Let My People Think

Posts tagged ‘life’

Death according to the Bible is: loss of life, lack of life, absence of life

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

DEATH IS THE OPPOSITE OF LIFE

As mentioned before, in dozens of Scripture passages, “death” is juxtaposed with “life”, and thus has to have a meaning opposite of life. In a quick keyword search I found over 40 scriptures where “death” is directly presented as a word meaning the opposite of “life”. There are more if you take into consideration different lexical forms of these words. Here are a few of the pairings of these antonyms, to give you a flavor:

Deuteronomy 30:19
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

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Divine bio-engineering. How Jesus Christ solves the problem of death of fleshly bodies

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

Now, after we have disambiguated ourselves of extra-Scriptural meanings, we are in a position to define what the scriptural meaning of death is.

DEATH OPERATES ON THE BODY OF THE FLESH

Death that has been plaguing humanity ever since the fall of Adam operates on the bodies of flesh, and not on spirits. This is stated in the Scriptures quite clearly, but scripture expositors rarely tie this knowledge in with the topic of death, for whatever reason. Sin (dysfunction, being “apart / amiss” from God’s design) operates in the flesh, producing death, as apostle Paul noted most notably in Romans chs. 5 – 8, and this is also noted in a lot of other places in the Scripture as well.

Here are some passages pertaining to sin / death operating on the bodies of flesh:

2 Corinthians 4
11 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members [of the body] to bear fruit to death.

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Physical death is not equal to annihilation

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

The “physical death is equivalent to annihilation” viewpoint is held only by a minority of Bible-believing followers of Jesus, we still need to address it. The Scriptures speak of two deaths: of first death (physical) and, in the book of Revelation, of second death. Physical death is what all of us are unfortunately familiar with, and I will address this first.
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Death in the Bible does not equal separation – summary

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

SEPARATION IS THE OPPOSITE OF UNION

To arrive at the meaning vested by the author into a word, we could examine the antonym pairing that a given word participates in, to be able to more precisely see what exact semantics makes the antonym pairs stand opposite of each other.

In dozens of Scripture passages, “death” is juxtaposed with “life”, and thus has to have a meaning opposite of life. In a quick search I brought up over 40 scriptures where “death” is directly presented as a word meaning the opposite of “life”, and that’s not counting word derivatives.

Now, if death was equivalent to “separation”, then it would be juxtaposed with the verb “join” or “unite” in all these passages, but it isn’t. If it were, then “life” would have to mean “union”, and we would be in an even bigger mess linguistically, since by now we would have redefined 2 important words to mean something that they weren’t intended to. Then every time we would discuss scripture bring up the subject of life, we would have to preface it (as we often times do with death): “In the Bible, “life” really means “union””. Well, union requires an indirect object denoting what the subject is being united with, whereas “life” doesn’t … And we are now in the same predicament as we were when we redefined the word “death”.
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Death is not separation of spirit or soul from the body

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

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:
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Spiritual death – no such thing is ever mentioned in the Bible

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

SPIRITUAL DEATH – NO SUCH THING EXISTS IN THE SCRIPTURES

Now let’s analyze the passage where the notion of “spiritual death” takes root.

Genesis 2
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

The prooftext that’s usually given for “spiritual death” is that in the passage above God said to Adam “you shall surely die the day you eat of the fruit”, Adam did eat, and since Adam didn’t die physically that day, he must have died spiritually. There are a few problems with this conclusion. For one, the scriptures don’t state that he died spiritually, period. That’s an assumption. The second problem with that is that conclusion is that the Scriptures contain no references whatsoever to spirits dying, or “spiritual death”, or anything of that sort. Spirits don’t die. When people die, their spirits simply return to God. There are a number of references to that in the Scriptures.
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Death is not separation from the life of God

DEATH ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES SERIES – TABLE OF CONTENTS

Death

DEATH IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO SEPARATION FROM THE LIFE OF GOD

Again, the story of the fall is given as a prooftext for this notion of “death = separation from the life of God”. The only separation that happened was from the garden of Eden and from the tree of life that was in there, but that was a totally separate (no pun intended) act of God in response to Adam’s actions, and not something that happened to Adam as part of death per se. If that specific separation that occurred there were death, then “death = escorting Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden + placing cherubim and a rotating flaming swords at the entrance”. I am not buying that equation.
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