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Biblical Anthropology IV:

Soul and Spirit, Image and Likeness, Book of Life, Life at Birth, Accountability and Infant Salvation

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Question #1:

You translated:

"I was cast upon (i.e., made to rely upon) You from the womb (i.e., immediately after birth)."
Psalm 22:10

How do we know that the passage refers to the time 'immediately after birth' if it says 'from the womb'?

Response #1:

Before birth would be "in the womb", not "from the womb". As it is, this is short-hand or rather a poetical expression for "from birth" (that is why separation from the "womb" is mentioned in this way).

Question #2:

Could the fact that our Lord uses the word "soul" (psyche) in Matthew 16:25 be used as an argument that "soul" means life or "being" and is not simply a synonym for "spirit"?

"For whoever wishes to save his life (psyche) will lose it; but whoever loses his life (psyche) for My sake will find it."
Matthew 16:25 NASB

Response #2:

Yes – great example, thanks! Even KJV says "life" here because, obviously, "lose their soul" for Christ would be an incorrect translation since it is clearly the opposite of everything scripture promises believers.

Question #3:

Hello Bob,

I gather that you view man as a dichotomy and not a trichotomy? I have been researching this extensively and although I do lean more towards the dichotomy theory my questions are a) does it really matter what one believes about this and if so, b) why?

Hope you can help me, for some reason I am really struggling with this.

Thanks as always,

Response #3:

Good to hear from you. I am keeping you and your family in prayer.

As to your question, yes, I am firm on dichotomy, even though I was mentored in trichotomy and went to a seminary where that was the universal opinion (I will give you the links below to places on the site where this is discussed). In my view, there is no question what scripture teaches, if only people will look into the matter carefully.

As to the reasons why it is an important issue, first, all genuinely scriptural questions are important. There are plenty of non-scriptural questions whose consideration is a complete waste of time (e.g., the famous medieval query, "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"), but when it is an issue of interpreting what a particular scripture means, all questions which legitimately bear on that interpretation are by definition important. As I often say, spiritual growth is entirely dependent upon believing the truth, but the truth has to be understood as true before it can be believed. We often do not know what importance a single brick will have when we insert it into the edifice we are building, but the correct answer of course is that to be structurally sound the building should have all of its bricks in their proper place, and that leaving any out, or putting any in the wrong place, or putting in, say, rotten wood, in place of bricks, will all contribute to a possible future collapse.

Secondly, when it is an issue of a question which affects the interpretation of many passages, then the issue is that much more important to the degree that it is present in scripture. Inasmuch as the words spirit and soul (and related words and concepts) are ubiquitous in the Bible, understanding precisely what they mean cannot fail to be important.

Thirdly, while as I say we often do not know why a particular point of truth will be important when we first come across it or how it will contribute to the integrity of the whole of the spiritual edifice we are building, in this case I personally have observed a number of situations where being wrong on the trichotomy/dichotomy issue has led to other incorrect understandings of scripture; whereas on the other hand taking the correct, dichotomous position has instead led to a better understanding of scripture. For example, trichotomists cannot really explain the difference between soul and spirit or the need for both; dichotomists understand that the "soul" is a synonym for the heart or the inner person rather than being a tertium quid (i.e, a completely independent "thing"); trichotomists can't agree on whether or not everyone has a spirit or when someone might get a spirit and as result suffer from a severe anthropological dilemma in terms of the differences between human beings, whereas dichotomists know that all human beings are the same in their essential makeup, so that the issues of free will and personal responsibility are clearer; trichotomists tend toward the false belief of life at conception and reduce human beings to an entirely materialistic existence in spite of believing in two immaterial parts, whereas for dichotomists it's very simple: human beings, body and spirit, are created at birth when God gives the newborn life by imparting the human spirit. There are a host of other confusions which trichotomy produces, but the most profound in my view is the inability for even those well-versed in scripture and theology to explain just what the Bible means when it talks of soul and spirit and the two relate and how they are different. In any case, you can find out much more about all of these issues at the links below:

The dichotomy of man (in SR 3)

The dichotomy of man (in BB 3A) - very similar to the above

The "soul" versus the human spirit.

*Biblical Anthropology I

Is the Soul a tertium quid?

Procreation versus God's Immediate Creation

Please feel free to write back about any of this.

I hope your studies are going well.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Hello Bob,

Thank you for your usual prompt reply and I must admit I find this topic difficult to chew and digest but your explanations are a great help and I need to read through them slowly to get a real grasp of the dichotomy theory (which I have a gut feeling is the correct one).

We are in the process of trying to decide if we should return to South Africa sooner rather than later but from a work point of view it is a hard decision, if you have time I would really appreciate your prayers for that too! It's so hard to wait on the Lord when there are these decisions to be made as there are things one has to put in place before such a huge move. I really ask God to give us wisdom and discernment in this and not let our personal desires or fears for the future determine any decision we make.

As to my studies, the doctrine of man has really been challenging, strangely enough, much more difficult than I would have thought! I am so grateful I "found" you. There is so much misinformation and error out there and I have SO much to learn but I don't want to fall into the error of knowing a lot about God without properly knowing Him.

God bless your work.

No doubt you'll be hearing again from me soon!

Response #4:

You're most welcome. I will be keeping you and yours in prayer on all these matters. I particularly appreciate your statement in asking the Lord to "give us wisdom and discernment in this and not let our personal desires or fears for the future determine any decision we make". To me, this bespeaks the highest sort of Christian wisdom – a good prayer for all of us to pray in a variety of circumstances!

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Bob,

Why is the doctrine of man so hard to get a handle on? I'm sure you must think I am thick, because although I read your explanations (and those of others) over and over I cannot, for the life of me sort out the differences between the image and likeness of God. I THINK image refers to our reasoning ability; i.o.w. God needs to relate to us so we must be able to reason that He is God (what about people with diminished intellectual ability then?) and likeness, the qualities of conscience, free-will, morality etc. I do get that these are spiritual in nature only (at least I got that right) but I am confused. Please Bob (to quote Denzel Washinton in some old movie I saw) "tell it to me like I was a 4 year old", with examples of each (that would help). I also I wanted to enquire if there was some way I could contribute to a cause you hold close to your heart (apart from the very obvious one of proclaiming the gospel message) as I feel bad about asking you these questions when you are clearly a very busy man. Please let me know. I have this fear of facing our Lord with "empty hands" one day (which you will most certainly not do) but I trust in His time He will work through me.

Response #5:

Always good to hear from you. No need to apologize. After all, the vast majority of professional theologians have been getting this wrong since the early church.

Here's my attempt to make it simple:

Image of God: means that individually we human beings all have free will, and that is the gift that makes us uniquely who we are. In this respect then we are "gods", 'eliyim or "powerful ones", in the sense that, like God, we have an individual free will and can use it to make judgments and decisions (Ps.82:6; Jn.10:34), mirroring His WILL.

Likeness of God: means that collectively we human beings have the same essence. In this respect we are "like God" in that every human being possesses an essence identical to that of every other human being in a manner analogous to the Trinity who share the same identical essence.

Likeness is described in Genesis 1:26-27 as relatively less close to God ("according to our likeness") whereas image is described as relatively more close to God ("in our image"). Clearly, our will is quite inferior to His WILL, but it is a direct reflection of that WILL in terms of what it "is" (a decider) and what it means (a measure of sovereignty). Our essence, however, is segregated off from the essence of other human beings in way that is not true of the Trinity. We all enjoy an essence which is the same, but the individuation of human beings one from the other is complete in terms of will, whereas the Trinity are "one" in WILL to a degree we cannot really fathom. This difference, namely, of a less close parallel in likeness over against image, was necessary for us to be able to make individual decisions (instead of one collective one), first and foremost the decision of whether or not we will accept God's Substitute for our sins, our Lord Jesus, so as to be saved . . . or not; that is, whether or not to use our sovereignty inherent in the image of God and possessed by all human beings (likeness) to accept God's Sovereignty by responding to His grace so as to be saved.

