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What is "Death"??

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Derf B, Jun 24, 2020.

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  1. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    This has come up in several other topics, so I thought I'd start a thread about it.

    Is "death" really the same as "separation"? The separation tends to be between different things, depending on which passage one is talking about. "Spiritual death" is seen as "separation from God", and is often applied to the state of unbelievers. The "second death" spoken of in Revelation 20, is seen as a final and irrevocable separation from God.

    Or is it more likely that "death" is really complete cessation of function, thought and action.

    The former is what I was taught growing up (Southern Baptist). I'm not so sure now. Part of the reason it is difficult to determine which is right is that the scriptures that talk about death are often applied only to the death of the physical body, which leaves the spiritual aspects unclearly defined, and implied from other passages.

    What happens to our "soul" or "spirit" at death is a big part of this discussion, obviously. Most of the time those two terms are conflated when talking post-death scenarios. Along with that conflation, there's a confusion as to whether "spirit" means the life-breath of someone (which would be gone at death), or does it mean a ghostly part of the person (which would have to go somewhere at death). The "soul" is often described as the real person, occupying the body, and it, too, is thought to go somewhere at death, usually to "hades" for the wicked and old testament saints, and to heaven (in Jesus' presence) starting sometime after Jesus died.

    I'd like to challenge folks entering this thread to consider the alternate views before posting--don't just defend what you've been taught, but consider why someone might h0old that alternate view.

    I've done some of this (consider the alternate view), and I have to say that it makes some sense of a lot of passages that had to be relegated to only one part of death. For instance,

    This is talking about animals (I believe), but it addresses how God's "spirit" gives them life. The Hebrew word "ruwach" is used in both, once for "their breath" and again for "thy spirit". I'm no reader of Hebrew--just getting info from Blueletterbible.org.
    [Psa 104:29 KJV] Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
    [Psa 104:30 KJV] Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

    And this is talking about 2 of the three parts mentioned above, the body and the spirit, but the spirit here appears to be God's gift of life/breath, and not a ghostly substance.
    [Ecc 12:7 KJV] Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

    Here are 2 more about the source of humans. God calls Adam (not just his body) "dust", and says he will return to dust. Abraham in humility calls himself dust--not dust plus an eternal spirit/soul!
    [Gen 3:19 KJV] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.
    [Gen 18:27 KJV] And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which [am but] dust and ashes:

    And one about "life" after the fall:
    [Gen 3:20 KJV] And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
    If she's mother of all "living" then is that "living" only talking about a physical body, or about living beings, which would counter the "born spiritually dead" concept.
     
  2. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    Presume for a moment that death actually means the cessation of all function, mental, physical, spiritual.

    Now presume that God meant that when He said Adam would die in the day he ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Let's allow "in the day" to mean any of several biblically viable options that don't mean a single 24 hour day.

    Now what does that mean to the rest of biblical interpretation?

    1. It affirms annihilation--BUT in a radically different way. Annihilation occurs before resurrection. Resurrection actually recovers someone from annihilation.
    2. It affirms the resurrection to be the restoration of the whole of the believer's life, and not just the life of the body.
    3, It doesn't violate any of Jesus's promises, but it congeals all of the resurrection promises into one event. (One possible exception--that the one who "lives" and believes in Him would never die. But that was coupled with the one that said if someone dies, then he would be resurrected. Here's the passage:
    [Jhn 11:24 KJV] Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
    [Jhn 11:25 KJV] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
    [Jhn 11:26 KJV] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
    But I can make sense of it in this scenario--that the one who is alive "at the resurrection", as Martha is talking about in vs 24, will never die.)
    4. It give fresh perspective to Paul's words in 1 Thess 4, where he tells the church to "comfort one another with these words", that they shall not precede those who have fallen asleep in Christ, but that the dead in Christ shall rise first, and those that are alive shall be taken up next.
    5. It explains why a bunch of unbelievers are resurrected in Rev 20 (the second resurrection) only to be cast into hell--they are being judged. It doesn't make sense to resurrect the bodies of those that have already been judged and and whose souls are already suffering in the fiery part of Hades. What good do a bunch of bodies do in the lake of fire, if souls can be tormented just as easily.

