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Biblical Anthropology V:

Body, Spirit and 'Soul', Present and Future

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Question #1:

In SR 3, you use the following verse to relate the human spirit to our personality:

[For I have already decided, i]n the name of our Lord Jesus, when all of you are gathered together with my spirit by the power of our Lord Jesus, to hand such a one over to Satan for the destruction of his body so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
1st Corinthians 5:4-5

Could you please expand on how this relates to personality? Is it related to Paul's individual decision to 'hand such a one over to Satan'?

Response #1:

The fact that body is insignificant even if destroyed compared to the spirit which Paul seeks to save indicates that the spirit is the "person", the bearer of the personality, not the body (which will be replaced at the resurrection while the spirit ever remains the same).

Question #2:

In SR 3, you wrote: Generally speaking then, the word "spirit" refers to the "inner Man" (as opposed to the body), and "soul" to the whole person (a human spirit in a live body). The significant exception is when "soul" (nepesh-psyche) is used as a synonym for the "heart", i.e., the whole person with and emphasis on the inner person as we are now constituted (i.e., pre-resurrection).

Does the word translated "heart" more closely reflect our human spirit (i.e. inner being), than our whole person? I am trying to reconcile the differences/similarities between the spirit and the heart. You explained in detail in section II.4.b how the heart is the interface between the body and spirit. Could you please explain further how the heart differs from the human spirit?

Added to that, how does nephesh differ from the word translated heart? Am I correct in saying that nephesh is more attuned to the physical, and heart more attuned to the spiritual? We currently possess a body that is psychikon, and after the resurrection we shall possess a body that is pneumatikon. My last question would be: when we do have pneumatikon, we will still have nephesh? If not, then could it be said that we will still possess the word translated heart? Or what will our true 'living being' be referred to as?

Response #2:

As you know, human beings are dichotomous, possessing a body and a spirit. But while we have two parts, we are in fact created as a single person and will always be single persons possessing both parts (though the body does go through phases: present/interim/resurrection). The words in question as well as their counterparts, heart/soul, lebh/nephesh, kardia/pneuma, in English, Hebrew and Greek respectively have in common the fact that they are all taking about the same thing, namely, the entire inner-self of who we are as complete persons, body and spirit combined. The first set of words in each of these pairs relates to the physical organ of the heart while the second set relates to the by-product of the breath (and in both cases we have to do with an analogy since neither the physical heart nor literal breath per se have anything to do with our thoughts and emotions). So one could say, based on the respective analogies, that the first set is more physical (and outwardly evident as existing – the outer person reflecting the inner one) while the second set relates to the invisible and are more spiritual side (and emanating from the inwardly existent though invisible – the inner person as the basis for what we see on the outside). Practically speaking, however, while this perspective may be marginally helpful, these six words are all talking about "us", who we are as composite persons possessing both body and spirit. The distinction made by Paul in 1st Corinthians 15 between the present body (which is psychikon) and the one to come (which is pneumatikon) is that while this body more in tune with our present earthly life, the next one will be more in tune with our eternal life – the distinction is between a sin-infested body on the one hand which sees with this world's eyes, and the perfect, sanctified eternal one which will be able to "know even as we are known", among other blessings.

Question #3:

One question on the Book of life. I know from questions I asked about it previously (for example on Revelation 13:8) that you take all the names as initially having been written in the Book of life, only for the names of those who don't put their faith in Christ to be blotted out. I wanted to ask - since from eternity past God knew who would choose for Him in the person of Christ and who wouldn't and has so arranged His perfect plan that some of those about whom He knew would not believe He actually didn't present with an opportunity to receive the gospel (pre-Christ believers, those born outside of Israel, all those never to come in the sphere of Israel's or Christianity's influence), couldn't He equally simply not put their names in the Book of life? I'm not clear how God could be involved in the creation of a human being who is born in a place where he would not receive the gospel (for temporal or spatial reasons - or both), about whom God also knows that he wouldn't have believed it even if he did actually receive it and despite all this put him in the book life, only to blot him out when he dies.

Response #3:

First, as per previous discussions, that is indeed just how the Bible describes the situation (see the link), so regardless of "what ifs", we have to go with what scripture has to say, no matter how we might feel about it or what we might think about it, even if it doesn't seem (at first) to make entire sense to us. Second, there is, in my view, a reasonable rationale for this. The image of God we receive is genuine in all cases, so that the opportunity to use it to be saved is and must be genuine in all cases as well, and, most importantly of all, the fact of Christ having died for the sins of every unbeliever is of critical importance because it demonstrates as an irrefutable fact that there was nothing preventing them being saved apart from their own stubbornness. The fact of being in the book in of life initially is a guarantee of the opportunity for salvation – so that unbelievers are without excuse – just as the book is a safeguard for all believers so that none is condemned. The logical deduction from your question would be, it seems to me, to say that God never should have created unbelievers in the first place. But we know that everything He does is right and just and faithful – because He cannot be otherwise; and so we know that this creation and all that happens in history is just and fair and right, even to unbelievers (even if we don't understand the reasons for everything that has/is/will happen in history – we will on that great day to come). This creation is the one, perfect one – and there are no others. And there are no potential others either. Right down to the very last detail, "this" is how it had to be for us to exist as who we are and to be saved. For this is the actual creation into which Christ actually did come and die for the sins of the world, having taken on human flesh so that now His destiny is inextricably bound up with ours – a mind-boggling blessing whose import must not be underestimated. The fact of our being created with free will is so amazing, possessing the very image of God, and the fact of having the opportunity to be saved because Christ died for all of our sins is so stunningly wonderful, that the stubbornness of unbelievers is beyond understanding. And indeed, it's not as if they haven't heard anything: natural revelation on the outside (e.g., Ps.19:1ff.), and the way God has constructed the human being on the inside guarantees that every human being has had enough information to decide for or against a relationship with God (e.g., Eccl.3:11; Rom.1:18-21). So it is a fact that all have "heard" what they needed to hear for the purpose of ultimate self-determination and have made all decisions pertaining thereto in their own hearts. This will be revealed at the last judgment. In the end, it makes little difference if a person's heart is hard-packed like a road and won't receive the seed of the gospel or never receives the seed in the first place. There will be no sprouting of faith in either case for those who have no interest in the Lord. God may graciously give the truth to some whom He knows will not receive it; or He may not – the end result is the same, not because of any lack of grace or goodness on God's part: Christ paid the penalty, the entire price for that person's redemption. The problem is not a lack of information or an abundance of it. The problem is the unwillingness of the person in question to be saved. But it was necessary for the offer to be genuine and actually available "to accomplish all righteousness" – even if we don't understand it (Matt.3:15).

Question #4:

Bob,

You’re so good at expressing your thoughts. It makes me laugh sometimes at how thorough you can be in such few words. I definitely understand limitations invoked by not enough time in a single day. I’m blessed to have you find the time the you do to interact with me at all. From your reply below, I totally and absolutely agree with. Let me divide the topic again into some sub topics for specificity. I also sincerely believe that God is Sovereign and has a decretive (secret) will and a prescriptive (revealed) will. His prescriptive will is His commandments and general call. His decretive will is everything single thing that transpires to the smallest detail, which includes those whom He specifically chose to redeem, justify, sanctify, and glorify in and through His most precious son, Christ Jesus - effectually called. All of this was established before the foundation of the world at which time, the Lambs Book of Life was completed. I see several differences in our theology at this point here. You contend that everyone in all of the world’s history has had their name written in this book and if they reject (works) Christ, their names are blotted out. This presupposes that Christ died for everyone all the way back to Adam. Essentially we have a general atonement for everyone that does not actually accomplish anything unless that person "choses" to repent and believe in Christ, so that they would have life in His name. Therefore, the saving nature is not in the atonement but in "the will of man." We know that from John 1:18-19 - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - I understand from this right here that the "will of man" has nothing to do with being born from above. If God decreed who would be saved and in our free choice we reject Him, then why write a name down to blot it out? Its not like we see this book or know anything more than what is revealed. Revelations 3:5 - He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. - I see this as a promise, not a threat. I also believe that he was referencing a common practice that was done among their city at the time that Christ had the message delivered. Essentially, if a citizen of Sardis committed some sort of crime or committed some unworthy deed, they were disowned by the city and their name was removed from their census or list of citizens. Christ is assuring us that the very thing that was happening to them for their natural failures would not occur to us in the spiritual. My argument is that the names of those that God Chose in Christ before the foundation of the world, those are the names that were said to be written in the Lambs Book of Life and it is indeed those individuals that Christ specifically died for. A specific atonement for a specific people that actually saves without man’s cooperation. Matthew 1:21 - She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. - Ephesians 5:24 - Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her - Isaiah 53:11 - As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. - The same people that Christ died for are the same ones that Christ ever lives to make intercession for (Hebrews 7:25 - Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them). Meaning that if He died for a specific people, the elect, Christ ever lives to make intercession for the elect so that they can draw near to God, which results in perseverance. These same people are glorified and Christ’s intercession proves to be effective and without failure. To say that Christ died for the non elect (those who’s names are not in and never were in the Lambs Book of Life) then we have Christ making intercession for everyone, even those who have already passed into death to await judgment. This brings up several questions. How effectual is Christ’s intercession and why would Christ be making intercession for people that have already sealed their fate in outer darkness? Christ fulfilled the order of Melchizedek in that He offered a specific sacrifice (atonement) for a specific people and then continually makes intercession for those people. The same specificity existed with the high priests of old. They offered sacrifices for the sins of the people of Israel (not the whole world) and then prayed for the same group of people. None of their duties were all inclusive to everyone in the world. This makes it absolutely clear to me that the perseverance of the saints is all due to the intercession of Christ and the Holy Sprit. Same thing that he told Peter. Christ prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, and it didn’t. I believe that this is what takes place for all of those whom God chose in Christ before the foundation of the world. (Ephesians 1:4 - just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him…) Revelations 13:8 (All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain) and Revelations 17:8 ("The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.) are both clear that there many names that were not written in Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world, but those that are, are the chosen ones. Matthew 22:14 - For many are called, but few are chosen. The "many" is the revealed / prescriptive will of God and the chosen are the secret / decretive will of God. (1 John 2:19) They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. I don’t believe that God wants all to be saved nor did he intend it to be that way. Had that been His intentions, then that is exactly what would have happened. Scripture also says that he does not take pleasure in destroying the wicked, but in order that the riches of his mercy can be shown to His vessels of honor, he raises some up for destruction. Paul makes in explicitly clear in Romans that no man does good, there is none that are righteous, no not one. He also makes it clear that the mind set on the flesh is not pleasing to God. Faith and repentance are pleasing to the Lord. In fact, this same mind is an enemy of God. The fallen flesh genuinely hates God. Therefore, something has to happen to change the mind from being set on the flesh to being set on the Spirit. While we were yet sinners He reconciled us to Him. We didn’t reconcile ourselves to Him. If the atonement was for all and all we had to do in our fallenness is chose Christ, then we would be reconciling ourselves to Him. I submit to you that without Titus 3:5 taking place first (regeneration) and our minds being renewed and ourselves becoming a new creation, being baptized by the Spirit into one body, clothing ourselves with Christ / Armor of God, and having our hearts circumsized with a circumsision made without hands, man will not and never will chose God. 1 Corinthians 1:23 - but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18 - For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. The Spirit of God has to awaken us, open our eyes, at which time, we realize how wretched we are and recognize our need for repentance and Christ. 2 Corinthians 7:10 - For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. One of the best analogies that I have heard concerning a dead sinner is that of Lazarus. He was dead and when Christ effectually called him to life, he came to life. He didn’t come to life against his will nor could he have rejected this effectual call. When the dead sinner is quickened and made alive in his own understanding, "chooses" Christ. This is not an effectual call that can be rejected, because the Spirit nor Christ fails. John 6 teaches that the ones that are given to the Son, "will" come to Him and all that come He will not cast out but He will raise them on the last day. Unless there is some sort of universal heaven only a select group has been given to Christ. I know that you probably agree with (a) portion(s) of what I’m saying and that I can in noway compare to your knowledge of scripture, but I was just including passages that I draw my theology from that all are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This just happens to be a topic that is heavily contingent upon and parallel to the effect and extent of the atonement and the elect / chosen / called. Please do not be offended by what I have said and I hope it was clear.

In summary:

1) Names of the elect are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world;

2) set aside from our mother’s wombs and at an appointed time in the lives of the elect, they are effectually called, washed and regenerated;

3) Due to Christ’s intercession for us and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the elect persevere;

Keeping in mind, that only the God Head know who the elect are. From our limited understanding, we "chose" and at the time of our choosing, we don’t understand or realize that the Spirit was responsible for opening our eyes and leading us to repentance first. If there is error in what I am saying, please point it out to me and I’ll go back to examining the scriptures. Oh and please take your time responding to this, I am in no hurry, just very interested in your thoughts on this.

As always brother, God bless you and yours,

Response #4:

There is a lot here. It would be better from my perspective to sort things out one point at a time (to avoid confusion and talking past each other).

God clearly wants all to be saved:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2nd Peter 3:19 NKJV

And since Christ died for all (see the link), the opportunity for salvation is genuine for all, even for those (very many) who do not avail themselves of God's most gracious offer.

I believe that all are written in the book of life not because of logical or theological arguments but because that is clearly what scripture states wherever the subject comes up. This actually demonstrates the immense grace of God which predisposes all mankind for salvation, purposing for the Son to die for all that all might be saved (after all, the offer of the gospel to all would not be genuine if not all could be saved). For example:

"But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!" The Lord said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.
Exodus 32:32-33 NASB

The very fact that some are / can be blotted out of the book of life demonstrates the point: if only the elect were in there, then there could be no blotting out. There are other verses besides. You make a number of logical arguments here, but the only potential biblical support I can see for your position is in Revelation (Rev.13:8 and 17:8) – in an English translation. But these verses actually support the opposite point of view, rightly read from the Greek. In each case (the language is nearly identical) the phrase apo kataboles kosmou, "from the foundation of the comos/world", refers to the fact that the book existed from the beginning – not that the names were not in there at the beginning. In each case, the Greek verb "written" is in the present perfect (i.e., not the plu-perfect). An emphatic translation would be "stands written", that is, "is [still] written" ("were written" would introduce a past tense which is not there in either verse). In the Greek, the phrasing suggests that while the book dates back to the creation, the absence of the name of the unbeliever is a recent development ("now" does not stand written – blotted out for their adherence to antichrist, that is, for a bad choice entailing rejecting Christ for His false substitute). This, by the way, is the only way to make sense of the very determined scriptural pronouncements to refuse the mark (Rev.14:9-11). If there is a choice to be made, the warnings make sense; if there is no choice, there is no point in the warning.

We can talk about the other passages if you wish. Here are some other links where the subject is discussed at Ichthys:

I will assuredly not erase his name

The book of life in Rev.13:8

Tithing and the Book of Life

From the foundation of the world

The Lamb Slain

Names in the book of life

The book of life and the "books" of Rev.20

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello Dr Luginbill, I pray you are well. Thanks for all your hard work and effort you put into your ministry. It has been a real blessing to me and the few I have been able to share it with.

I was just looking into Job 38:4 and wondering if all the believers of God pre-existed prior to birth on earth in the same way Jesus pre-existed prior to his birth? I know God knits us together prior to birth and at birth the spirit is put into the body, but I'm thinking for God to ask Job "where" he was when he laid the foundations of the earth and to "declare IF he has understanding might mean Job was at an actual location. This is just my guess, but why would God ask Job WHERE if the obvious answer was nowhere and the fact he attached the concept of understanding to the question implies to me he would need understanding to answer such a question which I take to mean it is no easy task. Further, I look into Jeremiah 1:5 where God told Jeremiah he KNEW him before he formed him in his mother's womb and knew implies to me past tense and or prior to. I'm thinking the earth was there before our bodies were formed and likewise the spirit God had given us also existed before we were formed. Formed would be the process of taking elements that already exist and putting them together, much like a potter. Creation is more making something out of nothing. So I'm wondering if we too were created when God created the heavens and the earth and everything in it. If we share the image of God then maybe we too have aspects of his "invisible" nature. And if we are not visible, we would not be visible.

What do you think?

Thanks as always

Response #5:

Hello Friend,

There are a lot potentially deeply involved aspects of this question, so I'll do my best to hit the main points here (apologies in advance if I don't hit on everything).

There is no preexistence: the Lord's questions to Job are rhetorical, and the Lord knew Jeremiah in advance of his creation – just as He knows everything in advance inasmuch as nothing can happen without having been already decreed.

We, that is to say the real us, our human spirit, is created at the point of birth by God when we first draw breath. There are a variety of false doctrines out there, some of long, historic pedigree, which claim otherwise ("traducianism" being the most common), but dangerously and incorrectly so. Our Lord, like us, became a human being (in addition to the deity He has always been) when He was born; that is when He "came into the world". The spirit is not seen; but it is the real "us". This present body has physical antecedents, but the spirit does not. This body will not last, but in the end we shall have a "spiritual body", that is, a resurrected body which is totally in harmony with our uncorrupted spirits. All this is written up at the link in BB 3A: "The Creation of Adam". Do please have a look at this; and, as ever, I am happy to answer any additional questions.

Thanks as always for your kind words!

In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Thanks for the help.

It seems the more I pursue truth, the harder it gets to get through to people. Not many people are interested in finding the truth and it's surprising to see that most people are not willing to let go of their false or incorrect beliefs when confronted. True believers seem to be an incredibly small number of people.

Thanks as always and may God continue to bless your ministry

Response #6:

Amen.

You're more than welcome, Friend!

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Greetings!

