching of the descent of Christ into Hades is found in Maximus the Confessor. In his analysis, Maximus takes as a starting point the words of St. Peter: ‘For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit’[26]. In Maximus’s view, St. Peter does not speak about the Old Testament righteous, but about those sinners who, back in their lifetime, were punished for their evil deeds:

Some say that Scriptures call ‘dead’ those who died before the coming of Christ, for instance, those who were at the time of the flood, at Babel, in Sodom, in Egypt, as well as others who in various times and in various ways received various punishments and the terrible misfortune of divine damnation. These people were punished not so much for their ignorance of God as for the offences they imposed on one another. It was to them, according to [St Peter] that the great message of salvation was preached when they were already damned as men in the flesh, that is, when they received, through life in the flesh, punishment for crimes against one another, so that they could live according to God by the spirit, that is, being in hell, they accepted the preaching of the knowledge of God, believing in the Saviour who descended into hell to save the dead. So, in order to understand [this] passage in [Holy Scriptures] let us take it in this way: the dead, damned in the human flesh, were preached to precisely for the purpose that they may live according to God by the spirit[27].

Thus, according to Maximus’s teaching, punishments suffered by sinners ‘in the human flesh’ were necessary so that they may live ‘according to God by the spirit’. Therefore, these punishments, whether troubles and misfortunes in their lifetime or pains in hell, had pedagogical and reforming significance. Moreover, Maximus stresses that in damning them, God used not so much a religious as a moral criterion, for people were punished ‘not so much for their ignorance of God as for the offences they imposed on one another’. In other words, the religious or ideological convictions of a particular person were not decisive, but his actions with regard to his neighbours.

In John Damascene we find lines which sum up the development of the theme of the descent of Christ into Hades in Eastern patristic writings of the 2nd¾8th centuries:

The soul [of Christ] when it is deified descended into Hades, in order that, just as the Sun of Righteousness rose for those upon the earth, so likewise He might bring light[28] to those who sit under the earth in darkness and the shadow of death: in order that just as he brought the message of peace to those upon the earth, and of release to the prisoners, and of sight to the blind[29], and became to those who believed the Author of everlasting salvation and to those who did not believe, a denunciation of their unbelief, so He might become the same to those in Hades: That every knee should bow to Him, of things in heaven, and things in earth and things under the earth[30]. And thus after He had freed those who has been bound for ages, straightway He rose again from the dead, showing us the way of resurrection[31].

According to John Damascene, Christ preached to all those who were in hell, but His preaching did not prove salutary for all, as not all were capable of responding to it. For some it could become only ‘a denunciation of their disbelief’, not the cause of salvation. In this judgement, Damascene actually repeats the teaching on salvation articulated not long before him by Maximus the Confessor. According to Maximus, human history will be accomplished when all without exception will unite with God and God will become ‘all in all’[32]. For some, however, this unity will mean eternal bliss, while for others it will become the source of suffering and torment, as each will be united with God ‘according to the quality of his disposition’ towards God[33]. In other words, all will be united with God, but each will have his own, subjective, feeling of this unity, according to the measure of the closeness to God he has achieved. Along a similar line, John Damascene understands also the teaching on the descent to Hades: Christ opens the way to paradise to all and calls all to salvation, but the response to Christ’s call may lie in either consent to follow Him or voluntary rejection of salvation. Ultimately it depends on a person, on his free choice. God does not save anybody by force, but calls everybody to salvation: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him’[34]. God knocks at the door of the human heart rather than breaks into it.

In the history of Christianity an idea has repeatedly arisen that God predestines some people for salvation and others to perdition. This idea, based as it is on the literary understanding of the words of St. Paul about predestination, calling and justification[35], became the corner-stone of the theological system of the Reformation, preached with particular consistency by John Calvin[36]. Eleven centuries before Calvin, the Eastern Christian tradition in the person of John Chrysostom expressed its view of predestination and calling. ‘Why are not all saved?’ Chrysostom asks. ‘Because… not only the call [of God] but also the will of those called is the cause of their salvation. This call is not coercive or forcible. Every one was called, but not all followed the call’[37]. Later Fathers, including Maximus and John Damascene, spoke in the same spirit. According to their teaching, it is not God who saves some while ruining others, but some people follow the call of God to salvation while others do not. It is not God who leads some from hell while leaving others behind, but some people wish while others do not wish to believe in Him.

The teaching of the Eastern Church Fathers on the descent of Christ into Hades can be summed up in the following points:

1) the doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades was commonly accepted and indisputable;

2) the descent into Hades was perceived as an event of universal significance, though some authors limited the range of those saved by Christ to a particular category of the dead;

3) the descent of Christ into Hades and His resurrection were viewed as the accomplishment of the ‘economy’ of Christ the Saviour, as the crown and outcome of the feat He performed for the salvation of people;

4) the teaching on the victory of Christ over the devil, hell and death was finally articulated and asserted;

5) the theme of the descent into Hades began to be viewed in its mystical dimension, as the prototype of the resurrection of the human soul.

2. Western theological tradition

To what degree did the approach to this theme of the Fathers and Doctors of the Western Church differ from that of the Eastern Fathers? In order to answer this question, let us look at the works of the two most significant theologians of the Christian West, Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

The Augustinian teaching on the descent of Christ into Hades is expounded in the fullest way in one of his letters addressed to Evodius. This letter contains a comprehensive interpretation of 1 Pet. 3:18¾21. It follows from Evodius’ questions that the teaching on the evacuation of all in hell and the complete devastation of hell by the risen Christ was widespread in his time. Augustine begins with the question of whether Christ preached only to those who perished in the days of Noah or to all the imprisoned. In answering it, Augustine begins by refuting the opinion that Christ descended to Hades in the flesh[38] and argues that this teaching contradicts scriptural testimony[39].

Augustine continues by setting forth the view that Christ led from hell all those who were there, as, indeed, among them were ‘some who are intimately known to us by their literary labours, whose eloquence and talent we admire, ¾ not only the poets and orators who in many parts of their writings have held up to contempt and ridicule these same false gods of the nations, and have even occasionally confessed the one true God…, but also those who have uttered the same, not in poetry or rhetoric, but as philosophers’[40]. The notion of the salvation of heathen poets, orators and philosophers was quite popular. In Eastern patristic tradition it was most vividly expressed by Clement of Alexandria. According to Augustine, however, any of the positive qualities of the ancient poets, orators and philosophers originated not from ‘sober and authentic devotion, but pride, vanity and [the desire] of people’s praise’. Therefore they ‘did not bring any fruit’. Thus, the idea that pagan poets, orators and philosophers could be saved, though not refuted by Augustine, still is not fully approved, since ‘human judgement’ differs from ‘the justice of the Creator’[41].

Augustine neither rejects nor accepts unconditionally the opinion concerning the salvation of all those in hell. Though very careful in his judgement, it is clear that the possibility of salvation for all in hell is blocked in his perception by his own teaching on predestination[42], as well as by his understanding of divine mercy and justice:

For the words of Scripture, that ‘the pains of hell were loosed’[43] by the death of Christ, do not establish this, seeing that this statement may be understood as referring to Himself, and meaning that he so far loosed (that is, made ineffectual) the pains of hell that He Himself was not held by them, especially since it is added that it was ‘impossible for Him to be holden of them’[44]. Or if any one [objecting to this interpretation] asks why He chose to descend into hell, where those pains were which could not possibly hold Him… the words that ‘the pains were loosed’ may be understood as referring not to the case of all, but only some whom He judged worthy of that deliverance; so that neither He supposed to have descended thither in vain, without the purpose of bringing benefit to any of those who were there held in prison, nor is it a necessary inference that divine mercy and justice granted to some must be supposed to have been granted to all[45].

While Augustine also considers the traditional teaching that Christ delivered from hell the forefather Adam, as well as Abel, Seth, Noah and his family, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob ‘and the other patriarchs and prophets’, he does not agree to it entirely, since he does not believe ‘Abraham’s bosom’ to be a part of hell. Those who were in the bosom of Abraham were not deprived of the gracious presence of the divinity of Christ, and therefore Christ, on the very day of His death immediately before descending to hell, promises to the wise thief that he will be in paradise with him[46]. ‘Most certainly, therefore, He was, before that time, both in paradise and the bosom of Abraham in His beatific wisdom (beatificante sapientia), and in hell in His condemning power (judicante potentia)’, concludes Augustine[47].

The opinion that through the death of Christ on the cross the righteous receive that promised incorruption which people are to achieve after the end of time is also refuted by Augustine. If it were so, then St. Peter would not have said about David that ‘his sepulchre is with us to this day’[48] unless David was still undisturbed in the sepulchre[49].

As for the teaching on Christ’s preaching in hell contained in 1 Pet. 3:18-21, Augustine rejects its traditional and commonly accepted understanding. First, he is not certain that it implies those who really departed his life, but rather those that are spiritually dead and did not believe in Christ. Secondly, he offers the quite novel idea that after Christ ascended from hell His recollection did not survive there. Therefore, the descent in Hades was a ‘one-time’ event relevant only to those who were in hell at that time. Thirdly and finally, Augustine rejects altogether any possibility for those who did not believe in Christ while on earth to come to believe in him while in hell, calling this idea ‘absurd’[50].

Augustine is not inclined to see in 1 Pet. 3:18-21 an indication of the descent into Hades. He believes that this text should be understood allegorically, i. e., ‘the spirits’ mentioned by Peter are essentially those who are clothed in body and imprisoned in ignorance. Christ did not come down to earth in the flesh in the days of Noah, but often came down to people in the spirit either to rebuke those who did not believe or to justify those who did. What happened in the days of Noah is a type of what happens today, and the flood was the precursor of baptism. Those who believe in our days are like whose who believed in the days of Noah: they are saved through baptism, just as Noah was saved through water. Those who do not believe are like those who did not believe in the days of Noah: the flood is the prototype of their destruciton[51].

Augustine is the first Latin author who gave so much close attention to the theme of the descent of Christ into Hades. However, he did not clarify the question of who was the object of Christ’s preaching in hell and whom Christ delivered from it. Augustine expressed many doubts about particular interpretations of 1 Pet. 3:18¾21, but did not offer any convincing interpretation of his own. Nevertheless, the ideas expressed by him were developed by Western Church authors of the later period. Thomas Aquinas, in particular, makes continuous references to Augustine in his chapter devoted to the descent of Christ into Hades[52]. During the Reformation, many Augustinian ideas were criticised by theologians of the Protestant tradition. The teaching that the recollection of Christ did not survive in hell after His ascent was rejected by Lutheran theologians who insisted on the reverse[53].

Thomas Aquinas was the 13th-century theologian who brought to completion the Latin teaching on the descent of Christ into Hades. In his ‘Summa Theologiae’, he divides hell into four parts: 1) purgatory (purgatorium), where sinners experience penal suffering; 2) the hell of the patriarchs (infernum patrum), the abode of the Old Testament righteous before the coming of Christ; 3) the hell of unbaptized children (infernum puerorum); and 4) the hell of the damned (infernum damnatorum). In response to the question, exactly which was the hell that Christ descended to, Thomas Aquinas admits two possibilities: Christ descended either into all parts of hell or only to that in which the righteous were imprisoned, whom He was to deliver. In the first case, ‘for going down into the hell of the lost He wrought this effect, that by descending thither He put them to shame for their unbelief and wickedness: but to them who were detained in Purgatory He gave hope of attaining to glory: while upon the holy Fathers detained in hell solely on account of original sin (pro solo peccato originali detinebantur in inferno), He shed the light of glory everlasting’. In the second case, the soul of Christ ‘descended only to the place where the righteous were detained’ (descendit solum ad locum inferni in quo justi detinebantur), but the action of His presence there was felt in some way in the other parts of hell as well[54].

According to Thomistic teaching, Christ delivered from hell not only the Old Testament righteous who were imprisoned in hell because of original sin[55]. As far as sinners are concerned, those who were detained in ‘the hell of the lost’, since they either had no faith or had faith but no conformity with the virtue of the suffering Christ, could not be cleansed from their sins, and Christ’s descent brought them no deliverance from the pains of hell[56]. Nor were children who had died in the state of original sin delivered from hell, since only ‘by baptism children are delivered from original sin and from hell, but not by Christ’s descent into hell’, since baptism can be received only in earthly life, not after death[57]. Finally, Christ did not deliver those who were in purgatory, for their suffering was caused by personal defects (defectus personali), whereas ‘exclusion from glory’ was a common defect (defectus generalis) of all human nature after the fall. The descent of Christ into Hades recovered the glory of God to those who were excluded from it by virtue of the common defect of nature, but did not deliver anybody from the pains of purgatory caused by people’s personal defects[58].

This scholastic understanding of the descent of Christ into Hades, formulated by Thomas Aquinas, was the official teaching of the Roman Catholic Church for many centuries. During the Reformation, this understanding was severely criticised by Protestant theologians. Many of today’s Catholic theologians are also very sceptical about this teaching[59]. There is no need to discuss how far the teaching of Thomas Aquinas on the descent of Christ into Hades is from that of Eastern Christianity. No Father of the Eastern Church ever permitted himself to clarify who was left in hell after Christ descent; no Eastern Father ever spoke of unbaptized infants left in hell[60]. The division of hell into four parts and the teaching on purgatory are alien to Eastern patristics. Finally, this very scholastic approach whereby the most mysterious events of history are subjected to detailed analysis and rational interpretation is unacceptable for Eastern Christian theology. For the theologians, poets and mystics of the Eastern Church, the descent of Christ into Hades remained first of all a mystery which could be praised in hymns, and about which various assumptions could be made, but of which nothing definite and final could be said.

The general conclusion can now be drawn from a comparative analysis of Eastern and Western understandings of the descent into Hades. In the first three centuries of the Christian Church, there was considerable similarity between the interpretation of this doctrine by theologians in East and West. However, already by the 4th—5th centuries, substantial differences can be identified. In the West, a juridical understanding of the doctrine prevailed. It gave increasingly more weight to notions of predestination (Christ delivered from hell those who were predestined for salvation from the beginning) and original sin (salvation given by Christ was deliverance from the general original sin, not from the ‘personal’ sins of individuals). The range of those to whom the saving action of the descent into hell is extended becomes ever more narrow. First, it excludes sinners doomed to eternal torment, then those in purgatory and finally unbaptized infants. This kind of legalism was alien to the Orthodox East, where the descent into Hades continued to be perceived in the spirit in which it is expressed in the liturgical texts of Great Friday and Easter, i.e. as an event significant not only for all people, but also for the entire cosmos, for all created life.

At the same time, both Eastern and Western traditions suggest that Christ delivered from hell the Old Testament righteous led by Adam. Yet if in the West this is perceived restrictively (Christ delivered only the Old Testament righteous, while leaving all the rest in hell to eternal torment), in the East, Adam is viewed as a symbol of the entire human race leading humanity redeemed by Christ (those who followed Christ were first the Old Testament righteous led by Adam and then the rest who responded to the preaching of Christ in hell).

3. The doctrine of the descent into Hades and theodicy

Let us move now to the theological significance of the doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades. This doctrine, in our view, has great significance for theodicy, the justification of God in the face of the accusing human mind[61]. Why does God permit suffering and evil? Why does He condemn people to the pains of hell? To what extent is God responsible for what happens on earth? Why in the Bible does God appear as a cruel and unmerciful Judge ‘repenting’ of His actions and punishing people for mistakes which He knew beforehand and which He could have prevented? These and other similar questions have been posed throughout history.

First of all, we should say that the doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades raises the veil over the mystery that envelops the relationship between God and the devil. The history of this relationship goes back to the time of the creation. According to common church teaching, the devil was created as a good and perfect creature, but he fell away from God because of his pride. The drama of the personal relationship between God and the devil did not end here. Since his falling away, the devil began to oppose divine goodness and love by every means and to do all he can to prevent the salvation of people. The devil is not all-powerful, however; his powers are restricted by God and he can operate only within the limits permitted by God. This last affirmation is confirmed by the opening lines of the Book of Job where the devil appears as a creature having, first, personal relations with God and, secondly, being fully subjected to God.

By creating human beings and putting them in a situation where they choose between good and evil, God assumed the responsibility for their further destiny. God did not leave man face to face with the devil, but Himself entered into the struggle for humanity’s spiritual survival. To this end, He sent prophets and teachers and then He Himself became man, suffered on the cross and died, descended into Hades and was raised from the dead in order to share human fate. By descending into Hades, Christ did not destroy the devil as a personal, living creature, but ‘abolished the power of the devil’, that is, deprived the devil of authority and power stolen by him from God. When he rebelled against God, the devil set himself the task to create his own autonomous kingdom where he would be master and where he would win back from God a space where God’s presence could be in no way felt. In Old Testament understanding, this place was sheol. After Christ, sheol became a place of divine presence.

This presence is felt by all those in paradise as a source of joy and bliss, but for those in hell it is a source of suffering. Hell, after Christ, is no longer the place where the devil reigns and people suffer, but first and foremost it is the prison for the devil himself as well as for those who voluntarily decided to stay with him and share his fate. The sting of death was abolished by Christ and the walls of hell were destroyed. But ‘death even without its sting is still powerful for us… Hell with its walls destroyed and its gates abolished is still filled with those who, having left the narrow royal path of the cross leading to paradise, follow the broad way all their lives’[62] .

Christ descended into hell not as another victim of the devil, but as Conqueror. He descended in order to ‘bind up the powerful’ and to ‘plunder his vessels’. According to patristic teaching, the devil did not recognize in Christ the incarnate God. He took Him for an ordinary man and, rising to the ‘bait’ of the flesh, swallowed the ‘hook’ of the Deity (the image used by Gregory of Nyssa). However, the presence of Christ in hell constituted the poison which began gradually to ruin hell from within (this image was used by the 4th-century Syrian author Jacob Aphrahat[63]). The final destruction of hell and the ultimate victory over the devil will happen during the Second Coming of Christ when ‘the last enemy to be destroyed is death’, when everything will be subjected to Christ and God will become ‘all in all’[64] .

The doctrine of the descent of Christ into Hades is important for an understanding of God’s action in human history, as reflected in the Old Testament. The biblical account of the flood, which destroyed all humanity, is a stumbling block for many who wish to believe in a merciful God but cannot reconcile themselves with a God who ‘repents’ of his own deed. The teaching on the descent into hell, as set forth in 1 Pet. 3:18—21, however, brings an entirely new perspective into our understanding of the mystery of salvation. It turns out that the death sentence passed by God to interrupt human life does not mean that human beings are deprived of hope for salvation, because, failing to turn to God during their lifetime, people could turn to Him in the afterlife having heard Christ’s preaching in the prison of hell. While committing those He created to death, God did not destroy them, but merely transferred them to a different state in which they could hear the preaching of Christ, to believe and to follow Him.

4. The soteriological implications of the doctrine of the descent into Hades

The doctrine on the descent of Christ into Hades is an integral part of Orthodox soteriology. Its soteriological implications, however, depend in many ways on the way in which we understanding the preaching of Christ in hell and its salutory impact on people[65]. If the preaching was addressed only to the Old Testament righteous, then the soteriological implications of the doctrine is minimal, but if it was addressed to all those in hell, its significance is considerably increased. It seems that we have enough grounds to argue, following the Greek Orthodox theologian, I. Karmiris, that ‘according to the teaching of almost all the Eastern Fathers, the preaching of the Saviour was extended to all without exception and salvation was offered to all the souls who passed away from the beginning of time, whether Jews or Greek, righteous or unrighteous’[66]. At the same time, the preaching of Christ in hell was good and joyful news of deliverance and salvation, not only for the righteous but also the unrighteous. It was not the preaching ‘to condemn for unbelief and wickedness’, as it seemed to Thomas Aquinas. The entire text of the First Letter of St. Peter relating to the preaching of Christ in hell speaks against its understanding in terms of accusation and damnation’[67].

Whether all or only some responded to the call of Christ and were delivered from hell remains an open question. If we accept the point of view of those Western church writers who maintain that Christ delivered from hell only the Old Testament righteous, then Christ’s salutory action is reduced merely to the restoration of justice. The Old Testament righteous suffered in hell undeservedly, not for their personal sins but because of the general sinfulness of human nature and because their deliverance from hell was a ‘duty’ which God was obliged to undertake with respect to them. But such an act could scarcely constitute a miracle that made the angels tremble or one to be praised in church hymns.

Unlike the West, Christian consciousness in the East admits the opportunity to be saved not only for those who believe during their lifetime, but also those who were not given to believe yet pleased God with their good works. The idea that salvation was not only for those who in life confessed the right faith, not only for the Old Testament righteous, but also those heathens who distinguished themselves by a lofty morality, is developed in one of the hymns of John Damascene:

Some say that [Christ delivered from hell] only those who believed[68],
such as fathers and prophets,
judges and together with them kings, local rulers
and some others from the Hebrew people,
not numerous and known to all.
But we shall reply to those who think so
that there is nothing undeserved,
nothing miraculous and nothing strange
in that Christ should save those who believed[69],
for He remains only the fair Judge,
and every one who believes in Him will not perish.
So they all ought to have been saved
and delivered from the bonds of hell
by the descent of God and Master —
that same happened by His Disposition.
Whereas those who were saved only through [God’s] love of men
were, as I think, all those
who had the purest life
and did all kinds of good works,
living in modesty, temperance and virtue,
but the pure and divine faith
they did not conceive because they were not instructed in it
and remained altogether unlearnt.
They were those whom the Steward and Master of all
drew, captured in the divine nets
and persuaded to believe in Him,
illuminating them with the divine rays
and showing them the true light[70] .

This approach renders the descent into Hades exceptional in its soteriological implications. According to Damascene, those who were not taught the true faith during their lifetime can come to believe when in hell. By their good works, abstention and chastity they prepared themselves for the encounter with Christ. These are that same people about whom St. Paul says that having no law they ‘do by nature things contained in the law’, for ‘the work of the law is written in their hearts’[71]. Those who live by the law of natural morality but do not share the true faith can hope by virtue of their righteousness that in a face-to-face encounter with God they will recognize in Him the One they ‘ignorantly worshipped’[72] .

Has this anything to do with those who died outside Christian faith after the descent of Christ into Hades? No, if we accept the Western teaching that the descent into Hades was a ‘one-time’ event and that the recollection of Christ did not survive in hell. Yes, if we proceed from the assumption that after Christ hell was no longer like the Old Testament sheol, but it became a place of the divine presence. In addition, as Archpriest Serge Bulgakov writes, ‘all events in the life of Christ, which happen in time, have timeless, abiding significance. Therefore,

the so-called ‘preaching in hell’, which is the faith of the Church, is a revelation of Christ to those who in their earthly life could not see or know Christ. There are no grounds for limiting this event… to the Old Testament saints alone, as Catholic theology does. Rather, the power of this preaching should be extended to all time for those who during their life on earth did not and could not know Christ but meet Him in the afterlife[73].

According to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, all the dead, whether believers or non-believers, appear before God. Therefore, even for those who did not believe during their lifetime, there is hope that they will recognize God as their Saviour and Redeemer if their previous life on earth led them to this recognition.
The above hymn of John Damascene clearly states that the virtuous heathens were not ‘taught’ the true faith. This is a clear allusion to the words of Christ: ‘Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’[74]; and ‘He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but that believeth not shall be damned’[75]. The damnation is extended only to those who were taught Christian faith but did not believe. But if a person was not taught, if he in his real life did not encounter the preaching of the gospel and did not have an opportunity to respond to it, can he be damned for it? We come back to the question that had disturbed such ancient authors as Clement of Alexandria.

Is it possible at all that the fate of a person can be changed after his death? Is death that border beyond which some unchangeable static existence comes? Does the development of the human person not stop after death?

On the one hand, it is impossible for one to actively repent in hell; it is impossible to rectify the evil deeds one committed by appropriate good works. However, it may be possible for one to repent through a ‘change of heart’, a review of one’s values. One of the testimonies to this is the rich man of the Gospel we have already mentioned. He realized the gravity of his situation as soon as found himself in hell. Indeed, if in his lifetime he was focused on earthly pursuits and forgot God, once in hell he realized that his only hope for salvation was God[76] . Besides, according to the teaching of the Orthodox Church, the fate of a person after death can be changed through the prayer of the Church. Thus, existence after death has its own dynamics. On the basis of what has been said above, we may say that after death the development of the human person does not cease, for existence after death is not a transfer from a dynamic into a static being, but rather continuation on a new level of that road which a person followed in his lifetime.

* * *

As the last stage in the divine descent (katabasis) and self-emptying (kenosis), the descent of Christ into Hades became at the same time the starting point of the ascent of humanity towards deification (theosis)[77]. Since this descent the path to paradise is opened for both the living and the dead, which was followed by those whom Christ delivered from hell. The destination point for all humanity and every individual is the fullness of deification in which God becomes ‘all in all’[78] . It is for this deification that God first created man and then, when ‘the time had fully come’ (Gal. 4:4), Himself became man, suffered, died, descended to Hades and was raised from the dead.

We do not know if every one followed Christ when He rose from hell. Nor do we know if every one will follow Him to the eschatological Heavenly Kingdom when He will become ‘all in all’. But we do know that since the descent of Christ into Hades the way to resurrection has been opened for ‘all flesh’, salvation has been granted to every human being, and the gates of paradise have been opened for all those who wish to enter through them. This is the faith of the Early Church inherited from the first generation of Christians and cherished by Orthodox Tradition. This is the never-extinguished hope of all those who believe in Christ Who once and for all conquered death, destroyed hell and granted resurrection to the entire human race.

Translated from the Russian


233 thoughts on “Descent of Christ…

  1. Thanks for posting.

    The best explanation I’ve heard yet on Christ preaching in hell and the fate of those who aren’t Christian.

    There’s good news.

    There’s still hope.

  2. At first glance it looks the same sort of teaching Kenyon has been hammered by so-called discerners for putting out in his books, and which I have put forward as an option promoting the idea of captivity being led captive. I’ll go through it in more detail when I have time, but it would be interesting if the connection is made.

  3. It is not only those who believe in Christ who will experience the resurrection of their bodies. All people will be raised physically from the dead on the last day. The difference is that Christians will be raised to everlasting glory; those who will not trust in Christ will be raised to judgment.

    There are many passages which teach that both believers and unbelievers will be raised. In Acts 24:15 Paul says, “There shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” John 5:28-29 says, “For an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” The Scriptural teaching, then, is that for those who reject the gospel hell involves both spiritual and physical anguish: “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

    There is no spirit resurrection, for the spirit never dies unless God destroys it.
    It’s the body that dies, not the spirit.

  4. OH,
    So bones is finally wondering where he go’s when he dies.
    This could be good.

    The only certainty is uncertainty.

    18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the [n]spirit; 19 in [o]which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the [p]water.

    Seems Jesus preaches to the dead.

    Wonder what he said to those so depraved in the time of Noah, He decided to wipe them out and start again.

  5. The fact remains that salvation comes by the preaching of the gospel. That Christ went into the prison of hades and there preached to the lost tells us that he again fulfilled all righteousness and he Gentiles of the past were also accorded the opportunity to repent by believing the message preached and receiving Jesus as Lord.

    Those captives who received the gospel of Christ were led captive to salvation.

    Therefore the precedent remains the same on earth, that the preaching of the gospel is necessary for salvation, because it is of God’s grace that we are saved through faith, but what do we have faith in but the gospel of Christ. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ.

    Romans 10
    11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”
    12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.
    13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
    14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
    15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”
    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”
    17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  6. It is interesting that Peter makes reference to Noah, and the judgement of God on the world at that time, in each of his biblical letters. The first speaks of the Spirit who raised him from the dead, who also equipped him to speak to those in prison long ago. You have to force 1 Pet 3:19 to make it fit a descent to hades. The natural reading is that the preaching was done at the time Noah was building the ark (see next verse).

    In fact Peter calls Noah a ‘preacher of righteousness’ in 2 Peter 2:5, so the gospel was preached by the Spirit through Noah at a time of almost total Godlessness before the flood. To give the pre-Christian dead (how many millions?) the chance to hear the gospel again from Jesus in some Hadean stadium is, quite frankly, almost comically in error. Man dies ONCE and then is judged. He doesn’t get a second crack of the whip.

    The passages in Peter and Eph 4 re captivity captive need to be seen in the light of what the Word calls real imprisonment – Is 61:1-2 ‘to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners’. Jesus did that by rising from the dead, not leading some non-bodily victory march from a physical underground chamber up to heaven.

    All this Eastern Orthodox talk is Greek mythology wrapped in a light coating of out of context scripture.

  7. Good work at reading that into the text, Zeibart.

    I have to say it’s very ‘creative’ reasoning.

    How did Noah preach the Gospel when the Gospel begins in Mark?

    All this Eastern Orthodox talk is Greek mythology wrapped in a light coating of out of context scripture.

    Actually they take heaven and hell as pagan constructs which is true.

    There’s only God.

  8. So Bones, what ‘righteousness’ do you think Noah preached? It was a message of ‘repent and believe in God’, so it was a form of gospel – at least it was good news and would have qualified them for resurrection had they listened. Noah’s message would have been rather like the NT baptism of John that many early disciples thought was the full gospel. Or what Apollos was preaching before being taken aside by Aquila and Priscilla in Acts 18. Noah was still preaching under the unction of the same Spirit that raised Jesus – that was Peter’s real point, not an explanation of how a small band of pre-flood reprobates had a second chance at freedom.

  9. Steve, I would say the ‘spirits’ were formerly disobedient with respect to Peter. They disobeyed despite having a fair opportunity through Noah. If you are meaning spirits/angels in prison in relation to 2 Peter 2:4, then that is a different application to men who had died and were hanging in Hades.

    Several problems here: Firstly, as just mentioned, these are not the same folks being described. Jude 6 tallies with 2 Pet 2:4, so God has kept disobedient angels (or messengers, so could be human) in confinement awaiting final judgement and punishment. The 1 Peter crowd were people in Noah’s time. They heard a form of gospel and still rebelled.

    Tell me, why would the disobedient dead, and a segment thereof, get another chance to hear from Jesus (if his spirit had already preached to them in life) and so become saved? It runs counter to all that we know about life, death, judgement and qualifying for eternal life.

    So, if this has to be thoroughly mangled to fit a ‘life after death’ existence (which is what the translators are trying to reinforce here), then interpretations such as a descent into a literal place called Greek Hades or English hell, is what we have. The earliest church writings know very little of this theory of what happened to Jesus after he died.

  10. If the Sign of Jonah – 3 days in the belly of the earth – was really what happened, if Jesus said not to touch him because he had not yet ascended to his Father, if the prophecies that he would not know decay in the grave/Sheol/Hades were true, then Jesus actually, died, lay in a sepulcher and then rose under the power of the Holy Spirit, and that’s actually enough!

    He has the keys to death and Hades (place or realm of the dead, but not in a conscious way). He paid the price and the price was DEATH. If Jesus didn’t really die but moved from a physical existence to a non-corporeal one, then he didn’t really die, and sin has not been atoned for. If only his flesh died, then he didn’t actually die a full death. Death is the complete cessation of being, not slipping from solid to ethereal. That’s why resurrection bodies are solid material.

    What is being espoused by these teachings is nothing short of emptying the power of death, making judgement a non-event and the resurrection a sideshow. That is so far from the real gospel of a new body alongside our risen Lord when he returns. All these 3 elements were central to what Jesus and the NT writers were seeking to get people to understand, yet Greek myths and dualism has given the devil open season to twist the key pointers to true life. Sadly it seems to have worked in vast swathes of Christianity.

  11. Tell me, why would the disobedient dead, and a segment thereof, get another chance to hear from Jesus (if his spirit had already preached to them in life) and so become saved? It runs counter to all that we know about life, death, judgement and qualifying for eternal life.

    Or you could be wrong.

    Whoops!

  12. What is being espoused by these teachings is nothing short of emptying the power of death,

    Bingo!

    That’s what it’s all about.

  13. ”Or you could be wrong.

    Whoops!”

    Or the Eastern Orthodox, or Pentecostals, or Billy Graham, or, or, or the Bible is wrong. This is nothing to do with me. I’m just taking scripture and reading it without all the Greek underworld afterlife claptrap.

  14. …or, or, or the Bible is wrong. This is nothing to do with me. I’m just taking scripture and reading it …

    Lol.

    I love it when our interpretations and opinions are inerrant and infallible.

  15. The earliest church writings know very little of this theory of what happened to Jesus after he died.

    Is that what Viola/ Barna say?

    Early Christian teaching
    The Harrowing of Hell (place of the Dead – Bones) was taught by theologians of the early church: St Melito of Sardis (died c. 180) Homily on the Passion; Tertullian (A Treatise on the Soul, 55), Hippolytus (Treatise on Christ and Anti-Christ) Origen (Against Celsus, 2:43), and, later, St Ambrose (died 397) all wrote of the Harrowing of Hell. The early heretic Marcion and his followers also discussed the Harrowing of Hell, as mentioned by Tertullian, Irenaeus, and Epiphanius.

    “Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.”

    St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

  16. ‘St. John Chrysostom (347-407)’ – hardly 2nd century, or without his failings (anti-Semitism, fornication, good ol’ proto-Catholic boy).

    ‘I love it when our interpretations and opinions are inerrant and infallible.’

    Isn’t it cool Bones. The Pope thinks so too.

  17. ‘Belief in the resurrection has pagan origins.’ So believing in a fundamental of the bible has pagan origins? Haha. Your point?

  18. The resurrection originates with God. Christ was the lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He is preeminent in all things.

    Paganism devised its own versions of the death and resurrection of a deliverer.

    The spirits in Tartarus are fallen angels. They are locked up until the judgement of Satan is complete.

    Jesus died bodily and was raised bodily. He gave up the ghost. He was raised by the Spirit.

  19. Was the resurrection story of Jesus borrowed from pagan mythology?
    by Ryan Turner

    Despite having popular appeal on the Internet, the idea that the resurrection story of Jesus was borrowed from pagan mythology has been abandoned by the vast majority of critical scholars today.1 In fact, one noted resurrection expert named Gary Habermas said that he could count on one hand of the 2,000 or so publications that he surveyed from French, German, and English written during 1975 to the present of how many scholars attribute the story of the resurrection of Jesus as being borrowed from pagan mythology.2

    Interestingly, Jesus predicted that there would be false “christs” (Mt. 24:24; Mk. 13:22), so it is not surprising that there should be other dying and rising god claims in other religions.