    (The reason for #5, that Jesus' death paid the price for all TO BE RESURRECTED, but not necessarily to live with Him forever, explains why Jesus is the savior of the whole world, but especially those that believe, 1 Tim 4:10.)
     
  3. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    @Derf B,

    If you presum some things that are not true, when evidence is presented, that evidence may not be believed do to what is presumed.

    Now death is an opposite of life. And is as such a separation from life.

    Jesus taught the death of the body is not death of the soul. Matthew 10:28, and Luke 20:35-38.
     
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  4. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    Adam's death was loss of spirit. Spirit is with God, at conception a spirit goes to be with God, and the Holy Spirit seals a person. Some argue when a person actually becomes a living soul. The body starts first, but then the brain, blood, oxygen, circulates, forming mind and emotions, the soul. At birth, spirit is with God, body grows, soul developes. Physical death, before and after leaving the womb, would just be returning to dust, the physical flesh. Souls goes under the alter in Paradise, the temple of God.

    Now knowledge increases. Humans realize the death and wickedness surrounding them, and how humans attempt at moral governance. Meantime the Holy Spirit is working from the inside in the thoughts and emotions of the soul. A human begins to hear and take in things about a choice between his constant ability to do wrong, and a means to make things right. In a human the thought of eternal death becomes a certain inescapable fact. Some just shrug it off as annihilation. Then they hear Words of God sink into their soul and a choice becomes clearer that needs to be made. When the choice becomes distinct, that is the point one passes from a lost soul to a potential redeemed soul.

    Never deciding, leads one to the soul being sent to sheol, when the flesh dies. This is the first death of the flesh. We are not told what happens to the spirit with God. That is still God's hidden mystery. Now the soul of one who decides to accept the power of the Holy Spirit. Upon death the flesh still dies, but the soul goes under the alter, in Paradise. When the mystery and plan of God is complete, the souls of those under the alter join with the spirit, and the glorified body of a son of God is restored as it was like the creation of mankind on the 6th day. Adam is restored and the temple of God is complete. At their very end, all souls still dead on earth, under the earth, and in the sea, stand before God and cast into the lake of fire. We still do not know the condition of their spirit. We will not know for the next 1000 years, unless God reveals His plan for them sooner. It is not written any where in the Bible.

    Now some claim that there is a resurrection of both those beheaded in the Great Tribulation along with souls in sheol. It could just mean, the final event at the close of the Lord's Day. The resurrection of the firstfruits, those beheaded, were done for a particular purpose. Those not beheaded in sheol for thousands or even hundreds of years made a totally different choice in their lifetimes. The church is already completed. It is clear though, that all dead will not rise until after the 1000 years are finished.
     
  5. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    This is good advice all around! But what if I use the word "presuppose". Does that change anything? We all have some kind of presupposition when we approach bible study. That was my point in the OPs--my presupposition earlier in life was the one I'm reconsidering today. It's not a bad thing to reconsider presuppositions. If we can't get unbelievers to reconsider their presuppositions, they will never believe. If we can't get Christians who are wrong in a particular area to reconsider their presuppositions, we can never come to an agreement.

    And most importantly, if we are wrong in any area of doctrine, then we can only find truth by reconsidering our presuppositions in that area. But how do we know which area to reconsider? Maybe forums can help us know where to reconsider.
    Someone else said this, too--that death is the opposite of life. I'm not so sure. Is a rock dead? or is it merely lifeless?

    I don't understand how your premise leads to the conclusion that death is separation from life.
    These are good scriptures to bring up.