Thank you again for all your labor in study and writing. It's much appreciated and certainly utilized in my time of study and communion.

Question: I'm reviewing the study SR3, and in the section pertaining to the body & spirit and their inextricable link as it regards "life". So far as the conceptual and textual case for their relationship, your commentary is clear. My question is how you would substantiate the sequential nature of your exposition on life. You write that " apart from this infusion of spirit there is no life", well enough, but also that "Gods implantation of His spirit into our bodies is at birth" which I take you to mean outside the womb. So as to the pattern it is clear; but what is to suggest that Gods 'breathing into' is not for the creature while in the womb? So much that is to be observed and understood today of a baby's behavior, and, literally, his movement itself is the exhibition of life. To the extent that a fetus to infant is regarded as alive unless by way of complications is caused or found to become dead. There is no ulterior motive or cause guiding this inquiry of mine other than to have a more explicit explanation of what seems to be a life-in-phases model; one that doesn't seem consistent with the nature or character of Gods other creative or procreative acts. I'd like to follow you along further on this spiritual reasoning you've suggested, so when you have time I'd greatly value a reply.

Thank you again.

In Him,

Response #7:

Good to make your acquaintance (I think this is the first time you've written me, at least from this email address).

Thanks much for your encouraging words. As to your question, I think that there is no question even from a casual perusal of scripture that the Bible makes the birth of every human being the seminal event. That is important for this discussion and cannot be forgotten. Balancing that against the fact that there is no passage in scripture which speaks of independent life or "free will" in the womb is therefore doubly significant. The parallel of Adam's creation which is the departure point for this discussion in the posting you reference, SR 3, is also critical to our understanding of this issue. If it were merely a question of physical viability, why was the breathing in of the breath of life, the human spirit, necessary to quicken him? The parallel seems prima facie clear, namely, that without such quickening directly from God there is no human spirit and consequently no spiritual life, regardless of physical completeness. There is also this. If human beings came "to be" merely as a result of the physical process of procreation, where would our spiritual part come from? It would in that case merely be an unseen yet genetically transmitted part of the human being, and if so then human beings would be entirely material because the unseen part would then be, for all its (current) invisibility, something passed down physically (and thus truly physical and not spiritual – something we know well enough cannot be true). I say these things preliminarily because they do affect the discussion as a whole.

You seem to be accepting of the fact that God gives the spirit individually to everyone; that is, I'm sure you are aware, not the standard position in most denominations today (most established groups are traducianist, that is, believing in a physical passing down of whatever the "soul" is – and they usually do fail to appreciate the biblical distinction between soul and spirit as well). If it is true that God creates a spirit for every new human being quite apart from physical processes (and it is true: "creationism"), then it is only a question of when that spirit is implanted. We know from the case of Adam that this was done only when he was fully formed. What about his descendents who are born rather than created from the dust of the ground directly? Theologically speaking, there is no basis for picking a point between conception and birth; those are the only two incidents which are commented upon as significant in scripture. Personally, I would be happy to accept conception as the point where the Lord implanted the spirit if that were what the Bible taught, even though there are some obvious problems with this view (just for example, the large number of times that a pregnancy doesn't advance far enough even to be considered a miscarriage when it fails or even get to the point of being recognized as such although a cell may have been successfully fertilized); we walk by faith not by sight. However, in point of fact scripture always focuses on the birth of an individual as the important starting point for life. That is not just because of the obvious appearance for the first time of the new person. The very word "spirit" means also "breath", and breath is the counterpart of life, entering the body only when the person is born and always leaving precisely when the person dies – and the same is true of the human spirit (which the breath corresponds to by way of the biblical analogy). Just as the spirit leaves when a person dies although it may take some time before all cellular activity ceases, so also a person is given the spirit and becomes alive in the sense of being an individual created in the image of God when God creates and implants that spirit/breath – at the point of physical birth – even though there has been a necessary process of cellular activity and physical development before this time.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:17 NIV

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Luke 2:11 NIV

As in the case of the first Adam, so in the case of the last Adam, coming into the world is the point of scriptural emphasis. Even though the virgin conception of our Lord is absolutely unique in human history (and theologically very important), the birth of Christ is the event to be celebrated: until His birth, He had not "come" into the world.

And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him."
Hebrews 1:6 NIV

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:13-14 NIV

This is when He "came into the world", i.e., when He was born.

A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world."
John 16:21 NKJV

I appreciate that you have no political purposes here. This is a question of biblical truth wherein correct understanding of every principle reinforces and explains every other and leads to spiritual growth – whereas on the other hand misunderstanding, or, worse, deliberate refusal to accept any principle of truth to some extent vitiates the whole and retards growth. However considered, terminating a pregnancy for other than pressing medical reasons was anathema in ancient Israel, and that is absolutely the correct, biblical way to look at things today as well. Children are a blessing from the Lord.

I hope I have answered your concerns about this matter, but I would be happy to address any other points of concern you may have.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #8:

Good morning Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your swift and comprehensive return message!

I appreciate your time and the opportunity to begin a bit of fellowship with you.

Having a current word from you certainly aided me as I continued to prayerfully think through this aspect of study. In fact, as I was dwelling on it further while reading your reply it became self-evident, almost obvious, that a two-part transpiration of life (life bearing then life giving), by the hand of GOD, is very much consistent with the LORD's doings on myriad areas. In other words, there is no cause for concern in the mind as though GOD will not complete both parts of life-giving even if there is a sequence and time factor involved...if HE has it in mind to do, its inevitable praise GOD! Even using the broader topic of the SR study as an example: GOD has known the end from the beginning; HE has ordained all that is to transpire, it is certain and whole, even though human history observes it in phases or parts...does that illustration bear witness with you?

Therefore on the contrary, instead of such teaching as you have suggested causing concern, or shaking the believer's faith, it may strengthen it; for to be educated by the Spirit of GOD, down to the scruple (as Oswald Chambers wonderfully phrases it), in these more subtle or sublime matters, can actually serve to enlighten and enliven our faith in very real areas of life as we walk with HIM daily. No to mention it builds a more consistent and broad foundation of understanding of GODs Word, that will stand the test of time and testimony, Amen?

You know, one thing I have come to appreciate about you and your study/writing is that it reflects (and here I am SURE I am not educating YOU) an aspect of the true Hebrew mind; in other words, their inspired "Block Logic". Since getting to know GOD in ancient times as a people, they didn't, like so many in the church even these days, need to have every thought or theme visibly intersect or be completely reconcilable at present. They allowed them to exist in parallel, concurrently, allowing the Holy Spirit to fill and fulfill the meaning and interrelatedness of the topics/truths. I have seen that in your work: your spiritual reservation in writing, at junctures in these studies, has given opportunity for the revelation of the Spirit to "connect the dots" in the minds of fellow believers; as only He can do and should do. So I just wanted to encourage you in that unique sensitivity to the Spirit...I know it is even more difficult to yield to at times, with all the knowledge you have (Ecc 1:18).

Thank you again, and have a great day!

Kindly,

Response #8:

Thanks much for your good words.

As a teacher of the Word, I can only say what is actually in the scriptures. It's important not to "go beyond what is written" (1Cor.4:6), so thanks much for your understanding and special insight into that point.

I appreciate your encouragement.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dear Robert Luginbill: You have to be able to give an explanation as to what happens to unborn fetuses, or little babies that die; since according to you everyone has an immortal soul. Most of you will try to use this verse. It is of course what King David stated after the death of his and Bathsheba's son: 2 Samuel 12:23

Response #9:

Life begins at birth, not conception. Also, I've explained a number of times that the human spirit is what is placed into our bodies at the point of birth. That is "who we really are". The word English word "soul" and its Hebrew and Greek counterparts are referring to the inner person which is a combination of body and spirit, and as such the word(s) is usually better translated "heart" (see the link). Since I've written these things to you before, I think you may be confusing me with someone else.

Question #10:

I'm going to take another swing at you on Luke 1:44 regarding life in the womb. As I was talking to another ol' R.B. Theimite the other day who said the pro-lifers are just doing evil demonstrating and such, and he then went on to quip that I had changed my position and that another buddy had also gone off in contradiction to Thieme in his doctorate thesis. I told him that what convinced me was John's joy in the womb at which point he said something I had never heard that the old man came to the conclusion [I don't recall it] that emotions are part of the body. I thought okay, well why don't you do a word study on 'joy' and see if you can stick with it. Anyhow, regarding the above verse, here's my swing kind of from the side, so don't forget to duck:

Taking every word in its normal usage unless something in the context makes it impossible to do so, explain to this ol' simple southern farmboy, how 'in joy or by means of joy' can possibly apply to the ears of Elizabeth, or even better Mary in her greeting, not to mention the 'gar' explaining what now, and if so, a comparative passage in the Bible, don't be going Xenophon on me, where a prep phrase is modifying another prep phrase instead of the main clause in which it is found. Even if you tell me ek in this verse means separated from, you, from Nicodemus being 'ek', part of the Pharisees, that John, 'ek', most easily with 'eti' is best taken in Lu.1.15: 'still part of the womb' [unless 'eti' no longer means the continuation of a the previous state, as in, while John continued as part of the womb, he was filled with the Holy Spirit?]. Nothing is impossible with the Lord: the Spirit can fill a brephos (fetus) who can jump for joy still in the womb or a simple Tx farmboy still in Southern CA.

