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Featured Spiritual Death

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JonC, Jan 24, 2019.

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  1. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Every tradition has unique ways of expressing theological issues in Scripture. Often these expressions speak more to the questions of believers than they do to truths actually provided in Scripture. Often people seem to have a need to "smoothe out" biblical doctrine or fill in blanks to create a flowing narrative that suits their traditions or theories.

    This seems to have occured in some traditions of "spiritual death". I understand a need for simplification, especially when dealing with children. But at some point the believer needs to consult Scripture with the submission suited men approaching God's revelation.

    Scripture explains what it is to be "spiritually alive". In the third chapter of John we see Jesus explaining to Nicodemus the need for a spiritual birth. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit. Like begats like.

    Scripture teaches that this life is in Christ, and in Him alone. This life IS Christ. And this life, unlike the flesh, is not temporal.

    Scripture presents the lost as being flesh and "spiritually dead" (Matt. 8) and they will experience a "second death" as hades and death are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20).

    BUT Scripture never speaks of a "spiritual death". The lost do not experience a "spiritual death" because they were never "spiritually alive" to begin with.

    So where does this idea of a "spiritual death" originate?

    I suspect tradition as men built theory on theory to smoothe out the biblical narrative. This is, in a sense, a "Christian mythology" woven throughout biblical truths as doctrine.

    I do not know that this is a bad thing. We create stories to explain important truths to children. We use illustrations in sermons to communicate biblical doctrine to congregations. The danger is when people do not recognize the stories for what they are and build on the fiction.
     
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  2. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    When we read the narrative in Genesis 1-3, we learn very little about the relationship between God and Man. We read of man breaking relationship with God and placing shame and guilt upon themselves. God imposes consequences as a result of their disobedience. Death enters into creation by sin.

    I believe Adam is the natural man many speak of in 1 Corinthians 2, hence why he sinned. He did respond to God. He first denied his guilt and blamed God for giving him Eve. But he did respond in faith to the promised seed by naming her Eve...mother of all living. How did he even know his seed would continue? Because he believed God's promise of having a child who would crush the serpent.

    How good was Adam and Eve's relationship before the transgression? Well if you remember correctly, God told Adam to be fruitful and multiply. They didn't even consummate their union until after they sinned (Gen. 4). So, they sinned before they even had marrital relations. Doesn't anyone else find that interesting?

    Notice in Genesis 3 God comes and brings judgement in the cool of the day. Why do we think that it was commonplace for Adam and Eve to be meeting with Him? It's only inferred if you believe this was something always occuring. We find one instance of them meeting with God like this and it was to bring judgment.

    I'm only stating what's there. Nothing more nothing less.
     
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  3. Reformed

    Reformed Well-Known Member
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    Jon, It stems from a reasonable deduction of Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13. It is not that complicated. Paul uses the word nekros (νεκρος) to describe the spiritual state of the individual prior to their conversion. He cannot be using it to describe their physical condition, for they were very much alive physically. This is not fiction, nor is it a story. It is also not mythology in any sense of the word. Using your method of reasoning the Trinity can be called Chrisitan mythology. The term is not found in scripture. Neither is the hypostatic union. The term used is less important than the biblical truth conveyed.
     
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  4. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    I'm pretty sure he blocked me, but he brings up much about what you're talking about @JonC .

    No where did you deny that we are spiritually dead. No one is Spiritually alive until Christ makes them alive.
     
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  5. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    First death-physical
    Second death-lake of fire
     
  6. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    @JonShaff is correct.

    You are right that Scripture speaks of natural man as being spiritually dead.

    But Scripture never even implies a "spiritual death". Christ gives life. We are dead (spiritually) before we are made alive in Christ.

    What I am pointing out as fiction is the myth of a spiritual death (not the state of being spiritually dead, but of dying spiritually). That exists only in tradition.
     
  7. Reformed

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    That is the spiritual death I mean. Are you referring to spiritual death in the eternal state?
     
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  8. JonShaff

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    @JonC

    This means I do not have to make up a theory for Christ dying spiritually to pay for my sins.
     
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  9. JonShaff

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    Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

    You know, I hear many people break down Romans 5, but very few try to explain this passage.
     
  10. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    No.

    I do not believe that the lost are made "spiritually alive" in order to suffer a "spiritual death". Instead I believe that man is made flesh, not spirit. What man needs is spiritual life which is only in Christ Jesus.

    I am not saying that there is not a state of being spiritually dead. God created Adam flesh, not spirit. Likewise we are born flesh, not spirit. Only Christ gives spiritual life.
     
  11. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    Yep.

    People have argued that divine justice demands spiritual death as punishment. Therefore Jesus had to suffer what the lost will experience at Judgment (spiritual death) by God separating form Christ in some form.

    It is very inconsistent because many who hold that idea also believe that the lost are spiritually dead. How can they die spiritually when they were never alive to begin with?

    Also, God did not separate from Adam. Enoch walked with God. David was a man after God’s own heart. God was there with Noah and Moses. But God and man were at odds (enmity). That is the issue, not “spiritual death” or even a separation (in context of the “Fall”).

    We will die physically and then the Judgment. Christ saves us through death and from wrath in terms of Judgment ("that day"). In other words, we are forgiven.

    I think, however, that some are too invested in their theories to start questioning them now. It is easier for some to believe three wise men went to the manger than to go through life not knowing how many were there. ;)
     
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  12. Reformed

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    Matthew Henry wrote, "A state of sin is a state of spiritual death. Those who are in sin are dead in sin. As the death of the body consists in its separation from the soul, so the death of the soul consists in its separation from God and the divine favour. As the death of the body is the corruption and putrefaction of it, so sin is the corruption or depravation of the soul. As a man who is dead is unable to help himself by any power of his own, so an habitual sinner is morally impotent: though he has a natural power, or the power of a reasonable creature, he has not a spiritual power, till he has the divine life or a renewed nature." Henry's word are in keeping with the reality conveyed in Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13. The reprobate is in a state of spiritual death. While alive physically, he is dead spiritually. Hopefully, this fact is not in dispute. What do we make of the person who dies in their sins? Are they in a state of spiritual death?

