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the Message Continues ... 8/63

 

Newsletter November 2006

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The Geography of the Place of the Dead
A Discourse on the Immortality of Soul
by: Noyni, United Arab Emirates

In my years of existence on this planet, or maybe because of my ignorance of the "world", I did not expect that there are religious groups who do not believe that the soul of man has its perpetual senses even in the life after. I thought things like these were just the argument of science.

These people believe that soul is equivalent to man's "life" that when the body die, its soul, being the life, will also practically die and will feel nothing, unconscious at all, just like the dead body. Some also believe that the dead are just asleep and they will only resurrect during the end times. They have taken literally the term used in the Bible for death which is "asleep".

To better understand this discourse, it is important to know first the definition of life, being, and soul.

Life

A condition of existence that requires abilities falling in any of the following criteria, i.e, to move (animation), to reproduce, to consume (consumption), to grow, and, stimulus-response (senses-reaction).

Science believes that life" is simply made up of one or more cells.

The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism.

The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.


Being

Something, such as an object, an idea, or a symbol, that exists, is thought to exist, or is represented as existing.

a living thing that has (or can develop) the ability to act or function independently


Soul

The animating and vital principle in humans, credited with the faculties of thought, action, and emotion and often conceived as an immaterial entity.

The spiritual nature of humans, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state. person, individual, someone, somebody, mortal*, human. *This definition viewed soul as mortal. Maybe because of the fact does it does not stay forever inside a mortal body of man.

The purpose of this discourse is to allow us to examine in light of the Word of God if indeed soul will die with the body, or will just fall asleep unconscious of everything and will just resurrect in the last days. It is important to curve this dangerous belief since this will only promote complacency, compromise and wickedness among godly and ungodly people. For ungodly people, this will reinforce their wrongdoing justified by non-accountability of their actions in eternity.

Text: Genesis 1:26 and 2:7

In Genesis 1:26, God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness," and let us jump to Genesis 2:7, which says, "LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."

In Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 2:7, we can thus, conclude at least four (4) things:

1. That if God made man in His image (Genesis 1:26), His appearance, is also like a man.

The apostles had personally seen Jesus, the Word who incarnated and manifested as a man (John 1:1-3). Hebrews 1:3 says, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being..." This verse may mean two things: Jesus' holiness has emanated from God, His Father, and God's physical appearance itself had been reflected in Jesus.

2. That man's life is composed of two beings: his physical being ["God formed man out of the dust of the ground"], and his spiritual being, which is the soul ["and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul"].

3. That just as God who gave the breath of life to man is eternal (Duet. 33:27), this living soul will also have perpetual existence from the time life has given in it.

4. That the soul of man had originally the Spirit of God who gave its life ["and breath into his nostrils the breath of life"].

Those who oppose to the idea of perpetual existence or immortality of soul have equated soul with life as they interpreted using their own Bible version of Genesis 2:7.

For clarity, we shall be reading the same verse according to the different versions acceptable by all the denominations.

Genesis 2:7 (NIV)

7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7 (KJV)

7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:7 (NASV)

7 Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

Genesis 2:7 (NKJV)

7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

The above verse of Genesis 2:7, we find two things: (1) formed from the dust of the ground, and (2) breath of life. These versions used the word "living", living being or living soul that connote perpetual life, or an eternal life. For it did not say, "and man became a "temporal living being" or "temporal living soul", but it was stated in an absolute phrase, a "living being ", or "living soul".

With this, it is easy to presume that God's original design was that the life of man was to live forever. But when sin came in to this world, death also came. That which should have had eternal being have now experienced death.

When God gave a command to the first man not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, He also gave a warning that they will "surely die once they eat of it" (Genesis 2:17). We know that they have transgressed the command of God, they ate of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil.

Thus, sin came in, so does death also came. As a result, God cursed the man in Genesis 3:19 by saying, ".... until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return."

