Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
OpenMind

What Happens When you Die?

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

 

 

Premise

Traditionally most people believe that there is a ghost-like “spirit” inside of our bodies, and when we die, this spirit floats away somewhere, preferably heaven.

I will show that the Bible actually does not support this theory.  In fact, according to the Bible there is no spirit inside of us at all.  We exist only as mortal bodies, made from dust having been given the breath of life.  And it is this “breath of life” that is confused with, or interpreted as, a “spirit”. 

 

What Happens When We Die

Scripture says it plainly. 

Genesis 3:19

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Job 7:21

Why then do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?  For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me, but I will not be."

Job 14:10:12

But man dies and lies prostrate man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, he will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.

Psalm 115:17

The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

Psalm 146:4

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing

Over and over again the Bible says that the dead know nothing.  These are only a few examples.  The dead don’t think.  They don’t praise the Lord.  They have no consciousness.  They return to the earth, as dust.  Their plans perish and they cease to exist.  Ecclesiastes 3 even tells us that man has no advantage over the beasts.  All go to one place, which is dust.

 

 

Death Compared to Sleep

Psalms 13:3

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

1 Kings 2:10

Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.

When Lazarus died, Jesus said he was sleeping. 

John 11:11-14

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead

 

Why would Jesus compare Lazarus’ death to “sleep” if Lazarus’ spirit has ascended into heaven?  And why was there no mention of his spirit leaving his body? 

Matthew 9:24

He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

Daniel 12:2

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Daniel was told he would “rest” until the resurrection. 

Daniel 12:13

As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

If Daniel’s spirit was to go to heaven after death, then why was he told that he would rest?  Why did the angel not say instead, I’ll see you in heaven soon, or something to that effect?  It’s because Daniel wasn’t going to heaven.  He was going to the dust of the earth.  Daniel is now dead.  He is not in heaven.  He’s dead in the dust of the earth and on the day of the resurrection, he will rise, along with the rest of us.

 

 

What Happens When we are Resurrected

The resurrection, as Paul describes it, actually also proves that we have no spirit in us that goes to heaven when we die. 

Imagine if we did have a spirit.  We would fly up to heaven and we would do whatever we do in heaven.  Praise the Lord, play Frisbee, eat BBQ chicken.  No matter how you envision an existence in heaven, it would require at the very least that we have a consciousness, a thought process and a free will to continue to make decisions.  All of this would contradict the old testament verses above.

 

It would also contradict the new testament book of 1 Corinthians, because according to Paul this life in a spiritual body, which we imagine in heaven, does not come to us until the very last day, when we are resurrected.

1 Corinthians 15:42

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:46

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

Paul clearly states that we are created with a natural body, not a spiritual body.  We will be transformed into a spiritual body upon the resurrection.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”.  In other words, when God created us, we were not given spiritual bodies, only natural bodies, but we would receive spiritual bodies later, upon the resurrection.

Our bodies are sewn natural, raised spiritual.  This is the point of the resurrection, to make us spiritual so that we can be immortal.  So if you believe that we already have immortal spirits that leave our bodies when we die, you have a conundrum.

 

The Spiritual Conundrum

Imagine the traditional teaching, where we have a spirit and we go to heaven as a spirit when we die.  Then please tell me, what is the point of the resurrection? 

If we are already in heaven, as immortal spirits, then why would we need to be transformed into spirits on the last day?  If it is so, then when our bodies on earth are transformed into spirits, do we end up with two spirits?  The one in heaven and the one on earth?  Would both spirits have their own separate consciousness?  Do our spirits in heaven then join our old bodies which have been transformed?  Would we then be a spirit within a spirit?  Two spirits?  What nonsense! 

If we’re being transformed into spirits, then we can not already be spirits, otherwise what would be the point?  The point of the resurrection is to make us immortal.  To make us spirits.  This would be entirely nonsensical if we are already living as spirits in heaven, and this is how Paul’s description of the resurrection proves that we do not have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after death.

 

 

Soul (Nephesh)

To add to the confusion, in addition to the obvious body and the presumed spirit, we also supposedly possess a “soul”.  What is a soul?  You are a soul.

Genesis 2:7

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.

Notice in the verse above that man became a living soul.  He was not given a soul.  He became a soul.  In other words, we do not have souls, we are souls.

