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Is Man Mortal or Immortal?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Marcia, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Grasshopper, are you an annihilationist?

    I know some annihilationists try to explain these away by saying that "eternal" and "forever" don't really mean forever.
    Of course, if those do not mean forever, then what about these?
     
  2. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Active Member
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    I don’t know really, I guess I’m starting to lean this way. I had never even considered the possibility until I started having questions about the Tree of Life in Genesis. The more I studied the subject the more questions that started to surface. So playing Devil’s advocate I raise questions in order to see if the answers eliminate the possibility of annihilation.

    In the OT, forever doesn’t necessarily mean “forever”.

    The result of the destruction is eternal. If one has eternal salvation, they are not continually being saved so why must destruction be continual?

    Does “unquenchable fire” mean never ending? Not according to examples in the OT.


    Just as the life is eternal so is the consequence of the punishment. Annihilation is an eternal punishment.

    If Sodom and Gomorrah are our examples, then the question becomes is Sodom and Gomorrah still burning?

    Two of the best verses for supporting the traditional view, however the language is right out of the OT and clearly is not literal:

    Isa 34:10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.


    But my concern is not individual verses that may or may not prove either view, but the underlying foundation of how do the lost gain immortality so they may receive unending punishment. Is there immortality outside of Christ?

    Secondly what did the Tree of Life provide?

    Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    To me this subject is not near as clear as I had originally thought.
     
  3. ituttut

    ituttut New Member

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    We are dust. We are mortal flesh subject to death. But the worm dieth not in the unsaved. In Christ Jesus we are become immortal for the life is in His blood. Christian faith, ituttut
     
  4. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Mark 9:48 is quoting Isaiah 66:24. From Isaiah we see that the undying worm is devouring corpses. The worm is not a metaphor for the person or their soul any more than the fire is.
     
  5. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Grasshopper, this article says man is not immortal but immortality is conferred upon believers. As for unbelievers:
     
  6. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Grasshopper, what about the rich man in Luke 16? He was clearly in torment; there was no indication this would end.

    As far as "eternal" goes in the NT:
    As far as eternal destruction:
     
  7. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    What does it mean to be entirely, irrevocably, eternally banished from the presence of an omnipresent God who is the eternal I AM? To me, that means to no longer be. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).

    If a person no longer is, then they are truly, literally separated from God. The ultimate fate of the wicked will be to perish, the second death, utter darkness, destruction. The eternal flame and worm will devour them as it devoured the dead bodies in Isaiah 66. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah serves as a graphic example of what awaits those who spurn God's grace.
     
  8. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus Active Member

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    Good question. See if this helps.

    Gen 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

    Look at the word "live". Adam had not eaten of the Tree of Life because there was no need to. Once he sinned and God had told him he would surely die, it became imperative that he NOT eat of the tree and live forever in a fallen state. It was truely an act of compassion on God's part to not let this happen. This would be far worse than having a shortened physical life. The word "live" can also mean "revive" or "restore" to a state of good health.

    From Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions:

    H2425
    חיי
    châyay
    BDB Definition:
    1) to live, have life, remain alive, sustain life, live prosperously, live for ever, be quickened, be alive, be restored to life or health
    1a) (Qal)
    1a1) to live
    1a1a) to have life
    1a1b) to continue in life, remain alive
    1a1c) to sustain life, to live on or upon
    1a1d) to live (prosperously)
    1a2) to revive, be quickened
    1a2a) from sickness
    1a2b) from discouragement
    1a2c) from faintness
    1a2d) from death
    1b) (Piel)
    1b1) to preserve alive, let live
    1b2) to give life
    1b3) to quicken, revive, refresh
    1b3a) to restore to life
    1b3b) to cause to grow
    1b3c) to restore
    1b3d) to revive
    1c) (Hiphil)
    1c1) to preserve alive, let live
    1c2) to quicken, revive
    1c2a) to restore (to health)
    1c2b) to revive
    1c2c) to restore to life

    From Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries:

    H2425
    חיי
    châyay
    khaw-yah'ee
    A primitive root (compare H2421); to live; causatively to revive: - live, save life.

