conditional immortality

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by agedman, May 19, 2016.

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  1. agedman

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    On another thread, the term "conditional immortality" was used.

    Basically, "conditional immortality" is that immortality (eternal life) is a gift of God and given at the point of salvation. That those who do not have such salvation do not posses immortal souls, and perish.

    In brief terms, only the saved live for eternity. All others are or become non-existent and as if they never existed.

    For those who have this view, there are some questions that perhaps should be addressed, and others that will no doubt be raised on the discussion of this topic.

    Perhaps the first is the "why?"
    Why would God raise all the dead in the final judgment if they were already condemned to perish? Seems contrary to dig up the dead, and throw them into a lake of eternal fire just to have them no longer exist. That is a waste of time, and it is of no particular value to the believers who sorrow until the New Heaven and Earth and God wipes away the tears.

    The second question is related to the first but addresses the "who?"
    Who would God breath the breath of life (as Adam) and that life not be eternal? If all "die in Adam" does that not indicate that all first had the breath of life? can such a breath not be eternal if it comes from the very breath of God? Is God's breath not eternal?

    The third question is the "how"?
    How long does it take to perish? If one is cast into the lake of fire, is the perishing immediate, or does it take a period of time. Wait! Time doesn't exist after the heavens and earth pass away. Eternity has already begun! So, then are those who are not immortal in a place of immortality still immortal? How is it that the not immortal are still in existence when all that is present and presented is immortal? It isn't logical.

    Ok, this is a start.

    I trust those who hold to some form of "conditional immortality" will be able to show by Scriptures the immortality belonging only to the saved, and not also to the condemned.
     
    #1 agedman, May 19, 2016
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  2. Revmitchell

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    Why does it seem contrary?

    Is God committed to issuing eternal life should He choose to breath life into someone?

    Why isn't it logical? Logical according to whom? Our ways are not God's ways. Our thoughts are not God's thoughts. Our logic is not the determining or influential factor.
     
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  3. agedman

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    You are attempting to skirt the issues raised and not attend directly.

    Why would one dig up the dead to burn them as the papists do heretics? Does not the scriptures state that man is to fear the one who can destroy Both the body and soul? If there is no eternal soul, then what is there to destroy? Was the rich man destroyed when in hell? Souls that died 5000 years ago who are in hell, must have done much more evil, to have to spend such a long time in torment in comparison to the one who will die 2 minutes from the time of being raised if they are both sent to the lake of fire and no longer exist.

    Again, it doesn't make for good consistent Scriptural logic.


    Whom did God breathe eternal life? Was it not Adam, and as a result that all are of that first Adam have that eternal life? If not, when was it taken away? At the fall? Was Adam no longer in possession of an eternal soul? And what of Eve? She was taken from Adam, did she not have an eternal soul sense God apparently God didn't breathe life into her?

    It isn't my logic, it is the logical view of the Scriptures that is in question.

    Either God gave eternal existence to Adam and through Adam all have that existence or Adam had none and neither does anyone else.

    If humankind does not have eternal existence, then for what did Christ die? For do you not have the view that Christ died for all, everyone? Or are you of those who claim that Christ died only for those in whom God gave to His son. That the Blood was specific and applicable to only those that believed or would believe.

    Personally, (although I would be called a Calvinistic thinker) I hold that the blood was shed for all humankind.

    I don't want to get into the atonement issue, and only bring it up to show that the practical application of the atonement will effect how one may view this issue.
     
  4. kyredneck

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    ...heh, guess spell check wouldn't catch that....
     
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  5. Revmitchell

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    I am not attempting to skirt anything. I addressed the small portions of your statements that interested me. I intentionally ignored the rest as they do not interest me.
     
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  6. agedman

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    Oh my!

    And I can't edit the OP!

    So I reported it so hopefully the mods will help with correcting the error(s).

    Thanks for the sweet heads up!

    :)
     
  7. agedman

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    I understand.