The word soul in this verse was originally written in Hebrew as לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ which is transliterated as nephesh.  Strong’s concordance defines nephesh as “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion”.  With this definition in mind, the last part of Genesis 2:7 can be paraphrased as, for example “man became alive” or “man became an individual”.  It is in fact the very moment when man gained his self awareness and free will.

The same word occurs 754 times in the old testament, so we can’t look at all examples but let’s look at one more.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life (Nephesh), and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here the King James Bible translates it as “creature that hath life”.  Remember, this is the same word that was translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7.  The more examples you look at the more obvious it becomes that when the word “soul” is used in scripture it refers simply to “a living creature”.

So keep in mind the true meaning of the word Nephesh, which can be translated as soul, living creature, person or individual, when you read verses such as…

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.

The living creature who sins…

The person who sins…

The individual who sins…

 

 

 

The Spirit (Ruach)

On the flip side, there are a number of verses that can be used to support the notion that we all have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after the body dies.  And at first glance, some of these verses are very convincing. 

For example

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

2 Corinthians 5:8

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

James 2:26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

 

Obviously, the key to understanding such verses is understanding the meaning of “spirit”.  As it turns out, in these examples, the word spirit refers to the breath of God, which is life.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

This verse seems to imply that our spirit goes up to heaven when we die, but actually “spirit” here refers to the life that God breathed into man in Genesis 2:7.  It’s the life that returns to God, because the life came from God.

Genesis 2:7

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.

The word used through the old testament for spirit is the Hebrew word Ruach ר֫וּחַ, which can also be translated as “breath or wind”.   In fact, this is how it is translated in various other verses including Genesis 7:15 and Psalm 104:29.

Genesis 7:15

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life (ruach) in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Psalm 104:29

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to the dust.

When God gave man life, it was his breath/wind/spirit which God gave.  The spirit of God is life.  And it’s this spirit, this life, that returns to God in Ecclesiastes 12:7

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (ruach – life / breath) returns to God who gave it.

Other verses clearly explain that it is the spirit of God, or the breath of God, that has given us life. 

John 6:63 says The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Job 33:4 says The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

 

The many Hebrew names of God in fact include the word Ruach each time.

English Name

 

Hebrew Name

 

The Spirit of God

Ruach Elohim

The Spirit of the Lord

Ruach Adonai

The Holy Spirit

Ruach Hakkodesh

The Spirit of the Lord God

Ruach Adonai Elohim

The Spirit of God

Ruach-El

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly, the word Ruach does not refer to a ghostly spirit that lives inside each of us, but rather the breath of life which came from God himself, and which is a part of God himself.  Let’s look at the verse again.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (breath of life) returns to God who gave it.

And now compare that to the verse that describes man becoming a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

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.

In other words, God gave his living spirit (Ruach) and man became a living soul (Nephesh). 

 

 

When Jesus Died

When this discussion of a spirit comes up people often point to references around Jesus’ death on the cross as proof that his “spirit” left him. 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

I used to think, as most people do, that each reference to “spirit” in these verses referred to a conscious ghostly entity that left Jesus’ body and floated up to heaven (or hell, depending on who you ask) where Jesus continued to “live”.  However, if we look at the original Greek word used we get an entirely different picture.

Remember, the Hebrew word translated as spirit in the old testament is Ruach and it means “breath” or “wind”.  In the new testament the original text is Greek and in each of these three verses above, the word translated as spirit is the Greek word “Pneuma”.  Pneuma means “wind, breath, spirit”.  It has the exact same meaning as the Hebrew Ruach.  Go figure.

Also remember that in Genesis 2:7 God created man and gave man the breath of life.  That god given breath is not just a simple breath that we take for granted; it is life.  So if we understand that the Greek meaning of the word “pneuma” is actually a reference to life itself which God breathed into us, these verses suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit life.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit life.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit life.

Of course, looking back at it now, it seems so obvious that Jesus did not continue to live in spirit form after his death, because if that were the case he wouldn’t have really died.  But he actually did die.  He really died.  The breath of life left him and he died.

There is literally no Bible verse that claims there is a ghostly spirit inside each of us that lives on after death.  In fact, quite the opposite.  All indications are that when we die, we return to the dust of the earth, without any consciousness, knowing nothing and realizing nothing.  And it’s only at the resurrection, when the breath of God returns to us, that we become spiritual creatures.