    However, the idea that the resurrection story of Jesus is based on pagan mythology is unconvincing for a number of reasons. The alleged pagan parallels to Jesus’ resurrection are (1) unclear, (2) have late testimony that postdates Christianity, (3) may not be referring to an actual resurrection, (4) lack historical evidence, (5) misunderstand the Jewish influence on early Christianity, and (6) fail to explain the positive evidence for Jesus’ resurrection.

    Unclear Parallels

    The first problem is that the accounts of dying and rising gods in other religions are unclear. Justin Martyr, an early Christian apologist, records some of these “parallels” in an attempt to convince the Roman emperor that the Christian’s teachings were not that dissimilar from other Roman religions which were favored by the empire. Justin appealed to various examples, including Aesculapius who was struck by lightning and ascended to heaven, Baccus and Hercules and a few other sons who rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus after having died violent deaths, Ariadne who was “set among the stars,” and finally the cremation of the emperor Augustus in which someone claimed that he saw Augustus’s spirit ascend towards heaven.3 However, Justin’s parallels are extremely unclear. As Habermas and Licona note, “If we were to consider these as parallels to Jesus’ resurrection, we would also have to consider every ghost story.”4

    Late Testimony: After Christianity

    Second, the first clear dying and rising god parallel to the resurrection story of Jesus occurs at least 100 years after the reports of Jesus’ resurrection. For example, the earliest versions of the death and resurrection of Adonis appeared after A.D. 150. The accounts of Attis, the Phyrgian god of vegetation who was responsible for the death and rebirth of plant life, are not until the 3rd century A.D. (200 A.D.) or later. Therefore, the Christians did not follow a genre of “dying and rising gods” since such parallels did not exist during their time period.

    Questionable if Referring to a Resurrection

    Third, it is questionable if the pre-Jesus pagan resurrection accounts are actually referring to a resurrection. In the accounts of Marduk there is no clear death or resurrection mentioned. Adonis, in the earliest visions, contains no death or resurrection reports. His first death and resurrection accounts do not occur until after A.D. 150. Osiris has conflicting accounts. Some accounts say that he is assigned to the underworld and others refer to him as the “sun.” However, there are no accounts or claims that Osiris rose from the dead.

    The only account of a god who survived death that predates Christianity is found in Osiris. However, as mentioned above, there are several versions of his story. In one, he is killed by his brother, cut into fourteen pieces, and scattered in Egypt. The goddess Isis then collects his parts and bring him back to life, but she was only able to find thirteen parts. Furthermore, it is questionable whether Osiris was brought back to life on earth or seen by others like Jesus. Osiris descends and was given status of the underworld as god of the mummies. Interestingly, it is more of a zombification rather than a resurrection!5 Finally, the hero in the story is not Osiris, but Isis or Horus, their son. This is extremely different from Jesus who is the heroic risen prince of life who was seen by others on earth before his ascension into heaven (Acts 1:1-11).

    Lack of Historical Evidence

    Fourth, the accounts of dying and rising gods in other religions lack historical evidence, and can be accounted for by opposing theories such as legendary embellishment or lack of historicity. Interestingly, these dying and rising vegetation gods like Osiris and Adonis are not real people in history like Jesus (see: Did Jesus ever exist?). Furthermore, they are not attested by multiple sources, and the first available manuscript is far removed from the event that is described. For example, The Life of Apollonius by Philostratus, postdates Jesus by 200 years and is thought to be a “product of conscious reaction against Christianity.”6 Therefore, these pagan parallels are late and not around the time when eyewitnesses could be questioned.

    Jewish not Pagan Ideas

    Fifth, early Christianity was birthed in a Jewish cultural context. The early Christians, in fact, worshipped in the Jewish temple (i.e. Acts 2:46; 5:42) and believed that Christ’s resurrection fulfilled Old Testament prophecy (1 Cor. 15:3-4). In light of this, these Jewish Christians believed in a physical resurrection which was a view that was not accepted by the Greco-Roman culture who ridiculed such an idea (Acts 17:31-32). Therefore, it is unlikely that these Jewish Christians would adopt pagan mythology.

    Positive Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus

    Sixth, and finally, the idea of the resurrection story being borrowed from pagan religions is unconvincing for several reasons since it does not explain the empty tomb, the early belief of the disciples in the resurrection of Jesus due to eyewitness testimony, the transformation of the disciples, the conversion of Paul, and the conversion of James (See: Did Jesus Rise from the Dead? An Outline).

    First, the empty tomb of Jesus contains strong historical corroboration due to the unreasonableness of the disciples to preach an empty tomb in Jerusalem when the critics of Christianity could have just uncovered the tomb, the fact that early polemics between Christians and Jews presuppose the empty tomb, and finally, the fact that women who were not regarded highly by ancient society are the chief witnesses of the empty tomb! (See: Is the empty tomb of Jesus historical?). If the resurrection story of Jesus was borrowed from pagan mythology, then there would be no need for an empty tomb.

    Second, we have extremely early testimony to the disciples’ belief that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to them. A pre-Pauline creed in 1 Cor. 15:3-8 has been dated by critical scholars to the early 30’s A.D. This does not allow enough time for legend to embellish the core story of the text. In fact, the events upon which the creed is based points right back to the early 30’s, possibly only a year or even months from the resurrection event itself. This would indicate that there really is no significant gap in time for legendary embellishments to explain the disciple’s core belief in the resurrection.

    The early nature of the resurrection appearance accounts points to at least one, and possibly multiple, eyewitness accounts. At least Paul in A.D. 55 mentions his own eyewitness resurrection account (1 Cor. 15:8). In fact, the atheistic historian Michael Martin states that Paul is the only eyewitness that we have of the resurrection.7 It is also quite possible that the 1 Cor. 15:3-8 creed also contains eyewitness material from the twelve, all of the apostles, Peter, James, 500, etc.

    Third, the disciples were radically transformed from despairing doubters to persevering proclaimers of the gospel. Is it really realistic to think that a pagan resurrection story is going to inspire pious Jews to adopt pagan ideology, change their worship from Saturday to Sunday, radically alter their views about their Messiah, change from despair about their dead Messiah, and then be willing to die for their faith and start proclaiming this “gospel” with conviction to hostile monotheistic audiences?

    Fourth, Paul converted to Christianity as a result of what he claims is an eyewitness appearance of the risen Jesus (1 Cor. 15:8), endured much persecution (2 Cor. 11:23-28; Phil. 1:21-23; Acts 14:19; 16:19-24), and was willing to die for his faith. Is it really reasonable to believe that he became a Christian due to adopting pagan mythology and would be willing to die for this belief? As an educated Pharisee, he would have seen through the unhistorical claims of the pagan mythological parallels.

    Fifth, James, the brother of Jesus, was also converted to Christianity as a result of an appearance of the risen Jesus (1 Cor. 15:7) and was willing to die for his faith (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 20:200; Hegesippus in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History 2:23; and Clement of Alexandria in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History 2:1, 23). Before this appearance, he was a skeptic and did not believe that his brother was the Messiah (Mk. 3:21; Jn. 7:5). Like Paul, it is extremely improbable, that as a pious Jew, these pagan parallels would have motivated him to believe in Jesus and be willing to die for his faith.

    Conclusion

    For these reasons, among others, the vast majority of scholars reject the notion that the resurrection of Jesus was borrowed from pagan mythology. Instead, the best explanation of the available data is that Jesus actually rose from the dead.

    1. The popular movie Zeitgeist is an example of how this pagan borrowing theory continues to have popular appeal on the Internet and by laymen and village atheists.
    2. Private conversation with Gary Habermas. I emailed Dr. Habermas on October 6th, 2009 to confirm the exact number of scholars who still hold to such a view. Habermas kindly replied and said that he had not checked in a while, but he does remember that it was a small number of scholars.
    3. Justin Martyr, First Apology, 21, in Gary Habermas and Michael Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004, p. 90.
    4. Ibid., 90.
    5. Ibid., 91.
    6. Colin Hemer, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1990, p. 94, in Habermas and Licona, 91.
    7. Michael Martin, The Case Against Christianity, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

    http://carm.org/was-resurrection-story-borrowed

  20. St. John Chrysostom (347-407)’ – hardly 2nd century, or without his failings (anti-Semitism, fornication, good ol’ proto-Catholic boy).

    Aaah we don’t like what someone says so we’ll try discrediting the source, the good ol Christian way.

    You need look no further than the gospels to see anti-semitism.

    What evidence is there that John Chrysostom was involved in fornication?

    If it even matters, your mate Frank Viola has a chequered past as well.

  21. …hardly 2nd century…

    I’m sorry I wasn’t aware there were time limits.

    Would St Melito of Sardis (d.180) suffice or maybe you could dig some dirt on him?

    . But he arose from the dead and mounted up to
    the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed
    himself with humanity, and had suffered for the sake
    of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the
    imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the
    condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who
    was buried,
    . he rose up from the dead, and cried aloud with
    this voice: Who is he who contends with me? Let him
    st and in opposition to me. I set the condemned man
    free; I gave the dead man life; I raised up the one who
    had been entombed.
    . Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ . I
    am the one who destroyed death, and triumphed over
    the enemy, and trampled Hades under foot, and bound
    the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of
    heaven, I, he says, am the Christ .

    Melito of Sardis in his sermon, On the
    Passover

  22. So the evidence from the first two centuries are:

    1) Christians baptised for the dead (1 Cor 15:29)
    2) Prayers for the dead discovered in 2nd century
    3) The non-canonical Gospel of Peter (70-160CE)
    In the non-canonical Gospel of Peter in which two angels come down from Heaven to get Jesus out of the tomb on Easter morning. As they are carrying him out and are about to ascend to Heaven, a voice from Heaven asks them, “Hast thou preached to them that sleep?” The wooden cross that is somehow following them out of the tomb speaks and says, “Yes!
    4) The Apocalypse of Peter, written about 135 C.E. (not to be confused with the Gnostic Apocalypse of Peter discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1947). For a time, it was considered for inclusion into the New Testament instead of the Revelation to John. It is referred to in the Muratorian Canon of the early Church, as well as in the writings of St. Clement of Alexandria. (It should be noted that the Universalist passage from the Apocalypse of Peter is found in the Ethiopian text but is not part of the fragment text found at Akhmim, Egypt.) In the Ethiopic copy, Peter asks Jesus to have pity on the people in Hell, and Jesus says they will eventually all be saved. Later, Peter (who is writing to Clement) says to keep that knowledge a secret so that foolish men may not see it.
    5) The Second Book of the Sibyline Oracles (2nd century CE) in which the saved behold the sinners in Hell and ask that mercy be shown them. Here, the sinners are saved by the prayers of the righteous.
    6) The Epistle to the Apostles (2nd century CE), also states that our prayers for the dead can affect their forgiveness by God.
    7) Odes of Solomon (100-200CE). Its theme is that Jesus saves the dead when they come to him in Hell and cry out, “Son of God, have pity on us!”
    8) The Acts of Pilate Goes into graphic detail into Christ descending to the dead, overcoming Hades and taking the victims away including the robber crucified with Jesus.

    The central idea, the delivery of the righteous fathers from Hades is exceedingly ancient. Second-century writers are full of it.

    But apart from that you’re right.

    The earliest church writings know very little of this theory of what happened to Jesus after he died.

  23. How about Paul?

    Romans 10
    6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above)
    7 or,” ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

    Ephesians 4
    8 Therefore He says: “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men.”
    9 (Now this, “He ascended” –what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?
    10 He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)

    Jesus?

    Revelation1
    17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
    18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.

    Matthew 12
    40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    Luke, quoting David’s prophecy?

    Acts 2
    29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
    30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
    31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
    32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
    33 “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

  24. Oh come on, Bones, you are thoroughly misrepresenting scripture with your prayer for the dead theory. It’s bunkum and you know it.

    Jesus didn’t pray for the dead, did he? No! He did a one off preach to the spirits in prison, from whence the captive were led captive.

    You are really being desperate, both of you, to nobble the truth. and for what? To attempt to deny judgment for the wicked who die in their sins.

  25. Oh come on, Bones, you are thoroughly misrepresenting scripture with your prayer for the dead theory. It’s bunkum and you know it.

    Well, I’d rather pray for the dead and be wrong than not pray and be wrong.

  26. The Greek Old Testament, from which Jesus quoted and the Apostles received from the Jewish people, there is a commendation of prayers for the dead in:

    2 Maccabees 12

    38 Then Judas assembled his army and went to the city of Adullam. As the seventh day was coming on, they purified themselves according to the custom, and kept the sabbath there.

    39 On the next day, as had now become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kindred in the sepulchres of their ancestors. 40 Then under the tunic of each one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was the reason these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to supplication, praying that the sin that had been committed might be wholly blotted out. The noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened as the result of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, so that they might be delivered from their sin.

  27. Jews pray for the dead.

    Why wouldn’t Jesus?

    The Jewish canon as we know it, was not closed until the second century CE.

  28. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. He doesn’t pray or the dead. He raises them.

    They are raised through faith in Christ. They are saved by the gospel through faith.

    They are raised because they have received Christ.

    Before the cross this could not have taken place.

    Praying for the dead is futile. They will all be raised. whether they died in their sin or not will be the key to their eternal destiny.

    What would be the point of praying for the dead when we know they will all be raised at the judgment?

  29. It’s a once and for all thing, Bones. The coming, the cross and resurrection of the Messiah.

    What is it you don’t understand or grasp about the importance of the preaching of the gospel?

  30. So now you preach that a soul can be bought from the dead with money, Bones?

    You tell us that temporal and perishable gold and silver can atone for eternal damnation?

    These soldiers in Maccabees were found with the idols of other gods in their possession, which, to the Jew, made them cursed and therefore beyond God’s protection. Yet you have said that the worship of any god is acceptable in the great scheme of things.

    The Jews, who here predate the coming of Christ, and were, therefore, under law and not under grace, albeit during the 400 years when God did not speak to Israel, devised a practice of prayer and atonement for the dead involving money, and you say this is proof that prayer for the dead is acceptable?

    That you had, like the RC church before you, to go to the Apocrypha for your ‘evidence’ tells us plainly that you have no scripture for it, and this is because there is none, and you have to go outside of the canon, again, for proof of a practice which is totally futile, especially when you have a decent grasp of how salvation, redemption, grace and judgment actually takes place according to scripture.

    In your quest to negate God’s wrath, judgment and penalty for sin and disobedience, you fossick around in the google chest and come up with every kind of superstition.

    You are well and truly on the way to reinventing the RC purgatory, where souls are kept in limbo until bought out through payments of the mass price to priests.

  31. Bones,
    I talk to my parents though they’ve been dead for a while.

    Of course, that is understandable, and we all do it with close ones who have passed away. They are real entities to us and we can almost hear or anticipate their response which can be of great comfort to us, especially in mourning, because of our familiarity with them in life.

    But you can’t make a doctrine out of it whereby you can change the status of a person who has died through intercession on the earth, or by payment of an atoning sacrifice, especially of perishable goods like money.

  32. So now you preach that a soul can be bought from the dead with money, Bones?

    You tell us that temporal and perishable gold and silver can atone for eternal damnation?

    Are you, a member and leader in C3, really going to scoff at a different version of temporal gifts of money having power to do good? A love offering? A sin offering? For the living or the dead, what is the difference?

    Is God so capricious that an arbitrary line in the sand; death, which comes at different times for each of us, will be the determinant of the closing of our ability, through God’s grace, of approaching him?

    If death can’t keep us from the love of God, as Romans 8 tells us, why do you suggest that it actually can? Don’t you believe the words of the bible?

  33. Bones, the letters and apologistic writings of those chronologically closest to the disciples is very clear that all the fancy interpretations were, by and large, not there. It was Jesus’s death, resurrection and path to new life through him that focussed their attention.

    Greg, don’t you think death is a very real line in the sand? Has been since Gen 3. We are cautioned by God to meddle not with those who have died, and I believe that includes prayers for the dead, and all the way to necromancy. The inference is that we can change the judgement on a person who has died by prayer, money, whatever. Can’t see any scriptural support for that one.

  34. Money, in itself, can only have an impact in the temporal world. It is a corruptible substance which is used as an exchange system in the world.

    The only way money can be of any spiritual use is if it is converted to empower the gospel or help the poor.

    Money has no impact on those who have died. You cannot pay for person’s passage from death. They have already crossed over.

    If you are going to join the chorus which attacks the church I attend just because you know what it is, you are merely taking advantage of information about my life which is not relevant to your claims. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but it would be a very rare thing for me to have a ping at your church simply because I take exception to something you might say even about mine with the comments you just made.

    Money does have power to do good, but only on his side of the ledger. It can empower us to plant, support and build churches, further the gospel, assist those in need, produce literature, media and publications, and the like.

    But this is always with the aim of assisting with evangelistic and community increase through the preached gospel. Once this is done, and people pass through death to wherever they go, whether to the Lord or not, then there is nothing, absolutely nothing that money can do to assist the dead, who are beyond the reach of those of us who remain on earth.

    The second part of your comment, that death can’t keep us form God, has a completely different meaning to the one you are proposing, and, in fact, you have it backwards. It is not saying that we are kept form God after death, but that death, for the believer, cannot keep us form Him.

    In other words, death is not a threat to the believer.

    But, for the unbeliever, death is the worse possible outcome.

  35. Steve, if you think Jesus did a one-off preach to the dead (all, just the OT faithful, who exactly?), how does that line up with dying and then judgement? It’s almost in Bones’s camp of getting another chance at salvation after death.

  36. Well, we know it was a one off because he died once and for all. So he is not going into the grave again after that, is he? No.

    But we do know he was in the grave once, don’t we? Yes.

    Hebrews 1:14-15
    Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

    Where is he now? At the right hand of the Father. He is not going to and fro from the throne to the grave.

    So your fear that what I have said could be interpreted by Bones or anyone to give license to a teaching about Christ returning to the grave to lead more captives captive is without foundation, since it has all been done once and for all.

    1 Peter 3:18-19
    For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison…

    Hebrews 9:27-28
    And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

    Once. For all.

  37. Now that Christ is risen and glorified and at the right hand of the Father, the work is done, and all that remains is for us to preach the gospel, for without the preaching of the gospel none will be saved.

    They must hear the gospel. It is the power of God unto salvation to those who believe.

    They cannot hear without a preacher.

    Christ has said it is expedient that he go so that he could send one like him, the Holy Spirit, to strengthen and help us minister the gospel in his name.

    He gave us the great commission to go into all the world preaching and making disciples o all nations, baptising hem in the name of the Godhead.

    Jesus is making intercession for us, the saints, as we go about his business, as he builds his Church, but it is by the Church that he builds the Church, through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

    He doesn’t need to go down into hades to bring them out. It is the work of the Chuch to rescue them from the very gates of hades.

    Matthew 16
    15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
    16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
    17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
    18 “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
    19 “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

    The Rock on which the Church is built is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. This can only be given by the father through the Holy Spirit, but it is the Church which is sent out to preach the gospel as the Holy Spirit convinces the hearers of sin, righteousness and judgment.

    And it is the Church which goes to the very gates of hades to preach to the captives and rescue them from the very mouth of death. For the gates of hades will not prevail against the Church.

    And we have been given the keys of the kingdom, to bind and to loose, the set men free and prevent the enemy from stopping us from rescuing the prisoners made captive through sin.

    This isn’t talking about Rome or the Petric succession. This is talking about the Rock of the revelation of the person of the Christ to all who will hear and believe the preaching of the gospel.

    The other superstitious nonsense about prayer and payment for the dead is a distraction to the call of God to preach to the whole world.

  38. It’s almost in Bones’s camp of getting another chance at salvation after death.

    Gee that would be terrible wouldn’t it.

    Bones, the letters and apologistic writings of those chronologically closest to the disciples is very clear that all the fancy interpretations were, by and large, not there.

    Oh so now you want to go first century seeing the second century doesn’t fit your argument.

    So you don’t take any notice of books written in the second century like 2 Peter, 1&2 Timothy, Titus and probably anything attributed to John?

  39. He doesn’t pray or the dead.

    So was Jesus performing resurrections pre-John the Baptist?

    I think not.

    Jesus was a Jew and would have participated in all the Jewish rites including praying for the dead as He grew.

    The Maccabees account shows that it was not foreign to 1st century Jews.

    He did a one off preach to the spirits in prison, from whence the captive were led captive.

    One off?

    Says who?

    So Jesus gives some a second chance and not others?

  40. death is a very real line in the sand?

    Death isn’t the end.

    The line is wiped away.

    I thought it was clear.

    “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

  41. Bones,
    Jesus was a Jew and would have participated in all the Jewish rites including praying for the dead as He grew.

    That is pure speculation with no basis. You have nothing to show this could be remotely true.

    The preach could only be one off for the Biblical reasons I showed you. He was in the grave. He went there once and for all. Once and for all. It will not happen again. He is risen. He is glorified. He is sitting at the right hand of glory and will not move until he comes for the Church, which is the resurrection of the Church.

    The only way to be redeemed now is through faith in Christ through the preached gospel.

    I have made this absolutely plain.

    There is so much scripture on this that it is irrefutable.

    I do not need to go to Maccabees for a doubtful doctrine.

  42. There were no resurrections to eternal life before Christ was risen.

    Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life. There is no resurrection without Him.

    He will not be going into the grave to preach to any dead people.

    The saints will hear the trump of God and be raised, the dead in Christ first, then those who live, to rise together to be with Him evermore.

    The graves will be opened and the sea yield up its dead who will hear the voice of God and will be resurrected to the judgment.

  43. That is pure speculation with no basis. You have nothing to show this could be remotely true.

    What that Jesus was a Jew?

    No, you’re right He was a white Pentecostal.

  44. ‘So your fear that what I have said could be interpreted by Bones or anyone to give license to a teaching about Christ returning to the grave to lead more captives captive is without foundation, since it has all been done once and for all.’

    Yep, I’m happy with all that, and so is Bones in all likelihood. Once for all is correct, but it was the deep dive by Jesus to Hades that I was questioning. And the question was:

    Why should a certain number of the dead get a second chance to hear a gospel and so be saved?

    Please bear in mind this is what the original post is stating, and championed by you and many others in mainstream Christianity. I don’t support the view that these verses in Peter’s letters, or Eph 4 take that position, but I’m curious as to how this view is reasoned given the counter-weight of scripture.

    Bones, saying ‘Gee that would be terrible wouldn’t it’ implies you think everyone who believes God gives us one chance only at salvation is some kind of stingy killjoy. Perhaps you’d draw the line at 3 shots at believing, or 10, or maybe we just stick around and wait for an infinity of gospels being spoken to us until we eventually get it.

    Or, do you think God will wipe the slate clean and no-one need worry about believing in Jesus? That might win you worldly followers but falls far short of the truth. I’d be here all day pasting the verses that say we hear, believe, repent and are saved – in this life only.

  45. Perhaps you’d draw the line at 3 shots at believing, or 10, or maybe we just stick around and wait for an infinity of gospels being spoken to us until we eventually get it.

    Or maybe some poor bastards have none.

    Is there anyone who when they meet Jesus won’t bow the knee and declare Him as Lord?

    Is God not in Hades?

    Is there a place where God is not?

    Will He not restore ALL things?

    Of course those who believe in the dreaded Penal Substitutionary Atonement won’t have a bar of it.

    Cos God’s angry with humanity. Grrrrrrr.

    So have you saved anyone from destruction this week Zeibart?

  46. I’d be here all day pasting the verses that say we hear, believe, repent and are saved – in this life only.

    That’s right.

    A priest who molests his victims and repents on his deathbed gets a free pass from Zeibart’s Jesus, while his victims who can’t bear anything to do with God or Jesus are damned/destroyed.

    Hell even Hitler could’ve repented in the millisecond before the bullet entered his brain.

  47. ‘Hell even Hitler could’ve repented in the millisecond before the bullet entered his brain.’

    Yup, and there you have the incredible mercy of God. Thing is only He knows whether a person has repented from their heart in true faith or not.

    ‘Is God not in Hades?

    Is there a place where God is not?

    Will He not restore ALL things?’

    Hades isn’t a place but a state of being. God isn’t IN death. Yes he will restore all things – after he has destroyed who chose to not believe.

    Heb 6:1-2 – Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement.

    Let’s move on from these basics – you do like to stick around arguing the 101 stuff.

  48. …after he has destroyed who chose to not believe.

    That’s pretty much why I reject your ‘good news’.

    Let’s move on from these basics – you do like to stick around arguing the 101 stuff.

    Gee what’s 101 stuff – Zeibart style?

    Turn or burn.

  49. Bones you said, ‘Or maybe some poor bastards have none.’ Well God takes account of that too. Rom 1:20 – ‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,’

    So every ‘poor bastard’ gets a shot, and judgement will reveal what was truly in their hearts.

  50. Bones, I agree that an ‘all will be saved’ gospel is very appealing. An approach to life that says, ‘don’t worry about how you live, or act, or the attitudes you hold, or how selfish you are, it will all be OK in the end. God will let you in to his eternal kingdom to run around and play with those who gave it all for him.’

    Broad is the road to destruction but narrow the path to life. It’s only narrow because we have a very limited number of things to believe in order to qualify, yet only a relative few will choose this road, but boy don’t we want to make it as wide as possible. You reject my ‘good news’ on what premise? It’s tough love? Too hard to conform to the simple tenets of faith? Too limiting in its scope? God wishes all would believe and has stayed his hand from judgement this long so that many millions more might enter into eternal life. Sounds like mercy to me not a harsh God who is angry.

    I don’t care that you reject any portion of the clearly stated scriptures (and the gospel I hold to, as does Steve, which is one of a loving God who wants to be in our lives through our faith in his son who gave his life that we might not know the second death – that’s the good news). You don’t answer to me in the end, so believe what you like if it makes you love people more and be a better person.

    But also know that in preaching your version of the gospel, you may well be leading your listeners to an eternal death because they thought it would all be OK in the end, so ‘let’s eat, drink for tomorrow we die’. High risk, but as long as you’ve worked it out and can base it on God’s word, which I doubt seriously can be done.

  51. ‘So have you saved anyone from destruction this week Zeibart?’ I hope so, but can’t know for sure. You make it sound as though destruction was worse than everlasting torment in a wormy fire. It’s actually the mercy of God being handed out. That he doesn’t punish forever is a good thing, but those who have chosen death over life will reap that eventual outcome.

    We come back to your original post. In which bible do the dead get another opportunity to repent, having rejected the clear preaching of a man of righteousness (Noah)? None that I can read, so just because some early Eastern Orthodox writers say so, don’t make it so.

    The resurrection unto final judgement is when all your acts in the flesh are weighed by God and you will be either given eternal life or found wanting. Sorry to say that it won’t be like the Life of Brian

  52. You can’t communicate with Bones once he goes into his indignant, caustic mood. I wonder, sometimes, if he gets int the grog in the evenings. I think Q once asked him that. If he doesn’t, then he gets into these disgruntled states unassisted by any depressants and the conversation deteriorates.

    The strange thing is that he mocks people for considering that the teaching on the wrath God is Biblical by becoming very angry, in his prose, at least.

    In the chapter where Jesus speaks of the new birth, John 3, right at the very end, he tells us something very important to the whole issue.

    “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

    The Greek word for ‘wrath’ is orgé. It means exactly what the translation gives. It is mentioned 195 times in scripture, Old and New Testaments, and mostly refers to God. Even Christians are warned about it under the New Covenant, so it is current.

    Colossians 3
    4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
    5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
    6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience,
    7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.

    And for a second witness.

    Ephesians 5
    1 Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.
    2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
    3 But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
    4 neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.
    5 For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
    6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.
    7 Therefore do not be partakers with them.
    8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
    9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),
    10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.
    11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
    12 For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

    Now, as a believer, I have to understand and believe the whole counsel of God as it is given to us. You can accuse God, as you do, with whatever accusation you chose, but it changes nothing. He has revealed the importance of the gospel.

    He has given us the gospel of peace, because he has declared peace on all mankind, and is offering mercy and grace in his longsuffering towards the world. But he is requesting repentance. He is offering a free pardon from sin through faith in his Son Jesus Christ.

    But, as Jesus himself told us, those who do not believe in the Son do not have eternal life, and the wrath of God abides on them.

    It is the time for a choice for all mankind.

  53. ones you said, ‘Or maybe some poor bastards have none.’ Well God takes account of that too. Rom 1:20 – ‘For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,’

    So every ‘poor bastard’ gets a shot, and judgement will reveal what was truly in their hearts.

    There ya go.

    So the Aborigines, Native Americans and Muslims get in after all.

  54. You can’t communicate with Bones once he goes into his indignant, caustic mood. I wonder, sometimes, if he gets int the grog in the evenings.

    I do have a drinking problem. i don’t drink enough!

    Lol at Steve for thinking that Jesus was a white pentecostal.

  55. Since when did being ‘without excuse’ (Paul) = ‘get in after all’ (Bones)? You too have the gift of ‘creative’ reasoning.

    All the mystical shenanigans regarding the supposed descent of Jesus to Hades/Hell would be a non-issue if a correct perspective had been taken by interpreters of the scriptures. That perspective being – there is no physical or spiritual location called Hades or hell. It’s Greek mythology. Secondly, humans are not immortal, only God possesses that attribute, and it’s his to dish out. Actually, the second point should be first, because the flawed logic goes something like: the bit of me that survives death has to go somewhere, and do something.

    However, when we die, we don’t have an eternal component that goes somewhere. That’s what the bible teaches, but feel free to tag along with Plato, Socrates, Josephus and the other pseudo-spiritual false God worshippers.

  56. Since when did being ‘without excuse’ (Paul) = ‘get in after all’ (Bones)? You too have the gift of ‘creative’ reasoning.

    I was trying to make sense of what you posted.

    That’s as good as it gets.

    However, when we die, we don’t have an eternal component that goes somewhere. That’s what the bible teaches, but feel free to tag along with Plato, Socrates, Josephus and the other pseudo-spiritual false God worshippers.

    Why did the Jews believe that the prophets Jeremiah and Elijah would return?

    Why did my grandmother see my long dead grandfather before she died?

    The Bible doesn’t know much about life after death.

    It’s not all a platonic conspiracy.

  57. The speculation with no basis was your claim that Jesus prayed for the dead because he was a Jew like the Maccabees.

    Jesus didn’t pray for the dead. He was a Jew, but he did not follow all Jewish customs, because some had nothing to do with the Mosaic Law.

    He was under Law not custom. He criticised many of the Pharisaic customs which were tagged onto Mosaic Law.

    Your speculation misfired terribly, but you knew that and tried to hide it with a slur.

  58. ‘Why did the Jews believe that the prophets Jeremiah and Elijah would return?’

    Luke 1:17 ”He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

    That would be John the Baptist. So it wasn’t a literal return of Elijah, but one who walked in the same spirit.

    ‘The Bible doesn’t know much about life after death.’ Bullseye, bingo, ding ding ding! It doesn’t, but it knows a whole heap of stuff about resurrection, eternal life and final destruction. So, why do certain denominations spend countless hours concocting wacko interpretations of the after life (such as the original post) when it’s all so vague?

    Pretty barking mad at best, and divisive and demonic at worst.

  59. zeibart,
    humans are not immortal, only God possesses that attribute, and it’s his to dish out.

    If humans are mortal then what is the problem? Why send Christ into the earth? Why crucify him? If the soul ends at death, surely it is all over. The sin problem is dealt with. The person who sins will simply die. All will eventually die. None will survive death. They all sin. The penalty for sin will have dealt with the sin problem, and their souls will no longer exist. They will not exist. End of.

    So why have the Law? Why have anything? Let the people sort themselves out, lust like animals, birds and fish. Like bacteria. Let them live and then die, soulless and unconnected to God.

    Why even consider a sin problem. Why not just call it survival of the fittest, the natural order of things whereby the strongest, most wiley ad fittest survive and create stronger communities. It is not theft, or murder, or deception, but merely animal instinct for survival and improvement of the species. There is no evil. There is no sin.

    There is no afterlife. It all ends at death. Death takes care of the mortal soul.

    There is no need of God. He did not breath the Breathe of the Almighty into the living soul. His Breathe is not immortal. man will not be separate form the animals, birds and fish, but of them, from them and connected to them. Theirs is merely nephesh life, not soul, not eternal soul, but animal life.

    So why do we need a Saviour? There is no immortal but God. Eat, drink, be merry, tomorrow we die.

  60. However…

    Scripture speaks of salvation.

    Hebrews 10:38-39
    Now the just shall live by faith; But if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.

    The saving of the soul. Saved from what? From death? In a way, but we know that Christians die and are buried.

    Paul addressed this because some Christians were concerned by those who had passed away, and he comforted them with the revelation that those who die in Christ are sleeping and will be raised first when He comes for the saints as the resurrection of the Church.

    Those who died in Christ shall rise first. How shall they rise if they no longer existed after death?

    In fact the term ‘saved’ here, in Hebrews 10, peripoiesis, refers to the ‘purchased possession’, that is, the soul which is bought at a price by God through the ransom of His Son Jesus at the cross.

    This is significant, because he tells us that the soul is purchased. God purchased the soul.

    Now if the soul ends at death, which is inevitable for all until death is finally dealt with, then why would God purchase it? If it ends it has no value. It is a poor investment. God sent His Son for nothing. The Son of God was given as a Ransom for no value.

    Well, this could not be true, then. The soul must have value. God has paid for it to save it. The value of the soul is the blood of Jesus. It is saved by the blood of Jesus. From what? Why were we saved? What was it that we were saved from? Surely it could only be sin, and, therefore, the wages if sin, which is death, which could not, then, be final, so not just death – the end of consciousness and existence, rather death – the separation of the soul from God.

    “Death” is the opposite of life; it never denotes nonexistence. As spiritual life is “conscious existence in communion with God,” so spiritual “death” is “conscious existence in separation from God.” “As life never means mere existence, so “death,” the opposite of life, never means nonexistence.”
    W E Vines

  61. He was a Jew, but he did not follow all Jewish customs, because some had nothing to do with the Mosaic Law.

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  62. Why send Christ into the earth? Why crucify him? If the soul ends at death, surely it is all over. The sin problem is dealt with.

    God didn’t have to crucify Jesus to forgive sins.

    He does that anyway.

    The whole point was to destroy death itself.

  63. That would be John the Baptist. So it wasn’t a literal return of Elijah, but one who walked in the same spirit.

    Once again nice reading into the text.

    Try it with this.

    27 Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”

    28 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”

    29 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

    Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.”