    Revelation 21:8 "But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    What is the second death? It is not like the first death which is the cessation of physical life. The second death is a state of being. It is to be absent from the grace and mercy of God for eternity. It is thanatos instead of nekros. The former is death itself. This is more than just the process of dying until the heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning. Thanatos is being eternally in a place where there is no possibility of repentance or forgiveness. It is an eternal reminder that an individual is outside of Christ. Thanatos is nekros ongoing. Mark 9:48 describes eternity outside of Christ as a place where "their worm does not die". This means that the natural decomposition of the dead body of the unbeliever may occur physically, but not spiritually.
     
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  13. Reformed

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    Jon,

    I am not trying to be argumentative. I am of the opinion that sometimes we trivialize the momentous and complicate the obvious when it comes to theology. We also have a tendency to seek a disputation over issues that do not need it. How many times do we need to stain a gnat?
     
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  14. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I would put it differently. How much cancer is too much?

    The issue is not that natural man is spiritually dead (we do agree here). The issue us that there is no such thing as "spiritual death" (one dying spiritually) in Scripture.

    The reason that this small distinction is important is that people build entire theological tangents on that small departure from Scripture. Theory builds on theory until you have a myth which is held alongside Scripture.

    The problem is that this "Christian mythology" can become a stumbling block to people who are not indoctrinated in a paticular tradition.

    Additionally, the fiction does not always exist alongside the truth. Often times it replaces the truth and the Christian is deprived a depth they might otherwise know.

    Scripture is important. It is God's revelation of Himself to man. When we start relying on superstition and fable because it goes well with our theories we miss out on so much that is made avaliable to us in God's Word.

    We should strive to be "cancer" free in our doctrine because those little things (the "gnats") tend to spread.
     
  15. JonShaff

    JonShaff Fellow Servant
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    I like what is said here. I'm with @JonC... It's not that these narratives that we create are evil per se, but they prevent the Child of God from receiving what Revelation God wants to reveal because they were steeped in a tradition's narrative about a doctrinal position.

    In other words, sometimes we don't seek God in a truth because we think we have it all figured out already because someone told us so :)
     
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  16. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Not sure what the point of this thread is but here goes:

    When we (humankind) are conceived, we are conceived in sin. Thus in a separated from God state. This is what is being "spiritually dead," When we were not "in Christ" not "together with Christ" we were spiritually dead. When we were transferred from the realm of darkness into the kingdom of His Son, we were made (spiritually) alive together with Christ

    Now the mythology enters when being "spiritually dead" is said to result in total inability to respond to God's revelation and attraction via the gospel with Christ high and lifted up. OTOH, being spiritually dead means we can do nothing to save ourselves or merit our salvation, we are saved by grace through faith, not saved by grace and our saving faith. That distortion is more mythology. It is God alone who credits our faith (worthless as a filthy rag) as righteousness.
     
  17. Iconoclast

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    Sometimes people over think things Reformed. I suspect something like that might be taking place here.
    When the historic belief of the churches as expressed in confessions of faith, Catechisms, and creeds,virtually all agree here and someone reads something contrary they might be better off to really consider how the whole of believing churches let this "new idea" slip past themselves, and let only a handful of people come up with it.
     
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  18. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    How about :
    first death Spiritual...with physical death following
    1cor15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

    2nd death remaining eternally in the realm of death in the lake of fire
     
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  19. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    You are suggesting that Adam was a Spiritually dead natural man before sin entered which is not an orthodox position. The only myth here would be your false suggestion.

    You give no reasonable belief or understanding of how spiritual death enters.
    Many a heresy starts with a misunderstanding of the fall, and it's consequences.
     
    #19 Iconoclast, Jan 25, 2019
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  20. JonC

    JonC Lifelong Disciple
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    I am suggesting that Scripture adequately addresses the topic and the addition of a man-made narrative to carry the biblical text is unwarranted.

    You cannot provide even one verse that addresses one dying spiritually because the idea itself exists only in the mind of men - it is foreign to Scripture.

    I am suggesting that God made Adam flesh - not spirit.

    I am suggesting spiritual life is ONLY in Christ and this type of life is not temporary.

    I am suggesting that God created Adam with redemption as an ultimate goal and this for His glory, not man's, so that Christ would be the Firstborn among many breathern.

    I am even suggesting that Adam's sin was ALWAYS a part of God's plan in creating man.

    Scripture tells us that death entered the world through Adam's sin. Scripture continues by treating this death as a physical death and then the Judgment. Scripture teaches that natural man is spiritually dead and will die physically. Scripture tells us that there is a SECOND DEATH which those who are already spiritually dead will experience.

    I would not go so far as to call your position heresy (although it is extraordinary unbiblical when placed against the Bible), but you are correct in that much error is born from the myth that Adam was "spiritually alive" for a time and then died spiritually (supposedly made spiritually alive again or was lost).

    That is why I am saying we need to look from these traditions and look to Scripture. We need to stop looking to human theories and systems snd get back to the Bible.

    I praise God that the gospel shines through those false narratives. People are saved even while believing the "old wives tales", superstitions and traditions of men. But they miss out on so much Scripture actually teaches because they cling to these myths and stories as if they were God's own words. They elevate illustration to the point of Scripture itself and build their doctrine on sand.
     
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