I hope that makes it a bit clearer, but it is a complicated issue, so please do feel free to write back about any of the above.

As to the final question, there is, sadly, nothing I would be willing to publicly endorse. Personally, I do appreciate prayers for myself and this ministry.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Hi Robert,

Hope you are well. I'm busy reading your soteriology teaching. You write that all are written in the book of life etc. But please read Phil.4:3 and tell me if your view seems plausible? I mean why would Paul single out Clement as being written in the book - if all are written in and await final judgment to see if they remain in it?

Response #6:

I'm not sure what version you are using, but the Greek actually says here "the rest of my fellow workers, whose names (plural) are in the Book of Life". So rather than being singled out, Clement is, technically, not included. But we may be sure that just because Paul speaks of some of the church at Philippi as being "in the book", this by no means can be meant to suggest that others are not. As explained in the links below (q. vid.), everyone is "in the book" at first – meaning that the offer of salvation really is genuine (because Christ was destined to and now has died for the sins of all), and that God's first best destiny for every human being is salvation. He wrote the book before the creation, and that necessitated Christ dying for the sins of all. Only by arrogant self will (expressed either in overt rejection of the Lord in this life or failure to come to God through the blood of Christ before life runs out) is a person's name blotted out of the book.

"Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written." And the LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book."
Exodus 32:32-33 NKJV

Sinning against the Lord is rejecting Him as Savior. For those who have taken that possibility off the table by putting their faith in Jesus Christ for life eternal, being "in the book" is a wonderful source of encouragement, that is, for all believers who have indeed come to Christ and thus have no fear whatsoever of being blotted out when this life comes to an end – just as long as we persevere with faith intact faithful to the end. Here are those links:

Tithing and the Book of Life

"The Book of Life" translation issues

The grammar of Revelation 13:8 and "The Lamb slain"

I will assuredly not erase his name from the Book of Life (in CT 2A)

The Book of Life (Revelation 13:8) - in CT 4

The godly and the godless and the book of life (in CT 6)

Last judgment "books" distinguished from the book of life (in CT 6)

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I have read CT 2A and CT 4. I have read the two verses in 10-15 bible translations, and can not find a translation that matches your interpretation of the two verses. Your translation makes more sense to me, given the context of other bible verses, but I find it necessary to dig for validity. What is/are the source(s) for your translation, if you don't mind sharing?

I appreciate the insight I've gained from your diligent work!

Response #7:

Good to make your acquaintance – and thanks much for your kind and supportive words.

As to your question about Revelation 13:8 and 17:8, I take it you are asking about the book of life (please correct me if I am wrong, but that seems to be the point most commonly at issue, at least in the former verse). The first thing to establish is that "the Lamb" is the One who possesses the book, so that the book is what is being referenced as relating to "the foundation of the world" (not "the Lamb"). I think Revelation 17:8 makes this clear, showing that the phrase "from the foundation of the world" has to go with "the book of life", since both of those phrases occur in both verses (but "the Lamb who was slain" only occurs in Revelation 13:8):

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.
Revelation 17:8 NIV

I note that the NIV has a text note on Revelation 13:8 which reads "Or written from the creation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was slain". That is the correct attribution (it is an issue of Greek word order).

The second issue is what the two phrases "written in the book of life" and "from the foundation of the world" mean when juxtaposed correctly in this way. A picture is worth a thousand words, of explanation, and a good translation is too, so let me revisit here how I have rendered the two verses before discussing them further:

(8) And all the inhabitants of the earth will worship [the beast], [that is, all] whose names are not [still] written in the book of life [where they were written] from the beginning of the world, [even the book] which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.
Revelation 13:8

(8) The beast, which you saw, was (i.e., "existed"), and is not (i.e., came "not to exist"), and is going to rise from the Abyss (i.e., the revival of Rome on the one hand and apparent resuscitation of antichrist on the other), and is going to its destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, [those] whose names have not remained written in the book of life [where they were written] from the beginning of the world, will be in awe when they see the beast, because he was (i.e., "existed"), and is not (i.e., came "not to exist"), and will again be present on the scene (i.e., seem to return to life in the case of antichrist, and be reestablished in respect to the empire).
Revelation 17:8

The phrase I render "from the beginning of the world" is a Greek preposition phrase (apo kataboles kosmou, literally: "from creation's foundation"), and works in an adverbial way to anchor the action of its referent in eternity past before the Lord created the world. This clearly could not refer to the sacrifice of Christ (which had to await His incarnation and the cross); but it can refer to the book of life, since, clearly, God had everything planned before He initiated creation, and indeed the salvation of the elect is the central purpose of that plan (please see the link: in BB 4B: "God's Plan to Save You").

Once we have established (based upon the theological necessities and also upon the comparison of the two verses) that it is the book of life and the occurrence or non-occurrence of names therein that is linked to the time before creation, the question is what "written" means here. In both verses we have to do with the Greek verb grapho in the perfect tense (gegraptai). The perfect in Greek often expresses a state of being "now" as does the English perfect (as in "I have been healed" meaning "I am now well"). That is the case in both of these verses. To use a bit of "translationese", we would be justified in translating "whose names do not stand written in the book of life" (understand "now"). That is another way of saying that they were once written in the book, but they have "come to not be written in the book". That is to say, while at one time they were "written", now they are no longer present.

It is very important for these purposes to see and understand that it is the names which are said "not to be written", not the book itself. This brings us back to the phrase "from the world's foundation". To make all these parts fit correctly, this phrase has to be applied ad sensum to the book itself rather than to the names in their present status of "not standing written now". In fact, that really has to be the case because otherwise the tense of the verb would conflict with the time-sense of the phrase. That is because the phrase very clearly talks about the past, but the verb is speaking of a present reality ("now"). Indeed, if John had meant to express that the names were never written in the book in the first place, he would have had to have used a true past tense (aorist [Greek simple past] or pluperfect) rather than the perfect he does use to express a present state "now". Hence my rendering "whose names have not remained written in the book of life [where they were written] from the beginning of the world". The square brackets here are an addition provided to fill in the sense (in the same way that the KJV uses italics to do the same thing).

The translation which comes closest to getting all this right is the NKJV which says (at Rev.17:8) "whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world". This is technically correct, but of course it still has to be explained: the names are not in the book now, and it is the book which goes back to eternity past.

How can both these things be true? Only if the names were originally present, but then blotted out for some reason. Once we accept that this is indeed what the Greek has to be saying, this makes entire sense. Jesus Christ died for all (e.g., 1Jn.2:2; cf. Jn.3:16-17), and the Father wants all to be saved (1Tim.2:4), so it is entirely reasonable that the names of all should be in the book of life: grace is available to all. It is only through their own decisions that anyone is lost – and giving over one's loyalty and allegiance to the devil's son by taking the mark of the beast and worshiping him constitutes a clear rejection of the Lord and His offer of salvation – it is through just that individual action that these persons have come to have their names blotted out of the book.