    [Mat 10:28 KJV] And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

    The word for "kill" is not the same as the word for "destroy". So It's possible Jesus is pointing out the painful and everlasting nature of hell. But I addressed this a bit in #5 of my second OP. The idea that a body needs to be resurrected for casting into hell, when painful suffering is already occurring to the soul in Hades, doesn't make sense to me. Some say the body will be burned up immediately, and then the soul will suffer forever, but that's back to where it was before the resurrection of the unbeliever's body.

    [Luk 20:35 KJV] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
    [Luk 20:36 KJV] Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
    [Luk 20:37 KJV] Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
    [Luk 20:38 KJV] For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.

    Vs 37 and 38 hold the key to Jesus' point here: it is regarding RESURRECTION. "Now that the dead are raised..." tells us Jesus is specifically talking about what is going to happen in the resurrection, and He explains the God is God of the living. That doesn't mean they were alive when jesus said this, but that they were going to be raised. This is the only way the passage makes sense.

    The soul in Hades is not "resurrected", so Jesus isn't talking about that aspect of "living". (It doesn't necessarily negate it, either--just can't be used as a proof text for the bodiless soul in Hades model.)
     
  6. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    I have a hard time deciphering some of your posts, Tim. And they are too long to respond to all of it.

    I'll respond to this part: "We are not told what happens to the spirit with God."
    I offered one verse about the spirit in my OP. "[Ecc 12:7 KJV] Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

    This is an animal spirit, so it's not completely applicable. But if the animal's spirit is given by God and returns to God, then what does the animal's spirit comprise?

    Here's the verse that connects them: [Ecc 3:19 KJV] For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all [is] vanity.

    The word for "breath" is the same as the word for "spirit".

    So if we take it as a separate part of man, Ecclesiastes doesn't talk like that. The "spirit" in Ecclesiastes appears to be something of a life force (breath of life) that is provided by God for both animals and humans, and that life force returns to God upon death\ of animals and humans.

    [Gen 2:7 KJV] And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
     
  7. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    For starters, it is not animal nor materialistic. That is of pagan interpretation. The spirit is God. That is why it always resides with God. The point where a spirit cannot reside with God, would be a reprobate mind. A soul beyond redemption. Now we know that reprobate in physical terms relates to works. However you would have to find a verse that states one has totally relied on works at physical death, to claim all souls are reprobate at death. You will only find a few hardened hearts, you will find those with 666. We know that in these highly technological times, more educated people can actually choose a reprobate mind based on knowledge alone. In pagan societies where the truth is held in check, it is harder to say if it is fear, or an actual rebellion against God. Especially if it is demons themselves repressing the truth. You will find at the GWT, the books were opened. One of works, and the Lamb's book of life. There is an indication that some souls will get a final say to God's face, if they want to use their works, or keep their name in the Book of Life. That is not really a second chance for those who have made up their mind at physical death. We just do not know, one way, or the other.

    But the spirit still does not die, it becomes a demon. Do they go into the lake of fire? Again, we are not told. However, when the church is re-united with their spirit, then a demon would be re-united with the soul in sheol. This would be a part of the harvest and completed before the Second Coming. That is the end of Adam's 6000 year sentence. All souls and spirits are joined back whether in Paradise or Death.

    The point about separation from God since Adam, has been just that. We have no control over our spirit, other than to turn it into a demon, and that is not death, but total separation from God. Name removed from the Lamb's book of life, as if God had never known that soul or spirit. But all name removal of the Dead, will only happen at the GWT, because only then will the dead be judged from both books. The choice will be for most, please remove me, I accept my works only. Then the mind is permanent against God. Even in hell, the rebellion will not change. It will be enforced more and more.

    At least that is what we are taught today about the penal system. Reform is not from being behind bars. It is from teachers willing to go in and teach change, to those who are not free to change on their own. Satan's deceptive thoughts in those on the outside are worse chains than physical prison bars. More people outside of prison, need the good news of the Gospel than most in prison. Satan is the keeper of those living, who are in a spiritual prison.