  64. OK first off, we need to understand how man is made. Then what happened at the fall, then what Jesus did by dying and rising, then how we are saved, and to what state of being. With those foundations in place, you wouldn’t be framing your questions in those terms.

    For instance, you talk about the soul as some entity that is separate to the body – ‘If the soul ends at death, surely it is all over.’ But the soul IS the whole person. We are a good way along the road with this concept firmly in place. God breathed into Adam the breath of life and he became a nephesh, a living soul. As in ‘the ship went down with 200 souls on board.

    The word nephesh is used for animals as well an humans since all that has breath and is alive is a soul. No distinction. Man, however, was specially created to be the pinnacle of the created order, and for fellowship with God. He put eternity in our hearts (Ecc 3:11) and gave Adam and Eve the Tree of Life in order that they may enjoy conditional immortality. The condition being obedience.

    They chose the devil’s lie that they wouldn’t die, despite God saying that very thing. The devil’s trick has been to make man think he can achieve everlasting life away from God. So when the spirit (breath) returns to God who gave it, the soul (person) dies, just like the animals, except God had a plan to restore man’s ability to live conditionally for ever again. And Jesus was that plan.

    So we need a saviour to avoid the ultimate second death which would eradicate the human race due to the penalty of sin – but praise be to him who atoned for i and paid the price on our behalf. Otherwise, you’re correct that ‘The person (soul) who sins will simply die.’ Eze 18:20 – twice.

  65. I understand why Evangelicals want to ignore this verse.

    There’s no doubt that 1 Peter 3:19-20 correspond with:

    Matthew 27:52

    “The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised;”

    The whole point that both verses are making is that Jesus destroyed death, which was His mission.

    Interestingly it says further on:

    1 Peter 3
    In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

    So baptism saves you as well.

    That’s very Catholic and Orthodox.

  66. So we need a saviour to avoid the ultimate second death which would eradicate the human race due to the penalty of sin – but praise be to him who atoned for i and paid the price on our behalf.

    Nope, no such thing as penal substitution atonement either.

    Another piece of legalistic crap brought in by the Reformation.

  67. Vines quote is just an opinion and not backed by scripture. Wherever the word ‘death’ is used, the Greek is cessation of life, not a separation from God. He can’t even get his metaphors aligned. ‘Death” is the opposite of life’ – OK, so then he says, ‘spiritual life is “conscious existence in communion with God” ‘, but concludes the opposite is ‘conscious existence in separation from God’. The true opposite would be unconscious non-existence separated from God’. His paradigm forces a faulty conclusion, and that paradigm is the Greek dualism so rife throughout the centuries that there is a conscious existence after death.

    So the ‘soul’, whole person called Steve, has very real value to God and he has redeemed you from the ultimate destiny of death. Death being the total cessation of living. Matt 10:28 describes God who can and will destroy the body and that which gives it life in gehenna/lake of fire/second death. Nothing survives.

    How can the ‘soul’ be separated from God? It is my wholeness, not part of me. Nothing can separate God from anything in his creation, even supposing some existence in a fiery hell. He is omni-present. That why Rev 20 says that death and hades are thrown in the lake of fire, which is the second death.

    Bones, that’s when death is destroyed. It has happened in a prophetic sense through Jesus as our firstfruit of resurrected new life. But it still exists.

  68. ‘Nope, no such thing as penal substitution atonement either.

    Another piece of legalistic crap brought in by the Reformation.’

    I’ll let you provide a lengthy piece from t’internet to explain that one.

  69. Don’t bother.

    Isaiah 53:6 – “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
    Isaiah 53:12 – “yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”
    Romans 3:25
    2 Corinthians 5:21 – “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
    Galatians 3:13 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”
    Hebrews 10:1-4

    But you have to weave in Christ Victor to get the whole picture,

  70. ‘So baptism saves you as well.’ No, the on-going pledge of a clean conscience toward God saves you because it is the outworking of a heart of love and faith in God. Lose that and you may well be losing your salvation. We don’t get saved by baptism, which is a once only declaration of faith to be worked out every day ‘in fear and trembling’, we are saved by a Person.

    ‘Btw I think animals will be with God. They’re far more faithful and loving than some humans are.’
    You’re right, but only by accident. ALL things will be made new, by deliberate design rather than their current natures.

  71. That why Rev 20 says that death and hades are thrown in the lake of fire

    Which is of course highly metaphoric. Since death is a state of non-existence and therefore can’t be burned.

    The writer is saying that death is defeated. It isn’t the end.

    Which fits in with the original article.

  72. zeibart,
    Vines quote is just an opinion and not backed by scripture.

    W E Vines is translating the meaning of the Greek.

    It’s not a commentary, or an opinion. It’s a Dictionary of Greek words. It’s from the highly rated and much used W E Vines Expository Dictionary of Greek and Hebrew Words.

    He is telling you the essence of the meaning of the Greek word.

    The New Testament understanding of the human make up is slightly advanced to the Old Testament. Paul is given revelation of how it all works. The mere fact that there are three separate words for body, soul and spirit should give you a pretty decent clue.

    You have always had a stumbling block on this and refused to even try to understand it. You have isolated yourself from the rest of theology with it and made yourself unapproachable despite the clear Biblical evidence and generally accepted understanding of the body, soul and spirit.

    According to scripture the last thing to be redeemed is the body. The soul and spirit are already redeemed. Paul says we are purchased with a price so we should honour God in our body and in our spirit, which are His. He tells us to have our mind renewed to the will of God, but that our spirit is already renewed in Christ. He tells us that the Word divides between the soul and spirit and bone and marrow (body), it even knows the thoughts and intents of the heart. He prays we will be kept whole, body, soul and spirit. Even the scripture you quote tells us of a distinction where man can kill the body but not the soul.

    You are in denial.

  73. Bons,
    ‘Btw I think animals will be with God. They’re far more faithful and loving than some humans are.’

    Yeah, right! Like great white sharks, crocodiles, pit bulls, king browns, and lions…

  74. So Bones not only defends myths, he creates them.

    Maybe, like his theology, his only association with the animal world are his domesticated cuddly pets, Fluffy and Pooch. Little does he realise that Fluffy and Pooch secretly hate each other, especially after Fluffy accidentally brought down the bird cage and thought the budgie was for supper. Unbeknownst to Bones, Fluffy has been nocturnally decimating the local wild life, although Bones had a clue when Fluffy delivered a half dead mouse to his doorstep, in gratitude for not allowing Pooch to chew its head off as a kitten.

    But they are kind of loving and caring in their own selfish little feline and canine ways, having been long tamed from the wild days of their ancestors.

    Fluffy’s cousin Fang being cuddly…

  75. ‘Which is of course highly metaphoric.’ Agreed Bones, The lake of fire IS the second death according to Revelation, but why a second death fits with the article about Jesus descending into some afterlife subterranean chambers escapes me.

  76. Steve, my only denial is to deny the underlying error in all-pervasive Greek thinking about an immortal ‘soul/spirit’. 1 Thess 5:23 so dearly loved by tripartite believers is twisted to become an ontological statement when it’s not. Paul lumps together the various ways of describing a person and uses 2 keys words in the verse: ‘completely’ and ‘whole’. Sanctification is of the entire person, their body, the life given by God, our minds, and the God-leaning or God-aware element called spirit.

    We are an indivisible whole, that’s why death is so awful and victory over it by Jesus so amazing. If the body element were so unimportant, as Greek philosophy stridently declared, why was their any need for Jesus to die and rise again? The current body is indeed a frail tent as Paul says, but we are awaiting a magnificent one to be given us on Jesus’s return, so was Paul, Peter, even the OT saints.

    He could have lived, brought his message and been taken back up to heaven, and those who believed turned right after death and those who didn’t turn left. No, the body is God’s highest work and he esteems it very highly indeed. He did not create a being to be divided up into parts, it only works as a harmonious whole.

    Here’s the rub – if we live after death in some non-corporeal existence, the bible would declare this ‘truth’ clearly, regularly and without ambiguity. It doesn’t, so a small array of verses are used to INFER this aspect, whereas the unambiguous statement of scripture is resurrection unto life or destruction. No more, no less!

    That’s why interpreting original Greek, as Vine is doing, through the lens of their philosophy and reading it in to scripture, as you are doing in 1 Thess 5:23, turns its meaning on its head. Then, to solidify that interpretation, all manner of other dubious twists have to ‘back it up’ such as descents to hell, angels in Tartarus, Abraham’s bosom, fiery compartments torturing the dead before judgement.

    Wrong from the outset. Start the journey in Gen 2 correctly and apply man’s nature across scripture, no extra revelation from Paul. The Greek just uses the Aramaic words ruach and nephesh as spirit and soul, but the Hebrew had no concept of man as divisible. Nor should we. There are some things worth denying.

  77. Steve, a helpful exposition on this:

    SOUL AND SPIRIT

    What is the meaning of “soul” and “spirit”; and what is the relationship between the two?

    Meaning of “soul”

    The word for “soul” in the Old Testament is nephesh (Strong, #5315) and is from the root naphash (Strong, #5314), “to breathe”; it appears in the Hebrew over 700 times, translated “soul” over 400 times, “life” over 100 times, “person” 30 times, “self” 19, and “creature” 9 times in KJV.

    Consider the following passages where nephesh is used of man:

    man became a living being (nephesh) (Gen. 2:7);

    and the people (nephesh) whom they had acquired in Haran (Gen. 12:5);

    that I (nephesh) may live because of you (Gen. 12:13);

    as her soul (nephesh) was departing (Gen. 35:18);

    fourteen persons (nephesh) in all (Gen. 46:22);

    when anyone (nephesh) offers a grain offering (Lev. 2:1);

    the person (nephesh) who touches any unclean thing (Lev. 7:21);

    defiled by a corpse (nephesh) (Num. 5:2);

    he shall not go near a dead body (nephesh) (Num. 6:6);

    whatever your heart (nephesh) desires (Deut. 12:15);

    with all the desire of his mind (nephesh) (Deut. 18:6);

    deliver our lives (nephesh) from death (Josh. 2:13);

    He restores my soul (nephesh) (Ps. 23:3);

    the will (nephesh) of my adversaries (Ps. 27:12);

    as he thinks in his heart (nephesh), so is he (Prov. 23:7);

    to Him whom man (nephesh) despises (Isa. 49:7);

    take heed to yourselves (nephesh) (Jer. 17:21);

    as their life (nephesh) is poured out (Lam. 2:12);

    the soul (nephesh) who sins shall die (Ezek. 18:4, 20).

    From the above verses it is seen that nephesh can be translated: “being,” “people,” “I,” “soul,” “anyone,” “person,” “corpse,” “body,” “heart,” “mind,” “life,” “will,” “man,” and “yourselves.” So nephesh speaks of the individual, regardless of which word is used in translation.

    The word for “soul” in the New Testament is psuche (Strong, #5590) and appears over 100 times, translated “soul” over 50 times, “life” approx. 40 times, and “mind” 3 times in KJV; in the Septuagint the Hebrew nephesh is translated by the Greek psuche, so nephesh and psuche are identical or nearly so.

    Consider the following passages where psuche is used of man:

    do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul (psuche). But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul (psuche) and body in hell (Matt. 10:28; man has power to end physical life, but God controls the destiny);

    He who finds his life (psuche) will lose it, and he who loses his life (psuche) for My sake will find it (Matt. 10:39);

    what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul (psuche) (Matt. 16:26; loses his own life, chooses the present world over eternity);

    to give His life (psuche) a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28);

    love the Lord your God will all your heart, with all your soul (psuche), and with all your mind (Matt. 22:37; the total person is to love God);

    Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life (psuche) or to destroy (Lu. 6:9);

    this night your soul (psuche) will be required of you (Lu. 12:20);

    do not worry about your life (psuche), what you will eat (Lu. 12:22; “worry about your soul, what you will eat”—the close identification of the soul with the body);

    I will lay down my life (psuche) for Your sake (Jo. 13:37);

    fear came upon every soul (psuche) (Acts 2:43);

    for his life (psuche) is in him (Acts 20:10);

    there will be no loss of life (psuche) among you (Acts 27:22);

    let every soul (psuche) be subject to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1);

    Adam became a living being (psuche)” (I Cor. 15:45);

    may your whole spirit, soul (psuche), and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. 5:23; the total believer will be preserved);

    those who believe to the saving of the soul (psuche) (Heb. 10:39);

    abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul (psuche) (I Pet. 2:11);

    eight souls (psuche) were saved through water (I Pet. 3:20);

    He laid down His life (psuche) for us (I Jo. 3:16).

    From the above verses it is obvious that “soul” and “life” are interchangeable. The soul is not a separate component that comprises man; rather, the “soul” and “life” of man are simply different means of describing man. Man is his life, his soul. In Matthew 22:37, the words “heart” and “mind” are used in the same manner.

    Meaning of “spirit”

    The Hebrew word ruach (Strong, #7307), from a root meaning “to blow,” appears over 375 times in the Old Testament; in the KJV it is translated as “spirit” (232), “wind” (90), “breath” (28), and “blast” (4).

    Consider the following passages where ruach is used of man’s breath:

    to destroy . . . all flesh in which is the breath (ruach) of life (Gen. 6:17);

    of all flesh in which is the breath (ruach) of life (Gen. 7:15);

    He will not allow me to catch my breath (ruach), but fills me with bitterness” (Job 9:18);

    in whose hand is . . . the breath (ruach) of all mankind (Job 12:10);

    my spirit (ruach) is broken, the grave is ready for me (Job 17:1);

    and the breath (ruach) of God in my nostrils (Job 27:3);

    there is a spirit (ruach) in man, and the breath (neshamah) of the Almighty gives him understanding (Job 32:8);

    into Your hand I commit my spirit (ruach) (Ps. 31:5);

    they were but flesh, a breath (ruach) that passes away (Ps. 78:39);

    You take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to the dust (Ps. 104:29);

    nor is there any breath (ruach) in their mouths (Ps. 135:17);

    Let everything that has breath (ruach) praise the Lord (Ps. 150:6);

    for the spirit (ruach) would fail before Me and the souls . . . I have made (Isa. 57:16);

    there is no breath (ruach) in them (Jer. 10:14; 51:17);

    the breath (ruach) of our nostrils . . . was caught in their pits (Lam. 4:20);

    I will cause breath (ruach) to enter into you, and you shall live (Ezek. 37:5, 6, 8, 9, 10).

    When used of man it is obvious from the above verses that ruach is used of the breath that man breathes which brings life, and when the breath is taken, death results.

    Like “soul,” (see: Nature of the Soul) “spirit” is used of emotions that are experienced by the individual:

    they were a grief of mind (ruach) to Isaac (Gen. 26:35);

    in the morning . . . his spirit (ruach) was troubled (Gen. 41:8);

    the spirit (ruach) of Jacob their father revived (Gen. 45:27);

    if the spirit (ruach) of jealousy comes upon him (Num. 5:14, 30);

    his spirit (ruach) returned and he revived (Jud. 15:19);

    I am a woman of sorrowful spirit (ruach) (I Sam. 1:15);

    Why is your spirit (ruach) so sullen that you eat no food (I Ki. 21:5);

    I will speak in the anguish of my spirit (ruach) (Job 7:11);

    and saves such as have a contrite spirit (ruach) (Ps. 34:18);

    renew a steadfast spirit (ruach) within me (Ps. 51:10);

    my spirit (ruach) was overwhelmed (Ps. 77:3);

    and he who rules his spirit (ruach) than he who takes a city (Prov. 16:32);

    whoever has no rule over his own spirit (ruach) (Prov. 25:28);

    the Lord stirred up the spirit (ruach) of Joshua (Hag. 1:14);

    additional verses: Ps 142:3; Prov. 15:13; 16:18, 19, 32; Eccl. 1:14 “vexation of spirit” in KJV, but “grasping for the wind” in NKJV; Isa. 66:2; Dan. 2:1.

    Also, ruach is used of God’s Spirit (Gen. 1:2; 6:3; Ex. 35:31; Jud. 3:10; 6:34; I Sam. 16:13), the wind that blows (Gen. 8:1; Ex. 10:13; Job 1:19; Ps. 1:4), and evil spirits (Jud. 9:23; I Sam. 16:14; II Chron. 33:6). Ruach is even used of animals (Gen. 7:15; Eccles. 3:19-21).

    The word for “spirit” in the New Testament is pneuma (Strong, #4151), a word meaning “breath” or “breeze”; in the Septuagint the Hebrew ruach is consistently translated by the Greek pneuma, so ruach and pneuma must be identical or nearly so.

    Consider the following passages where pneuma is used of man:

    the poor in spirit (pneuma) (Matt. 5:3);

    the spirit (pneuma) indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26:41);

    He groaned in the spirit (pneuma) (Jo. 11:33);

    his spirit (pneuma) was provoked (Acts 17:16);

    being fervent in spirit (pneuma) (Acts 18:25);

    I serve with my spirit (pneuma) in the gospel of His Son (Rom. 1:9);

    the spirit (pneuma) of man which is in him (I Cor. 2:11);

    that his spirit (pneuma) may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (I Cor. 5:5);

    be renewed in the spirit (pneuma) of your mind (Eph. 4:23);

    may your whole spirit (pneuma), soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. 5:23; the total believer will be preserved);

    as the body without the spirit (pneuma) is dead (Jas. 2:26);

    a gentle and quiet spirit (pneuma) (I Pet. 3:4).

    From the above samples it is evident that “spirit” is used of man’s life, at times his emotional and intellectual life, even used of character traits, but nearly always as a virtual synonym for man and his life. But most often in the New Testament it is used of the Holy Spirit or of an evil spirit, and of angels.

    Thoughts

    Note: it seems that “breath,” “spirit,” “soul,” and “flesh” are used at times interchangeably in the OT; consider the relationship of the words in the following verses:

    “in whose hand is the life (nephesh) of every living thing, and the breath (ruach) of all mankind” (Job 12:10); again, it seems that nephesh and ruach are almost used interchangeably;

    “there is a spirit (ruach) in man, and the breath (neshamah) of the Almighty gives him understanding” (Job 32:8); if these are not identical concepts, then they are related concepts;

    “My soul (nephesh) thirsts for You; my flesh (basar) longs for You” (Ps. 63:1); it seems that these two words are virtual synonyms in this verse; example of Hebrew parallelism

    “my soul (nephesh) refused to be comforted” and “my spirit (ruach) was overwhelmed” (Ps. 77:2-3); clearly an example of Hebrew parallelism;

    “With my soul (nephesh) I have desired you in the night, yes, by my spirit (ruach) within me I will seek You early” (Isa. 26:9); it seems that these two words are virtual synonyms in this verse;

    “Who gives breath (neshamah) to the people on it, and spirit (ruach) to those who walk on it” (Isa. 42:5); the two words are closely related in thought, if not identical;

    “For I will not contend forever, nor will I always be angry; for the spirit (ruach would fail before Me, and the souls (neshamah – “breath”) which I have made” (Isa. 57:16); it seems that these two words are virtual synonyms in this verse.

    From the above it seems that ruach (spirit), neshamah (breath), nephesh (soul), and basar (flesh) can be used interchangeably; there are obvious differences, but the concepts are close enough in meaning so that the words can be used to speak of the same entity—the individual, the person (see: Ps. 31:9 for “eye,” “soul,” and “body”);

    “Nephesh is what results when basar is animated by ruach” (Edmond Jacob, Theology of the Old Testament, 161).

    Note: it seems that “spirit” and “soul” are used at times interchangeably in the NT; consider the relationship of the words in the following verses:

    “My soul (psuche) magnifies the Lord, and my spirit (pneuma) has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lu. 1:46-7); obviously an example of Hebrew parallelism in the NT;

    “spirit” and “soul” seem to be synonyms in the following statements concerning Christ: “My soul (psuche) is troubled” (Jo. 12:27) and “He was troubled in spirit (pneuma)” (Jo. 13:21); surely two different independent entities are not spoken of, but both words and statements are used to speak of a state Jesus was experiencing, and Jesus as a person was having the experience;

    consider the following concepts: “that his spirit (pneuma) may be saved” (I Cor. 5:5) and “save your souls (psuche)” (Jas. 1:21).

    From the above it seems that “spirit” (pneuma) and “soul” (psuche) can be used interchangeably; there are obvious differences, but the concepts are close enough so that the words can be used to speak of the same entity—the individual, the person.

    If a distinction is to be made between “spirit” (ruach or pneuma) and “soul” (nephesh or psuche) it seems to be in the fact that “spirit” speaks of man’s life in terms of that which is from God and “soul” speaks of man’s life in terms of that which is belonging to man. So, both words speak of life, with a slightly different nuance.

    Spirit is life from God,
    whereas soul is the life of man
    brought into existence by the spirit,
    the breath, the life that is from God.

    QUOTES

    The difference between nephesh and ruach in man is that nephesh designates man in relation to other men as man living the common life of men, while ruach is man in his relation to God. However, neither nephesh nor ruach is conceived of as a part of man capable of surviving the death of basar. They both designate man as a whole viewed from different perspectives (George Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, 458-9).

    In the intertestamental period, a distinct development is to be noted; both pneuma and psyche are conceived as entities capable of separate existence (Ladd, A Theology, 459).

    The Pauline usage of psyche is closer to the Old Testament than is the intertestamental literature. Paul never uses psyche as a separate entity in man, nor does he ever intimate that the psyche can survive the death of the body. Psyche is ‘life’ understood against a Hebrew background (Ladd, A Theology, 459-60).

  78. Jewish Afterlife Beliefs

    Do Jews believe in the hereafter such as life after death?

    THE AISH RABBI REPLIES:

    The afterlife is a fundamental of Jewish belief.

    The creation of man testifies to the eternal life of the soul. The Torah says, “And the Almighty formed the man of dust from the ground, and He blew into his nostrils the SOUL of life” (Genesis 2:7). On this verse, the Zohar states that “one who blows, blows from within himself,” indicating that the soul is actually part of God’s essence. Since God’s essence is completely spiritual and non-physical, it is impossible that the soul should die. (The commentator Chizkuni says this why the verse calls it “soul of LIFE.”)

    That’s what King Solomon meant when he wrote, “The dust will return to the ground as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:17)

    http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/jewish-afterlife-beliefs/

  79. If it were only a body we would not have these different words for different aspects of the human makeup.

    You cannot see it because you are dead set on the body only. You fail to see the distinction made in scripture about the flesh, the body, the spirit, the soul, the mind, the will, the senses, the heart, and other descriptors because you do not want to face the connotations clearly made by scripture which point to an afterlife.

    What do you think Paul means when he says that ‘flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven’? Or the ‘corrupt shall put on the incorruptible’, or, we are waiting to be ‘clothed upon with a glorified body’, or that we are ‘pleased to be absent form the body but present with the Lord’, or that we ‘who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life’, or that in this body ‘we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven’, or ‘though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day’, or that we be ‘be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man’, and all similar verses?

    These are not a ‘small array’ of verses which ‘infer’ a concept. They are the basis on which we understand that there is an inner man and that we are clothed upon by a body.

    You are rejecting things even Jesus spoke about.

  80. What is it exactly that’s pagan?

    The idea of an immortal soul?

    That’s clearly a first century Jewish belief and not some Greek pagan interpolation of Christianity.

    Whether the Jews borrowed it from the pagans is another matter, but it’s clear that the Pharisees and Essenes believed it at the time of Jesus.

    The Sadducees denied it.

    According to Josephus, the Pharisees taught a resurrection:

    “that every soul is imperishable, but that only those of the righteous pass into another body, while those of the wicked are, on the contrary, punished with eternal torment” -Josephus Wars 2.8.14

    “they hold the belief that an immortal strength belongs to souls, and that there are beneath the earth punishments and rewards for those who in life devoted themselves to virtue or vileness, and that eternal imprisonment is appointed for the latter, but the possibility of returning to life for the former” -Josephus Ant. 18.1.3

    This is actually the Jewish doctrine of retribution and resurrection (Dan 12:2), testified to by all Jewish literature, and also by the New Testament, as the common possession of any devoted follower of Judaism.

    The Pharisaic views of the afterlife were in marked contrast with the views of the Sadducees. In the Psalms of Solomon, the eschatological expectations of a Messiah who would restore the fortunes of Israel are prominent. The Pharisees looked for that day when the present evil age (esp. the wickedness of the Sadducees) would be dissolved and the glorious kingdom of righteousness for a righteous Israel would come. They believed that their own righteousness and zeal would herald the coming of the Messiah.

    The Pharisees differed from the Sadducees with respect to the future, for the Pharisees and taught the resurrection of the dead. According to Josephus, the Pharisees believed in the immortality of the soul and in reward and retribution after death (Jos. Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; War II. viii. 14). In the same passage he speaks of the soul moving into “another body.”

    These teachings were rejected by the Sadducees (who believed in Sheol; see Matt 22:23) mainly because such teachings were not found in the written Torah, and therefore were foreign imports.

    The subject of the resurrection was such a hot issue with the Pharisees and Sadducees that even Paul cleverly refers to the question of the resurrection of the dead in his trial before the Sanhedrin (Acts 23 : 6ff.).
    The ultimate triumph of the Pharisaic view of the resurrection is very apparent in the Mishnah where it gives a strong assertion that:

    “he that says there is no resurrection of the dead prescribed in the Law.. has no share in the world to come” -Sanhedrin 10:1

    http://www.bible-history.com/pharisees/PHARISEESThe_After_Life.htm

  81. I think it’s ridiculous arguing over whether the immortality of the soul is a pagan adjunct in Christianity while accepting notions like Penal Substitutionary Atonement which were added by the Reformers in the Medieval Ages when Christianity was like a law court.

  82. Christ as our Propitiation is undeniable. His was the great exchange. He took our place at the cross. He died our death so we could live.

    Isaiah 53 clearly speaks of His substitutionary act.

  83. PSA was unknown in the Early Church.

    As J.I. Packer observes, the stark absence of this view in the early church fathers should not come as a surprise since it is a 16th century medieval interpretation:

    “…Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon and their reforming contemporaries were the pioneers in stating it (my emphasis)… What the Reformers did was to redefine satisfactio (satisfaction), the main mediaeval category for thought about the cross. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo?, which largely determined the mediaeval development, saw Christ’s satisfactio for our sins as the offering of compensation or damages for dishonour done, but the Reformers saw it as the undergoing of vicarious punishment (poena) to meet the claims on us of God’s holy law and wrath (i.e. his punitive justice).”[2]

    The Protestant reformers shifted the focus of this satisfaction theory to concentrate not merely on divine offense but on divine justice. God’s righteousness demands punishment for human sin. God in his grace both exacts punishment and supplies the one to bear it.

    This is an important difference. For Anselm, Christ obeyed where we should have obeyed; for John Calvin, he was punished where we should have been punished.

    Both Medieval theories were born out of Christian legalism.

  84. Paul is much earlier than any of these.

    Romans 3
    21 But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
    22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;
    23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    24 being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
    25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
    26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

    Propitiation: hilasterion: relating to an appeasing or expiating, having placating or expiating force, expiatory; a means of appeasing or expiating, a propitiation; an expiatory sacrifice.

    Expiatory: Make amends or reparation for (guilt or wrongdoing); ORIGIN late 16th cent. (in the sense ‘end (rage, sorrow, etc.) by suffering it to the full’): from Latin expiat- ‘appeased by sacrifice’, from the verb expiare, from ex- ‘out’ + piare (from pius ‘pious’).

    Romans 4
    22 And therefore “it was accounted to him [Abraham] for righteousness.”
    23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him,
    24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead,
    25 who was delivered up because of our offences, and was raised because of our justification.

    Galatians 3
    13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),
    14 that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

  85. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God…
    Hebrews 10:12

    One sacrifice. What was the sacrifice? His own life for ours. His blood for ours.

    Hebrews 9
    11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
    12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
    13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh,
    14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
    15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
    16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

    And this one off sacrifice made by Christ, once and for all, brings us to the new covenant in his blood.

    Hebrews 9
    24 For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
    25 not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another–
    26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
    27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
    28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

  86. And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

    “For the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant.”

    Oh, that is so powerful.

    Apolutrosis: a releasing effected by payment of ransom; redemption, deliverance; liberation procured by the payment of a ransom.

    He was the Ransom. He redeemed us from all transgressions brought about by the first covenant, which condemned us through sin.

    He literally paid the price of our sin. The wages of sin is death. He paid it in full.

  87. It simply was not taught in the early church and not in the New Testament.

    Saint Athanasius and the ‘Penal Substitutionary’ Atonement Doctrine

    I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’ admonition that if we must

    “read only the new or the old, I would advise…to read the old.”

    His reasoning is that

    “A new book is still on trial and the amateur is not in a position to judge it. It has to be tested against the great body of Christian thought down the ages.”

    This is true, I believe, of Christian doctrines and ideas too: they must be consonant with and tested against ‘the great body of Christian thought down the ages.’ Unfortunately many in the Christian world today accept without reservation ideas that have been passed down to them that do not meet the “great-body-of-Christian-thought-down-the-ages” test. What is even more troublesome is that many Christians do not know (or care) that they are accepting theological innovations of later or modern centuries, some of which are not in keeping with early church teaching (or worse yet, perhaps even contradicting them).

    I believe the cardinal Evangelical doctrine of penal substitution of the atonement (Christ’s vicarious punishment for humanity’s sins as the central work or accomplishment of the cross) is one of these. Contemporary Evangelical Protestant theologian J.I. Packer calls it,

    “a distinguishing mark of the word-wide evangelical fraternity: namely, the belief that the cross had the character of penal substitution, and that it was in virtue of this fact that it brought salvation to mankind.”[1]

    One of the interesting discoveries I made reading St Athanasius’ seminal book, written in the early fourth century, is the complete absence of this notion that for many Evangelical Christians has come to be central to the Gospel message itself: namely the doctrine that Christ paid by vicarious punishment atonement for our individual sins (for which we deserve punishment). Billy Graham is perhaps the most well-known contemporary proponent of this doctrine. I recall hearing him preach many times on television that Christ suffered a horrific death as a punishment (i.e., penalty) for your and my sins. This idea never resonated with me because it raised disturbing issues about the nature of a God Who required such justice served.

    However, as theologian J.I. Packer observes, the stark absence of this view in the early church fathers should not come as a surprise since it is a 16th century medieval interpretation:

    “…Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Melanchthon and their reforming contemporaries were the pioneers in stating it (my emphasis)… What the Reformers did was to redefine satisfactio (satisfaction), the main mediaeval category for thought about the cross. Anselm’s Cur Deus Homo?, which largely determined the mediaeval development, saw Christ’s satisfactio for our sins as the offering of compensation or damages for dishonour done, but the Reformers saw it as the undergoing of vicarious punishment (poena) to meet the claims on us of God’s holy law and wrath (i.e. his punitive justice).”[2]

    The problem with this doctrine is not in the idea of “substitution”. Early church fathers, of course, understood the meaning and redemptive work of the cross as a “substitution” (IE. Christ in place of us). St Athanasius himself writes:

    “Thus taking a body like our own, because all our bodies were liable to the corruption of death, He surrendered His body to death in place of all, and offered it to the Father (an offering, not a penalty – my emphasis). This He did for sheer love for us, so that in His death all might die, and the law of death thereby be abolished because, when He had fulfilled in His body that for which it was appointed, it was therefore voided of its power for men.”[3]

    Later the Saint writes that His death on the Cross was a “sufficient exchange (my emphasis) for all.”[4] Later yet he writes of His death on the cross as “a debt owing (my emphasis) which must be paid”[5] And finally he writes, “He died to ransom all…”[6]

    For Saint Athanasius the words exchange, debt, and ransom are used to explain the expiatory work of Our Lord on the Cross on our behalf. Contrast this with the more legalistic and penal (IE punishment) explanation of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

    “Thus we perceive Christ representing the character of a sinner and a criminal…and it becomes manifest that he suffers for another’s and not for his own crime.”

    What is the problem with the theory of penal substitution? The problem has been expressed well by a contemporary writer:

    “The penal satisfaction theory is entirely legalistic. It assumes that the order of law and justice is absolute; free forgiveness would be a violation of this absolute order; God’s love must be carefully limited lest it infringe on the demands of justice. Sin is a crime against God and the penalty must be paid before forgiveness can become available. According to this view God’s love is conditioned and limited by his justice; that is, God cannot exercise His love to save man until His righteousness (justice) is satisfied. Since God’s justice requires that sin be punished, God’s love cannot save man until the penalty of sin has been paid, satisfying His justice. God’s love is set in opposition to His righteousness, creating a tension and problem in God….According to this legalistic theology, this is why Christ needed to die; he died to pay the penalty of man’s sin and to satisfy the justice of God (my emphasis). The necessity of the atonement is the necessity of satisfying the justice of God; this necessity is in God rather than in man. (my emphasis). And since this necessity is in God, it is an absolute necessity. If God is to save man, God must satisfy His justice before He can in love, save man.”

    For many who want to know Our Lord, the God of love, the idea that God the Father required Christ to suffer punishment in order to somehow appease or satisfy His sense of righteousness or justice is an abhorrent idea, keeping many people from accepting the actual love and mercy of God and perverting a correct understanding of the nature of God the Father.

    How do we Eastern Orthodox and the early church tradition understand the debt, the exchange, the ransom and to whom it was paid?

    Saint Athanasius writes,

    “For by the sacrifice of His own body He did two things: He put an end to the law of death which barred our way; and He made a new beginning of life for us…”[7]

    To whom did He make the sacrifice?

    “It was by surrendering to death (my emphasis) the body which He had taken, as an offering and sacrifice free from every stain, that He forthwith abolished death for his human brethren by the offering of the equivalent.” [8]

    The Saint teaches that Christ died, not to appease God the Father, but to rescue mankind (you and me) from death! That was “to whom” he sacrificed himself – the existential/ontological reality of death; that

    “through this union of the immortal Son of God with our human nature, all men were clothed with incorruption in the promise of the resurrection. For the solidarity of mankind is such that, by virtue of the Word’s indwelling in a single human body, the corruption which goes with death has lost its power over all.”

    This may seem like small difference, perhaps even a nuance; however it is a difference that is significant, as it correctly represents the nature of God as “the lover of mankind,” rather than a cosmic egotistical despot or a slave to divine legalism, and the work of the cross as a supreme act of sacrificial love by Our Lord, in which the Holy Trinity was acting (and continues to act) in one accord.

    http://www.antiochian.org/node/25462

  88. Steve, did you read what I posted at 6.46am and 6.56am? If you had, you would not have written that reply. The distinctions are still part of the whole person, and exactly where do you derive an everlasting, immortal component. Is it because if God is spirit and is immortal, so any reference to some aspect of humanity being spiritual must mean that it is separate and also lasts forever? Yet the evidence does not support that view. God does not break up his creation. We have a spiritual side to our being like we have a physical one, or a mental one or an emotional one. But my mind will not survive death, nor my body, nor emotions. God will give a spiritual body that will have substance and live forever. It will be spiritual because of who animates it – the Holy Spirit rather than blood, and so be able to inherit immortality. I’ve posted scriptures regarding Jesus’s resurrection to support that before.