(9) And yet a third angel followed them, saying in a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives [his] mark upon his forehead or upon his hand, (10) he himself will also drink from the wine of God's wrath which has been mixed undiluted in the cup of His anger. And [that person] will be tormented in fire and sulfur before angels, [and] saints, and before the Lamb. (11) And the smoke of their torment will go up forever and ever, and they have no rest day or night, those who worship the beast and his image and whoever takes the mark of his name."
Revelation 14:9-11

This picture, namely, of salvation being provided for everyone so that everyone is originally in the book of life, and then only being blotted out of the book through rejection of God's gracious offer of salvation, matches biblical teaching on the subject of salvation everywhere else in scripture (correctly understood), and also, very importantly for this question, everything else scripture has to say about the book of life:

(32) "And now, if You will forgive their sin, [fine]. But if not, [then] please blot my name out of Your Book which You have written." (33) But the Lord said to Moses, "The one who sins against Me, him will I blot out of My Book."
Exodus 32:32-33

May the [godless] be blotted out of the Book of Life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous.
Psalm 69:28

The one who wins the victory will be dressed in white clothing in this way, and I will assuredly not erase his name from the Book of Life.
Revelation 3:5

What all these verses have in common is that they all demonstrate that the godless may be blotted out of the book of life whereas the godly will not be so erased. That is to say, these verses (as well as Rev.13:8 and 17:8 correctly translated and understood) are completely incompatible both with any idea that 1) only the elect were ever in the book in the first place (since then there is no need to blot the godless out), or that somehow the godly are entered into the book for some reason or other (good works?) in the course of their lives (but we see the godly as already "in" – and the godless too, until they are blotted out). The only way all of these passages harmonize is if we understand the Book of Life to have been written "before the world was made", and to have originally contained the names of every single human being who would ever be given a human spirit at birth; unbelievers who reject Christ definitively in this life (as in those who choose the beast over Christ) or refuse to accept the offer of salvation while in this world then have their names blotted out as a result of their own choosing against God (actively or passively).

There is more about this issue elsewhere at Ichthys. Please have a look at the following links (and do feel free to write me back about any of the above):

Tithing and the Book of Life

"The Book of Life" translation issues

The grammar of Revelation 13:8 and "The Lamb slain"

I will assuredly not erase his name from the Book of Life (in CT 2A)

The Book of Life (Revelation 13:8) - in CT 4

The godly and the godless and the book of life (in CT 6)

Last judgment "books" distinguished from the book of life (in CT 6)

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and the Savior of the world,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8:

This email question comes in response to the page "No Rapture" and Answer #3. I have been reading your page to learn more about pre-tribulation rapture and it's origins. I very much appreciate your view that we shouldn't put our traditional doctrines above what the Bible says. And yet you have clearly shown support for this extra-biblical idea of "The Age of Accountability." I wonder if you are also accepting of the salvation of babies through baptism. My point is, you take great pains to explain the great convolutions we must go through to make the scripture point to a pre-tribulation rapture, and then you go through some of the same (in principle) convolutions to accept baby salvation. You say that "Babies and young children do not seem to rate such a destruction of wrath." (fourth paragraph, final sentence). Part of the ideas of "The Age of Accountability" do stem from the doctrines of Free Will, which I'd prefer not to argue here. I'm guessing that you're using the texts of II Samuel 12:23, where King David says of his first child with Bathsheba "...I will go to him, but he will not return to me..." as proof along with Luke 18:15-17, where Christ says "For the kingdom of Heaven is filled with such as these." If these were texts used by pre-tribulation rapture proponents, you would argue that they were taken out of context and twisted to mean something other than what they say. You would say that they had started with an idea and gone to certain texts that only say what you want them to say because you already believe in this "Age of Accountability." Taken in context of the entire texts, King David is mourning like any other father would mourn. He is saying that he will eventually join his child, not in heaven, but in death. In Luke, Jesus is not saying that all children will go to heaven, but that he wanted to let the children come to be with him. If you read the previous verse, you'll see the disciples were shooing the children away. And when Jesus says "Such is the Kingdom of Heaven." you should read the next verse, which state that unless people have the faith of children they will not enter heaven. In neither of these verses, nor in any of the others that you find, does the text, taken in context, lead to the idea of "The Age of Accountability." If I may say what you have said: "No man, reading the Bible, would find "The Age of Accountability" unless someone had told him about it first. Further, I was saved through the passages of Paul commonly call "The Romans Road." In these passages, Romans chapter 3 talks a lot about sin and death, as well as payment for that sin and faith. Specifically, it tells us that through the law of Moses all are condemned (because sin is revealed); but, through faith in the law of Jesus all may be forgiven. It doesn't say: "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, except little babies and retards, because we all know God couldn't ever send them to hell. That doesn't make any sense to us, after all." And yet, that is what you try and make it say. You say that it doesn't seem that these little one merit such wrath? Isaiah says (in 55:8) that "My thoughts are not thy thoughts, nor are my ways thy ways, sayeth the Lord." You are using the same apriori approach to this as the pre-rapture tribulationists do to come to their conclusions, and as such you are not credible. I wish I could continue using your website as source material, but when such clear hypocrisy exists, I cannot continue to trust you. What other extra-biblical doctrines will I find? What if I am not diligent enough to see them? No, I cannot continue to use your site.

Sincerely,

Response #8:

Good to make your acquaintance.

First, let me note that you have taken what I said completely out of context, and that is probably at the root of your misunderstanding of my positions. What I say that "Babies and young children certainly do not seem to rate such a destruction of wrath", I am talking about the baptism of fire, that is, the removal of unbelievers from the earth at the second advent who have taken the mark of the beast (see the link). These "babes" will not have the mark (it is apparently only given to those who seek it out); however, these "babes" when they grow up during the Millennium will have to make their own decision about accepting Christ as Savior (or not). So while I most definitely do teach that a person has to have reached an age, physical and mental, to be able to comprehend the gospel and issue of the choice we all face in order to be held accountable, the passage you quote is talking about something entirely different. It's not a small point, because "rating destruction" is not talking about the fact that we are all indeed sinful from the womb; the "innocence" in the context of the quote refers to the absence of the mark of the beast, not the absence of a sin nature.

Second, let me be clear from the outset that water-baptism has nothing to do with anything – I am not an advocate of water-baptism of any sort, especially of infants who have no idea what is happening (where you got the idea this idea baffles me, but it did not come from my website; see the link).

Third, as to your comparison to the false doctrine of the pre-Trib rapture, I think we may be talking apples and oranges here. There is a difference, in my view, between "coloring in" a shaded patch in a theologically legitimate way on the one hand, and erasing half an entire page of very vivid material in order to pencil in an alternative view on the other. The latter would be the way I would describe the pre-Trib rapture view: there is so much affirmative information about the resurrection occurring at the second advent that has to be erased, ignored, overlooked, and twisted before the exegetical gymnastics begin. And when they do begin to fill in their own ideas, they must perforce ride rough-shod over good hermeneutic canons. There is nothing of the sort when it comes to infant salvation (nothing has been erased; not principle of hermeneutics has been violated).

The shading in necessary in the case of salvation for those who do not have the chance to make a choice is only a very logical and theological expostulation of the justice of God and the atonement of Jesus Christ: God wants all to be saved, and Jesus died for the sins of all that all might be saved. The only thing standing in the way of salvation, therefore, is obstinate human free will refusing to accept Christ and/or alternatively actively rejecting Christ. This is why, for example, all human beings' names were written in the book of life before God initiated creation – because salvation is provided for all. Since infants (and the mentally deficient) cannot refuse or reject salvation, it is logical and theological to conclude that they are automatically saved upon an early death. In fact, the only other alternative would have to be that they are damned. There is no biblical evidence to suggest that this is the case, and it would be nigh on impossible even to begin to make that argument. There is no hypocrisy here, merely solid theology.

Here are some other links which approach this issue in more detail and will fill out the position more clearly for you:

God's Plan to Save you (in BB 4B)

Infant Salvation

The Saved and the Unsaved

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

The Book of Life (in CT 4)

The Book of Life misunderstood

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #9:

Was also wondering, If life begins at birth, how was John able to jump in his mother's womb? Was John filled with the Holy spirit even in his mothers womb?

Response #9:

The Greek says "out of" the womb, not in it (though many versions willfully mis-translate the passage). Here are some links on this:

John "leapt for joy" in the womb – or did he?

Life Begins at Birth

Life at Birth

Birth not conception

Yours in Jesus Christ who is our light,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Dear Bob, I'm having some trouble with the concept that the spirit is given at birth. How could John have jumped for joy in his mother's womb if that were the case? (Luke 1:44)

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #10:

Good to hear from you again.