 

 

Further Evidence

Acts 2:29

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day”

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth

John 3:13

And no man has ascended up to heaven

Edited by OpenMind
  • Praise God! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe when we die we pass on to the resurrection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you mean by that?  Do you mean we are resurrected immediately after death?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, OpenMind said:

I will show that the Bible actually does not support this theory.  In fact, according to the Bible there is no spirit inside of us at all.  We exist only as mortal bodies, made from dust having been given the breath of life.  And it is this “breath of life” that is confused with, or interpreted as, a “spirit”. 

I stopped here to ask you how you reject the many passages in scripture referring to the human spirit, as you say we do not have a spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:23

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

These are just two of many that can be found in both the new and old testament. 

  • Thumbs Up 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, OpenMind said:

 

 

Premise

Traditionally most people believe that there is a ghost-like “spirit” inside of our bodies, and when we die, this spirit floats away somewhere, preferably heaven.

I will show that the Bible actually does not support this theory.  In fact, according to the Bible there is no spirit inside of us at all.  We exist only as mortal bodies, made from dust having been given the breath of life.  And it is this “breath of life” that is confused with, or interpreted as, a “spirit”. 

 

What Happens When We Die

Scripture says it plainly. 

Genesis 3:19

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Job 7:21

Why then do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?  For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me, but I will not be."

Job 14:10:12

But man dies and lies prostrate man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, he will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.

Psalm 115:17

The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

Psalm 146:4

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing

Over and over again the Bible says that the dead know nothing.  These are only a few examples.  The dead don’t think.  They don’t praise the Lord.  They have no consciousness.  They return to the earth, as dust.  Their plans perish and they cease to exist.  Ecclesiastes 3 even tells us that man has no advantage over the beasts.  All go to one place, which is dust.

 

 

Death Compared to Sleep

Psalms 13:3

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

1 Kings 2:10

Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.

When Lazarus died, Jesus said he was sleeping. 

John 11:11-14

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead

 

Why would Jesus compare Lazarus’ death to “sleep” if Lazarus’ spirit has ascended into heaven?  And why was there no mention of his spirit leaving his body? 

Matthew 9:24

He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

Daniel 12:2

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Daniel was told he would “rest” until the resurrection. 

Daniel 12:13

As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

If Daniel’s spirit was to go to heaven after death, then why was he told that he would rest?  Why did the angel not say instead, I’ll see you in heaven soon, or something to that effect?  It’s because Daniel wasn’t going to heaven.  He was going to the dust of the earth.  Daniel is now dead.  He is not in heaven.  He’s dead in the dust of the earth and on the day of the resurrection, he will rise, along with the rest of us.

 

 

What Happens When we are Resurrected

The resurrection, as Paul describes it, actually also proves that we have no spirit in us that goes to heaven when we die. 

Imagine if we did have a spirit.  We would fly up to heaven and we would do whatever we do in heaven.  Praise the Lord, play Frisbee, eat BBQ chicken.  No matter how you envision an existence in heaven, it would require at the very least that we have a consciousness, a thought process and a free will to continue to make decisions.  All of this would contradict the old testament verses above.

 

It would also contradict the new testament book of 1 Corinthians, because according to Paul this life in a spiritual body, which we imagine in heaven, does not come to us until the very last day, when we are resurrected.

1 Corinthians 15:42

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:46

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

Paul clearly states that we are created with a natural body, not a spiritual body.  We will be transformed into a spiritual body upon the resurrection.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”.  In other words, when God created us, we were not given spiritual bodies, only natural bodies, but we would receive spiritual bodies later, upon the resurrection.

Our bodies are sewn natural, raised spiritual.  This is the point of the resurrection, to make us spiritual so that we can be immortal.  So if you believe that we already have immortal spirits that leave our bodies when we die, you have a conundrum.

 

The Spiritual Conundrum

Imagine the traditional teaching, where we have a spirit and we go to heaven as a spirit when we die.  Then please tell me, what is the point of the resurrection? 

If we are already in heaven, as immortal spirits, then why would we need to be transformed into spirits on the last day?  If it is so, then when our bodies on earth are transformed into spirits, do we end up with two spirits?  The one in heaven and the one on earth?  Would both spirits have their own separate consciousness?  Do our spirits in heaven then join our old bodies which have been transformed?  Would we then be a spirit within a spirit?  Two spirits?  What nonsense! 

