DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Intro and purpose. What death is not equal to.
- Death is not separation from God
- Death is not separation from the life of God
- There’s no such thing as “spiritual death”
- Death is not separation of soul from the body
- Death is not separation – summary
- Physical death is not annihilation
- Divine bio-engineering. How Jesus Christ solves the problem of death of fleshly bodies
- Death according to the Bible: lack of life, loss of life
DEATH IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO SEPARATION OF SPIRIT (OR SOUL) FROM THE BODY
Some might say – well, death really means “separation of the spirit from the body” (or some may say “soul from the body” – either way, the discussion below applies to both, since the type of separation in question is fundamentally the same).
Well, to be sure, physical death of a human being does involve separation of the spirit from the body. That’s a very important point, which is necessary to grasp to understand the mechanics of joint death with Christ and “new birth” in Christ. However, that is an entailment, which is a type of implication. As demonstrated above, implication is not equivalence. Again, if the two were equivalent, let’s plug in the substitution in a couple of verses and see how it bears out:
and Isaac was comforted after his mother’s spirit separated from her body
That’s sounds strange, don’t you think? Isaac didn’t mourn the fact of separation of Sarah’s spirit and body, in fact that was probably the last thing he thought of, what grieved him is that his mother was no longer alive.
So Abimelech charged all his people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to separation of spirit from their body.
You don’t make threats like that. The threat was really death, or loss of life.
Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my spirit separates from my body.
I am pretty sure Jacob wasn’t as concerned with the mechanics of his death as he was with the fact that he needed to bless his son while he (Jacob) was still alive.
Just keep going down starting from Genesis using a keyword search, and substitute “death” with “separation of spirit / soul from the body”, and you will quickly see how that becomes non-sensical very fast.
Comments on: "Death is not separation of spirit or soul from the body" (8)
Maybe words like the spirit separated from the body simply describe what happened at the moment of death. Clinically, we understand that a person is dead when there is no longer any brain activity. But these passages would not make any more sense if we replaced death with no brain activity than by replacing death with the separation of the spirit and body. Usually in the context of being present at the time of death, no one speaks of the mechanics of what happens at death which scripture does tell us our spirits do return back to God and if the body is still here, then there was a separation of the spirit and body whether we call it death or something else.
Love your thoughts so far. I think I am half way done now.
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Right – that’s pretty much the thrust of my thoughts in this part of the series. The whole death as separation of soul / spirit from body thing really originated with Socrates and later Plato, and then got co-opted by early Greek Christians, many of who were avid students of Greek philosophy. Augustine is a perfect example of that. In the Scriptures, the prevalent semantic is cessation of life, progressive (a process of dying) and eventual (death as finality).
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I do have another question for you. Why do you think genesis 2 repeats the word death twice in a row in the Hebrew?
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Oh, yes. If you read that in Young’s Literal Translation, it brings out the literal Hebrew meaning. “[From] the day you eat of the tree, dying shall you die”. That’s the key to the whole puzzle. It doesn’t say that they will die in that day – rather, it says that they will *begin to* be dying on that very day.
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While dying on the cross Jesus told the person dying next to him: “Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” – Luke 23:43
“In my fathers house there are many rooms.If it were not so I would have told you. FOr I go to prepare a place for you.” – John 14:2
This is a few of many many many examples of the Bible clearly stating a belief in the afterlife. Jesus had a conversation with those that had this philosophical belief that there was no eternal life.
There are many examples throughout the entire Bible including the septuagint that there was indeed a belief in life after death. THere are literally examples of those never even dying in the physical realm but going straight to heaven – such as Elijah.
The conversations in the Old Testament were with religious views through the ages of the beginnings of civilization where everyone started coming together and talking about God. This was addressed with Jesus talking to the Pharaoh from one of the earliest religions to believe in the afterlife – the Egyptians. This continued with the Persian Zoroastrianism that believed in the good and evil, monotheism, and the clarification of the consequences of the afterlife. Literally, all of these different philosophical beliefs throughout the ages are addressed in time, and as you mentioned, edited after these times likely for political gain and confirmation of pushing beliefs of those after the Bible. It is so hard to distinguish with so much muddle of people getting in there and trying to figure this out for generations. Singular messages do come through however throughout the history , and throughout the entirety of the entire Bible. One of those singular prevalent messages is the belief in an afterlife.