As to your question, first, please note that the Bible does not say "John" leapt – it says that the fetus (Greek: to brephos) leapt (Lk.1:41). That is important since John was not even officially named before birth even though his name was already designated. That was because he was not "John" until he was alive as a separate person – after receiving the spirit . . . at birth. Also, please note that Elizabeth says in v.44, just as Luke had written in v.41, that it is Elizabeth who did the hearing, not John (or even the fetus). It is a very common thing for "babes in the womb" to react to the emotional and physical stimuli experienced by their mothers; that certainly argues for the mother being the "person" in question here, not the fetus. Please see the link:

John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?

In any case, scripture is very clear on the fact of the imparting of the spirit at birth, not conception (or some time in-between); see the links below. Also please note that if the fetus was alive in the sense of being a separate person as opposed to being a (temporary) part of the mother (valuable and important, yes, but alive as a separate person with his/her own spirit, no), then "life" would be an entirely biological thing with no spiritual element, life then being passed down solely by biological processes. In other words, "life at conception" is really a materialistic point of view (positing a universe without God, in effect); life at birth, on the other hand, has to be supernatural, because the human spirit in that case must be implanted by God in a miraculous way in every case. That is what indeed happens, and that is why scripture always focuses on the birth of all individuals it treats, not on their conception (and, of course, also on the "new birth" of those saved, not on some "spiritual conception").

Before giving you the links, let me also paste in here an important piece from one of the files, just because so many people have bought into the anti-abortion notion that only by denying the truth of scripture can a person be a good Christian; abortion is horrific – but that does not change the truth of what God actually does in terms of creating life nor does it change what the Bible actually says about these matters:

This [life at birth truth] is not at all to imply that for this reason (i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life) the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

Here are those links:

Life Begins at Birth

Life at Birth

Life at Birth II

The Creation of Adam

The Human Spirit

Is the Soul a tertium quid?

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the true Author of all life,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Bob,

This is another one that'll give me some difficulty. Some of your reasoning didn't register until the nexus of breath, life and spirit finally became clear.

I'm backing into this from the belief that abortion is morally and ethically wrong (which I still believe.) I never considered when the spirit entered the body having assumed that at some time between zygote and child, the fetus became a human being. I always considered it to be sometime before birth. You rattled my long held assumption. I'll have to brood on this one. The implications are stunning.

Thanks for your answer and I apologize for asking you to repeat yourself. Like many things in the Bible, I never connected the references to the deeper truth. Thank you for helping me see this.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #11:

You are very welcome.

I always try to answer questions whenever asked, and I don't mind "repeating". That is because: 1) repetition is the sine qua non of all education, and 2) every person it seems comes at these things from a slightly different perspective so that a tailored answer can be helpful – not only to the person who first receives it but also to myself (for having to think about the issue from another perspective) and also to those who hear it next (in good teaching repetition is also varied for precisely the same reason).

As to your comment that "abortion is morally and ethically wrong (which I still believe)", I absolutely agree. I always take great pains (as I did in the email to you) to explain that just because it is true that life begins at birth cannot in any way be taken to legitimize abortion – it most certainly cannot.

My point is that just because abortion is "morally and ethically wrong" does not give those who oppose it politically carte blanche to proclaim that life begins at conception – trampling scripture underfoot for rhetorical advantage. There are many horrible, terrible, blasphemous and unspeakable sins which do not involve murder; that does not make them "OK" or less than abhorrent for that reason. What I find reprehensible is the willingness on the part of those who ought to know better – because they consider themselves biblical Christians – to adopt the "life at conception" position purely for its emotional and political impact. There is no more slippery slope than subordinating biblical truth to political advantage (that is how we got the Crusades, for example).

My desire is to know the truth and teach the truth, letting the chips fail where they may. If that offends some of my brothers and sisters, I am sorry about that, but I have to serve the Lord and His truth the right way:

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
James 3:1 NASB

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Dear Bob,

I, for one, appreciate your repetitions. When you repeat yourself to others and I read them in your weekly email posts, you help me as well. Every time you say something that causes a negative reaction in me, makes me realize that I need to rethink what I thought I understood. That's always uncomfortable but it's always good.

Your answer to my question is one that will cause me a lot of thought and prayer. That's a good thing. It's a shock to find that something you've never thought much about has such an influence on your outlook. Thank you.

Yours in Jesus Christ,

Response #12:

You're most welcome.

Thanks for your humble attitude. At some point the Word of God causes us all to re-examine many things – if we are willing to listen to the Spirit's "still, small voice". In the end, that is the only way to get anywhere in the Christian life and please our Lord.

In Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Dear Dr. Robert Dean Luginbill, I've been reading your studies about Satan's revolt, and in part 3 (The Purpose, creation and fall of man), you say that life begins at birth, not at conception. How can this be, since in Luke 1:41 we read that John the Baptist jumped in his mothers womb when Mary went to visit her? during pregnancy, the heart beats, cells reproduce, isn't that part of life and being alive? As you well said, when the spirit leaves the body, we die. So, if John the Baptist jumped inside his mother womb, obviously there was life (actually, we can hear the baby's heartbeat inside the womb now!).

In Christ,

Response #13:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you for your question. It is true that when the spirit leaves the body the person in question is "dead", biblically speaking. But consider, all of the cells are not yet dead at that point. Nor is there a heart in an embryo immediately after conception, although the cells are alive. I can understand why science, which is entirely materialistic and which does not believe in any such thing as a human spirit, is inclined to think that life begins at conception, but it puzzles me that believers, who should well understand that it is the spiritual which is more real and more important, should make the physical body their primary focus in such discussions. From the biblical point of view, the creation and insertion of the human spirit by God is the point where a person becomes a person, just as His removal of the spirit is the point where the person is no longer "in" the first body but rather – in the case of believers – in an interim body in the presence of the Lord awaiting the resurrection. The only biblical question therefore is when does God place the human spirit in a human body?

And the Lord God formed the man (i.e., Adam's body) from the dust of the ground, then blew into his nostrils the life-giving breath (i.e., his spirit), and [thus] the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7

Throughout scripture, it is the birth of a person which is celebrated; that is because this is the point where a person becomes a person, just as in the case of Adam and Eve.

"And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from (i.e., "out of") his mother’s womb."
Luke 1:14-15 NKJV

The prophecy above is for joy at John's birth, and it is from his birth that he will be filled with the Spirit. That is because "he" did not exist until his birth Consider also:

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20

Even in the case of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, the fetus is called "it" and "the thing which" (both neuters in Greek), because "He" was not imbued with a human spirit until His birth – just as in the case of all human beings since Adam and Eve: in the manner of our first parents, the body is prepared first, and when it is ready, the spirit is created and implanted by God. Thus we are not at all merely material beings as it appears to scientific scrutiny. What we are is so much more, possessed of the very image of God (in our spirits); but to science, we are just a mass of jelly that reproduces itself. In addition to being clearly biblical at every turn, the life at birth position is also the only spiritual position, whereas the biological-reproduction-only position is the secular, worldly position, obviously – because this is how it appears to scientific investigation. But consider:

By faith we understand that the ages have been constructed by the Word of God, so that what we see (i.e., the material world) has not come into being from the things we now see.
Hebrews 11:3

The above is certainly true of every single spiritual creature – although science thinks this is nonsense. And what are the consequences of this alternative view for believers? If God does not place the spirit into the person at birth, when does He do so? What biblical justification is there to find a theological difference between the first and second or second and third trimesters, for example? Obviously, none at all. Some who struggle against the clear biblical view opine that the human spirit is "generated" as part of the process of physical reproduction; that makes human beings accidents and our spiritual part essentially indistinguishable from our material body. Others opine that the spirit must be implanted at conception; that would mean every false pregnancy was a person (among many other problems). But consider: the word for spirit in Greek is pneuma, and that word also means "breath" (and "wind"). It doesn't take a seminary professor to understand that the reason for calling the spirit "spirit" is because its tenure in the body is contemporaneous with the breath, the essential sign of human life (inasmuch as the words are precisely the same): No breath, no life. No spirit, no life. No breath, no spirit.