    No, the air in our lungs is not a spiritual body. The wind is just used as an example of how God's Spirit works. Our spirit is the light of God surrounding the body of dust. The Holy Spirit seals us from the inside, and works against Satan's deception and attempts to turn our soul against God. The Holy Spirit works best after the point we accept God’s Atonement. But the Holy Spirit seals all until death to give all a fighting chance. The point is that at conception and the start of the soul, God keeps our spirit with Him, and seals us with His Spirit. After the Cross, the ability to accept the Holy Spirit was given to all mankind. That was the point of Jesus saying He would send the Holy Spirit. Only selected few in the OT, was afforded that extra ability. All were sealed though. Satan has kept millions of souls from the truth. All the church was supposed to do was spread the Gospel and teach others to the point they spread the Gospel like a tsunami. Not as a governmental body forcing it on humanity. But history records Satan's view of God working. The obedient church never stopped. Once again too much. Truth is bigger than one post.
     
  8. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    You have made a lot of assertions, some of which are pertinent to this discussion. Truth is definitely bigger than one post, but we don't need to put all of truth in every post.

    But we also need to make sure we get God's truth into our posts, and verify it with scriptural references. I was trying to do that, and I'd appreciate if you would do the same.

    On the issue of unbelievers' spirits turning into demons, I don't believe there is any biblical warrant for such a view.

    God's spirit is specifically given to animals according to the verses I cited: [Psa 104:29 KJV] Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
    [Psa 104:30 KJV] Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

    Solomon made this statement:
    [Ecc 3:21 ESV] Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down into the earth?

    One reason he might have thought animals' spirits went down into the earth is that the earth brought forth the animals, according to this: [Gen 1:24 KJV] And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
    But God breathed into man the breath of life, just as Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22), probably indicative of the new birth.
     
  9. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    Solomon had met a lot of people from all over the world in his fame and influence. Animal spiritism is still part of pagan belief, and even mentioned in the Bible. No one wants to identify sons of God with Adam. Partly because all the spotlight has been on the fallen nature. Every reference to sons of God is alien to what historical Adam and his descendants have recorded in history.

    Even in Genesis 2, God gave Moses a separate more detailed account of Adam being formed. Yet we still want to separate it from Genesis 1:27. God did not create Adam separate, because it says God took Adam and placed him separate from other created beings in A separate place called the Garden of Eden.

    Adam was taken out of the rest of the sons of God. They all were created on day six. Only Noah and 7 others lived after the Flood. We can only trust God’s Word what happened in the world that was destroyed.

    Demons attached themselves to souls, but could not be seen. There is a reason for that. It would cover a human in darkness, the opposite of what an actual spirit would do. We see what a spirit looks like when Moses came down and his face shown so brightly, it had to be covered. On the mount of transfiguration, both Moses and Elijah appeared in bodies that shown like a bright light. That is the spirit joined with the soul in a glorified body. The sons of God were created in God's image. A spirit, a light unable to physically look at. In the New Jerusalem we see bodies of light, and no need for the sun. Our spirit is not dead in the ground since Adam. Our spirit is alive with God as a witness to all we do on earth. Our spirit only starts at conception. I do not know of a verse that states it has always been. But in Adam like him, we are born separated from our spirit. In Revelation 6, the opening of the 5th seal, robes of white, our spirit is returned to us. The figure being our spirit was washed in the blood of the Lamb. Demons on the other hand, once there is a reprobate mind, one is no longer able to see the light, these spirits can no longer bear witness in heaven. They are lost. We know of demonic activity as real throughout the Bible. The Bible does not claim they are fallen angels or pre-flood beings. If humans were outright taught they could create an army of demons by becoming reprobate, Satan has taken advantage of that over and over again. I think God does not explicitly teach that in the Bible, nor allows it much. The occult world has been forbidden to us since Moses and the law.
     
  10. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    A rock was never alive to die,
    See Ecclesiastes 9:9-10, ". . . under the sun. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest. . . ." When a soul goes to the nether world, that soul is no longer under the sun to do the things done under the sun. Being separated from life under the sun.
    In the second death both body and soul perish. What does not die is called their worm, Mark 9:48, Psalms 22:6.
     