    Perhaps I should re-start the thread with the correct spelling sweetly pointed out by kyredneck, and add a pole to gather information that way.

    What do you think?
     
  8. Squire Robertsson

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    Fixed
     
  9. kyredneck

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    It was really no big deal, I was just attempting to inject a little humor. No doubt everyone was reading beyond it and moving on without the edit.
     
  10. percho

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    [and so always with the Lord we shall be; so, then, comfort ye one another in these words. From 1 Thes 4:17,18 YLT

    What meaning do the words have here and why the future tense of, "we shall be," if we have already been with the Lord?

    For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. KJV 2 Cor 5:2-4

    What is clothed in an earthly house of tabernacle? Can what ever was clothed, in an earthly house of tabernacle, be in the presence of the Lord with out being clothed in it's house which is from heaven? When does what ever was clothed in an earthly house of tabernacle, receive it's house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens?

    Is one of these house's flesh and blood, corruptible? Is the other house incorruptible?

    For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Romans 8:24,24 KJV
    In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; Titus 1:2 KJV
    For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; Rom 8:20 NKJV
    Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen Heb 11:1

    Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made (heirs) according to the hope of eternal life. KJV Titus 3:6,7

    Is the word hope spoken of in all these verses speaking of the very same thing?

    Who is the only person, created by God or born of woman, as the heir of God or as a joint heir with the heir of God, that has inherited this hope? ]

    Is all of the above [ ], speaking of the adoption, the redemption of the body?

    Was Adam created with any of the above?
     
  11. Baptist Believer

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    That’s not quite right. Originally in Adam, all were intended to be immortal. But the sin of Adam and Eve ended their immortality. Death entered into the human experience. All those who have descended from Adam and Eve have not naturally possessed immortality.

    But all who enter into the Kingdom of God (a restoration of what was lost in Adam) through Christ, receive eternal life.

    In regard to humanity, yes.

    Eventually, yes.

    You seem to base your objection on it being “a waste of time” and not being of “value” to those who believe. This is about God’s interests and not our own.

    Simply put, the issue is one of justice.

    Those who are dead and those who are living will be raised for judgement. Those who have committed sins against God and humankind AND have refused to be reconciled to God will face punishment for their sins. Historical figures such as Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and a whole host of persons lost to history who committed great evil will be held accountable. Then there will be the ones who have committed sins that have a smaller sweep of influence, but have still caused misery and destruction, who will also be held accountable.

    Perhaps you didn’t frame this well or I’m misunderstanding your meaning, but the answer to your questions seems to be obvious. In Adam and Eve had eternal life until they decided to chose death. God allowed them to make their choice. He cast them out of the garden so that they might not eat of the tree of life and live forever in their degraded and corrupted state. They needed to be redeemed.

    For some, I suspect that the period of suffering until time of perishing is rather quick. For others – perhaps Stalin – the punishment will likely last much longer before they experience the relative grace of perishing.

    However, that is simply speculation based on my understanding of justice and some hints from the various passages. The Bible actually doesn’t tell us much about it and I’m sure God will do what is just and appropriate.

    What is your basis for that premise? Will not sequence (one thing happen, then the next) exist? If so, then time exists in some fashion.

    The concept of eternity does not require the absence of time. Time and eternity are not opposed. Eternity is an inexact measurement of time.

    One’s mortality or immortality is not affected by the “immortality” of a location. (I think assigning “immortality” to non-living things is a logical error. Things are not mortal or immortal.)

    You may be missing some words in your assertion that are affecting my ability to understand. Please identify “all that is present” – are we talking about persons (human or otherwise), places, etc.?

    Logically, there is no necessary connection between the mortality/immortality of a person and the nature of the environment in which they inhabit.

    Perhaps if you reframe your questions, I may be able to provide some clarification. I want to be clear about what THIS conditionalist believes so that the critics of the position do not get to unfairly define the position.