Thus, man experienced physical death. His body which was formed out of dust, will return to dust. We are familiar with the decomposition process of the dead bodies being buried.

In the same verse, it is interesting to note that once they eat of the fruit, God's warning was "you will surely die". But we knew that they did not die instantly as soon as they ate of the fruit. Infect, Eve got pregnant and had children, and Adam died a 930 year old man.

It shows that because of their transgression, there was a part in their being that died - and that was their soul. It is likewise profitable to highlight that, if it is true that soul is squarely equivalent to life of the human body, right there and then, they must have also died physically. But the facts tell us that their soul died ahead of their physical being.

The question is, if their soul died ahead of their physical body, what kind of death was this? And how did it happen?

We can see here a spiritual kind of death. How is this?

Before we can understand spiritual death, it is important for us to know what is the meaning of death.

One of the meanings of death in the dictionary is, "departure from life".

Bible scholars define death as "separation of two things or entities", and medically speaking, it is "cessation of the functions of body organs".

For the purpose of this discussion, I would like to use the word "departure". Separation is more accurate, but since it was already the definition used by the Bible scholars, I would rather use the word "departure" to keep my discourse from theological biases.

Now we will try to know how does spiritual death happen - which is the death of the soul.

If we will go back to the creation of man and to the garden of Eden in Genesis, we will remember that God's presence what with man. God had union with man. God's presence was in the Garden as man was also in the Garden. But when man have sinned, he was banished immediately from the Garden. Which tells us that he departed from the presence of God who gave his life.

By that, and because of his transgression, he experienced spiritual death - which is the death of his soul.

Meaning, his soul who used to unite with the Spirit of God (or God's presence) has been "departed" from God because of sin. There became a big gap between God and man, which was the transgression.

Therefore, the meaning of spiritual death is the departure of the Spirit of God from the soul. But it does not mean that the soul has also departed from man. The soul was still with man for it is his life. His body functions because of life in it - being his soul (Gen. 2:7).

God and man had been separated by sin. In effect, a soul that sins will die (Ezekiel 18:4).

Isaiah 59, says, our sin has separated us from God that He does not want to hear from us.

And in Matthew 8:22, Jesus said, "let the dead bury their own dead". He was speaking of two kinds of dead. (1) Those who will bury their dead which are the sinners, in effect, souls of whom are dead (without the Spirit of God). (2) And the dead itself who is physically and clinically dead - the cessation of functions of bodily organs.

How did physical death happen to man?

Physical death, in the verses that we have used, only happened to Adam after 930 years, when the curse of God had an effect to his physical body, in which God said, "for dust you are and to dust you will return." His physical body died and was buried in soil.

Obviously, this was the end of the physical being of Adam. Remember that as he lived 930 years and all those years, he lived because of the soul which was still with him. But when he ceased to live, this soul finally "departed" from his body.

So physical death happens when the soul departs from the body.

Does the soul become unconscious or non-existent when it departs from the body?

We will go through some Biblical examples that will show us that souls have perpetual existence in the other life.

Example 1.

Abraham in Genesis 25:7-8

7 Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.

8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

- Abraham died physically
- But his soul went somewhere - "and he was gathered to his people"

This passage does not talk merely of the grave yard where his physical body was buried, but it pertained a place where his people are.

Are these people yet existing?

Yes, because the Bible tells us there are people there where Abraham had to be gathered with. Otherwise, if they were not existing, there no such gathering to be mentioned.

Are these people are just sleeping?

Let us also check what happened to Abraham himself.

Luke 16:23-25

23 In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side.
24 So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'

25 "But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.


Example 2.

Samuel, in 1 Samuel 25:1

1 Now Samuel died, and all Israel assembled and mourned for him; and they buried him at his home in Ramah.

-Samuel died and his body was buried

Is Samuel's soul dead or just sleeping and awaiting for the resurrection?

No. Let us check from this verse.

I Samuel 28:13-15

The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground."

14 "What does he look like?" he asked. "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.