And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy."
Luke 1:41-44 NKJV

I have quoted the whole passage above that you adduce as evidence to make a couple of key points. The first is that while you said "John the Baptist jumped inside his mother womb", scripture actually says "the brephos leaped", not John. The word brephos means, in this context, fetus. This fetus is not called "John", neither by the author (Luke), nor by Elizabeth. It is called what it is: a fetus. Secondly, it should also be pointed out that it is Elizabeth who is said to be "filled with the Spirit" here, not the fetus, and certainly not "John" – because John does not yet exist, nor will he until he is born and the Lord creates his spirit and places it into his just born body at the point of his first breath. That is why John is prophesied to be "filled with the Spirit from the womb", not "while yet in the womb" (although many versions maliciously mistranslate this key phrase). Finally, while not obvious from the translation of the NKJV above, it is Elizabeth who is experiencing the "joy", not the fetus. Fetuses do not experience joy. I do understand that they have a wide range of physiological functions, reacting to pain, for example, but only a human being in every sense of the word – one who is mature enough to have some cognizance of his/her own emotions – can truly be said to experience "joy". Babies move about in the womb normally, and they do react to external stimuli therein. This was no doubt a miracle, but it is a miracle connected with the mother, not the fetus. The text actually says "when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary . . . the fetus leapt". How else was Luke supposed to have said this?

There is much more to say on this issue, but I have detained you too long already. I will give you some other links below where this and related issues are discussed. The main thing I would like to leave you with here is that although this is a highly emotional issue, believers who wish to make any progress in spiritual growth have to be willing to accept what the Bible says even when it disagrees with their own point of view, or they have a hard time accepting some point, or they find what it says distasteful in some area for some reason or another. The truth is the truth. Our job as believers is to ascertain the truth, then believe it and live it – everything else is a false path.

We should all take warning here, because this particular issue, being an emotional one, has been fastened upon by all manner of marginal Christians and merely apparent traditional Christians as fodder for a crusade. The rationale seems to be, life at conception makes a much better argument against abortion, therefore life must begin in the womb. Abortion, however, has absolutely nothing to do with the question of when the Bible teaches that the human spirit is created and given – at least it certainly should not. If a group is willing to jigger their biblical positions based upon the concerns of secular, political apologetics, well, if such a group is Christian, then it is at the very least in pretty deep spiritual trouble. Here is a footnote from the study you are reading which you may have missed:

26. This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38:1.ff.; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

And here are those links:

Life Begins at Birth

John "leapt for joy" in the womb – or did he?

Procreation versus God's Immediate Creation

When life begins

Biblical Anthropology I: The Nature of Human Beings & Human Life according to the Bible

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

Is the Soul a tertium quid?

I want to commend you for your interest in the truth of the Bible, and thank you also for your interest in Ichthys. Keep hewing to the truth – that is the only way to fight the good fight of faith.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #14:

Dear Bob, thank you for your answer, it made things much clearer! I just seek truth, because truth sets us free. I come from a Jewish home, raised with Jewish education all my life. My respect for scripture is absolute. As you can imagine, finding Jesus made me look and read the Bible in a new and very different way. Now we have the Holy Spirit as our guide, and God's word as lamp to our feet. I'll keep reading your studies and, if you don't mind, keep asking. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

From Argentina, in our Lord, God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Response #14:

You are very welcome,

And thank you for this encouraging email, your perceptiveness about the scriptures, and for your wonderful testimony.

By all means, please do feel free to write me back at any time!

Your brother in Jesus Christ our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dear Bro. Bob,

Is it not that the life of the fetus in the mother's womb is dependent upon the life of the mother so that it is not yet an independent soul? Many Christian denomination are harping so much about the sin of abortion thereby negating the free will given by God to the first men, Adam and Eve, to eat or not to eat of the forbidden fruit in the garden and they did it and suffered the consequences of their. If you abort the unborn baby are you guilty of the sin of murder. This is a hard and ticklish question to answer but this needs a biblical answer to the issue. A doctor member of our Church turned away from my company when I answered her that practice of abortion is an exercise of volition given to men by God so much so that we cannot legislate against the exercise of freewill, however, we are accountable if we make the wrong choice as did Adam and Eve. Please enlighten. I have grown spiritually in your ministry and I am endorsing it to those who are open-minded to biblical truths.

May the Lord bless you and your family.

In Christ,

Response #15:

Good to hear from you.

I agree with almost everything you write here. Let me first point out that when you say "independent soul" – unless you mean "life" – in biblical terms it is better to say "spirit" rather than "soul" (this is a very confusing issue if care is not taken to keep it straight; see the link: "The meaning of the word 'soul' ").

It is very clear from scripture, that, while not technically murder (since as you point out there is no independent spiritual life until God places a spirit in the newborn at the point of breath), abortion is a horrible thing. Here is something I have written on that which bears repeating here:

This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of justification (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25).

So while abortion may not technically constitute the sin of murder, it is still a most egregious sin. It is not unpardonable because no sin is unpardonable – save that of rejecting Jesus Christ. For this sin as with all sins, God provides forgiveness for all believers who ask for it; He also provides the perfect divine discipline for us when we do sin in order to help us walk better in His ways.

As to legislation, God has given the nations a good deal of latitude as to what they will and will not restrict and what penalties they will place on what they forbid. Regardless of what abortion "is" theologically, therefore, that does not really have anything to do with how secular nations choose to regulate it (or ignore it). Is abortion punished by the state with execution? That should make no difference to a good Christian since we ought never ever even contemplate the action in first place. Is abortion allowed by that state with no restrictions whatsoever? That should make no difference to a good Christian since we ought never ever even contemplate the action in first place.

As to what we should do as Christians, clearly, we should turn away from sin . . . but also, in my considered opinion, from politics or anything that smacks of politics. Down that road there is nothing but the graveyard of spirituality and the overturning of whatever spiritual advance a Christian may previously have accomplished (see "What does the Bible say about War, History, and Politics?").

Here are some links which provide more details:

Life Begins at Birth

When does life begin?

Child Death

John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Could you help to understand this from your point of view I found this on line researching and came across this website: evil bible.com

The Biblical God is NOT pro-life, he advocates child murder, infanticide, child abuse and abortion:

I see so many retarded ass Christians talking about abortion being a crime against God. It’s not a wonder that they are hard pressed to find a conclusive biblical statement to corroborate their position. In their determination to control women they have been forced to rely on exceedingly weak sections such as "thou shall not kill", "I kneweth thou in the womb" and their favorite: "When men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that there is a miscarriage, and yet no harm follows, the one who hurt her shall be fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon; and he shall pay as the judges determine. If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth..."--Exodus 21:22-24 The problem here is that the man who injures a pregnant woman in the process, shall repay her according to the degree of injury inflicted on her, not the fetus. I am often dumbfounded at how Christians can assume that abortion is wrong judging by these feeble verses when the Bible clearly advocates infanticide and many other atrocities against children and pregnant women. I can no longer allow such ignorance of the Bible and deem it necessary to expose the true agenda. I am tired of the many young Christians who are brainwashed by their clergy. They are only taught the "love and mercy" parts of the Bible and never bother to read what is not so openly preached . The Church thrives off of speaking in half truths and concealing their blood soaked robes. Of course my job as preacher of an Atheist parish is to give a sermon about those things that the Bible TRUTHFULLY commands. Here they are, god’s views on the unborn, the actions of righteous men" and god’s commands of infanticide and child abuse: (note-There are Torah verses in this list but I will not attack the Jewish faith for being pro-life since they are not rampant advocates of the matter.)
Abortion:
Hosea 9:11-16 Hosea prays for God’s intervention. "Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. Give them, 0 Lord: what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. . .Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb." Clearly Hosea desires that the people of Ephraim can no longer have children. God of course obeys by making all their unborn children miscarry. Is not terminating a pregnancy unnaturally "abortion"?
Numbers 5:11-21 The description of a bizarre, brutal and abusive ritual to be performed on a wife SUSPECTED of adultery. This is considered to be an induced abortion to rid a woman of another man’s child.
Numbers 31:17 (Moses) "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every women that hath known man by lying with him." In other words: women that might be pregnant, which clearly is abortion for the fetus.
Hosea 13:16 God promises to dash to pieces the infants of Samaria and the "their women with child shall be ripped up". Once again this god kills the unborn, including their pregnant mothers.
2 Kings 15:16 God allows the pregnant women of Tappuah (aka Tiphsah) to be "ripped open". And the Christians have the audacity to say god is pro-life. How and the hell is it that Christians can read passages where God allows pregnant women to be murdered, yet still claim abortion is wrong?
Infanticide:
1 Samuel 15:3 God commands the death of helpless "suckling" infants. This literally means that the children god killed were still nursing.
Psalms 135:8 & 136:10 Here god is praised for slaughtering little babies.
Psalms 137:9 Here god commands that infants should be "dashed upon the rocks".
The murdering of children:
Leviticus 20:9 "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him."
Judges 11:30-40 Jephthah killed his young daughter (his only child) by burning her alive as a burnt sacrifice to the lord for he commanded it.
Psalms 137:8-9 Prayer/song of vengeance "0 daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones."
2 Kings 6:28-29 "And the king said unto her, What aileth thee? And she answered, This woman said unto me, Give thy son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow. So we boiled my son, and did eat him: and I said unto her on the next day, Give thy son, that we may eat him: and she hath hid her son."
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
Judges 19:24-29 "Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel." To put it very bluntly this poor, young lady was murdered by her mate for being raped.
Exodus 12:29 God killed, intentionally, every first-born child of every family in Egypt, simply because he was upset at the Pharaoh. And god caused the Pharaoh’s actions in the first place. Since when is it appropriate to murder children for their ruler’s forced action?
Exodus 20:9-10 God commands death for cursing out ones parents Joshua 8 God commanded the deaths of 12,000 men, women, and children of Ai. They were all slain in the ambush that was planned by god.
2 Kings 2:23-24 The prophet Elisha, was being picked on by some young boys from the city because of his bald head. The prophet turned around and cursed them in the Lords name. Then, two female bears came out of the woods and killed forty-two of them. You would think that God could understand that sometimes the youthful make childish jokes. Calling someone "bald head" is far from being worthy of death.
Leviticus 26:30 "And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat."
1 Samuel 15:11-18 God repents of having made Saul king since Saul refused to carry out God’s commandments (i.e., Saul refused to murder all the innocent women and children.) At least god realizes what an immoral, murderous pig he is on this one.
I Kings 16:34 Laying the foundation for a city using your firstborn child and using your youngest son to set up the gates.
Isaiah 13:15-18 If God can find you, he will "thrust you through," smash your children "to pieces" before your eyes, and rape your wife.
Jeremiah 11:22-23 God will kill the young men in war and starve their children to death.
Jeremiah 19:7-9 God will make parents eat their own children, and friends eat each other.
Lamentations 2:20-22 God gets angry and mercilessly torments and kills everyone, young and old. He even causes women to eat their children.
Child abuse:
Genesis 22:9 & 10 "And they came to the place which God had told him of and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son." It matters not that god let Abraham get out of murdering Isaac. To put a knife up to your son’s throat is child abuse.
I Kings 3:24-25 "And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other." This test was of course given to see who the real mother of the child was. Christians view this king as a wise man. I look upon his suggestion with far more revulsion then I give accredit to Susan Smith.
Proverbs 13:24, 19:18, 22:15, 23:13-14 & 29:15 God commands repeatedly that you beat your children.
Matthew 19:29 If you really loved Jesus then he insists that you abandon your wife and children for him. Only that way will he allow you to go to heaven. (That is if you meet his other hefty requirements, don’t slip through the loopholes, and ignore the contradictions.)
Mark 7:9 Jesus criticizes the Jews for not killing their disobedient children according to Old Testament law.
In conclusion I shall end this list with a verse that should keep the pro lifers in check. It is Romans 13: 1-7 "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which god has established. The authorities that exist have been established by god. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what god has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he shall commend you. For he is god’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is god’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. There fore it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are god’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor." Clearly it is the job of Christians to obey the laws, and the laws of this country clearly state that abortion is legal. So too should Christians respect and honor that law. God commands them to NOT disobey, which entails attempting to get the law overturned. If god wanted abortion to be illegal he wouldn’t have appointed authorities to make it legal.

Response #16:

There are so many fallacious, twisted and downright despicable statements in this screed you paste in here that I find myself at a loss as to what I should answer. Clearly, anyone who who starts out talking about "retarded ass Christians" has by their tone and approach ceded any right to a fair hearing for whatever comes next. I'm not sure, but are you asking about abortion (rather than infanticide, child-abuse and all of the other things with which this long piece slanders scripture by claiming it supports)? If so, I would first point out that whatever "reasoning" (I use the term loosely in this case) this piece brings to bear is suspect on its face because of the many lies, falsehoods and misrepresentations it contains which are obvious on their face.

Secondly, and more to the point perhaps, consider the main problem with its logic: even if abortion is not technically murder, that does not mean it is not terribly wrong. There are many sins (and many crimes) which are not murder but which will bring about severe divine discipline and, in the case of crime, serious legal consequences. Take, for example, the crime (and sin) of kidnapping. Not only is it a serious sin (1Tim.1:10; cf. Deut.24:7), but even today in many places it can carry the death penalty – even if no one is murdered in the process of committing the crime. So this is very large fallacy upon which this person wishes to build his house of straw.

The fact that this person "makes hay" out of the fact that there are no specific biblical prohibitions against abortion does illuminate the problem for many who want to make a crusade out of anti-abortion. Whenever a person over-reaches in arguing, it always has the potential to undermine everything he/she has tried to prove, should anyone else point out the mistake. Human life, biblically defined, begins at birth (see the link), because that is the point at which God implants the human spirit. So while the fetus is physically "alive", as we would say today, it is not a person until God makes it a person (at birth by miraculously giving it a spirit). But while that may mean that abortion is not, technically speaking, a murder (and that explains why the Bible cannot be made to prove that it is a murder), this does not mean that abortion is not a terrible sin – or that a nation does not have the right to regulate it in whatever way it may choose to do so (far from it). It only goes to show how counter-productive getting involved in politics is for any believer who is genuinely interested in growing in grace. As soon as any such crusade is taken up, truth has a tendency to go right out the window "for the sake of the cause". And once truth begins to be compromised, all manner of other evils will be embraced through this "end justifies the means" false theology. One illustration: I'm not sure the person who wrote the screed you sent would ever be willing to be saved, but note that he/she is reacting to political Christians and their political activism, actions which in my view they should not be taking in the first place, based upon "truths" they have twisted to further a political agenda. That's not going to garner much reward at the judgment seat of Christ, especially to the extent that their actions distracted unbelievers from the real issue of salvation through Jesus Christ.

If you have not already seen it, here is what I have posted on the subject of abortion generally (in BB 3A, note #2; and I will give you some other links as well below):

This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of justification (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25).

Here are those links:

Life Begins at Birth

When does life begin?

Child Death

John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?