Response #10:

Before we get too deep into the weeds on Luke 1:44, please answer me this set of simple questions which we simple folk find confusing:

a) How can a fetus hear and understand voices while in the womb?

b) How can a fetus in the womb not only hear but differentiate between voices of people it has never met?

c) How can a fetus recognize a particular voice it has never heard before?

d) How can a fetus experience joy? Do even newborn babies (who are alive in the biblical sense of having been given a human spirit) really experience joy?

e) Since we are dealing in hypotheticals, if John had had a twin brother, could they have amused themselves in passing the time by playing? [sorry to be so facetious, but I know from experience that you can take it as well as dish it out]

f) So do you really expect to convince me that the Greek preposition ek ("out of") doesn't really mean ek in this passage but really means en ("in"), when in the history of Greek, ek has never ever anywhere at any time meant en ("in")? This sounds like some of the stuff I heard at Talbot from people who "studied" Greek but never bothered to learn how to actually read Greek (no offense).

If by your final remark you are saying that the whole thing was an exceptional miracle, then that would mean that whatever happened in this case is no grounds for saying that fetuses are spiritually alive since it was a "one off" accomplished by the Spirit for prophetic reasons – in which case John would still have become alive in the biblical sense when he was born and the spirit was implanted and not before (as was in fact the case).

The solution to the problem is that Elizabeth is the one experiencing the "joy" and the fetus responds to her emotional state – something I understand is far from an uncommon occurrence. This works perfectly well reading the Greek; English translations may make it seem improbable by misunderstanding what is being said and producing an English word order or phrasing which makes what really happened seem unlikely. Here is my rendering:

"Behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, out of [the] joy [I felt], the fetus (brephos) in my womb leapt!"
Luke 1:44

Please do see the link: "Biblical Anthropology IV"

I do wish for you and your family a really wonderful Christmas, and a very happy 2016!

Your pal in Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #11:

The short answer: even if you tell me ek never means 'part of', is . . . yes, a fetus can [experience joy] because the plain reading says so. But I'll be one of those Talbot fools if necessary. I've been called worse – but what can be worse than denying the plain reading: God can do anything, even have a fetus hear, be joyful.

Response #11:

As a pastor-teacher in your own right, what you believe and teach is of course between you and the Lord. My job is to answer questions when asked, even when people don't want to hear the answer.

One observation, in verse 44, John does uses en ("in") to describe the fetus in womb; but in verse 15, you would have ek mean that same exact thing too? Now words are losing their meaning entirely – or better put so flexible in their meaning that they can anything we want them to mean. And if ek means "a part of" as in "one from", then John would have had to have been part of his mother's womb for that to work (and that certainly was not the case, even for the fetus). In any case, in verse 15 the fetus is described as being "in" the womb; not "part of" the womb. None of that is a problem if we take the Greek to naturally mean what it ought to mean. So what part of the translation "even from birth" or "right out of his mother's womb" do you find linguistically indefensible? I know why the evangelicalites want the other translation, namely, for ammunition in their anti-abortion political crusade. But you can't mix politics and truth.

Your pal in Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello Dr. Luginbill, I sincerely hope things are well with you. I very much enjoyed our last correspondence and I am looking to get some guidance on abortion. We all know this a "hot button" topic so I just want to be sure I'm accurate in my understanding of the subject according to scripture. I have recently been in conversation with a family member concerning this and I do not want to lead her or anyone else astray.

According to my understanding spiritual life begins at birth. God established this pattern at the creation of Adam, creating his body first and breathing the "breath of life" in to his nostrils afterward thus creating a living soul. So, this pattern continues on to this day. There is conception, the fetus develops (biological life), it is born and with the first breath the spirit enters the body and a living soul in brought into the world.

In chapter 5 of the book of Numbers we have the test for the unfaithful wife. The outcome of this test is the miscarriage of the fetus if the woman has sinned, this was a direct act of God. My understanding is that God did not kill a living soul but ended the biological process that would lead to a living soul. So there is no little baby soul that goes to heaven as the result. Now this does not mean to me that abortion can be justified through scripture, just the contrary. This passage clearly teaches that in this case the woman was being judged by God and this was part of the punishment she must bear for her sin. Even though there is no soul during the development of the fetus only God has the right to interrupt the biological process. For man to interfere is sinful for the scripture tells us that children are a blessing and to not have them is a curse. So for a people to abort there offspring is a curse brought upon ourselves.

This is a very difficult teaching for most Christians to embrace, based on our conditioning by the church (especially the teaching that the fetus isn't actually a living soul). However, God is sovereign and I must trust that He knows what is best. Now I may be in error and if I am please correct me and help me to get on the right path. I believe it is critical to be correct when trying to teach ourselves and especially others what the scripture says is truth. We will all stand before the Great Judge one day to give account and I already have enough regret.

I look forward to your response, at your convenience.

Your friend,

Response #12:

Good to hear from you again. I think your assessment of this subject is pretty much right. Abortion is a terrible thing, and the Bible is most definitely "anti-abortion" in every way. It is not, however, the termination of a human life – because life begins at birth just as you describe. I don't fault my fellow Christians for being appalled by the act of abortion and its prevalence. I do find it distressing, however, that for the sake of taking political action against this practice in order to prohibit other people from doing it, they are willing to distort the truth of the Word of God. Getting involved in political crusades is always detrimental to spiritual welfare and inconsistent with spiritual growth. Going so far as to put one's political desires ahead of what the Word of God teaches can lead to spiritual ruin. It ought not to be lost on our evangelical-dom brethren that the Roman Catholic church is fully behind this agenda and teaches this false doctrine to buttress it. Here is something I have written about abortion which I always try to include when the subject comes up:

This [position that life is given by God directly to each human being at the point of physical birth] 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; 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). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

We Christians know what is right and what is wrong, so we should always embrace the former and eschew the latter. In terms of the latter, since abortion is wrong, we should not have one nor participate in the process of anyone else having one. In terms of the former, it is hardly our business what unbelievers in a secular and increasingly pagan society want to do, as long as it does not impinge upon our right and duty to learn and live the Word of God ourselves. By telling non-Christians what they should or should not do, and by attempting to harness the coercive power of the state to compel them to do or not to do according to our lights, we are binding ourselves to Caesar – and Caesar is no Christian. Following the process of political engagement, eventually we will find ourselves as badly off spiritually as the Roman Catholic church – or worse. That is something to keep in mind in these days shortly before the Tribulation, when antichrist will proclaim himself "Christ" and will no doubt promote all manner of seemingly "godly" policies, all of which are sure to have a seed of evil in them just as this one does. Those who cast their lot with Caesar now are likely to find it hard to escape his toils later on. Please see the links: "Life Begins at Birth" and "Politics and Society".

A couple of other brief points:

1) The spirit is what is placed by God into the human body at birth. The word "soul" is often used in common parlance as a virtual synonym for the spirit. That is fine, I suppose, but it does lead to trouble when reading most versions of the Bible inasmuch "soul" usually renders the Greek psyche and the Hebrew nephesh, both of which refer to the combined inner person, the mind or "heart", which is where we "think" and "feel" within the combination of spirit and body that constitutes our whole person. There are any number of passages where faulty conclusions are easy enough to draw if this distinction is not properly appreciated. Please see the link: "The word 'soul' ".

2) On Numbers chapter five, I don't believe this passage bears on the discussion at all, since there is no mention of pregnancy here, even in the case of the hypothetical woman who is guilty of adultery. I know that the NIV has for verse 21, "when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell". However, this is a dubious translation not followed by any other major version. More on point is, e.g., the NASB: "by the LORD’S making your thigh waste away and your abdomen swell". I do understand how NIV "gets" this from the Hebrew, but it is mistaken in my considered view.

3) In terms of "cursing", well, all sin is sin before God. There is no "good sin", no "harmless sin", no sin for which Christ did not have to die in the darkness for salvation to be possible, no sin which, if no propitiated, would not land us in hell. It is certainly true that some sins because of their nature have consequences which are more dire and long-lasting, and for that reason are sometimes singled out in scripture. We are certainly within our rights therefore to understand some things as worse than others from a practical point of view. And, certainly also, some sins are going to come in for more intensive discipline from our Lord than others will, in part because of how they take us down spiritually, and certainly also those which harm other Christians (e.g., 1Thes.4:3-6; cf. 1Cor.6:18). But whenever we discuss such things it is very important to remember that "every violation and disobedience [of the Law] received its just punishment" (Heb.2:2), and that just punishment of every sin is death: spiritual death leading to physical death leading to eternal death (cf. Num.15:32-35). All sin (Rom.3:23); all stumble (Jas.3:2); all need God's forgiveness which comes to the penitent by grace through confession (1Jn.1:5-10). Since we are all recipients of God's great mercy and God's great grace when it comes to sin, and all continue to need His forgiveness and restoration day by day, it's best to "hold onto both" principles here (Eccl.7:18), not underestimating the terrible damage that something like abortion can do, but not seeing it as something categorically different and apart from the sins we ourselves have and are and may commit in the future, even if in our eyes they don't seem to rise to the same level of culpability. There is much about the complex issues of sin found in scripture contained in BB 3B: Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin (at the link).