    Just to be clear, there is a variety of belief and interpretation in the conditionalist camp, although less than there seems to be in what is called the “traditionalist” camp. Traditionalists range from God joyfully, actively and personally torturing each person for all of eternity to those who believe that hell is merely some form of solitary confinement where the torture is to be alone and in darkness forever.

    Thank you for your interest in the subject.
     
  12. Darrell C

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    I think the primary issue to resolve is the difference between a being having a spirit and the Spirit of God Himself. All men have spirits, yet not all men have the Spirit of God, which is the distinction Christ makes in John 6 in regards to those who are "dead" and those who have life (specifically the life He came to bestow).

    Immortality can be seen in both the saved and the lost, because based on Christ's teaching we know the lost will suffer eternal punishment, which is described as unending. But, only those brought into union with God have eternal life, and this is because they are in relationship with He that is the source of eternal life, being the Only One Who is eternal. So if we distinguish between what is dead and what is "alive," we are better able to answer the questions posed here. When the spirits of the lost are raised to stand before the Great White Throne, they are called "the dead." They still exist, but, they have no life, because they are not in union with God. It is just my view that the union Adam had with God was broken through sin, and there is a reunion in Salvation in Christ, at which point men are in God and God in them. It is for this reason, I believe, Paul writes we are "saved by the washing of regeneration and...the renewing of the Holy Ghost.


    God bless.
     
  13. Baptist Believer

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    They will be resurrected for the final judgment.

    You cite the scripture yet ignore it. The soul can be destroyed, so it is not inherently eternal.


    Those who receive eternal life do not possess it in themselves. They are sustained by God. The image of the tree of life in Genesis 3 and in the last chapter of Revelation is a picture of continuing renewal by eating of the tree of life.

    The parable of the rich man and Lazarus – in my opinion – is not an illustration of the final state of humankind. The scripture CLEARLY teaches resurrection, not an eternal disembodied state resting with Abraham.

    I don’t know enough about what you believe to adequately respond. In many English Bibles, the word “hell” is substituted for at least four different words with different meanings:

    1) Sheol (the grave/pit) from Hebrew?
    2) Hades (the grave/pit) from Greek?
    3) Tartarus (prison) from Greek, used only once to describe the imprisonment of angels (2 Peter 2:4)
    4) Gehenna (variant of the literal Valley of Hinnom), a place of burning trash, pagan worship, sacrifice of children, etc.

    When you use the word “hell” without context, what are you referring to? When you use the word within a scriptural context, are you using it with the meaning of the actual word in the Hebrew or Greek?

    Given your presuppositions, my view is not consistent with yours and yours in not consistent with mine. That should be no surprise.

    What I think you fail to appreciate that is we understand the key passages quite differently. That’s why it is important to judge conditionalism as a whole, not the individual parts independently according to the presuppositions of another view.

    What did Jesus say about eternal life? He contrasted eternal life with perishing/destruction/death in all contexts but one. In that context, He mentioned eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). While Jesus only has to say something once for it to be believed, I think it is important to notice that the weight of His teaching pointing to destruction. And when we look at the passage where He speaks of eternal punishment, we can just as easily understand Him to mean that the consequences of the punishment are eternal rather than the duration of the punishment being eternal.

    This is the way the Hebrews expressed intensity of an action, by expressing it in eternal terms. For instance, is smoke still rising from Edom (Isaiah 34:10)? Are the Levites still carrying the Ark of the Covenant and ministering to God forever (1 Chronicles 15:2)?

    Adam chose death instead of life at the fall.

    Adam and Eve WERE souls. The soul is not an appendage to a person, it IS the person.

    No, your logic is all over these assertions.

    God did not sustain Adam in eternal life. He was driven from the garden so that he could not eat of the tree of life. Therefore, no one else has it “naturally” except through Christ.

    To redeem humankind and give eternal life to those whom He willed to receive it.

    Christ died for all. But not all will enter into His life.