If we’re being transformed into spirits, then we can not already be spirits, otherwise what would be the point?  The point of the resurrection is to make us immortal.  To make us spirits.  This would be entirely nonsensical if we are already living as spirits in heaven, and this is how Paul’s description of the resurrection proves that we do not have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after death.

 

 

Soul (Nephesh)

To add to the confusion, in addition to the obvious body and the presumed spirit, we also supposedly possess a “soul”.  What is a soul?  You are a soul.

Genesis 2:7

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.

Notice in the verse above that man became a living soul.  He was not given a soul.  He became a soul.  In other words, we do not have souls, we are souls.

The word soul in this verse was originally written in Hebrew as לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ which is transliterated as nephesh.  Strong’s concordance defines nephesh as “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion”.  With this definition in mind, the last part of Genesis 2:7 can be paraphrased as, for example “man became alive” or “man became an individual”.  It is in fact the very moment when man gained his self awareness and free will.

The same word occurs 754 times in the old testament, so we can’t look at all examples but let’s look at one more.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life (Nephesh), and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here the King James Bible translates it as “creature that hath life”.  Remember, this is the same word that was translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7.  The more examples you look at the more obvious it becomes that when the word “soul” is used in scripture it refers simply to “a living creature”.

So keep in mind the true meaning of the word Nephesh, which can be translated as soul, living creature, person or individual, when you read verses such as…

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.

The living creature who sins…

The person who sins…

The individual who sins…

 

 

 

The Spirit (Ruach)

On the flip side, there are a number of verses that can be used to support the notion that we all have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after the body dies.  And at first glance, some of these verses are very convincing. 

For example

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

2 Corinthians 5:8

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

James 2:26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

 

Obviously, the key to understanding such verses is understanding the meaning of “spirit”.  As it turns out, in these examples, the word spirit refers to the breath of God, which is life.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

This verse seems to imply that our spirit goes up to heaven when we die, but actually “spirit” here refers to the life that God breathed into man in Genesis 2:7.  It’s the life that returns to God, because the life came from God.

Genesis 2:7

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.

The word used through the old testament for spirit is the Hebrew word Ruach ר֫וּחַ, which can also be translated as “breath or wind”.   In fact, this is how it is translated in various other verses including Genesis 7:15 and Psalm 104:29.

Genesis 7:15

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life (ruach) in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Psalm 104:29

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to the dust.

When God gave man life, it was his breath/wind/spirit which God gave.  The spirit of God is life.  And it’s this spirit, this life, that returns to God in Ecclesiastes 12:7

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (ruach – life / breath) returns to God who gave it.

Other verses clearly explain that it is the spirit of God, or the breath of God, that has given us life. 

John 6:63 says The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Job 33:4 says The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

 

The many Hebrew names of God in fact include the word Ruach each time.

English Name

 

Hebrew Name

 

The Spirit of God

Ruach Elohim

The Spirit of the Lord

Ruach Adonai

The Holy Spirit

Ruach Hakkodesh

The Spirit of the Lord God

Ruach Adonai Elohim

The Spirit of God

Ruach-El

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly, the word Ruach does not refer to a ghostly spirit that lives inside each of us, but rather the breath of life which came from God himself, and which is a part of God himself.  Let’s look at the verse again.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (breath of life) returns to God who gave it.

And now compare that to the verse that describes man becoming a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

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.

In other words, God gave his living spirit (Ruach) and man became a living soul (Nephesh). 

 

 

When Jesus Died

When this discussion of a spirit comes up people often point to references around Jesus’ death on the cross as proof that his “spirit” left him. 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

I used to think, as most people do, that each reference to “spirit” in these verses referred to a conscious ghostly entity that left Jesus’ body and floated up to heaven (or hell, depending on who you ask) where Jesus continued to “live”.  However, if we look at the original Greek word used we get an entirely different picture.

Remember, the Hebrew word translated as spirit in the old testament is Ruach and it means “breath” or “wind”.  In the new testament the original text is Greek and in each of these three verses above, the word translated as spirit is the Greek word “Pneuma”.  Pneuma means “wind, breath, spirit”.  It has the exact same meaning as the Hebrew Ruach.  Go figure.

Also remember that in Genesis 2:7 God created man and gave man the breath of life.  That god given breath is not just a simple breath that we take for granted; it is life.  So if we understand that the Greek meaning of the word “pneuma” is actually a reference to life itself which God breathed into us, these verses suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit life.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit life.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit life.