Keeping fighting the good fight, my friend! Therein lies great eternal reward.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Thank you Dr. For setting me straight on the inaccuracy of the NIV's translation of Numbers chapter 5. I use the NASB, King James and the NIV in my studies. For some reason I just went to the NIV on this one and called it quits. I will take care to be more thorough in the future, that doesn't necessarily mean I'll get it right, but hopefully I can rely on your ministry to keep me straight.

I will read all the links you included in your e-mail, if I have any questions I will let you know. Thank you for them, thank you for your teaching and once again thank you for your prompt and thoughtful response. Hmm, I'm starting to get the feeling that you actually enjoy this, but I could be wrong.

Until next time,

Response #13:

You're most welcome, my friend.

And, yes, I do enjoy helping my brothers and sisters in Christ come to an appreciation of the truth on all things in scripture. In any case, that's my "job".

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.
1st Peter 5:2 NKJV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Physicalists commit the following two fallacies:

(1) They assume that correlation of brain activity with qualia means identity of qualia with brain activity, but this is simply not a sound deduction. This is the exact same argument behaviorists used at the turn of the century to conclude that there is no different between mental states and behavior

(2) If the soul is not the same as the body, then it follows that destroying the body cannot annihilate the soul, for the same reason killing me does not kill you. They are two different things

Sincerely,

Response #14:

Nice. I prefer the word "spirit", since that is the biblical word. I do realize, however, that because of R.C. dogma largely uncorrected by the Reformers most people say "soul" when they mean "spirit" – so may it is the right choice from an apologetics perspective.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob,

When I was a younger, I was told that I ought to abandon the Christian religion because I was told by a very knowledgeable college student that neuroscientists completely disproved the existence of a soul and that hoi polloi simply haven't caught up yet with modern knowledge.

Physicalism represents the most common argument against Christianity that I've encountered (far more common than evolution among academics) and it's the one area that apologetics is extremely inept at defending. Worst yet, most conservative Christians unwittingly support it! Every young earth creationist is a traductionist, which explicitly denies the existence of an immaterial soul. Worst of all, most Christians today are in danger of committing the heresy of Apollonianism because Jesus' incarnation is jeopardized if the existence of the human spirit is purely physical. Given that most people fail to understand that His human spirit is what makes atonement, this is on the verge of soul-damning. Oddly enough, it is the R.C.C. and Orthodox that are the last remaining bulwarks of creationism and a proper understanding of Christ's dual nature.

If so, then it could be possible that the ridicule of evangelical Christianity among academics may stem from the implicit recognition that Christianity as taught by Christians is logically incoherent, while the acceptability of the R.C.C. in academia stems from a more coherent Christology.

Sincerely,

Response #15:

Yes, I had great issues with this at my multi-denominational seminary. It's one of the many areas wherein Protestants have allowed tradition and/or politics to influence the debate instead of seeking the truth of scripture (which latter approach is little made use of nowadays at all anymore).

However, I don't find creationism – the way the Bible describes it – in the R.C. and Orthodox mainstream (although you can no doubt find some theologian in either tradition who seems to support it). In fact, I think both churches maintain that life begins at conception – which is traducianist at its logical core (as well as being scripturally incorrect). In any case, with a works-salvation foundation, being right on some point or other isn't going to help the laity who need to bail out of those organizations entirely in order to find salvation – or most certainly will if and when they do.

Keep up the good work, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Extensive experimental studies have shown that mental acts of attention and intention activate appropriate regions of the cerebral cortex. An intention to move, for example, initiates the firing of a set of neurons of the supplementary motor area about 200 Milli-seconds before the intended movement takes place. If the mind is the brain, this would mean either that one part of the brain activates another part, which then activates another part, etc., or that a particular region of the brain is activated spontaneously, without any cause.

But either theory is incoherent. One part activating another part would be an infinite descent and thus be a madman's explanation, while spontaneous activation is not even an explanation, it's an observation.

Response #16:

Not being a biologist, all this sounds good to me! I'll definitely include it in the posting the next time the subject comes up. Thanks!

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

Regarding the R.C.C, according to the Catholic encyclopedia, their official stance is still creationism.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04475a.htm

Response #17:

Thanks. I skimmed the article and it's just as I said:

1) This is a very "wafflely" article which presents a consensus opinion that is not entirely clear while including alternative opinions of important church fathers. No one reading this article would come away either spiritually enlightened or absolutely sure of "the church's" precise opinion in terms of the important specifics we have been discussing.

2) Soul and spirit are confused here too – and that is a very critical issue for the correct interpretation of scripture (see the link: "Soul vs. Spirit").

3) The biggest problem: the assumption of life beginning at conception. Article author(s) understand, apparently, the problematic nature of this position, theologically speaking, and never get down to the nitty-gritty of just how God creates a "soul" at this point or even what that is/means exactly (even though they spill plenty of ink later on less important issues). This "how" is at least as important as the "when" for our purposes. The "when" they definitely have wrong since life begins at birth (see the link). The actual how, in biblical terms, is the direct creation of a spirit by God in the newborn at the point of birth when the first breath is taken – nothing like that suggested for the (apparent) life at conception position (and of course it's impossible since there won't be any intake of breath until birth).

4) All this reveals the only reason why this church has moved in this direction (sloppily, to judge from this article), namely, for political reasons. From the standpoint of those in that denomination, the only really important thing here is that the fetus is a person in their view, so that abortion can be murder, not just an obviously horrific thing. So we see now why the other issues are bothered with only insufficiently. All they want is the Q.E.D. which will pronounce abortion "murder" (not actually being even intellectually interested in the actual theology, let alone being spiritually engaged in it).

5) The fact that some church or cult has some point or other of doctrine correct or close to correct is nothing to recommend it; rather, we are to take heed regarding the important points of truth they get wrong. R.C.-ism is a religion of salvation by works (being baptized and staying a communicant results in salvation, regardless of belief; being outside the church results in condemnation, regardless of belief), and thus to be avoided – including their teachings even when they are partially right. Even the Mormons have gotten some things right.

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
James 2:19 NIV

Keep up the good work for Jesus Christ, my friend! You are in my prayers day by day.

In our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Dear Dr. and Brother Luginbill,

I am currently studying your teaching on "Hamartiology: the Biblical Study of Sin' and have a question. I understand from this teaching that everyone born into this world, from birth inherit the sinful nature" but not the sin of Adam. Am I correct in this statement? The Catholic Church teaches that children inherit the original sin of Adam, and that makes them accountable for that sin. They Baptize infants, which in their doctrine washes away this "original sin". I knew when I was first born-again that this is not true. I agree that we inherit the "sinful nature", but not the sin, but I am of the opinion that a child does not sin until they come to the knowledge of good and evil. What are your thoughts?

I was also looking at Romans 12:1 "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. The Word "transformed" stood out and hit me, and I began to think about this Word. I was always under the impression that we are a tri-parate being having three parts separate and distinct "Body, Soul, ad spirit". But have completed (which I am going to review again) in which you state that basically we are Body, and Soul and spirit make up the whole nature of man. So I understood that we are two parts, not three? Having remembered this and thinking about this Word "transformation", I thought, well at the New Birth, not only do we receive a new spirit, but our minds (thoughts, emotions, desires, etc) are also renewed? Never thought about that before until today. What are your thoughts on this also?

I also understand from your teachings that "flesh" is the "sinful nature" that we inherited, from Adam (if I see him I am going to have a few things to say to him). Am I understanding correctly? Always appreciate your kind thoughts as always. I am praying for you.

Blessings to you,

Response #18:

You are correct about the sin nature and "imputed sin" being a false doctrine; the latter is a Roman Catholic teaching which goes back to Augustine (he seriously messed up a whole lot of things and even evangelicalism hasn't completely cleaned up the mess till yet). This erroneous doctrine is built on a misunderstanding of Paul's phraseology in Romans chapter five; for a full discussion, see the links: "The so-called imputation of Adam's sin" and "imputation of sin".