    I will put up some other stuff that shows the verses you point to that allegedly speak of an afterlife, actually don’t. ‘These are not a ‘small array’ of verses which ‘infer’ a concept.’ I think you’re the one in denial here.

  89. ‘According to Josephus,’ Oh, that’s alright then, I take back all I’ve said. I’ll try and quote more unbelieving historians to back up my point, rather than using the bible. My mistake.

  90. “No, it IS the matter.”

    Aaaah.

    Ok here’s a problem. If you accept that the Jews adopted the pagan view of the soul, which they probably did and that might not be a bad thing, then you must also say the same of resurrection which went hand in hand as well as demonology, angelogy and Grecan views of heaven and hell.

    Also the writers of the New Testament, also written in Greek, quoted from the old Greek versions exclusively ie the Septuagint. This is significant since the new Masoretic text prominently diverged in those passages which prophesied Christ. Thus even when Latin, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian and other translations from the Greek appeared, Greek versions continued to be used by the Greek-speaking portion of the Christian Church.

    The Septuagint contained verses such as

    Isaiah 54:16 (Septuagint)

    54:16 Behold, I have created thee, not as the coppersmith blowing coals, and bringing out a vessel [fit] for work; but I have created thee, not for ruin, that [I] should destroy [thee].

    Also The Wisdom of Solomon (1st Cent BCE)

    2:23
    for God created man for incorruption,
    and made him in the image of his own eternity,

    3:1-4
    [1] But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
    and no torment will ever touch them.
    [2] In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
    and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
    [3] and their going from us to be their destruction;
    but they are at peace.
    [4] For though in the sight of men they were punished,
    their hope is full of immortality.

    Now your other problem is that it was the prevailing view of first century Jews and pagans therefore it would have been the worldview of Jesus and the Apostles.

  91. ‘According to Josephus,’ Oh, that’s alright then, I take back all I’ve said. I’ll try and quote more unbelieving historians to back up my point, rather than using the bible. My mistake.

    What does it matter if Josephus was a Christian?

    Do you reject mail from your postie because they’re not saved? Do they not do a good job unless they are a believer.

    Josephus was a Pharisee.

    I think he knew what Jews believed.

  92. Bones, I produced Paul as a witness to the doctrine that Christ was indeed a substitute and a sacrifice, and that he did pay the ransom price our sin.

    I don’t know what you wan to call this. I don’t much go for high-fulutin’ nomenclature, and prefer to stick to the actual words used in the Bible. I guess it was important to define ‘propitiation’, since it is not a word we use down at kids footy practice on a Saturday morning, but it is, nevertheless, part of the central doctrine of salvation.

    So, not having a readily accessible version in English, apart from the more recent ‘expiation’, which is also rarely used at the footy, but means much the same, an appeasement, or sacrifice made to please God, I prefer, then, to go to the actual Greek word used, and see what it throws up.

    The Greek word is hilaskomai, which means exactly what we have said it means, according to Vines –

    ‘was used amongst the Greeks with the significance “to make the gods propitious, to appease, propitiate,” inasmuch as their good will was not conceived as their natural attitude, but something to be earned first.

    This use of the word is foreign to the Greek Bible, with respect to God, whether in the Sept. or in the NT. It is never used of any act whereby man brings God into a favorable attude or gracious disposition.

    It is God who is “propitiated” by the vindication of His holy and righteous character, whereby, through the provision He has made in the vicarious and expiatory sacrifice of Christ, He has so dealt with sin that He can show mercy to the believing sinner in the removal of his guilt and the remission of his sins.’

    So God brings us to Himself in His mercy through the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, who makes the way clear for His grace to poured out upon us. Christ wins for us the favour of God by dealing with the problem of sin which had separated us from God.

    As Vines explains, although the Greek word is used, it’s meaning is somewhat changed. The fact is, that, like other concepts which come to life in the New Testament, the idea of Christ’s propitiatory act was such a new concept that there were no words to describe it.

    Bt the body of evidence is too great in the New Testament to be thrown out simply because you can’t grasp the significance of what God has dome through Christ.

    The New Testament has been with us long enough now for us to see and understand what it is saying very clearly. In fact, without the New Testament much of the Old remains a mystery. But to attempt to state that we should abandon the New Testament for the Old is sheer desperation.

    However, the vicarious sacrifice of Christ is also present in the Old, so we have the witness of both – the prophecy and the fulfilment. That should be enough.

  93. Happy Christmas 🙂 RESURRECTION OR IMMORTALITY Subtitled: The Resurrection, Our Only Hope Of Life After Death William Robert West Is “The Wages Of Sin Death” Or Is “The Wages Of Sin Eternal Life With Torment In Hell” An Immortal Soul And The Doctrine Of Hell Is There A Soul In You That Will Live After You Are Dead? Updated 11/10/2013 RESURRECTION OR IMMORTALITY William Robert West Foreword What do you believe about souls? There are many very different doctrines taught in the world today concerning the souls that are believed to be in human. By most the soul is believed to be something that is wholly apart from the person it is in; it is viewed as something that is complete in its self without the person; it will live after the person it is in is dead; it will exist forever without the person; it will never be dead and therefore cannot be resurrected from the dead; it will live someplace forever, either in Heaven or Hell even if there is no resurrection. 1. At the death of the person it is in the bodiless, deathless soul that was in a saved person will fly immediately to Heaven to the very presents of Jesus and God. Many believe souls of the dead are looking down on us, they watch over their loved ones on earth and can sometimes be seen by living persons. 2. At the death of a lost person, the soul that was in him or her will immediately be carried to Hell where it will forever be alive, suffering and screaming, while it is being eternally tormented by God with no hope that God will ever stop tormenting it. 3. At the death of most persons that are Catholic, the souls that were in them goes immediately to Purgatory where the souls will suffer unto the souls have suffered enough to pay for the sins of the persons they were in, then these souls will be saved by their own suffering. 4. In the Abraham’s bosom version the souls that were in the saved to immediately at death to be rewarded in Abraham’s bosom, the good side of hades, unto the coming of Christ while the souls that were in the lost are tormented in the bad side of hades unto the coming of Christ when they will be endlessly tormented by God in an endless burning Hell. 5. A view of the soul now believe by some Protestants, called Rephaim, is that after the death of the person, the soul leaves the person and is a shadowy something that has no substance, it is nothing more than mental thoughts without any kind of substance or body. 6. Spiritualism. After the death of the person, the spirit becomes a ghost that haunt the house it was in, is a ghastly spook that can sometimes be seen at night among the graves and tombstones in a cemetery. According to Spiritualism, these ghost or spooks roam the earth and can and are seen by people, and even live in the house with people. The ghost that have left the persons they were dwelling in can come back and these ghost can do both good and evil to living persons that still have ghosts (souls) dwelling in them. Many who do not think of themselves as being a Spiritualist and even deny that they are a Spiritualist believe much of the Spiritualist belief; in most funerals that I have I have attended the preacher has the soul that had been dwelling in the dead person dwelling in Heaven and it was looking down on the funeral of the dead person it had been freed from. 7. The person, not a soul that had been in a person, sleeps from death unto the resurrection, the person is resurrected and judged, the person is given endless life or eternal punishment of death. 8. There are many other beliefs about what a soul is and what a soul can and cannot do, far too many to list here. Two of the views that are commonly believed about what will happen to the souls that leave mankind after death are the subject of this book. VIEW ONE: The belief that all have a “soul” that W. E. Vine says is nothing but “the immaterial, invisible part of man,” (“Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words,” page 588) and Robert A. Morey says, that after the death of the body the soul will be nothing but “mental thoughts” (“Death And The Afterlife,” page 79). According to those that believe as he does, this nothing but thoughts is the only part of a person that will have eternal life in Heaven. This immaterial something that is nothing but mental thoughts is all of you that will be in Heaven or Hell; will the person (you) be gone and nothing but thoughts will be all that is left, then all of the “you” that you know anything about will be forever be gone. Most that believe all are born with an immortal “soul” have only a vague unclear understanding or even no idea of what they believe this unknown immaterial something they believe to be in them really is, but “it” (not themselves) is what they believe must be saved, and only “it” will be in Heaven if they save “it,” or in Hell if they do not. The belief that everyone has an immaterial something in them and this something, whatever this nothing but “mental thoughts” could be, will live forever and cannot die makes it not possible for death to be the wages of sin. If a person has something in them that is deathless, it would not be subject to the wages of sin, which is death, and this deathless nothing could not ever be destroyed; this, whatever it is would be, is born with eternal life, and it could never die; therefore, it could not be resurrected from the dead. This view has two major divisions. 1. That all mankind has a “soul” that cannot ever die or be destroyed, but for most of mankind God will forever torment this something (this nothing but mental thoughts) that is in a person, the immaterial something called “soul.” It is strange to me that I can find no one that believes there is a soul that is in a person that knows what a soul is. They tell me what a soul is not, but not what they believe a soul to be; in the many books I have read, the nearest anyone has came is to say that after the soul departs from the person it was in will be nothing but thoughts without any kind of substance. 2. Universalism: that all mankind has a “soul” that cannot ever die or be destroyed, everyone has this something in them that will live forever, but it will be saved. If it (the immaterial something that has no substance) is not saved in this lifetime it will be saved after death. VIEW TWO: The belief that the person you now are will put on immortality at the resurrection, and it is you (not just some immaterial something in you) that will live forever in Heaven; we, not an immaterial soul, is now in the image of Adam, we, not an immaterial soul, will have the image of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:49). The wages of sin is death, and the lost will die the second death, they do not now have immortality and never will be immortal; those who do not belong to Christ will forever be destroyed after their judgment. Protestant Premillennialists Most Protestant Premillennialists believe the lost will be totally destroyed, but there are three Premillennial views that are common in Protestant churches on how or where the lost will be destroyed. 1. A common Protestant Premillennialists belief is that the destruction of the lost will be on this earth and the saved will forever live on this earth; no person will ever be in Heaven. Many believe the Valley of Gehenna will be restored and the lost will literally be burn to ashes in it. 2. Some Protestant Premillennialists believe that the saved will be with Christ in Heaven, not on earth after the thousand years, the second death will be the end of the lost, but they are not literally burned to ashes on this earth in the restored Valley of Gehenna. 3. Some Protestant Premillennialists believe the wages of sin is eternal life with torment for the soul that cannot die, which puts them in the camp of those that believe eternal life with torment, death is not the wages of sin. If we have either a soul or a spirit that is now immortal and can never die or be dead, how could there be a resurrection of the dead? Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead? If yes, what do you believe will be resurrected; will your dead body be raised from the dead, or do you believe as many that only a soul that that they do not believe can ever be dead, but it is the only part of a person that will be raised from the dead? When I first begin this study I was surprised and made to tremble at how few believed in the resurrection, and how many there are that do not really know what they believe about it, or even what they believed would be resurrected. Many believe some deathless something that they believe to be in themselves will instantly be transited from this world to Heaven or Hell at death without a resurrection, before the resurrection, before the Judgment Day, and before the second coming of Christ, but when they are asked what is the reason for the resurrection, they not only do not know, but have never really thought about it. Death is looked at as being a doorway to life in another form, that death is not really death, and there is nowhere in their thoughts or in their faith for a resurrection for their theology says no one is really dead. The resurrection has been removed from the faith of many by today’s theology that says some immortal something that is believed to be in a person will go to Heaven at the moment of death. But is there any life after death before the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead? Paul said it will be at the resurrection when, “This mortal must put on immortality,” but if we have a soul that is now immortal, then what is it that is now mortal that will put on immortality at the resurrection? What does the Bible say about an immortal soul and/or spirit? Together soul and spirit are used about 1,600 times in the Bible, but not one time is immortal ever used in the same verse with either one, “immortality soul or spirit,” “deathless or never dying soul or spirit” is not in the Bible, not even in the King James Version. Immortal and immortality is not in the Old Testament, the promise of immortality is given to no one. In the New Testament, immortal is used only one time in the New Testament, immortality is used five times, all five by Paul. What does he say? 1. “Now unto the King eternal, immortal” (1 Timothy 1:17). 2. Only God has immortality (1 Timothy 6:16). 3. Christ “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:10). 4. “To them (Christians) that…seek for glory and honor and immortality” (Romans 2:7). 5. “This mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53) at the resurrection. 6. “This mortal shall have put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:54) after the resurrection. This mortal person must put on immortality, not this soul that is already immortal must put on immortality. Why are we to “seek for immortality” if we are born immortal? Why will we “put on immortality” if the only part of us that will ever be immortal has been immortal from birth (or before birth)? The fact that a person must “seek for…immortality” and immortality must be “put on” at the resurrection is conclusive proof that a person does not now have immortality, nor does a person have some immaterial, immortal something in them that cannot die. If Romans 2:7 and 1 Corinthians 15:53 teaches nothing more, it teaches that no part of a person now possess immortality. Not one passage in the Bible says anyone is now immortal; if no one is now immortal, no one can now have a soul that is now immortal. The immortal soul theology is from pagan philosophy, if all have a deathless soul, and we are told that this deathless soul is the only part of a person that will ever be immortal, and it is already immortal, the resurrection is made to be useless. ——————————————————- Table of Contents AN IMMORTAL SOUL OR RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD The Resurrection, Our Only Hope Of Life After Death By William West Chapter one: The nature of man – what is man? Chapter two: Life or Death Chapter three: The reinterpretations of the great doctrines of the Bible Chapter four: From where came Hell, from man or God? • Unquenchable fire • Old Testament history of Gehenna • Gehenna used by Christ on four occasions • The vanishing Hell • Twenty-six plus version of Hell o Fourteen plus Protestant versions of Hell o Eight other versions of Hell o Three Catholic versions of Hell Chapter five: Sheol, Hades, and Tartarus Chapter six: The thirty-one Hell passages Chapter seven: A strange and unexplainable silence of the Old Testament on punishment and life after death, life, death, torment, destruction, destroy, perish, die, and end Chapter eight: Figurative language, metaphors, and symbolical passage • Part one: The rich man • Part two: The destruction of Israel, Matthew 24 o A. D. 70 doctrine o Day of the Lord • Part three: The symbolic pictures in Revelation • Part four: The forever and ever of the King James Version Chapter nine: Universalist: The “age lasting” Hell Chapter ten: The results of attributing evil Pagan teachings to God Chapter eleven: Historical proof of the changing of the teaching of the Bible Appendix one —————————————————————- CHAPTER ONE What Is Man? What is a man? Are all persons born with immortal souls, or do only the saved put on immortality at the resurrection? Is a person a three part being, an animal body with both a soul and a spirit that will live without the body? This is one of the most important questions of all time. It has more influence on our conception of our nature, our view of life in this world, and our view of life after death than any other question. Soul in the Old Testament is translated from nehphesh, Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature” A study of the way it is translated in the King James and how other translation differ greatly from the King James reveals facts that are far different that the belief of most about what the soul is, and facts that most will find upsetting. Nehphesh is used in the Old Testament about 870 times and is translated soul only about 473 times in the King James, but in the New International Version (2010 updated version) only 72 out about 870 times it is used. Of the 870 times Nehphesh is in the Bible, in the New International Version: • Nehphesh is translated soul only 72 times. • Nehphesh is not translated soul 798 times. o Of the 473 times nehphesh is translated “soul” in the King James Version, it was removed 401 times in the New International Version. Nehphesh is translated in the King James Version into about 40 words; one Hebrew word is translated (or mistranslated) into nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc. Nehphesh is used about 870 times and was changed into many words by the translators as they chose to with the translators of the many version of the Bible all choosing many times to translate it difference. By today’s meaning of “soul” and “life” they means two completely difference things, they are not synonymous. In the King James Version Nehphesh is translated: 1. Soul about 473 times 2. Life about 122 times 3. Person about 26 times 4. Mind about 15 times 5. Heart about 15 times 6. Personal pronouns 44 + times – yourselves, themselves, her, me, he, his, himself 7. All others, about 200 times – man, creature, living being, fish, own, any, living thing, living creatures, lives, the dead, dead body, kills, slays, slay him, mortally, discontented, ghost, breath, will, appetite, hearty desire, desire, pleasure, lust, deadly In all 870 times this word is used it is associated with the activity of a living being, including dying, and it never implies anything about life after the death of the living being. None of the 870 times are an immortal, immaterial, inter something in a person that has no substance; souls (nehpheshs) are the living being (persons, animals, or any living thing) that can die, be killed, or is already be dead; although its use is often hid from the English readers by the way it was translated or mistranslated. Soul (nehphesh) as it is used in the Bible (1) Genesis 1:20 “The moving creature that has life” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals, Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature”). Footnote in the King James Version–”The moving creature that has soul.” American Standard Version–”Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures” (nehpheshs-mortal beings). If “soul” were an immortal “immaterial, invisible part of man” (W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words), why is this Hebrew word that is translated soul also translated “living creature” when it is speaking of animals in Genesis 1:21; 1:24; 2:19; 9:10; 9:12; 9:15; 9:16 when the same Hebrew word (nehphesh) is translated “living soul” in Genesis 2:7 when it is speaking of a person? “Living Creature” and “living soul” are completely difference beings. If this Hebrew word (nehphesh) were an immaterial, immortal part of a person, it would also be an immaterial, immortal part of animals. (2) Genesis 1:21 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to all life in the water), “And God created the great sea-monsters, and every living creature (nehpheshs-mortal beings) that moves wherewith the water swarmed.” (3) Genesis 1:24 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings), used referring to animals, all life on the land), “And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures (soul–nehphesh) after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth.” In Genesis 1:21-24 every living thing on earth, whether in the water or on land, every thing that has life is a nehphesh, a living being; all sea life, all land life, and mankind are a nehphesh, a living being, not inherent indestructible immortality beings, not an immortal deathless “soul.” (4) Genesis 1:30 “life” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals), “And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the heavens, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life” (nehpheshs-mortal beings); animals are “a living soul.” ALL FOUR TIMES THAT SOUL (nehphesh) IS USED IN GENESIS ONE IT IS USED REFERRING TO ANIMALS Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature, i.e. animal.” NOT TO A PERSON. ANIMALS WERE SOULS, LIVING BEINGS, BEFORE ANY MAN EXISTED; WHY DID THE TRANSLATORS DELIBERATELY HIDE THE FACT THAT IT IS THE SAME WORD THAT THEY SOMETIMES TRANSLATED SOUL? • TRANSLATED SOULS WHEN IT IS SPEAKING OF PEOPLE. • TRANSLATED LIVING CREATURES WHEN THE SAME WORD IS SPEAKING OF ANIMALS. How could the translators possibly know when the same word is speaking of mortal being and when it is speaking of immortal being? Just as “up” cannot mean “down,” “Mortal” cannot mean “Immortal” “Then God said, ‘Let the waters teem with swarms of living souls (nehpheshs-mortal beings), and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.’ And God created the great sea monsters, and every living soul (nehphesh-mortal beings) that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, a fifth day. Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living souls (nehpheshs-mortal beings) after their kind: cattle and creeping thing and beasts of the earth after their kind’; and it was so…and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creeps upon the earth, wherein there is life (nehpheshs-mortal beings) I have given every green herb for meat” (Genesis 1:20-30). “Living creatures” (nehpheshs-mortal beings) is used to describe all living things on earth, people, animals, birds, and fish, not eternal life or some immaterial invisible something that is in a person that is now eternal. If a person being a soul (nehphesh–a living being) makes that person be either immortal or in the image of God, then it makes animals, birds, and fish have a immortal soul in them and be in the image of God. (5) Genesis 2:7 “A living soul” (nehphesh–a living being, used referring to a person, Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature”) The first time the King James Version translated nehphesh into “soul,” most other translations did not agree with it, not even the New King James Version. “Man became a living being” New King James Version. • “A living creature” (nehphesh-a mortal being) Genesis 1:20 • “A living creature” (nehphesh-a mortal being) Genesis 1:21 • “A living creature” (nehphesh-a mortal being) Genesis 1:24 • “Wherein there is life” (nehphesh-mortal being) Genesis 1:30 • “A living soul” (nehphesh) Genesis 2:7 “Man became a living being” New King James Version o It is obvious that the translators of the King James Version translated according to a preconceived opinion in an attempt make persons have immortality but keep animals from having souls; they made a distinction in animals and men, a distinction that dose not exist in the Hebrew Bible. o Genesis 2:7 Man became:  “A living soul” King James Version  “A living being” New King James Version, American Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, Amplified Version, The New American Bible.  “A living person” New Century Version, The Living Bible, New Living Translation  “A living creature” The Revised English Bible, Young’s Literal Translation.  “Life” Contemporary English Version According to Genesis chapter one to three man was created a mortal living being just as the animals were. “Lest he stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22) is speaking of the physical person eating of the tree of life and living forever physically, not a soul that was already deathless, already immortal that was in the mortal person eating of the tree of life and living forever. It was the physical person that would have eaten from a physical tree, and the physical person that would have physically lived forever. THREE THINGS IN GENESIS 2:7 (1) MAN AND ANIMALS ARE MADE OF THE DUST OF THE EARTH. “In the day that YOU eat from it YOU shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Some say Adam could not die; an immortal, immaterial, deathless soul could not die. In Genesis 3:19 is a clear statement on what dies, “By the sweat of YOUR face YOU shall eat bread, till YOU return to the ground, because from it YOU were taken; for YOU are dust, and to dust YOU shall return,”(Also Genesis 18:27; Psalms103:14; Job10:9). “It is appointed for MEN to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). It is the PERSON that will die and the PERSON that will be resurrected from the dead, not a soul that cannot die; therefore, it could not be resurrected from the dead. Paul quoted Genesis 2:7 showing that the “natural body” of Genesis 2:7 that was given to Adam and all mankind is not the “spiritual body” that will be given to the saved by Christ at the resurrection. “Howbeit that is not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; THEN that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is of heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have born the image of the earthly, we SHALL also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:46-49). Dr. Bert Thompson, Ph. D. says Genesis 2:7 is teaching that Adam was given “physical life.” Then said it is not teaching that Adam had instilled in him “an immortal nature.” “The Origin, Nature, and Destiny of the Soul,” page 19, Apologetics Press, Inc. 2001, church of Christ. Mike Willis said expositors have generally appealed to Genesis 2:7 to prove that all men are born with and now have immortal spirits. However, in 1 Corinthians 15:45, Paul has clearly expounded the meaning of the Hebrew words nehphesh, chayyah. “The living soul” of Genesis 2:7 is the natural body of this passage. He said this corresponds with the book of Genesis itself because the same construction is used in Genesis 1:24 to describe animals. When Moses recorded that God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life and he became a living soul, what the writer of Genesis was saying was that the dust of the earth began to have animal life and does not prove that a person has an immortal spirit (soul); rather it states that a person has animal life. All men possess animal life through Adam. A Commentary On Paul’s First Epistle To the Corinthians, page 578, 1979. For one who knows the Bible as he does, and believes a person now has an immortal soul, yet says, the living soul of Genesis 2:7 is the natural body, proves beyond doubt that a living soul is not an immortal inter part of a person. “The first man Adam became a living soul…the first man is of the earth, earthy” (1 Corinthians 15:45-49). Guy N. Woods said the first time the word soul is used in Genesis 1:20 it is from the Hebrew nehphesh where it is assigned to fish, birds, and creeping things. He said it is clear that the soul in these passages does not refer to anything peculiar to the constitution of man, but it signifies, as its usage denotes, and the lexicons affirm, any creature that breathes. “What Is The Soul Of Man,” Gospel Advocate, 1985, Number 21. John T. Willis: “The last two lines of verse 7 affirm that man’s life is God Given. God enables man to breathe, and thus to be alive, as he does all other creatures (see Gen. 7:22). Some have tried to justify a threefold division of man into flesh (or body), soul, and spirit from Genesis 2:7. They equate dust with flesh or body, breath with spirit, and insist that the last phrase of the verse must be translated as ‘a living soul.’ However, this understanding reads much more into the biblical text than it really says. (1) The Hebrew words for ‘flesh’ or ‘body’ and ‘spirit’ do not occur in this passage. (2) The Hebrew expression nephesh chayyah, which some insist on translating ‘a living soul,’ is used of fish and marine life in Genesis 1:20, 21; land animals in 1:24; beasts, birds, and reptiles in 1:30; and beasts and birds in 2:19. If ‘soul’ means the eternal part of man or the sum total of man’s ‘body’ and ‘spirit’ in Genesis 2:7, it must mean the eternal part of a fish or the sum total of a fish’s ‘body’ and ‘spirit’ in Genesis 1:20, 21; etc. (3) The flow of the context in Genesis 2:7 indicates that the word translated being in the RSV (nephesh) means the whole person. The author’s emphasis is on the gift of life.” The Living Word Commentary, “Genesis,” page 103-104, 1979, Sweet Publishing Company. Adam Clarke: “Nephesh chayyah; a general term to express all creatures endued with animal life, in any of its infinitely varied gradations, from the half reasoning elephant down to the stupid potto, or lower still, to the polype, which seems equally to share the vegetable and animal life.” (2) MAN AND ANIMALS HAD THE BREATH OF LIFE (NESHAMAH) BREATHED INTO THEM. • “Breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (nshahmah)” man (Genesis 2:7). • “All in whose nostrils was the breath of life (nshahmah)” both man and animals have the same “breath of life (nshahmah)” (Genesis 7:22). • “Saved alive nothing that breaths (nshahmah-breath of life)” both men and animals (Deuteronomy 20:16). “Breath of life” and “breaths” are the same in the Hebrew, both are translated from “nshahmah,” but who knows why the translators choose to make them different in the English Bible. • “Utterly destroyed all that breaths (nshahmah-breath of life)” both men and animals (Joshua 10:40). • “There was not any left to breaths (nshahmah-breath of life)” both men and animals (Joshua 11:11). • “Neither left they any to breaths (nshahmah-breath of life)” both men and animals (Joshua 11:14). o Does an immortal immaterial deathless soul or spirit breathe, or die when breathing stops? • “And the breath (nehphesh) of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). • “And breathed into his nostrils the breath (nehphesh) of life” (Genesis 2:7).  It is the breath (nehphesh) that God puts into the body that gives the body life, nehphesh is not an immortal deathless soul that has a life of it’s own. Question: What effect did the “breath of life” in the nostrils of animals have on them? Most all would answer that it made them a living being, not an immortal deathless soul that will live after the death of the animals. Then what effect did the same “breath of life” have on mankind? It made them a living being just as it did animals, not an immortal deathless something that animals do not have. THE BREATH OF LIFE: Some have switched from the soul being the immortal part of a person to the spirit being the immortal part of a person that animals do not have. “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathe into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” The phrase “breath of life” that was breathed into man in Genesis 2:7 is the same Hebrew “breath of life” in Genesis 7:21-22 that is in the nostrils of birds, cattle, men and beasts; the “breath of life” in animals it is the same “breath of life” that is in persons. The “breath of life” (1) is not a immortal spirit, (2) is not a immortal soul that men now have but animals do not have; it does not say that the “breath of life” God breathed into Adam was an immortal deathless spirit or soul, and his immortality was passed on to all mankind; the breathless body that God made from the earth is what became a living breathing being when the “breath of life” was breathed into the breathless body. God did not tell Adam he had a body that was made from the earth, but the real Adam was made of something not from the earth. (3) MAN AND ANIMALS BECAME “A LIVING BEING.” The body of dust + the breath of life = a living being-soul (a living being-nehphesh), Genesis 2:7. Although this passage is repeatedly used to prove that an immortal, deathless soul that was put in a person that was not put in animals, most translations, other than the King James, apply it to the living breathing being or person, not to an invisible, deathless, immaterial something that was put in a person. Adam being spoken of as a “living being” (nehphesh Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature”) proves he was mortal, not immortal, just as all “living beings” (nehphesh) fish, birds, animals, are mortal, not immortal. How can this be one of the most used proof texts used to prove Adam was made with an immortal soul? If it proves Adam had an immortal soul, then it proves that fish have an immortal soul that cannot die. Both “a living being” and “breath of life” are used by most that call themselves orthodox to prove mankind has an immortal soul that no animal has. Both mankind and all living being are “a living being” and both have the “breath of life,” but both can and do die. Having the “breath of life” does not make mankind or animals immortal. It is importance to understand that it is being said that both animals and mankind are a soul (are living beings), not that animals or mankind have a soul, have a part, an immortal, invisible, no substitute something in them that cannot die; there is a world of different in being a soul and an immortal soul being in you. Many assume, with much help from the translators and theology that Genesis is saying only mankind has souls, but animals do not. Because of what most have been taught, without realizing it they read into this that only mankind has a soul that is an immortal, invisible, no substitutes something that cannot die. This causes them to believe that only this immortal part of them self will be saved (more on this at the end of this chapter). (6) Genesis 2:19 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals), “Every beast…every bird…whatsoever the man called every living creature (nehpheshs-mortal beings), that was the name thereof” (7) Genesis 9:4 “life” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals) (8) Genesis 9:5 “lives” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to man) (9) Genesis 9:5 “life” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to man) (10) Genesis 9:10 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals) (11) Genesis 9:12 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals) (12) Genesis 9:15 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to man and animals) (13) Genesis 9:16 “living creature” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to man and animals) – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – A bird’s eye view of the translation of nehphesh in the first nine chapters. 1. “Moving creature that has life” (nehphesh) Genesis 1:20 – animals 2. “A living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 1:21– animals 3. “A living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 1:24 – animals 4. “Wherein there is life” (nehphesh) Genesis 1:30 – animals 5. “A living soul” (nehphesh) Genesis 2:7 – man 6. “A living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 2:19 – animals 7. “Life” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:4 – animals 8. “Lives” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:5 – man 9. “Life” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:5 – man 10. “Living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:10 – animals 11. “Living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:12 – animals 12. “Living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:15 – man and animals 13. “Living creature” (nehphesh) Genesis 9:16 – man and animals This is an example of men attempting to cover up the truth when it is contradictory to their theology. It takes a lot of preconceived theology to make nehphesh be an immaterial invisible no substance part of a man that is now immortal that is not in animals when it is not deliberately hid as it is in the King James Version. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – In Genesis 9:4-16 the same word is used for both man and animals seven times in the same passage. To animals five times, to man four times. • Three times to animals alone, translated (1) life, (2) creature, (3) creature • Two times to animals and man together, translated (1) creature, (2) creature • Two times to man alone, translated (1) lives, (2) life “But flesh with the LIFE (#1. Nehphesh, used referring to animals) thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall you not eat. And surely your blood, the blood of your LIVES (#2. nehphesh, used referring to man), will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it: and at the hand of men, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the LIFE (#3. nehphesh, used referring to man) of man. Whoso sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God made He men. And you, be you fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. And God spoke unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, and I, behold, I establish my covenant with you and with your seed after you; and every LIVING CREATURE (#4. nehphesh, used referring to animals) that is with you, of the fowl, and the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall the waters of a flood cut off all flesh be any more; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every LIVING CREATURE (#5. nehphesh, used referring to animals) that is with you, for perpetual generation: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every LIVING CREATURE (#6. nehphesh, used referring to man and animals) of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every LIVING CREATURE (#7. nehphesh, used referring to man and animals) of all flesh that is upon the earth.” All four times that soul (nehphesh) is used in Genesis 1; it is referring to animals, not to a person. IN TEN OF THE FIRST THIRTEEN TIMES SOUL (NEHPHESH) IS USED IT IS USED REFERRING TO ANIMALS, but the King James Version hides this by using different words, and most who read the King James Version never know it. Nehphesh is translated “soul” only one time of the first thirteen times it is used in the King James Version, but it is not translated “soul” in any of the first thirteen times it is used in the New King James Version, New American Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version, or New International Version. Mankind is the same soul (life–nehphesh) as the other “living creatures.” He does not differ from other living creatures (soul–nehphesh) by having a soul (nehphesh) that cannot die. His dominion over other living creatures (other nehpheshs–souls) is not his nehphesh. In the first nine chapters of Genesis soul (nehphesh—Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature”) is used more often with reference to animals than it is with reference to persons; it is the animal life, which both a person and animals have in common. How did the translators know when it changed to an invisible immortal part of a person, which animals do not have? Note: both man and animals are souls, living beings. We are a soul, not have a soul. If we have a soul, have a living being in us, then we are one living being with another living being living in us. According to the doctrine that we have a soul living in us, a living being living in another living being, and it is only this immortal deathless being that is us that will be saved or tormented forever is the foundation of many of the errors that have divided the churches. That we are a soul (we are a living being), not we have a soul (not have a living being living in us) is one of the most fundamental and most misunderstood teaching in the Bible. (14) Genesis 12:5 “And the people (nehphesh—”living beings”) whom they had acquired” New King James Version (“soul” in King James Version.) Why were this translated people and not souls? They did not believe souls could be bought but people could be bought. (15) Genesis 12:13 “That I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may live because of you” New King James Version (“soul” in King James Version.) Do you wonder why this was translated, “That I may live” and not “That my soul may live?” (16) Genesis 14:21 “Give me the persons (nehphesh—”living beings”) and take the goods” King James Version. Can anyone give immortal souls to another person? Is there anyone that cannot see why nehphesh could not be translated “soul” in this passage? (17) Genesis 17:14 “That person (nehphesh—a “living being”) shall be cut off” New King James Version. (18) Genesis 19:17 “Escape for your life” (nehphesh—a “living being”) King James Version. (19) Genesis 19:19 “Saving my life” (nehphesh—a “living being”) King James Version. In the first nineteen times nehphesh is used it is translated “soul.”  Only three times in the King James Version  None in the New King James Version  None in the New American Standard Version  None in the New Revised Standard Version  None in the New International Version (20) Genesis 19:20 “That my life (nehphesh—a “living being”) may be saved” New American Standard Version (Translated soul for the fourth time in the King James Version, but only for the first time in the New King James Version). Do you wonder how did the translators of the New King James Version did not think this word means “soul” in the nineteen times it was used before this, but changed their minds this time? (21) Genesis 23:8 “If it be your mind” (nehphesh—a “living being”) King James Version. (22) Genesis 27:4 “So that I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may bless you before I die” New Revised Standard Version. • “So that I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may bless you before I die” Revised Standard Version, New Revised Standard Version. • “So that I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may give you my blessing before I die” New International Version. • “So that I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may give you my blessing before I die” Revised English Bible. • “To give you my (nehphesh—a “living being”) blessing before I die” Amplified Bible. • “That I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may give you my special blessing before I die” New American Bible. • “Then I (nehphesh—a “living being”) will bless you before I die” New Century Version. • “Then I (nehphesh—a “living being”) will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die” New Living Translation. • “I (nehphesh—a “living being”) want to eat it once more and give you by blessing before I die” Contemporary English Version. • “That I (nehphesh—a “living being”) may eat of it, (preparatory) to giving you (as my first-born) my blessing before I die” Amplified Bible. • “That my soul (nehphesh—a “living being”) may bless thee before I die” King James Version. How would Isaac’s son know if he were blessed by an “immaterial invisible” no substance something that he could not see? By this time, hundreds of years after Genesis 1:1, the King James translators must have been desperate to be able to put “soul” into the Bible. Up to Genesis 27:4 for hundreds of years nehphesh is translated soul • Only four times out of twenty-two in the King James Version. • Only one time out of twenty-two in the New King James Version. • None in The New International Version and most others translations. Nehphesh has been used 21 times before the New King James Version translated it “soul” for the first time, but even then the translators of many versions have chosen not to translate it “soul.” In Genesis “nehphesh” is not an immortal “immaterial, invisible part of man,” but it is the life, living creature, living being, any living thing, whether animals, fish, or man, all mortal beings are a nehphesh. If the translators had continued to translate nehphesh as life, living creature, living being, or person, as they did in the first twenty-one times it is used, there may not be the divisions there are today. Why did they not translate nehphesh into soul in the first part of the Bible that covers hundreds of years? Maybe because they thought it would have made animals have souls, and they did not believe animals could have souls. I find it difficult to see how anyone could not call their honesty into question for it is undeniable that they put their belief over the word of God, and they deliberately hid the truth from their readers; they deliberately hid the truth from you. (23) Genesis 32:30 “My life (nehphesh–“living beings”) is preserved” King James Version. Most translations use “life” in this passage for an immortal soul could not perish and would not need to be preserved. (24) Genesis 34:3 • “His heart (nehphesh) was drawn to Dinah” New International Version. • “He was deeply attracted (nehphesh) to Dinah” New American Standard Version. • “His soul (nehphesh) clave unto Dinah” King James Version. If this translation is not saying an immaterial immortal soul clave unto a material mortal being, then what is it saying? (25) Genesis 34:8 • “My son Shechem has his heart (nehphesh) on your daughter” New International Version. • “My son Shechem is in love (nehphesh) with this girl” Revised English Bible. • “The heart (nehphesh) of my son Shechem longs for your daughter” New Revised Standard Version. • “The soul (nehphesh) of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter” King James Version. How did the translators think the father could know what an invisible, immaterial something that was in his son was longing for? Did they think an immortal no substance soul was in love with a mortal person? (26) Genesis 35:18 • “As she breathed (nehphesh) her last-for she was dying” New International Version. • “Then with her last breath, (nehphesh) as she was dying” Revised English Bible. • “As her soul (nehphesh) was departing (for she died)” King James Version. (27) Genesis 36:6 “All the persons (nehpheshs-mortal beings) of his house” King James Version. (28) Genesis 37:21 “Let us not kill him (nehpheshs-mortal beings)” King James Version. It was observe to the translators that they could not translate this nehphesh into soul, after all an immortal soul could not be killed. (29) Job 12:10 “In whose hand is the soul (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals) of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” “The life of every living thing” New American Standard Bible. (30) Job 41:21 “His breath” (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to an animal, possibly a crocodile). (31) Isaiah 19:10 “All that make sluices and ponds for fish (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to animals, fish)” King James Version. Although nehphesh is in the Hebrew, many translations seems not to know what to do with it, and just took it out, or completely changed it for they did not want a soul to be in a pond. (32) Jeremiah 2:24 “A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffed up the wind in her (nehpheshs-mortal beings, used referring to an animal) desire.” (33) Proverbs 27:7 “The full soul (nehpheshs-mortal being) loathes an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul (nehpheshs-mortal being)” ever bitter thing is sweet.” How could the translators think an immaterial something could be full or could be hungry for honey? • “A sated man (nehphesh) loathes honey, but to a famished man (nehphesh) any bitter thing is sweet” New American Standard Bible. • “He (nehphesh) who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet” New International Version. “Nehphesh” is in the Hebrew two times, but one of the two it was left out in the New International Version. (34) Numbers 31:28 “And levy a tribute unto the Lord of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul (nehpheshs-mortal beings–used referring to man and animals) of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses and of the sheep.” Of about 870 times “nephesh” is in the Old Testament this and Job 12:10 are the only passages where the King James translators translated “nephesh” as “soul” when it has reference to animals, and is maybe that the only reason they did this time is that it has equal reference to people as it does to animals and they had no choice. “So carefully has the translation of nehphesh been guarded in relation to animals as ‘souls,’ that we can’t help but wonder if it were not done intentionally to conceal the fact that animals are souls as well as men.” David J. Heinizman, “Man Became A Living Soul.” (35 to 870) It would be to long to quote all the 870 times the Hebrew word nehphesh is in the Old Testament with just over one-half being translated “soul,” about 473 times in King James Version. Not once do any of them imply anything about life beyond the grave or about the soul being immortal. Nehphesh in the New International Version Old Testament is translated soul only 72 times out of the 870 times it is used, according to the this translation, 798 times nehphesh was not a “soul.” A nehphesh could be: • Saved (Genesis 19:19; 1 Samuel 19:11; 2 Samuel 19:5) • Killed (Numbers 35:11; 35:15; 35:30) • Ransomed (Exodus 21:30) • Destroyed (Leviticus 23:30; Joshua 11:11) • Delivered (Joshua 2:13) • Sought to be killed (Judges 18:25) • Taken (Deuteronomy 19:21) • Forfeited (Joshua 2:14) • Risked (Judges 12:3; 1 Samuel 28:21) • Lost (Judges 1:25) • Jeopardized (Judges 5:18; 1 Samuel 19:50 All 870 times have one thing in common, they are all associated with the activity of a living being including dying, and nehphesh never implies anything about life after the death of the living being, all the 870 are all speaking of living beings that will die, not of an immortal deathless something that is in a living being that is not deathless. None of the 870 times are an immortal inter part of a person; they are a mortal living being that can die, be killed, or be dead, (whether the living being is a person, animal or fish). Nehphesh is always associated with the activity of earthly breathing beings, both of person(s) and animal(s). It never implies anything about life beyond the grave. IT IS NEVER TRANSLATED “SPIRIT” Although nehphesh—Strong’s Hebrew word #5315—“a breathing creature” is translated into about thirty-five words, thirty-four all have reference to a mortal being, animal, or person that is not deathless, none to an “immaterial invisible part of a person” that is deathless. 1. How could nehphesh be a mortal breathing creature that will die in thirty-four of the words into which it is translated? • And it is an immortal something that does not breath and that will not die in only one of the thirty-five words. Is it because this is the only word that they could use to put the Pagan immortal soul into the Bible, but were not able to translate it into an immortal invisible deathless something most of the times it was used? Can one word be rightly translated this way? How could the translators know when to translate this word as a mortal being that will die, and when the same word was to be changed to an immortal being that cannot die? No one reading some of the English translations of the Bible would have any way of knowing that all these words are translations (or mistranslations) of only one word. Did the translators do so because they wanted to make a person be an “immortal being,” and more than a “living creatures?” In almost one half of the times nehphesh is used in the Old Testament, even the King James translators could not translate it “soul.” When the all-knowing God used just one word, why did the translators use many words and change it as they wished to from a noun to pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.? Did they think that for all the years from Adam unto Christ? God people could understand the one word God used, but now about forty words are needed to translate that one word? If one word were all that was needed from Adam unto the translation of the King James Version, why would God’s one word not be enough today? Do the translators think they have improved the Hebrew Old Testament by changing the one word that God used into about thirty-five words, and changing this noun into about all parts of speech? The use of many words came when the Catholic Church brought in unconditional immortality, and they had to get it into the Bible. The Hebrew manuscripts still have just one word–nehphesh, which was the one word God inspired. Were the translators inspired to change it to many words? And changed from one part of speech into many parts of speech? Nehphesh is translated soul far fewer times in the New American Standard Version, and in most other translations, including the New King James Version, than it is in the King James Version. Were they going as far as they dared to in correcting the King James Version? The way soul is understood and used today in English (an inter undying part of a person) makes putting the word soul in a translation for the English people today be a false and deliberately misleading translation, for it makes it where today’s English reader cannot know what God said, and will understand only what the prejudiced outlook the translators wanted their readers to understand when they know that most that read it would understand the word soul only as it is used today. Without much study of Bible words, which most Bible reader will never do, they cannot know what God said to them when they read the word soul, and they will think that the somewhat prejudice outlook of the translator is the word of God. God’s word has been deliberately replaced with the teaching of man (Matthew 15:9) in a way that will have more influence on our conception of what our nature is and the nature of all living beings than any other question. THE “SOUL” AND “EATING OF BLOOD” Is the immortal “soul” (nehphesh) in the blood? Is a part of a person that many say it lives after the death of the body in the blood of both men and animals? (Leviticus 17:10-15) In only six verses nehphesh is used ten times but the translators concealed this from their reads by translating nehphesh as both life and soul, always life the four times it was speaking of animals, and soul the six times it was speaking of a person; does this not show their reluctance to let us see what God said to us? The same word (nehphesh) is translated soul six times and life four times in the King James Version in Leviticus 17:10-15. • Used referring to animals four times—nehphesh translated (1) life, (2) life, (3) life, (4) life. • Used referring to man six times—nehphesh translated (1) soul, (2) soul, (3) soul, (4) soul, (5) soul, (6) soul. Leviticus 17:10-15 in New Revised Standard Version • Used referring to animals four times—nehphesh translated (1) life, (2) life, (3) life, (4) life. • Used referring to man six times—nehphesh translated (1) person, (2) person, (3) lives, (4) life, (5) person, (6) persons. Leviticus 17:10-15 in New International Version • Used referring to animals four times—nehphesh translated (1) life, (2) life, (3) life, (4) life. • Used referring to man six times—nehphesh translated (1) person, (2) person, (3) lives, (4) person, (5) life, (6) anyone. Leviticus 17:10-15 King James Version, “I will even set my face against that SOUL (person–nehphesh, used referring to man) that eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people. For the LIFE (soul–nehphesh, used referring to animals) of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your SOULS: (nehphesh, used referring to man) for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the SOUL (nehphesh, used referring to man). Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, no SOUL (nehphesh, used referring to man) of you shall eat blood…For it is the LIFE (soul–nehphesh, used referring to animals) of all flesh; the blood of it is for the LIFE (soul–nehphesh, used referring to animals) thereof; therefore I said unto the children of Israel, no SOUL (nehphesh, used referring to man) shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the LIFE (soul-nehphesh, used referring to animals) of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eats it shall be cut off. And every SOUL (nehphesh, used referring to man) that eats that which died of itself…he shall wash his clothes, and bath himself in water” In this passage, the King James Version translated the same word “soul” all six times when it used referring to man, and “life” all four times when it used referring to animals. Can anyone not see how the translators picked when they wanted “nehphesh” to be “soul,” and when they wanted “nehphesh” to be “life”? They could not let an immortal soul be in the blood, nor could they let animals have an immortal soul. Their theology said a man had to have a soul, but an animal could not, and they were not willing that their reader see that the word “nehphesh” is used referring to both, and that both do not have a soul but are a soul. The vanishing use of soul in Leviticus 17:10-15. • In the King James Version nehphesh is translated “soul” six of the ten times it is used. • The New King James Version used “soul” only two of the ten times. • “Soul” is not used in the New Revised Standard Version, New International Version, The New American Bible, and others. Leviticus 17:10-15 New Revised Standard Version, “If anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens who reside among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that PERSON (nehphesh) who eats blood, and will cut that PERSON (nehphesh) off from the people. For the LIFE (nehphesh) of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you for making atonement for your LIVES (nehphesh) on the altar, for, as LIFE, (nehphesh) it is the blood that makes atonement. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel: No PERSON (nehphesh) among you shall eat blood…For the LIFE (nehphesh) of every creature-its blood is its LIFE; (nehphesh) therefore I have said to the people of Israel: You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the LIFE (nehphesh) of every creature is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off. All PERSONS, (nehphesh) citizens or aliens, who eat what dies of itself…shall wash their clothes, and bathe themselves in water” Leviticus 17:10-15 New International Version, “Any Israelite or any alien living among them who eats any blood-I will set my face against that PERSON (nehphesh) who eats blood and will cut HIM (nehphesh) off from his people. For the LIFE (nehphesh) of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for YOURSELVES (nehphesh) on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonements for one’s LIFE (nehphesh). Therefore I say to the Israelites, ‘None of YOU (nehphesh) may eat blood, nor may an alien living among you eat blood’…because the LIFE (nehphesh) of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the LIFE (nehphesh) of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off. ANYONE (nehphesh), whether native-born or alien, who eats anything found dead or torn by wild animals must wash his clothes and bathe with water’.” • “No soul (nehphesh) shall eat blood” Leviticus 17:12. No person–an immortal soul eating blood? • “The life (soul–nehphesh) of all flesh is the blood” Leviticus 17:11. They would not translate it to say, “The soul of all flesh is the blood.” • “No dead body (soul–nehphesh)” A dead immortal soul? The same word that is translated soul and life is translated dead body (Numbers 6:6, also Numbers 5:2; 6:11; 9:6; 9:10). These passages would make no sense if nehphesh were a no substance immortal something in a person that cannot be dead. It would also make animals have the same no substance immortal deathless something in them. It is life that is in the blood, not an immortal, immaterial, invisible soul in the blood as the word “soul” is used today. – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – THE DYING USE OF “SOUL” IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: In translations that were made by those who believe a person has an immortal soul, why is the use of the word “soul” becoming used less? Nehphesh is used in the Old Testament 870 times. TRANSLATED SOUL ONLY • 473 times out of 870 times – King James Version in 1611. • 289 times out of 870 times– New King James Version in 1982. Soul is used 184 times less in the Old Testament than it is in the King James Version. • 118 times out of 870 times – Amplified Bible in 1954. • 142 times out of 870 times – The Message in 1993. • 254 times out of 870 times – New American Standard Bible in 1960. • 115 times out of 870 times – New International Version in 1973. • 136 times out of 870 times – New International Version in 1984 update. • 95 times out of 870 times – New International Version in 2010 update. • 96 times out of 870 times – New International Reader’s Version in 1996. • 73 times out of 870 times – Today’s New International Version in 2001. • 44 times out of 870 times – New Living Translation in 1996. • 48 times out of 870 times – Holman Christian Standard Bible in 1999. • 26 times out of 870 times – Contemporary English Version in 1995. • 0 times out of 878 times – Common English Bible in 2011. o Most of the times that nehphesh was not translated “soul” it was translated “life,” “person,” “heart,” or the noun was changed to a pronoun (he, him, she, her, etc.) that is related to a person, and has no reference to an immortal part of a person. IN THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Greek work translated soul (psukee) is used 106 times. TRANSLATED SOUL ONLY • 55 times out of 106 times in the King James Version in 1611. • 27 times out of 106 times in the New King James Version in 1982. Soul is used 28 times less in the New King James Version than it is in the King James Version. • 39 times out of 106 times – Amplified Bible in 1954. • 43 times out of 106 times – New American Standard Bible in 1960. • 23 times out of 106 times – New International Version in 1984 and 2010 update. • 23 times out of 106 times – Today’s New International Version in 2001. • 29 times out of 106 times – New Living Translation in 1996. • 20 times out of 106 times – New International Reader’s Version in 1996. • 23 times out of 106 times – Holman Christian Standard Bible in 1999. • 22 times out of 106 times – Contemporary English Version in 1995. • 7 times out of 106 times – Common English Bible in 2011. • 0 times out of 106 times – Christian Bible in 1991. IN BOTH THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT: The Hebrew word translated soul (nehphesh) is used over 870 times in the Old Treatment, and the Greek word translated soul (psukee) is used 106 times, both together about 976 times. TRANSLATED SOUL ONLY • 530 times out of 976 times – King James Version in 1611. • 341 times out of 976 times–New King James Version in 1982. Soul is used 189 times less in the New King James Version than it is in the King James Version. • 200 times out of 976 times– Amplified Bible in 1954. • 301 times out of 976 times – New American Standard Bible in 1960. • 140 times out of 976 times – New International Version in 1973. • 136 times out of 976 times – New International Version in 1984 update. • 95 times out of 976 times – New International Version in 2010 update. • 96 times out of 976 times – Today’s New International Version in 2001. • 39 times out of 976 times – New International reader’s Version in 1996. • 177 times out of 976 times – The Message in 1993. • 73 times out of 976 times – New Living Translation in 1996. • 58 times out of 976 times – Holman Christian Standard Bible in 1999. • 58 times out of 976 times – Contemporary English Version in 1995. • 7 times out of 976 times – Common English Bible in 2011. Most, if not all these translators believe in an immortal soul, but have been reducing the times these words are translated “soul” and replacing it with “life,” “person,” “heart,” or changed it to pronouns that are related to a person. The way soul has been mostly removed in most translations, and replaced with life or person, the translators are saying the English word soul is not a true translation of the Hebrew. WHY THE USE OF SOUL IS DYING In many passages the psukee does thing that only this earthly body can do, things that an immortal soul that has no substance could not do. “And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul (psukee), Soul (psukee), you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul (psukee) is required of you\'” Luke 12:19-21. The New International Version removed “soul.” “And I’ll say to myself (Greek psukee–life), ‘you (Greek psukee–life) have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat drink and be merry.’ But, God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life (Greek–psukee) will be demanded from you.’” It is obvious that an immaterial, invisible, no substance soul would have no use for the things the rich man stored in his barns, it would not be able to eat and drink the thing stored in barns, that this was not speaking of an immaterial soul with without any substance, but was speaking of an earthly person that can eat and drink of the substance was stored and
  94. ‘I think he knew what Jews believed’ which was all manner of weird and wonderful things, but not all that scriptural.