    It wasn't that Adam had been eating of this tree in order to maintain his life but it was there as a contrast to the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Not a symbol but a real, visible, and physical focal point of comparison to either believe God (Tree of Life) or disbelieve God (Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil). Sadly, he disbelieved.
     
  9. ituttut

    ituttut New Member

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    Mark 9:48 is quoting Isaiah 66:24. From Isaiah we see that the undying worm is devouring corpses. The worm is not a metaphor for the person or their soul any more than the fire is. </font>[/QUOTE]Quite right Mercury as to one reference, but we must pull together the dividing Word of God. There are worms, and there are worms. Scriptures show worms of the earth, from which we come, will devour these present flesh worm bodies. To understand the 66 reference we need a reference in 41, and also Jesus helps us to understand about hell. Isaiah 41:14, ”Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Doesn’t Isaiah 66:24 give us the picture of those “worms” that are saved, and those “worms” that aren’t?

    In parenthesis is mine. Isaiah 66:24, ”And they (Bodily raised the seed of Abraham through Jacob-Israel, verse 22) shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me (the Bodily-Bones? raised not written in the Book of Life): for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh (clothed). Christian faith, ituttut
     
  10. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Sure thing. A study on Isaiah 66 including a word study on worms was partly was led me to my current view on hell.

    Why just 41? Why not also 14? Or 51?

    "Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers." (Isaiah 14:11, ESV)

    "For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations." (Isaiah 51:8)

    Outside of Isaiah, check out Deuteronomy 28:39, Job 17:14, Job 24:20, Jonah 4:7 and Acts 12:23 for more examples of worms representing destruction and decay.

    This verse refers to all Israel as a singular worm. In Job 25:6 all humankind is called a worm. In Psalm 22:6 David calls himself a worm. However, these verses do not support your case. What you need for your interpretation of Mark 9:48 is a case where a person is said to have a worm, not be a worm. It says "their worm dieth not", not "the worms that they are, they die not". There is no reference in Scripture that I am aware of that refers to a person having a worm within them, unless it's the worm devouring their corpse.

    No more than it gives us a picture of those "fires" that are saved, and those "fires" that aren't. ;)
     
  11. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    What does it mean to be entirely, irrevocably, eternally banished from the presence of an omnipresent God who is the eternal I AM? To me, that means to no longer be. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together" (Colossians 1:17).

    If a person no longer is, then they are truly, literally separated from God. The ultimate fate of the wicked will be to perish, the second death, utter darkness, destruction. The eternal flame and worm will devour them as it devoured the dead bodies in Isaiah 66. What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah serves as a graphic example of what awaits those who spurn God's grace.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Just for the record, I did not say the above, I was quoting it. But I agree with it is saying what is in 2 Thess. 1.9, where it says "eternal destruction."

    So you're an annihilationist, Mercury?

    There cannot be eternal destruction or separation if someone is annihilated. Also, since Jesus showed us the suffering of the rich man in torment after death, I believe that in that account, along with other passages, God is showing us that rejecting an eternal God brings on eternal suffering. Why eternal life for the saved and annihilation for the lost?

    The parallelism seems clear.
     
  12. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Yes, I should have marked that differently. Sorry.

    Yes, I'm becoming more convinced of that view. I explained my position in detail [here]. I think the wicked will be judged after death and then destroyed in the lake of fire.

    Why not? To be snuffed out of existence is to face eternal destruction. It's not just temporary destruction and then they get a chance to come back. And, I explained the separation part in my last post; I don't see how any level of immortality for the wicked is consistent with God being omnipresent and the wicked being totally separated from him. Could you explain how you reconcile these things?

    I do think the wicked will suffer after death. I think the end result of that torment will be destruction.

    Because God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes on him will not perish but have everlasting life.

    The parallelism seems clear.</font>[/QUOTE]Destruction is an eternal punishment. There is no reprieve, no end to the sentence.
     
  13. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    Eternal destruction means to be destroyed continually with no end. Annihilation is obliteration not eternal destruction.

    In fact, annihilationism is not that different from what I used to believe as a New Ager, because I thought that eventually when I no longer reincarnated I would become part of the cosmic blob that was "God" and lose my identity. It was not comforting but I figured when I was ready for it I would want it. I would not be living on because there really is no "I;" the "god part" of me would just rejoin the cosmic divine mass and there would be no personal consciousness or awareness.