On the nature of man, we all have a body which is physically handed down by birth, and we all have a spirit which is given to us by God at birth. It is at that point and with that gift that we become "a living soul (person)". The idea of "soul" as a separate entity (a tertium quid) is another medieval Roman Catholic doctrine which is likewise based upon the misinterpretation of scripture by coming at it with a point of view already fixed, then ignoring the voluminous contrary evidence. This (the "soul" as something separate or immortal) is another dangerous false doctrine which results in the misinterpretation of many other scriptures in a kind of snow-ball effect. The biblical words nephesh and psyche (Hebrew and Greek respectively) actually mean "person" and are synonyms of the words "heart" or "mind" because they refer either to the person as a whole of the "real us" inside of us which, at present, is a combination of body and spirit. When we think, for example, we do so not as "parts" but as one person . . . in our "heart/mind/soul" – the inner "us". I have written a good deal about this; here are some of the most essential links:

The word "soul"

Soul as synonym for heart

Biblical Anthropology III

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

What does the Bible say about the Soul? Is it a tertium quid?

Thanks so much for your prayers, my friend! Please do feel free to write back about any of the above.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi Bob, thanks for including me in the study. I haven't yet given a quiet and thoughtful read with prayer for the Lord to make the words [Word] of our current referent in 1Peter live to me. I've just given a cursory read, and grabbed some expository notes on the chapter for some background reference. I will read with engagement as I am able though. Exhortation for the exchanged and separated life of a Christian is well received on my part nonetheless, which seems at this superficial point to be the thrust of your message. Isn't it fascinating how the Holy Spirit is always so timely and succinct? What I mean is that, in the few recent days before I got this email for lesson #31, I was trying to find some language information regarding the division of spirit and soul [the spirit (of man) divided between the spirit and its earthly life] in your referent].

I was stumbling, because I didn't find clear explanation on the thing. I understand that spirit and soul are often contextually interchangeable in various parts of the Word. And, that doesn't trouble my mind. The referent at Heb. 4 was (and has been for some years) my central focus, with regard to sanctification; and, it appears also fundamental to this lesson #31.

I also know that neither is Christ divided [1Cor 1:13] and similarly, it is not good that a man be double minded. I found some writing from different individuals, that only deepened my apparent quandary. I find forms for psuche/psyche and pneuma/ruach, which appear to signify soul and spirit, and what appears to my mind to be an overarching, or inclusive term, nephesh.

I think that I'm stumbling on language more than concept. What I mean is that I have tried to explain to [both myself and other] people, how it is that a person can be saved, and yet still struggle with sin. My thoughts have been something like this: when I first became willing [I don't believe in a doctrine of "free-will" but rather a doctrine of free moral agency] willing to believe in the only begotten Son, I was 'saved'. That is, my spirit was prior dead in Adam. Christ quickened my spirit to life. This life is irrevocable. I cannot lose my salvation, even if I [for the most part,] live an apparently defeated life. Neither did I effect my salvation. I only became willing to believe the [T]ruth (the way and the life).

Which is to say that my struggle with sin is a soulish matter, as distinguished from my spirit. My body is the third part of my being, and is morally neutral, except that I employ it in either sinful or holy ways. It isn't saved as what it is. It dies, and I get a whole new one.

The Word exhorts to fear not those who can destroy the body, but Him [W]ho can destroy both body and soul [sic]. If the soul is to be destroyed; then that soul never received eternal life. Unless, a person can lose their salvation, which I believe to be an errant thought. Also, I understand that the word soul in that passage would encompass both spirit and soul. If the spirit of man died in Adam, and is not regenerated in Christ, then the spirit of a man is moot to the meaning.

Your reference captures the issue as "... penetrating even to the point of being able to divide the spirit from its earthly life, " [sic].

I'm aware of your expertise in the languages; perhaps you might have something to offer me in order to help my apparent confusion, as I enter into this study in 1 Peter. To my mind, this particular issue reduces to whether we are two, or three part beings. My argument would be something along the lines of us made in His image, as three part beings, [obliquely perhaps] similar to His three persons person. I hope that I'm coherent.

Regardless, best from our house to yours for this Christmas 2015.

Respectfully,

Response #19:

What you say seems to make a good deal of logical sense. There are some very important technical niceties, however, which are difficult to discern without reference to Greek and Hebrew. Indeed, it is fair to say that most theologians have "whiffed" on this one in the past. I will give you a few links below where you will find the "soul/spirit" issue treated and resolved. In a nutshell, the "soul" (in the Bible) is a synonym for the "heart", the inner "us" where body and spirit meet; it's not really a tertium quid. Human beings are composed of a physical body generated physically and a human spirit which is created and given by God at birth. We became "a living person" ("soul" / nephesh / psyche) at that point, but that is what a "soul" is – a living person (not an invisible organ); since these words can also refer to our inner life of thoughts and emotions in our capacity as "whole persons", many have misunderstood the biblical teachings, usually through the influence of the English word "soul" – an unfortunate choice for nephesh / psyche for precisely that reason.

Here are those links:

Is the Soul a tertium quid?

Soul and Spirit

Biblical Anthropology III

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

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Bob: Okay. I received an answer about soul and spirit that makes sense. Here is the answer that I received.

Yes, I have heard that before, and it is just a misunderstanding of "soul" and "spirit". And we can easily see from Genesis 2:7.

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [spirit]; and man became a living soul [soul]."

So the breath of life that God breathes in us is the "spirit", and our very living being (mind, thoughts etc.) is the "soul". God does not destroy the "spirit", because the spirit, or breath simply goes back to God from where it came. It is the "soul" that is destroyed, which is our very living being - our mind, emotions, thoughts, etc... that's what is destroyed.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 explains about the "spirit" [breath] returning to God ... "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

So dust plus spirit equals "soul" or "living soul". But when the spirit [breath] is removed and returns to God, then the "soul" dies, and we become dust again.

Hope this helps.

Blessings

Response #20:

Incorrect. The "spirit" is who we are; when it combines with the body we have the ability to think, feel, etc. The inner us where this takes place is called the heart or "the soul" by the Bible. So it can only be destroyed in the sense of us losing our present physical life – which is what our Lord referred to in Matthew 10:28.

If the spirit were merely an animating principle which goes back to God in some collective theosophical way after death, the following verse (e.g.) would make no sense:

The spirit of Man is the Lord's lamp, searching out the inner chambers of his heart.
Proverbs 20:27

The problem goes back to Augustine and medieval R.C. theology where in Latin animus is considered to be the equivalent of "soul" (nephesh / psyche) and anima the equivalent of "spirit" (ruach / pneuma) – but the words are not exact equivalents; making them so with deference to the Latin instead of to the original Hebrew and Greek is at the heart of the misunderstanding. There is no "soul" in these sense of a separate "thing"; the "soul" is "us" – and we will always exist after having been born physically and given the gift of a human spirit by God. Question is, where will we exist? That is the issue to which all ought to be giving their attention, and willful distortions of verses such as Matthew 10:28, wrongly rendered or interpreted in order to give a false sense of security to those who have no interest in salvation, do everyone a disservice (as wrongly dividing the Word of truth always does).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

You wrote: Human beings, however, are sinful, inhabiting bodies of corruption ever since the fall in Eden, so that between our spirits (which cannot be tainted) and the words of truth we hear, there is a filter or corruption.

Could you clarify what you mean by saying that our spirits "cannot be tainted"? Doesn't unbelief and evil taint our spirit?

Response #21:

The body is tainted; the spirit is untouchable. That does not mean that we do not sin, for example. Human beings are composite creatures and the heart where we decide is where the body and spirit intersect. Rather, it is the other way around. Those who decide on evil further corrupt their bodies and push themselves farther away from potential repentance. This does not affect their spirits. If they are evil, that is a function of who they have decided to be, body and spirit.

Question #22:

I'm not sure about this - so how should the condition of the condemned spirits be described? Are they not tainted?

Response #22:

The only thing that is ever tainted / degraded / 'physically' affected is the first, earthly body. That does not mean of course that God does not hold us responsible for the decision we make – and Christ had to die to propitiate every single sin every person ever used "body and spirit" to commit.

Question #23:

Does it mean then that those who are condemned will be subject to eternal bodily suffering in their resurrected bodies and this is how the pain will be experienced, but the condition of the spirit, from the moment God creates it all the way through to the eternity doesn't change?

Response #23:

Yes, that is my understanding of things. I think the "trouble" on this point emanating from historical theology is the (I suppose understandable) desire to break things down into their component parts. However, there has never been a living human being who did not have both body and spirit, and once the spirit is placed in the body that person will always be a whole "person" ("soul" / nephesh / psyche). The body changes, the spirit does not; until the resurrection, at which point the body also will be incapable of changing. It is very true that as long as we are "in time", as long as we are making decisions with the image of God, the free will we have, "we" as persons are "changing" all the time in that sense, not just physically. However, I don't see any biblical basis for assuming that there is any substantive (for want of a less confusing word) change in the human spirit – it doesn't wear out or grow nor is it otherwise altered. When we come to Christ, for example, we are given "eternal life" – but this is a status change, a change "in God's books", so to speak. It does have physical ramifications in that our hearts are "cleared" for the moment (and in this dispensation we also blessedly receive the Holy Spirit who, importantly, indwells our bodies). God is "keeping score" in terms of all of our decisions and all of our decisions do affect us, how we think and who we come to be – but even though we might define these changes as "spiritual", I don't see the substance of the spirit changing. How we store information and how we process it is to some extent a mystery, but it combines our two parts: our changing body and our unchanging spirit (and with the aid of the Spirit when it comes to the truth; see the link: Epistemology and Epignosis). So I don't see an issue with both these things being true: the spirit is "who we are" ultimately, but its substance never changes (in any comparable or analogous way to how the first, physical body changes).