  95. zeibart, you are missing the point at so many levels with your attempt to make the body one with the soul. As I have said several times in the past, the human make up is interconnected and we only define terms to give an explanation of the way in which we function.

    But the Word of God is living and powerful enough to divide between body, soul and spirit. Therefore, there is a distinction and it can be defined.

    Now, take a careful look at the following passage, and see if you can follow what Paul is saying.

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

    For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

    For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

    For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

    Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

    Now what is he talking about here but the separation of the outward man from the inward, the body (outward, temporal) from the soul and spirit (inward, eternal). He is clearly telling us that the body can be changed and will be changed but the soul and spirit will be retained, having, in the new creature, been saved and regenerated, albeit without yet receiving a reconstructed body.

    You have eluded to this yourself when you say we will need a new body to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore you have unwittingly made the claim that the soul and spirit of the regenerated man will be clothed upon by a new, glorified body at the resurrection.

    I say the resurrection because we know from scripture that the change will take place in an instant and the corruptible will be replaced by the incorruptible, but the inward man will not have to be changed.

    In fact, it is the presence of the Spirit in our lives as a warranty which will separate us out at the resurrection of the saints. The Spirit in our lives is the seal of the guarantee of the redemption of our body.

    Further, it matters not whether the people are alive in Christ or have died in Christ, for we are told the dead in Christ will rise first and be changed first, in the twinkling of an eye, which is Old English for an atomic second – a very sudden, dramatic and dynamic change.

    This means their bodies, no matter how or where the atoms have been distributed will be reunited with their soul and spirit. Their body will have degenerated and become one with soil, sea or ash, but the soul cannot be thus destroyed or dispersed.

    It has been saved in this lifetime, before our body gave up the ghost, and we have been eternally sealed with the Spirit to mark us for the resurrection of the saints. The soul doesn’t melt into the ground. It is not a physical object, or of atomic construction. It is as vital to us as the body, but the body cannot live without the soul.

    You cannot, then, make the claim of an evaporation of the soul or spirit of a man when it is clear from scripture that the resurrection will involve a change of construction of the outward man, but not the inward, because the outward is temporal, but the inward, as the scripture tells us, is eternal.

  96. ‘I think he knew what Jews believed’ which was all manner of weird and wonderful things, but not all that scriptural.

    Feel free to actually produce some evidence to the contrary.

    It’s all against you bud.

  97. Some alternative views, which make more sense than the traditional interpretations….

    The Rich Man and Lazarus

    The word hades also occurs in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, but with a different meaning. While in the 10 references we have just examined hades refers to the grave or the realm of the dead, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus it denotes the place of punishment for the ungodly (Luke 16:23). The reason for this exceptional use will be explained shortly. Obviously, dualists make great use of this parable to support the notion of the conscious existence of disembodied souls during the intermediate state (Luke 16:19-31). Because of the importance attached to this parable, we need to examine it closely.
    First, let us look at the main points of the story. Lazarus and the rich man both die. Their situations in life are now reversed after their death. For when Lazarus died, he “was carried by angels to Abraham’s bosom” (Luke 16:22), whereas the rich man was taken to hades where he was tormented by scorching flames (Luke 16:23). Although a great gulf separated them, the rich man could see Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom. So he pleaded with Abraham to send Lazarus on two errands: first, to “send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool his tongue” (Luke 16:24) and second, to send Lazarus to warn his family members to repent lest they experience the same punishment. Abraham denied both requests for two reasons. The first, because there was a great chasm that made it impossible for Lazarus to cross over to help him (Luke 16:26); the second, because if his family members did “not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31).
    Before looking at the parable, we need to remember that contrary to an allegory like Pilgrim’s Progress, where every details counts, the details of a parable do not necessarily have any significance in themselves, except as “props” for the story. A parable is designed to teach a fundamental truth, and the details do not have a literal meaning, unless the context indicates otherwise. Out of this principle another grows, namely, only the fundamental teaching of a parable, confirmed by the general tenor of Scripture, may be legitimately used for defining doctrine.

    The Problems of a Literal Interpretation

    Those who interpret the parable as a literal representation of the state of the saved and unsaved after death are faced with insurmountable problems. If the narrative is an actual description of the intermediate state, then it must be true in fact and consistent in detail. But if the parable is figurative, then only the moral truth to be conveyed need concern us. A literal interpretation of the narrative breaks down under the weight of its own absurdities and contradictions, as becomes apparent under scrutiny.
    Contenders for literalism suppose that the rich man and Lazarus were disembodied spirits, destitute of bodies. Yet the rich man is described as having “eyes” that see and a “tongue” that speaks, as well as seeking relief from the “finger” of Lazarus—all real body parts. They are portrayed as existing physically, despite the fact that the rich man’s body was duly buried in the grave. Was his body carried away into hades together with his soul by mistake?
    A gulf separates Lazarus in Heaven (Abraham’s bosom) from the rich man in hades. The gulf is too wide for anyone to cross and yet narrow enough to permit them to converse. Taken literally, this means that Heaven and Hell are within geographical speaking and seeing distance from each other so that saints and sinners eternally can see and communicate with one another. Ponder for a moment the case of parents in Heaven seeing their children agonizing in hades for all eternity. Would not such a sight destroy the very joy and peace of Heaven? It is unthinkable that the saved will see and converse with their unsaved loved ones for all eternity across a dividing gulf.

    Conflict With Biblical Truths

    A literal interpretation of the parable contradicts some fundamental Biblical truths. If the narrative is literal, then Lazarus received his reward and the rich man his punishment, immediately after death and before the judgment day. But the Bible clearly teaches that the rewards and punishments, as well as the separation between the saved and the unsaved will take place on the day of Christ’s coming: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, . . . and before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another” (Matt 25:31-32). “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay everyone for what he has done” (Rev 22:12). Paul expected to receive “the crown of righteousness” on the day of Christ’s appearing (2 Tim 4:8).
    A literal interpretation of the parable also contradicts the uniform testimony of the Old and New Testaments that the dead, both righteous and ungodly, lie silent and unconscious in death until the resurrection day (Eccl 9:5-6; Job 14:12-15, 20, 21; Ps 6:5; 115:17). A literal interpretation also contradicts the consistent use of hades in the New Testament to denote the grave or the realm of the dead, not a place of punishment. We have found that in 10 of its 11 occurrences, hades is explicitly connected with death and the grave. The exceptional use of hades in this parable as a fiery place of torment (Luke 16:24) derives not from Scripture, but from current Jewish beliefs influenced by Greek mythology.

    Current Jewish Concepts

    Fortunately for our investigation, we have Jewish writings that illuminate the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Especially revealing is the “Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades,” written by Josephus, the famous Jewish historian who lived during New Testament times (died about A. D. 100). His discourse parallels very closely the narrative of the rich man and Lazarus. In it Josephus explains that “Hades is a subterraneous region where the light of this world does not shine. . . . This region is allowed as a place of custody for souls, in which angels are appointed as guardians to them, who distribute to them temporary punishments, agreeable to every one’s behavior and manners.”45
    Josephus points out, however, that hades is divided into two regions. One is “the region of light” where the souls of the righteous dead are brought by angels to the “place we call The Bosom of Abraham.”46 The second region is in “perpetual darkness,” and the souls of the ungodly are dragged by force “by the angels allotted for punishment.”47 These angels drag the ungodly “into the neighborhood of hell itself,” so that they can see and feel the heat of the flames.48 But they are not thrown into hell itself until after the final judgment. “A chaos deep and large is fixed between them; insomuch that a just man that hath compassion upon them, cannot be admitted, nor can one that is unjust, if he were bold enough to attempt it, pass over it.”49
    The striking similarities between Josephus’ description of hades and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus are self-evident. In both accounts we have the two regions that separate the righteous from the ungodly, the bosom of Abraham as the abode of the righteous, a great gulf that cannot be crossed, and the inhabitants of one region who can see those of the other region.
    Josephus’ description of hades is not unique. Similar descriptions can be found in other Jewish literature.50 What this means is that Jesus capitalized on the popular understanding of the condition of the dead in hades, not to endorse such views, but to drive home the importance of heeding in this present life the teachings of Moses and the prophets because this determines bliss or misery in the world to come.

    Jesus’ Use of Current Beliefs

    At this juncture, it may be proper to ask, “Why did Jesus tell a parable based on current beliefs that do not accurately represent truth as set forth elsewhere in the Scripture and in His own teachings?” The answer is that Jesus met people on their own ground, capitalizing on what was familiar to them to teach them vital truths. Many of His hearers had come to believe in a conscious state of existence between death and the resurrection, though such a belief is foreign to Scripture. This erroneous belief was adopted during the intertestamental period as part of the process of Hellenization of Judaism and had become a part of Judaism by the time of Jesus.
    In this parable, Jesus made use of a popular belief, not to endorse it, but to impress upon the minds of His hearers an important spiritual lesson. It should be noted that even in the preceding parable of the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1-12), Jesus uses a story that does not accurately represent Biblical truth. Nowhere, does the Bible endorse the practice of a dishonest administrator who reduces to half the outstanding debts of creditors in order to get some personal benefits from such creditors. The lesson of the parable is to “make friends for yourselves” (Luke 16:9), not to teach dishonest business practices.
    John Cooper, though he has produced in my view the most scholarly defence of the dualistic view of human nature, acknowledges that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus “does not necessarily tell us what Jesus or Luke believed about the afterlife, nor does it provide a firm basis for a doctrine of the intermediate state. For it is possible that Jesus simply uses popular images in order to make his ethical point. He may not have been endorsing those images. He may not have believed them himself because he knew them to be false.”51
    Cooper then asks the question: “What does this passage tell us about the intermediate state?” He flatly and honestly replies: “The answer may be, ‘Nothing.’ The dualist case cannot lean on this text as a main support.”52 The reason he gives is that it is most difficult to draw conclusions from the imagery of the parable. For example, Cooper asks: “Will we be bodily beings [in the intermediate state]? Will the blessed and the damned be able to see each other?”53

    Jesus and the Thief on the Cross

    The brief conversation between Jesus and the penitent thief on the cross next to Him (Luke 23:42-43) is used by dualists as a major proof for the conscious existence of the faithful dead in paradise before the resurrection. Thus, it is important to take a close look to the words spoken by Jesus to the penitent thief.
    Unlike the other criminal and most of the crowd, the penitent thief did believe that Jesus was the Messiah. He said: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus answered him, “Truly I say to you today you shall be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). A major problem in the interpretation of this text is caused by the location of the comma, which in most translations, is placed before “today.” Thus, most readers and commentators assume that Jesus said: “Today you shall be with me in paradise” Such reading is interpreted to mean that “on that very day”54 the thief went to paradise with Christ.
    The original Greek text, however, has no punctuation and, translated literally, reads: “Truly to you I say today with me you will be in paradise.” The adverb “today–semeron” stands between the verb “I say–lego” and “you will be–ese.” This means that grammatically the adverb “today” can apply to either of the two verbs. If it qualifies the first verb, then Jesus said: “Truly I say to you today, you shall be with me in paradise.”
    Translators have placed the comma before the adverb “today,” not for grammatical reasons, but for the theological conviction that the dead receive their reward at death. One would wish that translators would limit themselves to translating the text and leave the task of interpretation to the reader.
    The question we are facing is: Did Jesus mean to say, “Truly, I say to you today. . .” or “Today you shall be with me in paradise”? Those who maintain that Jesus meant the latter appeal to the fact that the adverb “today” does not occur elsewhere with the frequently used phrase “Truly, I say to you.” This is a valid observation, but the reason for this exceptional attachment of the adverb “today” to the phrase “Truly, I say to you” could very well be the immediate context. The thief asked Jesus to remember him in the future when He would establish His messianic kingdom. But Jesus responded by remembering the penitent thief immediately, “today,” and by reassuring him that he would be with Him in paradise. This interpretation is supported by two major considerations: (1) the time when the saved will enter upon their reward in paradise, and (2) the time when Jesus Himself returned to Paradise.

    When Will the Redeem Enter Paradise?

    Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught that the redeemed would enter into His Father’s Kingdom at His coming: “Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt 25:34; 16:27). Paul taught the same truth. At Christ’s second coming, the sleeping saints will be resurrected and the living saints translated, and all “shall be caught up together . . . in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17). It is at that time, following the resurrection of the righteous, that the thief will be with Jesus in Paradise.

    When Did Jesus Return to Paradise?

    Those who interpret Christ’s statement to the thief as meaning that on that very day the thief went to paradise to be with Christ, assume that both Jesus and the thief ascended to heaven immediately after their death. But such a conclusion can hardly be supported by Scripture.
    The Scriptures expressly teach that on the day of His crucifixion, Christ went into the grave–hades. At Pentecost, Peter proclaimed that in accordance to David’s prophecy (Ps 16:10), Christ “was not abandoned in Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption,” but was raised up by God (Acts 2:31-32). Hades, as we have seen, is associated consistently in the New Testament with the grave or the realm of the dead. What this means is that Christ could hardly have told the thief that on that very day he would be with Him in paradise, when He knew that on that day He would be resting in the grave.
    Those who would argue that only Christ’s body went into the grave while His soul ascended to heaven ignore what Jesus said to Mary on the day of His resurrection: “Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17). It is evident that Jesus was not in Heaven during the three days of his burial. He was resting in the grave, waiting for His Father to call Him back to life. Thus, the thief could hardly have gone to be with Jesus in Paradise immediately after his death when Jesus Himself did not ascend to the Father until some time after His resurrection. To appreciate more fully the meaning of being “with Christ in paradise,” let us look at Paul’s use of the phrase “being with Christ.”

    “To Depart and Be With Christ”

    In writing to the Philippians, Paul says: “My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account” (Phil 1:22-23). Dualists consider this text one of the strongest proofs that at death the soul of the saved immediately goes into the presence of Christ. For example, Robert Morey states: “This is the clearest passage in the New Testament which speaks of the believer going to be with Christ in heaven after death. This context deals with Paul’s desire to depart this earthly life for a heavenly life with Christ. There is no mention or allusion to the resurrection in this passage.”55
    The fundamental problem with this interpretation is the failure to recognize that Paul’s statement, “My desire is to depart and be with Christ” is a relational and not an anthropological statement. By this I mean, it is a statement of the relation that exists and continues between the believer and Christ through death, not a statement of the “state” of the body and soul between death and the resurrection.
    The New Testament is not concerned about a ‘state’ which exists between death and resurrection, but about a relation that exists between the believer and Christ through death. This relationship of being with Christ is not interrupted by death because the believer who sleeps in Christ has no awareness of the passing of time.
    For Paul those who “die in Christ” are “sleeping in Christ” (1 Cor 15:18; 1 Thess 4:14). Their relation with Christ is one of immediacy, because they have no awareness of the passing of time between their death and resurrection. They experience what may be called “eternal time.” But for those who go on living on earth-bound temporal time there is an interval between death and resurrection. The problem is that we cannot synchronize the clock of eternal time with that of our temporal time. It is the attempt to do this that has led to unfortunate speculations and controversies over the so-called intermediate state.
    By expressing his desire “to depart and be with Christ,” Paul was not giving a doctrinal exposition of what happens at death. He is simply expressing his longing to see an end to his troubled existence and to be with Christ. Throughout the centuries, earnest Christians have expressed the same longing, without necessarily expecting to be ushered into Christ’s presence at the moment of their death. Paul’s statement must be interpreted on the basis of his clear teachings regarding the time when believers will be united with Christ.

    With Christ at His Coming

    Paul addresses this question in his letter to the Thessalonians where he explains that both the sleeping and living believers will be united with Christ, not at death, but at His coming. “The dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess 4:17).56 The “so” (houtos) refers to the manner or way in which believers will be with Christ, namely, not by dying, but by being resurrected or translated at His coming. The word “so” in Greek houtos “means ‘in this way.’ Its place here at the beginning of the sentence is meant to explain the way believers will be with Christ, namely, through the resurrection.
    It should be noted that in describing the union with Christ which believers will experience at His coming, Paul never speaks of disembodied souls being reunited with resurrected bodies. Rather, he speaks of “the dead in Christ” being risen (1 Thess 4:16). Obviously, what is risen at Christ’s coming is not just dead bodies but dead people. It is the whole person who will be resurrected and reunited with Christ. Note that the living saints will meet Christ at the same time “together with” the resurrected saints (1 Thess 4:17). Sleeping and living saints meet Christ “together” at His coming, not at death.
    The total absence of any Pauline allusion to an alleged reunion of the body with the soul at the time of the resurrection constitutes, in my view, the most formidable challenge to the notion of the conscious survival of the soul. If Paul knew anything about this, he would surely have alluded to it, especially in his detailed discussion of what will happen to sleeping and living believers at Christ’s coming (1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:42-58). The fact that Paul never alluded to the conscious survival of the soul and its reattachment to the body at the resurrection clearly shows that such a notion was totally foreign to him and to Scripture as a whole.