Of course, looking back at it now, it seems so obvious that Jesus did not continue to live in spirit form after his death, because if that were the case he wouldn’t have really died.  But he actually did die.  He really died.  The breath of life left him and he died.

There is literally no Bible verse that claims there is a ghostly spirit inside each of us that lives on after death.  In fact, quite the opposite.  All indications are that when we die, we return to the dust of the earth, without any consciousness, knowing nothing and realizing nothing.  And it’s only at the resurrection, when the breath of God returns to us, that we become spiritual creatures.

 

 

Further Evidence

Acts 2:29

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day”

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth

John 3:13

And no man has ascended up to heaven

Very concise and well put together understanding of this topic. Many get confused about this especially in the many ways that it is used. Here is one verse in particular:

Matthew 10:28 King James Version (KJV)

28 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.

This verse however, does not define what a soul is; and that is the key. The usage of soul/psuche (Strong's #5590) is an expanded one that covers various symbolic meanings, however none of the NT references  define what a soul is. That definition as you pointed out is found in the OT, in Gen 2:7.


Now some points on this verse in particular, Matthew 10:28:
1) By one saying that this verse possibly indicates that the soul is a seperate, dualistic part of a human, than the verse itself states clearly that the soul is NOT immortal; "destroy both soul and body in hell". That alone tells me that the soul, however we decide to define it, CAN be destroyed - thus it is not immortal.
2) When we look at the various definitions for psuche in the lexicon we find a miriad of possible definitions. How do you decide which one of these definitions fits?
3) When one reads the entire Matthew 10 (particularly starting at 10:16 onward) account we find that Christ is talking to the apostles in regards to their persecution as they are being sent out to spread the Gospel. He tells them how hard it is going to be (such as in 10:9 how they would be poor (no gold, nor silver, nor brass)). He tells them not to fear those that are going to persecute them, that they would be brought before governers and kings (verse 18) by those that would have them persecuted. Basically, what we find is Jesus warning them but at the same time giving them strength to do His work - that is the theme - not fearing men. He is telling them to stay strong, for though men may be able to kill them ONLY God can determine ones salvation.
4) I think the crux of your point is going to be "why is body and soul mentioned seperately if they are one and the same as your essay states"? That is a very simple answer; as I stated at the beginning of this reply, the NT expands the means of words used in the OT. Soul in the NT, as we've seen from the Strong's Lexicon #5590, has various meanings. But you'll notice that virtually every definition (in particularly definition #2) shows traits that are associated with the whole being of a person (their feelings, desires, affections, etc). These are parts of the whole person, not some seperate "essense" as the very last definition (2c) would try to squeeze in. As such, the verse simply means [paraphrase] "do not be afraid of those that can kill you, if you are going to be afraid of anyone be afraid of God, for it is He that can destroy you utterly as it is He that decides your salvation".

We have to look at the entire body of texts to see how the overwhelming conclusion of what a soul is easily found. According to rule #7 of hermeneutics, we must harmonize less-clear verses with those that are more clear. As such, Gen 2:7 is the clearer verse and it tells us exactly what a soul is.

  • This is Worthy 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OneLight, I believe the word "spirit" in your first example is a reference to a different kind of spirit what we typically refer to as "character", similar to how we would use the word in regards to "school spirit", "Christmas spirit" or "the spirit of giving".  It is in fact the same word used in 2 Corinthians 4:13 which speaks of "the spirit of faith".

Take this definition of spirit:   those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group .

The word "soul", as I explained in the OP refers to what we are, as in "a living creature".  Man became a soul when God breathed life into his nostrils in Genesis 2:7.  The original Greek word used here is Psuche.  However, psuche can also be a reference to a person's individuality or "self".  Either way, this word is a reference to a person's life and existence as a soul.

So given the context, I believe that passage can be paraphrased as "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your character, life, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.".

 

Now let me ask you something.  How do you reject the many passages that say we return to the dust of the earth when we die?

  • Oy Vey! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OpenMind, here is a simple definition of both spirit and soul:

spirit:

  1. the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son

    1. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the "Holy" Spirit)

    2. sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of "Truth")

    3. never referred to as a depersonalised force

  2. the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated

    1. the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides

    2. the soul

  3. a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting

    1. a life giving spirit

    2. a human soul that has left the body

    3. a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel

      1. used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men

      2. the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ

  4. the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one

    1. the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc.