Question #24:

Hi dr, quick question. I am reading the Christology series on pg 140 where you discussed the mechanics of the resurrection of our Lord. You stated " That is to say, His human body now dead since Friday afternoon was transformed into a new incapable,eternal body incapabale of decay, and His human spirit was placed back within it in a fashion comparable to God's in-breathing of the spirit into every human body at the point of birth."

Who implanted Christ's spirit into His body at His resurrection? Was it the Father or Christ himself since He is God?

If the Father, why didn't Christ do it since He was deity and more than capable of doing it? I guess I am confused about the mechanics. It's not critically important and I won't understand most of the workings of the Trinity this side of eternity, but if you can shed some light, that would be most appreciative.

In Christ our Lord

Response #24:

While we aren't told directly which member of the Trinity creates the spirit within us at birth, I think it is fairly certain that we should deduce it to be our Lord Jesus Christ (see below). However, I'm not sure we can be dogmatic about the resurrection, because while scripture speaks of the resurrection it never describes the placing of the spirit back into the new body (that is no doubt taken for granted as part of the process; but cf. Ezek.37:9-10). When it comes to God doing something, while one Person may sometimes be named, in many cases this does not mean that the other two are uninvolved inasmuch as the Trinity are always "one" in whatever they do (cf. the filioque controversy which failed to appreciate this critical point). So while we do find passage in scripture which seems to indicate the Spirit taking the lead (Rom.1:3-4; 8:11), there are also many passages which mention "God" (meaning the Father) as the key Person in Christ's resurrection (e.g., Acts. 2:24; 13:30-34; 17:31; Rom.6:4; 10:9; 1Cor.6:14; 15:15; Eph.1:19-20; Col.2:12; Heb.13:20;1 Pet.1:21; cf. 2Cor.4:14). And when it comes to believers, we also have this passage indicating that our Lord Jesus Christ will be the One to raise us (but cf. 1Thes.4:14):

(20) For our [true] citizenship has a heavenly existence (cf. in the Greek text: Acts 23:1; Eph.2:19; Phil.1:27), and it is from there that we expectantly await our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ, (21) who will transform this humble body of ours into one that matches His glorious body through His powerful ability to subordinate everything to Himself.
Philippians 3:20-21

That also comports with Adam's creation:

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

This was no doubt the Lord Jesus Christ who accomplished this – as the revealed member of the Trinity, so seeing Him as the One who does this is what I believe to be the case (cf. also, e.g., Zech.12:1).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Do babies remain babies when they die and go to heaven?

Is everyone of one gender in heaven??

Thank you,

Response #25:

Good to hear from you. I can assure you that everyone will have a body like that of our Lord when in resurrection (e.g., 1Jn.3:2). We have the reports of His resurrection in scripture (although He was not at that time glorified because He had not yet ascended to the Father). We know that He was of mature age but not old; we know He was still male. There is no indication whatsoever that there will not be a distinction of gender abiding in eternity. The Father is called the Father for a reason, e.g. Also, from the evidence available, it appears that there are female angels (see the link). The Lord created Adam and Eve at a full, mature age, so it is no problem at all for Him to give those who died very young fully mature resurrection bodies. What there will not be in eternity is any sort of arbitrary difference based on the superficial distinctions of this world. That is to say, there will be no rich or poor, nor will a man have any advantage over a woman, but those who served the Lord well will be rewarded in kind and distinguished above others for all eternity – whether male or female. Here are some other links which may be useful:

The Resurrection

The resurrection body and our eternal future II

The resurrection body and our eternal future I

What is Heaven like?

Our Eternal Future

What does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell?

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

The New Jerusalem and the Eternal State

Do feel free to write me back about any of this.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #26:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I have been reviewing your study on Angelic cohabitation with humans, in which you make the following statement:

Once the angelic seed was introduced into the human gene pool, sooner or later every human family would become infected and spread that infection (always by choice), until at last there would be no possibility of a pure line for the Messiah.

I don't quite understand your reasoning when you state "until at last there would be no possibility of a pure line for the Messiah." In light of the Virgin Birth of Mary, Jesus' earthly mother, and the fact that the implanted seed was accomplished through the conception of the Holy Spirit, would not Jesus still be pure, since neither man nor woman took part in the conception? He did not have the seed of man but of the Holy Spirit.

Can you please explain?

Thanks so much.

Response #26:

Regarding your comment to the effect that "the implanted seed was accomplished through the conception of the Holy Spirit", that is not precisely what scripture says.

Therefore the Lord will Himself give you a sign. Behold, the virgin will conceive and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His Name "Immanuel" (i.e., "God is with us").
Isaiah 7:14 (Matt.1:23)

Mary conceived – but through the Holy Spirit. Human conception of course involves two parts, and it is only the male part which was accomplished by the Spirit (as Mary asks, reasonably "how can this be?" since she has as yet no husband: Lk.1:34). Scripture attributes the male seed to the Spirit but not the female egg (to put these things in a biological context). That is the significance of our Lord being "born of a woman", i.e., not the mere fact of birth (God could easily enough have created our Lord already an adult just as was the case with Adam and Eve), but the fact of the other human part having been supplied by Mary.

Christ was born of Mary in the biological sense from conception onward, so that He was in a completely literal sense the "son of David" and "the last Adam". Without having an actual, direct, biological descent, these things would not be the case. Thus we understand also that the sin nature is transmitted through the male, not the female side. By being Mary's actual, biological son, Christ (and we are talking about His humanity only, of course) was both genuinely human but was also born without a sin nature. That was essential for Him to be eligible to bear our sins on the cross – He was the Lamb without spot or blemish.

Here are some links if you'd like to read more about this:

The incarnation and the virgin birth

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ

*Jesus is God and man

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #27:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In your teaching on Christology, you make the following comment:

Luke giving Jesus' blood line (traced from Mary all the way back to Adam in order to demonstrate beyond any question Jesus' true humanity.

Jesus was, as we know, conceived by the Holy Spirit. He did not have the blood of Adam, but I am supposing that Mary did. So, that being the case, how could Jesus' blood line, I am taking this literally, be from Mary? The sin nature comes from the blood, does it not? For the life of the flesh is in the blood. Maybe he means the blood line (progeny), not His actual blood? Can you please clarify for me; maybe I am being too critical here? Perhaps this is the answer: Since it was Adam who thus caused "death to spread to all mankind", not Eve, the sin nature is passed down through the male line, not the female line:

"So just as through one man sin came into the world and, through sin, death, and thus (i.e., Adam physically passing on his sin nature resulting in universal spiritual death) death spread to all mankind – for [obviously] everyone sins, . . ."
Romans 5:12

Thus, by being Virgin-born, Jesus did not receive the transmission of a sin nature in the manner of the rest of Adam's progeny.

Now, I can understand if He is from the "blood line" of Mary, of the family line, but He did not have His physical blood from Mary, for her blood would also have inherited the sin nature, as she was born of a man somewhere down the line. I am of the opinion, that the Holy Spirit provided by the seed at conception, and the blood also. I cannot see where Jesus would have blood from Mary.

I also have a comment and a question on the following:

Jesus said in Matthew 27:46-50.
46 "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli,c lemasabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"). 47When some of those standing there heard this, they said, "He’s calling Elijah." 48Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49The rest said, "Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him." 50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit."

Comment:

It would appear that the hypostatic union was broken for a time - between the time of Vs. 46 & Vs. 50. Since God cannot look upon Sin, the Deity part of Jesus left Him for ? and the human part of the hypostatic union cried out. I don't mean to assume anything, but that what it looks like to me. When Jesus died, then He (Divine part) rejoined His human body. If I am incorrect, then please set me straight. But that is the way I think. Your study is making me think a lot, but I don't want to be out in left field. He obviously knew in His humanity what had happened. Not only did He endure physical punishment but it could be, in my thinking, He temporarily endured Spiritual death, after all that is why He went to the Cross to deliver us from the Second Death.

Sometimes, I think too much.

Blessings again to Doc.

Response #27:

You cover a lot of ground in these email so apologies in advance if I don't get to everything (feel free to write back).

1) The sin nature comes through the male line, not the female line, because while Eve sinned in ignorance Adam sinned in cognizance (1Tim.2:11-15); and this life is all about responsible choice; that is, choices for which we are responsible in full since we "know" (Rom.1:18-20). Hence the need for the virgin birth. If Christ had not been of Mary's womb in every way, He would not have been fully human – and He is.