    “At Home With the Lord”

    In 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, Paul expresses again the hope of being with Christ by using several striking metaphors. This passage is rightly regarded as the “crux interpretum,” that is “the cross of interpreters,” primarily because the figurative language is cryptic and open to different interpretations. Unfortunately, dualistic interpreters are eager to derive from this passage, as from Philippians 1:22-23, precise definitions of life survival of the soul after the death of the body. Such concerns, however, are far removed from Paul, who is using the poetic language of faith to express his hopes and fears regarding the present and future life, rather than the logical language of science to explain the afterlife. All of this should put the interpreter on guard against reading into the passage what Paul never intended to express.
    The passage opens with the preposition “for–gar,” thus indicating that Paul picks up from chapter 4:16-18, where he contrasts the temporal, mortal nature of the present life which is “wasting away” (2 Cor 4:16) with the eternal, glorious nature of the future life, whose “eternal weight of glory [is] beyond all comparison” (2 Cor 4:17). Paul continues in chapter 5 developing the contrast between temporality and eternity by using the imagery of two dwelling places representative of these characteristics.
    “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling, so that by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared for us this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor 5:1-5).
    In this first section of the passage, Paul uses two sets of contrasting metaphors. First, he contrasts “the earthly tent,” which is subject to destruction, with the “building from God, a house not made with hands,” which is “eternal in the heavens.” Then Paul highlights this contrast by differentiating between the state of being clothed with the heavenly dwelling and that of being found naked.
    The second section, verses 6 to 10, is more straightforward and contrasts being in the body and therefore away from the Lord, with being away from the body and at home with the Lord. The key statement occurs in verse 8 where Paul says: “We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” This passage has been the object of enormous variety of interpretations which are discuss at length in my book Immortality or Resurrection? pages 180186.

    Heavenly and Earthly Modes of Existence

    After rereading the passage countless times, I sense that Paul’s primary concern is not to define the state of the body before and after death, but rather to contrast two modes of existence. One is the heavenly mode of existence which is represented by the “building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Cor 5:1). The other is the earthly mode of existence which is typified by “the earthly tent” which is “destroyed” at death.
    The meaning of the imagery of “putting on” or “being clothed” with “our heavenly dwelling” has more to do with accepting Christ’s provision of salvation than with “the spiritual body” given to believers at the Second Coming. Support for this conclusion can be seen in the figurative use of “heavenly dwelling” with reference to God and of “being clothed” with reference to the believer’s acceptance of Christ.
    Paul’s assurance that “we have a building from God” (2 Cor 5:1) reminds us of such verses as “God is our refuge and strength” (Ps 46:1), or “Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place” (Ps 90:1).57 Christ referred to Himself as a temple in a way that is strikingly similar to Paul’s imagery of the heavenly dwelling “not made with hands.” He is reported to have said: “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands” (Mark 14:58). If Paul was thinking along these lines, then the heavenly dwelling place is Christ Himself and the gift of eternal life He provides to believers.
    How, then, does a believer put on “the heavenly dwelling”? A look at Paul’s use of the metaphor of clothing may provide an answer. “As many as were baptized into Christ were clothed with Christ” (Gal 3:27). In this text, the clothing is associated with the acceptance of Christ at baptism. Paul also says: “This perishable being must be clothed with the imperishable, and what is mortal must be clothed with immortality” (1 Cor 15:53, NEB). Here the clothing represents the reception of immortality at Christ’s coming. These two references suggest that the “clothing” can refer to the new life in Christ, which is accepted at baptism, renewed every day, and consummated at the Parousia, when the final clothing will take place by means of the change from mortality to immortality.
    In the light of the above interpretation, to “be found naked” or “unclothed” (2 Cor 5:3-4) may stand in contrast with being clothed with Christ and His Spirit. Most likely “naked” for Paul stands not for the soul stripped from the body, but for guilt and sin which results in death. When Adam sinned, he discovered that he was “naked” (Gen 3:10). Ezekiel allegorically describes how God clothed Israel with rich garments but then exposed her nakedness because of her disobedience (Ez 16:8-14). One may also think of the man without “the wedding garment” at the marriage feast (Matt 22:11). It is possible, then, that being “naked” for Paul meant to be in a mortal, sinful condition, bereft of Christ’s righteousness.
    Paul clarifies what he meant by being “unclothed” or “naked” versus being “clothed” when he says: “So that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life” (2 Cor 5:4). The same concept is repeated in 1 Corinthians15:35 which speaks of the transformation that human nature as a whole will experience at Christ’s coming: “For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:53).
    In both passages, 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 and 1 Corinthians 15:35, Paul is not concerned with the state of the body or the soul as such before or after death. Incidentally, he never speaks of the soul nor of the “spiritual body” in 1 Corinthians 5. Instead, Paul’s concern is to show the contrast between the earthly mode of existence, represented by “earthly tent,” and the heavenly mode of existence, represented by the “heavenly dwelling. The former is “mortal” and the latter is immortal (“swallowed up by life;” 2 Cor 5:4). The former is experienced “at home in the body” and “away from the Lord” (2 Cor 5:6). The latter is experienced “away from the body” and “at home with the Lord” (2 Cor 5:8).
    The failure to recognize that Paul is speaking about two different modes of existence and not about the state of the body or soul after death, has led to unnecessary, misguided speculations about the afterlife. A good example is Robert Peterson’s statement: “Paul confirms Jesus’ teaching when he contrasts being ‘at home in the body’ and ‘away from the Lord’ with being ‘away from the body and at home with the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:6, 8). He presupposes that human nature is composed of material and immaterial aspects.”58
    This interpretation is gratuitous, because neither Jesus or Paul are concerned with defining human nature ontologically, that is, in terms of its material or immaterial components. Instead, their concern is to define human nature ethically and relationally, in terms of disobedience and obedience, sin and righteousness, mortality and immortality. This is Paul’s concern in 2 Corinthians 5:1-9, where he speaks of the earthly and heavenly modes of existence in relationship to God, and not of the material or immaterial composition of human nature before and after death.

    The Souls Under the Altar

    The last passage we examine is Revelation 6:9-11, which reads: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’ Then they each were given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.”
    This passage is often cited to support the notion that the “souls” of the saints exist after death in heaven as disembodied, conscious spirits. For example, Robert Morey emphatically states: “The souls are the disembodied spirits of the martyrs who cry out to God for vengeance on their enemies. . . . This passage has always proven a great difficulty to those who deny that believers ascend to heaven at death. But John’s language is clear that these souls were conscious and active in heaven.”59
    This interpretation ignores that apocalyptic pictures are not meant to be photographs of actual realities, but symbolic representations of almost unimaginable spiritual realities. John was not given a view of what heaven is actually like. It is evident that there are no white, red, black, and pale horses in heaven with warlike riders. In heaven Christ does not look like a lamb with a bleeding knife wound (Rev 5:6). Likewise, there are no “souls” of martyrs in heaven squeezed at the base of an altar. The whole scene is simply a symbolic representation designed to reassure those facing martyrdom and death that ultimately they would be vindicated by God. Such a reassurance would be particularly heartening for those who, like John, were facing terrible persecution for refusing to participate in the emperor’s cult.
    The use of the word “souls–psychas” in this passage is unique for the New Testament, because it is never used to refer to humans in the intermediate state. The reason for its use here is suggested by the unnatural death of the martyrs whose blood was shed for the cause of Christ. In the Old Testament sacrificial system, the blood of animals was poured out at the base of the altar of burnt offerings (Lev 4:7, 18, 25, 30). The blood contained the soul (Lev 17:11) of the innocent victim that was offered as an atoning sacrifice to God on behalf of penitent sinners. Thus, the souls of the martyrs are seen under the altar to signify that their blood had been symbolically poured at its base.
    The language of sacrificial death is used elsewhere in the New Testament to denote martyrdom. Facing death, Paul wrote: “For I am already on the point of being sacrificed” (2 Tim 4:6). The apostle also says that he was glad “to be poured out as a libation” for Christ (Phil 2:17). Thus, Christian martyrs were viewed as sacrifices offered to God. Their blood shed on earth was poured symbolically at the heavenly altar. Thus their souls are seen under the altar because that is where symbolically the blood of the martyrs flowed.

  98. However, the vicarious sacrifice of Christ is also present in the Old, so we have the witness of both – the prophecy and the fulfilment. That should be enough.

    At no stage in Christianity was it seen that Jesus was sacrificed as a punishment for our sins.

    Until the Reformers.

    It’s how the Reformers saw God and suited their legalistic, guilt-ridden world.

    Luther loved the Son yet was terrified of the Father.

    It’s an evil, pagan concept of God which Christianity did not know.

  99. Well, look guys, if you are going to post really long passages of stuff the thread is going to become super long and barely possible to follow.

    It would be better if you edit your quotes down to the essential points and give a summary in your own words. Wading through huge passages of someone else’s explanation of something is far too time consuming.

    Better to confine your comments to your own explanation in your own words with relevant quotes to emphasise your points.

    You are both articulate enough to give your own summary.

  100. You didn’t read it did you?

    I did say you should read it really carefully. It is all there, zeibart. The outward, referring to the body, the shell, the kernel, if you like, which is then called temporal, or temporary, and seen, and the inward, which is called eternal, and unseen.

    Read it.

  101. zeibart, you failed to give the source for your last long quote, so I researched it. I must admit I can’t blame you for not giving the source, since he is an eminent Seventh Day Adventist, Samuele Bacchiocchi, Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University.

    That would be why he seemed to be trying so hard to prove a preconceived position rather than follow through to the scripturally obvious conclusion.

    At first I thought it might have been Watchtower doctrine because of this clearly contrived method of taking one passage at a time and attempting to deconstruct it, missing the contextual message of the whole which demonstrates completely the opposite to the premise being pursued.

    Like the Watchtower, SDA believe he soul is annihilated at death. Here Bacchiocchi is attempting to deny any distinction between the body, soul and spirit, or any existence beyond the death and corruption of the body.

    See if you can grasp the distinction between the soul and the body being made in the following passage on the crucifixion of Christ.

    Acts 2
    23 “Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death;
    24 “whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.
    25 “For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
    26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
    27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
    28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’
    29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.
    30 “Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,
    31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.
    32 “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.
    33 “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.
    34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand,
    35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’
    36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

  102. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

    But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

    If not the dead in Christ, then who are those who have fallen asleep, that God will bring with Him? God is not bringing dead and decaying bodies with him, unless of course the graves have been robbed.

    Lost track of this thread about 14 quadrillion words ago.

  103. “Like the Watchtower, SDA believe he soul is annihilated at death.”

    That’s where i lost Garner Ted Armstrong at. Or ‘soul sleep’, or something similar.

  104. ‘Feel free to actually produce some evidence to the contrary.’

    ”The Jewish Encyclopoedia (1948 edition) Vol. 5, page 269 states: “Heaven, it was thought. must merely be an idealized state of existence on earth!” In Vol. 4, page 484 it states: “Beliefs about the hereafter never solidified into dogmas in Judaism … Traditional Judaism consigns this subject to the realm of those hidden matters on which it is deemed inadvisable to speculate. The final destiny of the individual is subordinated to the question of the future of the Jewish people.”

    The Talmud holds that only Jews are true human beings and Gentiles are the “goyim” who are on the level with cattle and other animals. The following are shocking but exact quotes from the various books of “The Talmud.”

    Sanhedrin 59a: “Murdering Goyim is like killing a wild animal.”

    Abodah Zara 26b: “Even the best ofthe Gentiles should be killed. ”

    Sanhedrin 59a: “A goy (Gentile) who pries into The Law (Talmud) is guilty of death.”

    Libbre David 37: “To communicate anything to a Goy about our religious relations would be equal to the killing of all Jews, for if the Goyim knew what we teach about them, they would kill us openly.”

    It gets a good deal worse. Need any more evidence?

  105. ”zeibart, you failed to give the source for your last long quote, ” Yes it was a cut and paste from a doc I put together that had quite a lot of Bachiocci’s work. Whilst I have never been part of the SDAs, I do think they have a good handle on the bible in some respects – this area in particular.

    Shame the 411 page book on this subject wouldn’t load on the comments! 😉

  106. zeibart, you are missing the point at so many levels with your attempt to make the body one with the soul (WHY? I’M ACTUALLY MAKING THE POINT THAT BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION HAS BEEN DRAGGED OFF TRACK SOME WAY DUE TO WRONG INFLUENCES). As I have said several times in the past, the human make up is interconnected and we only define terms to give an explanation of the way in which we function. (WE AGREE)

    But the Word of God is living and powerful enough to divide between body, soul and spirit (THE WORD OF GOD CAN BENEFIT EVERY ASPECT OF OUR PERSON IS WHAT THIS MEANS, NOT THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL COMPONENTS). Therefore, there is a distinction and it can be defined.

    Now, take a careful look at the following passage, and see if you can follow what Paul is saying (I’LL DO MY BEST STEVE).

    Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man (BODY) is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (MIND AS IN ROMANS 12:1-3).

    For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

    For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal (I CAN’T SEE MY MIND BUT IT’S NOT ETERNAL. YOU ARE DRAWING A FALSE CONCLUSION FROM THIS LINE. PAUL IS AGAIN FOCUSSING ON RESURRECTION). For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (A RESURRECTION BODY – SEE JOHN 14 AND JESUS’S MANY DWELLINGS THAT HE GOES TO PREPARE. NOTE HE COMES BACK TO GIVE US THESE NEW ETERNAL CURRENTLY UNSEEN BODIES).

    For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven (RESURRECTION BODY), if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed (THE DEAD ARE UNCLOTHED), but further clothed (IN OUR NEW BODIES), that mortality may be swallowed up by life.

    Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

    Now what is he talking about here but the separation of the outward man from the inward (THAT’S EXACTLY NOT WHAT PAUL IS SAYING. THAT’S YOUR PRE-SUPPOSITION TALKING), the body (outward, temporal) from the soul and spirit (inward, eternal). He is clearly telling us that the body can be changed and will be changed but the soul and spirit will be retained (HE DIDN’T SAY THAT AT ALL), having, in the new creature (ONE WHO IS BEING RENEWED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT), been saved and regenerated, albeit without yet receiving a reconstructed body (PAUL NEVER EXPRESSES HIMSELF IN THESE TERMS).

    You have eluded to this yourself when you say we will need a new body to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore you have unwittingly made the claim that the soul and spirit of the regenerated man will be clothed upon by a new, glorified body at the resurrection (NO, THE WHOLE PERSON DIES; THE WHOLE PERSON IS RAISED).

    I say the resurrection because we know from scripture that the change will take place in an instant and the corruptible will be replaced by the incorruptible, but the inward man will not have to be changed (‘FRAID IT WILL BECAUSE IT IS BY NO MEANS PERFECT. WHY WOULD THE HS HAVE TO UNDERTAKE CONTINUAL RENEWING?).

    In fact, it is the presence of the Spirit in our lives as a warranty which will separate us out at the resurrection of the saints. The Spirit in our lives is the seal of the guarantee of the redemption of our body (AMEN).

    Further, it matters not whether the people are alive in Christ or have died in Christ, for we are told the dead in Christ will rise first and be changed first, in the twinkling of an eye, which is Old English for an atomic second – a very sudden, dramatic and dynamic change.

    This means their bodies, no matter how or where the atoms have been distributed will be reunited with their soul and spirit (REUNITED? THEY CANNOT BE SEPARATED FOR THEY ARE INTERDEPENDENT AND CONNECTED. YOU SAID SO AS WELL). Their body will have degenerated and become one with soil, sea or ash, but the soul cannot be thus destroyed or dispersed.

    It has been saved in this lifetime, before our body gave up the ghost, and we have been eternally sealed with the Spirit to mark us for the resurrection of the saints. The soul doesn’t melt into the ground. It is not a physical object, or of atomic construction. It is as vital to us as the body, but the body cannot live without the soul (NOR IS THE SOUL AN OBJECT – IT IS THE LIVING PERSON).

    You cannot, then, make the claim of an evaporation of the soul or spirit of a man (I DON’T BECAUSE WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT THE LIFE GIVEN BY GOD RETURNS TO HIM AND THE DEAD SOUL SLEEPS – WAITING. ARE YOU SAYING THAT IF THE ‘SPIRIT’ RETURNS TO GOD THAT IS ONLY THE FAITHFUL,? DO THE WICKED ‘SPIRITS’ ALSO RETURN TO GOD?) when it is clear from scripture that the resurrection will involve a change of construction of the outward man, but not the inward, because the outward is temporal, but the inward, as the scripture tells us (IT DOESN’T – YOU WANT IT TO READ THAT WAY), is eternal.

  107. Acts 2-’27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption’ is very clear that the whole person of Jesus was not abandoned to death or the grave and saw no corruption being raised after 3 days.

    ‘Soul’ as in ‘nephesh’ or ‘psuche’ just means person, and his flesh saw no decay. There is no requirement to assume separation just because 2 words are used.

    If your car conked out and was taken to the breakers yard, and you were told that the mechanical parts would not remain there nor the bodywork rust, would you assume the car had been dismantled?

  108. zeibert,
    THE WORD OF GOD CAN BENEFIT EVERY ASPECT OF OUR PERSON IS WHAT THIS MEANS, NOT THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL COMPONENTS

    In fact it says the Word of God is living and powerful and DIVIDES between soul and spirit, bone an marrow (body).

    For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    Hebrews 4:12

    Piercing: diikneomai: to penetrate.

    Division: merismo: to partition, from merizo: to separate into parts.

    He makes a distinction between soul and spirit and body.

    Then you take a clever sidestep and make the outward man the body, which is correct, but the inward man the mind, which is only part of the truth. The inward man is clearly the soul, which includes the mind, will and senses. Where would you place the regenerated spirit? Inward or outward. It must be inward.

    The word for ‘mind’ in Romans 12:2, by the way, is not psyche but nous. And you miss the prayer of Paul where he intercedes that we will be ‘strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith’.

    This is obviously declaring that there is an inner man and that it is the seat of the Spirit within, and that Christ can dwell in our hearts.

    Then you make the extraordinary discovery that there is a new body coming but you do not grasp the significance that it is called mansion, a house, a dwelling place, and that we will be ‘clothed upon’ with this new body as the old body is changed. So what is it, zeibart, that is clothed upon?

    I’m sure you can work this out. Something about us is clothed upon with a new heavenly body, an incorruptible body which replaces the corruptible.

    Well it is the soul and the spirit which will be clothed upon, obviously. It can’t be the mind on its own, even according to your logic, because the mind doesn’t just float around waiting for a body.

    No it is the soul which which will be clothed upon, and it is the Spirit in the inner man which is the guarantee of the resurrection and therefore the new body which is being prepared for us.

    If you are going to persist with SDA doctrine on this you will be led down the garden path. They will thoroughly mislead you. If you use Watchtower theology on any of these things you will be take off line. Neither is a healthy theological position.

    By the way, when I was talking about the dispersal of the atoms I as reminding you what happens to the body when we die. It becomes dirt. It disintegrates. Its atoms are redistributed. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. At the resurrection they will be gathered together by God for those who are dead, and the life of the person will return, for the saints as a regenerated person, or the lost to judgment and condemnation.

    The sheer weight of scripture which testifies of the body, soul, spirit, heart as interconnected but separate parts of our makeup gives us the teaching on the tripartite man. Trying to dismantle each reference as you go along misses the point that there is a uniform theology all the way through scripture.

    Your hunger for the Word tells me you seriously need a Bible School, and soon. The direction you are taking is of no use to anyone because you are taking such a desperately unorthodox route.

  109. Acts 2:27
    For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

    The conjunction ‘nor’ gives the distinction between the two.

    One says ‘leave’, the other says ‘see corruption’. The soul is left. The body sees corruption.

    You can’t have both states for one outcome unless they are separate entities.

    The very obvious conclusion, then, is that the soul can be left in Hades, and the body can see corruption, which is entirely borne out by other passages of scripture.

    The good news for us is that Christ’s soul was not left in Hades, and His body did not see corruption. There is a definite distinction being made, and it is being used as evidence of the resurrection of Christ. However, David’s body did see corruption, although he ‘sleeps’.

    Acts 13
    35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm: ‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
    36 “For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption;
    37 “but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.

    You really need to learn how to read scripture and divest yourself of preconceived ideas.

    You accuse me of being influenced by tradition, especially Greek mythology, which I deny, but, in reality, I always read scripture for what it says and seek earnestly to discover its meaning, but with an open mind, expecting the leadership of the Holy Spirit.

    It is actually you who have a deeply contrived preconceived theology on certain issues (but, thankfully, not all), which are not borne out by the context of scripture.

  110. Bones,
    The notion that God is appeased by human sacrifice is demonic.

    Actually, if the demons had known what was going down they would have stopped the crucifixion.

    1 Corinthians 2
    6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.
    7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,
    8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

    It’s not an appeasement as such, as Vines explained to you, to appease an angry God.

    It is the innocent, sinless deliverer laying down his life for the world. It was, in the end, His decision to obey the Father. It was His obedience which saved us.

    It is making the way clear for God’s mercy and grace. It is a sacrifice, however, and it is substitutionary. It is a payment of the ransom price by a willing offering.

    That is why Jesus is called the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world.

    Besides which, the Old Testament is layered with types and shadows of the sacrificial slaughter and shedding of blood, such as the Passover and escape from Egypt.

    Under the Old Testament it was an atonement, a covering, the sprinkling of blood made once a year, which could not remove sin, only cover it for a season.

    Under the New it is the propitiation, a complete removal of sin through the blood of the Lamb – the innocent led to the slaughter – once and for all.

  111. ‘The inward man is clearly the soul, which includes the mind, will and senses. Where would you place the regenerated spirit? Inward or outward. It must be inward.’

    I wouldn’t place it anywhere. It is not an entity. The funny things is that you bandy around terms like body, soul and spirit, and because a verse or 2 mentions them in one sound bite you want to make them discrete entities. Yet you won’t apply the same logic to, say, Jesus advising us to love God with our soul, mind, strength, heart.

    The Heb 4:12 verse makes it clear what the Word does – it enables discernment between spiritual things and more ‘soulish’ ones. To take this statement and use it as a proof verse for tripartism is a great example of why I definitely don’t want to go the bible school and pay thousands to have such forced logic presented as fact.

    You have made reference several times to this ‘inner man’ yet want to divide it up further – why not take it at face value and say that it is everything about a person that is not the body? It is being renewed daily by the Word and the Holy Spirit. That is the clear teaching of scripture.

    ‘You really need to learn how to read scripture and divest yourself of preconceived ideas.’ That’s a bit rich given the weight of scripture I have provided to show how you have misconstrued the meaning of words to suit an end state.

  112. ‘The Talmud quotes above are not accurate.’

    I took 2 separate sources; you can’t trust wikipedia for the truth, but that was one.

  113. Steve, your fixation with thinking that the new mansion (resurrected body) has to clothe something seems to mean an open and shut case for you. I’m not denying an ‘inner man’, but I am saying that it is an assumption to believe it survives death. Paul says as much by declaring that he doesn’t want to be unclothed (you can’t infer here that this means a non-corporeal existence elsewhere, he could well just be meaning death), but have immortality swallow up the mortal.

    If you stop getting wrapped around the axles of words just relating to form (an object) to the detriment of their function, you would free your interpretive understanding remarkably.

  114. The ‘weight’ of scripture you have given is qualified by SDA teaching. It is irrelevant since they begin with a premise and build a case around it, whereas I am showing you from scripture the fact that God came to save the soul.

    Mark 12
    28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”
    29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.
    30 ‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment.
    31 “And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

    It is interesting how Jesus distinguishes between the heart, soul and mind. It can be taken either way, of course. You have chosen to make the body the soul, the mind, the spirit and everything else.

    By the way, I am not saying, and nor does anyone say, that there are separate entities which are compartmentalised. It is far more complex than this, and, as I have reiterated several times, al of the components are intertwined in function.

    Where the Bible tells us the Word of God divides between soul and spirit, bone and marrow, the reference is to the Word of God, not the letter. The Person, not the reason. You do not know how to rightly divide the Word of God or you would clearly understand what is being said.

    The other claim you make against Bible Schools is alarming. They may not all be perfect, but most of them will give you a solid grounding in orthodoxy.

    If you were a member in my church spreading the information you do here I would be concerned since much of it is influenced by fringe ministries such as Viola and Bacchiocchi and you have isolated yourself. You miss out vast chunks of scripture which you obviously haven’t got to yet, but which others have.

    You take a verse here and verse there to either prove a point or break them down individually and miss the context being displayed by the whole. I don’t think you are discerning enough to know what is what, and Google is a very dangerous place theologically for the renegade inquisitor.

    Witness the frighteningly inept specksandplanks in earlier SP02 attacks on pentecostals, when he was rifling through a vast mixture of sources, including Universalist, Zoroastrian, Zen and Reformist pages, often contradictory of each other, to find ‘evidence’ that his targetted orthodox Pentecostal churches were gnostic when he didn’t actually know what gnostic meant. Still doesn’t. Still uses poor sources.

    If you fail to check your sources you are in big trouble. Now you are more or less declaring that you will stick to Bacchiocchi since you have written book and he heavily features in it. I suppose the other sources you have quoted feature too, and the Church is, in your mind, rotten to the core and you, the one and only zeibart, are on a quest to save us all from the weight of theology which declares our makeup to be something you can’t get your head around, and the afterlife contrary to your personal understanding.

    Well, you must understand that many of these doctrines are formed because the weight of scripture does actually put them together for us, and, over a number of years, and through the work of some great evangelical forefathers, couples with the indispensable Apostles and Prophets of the canon, we can see that certain doctrines emerge which are easily demonstrable. And scripture, written in Hebrew and Greek, from whence we derive our understanding, must feature in the structure on which we build from the sure foundation of Christ.

    Unfortunately, there are some explanations of teachings which are not conducive to the ebb and flow of a blog such as this one, which us very limited in that it only displays one thread at a times and it is difficult to get a real continuity on a subject when it shifts and there are contrary views.

    I have recommended you seek out a good evangelical Boble School because i recognise your genuine hunger for understanding, but if you want to ignore that advice go ahead. I have said what I think would assist you in your quest.

    Kicking against the goads will not.

  115. Deuteronomy 30
    5 “Then the LORD your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.
    6* “And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

    Heart: lebab: Inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding; the inner part, midst.

    So we are to love the Lord our God with the inner man and the outer man, with our will, thinking and understanding, with our passions and desires, emotions and appetites.

    The soul, of course, is the nephesh, which you and your sources have attempted to make a mere life force, but which corresponds to the psyche of the Greek, and is far more than the mere life or breath of a person, including the emotions, the passions, the living being, the appetites, the desires, the creature, the self, just as soul and life are far more in English than merely a life force.

    But who can explain either the nature or the empowerment of life? Can you? Can science?

    The impulses and life of a human are undefinable and complex beyond our current understanding. Life cannot be formed from the substances available to us, only reproduced or procreated.

    The body, being the mere flesh and bone, cannot, in itself, exist without the life which drives it, the zoe, which also corresponds to nephesh, and is the very essence of existence which we do not even have expressive terminology for, even in science, which has still not been able to create life, only reproduce it.

    Strongs says of the psyche: the (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life; the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)

    Have you considered what Paul means in 1 Corinthians 2, or will you resist this too?

    1 Corinthians 2:11
    For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

    The spirit of a man is in him. The inward man. So who is the outward man? The body. The flesh.

    We should also understand that not all have a trichotomy, but only believers, whose spirit has been made alive having once been dead through sin. So the dichotomy of the unregenerate sinner remains, vein the outward man, the body, and the inward, the soul. This is widely understood to be theologically correct.

    But, again, this is the whole person, the person who has been regenerated spiritually, and now has the Spirit of God indwelling them. This indwelling Spirit of Christ bears witness with our spirit that we are sons. If we do not have the Spirit of Christ we are none of His.

    Every commentary I have read confirms what I am telling you.

  116. How on Earth is the Talmud evidence of what Jesus believed?

    The parts of it were written in 200CE and 500CE.

    Ironic in that you don’t accept Christian texts written after the first century.

  117. The Harrowing of Hell

    By Gary Amirault

    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/harrowing_of_hell.htm

    (And it’s longer than Zeibart’s article)

    What was the purpose of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?

    God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:17)

    And if anyone hears my words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world . (John 12:47)

    Who comes down from heaven and gives Life to the world. (John 6:33)

    The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them. (Luke 9:56)

    And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself. (John 12:32)

    As you have given Him authority over all flesh , that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. (John 17:2)

    The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hand. (John 3:35)

    God, Who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things , through Whom also He made the worlds. (Hebrews 1:1,2)

    To take away the sin of the world: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world . (John 1:29)

    To set the captives free: Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound (Isaiah 61:1)

    For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)

    His purpose is very clear: to reconcile all things back to His Father. (Col. 1:16-20)

    According to Scripture, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, created all things, reconciles all things, is Heir of all things, has authority of all things, will have all men to be saved, His grace comes to all men, He takes away the sin of the world , He gives His flesh for the life of the world , He is the propitiation for the sins of the world , whose gifts are irrevocable of which life is one of the gifts, He manifested to put away sin, He preached to the spirits in prison and holds the keys to death and hell, who changes not, He is Lord of both the living and the dead, he will destroy all enemies of God the last one being death, Who made all things alive, Who completes the work the Father gave Him to do, Who restores all things, gave Himself a ransom for all , He takes away the curse and said He came to do the will and work of the Father who wills that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth so that God, the Father may be all in all! I could lengthen this paragraph considerably, but I think the point has been made.

    http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/harrowing_of_hell.htm

  118. If Abraham is dead, what’s John on about here?

    John 8:56
    “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”

  119. ‘How on Earth is the Talmud evidence of what Jesus believed?’ The comment was in relation to what the Jews believed, not what Jesus practiced. Jewish thinking had been all over the place since the close of the prophets’ writings.

    ‘If Abraham is dead, what’s John on about here?’ Read Genesis for yourself and ask for wisdom. Abraham was looking forward to the city with Godly foundations brought in by Jesus. Start from there.

  120. ‘The ‘weight’ of scripture you have given is qualified by SDA teaching.’

    I don’t give a rats who has best explained the scriptures, or that you sleight scriptural interpretation because it’s got an SDA flavour. Plenty of other references have not had Bachiocchi’s input.

    The fact that I am looking at a Gen-Rev span in couching these views is why your zeroing in on specific nuances is frustrating. You really can’t see the wood from the trees. I have held your views and migrated away because of their forced interpretation and contradictory nature.

    Taking a high-handed approach because you have been to bible college (all of which hold to a particular ‘testament of faith’) leaves me very non-plussed.

    A good example is your dismissal of SDA teaching that they take a premise and use itsy bitsy scriptures to support the view. This is risible. The exact same process takes place in you and church’s thinking on the afterlife and eternal torment in hell. Exactly. ‘That’s what we believe, and these scriptures say so’, which when analysed more closely patently don’t.

  121. The comment was in relation to what the Jews believed, not what Jesus practiced. Jewish thinking had been all over the place since the close of the prophets’ writings.

    The canon wasn’t closed until the end of the first century.

    What is known is that the Septuagint was widely read and used by the New Testament writers which makes sense given they were reaching out to Gentiles. It’s where Matthew erroneously quotes Isaiah 7:14. He used the LXX.

    The Septuagint was the first Christian’s ‘scriptures’ and included

    Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah (which later became chapter 6 of Baruch in the Vulgate), additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azarias, the Song of the Three Children, Susanna and Bel and the Dragon), additions to Esther, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, 1 Esdras, Odes, including the Prayer of Manasseh, the Psalms of Solomon, and Psalm 151.

    You’ve got rocks in your head if you don’t think the New Testament writers didn’t use the LXX.

  122. I gather Zeibart rejects John’s Gospel due to it’s pagan Greek elements Heraclitus ( c. 535 – c. 475 BCE ) was the first to use the term Logos and John’s abundant use of Dualism (Plato).

    Of course Predestinatioin is an adaptation of Plato’s Fatalism.

    As well
    Paul uses Greek philiosophy extensively.

    1Cor 15:33
    Evil communications corrupt good manners.
    Quoted from Thais, a work done by “Menander“, a writer from the 3rd Century BC, who in turn is supposed to have quoted from another Scholar named “Euripides”.

    Titus 1:12
    The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
    In writing to Titus Paul quotes a description of the Cretans taken from “Epimenides“. Paul calls Epimenides “one of themselves, a prophet of their own”.

    Acts 17:24-29
    In Acts 17:18 Paul is encountered by Epicureans and Stoics. Paul’s first sentence struck directly at the “Epicurean” theory (the origin of the world by mere coincidence and of atoms) and arrayed himself with the “Stoics” in their doctrine of the (Divine Wisdom and Providence creating and ruling all things). His speech is made up of words quoted from a Roman Stoic Philosopher called Lucius Annaeus Seneca as mentioned below.

    Acts 17:24
    Paul went on to say, “God dwelleth not in temples made with hands.”
    Seneca, the most prominent contemporary representative of Stoicism, had put their doctrine into these words, “The whole world is the temple of the immortal gods,” and “Temples are not to be built to God of stones piled on high. He must be consecrated in the heart of every man.”

    Acts 17:25
    Paul said, “Neither is God served by men’s hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things.”
    Seneca put the same truth in this form: “God wants not ministers. How so? He himself ministereth to the human race.”

    Acts 17:26-28a
    Paul said, “God made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.“
    Seneca agrees, “We are members of a vast body. Nature made us kin, when she produced us from the same things and to the same ends.”

    Paul said, “God is not far from each one of us; for in him we live, and move, and have our being.“
    Seneca wrote, “God is at hand everywhere and to all men.” and again, “God is near thee ; he is with thee ; he is within.”