    Actually, I don’t think it does. Quite a large number of Reformed Christians are conditionalists. There are also a large number of non-Reformed conditionalists as well. In the Rethinking Hell fellowship, the issue of the breadth of atonement doesn’t seem to be strongly affected either way.
     
  14. Baptist Believer

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    I think you have confused the Rev for a conditionalist. I do not think he holds that position.

    (RevMitchell, come join us. We have cookies!)
     
  15. percho

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    Ended their immortality or ended their access to the tree of life?

    Did these verses apply to the one to whom it was spoken, "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it," ? From Gen. 2:17 Is that in bold, the law?

    YLT 1 Cor 15:56 and the sting of the death is the sin, and the power of the sin the law; ----- Did that law above give power to sin? Did sin being the sting of death? Why did God give Adam the law?

    What only could the law do for the created man, Adam? Bring him life or death?

    Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. For we know that the law is spiritual: Romans 7:12, 1st part of 14

    For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Romans 8:3 flesh σάρξ sarx

    The last part of Romans 7:14 but I am carnal, sold under sin. carnal σαρκικός sarkikos, fleshly, carnal, having the nature of flesh,

    Was not Adam created fleshly, given a spiritual law, thus selling him under sin? Had not his redemption, being bought back, already, before the foundation of the world been foreordained?

    Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {?Adam?} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (< God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,) (Yet without sin) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 1 Peter 1:18-20


     
  16. Baptist Believer

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    The two things are the same.

    The tree of life sustained eternal life. The picture given in Genesis (and Revelation) is that God sustains eternal life. Everything is dependent upon God sustaining it – what is fallen and what is untouched by sin – and there is nothing that exists apart from the sustenance of God.

    I wouldn’t use the term “law” to describe God’s prohibition because it is too easy to mix that up with the Law given through Moses and fulfilled in Christ.

    Sin is the creative/destructive act of opposing God’s good purposes. Humankind began dying in Adam and Eve’s act of disobedience – just as God warned them. They were removed from the garden so that they would not have access to the tree of life so that they would not remain in their rebellious state without redemption.

    This goes well beyond the question of conditional immortality. The classic answer is that God wants an honest relationship – freely chosen – with His creatures. There always has to be a choice.

    When someone is redeemed in Christ, they should immediately begin the process of cooperating with God’s grace so that they character and practice is gradually redeemed as well. In the new heaven and earth, we will have become fully obedient because we have freely chosen to be.

    This is well beyond the question of conditional immortality…

    The law “brings” both life and death depending on how the person responds to it. The law is good, and those who are in Christ have the ability to obey both the Spirit and the letter of the law as they grow in grace.

    NO.

    This sounds quite a bit like Gnosticism. Just because Adam had a body of flesh does not mean that he was “sold under sin.” Just as those who will be in Christ will have a resurrection body of flesh (and possibly more) and can be holy, Adam had the ability to be holy in the flesh. You seem to be missing the various ways flesh is used - there is a metaphorical sense that refers to the lusts of the flesh that Paul uses extensively in Romans, including this place.

    It seems like you are taking what Paul wrote describing his life outside of Christ (as a person under the power of sin) and trying to apply it back to Adam.

    It all depends on what you mean by foreordained. Some people think they know exactly what that means and have whole theological systems built on it.

    I simply take that passage in Peter to mean that God planning to reconcile all things to Himself from the beginning.

    No matter where you fall on that question, it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with whether or not conditional immortality is valid.
     
  17. Revmitchell

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    Hehe nope not me.
     
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  18. Baptist Believer

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    Sure, lots of people see that in the scriptures, especially since it is the dominant view at this time. It is also supported by popular culture in the Western World. But many of us have set aside those presuppositions and looked at the scriptures carefully and found something a little different.

    Jesus is quite clear that only His disciples have eternal life.

    Yes. The punishment is eternal and conclusive. It is also unending in that they do not become undead anymore. It is the death penalty - just as described to Adam.