2) The term "blood line" is merely a "term of art" to express lineage. Blood is developed later on in the process of an embryo's development. The point is that our Lord was conceived directly from the Father through the Holy Spirit but Mary supplied the ovum just as in every normal human pregnancy so that He might truly be human in every way (Jesus is "your seed" in Gen.3:15; cf. Gal.3:16-19) . . . except of course that He is also God (this – the combination of deity capable of sustaining a humanity qualified and willing to die for sin – was the only way we could be saved).

3) The uniting of Christ's deity with humanity is irreversible and eternal from the point it happens. Indeed, no human spirit is ever destroyed. Our bodies start out corrupt but will eventually be eternal just as our spirit already is, and in between we will never "be found naked" because the Lord provides all deceased human beings with interim bodies (see the link). So just because our bodies die and we "look dead" to those who view these empty shells after the departure of our spirits does not mean that we really are "dead" or non-existent in some sort of metaphysical way – because, for example, all believers will always be "alive to God" (Lk.20:38). At present, when a believer dies, his/her spirit is taken to the third heaven and given an interim "house" for the spirit – there is no loss of consciousness or "soul sleep" (see previous link). During our Lord's day, believers experienced the same thing but were temporarily billeted in Hades (the paradise part of the underworld as opposed to Torments and to Tartarus/Abyss); to this paradise is where our Lord descended after giving up His spirit following the victory at the cross. When He ascended to heaven, He took these believers to the third heaven with Him, "leading captivity captive", now that their sins had actually been paid for (see the link). Bottom line: from the time our Lord's humanity came to be, His human spirit and His deity are part of the same Person forever, possessing – unlike anyone else – two natures, one divine and one human, in one unique Person forevermore. When did this happen? At His birth. That is when God creates a human spirit within the person being born (there is no human life from God's point of view until that instant, even if the fetus is biologically viable).

Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, who forms the spirit of Man within him.
Zechariah 12:1b

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

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #28:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I want to start off by thanking you so much for your prayers. I can never get through many of life's obstacles without them. I can always tell when someone has prayed for me when I see God working in my life , and God's will being fulfilled.

One thing that I have pondered for some time was whether Jesus had both a human and divine spirit. It appears as if Jesus gave up His spirit to His Father on the cross as a man, and yet, Jesus as God has a divine spirit. Did Jesus have both a human and divine spirit?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #28:

I do keep you and your family in my prayers daily – but I also think that you are being helped and supported by readers of the Ichthys prayer list.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to being God who is spirit (Jn.4:24), is also, since the incarnation, a true human being in every way. That means that while as God He is spirit, as a human being He has a human spirit. He bore our sins "in His body" on the cross (1Pet.2:24). After He had accomplished our redemption through dying in the darkness for all of our sins, being judged for every one of them, His mission completed, He said "it is finished" (Jn.19:30), and then He "gave up His spirit" – which means that He had the unique authority to lay down His life when His work was completely done (Jn.10:18). The exhaling of His spirit is the point of His physical death and was identical to what happens to us all at death with the singular exception that He was uniquely given the authority to dismiss His spirit Himself (we have to wait on God's timing for that).

For more on all this, please see the following links:

The Spiritual death of Christ (in BB 4A)

The Spirit at the Cross (in BB 5)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #29:

Good day

Trust you are well. Thank you so much. I will definitely study that. I would like to ask if we humans are spiritual beings having a human experience or are we human beings having a spiritual experience?

Thanks  

Response #29:

All human beings have a human spirit. And all of God's truth can only be understood through the Holy Spirit communicating to our human spirit (that is explained in the 1st Corinthians chapter two and explicated in BB 5 at the links: "Gospel Epistemology" and "Spiritual Growth Epistemology").

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #30:

You didn't answer my question last year when you said, "Luke 16:23-24 is not a parable; it is a literal account because it gives names to the participants. If it were a parable, then Abraham would be a made up person, not a patriarch (e.g.). There is nothing in the passage that says it is a parable; there is nothing in the passage that suggests it is a parable."

Again I say to you, a person cannot have two bodies, one in hell and one in the grave. That is a 100% physical impossibility.

So how can you explain that?

God bless,

Response #30:

The first body is resurrected. That is the body which will either be found in the New Jerusalem or in the lake of fire. In the meantime, those departed are in an interim state which houses their spirits between death and the resurrection – while the first body is in the grave, inanimate and moldering, and the ultimate body, the resurrection body, has not yet been received because the resurrection has not yet taken place. No problem. No contradiction. No mistake.

Question #31:

You said it yourself! ... their spirits – not their physical bodies!

Response #31:

As already answered, the spirits of all departed are in an interim state – in an interim body:

For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens (i.e., the resurrection body). For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven. And [even] if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., "body-less"; for we will enjoy an interim body in the meantime: cf. Lk.16:19-31; Rev.7:9-10; Rev.7:9-17).
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3

In Jesus,

Question #32:

The Bible says peoples' bodies return to the dust from which they were taken. The bodies of the unsaved, therefore, do not go directly into the torments of Hades.

Response #32:

None of those who die, believer or unbeliever, remain in their first, physical bodies which do decay – and those bodies have not been resurrected yet so none of the departed are in resurrection yet either (apart from our Lord). All the "dead" are currently in an interim state in interim references. Please actually read this verse and the references:

And [even] if we do put off this present one (physical body), at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., they will not be "body-less" but will enjoy an interim "body" in the meantime: cf. Lk.16:19-31; Rev.7:9-10; Rev.7:9-17).
2nd Corinthians 5:3

Question #33:

I will look over Revelation 7, but where else is there an 'interim body' for the unsaved?

Nowhere else except for Luke 16:19-31. That is the only reference you gave anyways.

Response #33:

1) Luke 16:19-31 is clear and can only be interpreted otherwise than seeing the interim body for what it clearly is by essentially ignoring it. Ignoring scripture, especially scripture which is so unmistakably clear, always results in doctrinal error.

2) Revelation 6.9-11; 7:9-10; 7:9-17 all describe saved people now departed and in heaven who are visible as having some sort of covering (i.e., an interim body) before the resurrection has taken place.

3) 2nd Corinthians 5:3 in the Greek clearly says that "even if we are disrobed (of this body), we will not be found naked (i.e., we will have covering described in all the other passages above, namely, an interim body).

4) Paul says in Philippians 1:23 that he has "the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better" (NASB), and this can only mean that we are with Christ after we die in the way described and explained in all the other passages above.

I have written about all this before (to you personally also, I believe). Here are some links, if you are interested in the truth of these matters:

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State Biblical Anthropology III

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

Sleep as a Euphemism for Death

"Soul Sleep" versus our true Heavenly State.

The False Doctrine of Soul Sleep II<

The false doctrine of "soul sleep"

Question #34:

Revelation is the strangest part of the Bible. A lot of it looks symbolic, rather than literal. It will take lots and lots of time to try and understand even one chapter. So I have a much easier question in the meantime. Still in regards to Luke 16:19-31. How could the Rich man be in Hades in a fire when 2 Peter chapter 3 says,

6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and the destruction of the ungodly.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. 11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

No one could possibly come out of this ALIVE!

Response #34:

2nd Peter 3:7 is speaking about "the day of judgment", just as it says. At the end of history, the end of the Millennium, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed and replaced with the New Heavens and the New earth. All will have been resurrected by that time and no longer subject to physical death. Unbelievers will be in the lake of fire, but believers will watch the conflagration from the third heaven (which is not part of this "cosmos").

Revelation is part of the Word of God. It has been much misunderstood, no doubt because one has to first understand what is said about prophecy and the end times elsewhere in scripture first (Revelation takes it for granted that these things are known and believed first). If you want to understand it, the Coming Tribulation series (see the link) contains a complete verse by verse exegesis of the entire book.

In Jesus our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #35:

You didn't explain how their could be a fire in Hades - Luke 16:19-31

That was my main point

Response #35:

Because the verse you cited doesn't have anything to do with Hades.

Why couldn't there be fire in Hades? We're not talking about the physical body we now occupy but an interim one which is suited for the situations discussed.

Question #36:

You didn't explain how people are not going to be destroyed in 2 Peter chapter 3: "everything will be destroyed"

Response #36:

Resurrection bodies are incapable of being destroyed (e.g., Rom.6:9). And in any case, "everything" is the present cosmos, but the resurrected will not be in it when it is thus destroyed. Believers will watch from the third heaven while unbelievers will be in the lake of fire. Neither of these two places which are "not of this world" will be touched by the transformation from old to new.

Praise be to God for the coming of that wonderful day of days! For after the destruction, New Jerusalem will descend from the third heaven to the new earth in the new heavens where only "righteousness dwells", and we shall behold and worship Father and Son together forevermore – all of us, that is, who are actually born again.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

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