Some Sensitive Topics I

Some Sensitive Topics II

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Thank you for the links I will study them; I know how important they are to me. I have some one I come across that seems to think this way it seems to me he believes; God has to explain to Him why he can destroy life and we can't. When I hear this the book of Job comes to mind where God addresses Job – who is he to question. Thank you so much for the links. And I like to ask another question how many times was Israel and Judah destroyed/ sent into captivity by God for their part of forsaken Him. God Bless

Response #17:

God gave life to everyone who has life, otherwise no one would have life. More than that, He preserves the life of all who are alive: without His protection the devil would make short work of the human race. More than that, He offers eternal life to all who are willing to accept it – this life is short even for the most long-lived, but all who put their trust in His Son will live forever. And the price Jesus paid for every single person is beyond calculation – and He died for all. And on top of that, no one need experience the second death, since Jesus died for all. As a result, any child who dies is automatically saved because of the incalculable price the Father paid in sacrificing the Son and the Son paid in bearing the sins of the world. The only ones who die – who really die as in the second death – are those who arrogantly reject this great sacrifice and who refuse to bow their heads to the God of the universe thereby. As in this person with this website you bumped into. And in addition to all this, we have to understand that God has the entire course of human history entirely planned out in every single detail. When a person is taken from this life, it is for a reason every time – even if we cannot understand it. God has as His purpose the salvation of all who are willing to be saved, and if any one thing went contrary to the all-encompassing plan of God it would jeopardize the whole (but that is impossible). God is working all things out together for good – for those who love Him. So people who take this other approach are looking at things from the human point of view. Believers should always remember to take the divine perspective instead (even though it takes some measure of spiritual growth to do that consistently).

As to your other question, the northern kingdom, the so-called "ten tribes", was conquered and deported ca. 712 B.C. by Assyria; the southern kingdom was conquered and deported by Babylon 586 B.C. The restored kingdom of Judah was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

To whom it may concern: I was thinking about this matter (eternal hell) at its basic core. We can surely agree that all human beings have souls - right? Therefore, a 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, or 10 year old child has a soul - right? God cannot accept sin in His presence - right? The only way God can accept a sinner in His presence is through faith in Jesus Christ - right?

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
John 14:6

So the only question you have to answer is this, "What happens to the souls of young children (ages 1 to 10) who die?"

Answer me that. It's a simple straightforward question.

Yours in Christ,

Response #18:

Dear Friend,

God is absolutely just. That is why Jesus had to die for the sins of the entire world for just one person to be saved (i.e., sin had to paid for for all for the justice of God to be satisfied). But die for us our dear Lord and Savior did! Therefore, the price for all sin has already been paid. Human life is now all about choice, the choice, namely, are we willing to respond to God and accept salvation? Only those who reject Jesus Christ, either overtly or indirectly by refusing to believe throughout their earthly lives, are condemned. Everyone who goes to hell does so on the basis of the choice they have made not to accept God's solution to the problem of mortality and sin, the precious sacrifice of His own dear Son. He wants all to be saved! That is very clear from scripture (e.g., Jn.3:16; 1Tim.2:4). But since creation and human and angelic history is all about free will, the one thing that God does not do is override our free will. Where free will is not at issue, there is no problem for the justice of God to save, since Christ has paid the price. That is why all infants and all those who never reach mental maturity are automatically saved. Just as it would be unjust for God to allow those who can make "the choice" to be saved in spite of their choice against Him and His Son, so it would be unjust for Him to condemn any and all who never had the chance (through youth or mental incapacity) to express their essential will on this the most important of all issues. As to your propositions:

1) Actually, as the Bible describes it, the "soul" is not an independent entity. I realize that this is how the word is used in common parlance, but in scripture the nephesh or psyche (in Hebrew and Greek respectively) is the inner person, aka "the heart"; it is the spirit which is the immaterial part of mankind which, in conjunction with the body, constitutes every human being from the point of physical birth (please see the link).

2) God's separation of Himself from us in our sin is for our benefit to make the issue of sanctification and choice clear. The devil and his fallen angels do, in fact, appear before the Lord on occasion (e.g., Job 1:1 -2:6). And those who had believed before the cross were, in spite of their faith, not allowed into the presence of the Lord in the third heaven until after Christ had Himself ascended and been glorified (see the link: "The Transfer to the Third Heaven"). In other words, this is all about Jesus Christ. See also the links:  "The Devil's Access to the Presence of God" and "Sin and the presence of God (Q/A #2)".

3) Those who believe are washed of their sin through the blood of Christ, so no human being in God's presence in the third heaven today is "a sinner", since these believers were previously redeemed from their sins, and since they now are in interim bodies which are free of sin (as opposed to the body infested by the sin nature those of us still on earth presently occupy: e.g., 1Jn.1:5-10).

So to answer your final question, all who die without having the opportunity to face the issue of faith are automatically saved, since Christ died for the sins of all human beings in Calvary's darkness. See the links:

What will our relationship in heaven be with children who died young?

Infant Salvation

Why Doesn't God Prevent All Children from Dying?

Finally, I'm not the best at "reading tone", but from you last imperative, "Answer me that", I get the impression that perhaps this email is not a request for information (my apologies if I am misinterpreting) but an attempt to posit a logical dilemma for some other purpose. In case that is so – and please excuse me if I am wrong – it would be well to remember that God has answers for everything, and He does open the door of truth to all who knock on it in truth. After all, the devil only rebelled -- and was only able to convince so many others to follow him (see the link)  – because he wrongly assumed that the way he did so, taking a third of angelic kind with him, would make it impossible for God to condemn him. Since beyond all argument Satan knew more and was more intelligent when he made that crucial error than any of us will ever be, it is good to remember that trying to "put God in a box" and declaring what He may and may not do is the worst sort of false application of logic. The Bible and the truth God has given us is theological, not logical, and it often "confounds the wisdom of the wise".

In the One who died for us that we might have life eternal with Him through faith, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #19:

The answer you gave me was way too long! I didn't even bother to read it. I just want a short simple answer.

"I believe that young children who die will cease to exist because God cannot accept sin His presence."

Q: Who can go to heaven? A: Those who accept Jesus Christ with all their heart and soul as their personal savior can go to heaven.

Response #19:

Here's a short answer: You are dead wrong about young children who die ceasing to exist (where is that in the Bible!?).  For the details, I'm afraid you'll have to read the previous email.

Question #20:

To Robert Luginbill: Before, I wrote to you, and I stated that I beleived that the souls of children who die early would cease to exist because God cannot accept sin in His presence, to which you responded. So, I skimmed through your email and I found the link to "Infant Salvation", After all, that was my original question. In that weblink article you wrote this.

Infant Salvation: As to your question, I agree with your previous position, namely, that the spirits of infants - all who die before reaching an age of accountability and who have not yet had a chance to choose - are automatically saved. This is one of many issues that scripture does not directly address, but there are always reasons for its silence.

So how could you say I was "dead wrong", when even you stated that the Bible is not very clear!

I want to try and find the answer to what happens to the souls of the lost. On the Internet, I have seen arguments for annihilation and arguments for a literal everlasting hell. Anyways, am willing to concede that Bible verses with "die" and "death" cannot be used to prove that a soul will cease to exist. For example: The wages of sin is death, BECAUSE when Adam ate of the tree he did not cease to exist right away. He died spiritually. He became separated from God. But how can you redefine, lose ( or forfeit ) your soul?

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
John 12:25

34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37 Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?
MARK 8

To lose: 1. to no longer have possession of

To forfeit: 1. to give something up, or have something taken away, often as a penalty for doing something wrong

Right now any sinful, or unsaved person still has their soul. It is a spiritually dead soul -- BUT THEY STILL HAVE IT! The above verses say that the unsaved person will lose their soul. Even if they have all the money in the world they won’t be able to BUY IT BACK.

"Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"

SO …… if they lose their soul, they won't able to KEEP IT with them forever in hell. They will cease to exist. Only the saved person will BE ABLE TO KEEP HIS SOUL!