What else can I site for you to provide information on this argument to further this conversation for us all towards finding the truth?
Thank you for your comment. To be clear – I am not arguing against the notion of the resurrection from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15 deals with that notion in plenty of detail. However, to be resurrected from the DEAD, one must be DEAD first – which, by far, is what the modern Western theology denies. The prevalent understanding is that people will go to heaven after they die, where they will live in a disembodied state. Or to hell, where they will suffer for eternity.
Sadly, despite it being so popular in Christianity – that’s an unequivocally pagan ideation. It began to influence Judaism to a degree through Egyptian and Persian / Zoroastrian avenues, and which began to mushroom during the intertestamental (“the silent years”) period. Eventually it made headway into Christianity as well, through the influence of neo-Platonists such as Augustine, and eventually became cemented as a de-facto Western Christian understanding. Needless to say, this whole “where will you go after you die” idea, albeit commonly used as an evangelism bait, has no grounding whatsoever in the New Covenant, or even in the Jewish understanding about afterlife.
In agreement with your quote about Jesus preparing many abodes – with the following footnote. The Greek word “mone” is commonly mistranslated as “mansions”, but it means specifically “abode”. If you factor in Jesus’s and Pauline usage of the term “tent”, “house”, “temple” in reference to their own bodies, as in shedding those and putting on new spirit-realm embodiments, it’s clear that the reference is once again to resurrection from the dead.
As far as the “truly I tell you today you will be with me in paradeisos” (that’s a literal translation of the Greek text – please note how the original Greek text has no commas). We know from numerous Scriptural passages that after he said that phrase, Jesus spent the next 3 days and nights in Hades – not in heaven nor in any kind of paradise. That very understanding is enshrined in the Nicene creed (https://www.crcna.org/welcome/beliefs/creeds/nicene-creed) – notice how he ascended to heaven not “today”, but “on the third day”. So obviously this passage, as rendered by most modern English translations, would be a failed prognosis on the part of Jesus. The issue with this passage translation is that the comma is not put in the right place. If you put the comma after the word “today”, as so: “truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradeisos” – that incongruity disappears completely.
So, to sum up – Jesus wasn’t promising the thief heaven “today”, as “today” (from that time perspective) Jesus was going to go in the opposite direction from heaven (if we take the pop-Christian definitions of those terms as reference point, anyway).
Lastly, a note about the Greek word “paradeisos”. It comes via Persian “pardes”, and it means “garden”. No more, no less. It’s a reference to the Edenic harmony between the heaven and the earth, and takes place on renewed earth. It doesn’t take place in some remote mythical heaven, as in “abode for sentient disembodied souls or spirits”. That’s the claim about heaven that neither the NT nor the OT ever makes.
I’d encourage anyone interested in this subject to look into Dr. N.T Wright’s work on these subjects, as a starting point. His scholarship is generally considered to be of the highest caliber in the Protestant world. His books “Surprised by Hope” and “The Day the Revolution Began” are very good reads on the subject. For a much briefer summary, check out these articles: https://time.com/5743505/new-testament-
heaven/ and https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-faith/nt-wright-asks-have-we-gotten-heaven-all-wrong/2012/05/16/gIQAD4lTUU_story.html .
correction to the above – Not Jesus talking to Pharaoh, Moses talking to Pharaoh
[…] PD draws attention to the ‘triviality’ & ‘extraneity’ of God’s simple prohibition in Gen. 1-3.92 Fair enough. He notes that the results of the Fall (i.e. of disobedience) were catastrophic for the first humans & all of us – true as well. But he adds intriguingly: “The death promised by God comprehended not only physical death to the body, but eternal separation and divine punishment.”93 This is a classic ‘argument from silence’ because God’s only explicit sentence is to a life full of toil & sweat before eventual ‘return to dust’ (Gen.3:19). PD has to read the novelty of ‘eternal separation’ implicitly into the account, as it is just not there in the text. I know centuries of creative theologising have passed & gone before him, so that he feels certain of this – but ‘death as separation’ is an extra-biblical concept that has to be retro-fitted into the divine death-sentence, as Henning shows Death Means Separation , plus: Death is not separation of spirit or soul from the body. […]