    Acts 17:28b
    Paul says, For we are also his offspring.
    In Paul’s speech at Athens, he quotes from “certain of your own poets”. The poet he is talking about is Aratus, and this is a line found in the Phaenomena of Aratus

    Acts 17:29
    Then Paul proceeded, “Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think the godhead is like unto gold or silver or stone, graven by art or device of men.“
    Seneca parallels the thought again: “Thou shalt not form him of silver and gold: a true likeness of God cannot be molded of this material.

    Gal 5:23b
    Paul says, Against such there is no law.
    Roman 2:14b
    Paul says, Are a law unto themselves.
    Paul’s words are eerily familiar to Aristotle‘s saying of men eminent for wisdom and virtue, “Against such there is no law, for they themselves are a law,”

    1Cor 9:24a
    Paul says, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?
    Plato says, “But such as are true racers, arriving at the end, both receive the prizes and are crowned”

    Rom 7:22,23
    Paul says, “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
    Plato says,”There is a victory and defeat – the first and best of victories, the lowest and worst of defeats – which each man gains or sustains at the hands not of another, but of himself; this shows that there is a war against ourselves – going on in every individual of us.”

    Phillip 3:19
    Paul says, “Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things“.
    Plato gives a vivid description of those gluttonous and intemperate souls whose belly was their God, in Plato’s work called “the Republic”.

    Rom 8:5
    Paul says, “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;“
    Gal 6:8
    Paul says, “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption“
    Plato speaks of “to be carnally-minded was death” in Phaedo

    2 Cor 4:4
    Paul says, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not“
    Plato speaks of “the God of this world blindeth the eyes of his votaries” in Theaetetus

    Php 1:21
    Paul says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.“
    Plato says, “Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain.”

    2Tim 4:6
    Paul says, “I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand
    To be with Christ, which is far better.“
    Plato says, “The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways, I to die and you to live. which is better God only knows.

    1Cor 13:12
    Paul says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.”
    Plato says, I am very far from admitting that he who contemplates existences through the medium of thought, sees them only “through a glass, darkly,” anymore than he who sees them in their working effects.

    1Thess 5:15
    Paul says, “See that none render evil for evil unto any man.”
    Plato says, Then we ought not to retaliate or render evil for evil to anyone, whatever evil we may have suffered from him.

    1Cor 9:16
    Paul says, “For necessity is laid upon me ; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!“
    Plato says, But necessity was laid upon me – the word of God I thought ought to be considered first.

    Acts 14:15
    Paul and Barnabas say, “We also are men of like passions with you“.
    Plato says, I am a man, and, like other men, a creature of flesh and blood, and not of ” wood or stone,” as Homer says.

    2Cor 7:2
    Paul says, “I speak because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone“.
    Plato says, We have wronged no man ; we have corrupted no man ; we have defrauded no man.

    Rom 12:4
    Paul says, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office“.
    Socrates says “To begin with, our several natures are not all alike but different. One man is naturally fitted for one task, and another for another.”

    Eph 1:22,23
    Paul says, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.“
    Plato says “First, then, the gods, imitating the spherical shape of the universe, enclosed the two divine courses in a spherical body, that, namely, which we now term the head, being the most divine part of us and the lord of all that is in us; to this the gods, when they put together the body, gave all the other members to be servants.”

    1Cor 12:14-17
    Paul explains that “a body is not one single organ, but many. … Suppose the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, it does still belong to the body. If the body were all eye, how could it hear? If the body were all ear, how could it smell? But, in fact, God appointed each limb and organ to its own place in the body, as he chose.“
    Socrates asks Protagoras, “Is virtue a single whole, and are justice and self-control and holiness parts of it? … as the parts of a face are parts-mouth, nose, eyes and ears.” Socrates then probes into the metaphor further by asking Protagoras if they agree that each part serves a different purpose, just as the features of a face do, and the parts make the whole, but each serves a different purpose–”the eye is not like the ear nor has it the same function.”

    1Co 12:25
    Paul says “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
    Socrates says, that the best-governed city is one “whose state is most like that of an individual man. For example, if the finger of one of us is wounded, the entire community of bodily connections stretching to the soul for ‘integration’ with the dominant part is made aware, and all of it feels the pain as a whole”

    Paul’s use of Greek Philosophy of his day and age, cannot be overlooked or dismissed. He used the words of intellectuals of his day to his advantage in taking God’s word and the good news to the Greek speaking Gentile world. The evidence provided above cannot be passed off as mere coincidence. He wrote and spoke these words to a particular people who would have understood and would have been very familiar with the metaphors and ideas which he was using. One of the main reasons that we have such a hard time understanding Paul’s words is that we are so much removed from the world Paul was living in, and talking to. The above verses are only a few I could find in my attempt in researching this subject. But I am sure that there are many more instances where Paul would have used Greek Philosophy to his advantage.

    This study would be somewhat of a shock to some who depend on Paul’s words alone as the epitome of Scripture. (This is not in anyway, an attempt to demean his writings or his work) Paul was and still is one of the greatest apostles of God. But as Peter said in 2Pet 3:15,16, “there are some things in his letters that are hard to understand”. It is better for us to take this warning seriously, and not fall into the category of “ignorant and unstable people who distort Paul’s teachings to our own destruction”. We must always remember that God’s Word cannot have confusion or disorder. Paul’s words(The actual meaning of his words, and not what we read into it) cannot disagree with any other author in the Bible. His words have to co-exist with all of Scripture in harmony.

    I hope this study has helped you to understand Paul, his letters and his ministry a bit better. If you know of any more parallels or ideas that Paul adapted from Greek Philosophy, please note it down as a comment. Thank you & may you be a blessing to others!

    http://biblethingsinbibleways.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/paul-and-his-use-of-greek-philosophy/

  123. ‘The Talmud quotes above are not accurate.’
    I took 2 separate sources; you can’t trust wikipedia for the truth, but that was one.

    I repeat. The above quotes are not accurate. Even if you find them quoted 10 times (and I’m sure you will because there are a lot of very enthusiastic pseudo-scholars roaming the internet whose greatest claim to fame is their marvellous ability to copy-and-paste …), they are simply not accurate and not worth being quoted as evidence of anything.

    Do some further study and I’m sure you’ll understand.

  124. Paul says, “I speak because I am convinced that I never intentionally wronged anyone“.
    Plato says, We have wronged no man ; we have corrupted no man ; we have defrauded no man.
    Q’s daughter said ” I didn’t do anything to anyone. Nothing at all. Not on purpose.”

    My little darling’s been reading either Plato or the Epistles of Paul! Wow.

    Steve, you are a remarkable man for still putting up with all of this. lol

  125. My little darling’s been reading either Plato or the Epistles of Paul! Wow.

    Great contribution to the thread!

    The cheerleader is back.

  126. The point being that many of those quotes aren’t evidence of Paul’s using Plato.
    Perhaps I should have been plainer?

    No, not back. Don’t worry, I’ll leave the great contributions to others. But Kudo’s to Steve.

    Merry Christmas all.

    And be careful what you C&P, esp from anti-semitic sites.

  127. James 2:26 (AMP)
    26 For as the human body apart from the spirit is lifeless, so faith apart from [its] works of obedience is also dead.

    Note: Human body-apart from spirit!

  128. Romans 8:26-27

    Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches (((hearts))) knows what is the (((mind))) of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

    LOL ,FOR STEVE.

  129. The point being that many of those quotes aren’t evidence of Paul’s using Plato.

    Not just Plato.

    Paul directly uses others.

    Phaenomena of Aratus verse 5 in Acts 17:28

    Epimenides De oraculis/peri Chresmon “one of themselves, a prophet of their own”. in Titus 1:12 btw Paul thereby falls into Epimenides Paradox as Epimenides a Cretan said “Cretans are always lying”. And it’s bigotry.

    Euripides, Bacchae, (794-795).The phrase “it hurts you to kick against the goad” is a Greek proverb Acts 26:14

    Menander, Thais, Frg.218., “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.'” 1 Corinthians 15:33

    Also according to Polhill, “Strabo wrote that Tarsus ‘surpassed’ Athens and Alexandria in its love for Philosophy”.

    But yeah there’s no evidence that Paul used Greek Philosophers.

  130. I see I’ve hurt your feelings. Paul quoted philosophers sometimes. Happy? lol
    Half of those scripture quotes weren’t quoting Plato or Socrates. That’s all.

    Just popped in to sort out the Talmud mess.

    Bye

  131. John 1:1 is directly referencing Greek thought, where John points out that the Logos is God and created all things. The Greeks came to the conclusion that God must be the Logos. They were obviously on the way to truth without knowing it exactly. John gets them on track.

    Paul used the Unknown God to point to Almighty God.

    Philosophy sometimes comes close to truth and needs direction.

    This by no means means that all of Christian theology is based on Greek philosophy. Some of these ideas were swirling around the ancients who were not unintelligent ad probably spent far more time with nature and creation than modern man does, ad had far more time on their hands to observe creation and consider the Creator.

    They were also uncluttered by science and theory, great though it is for us, giving them a totally natural perspective on life, although their main issue would have been superstition and lack of understanding of major cataclysmic events.

  132. zeibart, there is no way I have used ‘itsy-bitsy’ portions of scripture, and, as Eyes has chirped in from time time, there are several passages which also speak of the nature of man as including a soul and spirit, which are invisible compared to the body which is seen.

    And, yes, the body without the spirit is dead, as James points out.

    Remember, also, Jesus saying of the little girl that she was not dead but sleeping before calling her spirit back into her body?

    And Elijah calling the spirit of the little boy back into his body when the boy had died when he was staying at the widow’s house who fed him.

    I have now warned you against using SDA teaching on this but you refuse to believe me. That is fine. You prefer to continue into your solo journey into error. I have done what I need to with you.

  133. This is interesting

    Paul and Plato on speaking in tongues

    Plato believed that the gods spoke a language that humans could not possibly comprehend. But a way had been provided for humans to understand their speech. Men from any linguistic background could speak the language of deities only if their minds were unhinged by the gods. Indeed, incoherent speech was viewed as a gift from the gods. Socrates explains in Phaedrus, “The greatest blessings come by way of madness, indeed of madness that is heaven-sent.” Plato reiterates this concept in the Timaeus. In sound and reason, if the speaker was understood by his audience, it was proof he did not possess this gift of the gods.

    In First Corinthians Paul teaches: “When a man is using the language of ecstasy he is talking with God, not with men, for no man understands him; he is no doubt inspired, but he speaks mysteries.” Further on in this chapter, Paul declares: “Thank God, I am more gifted in ecstatic utterance than any of you.” Being the clever man he was, however, Paul understood the ramifications of what he was teaching and attempted to control this branch of his gospel by pruning some of its wild growth. Therefore, he warned his followers, it is better to “speak five intelligible words … than thousands of words in the language of ecstasy.”

    Even so, the precept remains a part of Paul’s creed, and he goes on to follow Plato’s pattern by insisting that interpreters be present when ecstatic utterances are part of a meeting. Here are Paul’s instructions: “To sum up, my friends: when you meet to worship, each of you contributes a hymn, some instruction, a revelation, an ecstatic utterance, or the interpretation of such utterance.” After unintelligible sounds were produced by a human voice, another person was called on to explain them to an audience of believers who had faith that God was using these noises to communicate with them.

    Apparently, this idea, too, comes from the Timaeus, where Plato gives these directions: “But, while [the enthralled one] continues demented, he cannot judge of the visions which he sees or the words which he utters; … And for this reason it is customary to appoint interpreters to be judges of the true inspiration.” Surely Paul’s rules in First Corinthians are too similar to Plato’s directions in the Timaeus to be accidental. Yet whether a stand is being taken for or against glossolalia in Christianity, Paul’s advice on the subject is used to support the argument.

    Interestingly, we find both Paul and Plato putting the terms shedding and donning to metaphoric use; one can put on spiritual attributes, they say. The Tarsian scolds the Colossians by saying, “Now that you have discarded the old nature … and put on the new nature, …” stop lying to one another.

    Just so, many years earlier, while Plato was setting out the role of women in the ideal city in his Republic and after asserting that there is nothing “practiced by mankind in which the masculine sex does not surpass the female,” he tenders the rule that “the women of the guardians” must disrobe to perform their duties “since they will be clothed with virtue as a garment.” Paul drew from Plato’s language and practiced it on the Ephesians by instructing them to “lay aside that old human nature … and put on the new nature of God’s creating.” Since Paul compares righteousness and immortality to items of apparel, he tells the Corinthians, “What is mortal must be clothed with immortality.”

    Years earlier, Plato wrote in his Symposium a similar passage in which he has Diotima explaining to Socrates that the man who seeks and finds the soul of beauty “shall be called the friend of god, and if ever it is given to man to put on immortality, it shall be given to him.”

    James Hastings, in his Dictionary of the Bible, says that Paul took the concept of conscience from the Stoics.5 That appears likely, since Paul’s ideas on conscience agree with what was then current thought; the Stoic religion was renewed during his lifetime.

    Obviously, Paul favored Stoic beliefs as well as those of Plato, since he quotes from the Stoic poet Aratus of Cilicia (born ca. 315 b.c.) in Acts 17. “We are also his off-spring” is a line from Aratus’ poem Phaenomena. However, the person Aratus lauds is the incestuous Zeus, whom the Stoics claimed as their chief god; they did not reverence the God of the Hebrew people.

    Paul repeatedly warns his followers about the unbearable evil living in their lower natures. This idea also belongs to Plato, who in the Timaeus, opines, “The authors of our race” understood how little self-discipline human beings exercise, and placed the appetitive drives in the “lower belly.” Plato explains his sundered humanity this way: “Wherefore, fearing to pollute the divine any more than was absolutely unavoidable, they (the gods), gave to the mortal nature a separate habitation in another part of the body, placing the neck between them to be the isthmus and boundary, which they constructed between the head and breast to keep them apart.”

    The appetites of the lower nature, according to both Plato and Paul, are elements neither the gods nor God can possibly view as beneficial to human beings. Paul seems to disagree with God about mankind; when speaking of His creation in Genesis, including Adam and Eve, God described “all that he had made as very good.”

    http://www.worldandi.com/newhome/public/2004/April/mtpub2.asp

  134. I’m glad you have a few folk you can call your own here Steve. Why did Q decide to move on? A spectacularly abusive thread (one of many)?

    ‘The above quotes are not accurate.’ There I was thinking they were taken directly from the text, and someone has just made them up.

  135. ‘You prefer to continue into your solo journey into error. I have done what I need to with you.’

    And your solo mission to rescue me as I plough recklessly to error and beyond has not been without fruit. I am now convinced of the vanity of bible college.

  136. Not sure what you’re talking about there, zeibart. This blog is not the sum total of any input I have into the body. It is an interesting diversion.

    I was trying to be helpful to you. I don’t think I mentioned anything about myself going to Bible School or whether it makes anyone better or worse than the average seeker. It is certainly helpful to be in an intense environment of learning to gain a sound overall grasp of theology.

    Most Colleges are not nearly as bad as you seem to make out. They are certainly worth the time spent there to gain a solid grounding. If you looked into a Seminary, for instance, they are more likely to give you alternative viewpoints than a more evangelical college.

    Besides this, we all need mentors who have been down the track and have proven the Word through their ministry. You may have mentors, but reading what you put up here the impression is that you are sourcing these issues solo. I made the claim that you were doing this alone to see if you would deny it and come up with some influences who are discipline you. You seem to have made it clear there are none.

    I was just trying to save you a few problems on your journey. Your lack of understanding of fundamental details of body, soul and spirit will prove to be a major setback to your progress. I do not claim to have a full grasp of it all, but it can tell you that adopting SDA doctrine on the soul will lead you away from truth and nullify your witness.

    I maybe read into your claims wrongly by considering that you were a seeker after truth with a great hunger who was unfortunately delving into dubious sources. You seem keen to plough on into this, so I have decided that maybe your zeal is overcoming common sense, or that I have misread you.

    From now on I’ll keep my advice to myself and apologise for being rude enough to be presumptuous. Sorry.

  137. Bones,
    Plato could not have been writing about the same speaking in tongues as Paul. Paul was given divine revelation of the mystery of the church and of Christ. Plato could not have claimed this.

    Speaking in tongues is as the Spirit gives utterance. Now if you are going to claim that the utterance of the Spriit is a form of demented speach, well you can take that risk, but I will not.

    We are also told that speaking I tongues, as on the Day of Pentecost, included magnifying God. This is clearly not demented speach.

    Neither is it ‘ecstatic speach’ as your writer seems to want to claim. Glossallia is speaking in tongues, in languages, known and unknown. Nobody but God could know all the languages of heaven and earth which have ever been spoken ancient and modern.

    The writer has used ‘ecstatic speach’ as a translation to emphasise it as being speach which is in some what not under the control of the speaker, and attempts to make a false link to demented speach of the mad person under the control of an external force.

    But we are told in scripture that prophetic speach is subject to the prophet, therefore the speaker is in control of when they speak, but are being open voices for the utterance of the Spirit within. Secondly, they are able to ask for an interpretation, which has no relationship to dementia,.

    Plato was obviously talking about something completely different.

    As for the offspring thing, well, offspring is quite a common word and the concept may actually show up in many religions, don’t you think, especially since we are the offspring of god through faith in Christ.

  138. ‘The above quotes are not accurate.’ There I was thinking they were taken directly from the text, and someone has just made them up.”

    Exactly. Look it up.

  139. Zeibart,
    Why did Q decide to move on? A spectacularly abusive thread (one of many)?

    A brief interchange during which Bones went well and truly over the top, actually. I reluctantly removed the thread because of the above usual level of personal insults, which were unedifying and homophobic on Bones’s part, ironically, considering his gay rights promotion.

    I think you might be confusing strong convictions with abuse, though. The really bad stuff is normally moderated, but we’re definitely not wimps here.

  140. No need to apologise Steve. I’m sure you meant what you said in all good faith, and with a desire to prevent me going off track, but you did sound rather Pilate-like as if you had done all you could to free me but now you wash your hands of my ‘zeal’ for error. Don’t worry about my sources; I gather from many and various, nearly all in some corner of evangelical Christianity.

    I will continue to seek an ever fuller revelation from the scriptures on all manner of aspects of our lives here and now, and lives to come; wrestle down the inconsistencies and downright erroneous; question, pray through, evaluate and draw on the Holy Spirit as my teacher; talk through with trusted others, and so on. You get the picture. I hope you do the same and haven’t settled for your ‘version’ of man, God, salvation and the life to come. Sure we need to be firm on certain aspects, but they aren’t that many in truth. Whilst the rest might seem to be window-dressing, they are important secondary factors that shape our ability to articulate who God is, what he has done and what he will do in clear scripturally honest terms.

    It seems you are currently convinced that after he died part of Jesus went to a place called Hades, under the earth, to preach a gospel to a number of other non-corporeal ‘people’, and then lead those who believed out from that place to another place, and you think scripture backs that theory, then I can’t provide enough evidence to the contrary to change you view. I have tried, because I think it is a faulty conclusion based on the flimsiest and slimmest scriptural basis. But if it isn’t true, then other dominoes start toppling, and that becomes a problem for those who hold to an active 2 tier after life.

    Never mind. As you and Bones both think I’m on a one man crusade to save Christianity from itself, I’ll leave you both for now to slug it out. But this was another good road test, so thanks for that.

  141. No we didn’t Bones. You kept abusing in a vulgar way and I told you to stop. Several times and you didn’t.
    It was pathetic and you should have stopped. But you haven’t stopped filthy language either. It comes out every time Steve has beaten you in your latest attack.

  142. Maybe folk like Bones just have trouble articulating themselves with authority so resort to… like… colloquialisms…

  143. ‘So, ziebart, you don’t agree with scripture that when a person dies his spirit returns to the Lord?’

    I do agree with scripture (Ecclesiastes in this case), Steve. We just differ in our definition and comprehension of ‘spirit’.

  144. So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that God alone possesses immortality?

    We could go on all day/night like this to no particular good.

  145. Nevertheless…..

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that souls = people.

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that there is a judgement day.

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that speaks with total clarity on the resurrection and in terms of sleeping between death and rising.

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that the Greek words translated spirit, soul, mind, body, flesh are each used to describe a variety of things not just one thing each.

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that there is no salvation beyond the grave.

    So, Steve, you don’t agree with scripture that physical objects can’t imprison non-physical/spirit objects.

  146. No we didn’t Bones. You kept abusing in a vulgar way and I told you to stop. Several times and you didn’t.
    It was pathetic and you should have stopped. But you haven’t stopped filthy language either. It comes out every time Steve has beaten you in your latest attack.

    Here’s some advice.

    If someone on the internet is riling you up you walk away. Go watch a movie or something.

    It’s only a blog ffs.

    Having written that I apologise for hurting your feelings and the things I said.

    And I’ve been learning boxing 😉

    Have a great 2014.

  147. I think you’re a bit confused about what I believe, there, zeibart.

    I was just wondering what you thought Jesus meant when He committed His Spirit into the hands of the Father at the cross.

  148. And what do you think of Paul’s out of body experience?

    “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows–how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

  149. Or maybe you caqn explain how the soul of the boy comes back into him when Elijah prays for the widow’s dead son?

    1 Kings 17
    17* Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him.
    18* So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?”
    19* And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.
    20 Then he cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?”
    21* And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.”
    22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.
    23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!”
    24* Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.”

    Gill
    and cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this
    child’s soul come into him again: which shows that the child was really
    dead; and a proof this that the soul dies not with the body, but exists
    in a separate state without it.

    Clark
    And the soul [nephesh], of the child came into him
    again, [al kirbo], into the midst of him; and he revived,
    [vaiyechi], and he became alive. Did he not become alive from
    the circumstance of the immaterial principle coming again into
    him?

    Although [ruach] is sometimes put for the breath, yet
    [nephesh] generally means the immortal spirit, and where it seems to
    refer to animal life alone, it is only such a life as is the
    immediate and necessary effect of the presence of the immortal
    spirit.

    The words and mode of expression here appear to me a strong
    proof, not only of the existence of an immortal and immaterial
    spirit in man, but also that that spirit can and does exist in a
    separate state from the body. It is here represented as being in
    the midst of the child, like a spring in the centre of a machine,
    which gives motion to every part, and without which the whole
    would stand still.

    Wesley
    Come into him- By which it is evident, that the soul was gone
    out of his body, this was a great request; but Elijah was encouraged to
    make it; by his zeal for God’s honour, and by the experience which he had
    of his prevailing power with God in prayer.

    Into him again-This plainly supposes the existence of the soul
    in a state of separation, and consequently its immortality: probably
    God might design by this miracle to go.

  150. And then of course there is the great miracle where Jesus raises the dead daughter of ruler of the synagogue.

    Mark 5
    35 While He was still speaking, some came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”
    36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not be afraid; only believe.”
    37 And He permitted no one to follow Him except Peter, James, and John the brother of James.
    38 Then He came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and saw a tumult and those who wept and wailed loudly.
    39 When He came in, He said to them, “Why make this commotion and weep? The child is not dead, but sleeping.”
    40 And they ridiculed Him. But when He had put them all outside, He took the father and the mother of the child, and those who were with Him, and entered where the child was lying.
    41 Then He took the child by the hand, and said to her, “Talitha, cumi,” which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”
    42 Immediately the girl arose and walked, for she was twelve years of age. And they were overcome with great amazement.
    43 But He commanded them strictly that no one should know it, and said that something should be given her to eat.

    What is the difference between being dead and sleeping? There must be a difference because why otherwise would Jesus make the emphasis?

  151. “If someone on the internet is riling you up you walk away.”

    I did. I watched several movies. Didn’t you notice. I said say that again, and I’ll leave. A month away from here is a long time for me.

    And you are not anyone on the net. You claim to be a Christian and claim to know more about what’s right and wrong than anyone else. I didn’t want to stay around a place commenting when someone kept saying vulgar things even when asked to stop.
    I’m still amazed you don’t understand that.

    At any rate , you didn’t hurt my feelings. I just refused to continue with those disgusting gay taunts.

    But as Steve said I’ll leave it there.

    Apology accepted.

  152. Just thought about my last post. Probably looked as though I wanted to get the last word in.

    So, forget the last post. Except the last two lines.

    As for it just being a blog, looking at the amount to commenting I’ve done here over the last few years, I may have communicated more with people on here than in real life) – in English that is.

    @Zeibart. I was too tough with the Talmud stuff. But honestly, if you spent some time looking up the validity of some of those Talmud quotes, you’d be surprised.
    I’m willing to retract if you can provide evidence otherwise, but they are misrepresentations.
    Things just get quoted around so much.

  153. ‘I think you’re a bit confused about what I believe, there, zeibart.’

    Not from what I have read in your replies. Every statement was either made or very definitely implied, and can be directly challenged.

    ‘I was just wondering what you thought Jesus meant when He committed His Spirit into the hands of the Father at the cross.’

    See my answer to your identical question at Dec 27 9.45pm. After he said this, guess what? He BREATHED his last (Luke 23:46)

    ‘And what do you think of Paul’s out of body experience?’

    What does Paul think, more to the point? If he had trouble articulating what went on, then what hope do we have? It was most likely a vision, like Peter’s and the others with Jesus at his transfiguration.

    ‘Or maybe you can explain how the soul of the boy comes back into him when Elijah prays for the widow’s dead son?’

    See above. This is all in the same vein. Aren’t you concerned that soul and spirit are used interchangeably for life departing or returning? As a tripartite believer, shouldn’t it be one or the other – consistently? The truth is God’s sustaining breath is the sign of life, and on death ‘returns’ to him who is the giver of our physical life. In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).

    ‘What is the difference between being dead and sleeping? There must be a difference because why otherwise would Jesus make the emphasis?’

    He made no emphasis. He was simply correcting the report. As one who can raise the dead, to Jesus she was as good as asleep. That is why the righteous dead (faithful in OT times and those in Christ) are counted as sleeping since they will awake to everlasting life. Those who will be raised to permanent and irreversible destruction at the second death are very much dead.

    Let me ask you a question, Steve. Where would it leave your faith, witness and walk with God if there was no immediate non-body afterlife or everlasting torment for the unsaved? Would it shake you to the core? The Canon may be closed, but rightly dividing it from accepted but quite possibly flawed traditions continues – graciously, of course.

  154. Well I’m trying to work out how you are going to explain to your Bible Study course on your new doctrine how the regenerated spirit ends when the body dies.

    You see, when Jesus talks about the new birth, he is actually saying that the human spirit is born of the Spirit of God. It is born again as an eternal spirit.

    John 3
    3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
    5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
    7 “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
    8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    So two births. Born of flesh and water, that is of natural parents, and born of God, that is of the Spirit. The first birth mortal, the second immortal of God.

    John 1
    12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
    13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    Through faith, born of God. Now the spirit is regenerated, reborn, and alive. Are you saying this spirit dies when the body dies, when the flesh dies? How so? There is a clear distinction made, and the body will be the last thing to be redeemed. The whole of creation awaits the redemption of our bodies. But the body of the believer has received the recreated spirit.

    These are the new creation, born of God. Born of the Spirit. Spirit beings created of God.

    2 Corinthians 5
    17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    The regenerated spirit is created after God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Spirit of God.

    Titus 3
    4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
    5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,
    6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
    7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    It is the body which is changed from mortal to immortality at the resurrection. The spirit is born again, the soul is saved, redeemed and kept until the redemption of he body. We are the purchased possession regenerated and born of the Spirit of God.

    Secondly, as I explained earlier, the tripartite nature of man is only relevant after the new birth, since the spirit of the unregenerate man is dead through sin. Until then the nature of man is body and soul, therefore in need of regeneration.

    Or what are you saying is being regenerated at the new birth? The body? Of course not. It is of the earth. The flesh? No. It is of the earth. Flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom.

    Your doctrine of the body only falls down on so many counts it is a wider you persist with it.

    My understanding of the nature of man is completely derived from scripture, not from tradition. You should know by now after all the discussions with Bones on traditions of the patriarchs post Apostles of Christ how I am not swayed by anything which is not borne out clearly in scripture.

    To continue with your doctrine you will by necessity have to eliminate so much scripture, as Bones does, that it will render you outside of Biblical orthodoxy.

  155. “What does Paul think, more to the point? If he had trouble articulating what went on, then what hope do we have?”

    That’s a good point. You’d think he would have known! lol

  156. Oh dear! We really do need prompting with everything, don’t we?

    It’s not the point whether he knows what happened to him or not. It’s the fact that he gives the possibility of either.

    I should imagine it was a profound experience, and that is what he is telling us.

    But.

    The point is that he floats the idea that it could have been an out of body experience. He is not averse to the idea. More likely, given other scripture at his hands, he is promoting the idea.

    Come on, lads! Think.

  157. ‘Come on, lads! Think.’ After thinking, I have concluded that this incident neither confirms nor denies any particular view of spirits leaving the body, afterlife in paradise etc. It is best not referred to in backing a doctrinal stance, and I haven’t.

  158. But you scampered past the new birth comments. I see! Lock on to the easier one to deal with, even though your reasoning is unconvincing.

    I think we’re just about done here. No point in discussing things further when there is no desire to know.

    Being born again means literally being born of the Spirit. It is shown to be separate from the flesh. No question about it at all.

    Making no effort to comment on it is telling.

    Happy new year.

  159. ‘But you scampered past the new birth comments.’ Believe it or not some of us have lives to lead and don’t have the time to dedicate to immediate detailed replies. I was going to come back to your more substantial comment, but thought I’d fellowship with my brethren in the flesh first rather than in the ether.

    ‘We really do need prompting with everything, don’t we?’ ‘No point in discussing things further when there is no desire to know.’ ‘Making no effort to comment on it is telling.’

    Why is it your irritability is shining through more than your lucid thinking? Do I sense that you are clinging to straws that, deep down, you know won’t keep your doctrine afloat?

    And my reasoning is perfectly convincing. What I am shying away from is a methodology that tries to force every ambiguous scripture (like Paul’s vision. It was obviously so powerful he felt he could have been there in person) into supporting a disembodied existence after death.

    I’m off to the cinema now Steve, just so you know I’m not avoiding you, but have had time to do some scripture reading around how we are born again. As a preview, let me state up front that the verses you posted and many others I read this morning will clearly support a view that does not line up with your take. If I’m perfectly honest, I think your understanding of salvation (the how and the what) is askew because you think we have a dead spirit in our body that comes alive. I’ll show you what I mean in more detail later.

    Have patience.

  160. ‘your new doctrine’ It’s millennia old.

    ‘he is actually saying that the human spirit is born of the Spirit of God.’ Assumption. Jesus says no such thing, nor does he even imply it. You are starting from the position that we all have a dead spirit that needs rebirthing. More in a sec.

    ‘the second, immortal of God.’ So are you saying that God cannot destroy this alive spirit, that it has to go on existing somewhere? Despite Matt 10:28. Can it die again or once saved always saved? And if believers have a reborn spirit, is it this that goes back to God? If so, what happens to the unbeliever? What part of him survives? Not the ‘dead’ spirit surely. His soul? So is it souls that go off to either heaven or hell after death? If there is a difference between a spirit and a soul, and their immediate fate, I’m unsure how this is derived from scripture. It’s just not there. I thought we had established the biblical truth much earlier that a living body, that which has God’s breath of life in it, be it human or animal, is a soul. Therefore, after death there is no life and so no soul. The body cannot function without breath oxygenating the blood, and the life of creatures is in the blood (Lev 17:14).

    So, when, for example, Acts 2:27 NIV states that ‘you will not abandon me to the grave’, some translations put that – ‘you will not leave my soul in Hades’. Soul = me, all of me, body, heart and mind, inner man and outer. And Jesus wasn’t left for dead. He was raised as the first fruit of our blessed hope to come – our new body, dwelling, mansion. Any intermediate state is ignored because it is of no significance compared to resurrection. Sleeping is nothing compared to waking, and this is reflected in the scriptures. If it were not so there were ample opportunities to say more, but we have almost total silence. Any noise is the misinterpretation forced through Greek Platonic thinking.

    Just to put to bed your opening line, the only place regeneration is mentioned is Titus 3:5. The passage is: ‘4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour,’ The only reference is to the effect that the Holy Spirit has on a person. He regenerates our hearts to be obedient to God’s ways, leaving behind acts of the flesh, renewing our minds that control our bodies and give an outward show that we are servants of God and vessels for his purposes, not ones still caught up in the world. Nothing about a spirit within us.

    OK, back to John 3. How are we ‘saved’. Or better: how do we see and enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5)? You also quoted John 1:12-13 (which was used in church today), but I fail to see any connection with a spirit inside coming alive. What I do see is that those who RECEIVE him, and believe in his name have a RIGHT to become children of God. We are adopted into his family, by the Holy Spirit, effectively born of God into a new line and inheritance, not a fleshly one from blood. This is not talking of a dead spirit becoming alive, and Jesus is describing to Nicodemus the same principle. The Holy Spirit gives us a ‘heart of flesh’, one that is soft to God’s ways and kingdom rule. By ‘heart’ I mean innermost thoughts or being. My mind and desire is now open and empowered to turn from sinful acts to carry out good works prepared by God (Eph 2:10). I am operating in the gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit and can say I am ‘saved’ albeit with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).

    So in John 3:6, the Holy Spirit gives birth to spirit ie actions that represent him, not A spirit (2 Tim 1:7). We don’t have a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and a sound mind – Christ in me the hope (now and future) of glory (resurrection). Paul echoes and reinforces Jesus’s words throughout his letters. When Jesus says to Nicodemus that he cannot understand heavenly things yet (until born again) in John 3:12 (note the next verse which puts paid to Paul’s trip to heaven), Paul picks this up in 1 Cor 2. He had no wisdom except Christ crucified, expressed the Spirit’s power, and in verse 10 is clear that we receive the things of God by his Spirit. How do we receive the Spirit? John 1:12 again. In verse 14 Paul reinforces the notion that spiritual things are discerned through the indwelling Holy Spirit, renewing our minds (Rom 12:3). When in verse 11 he mentions man’s spirit within him it is directly linked to the thought process ie the mind, so Holy Spirit influencing a person’s thinking runs as a constant theme for Paul.

    2 Cor 3 says much the same. A believer’s mind (never a discrete or separate spirit) is the thing being affected by God in us. Verse 14 – we are not like the Israelites being dulled in their thinking. Verse 15 puts hearts in the same context, and verse 18 culminates with a declaration that we have freedom from dullness of heart, being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory by the Spirit.