  5. a movement of air (a gentle blast)

    1. of the wind, hence the wind itself

    2. breath of nostrils or mouth

 

soul:

  1. breath

    1. the breath of life

      1. the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing

        1. of animals

        2. of men

    2. life

    3. that in which there is life

      1. a living being, a living soul

  2. the soul

    1. the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)

    2. the (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life

    3. the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)

 

It is the context that defines the meaning of each.  It is not one meaning covers all.  I can go much deeper if you wish.

  • Thumbs Up 2
  • This is Worthy 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

 Jesus claimed the thief being crucified next to him would be with Him in paradise that day. 

Your explanation sounds like it's from adjusted Watch Tower teaching without the quotes and terms from Chaz Russell, "The man Jesus is dead, forever dead." and "A body without life force is non-existent."  

We are made in the image and likeness of God. God created man, He created woman from man and man goes into a woman and procreates a third. The unity God had with humanity was corrupted and death entered in. Through the disobedience of one man sin entered and death came but through the obedience and shed blood of another, Jesus the righteous, we have eternal life. 

Sometimes understanding is very simplistic and glorious but we need to remember that it's the sum of the word that is true. Paul speaks of being absent from the body to be present with the Lord in 2Cor. 5 and when he was taken up to the third heaven he really couldn't say he understood what was happening but what he saw was beyond description. What Paul experienced in not knowing how all that was taking place is a good example or piece of what it will be like, a conscience presents, sort of like our conscience when we sleep. But without the confusions and nightmares. I believe it's why sleep terminology is used.

So what you are saying is we don't exist when we die. Non-existent?  

Edited by Zemke

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, OpenMind said:

OneLight, I believe the word "spirit" in your first example is a reference to a different kind of spirit what we typically refer to as "character", similar to how we would use the word in regards to "school spirit", "Christmas spirit" or "the spirit of giving".  It is in fact the same word used in 2 Corinthians 4:13 which speaks of "the spirit of faith".

Take this definition of spirit:   those qualities regarded as forming the definitive or typical elements in the character of a person, nation, or group .

The word "soul", as I explained in the OP refers to what we are, as in "a living creature".  Man became a soul when God breathed life into his nostrils in Genesis 2:7.  The original Greek word used here is Psuche.  However, psuche can also be a reference to a person's individuality or "self".  Either way, this word is a reference to a person's life and existence as a soul.

So given the context, I believe that passage can be paraphrased as "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your character, life, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.".

 

Now let me ask you something.  How do you reject the many passages that say we return to the dust of the earth when we die?

So you call the Holy Spirit the holy life?  When we are born again of the Holy Spirit we have much more than a holy life.  He is God. Likewise spirit is more than life. 

1Pe 1:8  Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,  1Pe 1:9  obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Php 1:21  For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  Php 1:22  If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.Php 1:23  I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

It can hardly be gain to die and lay asleep in a putrid rotting body.  He is talking about his soul, that which is "me", will depart his body and be with Christ when he dies.  You can look forward to sleep in a stinking decaying body if you wish, but I am not staying there!  Old Testament Scriptures do not apply to born again Christians.  They are friends of the Bridegoom as was John the Baptist.  In the Old Testament they went to Abraham's bosom whose hope was in the coming Messiah.

2Co 5:8  Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.    AMEN!!!

  • Thumbs Up 1
  • Brilliant! 1
  • Praise God! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, OpenMind said:

 

 

Premise

Traditionally most people believe that there is a ghost-like “spirit” inside of our bodies, and when we die, this spirit floats away somewhere, preferably heaven.

I will show that the Bible actually does not support this theory.  In fact, according to the Bible there is no spirit inside of us at all.  We exist only as mortal bodies, made from dust having been given the breath of life.  And it is this “breath of life” that is confused with, or interpreted as, a “spirit”. 

 

What Happens When We Die

Scripture says it plainly. 

Genesis 3:19

By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Job 7:21

Why then do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity?  For now I will lie down in the dust; And You will seek me, but I will not be."

Job 14:10:12

But man dies and lies prostrate man expires, and where is he? "As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens are no longer, he will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.

Psalm 115:17

The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.

Psalm 146:4

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing

Over and over again the Bible says that the dead know nothing.  These are only a few examples.  The dead don’t think.  They don’t praise the Lord.  They have no consciousness.  They return to the earth, as dust.  Their plans perish and they cease to exist.  Ecclesiastes 3 even tells us that man has no advantage over the beasts.  All go to one place, which is dust.