I don't think you can redefine the meaning of forfeit or lose. But I am sure you will try. - And please do so. I am willing to listen to what you have to say because I am trying to find the most definitive answer that I can find in regards to this question, as to whether there is an eternal hell, or whether the soul is destroyed in hell.

Yours in Christ

Response #20:

Dear Friend,

1) I did not say it was "unclear" (it's perfectly clear to me). What I said was "the Bible does not address this issue directly" – and so it does not. Nor does the Bible address the issue of the Trinity directly. But there is a Trinity, and if a person claimed there was not, that person would be dead wrong. All children who die before having reached an age of accountability are automatically saved (as well those who are mentally incapable of making the choice of choices). Although not stated "directly", the principle is clear and inescapable as established from scripture and as previously explained (in the email and the links provided).

2) At the nub of the problem in the scriptures you find hard to explain is the word "soul". As I tried to explain earlier, there is no such thing as a "soul" as most people use the term. The human spirit is the immaterial part of the human being (see previous links). That is important for our purposes because of the potential of misunderstanding what the Bible says when it says "destroy the soul", which is very different from "destroy the life" – but in the Bible the latter (i.e., "life") is what is meant in your passages, and also almost always wherever nephesh/pscyhe is found in the Hebrew/Greek respectively. Therefore all these passages which may seem at first glance to provide potential support for annihilationism are really being wrongly understood (based on misinterpretation of the key word).

I have written a great deal about these issues, and I do invite you to have a look at some of the appropriate links (and do feel free to write back if you have further questions):

Literal Hell

What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?

Against Universalism I: Free Will and the Image of God.

Against Universalism II: Only Believers are Saved.

Against Universalism III: Unbelievers in the Plan of God.

Biblical Anthropology I: The Nature of Human Beings and Human Life according to the Bible.

Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy

The Saved and the Unsaved

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Dear Robert Luginbill: Once again, you did not answer my simple question. Actually, TWO Questions. "I did not say it was "unclear". What I said was, "the Bible does not address this issue directly" -- and so it does not. SAME DIFFERENCE- - - Geez Louise! So to repeat the same, SIMPLE question: How could you say I was "dead wrong", when even you stated, "the Bible does not address this issue directly." Second, how can you redefine lose or forfeit? I did not want some intellectual mumbo-jumbo answer as to what the soul is. In any case, it still doesn't change the fact that the soul will be lost or forfeited. Only the righteous will be able to keep their souls for eternal life.

Yours in Christ,

Response #21:

Dear Friend,

With all due respect, I have answered both questions twice now.

The problem is that you are not interested in the answers.

You clearly already know what you believe (in this case, things which are not true).

You are certainly welcome at Ichthys if ever you get to the point of really wanting to know the truth.

In Jesus Christ who is the truth, the very Word of God.

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear Roberet Lugunbill: You did not answer those two questions – not at all. Anyways, here is another SIMPLE QUESTION, I would like to see you try and answer. The Bible clearly states that man is mortal. It says that about 50 times. Never does the Bible say that man has AN IMMORTAL SOUL. On the contrary, it states that God alone has immortality -- (1 Timothy 6:16 ). So how can you explain that unsaved sinners will spend an eternity in hell, when they do not have an immortal soul? Here is how one person, who believes like you tried to answer that question. He failed miserably.

FROM A LITERAL ETERNAL HELL WEBSITE LIKE YOURS. HIS RIDICULOUS ANSWER.

Man's body is not immortal right now. Man is not immortal YET, but will be made that way! Mortality corresponds to the body. It is the body that will be made immortal, not the soul! "The real issue between Dualists and Annihilationists is nothing other than this: Does Scripture teach that the wicked will be made immortal for the purpose of suffering endless pain; or does it teach that the wicked following whatever degree and duration of pain God may justly inflict, will finally and truly die, perish and become extinct forever and ever?" (The Fire That Consumes, Edward W. Fudge, Annihilationist, p. 425). First we notice that we, as Christians are to seek immortality. Obviously we do not possess it yet if we seek it. Rom 2:7 "to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" Second, at the resurrection, the mortal (us now with a physical mortal body) will put on the immortal (all men will have an immortal body). 1 Cor 15:53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" Now this is a powerful argument against annihilation. If ALL MEN both good and WICKED put on immortality at the resurrection, then how do they then cease to exist? What kind of immortality is that? Hence eternal torment! Never to die again! Man's body is not immortal now, but will be made so. All men, whether good or wicked! Man survives death consciously, then at resurrection is made immortal!

THIS GUY IS AN IDIOT. He is using 1 Cor 15:53 to argue that all people will be made IMMORTAL; when it is clear that this verse is talking about the righteous believers! He left out verse 50, WHICH IS CLEARLY TALKING ABOUT THE UNSAVED.

50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

Response #22:

Dear Friend,

It is pointless to exchange emails with someone who doesn't bother to read them. Far ever referencing anything like an "immortal soul", I have explained to you now three times that the word "soul" is an English word which in the Bible means "inner person"; therefore it is not a separate entity which might be mortal or immortal or anything at all. The spirit is the immaterial part of man. If you wish to dispute further on this topic, please provide a Bible verse which demonstrates the destruction of the spirit.

Also, you are not interested in answers, it has become apparent, but merely in controversy. I find this difficult to understand. You sought out this ministry and pretended to ask questions. But you are so disinterested in anything but your own opinions that you do not even bother to read the answers – as you yourself have admitted. This is not Christian behavior. So I have to ask you, are you a believer in Jesus Christ?

If not, it would be well to consider that Jesus is the only way to eternal life. Not religion. Not going to church. Not "theologizing". Salvation requires choosing for Jesus by accepting who He is – the God-Man – and what He has done for us: paying the penalty for all of the sins of mankind through His spiritual death on the cross. All who do accept God's gracious gift through faith are delivered from the lake of fire; all who refuse to do so are immersed in it forever. And it will not matter when that judgment falls if they deny its existence or claim that God is unjust – every mouth will be stopped before Him on that day. Here is a link which outlines that terrible judgment to come: "The Last Judgment".

"We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God."
2nd Corinthians 5:20 NIV

For more please see the link: "Salvation: God's Free Gift".

Yours in Him who is the only way to life eternal, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear Robert Luginbill: - Yes, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior. -- And then a week and a half later, I was walking to the supermarket. I was just walking down the train tracks, when all of a sudden a strange feeling overtook me and stopped me right in my tracks. It felt like my soul was being put through a washing machine - a very unusual feeling. And then about 5 or 6 seconds after that, the KNOWLEDGE that I would LIVE FOREVER came into my mind and spirit. It was 100% clear and undeniable. And then, for about the next 20 or 30 minutes, all I could think was, "WHOA!"

What was your experience like?

Blessings to you,

Response #23:

I'm happy to hear it. I was saved as a very young child. I don't even remember how or when. All I remember is the great relief of being delivered from the quite scary prospect of death and the grave.

Being saved, our spirits will indeed live forever in the new body, the resurrection body we shall have when Christ returns. All who reject the gift of life in Jesus Christ will be resurrected too, but to a resurrection of death, the second death (Jn.5:29; Rev.20:11-15).

Once a spirit is created, it is eternal, the only question being where will it spend eternity. Only those who reject Christ or refuse to accept Christ have their names blotted out of the book of life – but everyone who is created originally had their name in the book of life. That is an additional proof that infants are saved when they die before reaching an age of accountability: they have had no opportunity in such cases to make a negative choice – and so there is no basis for blotting their names out of the book of life. Please see the links:

The Book of Life (in CT 6)

The Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world"?

Things to Come: the Book of Life

"I will surely not erase your name from the book of life"

The Book of Life: Revelation 13:8 (in CT 4)

Tithing and the Book of Life

In Jesus Christ the Word of truth who as God is love itself.

Bob L.

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