    ‘But the body of the believer has received the recreated spirit.’ You’ll find no scripture to that effect Steve. The only spirit we receive is the Holy Spirit. And 2 Cor 5:17 is no help to you. We are indeed a new creation with the Spirit in-dwelling us, but the broader context of reconciliation in this section and Paul’s view of the whole person makes this not point to a new human spirit in us – wrong extrapolation. In fact the entire previous piece on tents passing away and heavenly dwellings is to encourage the Corinthians who were doing it tough. They could look forward to a new eternal, yet unseen spiritual body, not nakedness through death.

    Read Eph 2:1-10. We were dead in our sins (as in qualify for the second permanent death, for we all die once and then are judged), but made alive with Christ. There is a good deal of ‘now and yet to come’ in this passage, with the ‘yet to come’ being resurrection, nothing else.

    James 3:17 – wisdom from heaven is the evidence of our salvation. What part of man is this wisdom influencing? The mind and then the body expressing it. No reference to a spirit in man doing anything or having been changed.

    ‘Spirit beings created of God.’ Absolutely not how you conceive things. These will be bodies of substance, not needing blood for life but have the very fullness of the Holy Spirit to perpetually animate them – glorious indeed, just as Jesus was.

    Do we have a different gospel? Quite possibly, but I firmly see the one I am trying ineffectively to frame was held by Jesus, Paul, James, Peter and the new church.

  161. Gosh, zeibart, I knew that if you attempted to deny the presence of the new born spirit in a man you would struggle, but this is incredible floundering.

    The spirit that is born agin in us is not an attitude or a state of mind. It is a new creation. In is a regenerated, that is, rebirthed spirit after the Spirit of God. It is a birth. A genesis.

    The word for ‘regeneration’ in Titus 3; according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,; is paliggenesia, which means a new birth, reproduction, renewal, recreation or regeneration.

    It is a birth, a new birth, hence the two Greek words coupled, palin: anew, again, and genesis: Source, origin, birth or nativity, to make paliggenesia: new birth.

    The second word is ‘renewal’, which is anakainosis: a renewal, renovation, complete change for the better. So we are both reborn and renewed by the Spirit.

    So your claim that ‘regeneration’ doesn’t appear anywhere else is completely wrong. Reference to the new birth occurs several times in the New Testament. The reason I used regeneration is its accuracy in regard to the new birth.

    We are born again of the Spirit. Born of God. God is literally our Father. It is not a change of a state of mind or attitude, it is a literal spirit rebirth.

    It is only accessible by those who are born of the flesh. That which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirit. We must be born again to see the kingdom of God. There is flesh and there is spirit.

    It is our spirit which is born again.

    Now you are trying to say that God gives us the new birth then kills us only to revive us at some time in the future, which is ludicrous and completely without theological foundation.

    The Holy Spirit in our lives is the seal of redemption. He is the evidence that we are born again. And we are born again of the incorruptible seed, or Word of God.

    1 Peter 1
    22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
    23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever…

    Now the spirit which is born again is the inward man, born of God. He is the new creature.

    2 Corinthians 5
    17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

    New Creation: Kainos ktisis: literally ‘a newly formed creature’, ‘a new kind of creation’, ‘an unprecedented kind of created being’. Moffatt calls it a ‘brand new species of being’.

    You are making things up as you go along now, zeibart. You really have to look carefully at the meanings of words and phrases and what the writer is giving us in context. You also have to weigh it up with what has been said before and is said after, and what all the writers are saying, and then you can come to a conclusion.

    But the fact is that the new birth tells us that there is flesh and there is spirit and the spirit needs the flesh and the flesh the spirit, but you cannot make them one and the same thing.

    Secondly, you claim that we came to some agreement that the psuche is the life of a person. I did not. That was your claim and assumption. The New Testament word for life is zoe. The psuche is completely different and is referenced as a separate entity to the body, soma, and spirit, pneuma, on more than one occasion.

  162. ‘Gosh, zeibart, I knew that if you attempted to deny the presence of the new born spirit in a man you would struggle, but this is incredible floundering.’

    The words of someone with absolutely no counter punch.

    ‘You are making things up as you go along now, zeibart. You really have to look carefully at the meanings of words and phrases and what the writer is giving us in context.’

    All this bluster and obfuscation – you’d be pretty good at PMQs. I don’t think you revisited one single point or question. Just like a good politician, just keep spouting the key phrases, stay on message.

    We wouldn’t want one of those moments whereby you suddenly saw scripture say something different to a cherished and long-held belief, would we?

    ‘I think we’re just about done here. No point in discussing things further when there is no desire to know.’ You are completely correct. Cuts both ways.

  163. ‘The spirit that is born agin in us is not an attitude or a state of mind. It is a new creation. In is a regenerated, that is, rebirthed spirit after the Spirit of God. It is a birth. A genesis.’

    As Jesus said, to those who have ears, let them hear. You obstinately refuse to understand what’s been written by me and in the bible. We are adopted into a new family. It’s like being born again, but not of the flesh. Nowhere does Jesus or any other NT writer state a spirit within us is rebirthed. You are making this up. Can I be any clearer? The spiritual rebirth is the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, then we are a new creation; now and to come.

    It’s not rocket science.

  164. zeibart,
    Nowhere does Jesus or any other NT writer state a spirit within us is rebirthed. You are making this up.

    No I am not. I am telling you what Christians have been taught for years. Jesus Himself said we must be born again – born from above – born of the Spirit.

    You are saying the only Spirit within us is the Holy Spirit.

    And yet scripture tells us that the Spirit of God speaks to our spirit within and that is how we know the things which are freely given of God.

    1 Corinthians 2
    9 But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
    10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.
    11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.
    12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
    13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
    14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    ‘The spirit of the man which is in him’.

    OK, Steve, back this up. Sure thing.

    Romans 8
    15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
    16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
    17 and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

    ‘The Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit’.

    Did you see that?

    John 3:6
    That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

    That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Born of the Spirit. We are born of the Spirit. Therefore we are spirit when we are born again.

    Ezekiel 36:26
    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”

    “I will put a new spirit within you.” “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”. Born of God. Born of the Spirit.

    OK, so the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit. What does He bear witness to? That we are children of God. Oh, so we are born of God. Yes. We are born of the Spirit. Yes. Our spirit comes alive through the Holy Spirit within. Yes.

    Thank you, Steve. You’re welcome.

    So now I have told you about the new birth, how our spirit comes alive throughout the Holy Spirit, that we are born again through the Spirit by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the implanting of the incorruptible Word of God.

    God, the Word tells us, made us alive when we were dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-6). Well, what was dead, because we are told we were dead through sins?

    Not our body, was it, zeibart? No. Not our body, because we were walking around in it. So what was dead? Not our soul, because we were actively alive mentally and emotionally. What came alive if not our body, flesh or soul?

    Well what was regenerated? What came alive? What was quickened? Our spirit. Yes, our spirit came alive through the new birth.

    I’m not beng obstinate, zeibart. I’m telling you the truth. I’m not making anything up. I’m showing you something which most evangelical believers understand. You are the one fighting it, not me. I’m trying to help you see what the rest of us see.

    I am showing you why we understand that we have been given a recreated spirit, born of the Spirit of God. It is basic Christian theology.

  165. Steve, here’s Wayne Grudem (he of the lightweight Systematic Theology) explaining your ‘basic Christian theology’ somewhat differently:

    ”Exactly what happens in regeneration is mysterious to us. We know that somehow we who were spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1) have been made alive to God and in a very real sense we have been “born again” (John 3:3, 7; Eph. 2:5; Col. 2:13). But we don’t understand how this happens or what exactly God does to us to give us this new spiritual life. Jesus says, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
    Scripture views regeneration as something that affects us as whole persons. Of course, our “spirits are alive” to God after regeneration (Rom. 8:10), but that is simply because we as whole persons are affected by regeneration. It is not just that our spirits were dead before—we were dead to God in trespasses and sins (see Eph. 2:1). And it is not correct to say that the only thing that happens in regeneration is that our spirits are made alive (as some would teach),5 for every part of us is affected by regeneration: “If any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come” (2 Cor. 5:17).”

    ”Note 5 is: This view of regeneration usually depends on viewing man as trichotomous or consisting of three parts (body, soul and spirit), a position we discussed in chapter 23 above (pp. 472–83). But if we reject trichotomy and see “soul” and “spirit” as synonyms in Scripture that speak of the immaterial part of our nature, then such an explanation is not persuasive. Even for those who accept trichotomy, the Scriptures that speak of us as a new creation and that say that we have been born again (not just our spirits), should be good reason for seeing more in regeneration than merely making our spirits alive.”

    http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/regeneration_grudem.html

    Go back to my post on 24 Dec 6.56 am and see all the times spirit as pneuma doesn’t necessarily mean a non-material entity inside us. Being so black and white Steve seriously limits your broad span of scriptural understanding and how it fits together.

  166. I’m not playing semantics here. Grudem rejects a trichotomous nature of man and rightly so. He recognises that references to spirit and soul are just part of our whole person and not to be separated out, and there is no immortality attached to these aspects of our person either.

  167. And this:

    Many Christian theologians have argued for a trichotomous view of man, that he is body, soul, and spirit, where each term refers to separate substances. This view has often been advanced on the basis of passages such as 1 Thess 5:23, Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Cor 14:14. The major problem with this view, and the reason it is not well received any longer, is the almost universal recognition that the Bible uses “soul” and “spirit” interchangeably (Luke 1:46-47; John 12:27; 13:21). Further, Mark 12:30 lists four aspects of man: heart, soul, mind, strength. Are we to regard each of these as constituting a different substance? That is not Jesus’ point, nor is it Paul’s in 1 Thess 5:23. The point in 1 Thess 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12 is not to inform Christians as to the precise substances which make up their immaterial nature, but rather that sanctification is to encompass the whole person. Thus it is tenuous at best to infer from these two texts specific details about our immaterial nature.

    https://bible.org/seriespage/anthropology-hamartiology-man-and-sin

    I have been saying this all along. I do believe your POV skews all manner of other understandings, and biases interpretation towards an incorrect result. But hey, you’re not on your Pat Malone.

  168. To continue with your doctrine you will by necessity have to eliminate so much scripture, as Bones does, that it will render you outside of Biblical orthodoxy.

    Thanks.

    Welcome to the Dark Side, Zeibart.

    Bones: “Zeibart, I am your father”.

    Zeibart: “Nooooooooooo!

  169. So, just being consistent here, do you conceive of non-material entities when we read statements such as ‘spirit of the world’, ‘spirit of righteousness’, ‘spirit of love’, ‘spirit of power’, ‘spirit of fear’, ‘fervent spirit’, ‘spirit of sorrow’? Do they have substance and reside within a person, or even externally? Or are they just describing the activity of the Holy Spirit or how a person is feeling?

  170. Don’t forget the Spirit of Heaviness, thats a particularly nasty one – but can be exorcised if you put on a garment of praise, available for $99.99 from Peter Popoff ministries.

  171. Yes, a good double dig.

    Of course biblical orthodoxy is all packed up nice and neatly in a small box for us to open occasionally and reverentially inspect.

    Anyway, I thought you were busy ADDING to scripture.

    And, finally, where do you get batteries for a light sabre these days?

  172. Wazza, those garments of praise are now handkerchiefs of happiness. Downsizing due to the GFC. In the same way Mars bars used to be bigger.

  173. Bones, it is true that you have rejected several books of the canon, and even at times ridiculed them, as you did on this thread on Revelation. Wazza has supported some of your claims on the canon, so I am not surprised you would see yourself as the father of the expulsion of scripture. Dark side indeed.

    Zeibart, however, to his credit, is more inclined to agree that the canon is authentic and willing to work within it for Biblical evidence.

    Grudem is a cessationist reformist who is open to those who are not cessationists, but, nevertheless locked into a certain perspective, albeit somewhat more open than some Reformists, like McArthur.

    Maybe his understanding of the Spirit isn’t as good as his supporters make out. But you notice he still has to refer to the spirit as a separate entity in his description of the new birth.

    But here you are gathering supporters against scripture which I have provided. Extremely compelling scripture. Now, because the scripture evidence is looking very strong to you, you have to seek support from outside of scripture. That is OK, but Grudem confesses, at the very start, his lack of knowledge of the subject.

    Grudem admits that he doesn’t know what happens at regeneration. Unfortunately he doesn’t admit that ‘I ((Grudem) don’t know’. He makes it corporate, ‘we don’t know what happens at regeneration’. Well this is presumptuous, because some people may have a better understanding, obviously, than he does. The Holy Spirit, in scripture, certainly does. Grudem, a Calvinist, sees things differently, although, obviously, he is a great theologian in most respects.

    So you have quoted from someone who admits he doesn’t know what happens at regeneration, when, previously, I had explained from scripture what happens.

    Grudem doesn’t even look at the Greek for ‘regeneration’, which I did for you, and showed you that it is being born anew. It is more than a renewed attitude, because, as I showed you, Paul to Titus says that we are both regenerated (reborn) and renewed.

    He didn’t look at the new creation, either, as I did for you, and gave you the definition. Grudem says the new creation is the whole person, but misses the truth that the last part of us to be redeemed is the body.

    The new creation is a brand new creature. Well, did your body change one bit when you were born again? No, it did not. What was recreated then? The spirit within. ‘That which is born of the Spirit is spirit’. The spirit is recreated. The body is unchanged.

    The whole of creation awaits the redemption of the body.

    But, as Grudem admits, the new birth is a one-off event, and in this he significantly differs from you, because you say that the human is spiritually reborn, but then, when his body dies, his spirit dies, because his body is his spirit, and his soul, and then God revives his spirit at the resurrection. Grudem denies this. He says the spirit is alive at the new birth and will not be born again again.

    Of course the whole nature of man is affected by the new birth. The spirit is made alive (which Grudem concurs with), the person is forgiven, the slate is wiped clean. They are no longer subject to sin, but to righteousness. They have been justified, sanctified and glorified. They are given a new spirit and a new heart which has the law of love written upon it. They are not slaves to sin. They have been redeemed.

    Therefore their conduct, as a result, will gradually be changed.

    The one thing which doesn’t change, however, is the body, which is still subject to decay, to deterioration, and to death.

    You cannot deny this, because the evidence is all around us in the hospitals and graveyards of the nations.

    The spirit is made alive, but the body remains subject to death.

    The soul is saved, but the body remains subject to decay.

    It is the inner man which is redeemed at the new birth. The outer man awaits the redemption at the resurrection, when we will put on the incorruptible, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

    But I do not think that Grudem is saying what you are saying. I think he takes regeneration to mean the same as restoration and, whilst he acknowledges the new birth, he is not calling this regeneration a new birth, but a spiritual change. That is certainly the thrust of his essay. I also think he says that the spirit is born within and the resulting evidence should be an outward change which corresponds to the inward regeneration.

    This I would agree with, and I believe that is the entire thrust of his paper, which has nothing to do with what you are making him say.

    You have ignored the passage I showed you where the Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit, which is glowing evidence that our spirit comes alive and the Holy Spirit communicates with our spirit. ‘That which is born of the Spirit is spirit’.

  174. I know you like Vine’s Greek dictionary. This from him on regeneration:

    ”Regeneration:
    “new birth” (palin, “again,” genesis, “birth”), is used of “spiritual regeneration,” Tts 3:5, involving the communication of a new life, the two operating powers to produce which are “the word of truth,” Jam 1:18; 1Pe 1:23, and the Holy Spirit, Jhn 3:5, 6; the loutron, “the laver, the washing,” is explained in Eph 5:26, “having cleansed it by the washing (loutron) of water with the word.”

    The new birth and “regeneration” do not represent successive stages in spiritual experience, they refer to the same event but view it in different aspects. The new birth stresses the communication of spiritual life in contrast to antecedent spiritual death; “regeneration” stresses the inception of a new state of things in contrast with the old; hence the connection of the use of the word with its application to Israel, in Mat 19:28. Some regard the kai in Tts 3:5 as epexegetic, “even;” but, as Scripture marks two distinct yet associated operating powers, there is not sufficient ground for this interpretation.

    In Mat 19:28 the word is used, in the Lord’s discourse, in the wider sense, of the “restoration of all things” (Act 3:21, RV), when, as a result of the Second Advent of Christ, Jehovah “sets His King upon His holy hill of Zion” (Psa 2:6), and Israel, now in apostasy, is restored to its destined status, in the recognition and under the benign sovereignty of its Messiah. Thereby will be accomplished the deliverance of the world from the power and deception of Satan and from the despotic and anti-christian rulers of the nations. This restitution will not in the coming Millennial age be universally a return to the pristine condition of Edenic innocence previous to the Fall, but it will fulfill the establishment of God’s Covenant with Abraham concerning his descendants, a veritable rebirth of the nation, involving the peace and prosperity of the Gentiles. That the worldwide subjection to the authority of Christ will not mean the entire banishment of evil, is clear from Rev 20:7, 8. Only in the new heavens and earth, “wherein dwelleth righteousness,” will sin and evil be entirely absent.”

    You’ll note the complete absence of a spirit being made alive. And, yes, if you can’t understand the way I am articulating scripture, then I’ll quote Vine, Grudem, bible.org.

  175. wazza,
    Biblical orthodoxy means never having to say you’re wrong.

    The confession of a cynic.

    Orthodoxy is subject to many factors, and all groups lay claim to some form of orthodoxy, but there are some aspects of theology which most people agree on. There will always be disagreements, but the fundamentals (by which I mean the bottom line, the foundational truths, not some radical fringe group), the fundamentals remain intact and well supported.

    The fact is that in a discussion like this where there are clearly differing opinions it is perfectly acceptable for opponents to lay out their case and see if it can be substantiated through accepted standards.

    By this I mean there must be a basis on which to support a contention. That has to be the canon of scripture. And, yes, we can appeal to the weight of theology which follows the canon.

    Those who remove the canon of scripture are able to shift the goalposts in any discussion or debate on theology and it is very difficult to reason with them. Their world is built on the sand and is subject to the winds of change.

    Jesus called the Rock of our foundations the Word of God, but not just the Word. He included the evidence of the Word confirmed by acting on it. Being doers of the Word and not hearers only.

    So any discussion on theology is valid, and opposing objectives acceptable. If zeibart is right it will come through eventually. If he is not, then the generally accepted understanding, in this case, of the spirit, soul and body, and the theology of the destiny of the deceased will prevail.

    Let him put his case up and let me put mine. If you support either then add to it. Shrugging your shoulders and making pessimistic comments in a defeatist fashion adds nothing to the debate.

  176. ”he still has to refer to the spirit as a separate entity in his description of the new birth.”

    To be fair and in Grudem’s defence, he uses italics when speaking of ‘spirits (that) are alive’ to make clear the point that he doesn’t envisage separate entities, but still has to use the English word. He sees, just as Paul did, a new creation that has now been given a God-dominated nature, or pneuma if you like, that previously was a self-dominated sarx nature. This new heart that God implants at the point of true salvation is like a spiritual receiver of the Holy Spirit and closely entwined with the mind. The old man/sinful nature/flesh/sarx cannot understand nor communicate with the Holy Spirit, and so the mind and whole person is dulled, blind, spiritually dead with acts of the flesh in evidence (Gal 5).

    But the man who is lead by the Spirit is called a son of God and manifests the fruits of the Spirit. This is the new creation, with new God-awareness, God-leaning pneuma that previous was a body of death destined for destruction.

    The thing you want to imagine is central to all this is a new immortal spirit (or soul, I can’t recall if you spelled out the destinies of your separated person after death) on regeneration, which is not how Jesus or Paul frames new life despite you trying to make the connection through just 2 verses in 1 Cor 2 and Rom 8. For each one there must be 10 that say we are renewed in our minds, or have a new heart, or are transformed in the inner man none of which are even synonyms for a separate spirit in us. The closest I can get scripture to your understanding is the Holy Spirit instructing and leading our forgiven, God-focussed hearts and minds. That is pneuma, just as psuche is all the other mental aspects of life, however, they interplay with each other so closely as to be one.

    Tell me Steve, when a believer dies what happens next? When a non-believer dies what happens next? An answer to these 2 questions will give me more insight as to what your understanding is of man’s constitution, with respect to body, soul and spirit and immortality.

  177. zeibart,
    Both Grudem and Vines confirm what I have been saying. You are merely looking for them to add words for your own comfort which they do not need to since the concept is evident throughout their work.

    Vines says, It “is used of “spiritual regeneration,” Tts 3:5, involving the communication of a new life”, and, “The new birth and “regeneration” do not represent successive stages in spiritual experience, they refer to the same event but view it in different aspects.” Which part of this do you not understand? It is the same as the new birth. It views it from a different aspect, possibly including baptism (washing), but referring to the new birth as regeneration. That is what I have said.

    It is still the new birth. How are we born again? Through the Spirit of God. Again, for you, John 3:6, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.

    Is the Holy Spirit an attitude? No. He is a Person. That which is born of the Spirit (Person) is a spirit (person). Hence Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”. He also says in the same passage, “You must be born again.” Must. Be. Born. Again.

    Born again. Born once. Born again. Two births. Born of natural parents. Born of God.

    1. Born of the flesh – the human person. You become a human person. The outward man. The body. The flesh, although, in an inward sense, you can include the soul.
    2. Born of the Spirit – the Person of the Spirit. You become a spirit person. The Inner man. The spirit.

    Don’t blame me for this. Jesus said it. Paul backs it up. Peter confirms it. James acknowledges it.

    By the way, you have attempted to imply that I make three separate components, which I have said several times I do not. They are intertwined as the person, but the unregenerate person must be and is different to the regenerated person. The difference is the spirit. In one the spirit is dead through sin. In the other the spirit is recreated.

    But, as James tells us, when the spirit leaves a person he dies. Jesus died when he gave up the spirit to the Father.

  178. zeibart,
    Tell me Steve, when a believer dies what happens next? When a non-believer dies what happens next? An answer to these 2 questions will give me more insight as to what your understanding is of man’s constitution, with respect to body, soul and spirit and immortality.

    Wow, zeibart, you don’t ask for much, do you? And on a blog which has a deep and shallow variant of ebbs and flows, going to and fro?

    Are you sure you don’t want to enrol in a decent Bible School. Maybe a year or two in a recognised establishment will give you a decent grounding in what evangelicals think and teach.

    Then you can pick us all apart in your next book.

    I’ll give it some thought, but I’m reticent to dig myself into a major set of theology in an antagonistic environment.

  179. Maybe Daniel is a good starting point for you.

    Daniel 12
    1 ¶ “At that time Michael shall stand up, The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, Such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.
    2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.
    3 Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
    4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

  180. You wanted to know how I read 1 Cor 2:11. Paul is not describing persons at the point of salvation; they are already believers. Therefore, they are hearing God through the Holy Spirit and are able to discern spiritual things. I would say that the God-given capacity to hear and respond to God is our pneuma or ‘spirit’. It is not an it, nor is this capacity immortal. The continuation through to verse 14 backs that up.

    In Rom 8:16 how is it that you know you are a child of God? Through the witness of the Holy Spirit to our God-focussed self and transforming minds and thinking. It’s like the phrase ‘gut feeling’. I don’t have a thought centre in my intestines, but as a turn of phrase it captures the sense of a deeper almost unconscious awareness. That does not entitle us to create a distinct entity called a spirit that survives death.

    And there, Steve, you run out of possible scripture to support a tripartite being.

    As to creation groaning for the redemption of our bodies, that is simply a reference to what will happen on that day, namely the return of Jesus. We all yearn for that day.

  181. zeibart,
    ‘And there, Steve, you run out of possible scripture to support a tripartite being.

    As to creation groaning for the redemption of our bodies, that is simply a reference to what will happen on that day, namely the return of Jesus. We all yearn for that day.’

    That is all speculation and incorrect, so you haven’t exactly nullified the truth that the Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit, or that the creation awaits the redemption of our body.

    All you have done is denied what scripture actually says.

    I haven’t run out of anything. You have merely fogged up a mirror so that you can’t look at the truth.

    The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (NIV)

    Testifies: summartureo: to bear joint witness, bear witness with. Martureo to witness, give evidence, show proof. Sum together with.

    The very word demands co-operation between two entities.

    Our spirit: pneuma hemon: our spirit. The spirit belonging to us (each individually).

    God’s Spirit. Our spirit.

    You notice how you are doing things though, don’t you? In exactly the same way I told you the SDA and JWs do it, and to their discredit. You don’t look at the overall context of the doctrine. You take each phrase and one by one make up a reason for it to be something you refuse to accept. In this case you have dismissed what is before you by saying it means something it clearly and obviously doesn’t. That is dismissive of truth. That is wrong. It is misleading, not just to your readers, but to yourself.

    Paul is very certainly referring the the Holy Spirit and the human spirit communicating a fact of their relationship. He is confirming that we are sons of God.

    1 John 5:10
    He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself…

    We know that we are sons of God through the inner witness in our spirit.

    Paul is actually teaching us how we are led by the Spirit.

    Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    We are led by the inner witness of the Spirit of God with our spirit. It is great lesson to learn, because we are not led by our mind, or by our senses, but by the Spirit leading our spirit.

    Gill
    the spirits of the saints are they which receive the witness
    of the Spirit of God, to which it is made; not to their ears, for it is
    not an audible testimony; but to their hearts, it is internal; to their
    renewed souls, where faith is wrought to receive it; to their
    understandings, that they may know and be assured of it; to their
    spirits, which are apt to faint and doubt about it. Now it is “the
    Spirit itself” that bears this witness, and not others, or by others,
    but he himself in person

    Clark
    We, therefore, have the utmost evidence of the fact of our adoption
    which we can possibly have; we have the word and Spirit of God;
    and the word sealed on our spirit by the Spirit of God

  182. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (NIV)

    Further to the above, if the Spirit is bearing witness to the Spirit, both referring to one and the same spirit, then what would be the point?

    Even Jesus said “I do not bear witness of myself”. The works bear witness to Christ. The Spirit bears witness. John the Baptist bore witness. The voice of the Father bore witness. But Christ did not bear witness to himself. That would not make sense.

    No. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit.

    He lets us know that we are sons of God. Spirit to spirit.

  183. Then, of course, the Holy Spirit, according to your theory, would be bearing witness, or giving evidence, to himself that he was a son of God.

    Are you starting to see how ludicrous your theory is starting to look?

    It is very obvious that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that we are sons of God.

    Jamison, Faussett and Brown
    16. The Spirit itself– It should be “Himself”–
    beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children– “are children”
    of God– The testimony of our own spirit is borne in that cry of conscious sonship, “Abba, Father”; but we are not therein alone; for the Holy Ghost within us, yea, even in that very cry which it is His to draw forth, sets His own distinct seal to ours; and thus, “in the mouth of two witnesses” the thing is established. The apostle had before called us “sons of God,” referring to our adoption; here the word changes to “children,” referring to our new birth. The one expresses the dignity to which we are admitted; the other the new life which we receive. The latter is more suitable here; because a son by adoption might not be heir of the property, whereas a son by birth certainly is, and this is what the apostle is now coming to.

    So JFB claim two witnesses, the Holy Spirit, and our spirit, and call it established that we are sons.

  184. Interesting,
    That if a Man dies, does ‘the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance ‘, die also?
    Can the Holy spirit die?
    If the guarantee is taken away from a man, when that man is still living by faith, then God has broken his promise…riiiiiigggggghhhhhT!!!!!!
    …but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

  185. Steve, we can all dig up stuff to back up our standpoint. Here’s one, talking about Rom 8:16:

    ‘The verb “bear witness” means to confirm by testimony, as opposed to being the primary evidence. We might better translate “corroborates.”

    Well, if the Spirit is the corroborating witness, who is the primary witness? Evidently, “our spirit.” Now, “spirit” can carry many different shades of meaning in the Greek, and different authors use it differently. But in Romans, Paul only uses the word a few times to refer to a part of the Christian other than the indwelling Spirit.

    (Rom 1:9-10 ESV) 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you 10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.

    (Rom 11:7-8 ESV) 7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened, 8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”

    (Rom 12:11 ESV) 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

    Rom 11:8 is a quotation from the Septuagint, and so not necessarily representative of Paul’s use of “spirit.” In 1:9 and 12:11, “spirit” means something like “will” or “passion.” It’s the part of us that drives us to behave a certain way.

    Therefore, in 8:16, “with our spirit” does not mean that the Spirit testifies to our spirit (taking “spirit” to mean something like “mind,” I suppose), but that our spirit testifies to our adoption, and this is corroborated or supported by the Spirit’s own evidence. More precisely, the idea is that our spirits and the Spirit jointly testify to our adoption.

    But how? Well, by what Paul has just said. We have the Spirit of sonship. We are led by the Spirit. Our hearts have been circumcised. And when our hearts are circumcised by God, when are paths are led by the Spirit, and when we have an Abba-relationship with God the Father, well, people can tell. Or they should be able to.”

    So you’re leaning heavily on ambiguous and disputable territory to prove a separate spirit. Pneuma primarily denotes the Holy Spirit through capitalisation of the S. There are only a handful of times in NT scripture that pneuma is with reference to the person. In those cases we can easily assume that the translation is in line with other uses of spirit to denote feelings, passions, mental outcomes, Consequently, we can say that the Romans 8:16 use of spirit is our new heavenward nature rather than our old earthy one. It is far less of a stretch than a separate entity, and aligns with Paul’s way of explaining how the new man has been born again into a new spiritual, heavenly family. I think you are making too much of how we are born again in saying that something has to be birthed ie a spirit. You have said earlier that you see us having a dead spirit that is made alive. Well that would be revive not reborn.

    What happens to us on the inside when the Holy Spirit takes residence and leads us is ‘new life’ or ‘new birth’, but the fulfillment is what Paul and Jesus both reinforce time and again. This will be on his return that the dead in Christ rise first and those alive in body transformed.

  186. ‘Are you starting to see how ludicrous your theory is starting to look?

    It is very obvious that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with our spirit that we are sons of God.’

    I have never said that the Holy Spirit bears witness with Himself, so no need making up statements and then saying how ludicrous they are. I’ll keep saying this until you accede that there is a valid point which is: the few references to pneuma of a person do not have to mean a distinct, discrete entity called a ‘spirit’ who is inside us, along with another entity called a ‘soul’ and both accompanied by the Holy Spirit.

    What I am saying very clearly, and with scriptural evidence, is that the human believer in Christ is a fleshly body with an inner man (all those things about a person that have no material presence like character, emotions, thoughts, that is, mental faculties) under the leading of the Holy Spirit. The non-believer does not have the Holy Spirit and so his character and mental decisions are still fallen in nature. We have a new nature, birthed from above, heirs in a new family line, one that is spiritual, and an inheritance that will be presented on resurrection. When both types of person die, the God-given life (breath) returns to God – he knows when we breath our last. For the believer, the Holy Spirit within is the seal or guarantor of new, full life to come, and so God knows all too well that this person will qualify for eternal life on Christ’s return.

    None of this is outside straightforward biblical interpretation, neither is it unorthodox.

    What has happened is that because the idea of an immortal spirit took hold so tenaciously early in the church’s development, all the hell verses became eternal in nature and so the doctrine of eternal torment in hell was birthed in your interpretation. This is one error that has done much damage to the perception of a loving God down the years.

    That’s one main reason why I take this seriously, because a trichotomous man ultimately impugns the character of God.

  187. ‘We are led by the inner witness of the Spirit of God with our spirit. It is great lesson to learn, because we are not led by our mind, or by our senses, but by the Spirit leading our spirit.’

    Steve, that’s almost new age. We are led by our thinking and how we decide to act is the evidence of our inner man/thought life. What do you suppose sends all those messages around your body to make you sense, release emotion, care, express the Holy Spirit etc? Yes, it’s the mind via the brain. There is no reference in that verse to the person being led by his own spirit which is being led by the Holy Spirit. Yes I know of the Greek work ‘nous’, but a mind that can appreciate and respond to God is more pneuma than nous, but still it is a mix of the whole person, not a ‘personal spirit’ doing the controlling. You’re adding to scripture.

    Why do you think the scriptures refer to those dull of mind or a having spirit of stupor? In their worldly thinking, they cannot perceive or understand the things of God. We were there in 1 Cor 2 only recently.

  188. ‘1 John 5:10
    He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself…

    We know that we are sons of God through the inner witness in our spirit.’

    That could easily be the indwelling Holy Spirit witnessing to our new whole self. No necessity for another ‘spirit’ to be involved.

  189. ‘You notice how you are doing things though, don’t you? In exactly the same way I told you the SDA and JWs do it, and to their discredit. You don’t look at the overall context of the doctrine. You take each phrase and one by one make up a reason for it to be something you refuse to accept. In this case you have dismissed what is before you by saying it means something it clearly and obviously doesn’t. That is dismissive of truth. That is wrong. It is misleading, not just to your readers, but to yourself.’

    Funny, but exactly the same can be said of your supporting methods. I have given you plenty of ‘big picture’ stuff regarding the nature of man, but you cling to the notion we have a spirit inside and use ambiguity to your advantage.

    But you’d say the same about me, so is this a stalemate?

  190. ‘I’ll give it some thought, but I’m reticent to dig myself into a major set of theology in an antagonistic environment.’

    I’m not after a doctoral thesis, just something like: When a believer dies, his spirit returns to God to live a non-corporeal existence, whilst the soul does xxxxxxxxx, and the body rots in the ground. When a non-believer dies…….

    That was all.

  191. ‘Again, for you, John 3:6, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.’

    Yes, and therein lies your main argument. However, what is it that ‘is spirit’. It is the opposite to what existed before ie something that was earthy, Adamic, fleshly, sinful. That was our old ‘man’, nature, person, controlled by the spirit of the world and selfish lusts. When the Holy Spirit arrives in a person after declaration of faith, new birth comes in the form of an ability to hear God’s wisdom, and empowered to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit.

    So what is born (new person/nature) of the Spirit is spirit because it comes from Him who is Spirit. Our new man is now spiritually-focussed and Spirit-led. What could there be in that verse which assumes a new spirit being is birthed or created to live in a new believer? None really, it’s just what you want it to read.

  192. I’m nominating this thread as thread of the year.

    227 comments!!!!

    Now if only I had posting rights….

    (Of which 10 were on topic – but we’re getting better and hey everyone’s having fun and it’s good to have zeibart back and on fire)

  193. ‘Now if only I had posting rights….’

    Yeah, and I’d like to do all those gucci quote things with bold and italics.

    And may your whole body, soul and spirit enjoy a prosperous and healthy 2014.

  194. “I’m nominating this thread as thread of the year.

    227 comments!!!!”

    Yeh, well I’m going back to speck savers, cause my EYES are stuffed.

    🙄

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