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  11. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    In what context is the second death found in a condition before Jesus died on the Cross? The worm is another term for the soul. And no body goes to the place of death. The flesh body returns to dust. God does not use dust in a glorified body. All are changed, no more dust bodies, but glorified, God bodies. Dust will be consumed in fire, when the new heavens and earth are created.
     
  12. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    Good reply, 3!! (May I call you "3"?)
    Therefore death is the loss of life, and not the opposite of life. It sounds like we are in agreement on this.
    Here's the whole of vs 9:
    [Ecc 9:9 KJV] Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that [is] thy portion in [this] life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.

    The context is important, because the author talks about life "under the sun" and compares it with death "in the grave" in vs 10. I appreciate you bringing up this verse, because it helps us understand the things the "soul" might be doing in the netherworld. The soul is NOT working, nor devising, nor exercising any wisdom. If the soul is active there in any way, you can't tell it from this verse, nor does it seem any activity is possible without "knowledge" of some type. Is the soul then asleep?? Certainly this verse seems to contrast with the activity Jesus mentioned in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. We should definitely consider how these two disparate reports can be made to work together.
    If both body and soul perish, and only a "worm" is left, what is that "worm"? And Why would it be necessary for God to rais someone from the dead (reunite each person's soul with a newly reconstructed body) in order to then cast them into the fire where their body wold be burned up? Why not just cast the soul from Hades into the fire?? This seems like a waste of re-creative energy.
     
  13. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    it is called the Judgement. Hebrews 9:27. Revelation 20:11-15.
     
  14. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    Not the recreative part. That’s a reversal of judgment. Death of the body was a judgment, and bringing that body back to life is a reversal of that judgment. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. Even life that’s not eternal is a gift of God. Why would God give that gift of physical life to those whom He already knows are guilty (because they were in the bad part of Hades, they had already been judged).


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  15. Derf B

    Derf B Member

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    If Jesus said, “Fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in hell,” how can you say no body goes to the place of death?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  16. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Not true. The fact that the lost are raised for the judgment shows that understanding of physical death, Romans 5:12, do to sin is not correct, Revelation 20:11-15.
     
  17. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    Who says that?
     
  18. 37818

    37818 Well-Known Member

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    By interpreation it is the conscious part of the person. Remember, Jesus' soul died on the cross while Jesus was yet conscious. Isaiah 53:10, Isaiah 53:12, Psalms 22:1, Psalms 22:6, Matthew 27:46, Romans 5:8, John 19:28. Jesus had paid in full prior to Him saying so before He physically died, John 19:30. He was forsaken, Psalms 22:1. and prior to His physical death He was no longer forsaken, Luke 23:46.
     
  19. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    Is this the wormhole doctrine? It is an opening in space where the worm goes from a state of life, to death, and immediately to the GWT?

    Sorry, my brain and thoughts....

    The scriptures show, that the soul remains in sheol from the time the physical body dies, until the final resurrection. The GWT. The point of activity is their worm. The worm is a symbol of life in death. The forever birth and rebirth of maggots to flies, back to maggots never ending, never dying, but gorging on rotten flesh. It is figurative, not literal. The soul is not a body of flesh, and maggots do not have souls, nor do flys. There is not a constant process of their worm. Do we really want to know the activity of a soul in sheol?
     
  20. timtofly

    timtofly Member

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    Because Hell was known as the place of death. The destruction of the soul is not until the end of time. The destruction of the body is on the soil, not under it, thus worms gorge on the flesh.

    The point was to fear God. It was not supposed to actually describe death itself.

    We do not describe how an engine runs, by telling everyone to fear going to a gas station. We are trying to tell new drivers that a gas station is not to be taken lightly. Gas is extremely dangerous and can easily ignite. That has nothing to do with what the gas does in the car. It is warning about putting gas into the car.


    The body does not go to sheol.
     
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