    Even closer to annihilationism is the view of many atheists, agnostics, naturalists, materialists, satanists, and some witches (not all) who believe that after they die there is nothing -- no consciousness -- nothing. They come to an end. The only bad part of rejecting Christ for them would be whatever temporary suffering there might be before the annihilation. Many live with this belief that they are obliterated when they die.

    I think taking away eternal suffering diminishes the power of the cross and the penalty that Christ paid. An atheist might say, "Since I think that I am going to be obliterated anyway, big deal."
     
  14. Marcia

    Marcia Active Member

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    I didn't get to your question, Mercury.

    I think the unsaved are separate from God in the sense that they do not have eternal life with Him -- they are cut off from His love and light. But I think that in some way they will be in His presence (just as the rich man saw Lazarus in Abraham's bosom) which will make it painful to see and realize whom they have rejected. Maybe that is part of the suffering.
     
  15. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Active Member
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    Where in scripture does it say this?

    I’m of the view it is a parable of the Kingdom and who be in it, not of eternal judgement.

    I cannot ignore the same usage in the OT. To say it means one thing in the OT and another in the NT is not so easily dismissed to me. Besides, I believe the Harlot was Old Covenant Jerusalem and I know the smoke is still not ascending. Is it your view that Rev 19:3 is not without end? It seems the author is saying this. If so then my point is made that it is judgment language and not to be taken literal.


    I Agree

    Circular argument. It can’t mean it only because he doesn’t believe it. What word would God use if He did mean annihilation? It seems perish and destroy would be very good words.

    I don’t follow his argument. If you are annihilated you are removed from the presence of God eternally. You don't have to be in existence in order not to be in the presence of God. Are dead animals in the presence of God? No, because they no longer exist.
     
  16. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Active Member
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    Thanks for dealing with the tree of Life. I think this is the foundation for the doctrine of immortality. I can’t remember in my 42 years of sitting in Baptist churches ever hearing a sermon on the tree of Life.

    So why was the tree there to start with? You don’t need it before the fall and it is taken away after the fall. Is it only significant for symbolic reasons?

    Here is where it gets interesting. Are you speaking physically, spiritually or did he lose his immortality?

    Adam did eat so he did die. But he did not die physically the day he ate of the tree so it must be spiritual death that is the death referred to.
    Are you saying he would have physically lived for ever had he eaten of the tree? If so, isn’t that a better fate than an eternal torture? I think it would be better to physically live forever in a fallen state, than to die in a fallen state and burn in hell. Yet the banishment from the tree of Life seemed to be an act of grace.
     
  17. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    Aside from the reincarnation bit, and the bit about becoming part of a cosmic blob, and the bit about being a part of God instead of being utterly separated from God, yeah, that's much the same thing! [​IMG] I think you're really reaching in order to try and make a guilt-by-association argument here. If you were defending a stronger position, I don't think you'd have to resort to this.

    And yet, I believe the wicked will be judged after death, and they will be punished, and the end of that punishment will be their destruction. In any case, I don't decide my theology by what is most different from certain other groups. If witches say that there is supernatural power, I don't turn around and say there is no such thing as the supernatural. We aim for the truth by setting our eyes on Jesus, not by looking to the lost and then walking backward.

    I think it enhances it. Instead of the cross merely changing where we go after death, it truly gives us the gift of eternal life, something not available apart from Jesus.

    Okay. I think it really will be eternal, total separation from God.

    I don't think hell will be a constant eyesore we have to put up with in eternity, which is the consequence of what you described. Lazarus was as aware of the rich man as the rich man was aware of him. I think you're forcing the story to reveal details that were not the point of the story. The point Jesus drew from it was about the unbelief of those in this world (and forshadowing his resurrection), not the details of the next world.