15 Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"

If Samuel's soul or spirit was no longer in existence, there will be nothing or no one to bring up, or nobody will respond to the spiritist. On the other hand, if he was asleep and waiting for the resurrection, no spirits can bring up soul until the resurrection comes.


Example 3.

Moses in Deuteronomy 34:5

5 And Moses the servant of the LORD died there in Moab, as the LORD had said. 6 He buried him in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is.

-He died and was buried

Let us now check if his soul is also dead or asleep awaiting for the resurrection.

Matthew 17:3

Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.


Example 4

Lazarus, in Luke 16:19-31


Example 5

The Richman, also in Luke 16:19-31


Example 6

The souls of the martyred in Revelation 20

Revelation 20:4

'I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.


Examples 4, 5, and 6, will also show us that their souls were still existing even after their death, and are still conscious capable of emotions, senses, thus, feeling pains or comfort.

It is therefore safe to conclude that soul has its eternal properties that can experience or feel pain and or comfort even after death.


Life and soul

The opponents of this discourse will surely play on terminologies between life and soul. Their premise is that "soul" and "life" per se, are one and the same, in such a way that when a man dies that is the end of his being.

However, if we are going to review our definitions and Biblical text, the life of a man is in its soul. A man cannot live or cannot have life without the soul. And this soul is responsible for its animation, feelings, emotions and senses. Thus, even after separating from the body, soul can still feel whether comfort or pain, both emotionally and sensibly. We should recall that the giver of the breath of life (which made a living soul) was an Eternal Being, God.

From the following verses, the Bible proves to us the co-existence of soul and life, its separability, and that soul is a component of life.

Job 3:20

"Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul,

Psalm 88:3

For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.

Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.

Isaiah 53:11

After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied ; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

Deuteronomy 4:29

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.


Deuteronomy 6:4-5

4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.


Revelation 6:9-10

9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.

10They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?"


Mark 8:35-37

35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

Matthew 10:28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Isaiah 55:3

Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.

Job 33:22

His soul draws near to the pit, and his life to the messengers of death.

Proverbs 23:14

Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death.

Mark 14:34

"My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."


In conclusion,

1. Soul is a component of life for man to become physically alive.

2. There are two kinds of death, spiritual and physical death.

3. When soul departs from the body, that body becomes lifeless, thus, experiencing physical death.

4. Man experience first death of his soul the moment he sins.

5. Soul does not die into non-existence or asleep after the physical death. Its senses, emotions, feeling of pain and comfort continues.

6. Soul has its inherent properties of spiritual being coming from God, thus, an immortal being.

7. Bible proved to us the immortality of souls by giving us examples of men who died whom souls are still existing in the life after.

8. The Bible treated soul and physical life differently.

9. Life of the body is different from the life of the soul. Life of the body has soul in it. Life of the soul has the Spirit of God in it.

10. Since God who gave us life is an eternal being, there is a part in our beings which is also eternal-that is, soul.

Believing that soul will no longer exist or just sleeping after death is a very dangerous theology. Because if this is so, man will also believe that he is relieved from his accountabilities in eternity.

If only those who have lived according to the will of God will resurrect and the evil one will continue to be non-existent, or during the end time, only the wicked will be destroyed in Armageddon (as they say). So what? That destruction will come once, anyway, and they will be asleep or non-existent again.

It would be very easy for these people who deny the perpetual existence of soul to be wicked, as this idea makes them believe that they do not await great eternal punishment, which torment will be forever and ever and ever.

This idea will also promote complacency among so-called godly people, for the same reason that it makes them believe that they can choose not to join the resurrection and just rest forever, especially if they were tired and weary living their lives on earth.

Friends, beware of this kind of idea. It has no Biblical foundation, and therefore, lie. And whoever adhere to lies will be answerable by being tormented in the fire of hell.

And beware also of the idea that there is no hell by which these perishing immortal souls will go.
 

   

 

 

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