    Yes.

    No, I don't think so.

    Let's look at the passage (Revelation 20:11-15):

    And I saw a great white throne, and Him who is sitting upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven did flee away, and place was not found for them; and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and scrolls were opened, and another scroll was opened, which is that of the life, and the dead were judged out of the things written in the scrolls -- according to their works; and the sea did give up those dead in it, and the death and the hades did give up the dead in them, and they were judged, each one according to their works; and the death and the hades were cast to the lake of the fire -- this [is] the second death; and if any one was not found written in the scroll of the life, he was cast to the lake of the fire.

    Immediately after they are called the "dead," the lake of fire is described as "the second death." So it seems that these persons are NOT dead before God at this point. Moreover, the last sentence leaves open that there may be some there who ARE in the "scroll of the life" (aka "book of life") who are not thrown into the lake of fire.

    All persons are going to be judged according to their works. Those who are in Christ will be rewarded according to their faithfulness. Those who are not in Christ will be judged according to their unfaithfulness to God. (Look to the explicit teaching of Jesus for support for that assertion.)

    This is the passage that got me thinking about conditional immortality and force me to go back and review everything in scripture on the subject. The people depicted here were already "dead," but now they face the fate of being doubly dead (second death).
     
  19. percho

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    I do not believe Adam was created with any kind of immortality. I believe at his creation he still needed the gift of God which would come through, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

    Adam was the vehicle created through which the Son of God would be 1 John 3:8 manifested to destroy the works of the devil and bring 2 Tim 1:10 to light life and immorality (incorruptibility) [eternal life of the flesh] through the resurrection of the dead.

    1 Cor 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, (<Adam) and there is a spiritual body. (<the resurrected Christ)

    The first man, Adam was the figure of him to come Romans 5:14 Jesus, the last Adam, who was sown a natural body and raised a spiritual body. V45

    Verse 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

    Once again 2 Tim 1:10 destroy death (the works of the devil) bring to light life and incorruptibility, through the gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

    The promise of God, made before the world began, the hope of eternal life, was made for the Son of God.
    It is Jesus the Son who now speak to us the Word of God Hebrews 1:1,2 who is the heir of God.
    John 5:26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; ------ How will the Father give it to the Son? John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth. Gal 1:1 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead; ---------- What Father. From John 4:23,24 the Father such is seeking the ones worshiping him, Spirit the God ὁ πατὴρ τοιούτους ζητεῖ τοὺς προσκυνοῦντας αὐτόν πνεῦμα ὁ θεός

    1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

    Quickened by Spirit the God the Father.
     
    #19 percho, May 21, 2016
    Last edited: May 21, 2016
  20. Baptist Believer

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    Fair enough. My position is similar except that I think Adam had immortality - like all things - but only as sustained by God. Adam was not immortal apart from God.

    God's character being what it is, I think there still would have been a demonstration of love in some way, even if humankind had not rebelled. As you may be expressing, grace is not just for sin. Grace is needed in every area of life, whether one is in Christ or not. Grace sustains and empowers us according to God's favor.

    You are getting quite speculative over things that have not been revealed. What does this have to do with conditional immortality?

    I won't follow along in this line of speculation because it will not lead to understanding.


    Yet the resurrection body of Jesus, "spiritual" body, was also physical flesh... He was raised IN A BODY OF FLESH, although transformed in some ways as well...

    Again, I think you are drawing literal conclusions from a rabbinic comparison. We have to be sure to keep in mind that Jesus was raised from the dead IN FLESH.

    In Luke 24:39, the risen Jesus said to His disciples, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” Also in John 2:19-22 Jesus claimed, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Two verses later, it is made clear what Jesus had in mind; "he spoke of the temple of his body." Jesus clearly taught that His body would be resurrected.

    I may be completely misunderstanding the points you are trying to make because I have no clue how this is supposed to relate to the question of conditional immortality.
     
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