    [ October 14, 2005, 08:53 PM: Message edited by: Mercury ]
     
  18. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus Active Member

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    When God breathed into Adam the breath of life and man became a living soul Adam possessed body, soul, and spirit in the condition that God intended and it was very good. The tree of life was not symbolic, it actually possessed the ability to give life, something Adam already possessed. When Adam fell, he lost the "very good" of all three. His spirit died, his soul was corrupted, and his body began a slow but inevitable desent toward chaos. The Bible does not specify a type of reason that you are looking for but just states that the two trees were there. I think of it as a comparison with what we now have. Adam was already in a state of "saved" and needed to do nothing to keep it but could make a choice, about one thing and one thing only, to lose it. Man now is already in a state of "lost" and need to do nothing to lose it but can make a choice, about one thing and one thing only, to lose that quality of being lost. Adam did not pick between the two (he already had one). Man does not now pick between the two (he already has one).

    He lost his "wholeness", his completeness, he ceased to be what God originally intended. His spirit died, his soul corrupted, and his body doomed, so you could call that losing his immortality. The final result in heaven will be the regaining of this wholeness with a glorified body, a soul conformed to the image of Christ, and a regenerated spirit which is our down payment and assurance in this life.

    Yes, I think I agree if those were the only two choices but God always wants what is best for us and what is best is for us to be restored to our original wholeness.

    Yes, I think it would be a miserable existence (better than hell, perhaps but miserable nonetheless). God loves us and wants what is best for us, not what is second best.
     
  19. ituttut

    ituttut New Member

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    Sure thing. A study on Isaiah 66 including a word study on worms was partly was led me to my current view on hell.

    Why just 41? Why not also 14? Or 51?

    "Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers." (Isaiah 14:11, ESV)

    "For the moth will eat them up like a garment, and the worm will eat them like wool; but my righteousness will be forever, and my salvation to all generations." (Isaiah 51:8)

    Outside of Isaiah, check out Deuteronomy 28:39, Job 17:14, Job 24:20, Jonah 4:7 and Acts 12:23 for more examples of worms representing destruction and decay.

    I notice you ignore Jesus in your assessment.

    As to the rest then I would say again, “There are worms, and there are worms.

    This verse refers to all Israel as a singular worm. In Job 25:6 all humankind is called a worm.

    Then we are worms whose “flesh” is made from the dust of the ground. After the flesh then I believe scripture for it says “the worm dieth not”. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for my salvation, and it will be so. My worm dieth not, nor anyone else’s if we believe the Word of God.

    In Psalm 22:6 David calls himself a worm. However, these verses do not support your case. What you need for your interpretation of Mark 9:48 is a case where a person is said to have a worm, not be a worm. It says "their worm dieth not", not "the worms that they are, they die not". There is no reference in Scripture that I am aware of that refers to a person having a worm within them, unless it's the worm devouring their corpse.

    You seem to be aware of “the worm dieth not”??

    No more than it gives us a picture of those "fires" that are saved, and those "fires" that aren't. ;)
    </font>[/QUOTE]You statements will not hold up to Scripture. Please see what Jesus says on this matter in the gospels.

    Those in 66 who go through the fire victorious will look on those who did not. The “trying fire” in all separates to eternal “bliss” or eternal “punishment in hell”, which God says is the lake of fire prepared for the devil and those that are his. We see the “fire” of the saved in Revelation 15:2, and “fire” of the unsaved in 14:10-11. Christian faith, ituttut
     
  20. Mercury

    Mercury New Member

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    No I did not. The only recorded time Jesus used the word "worm" was in Mark 9, which is the passage we were already discussing. In my short survey of other passages I did not mention any other references from the gospels because there are no other references in the gospels.

    Yes, there are literal worms, there are worms as a symbol for destruction and decay, and there are worms as a metaphor for how low a person, nation or humanity is. However, nowhere do we find the word worm used to describe a part of a person that is undying. If Mark 9:48 stood alone it could be read that way, but when one goes back to Isaiah 66:24 which Jesus is quoting, it is clear that the worm is devouring the corpse the same way the fire is; neither the worm nor the flame is a part of the person.

    The unquenchable fire in Isaiah 66:24 is smoldering in a pile of dead bodies that are also being eaten by worms. The victorious do not go through this fire nor are they eaten by these worms.

    [ October 16, 2005, 08:26 PM: Message edited by: Mercury ]
     
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