 

 

Death Compared to Sleep

Psalms 13:3

Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death,

1 Kings 2:10

Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David.

When Lazarus died, Jesus said he was sleeping. 

John 11:11-14

After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”  12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead

 

Why would Jesus compare Lazarus’ death to “sleep” if Lazarus’ spirit has ascended into heaven?  And why was there no mention of his spirit leaving his body? 

Matthew 9:24

He said, "Leave; for the girl has not died, but is asleep." And they began laughing at Him.

Daniel 12:2

Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.

Daniel was told he would “rest” until the resurrection. 

Daniel 12:13

As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance.”

If Daniel’s spirit was to go to heaven after death, then why was he told that he would rest?  Why did the angel not say instead, I’ll see you in heaven soon, or something to that effect?  It’s because Daniel wasn’t going to heaven.  He was going to the dust of the earth.  Daniel is now dead.  He is not in heaven.  He’s dead in the dust of the earth and on the day of the resurrection, he will rise, along with the rest of us.

 

 

What Happens When we are Resurrected

The resurrection, as Paul describes it, actually also proves that we have no spirit in us that goes to heaven when we die. 

Imagine if we did have a spirit.  We would fly up to heaven and we would do whatever we do in heaven.  Praise the Lord, play Frisbee, eat BBQ chicken.  No matter how you envision an existence in heaven, it would require at the very least that we have a consciousness, a thought process and a free will to continue to make decisions.  All of this would contradict the old testament verses above.

 

It would also contradict the new testament book of 1 Corinthians, because according to Paul this life in a spiritual body, which we imagine in heaven, does not come to us until the very last day, when we are resurrected.

1 Corinthians 15:42

So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:46

The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the dust of the earth; the second man is of heaven.

Paul clearly states that we are created with a natural body, not a spiritual body.  We will be transformed into a spiritual body upon the resurrection.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual”.  In other words, when God created us, we were not given spiritual bodies, only natural bodies, but we would receive spiritual bodies later, upon the resurrection.

Our bodies are sewn natural, raised spiritual.  This is the point of the resurrection, to make us spiritual so that we can be immortal.  So if you believe that we already have immortal spirits that leave our bodies when we die, you have a conundrum.

 

The Spiritual Conundrum

Imagine the traditional teaching, where we have a spirit and we go to heaven as a spirit when we die.  Then please tell me, what is the point of the resurrection? 

If we are already in heaven, as immortal spirits, then why would we need to be transformed into spirits on the last day?  If it is so, then when our bodies on earth are transformed into spirits, do we end up with two spirits?  The one in heaven and the one on earth?  Would both spirits have their own separate consciousness?  Do our spirits in heaven then join our old bodies which have been transformed?  Would we then be a spirit within a spirit?  Two spirits?  What nonsense! 

If we’re being transformed into spirits, then we can not already be spirits, otherwise what would be the point?  The point of the resurrection is to make us immortal.  To make us spirits.  This would be entirely nonsensical if we are already living as spirits in heaven, and this is how Paul’s description of the resurrection proves that we do not have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after death.

 

 

Soul (Nephesh)

To add to the confusion, in addition to the obvious body and the presumed spirit, we also supposedly possess a “soul”.  What is a soul?  You are a soul.

Genesis 2:7

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.

Notice in the verse above that man became a living soul.  He was not given a soul.  He became a soul.  In other words, we do not have souls, we are souls.

The word soul in this verse was originally written in Hebrew as לְנֶ֥פֶשׁ which is transliterated as nephesh.  Strong’s concordance defines nephesh as “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion”.  With this definition in mind, the last part of Genesis 2:7 can be paraphrased as, for example “man became alive” or “man became an individual”.  It is in fact the very moment when man gained his self awareness and free will.

The same word occurs 754 times in the old testament, so we can’t look at all examples but let’s look at one more.

Genesis 1:20

And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life (Nephesh), and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here the King James Bible translates it as “creature that hath life”.  Remember, this is the same word that was translated as “soul” in Genesis 2:7.  The more examples you look at the more obvious it becomes that when the word “soul” is used in scripture it refers simply to “a living creature”.

So keep in mind the true meaning of the word Nephesh, which can be translated as soul, living creature, person or individual, when you read verses such as…

Ezekiel 18:20

The soul who sins shall die.

The living creature who sins…

The person who sins…

The individual who sins…

 

 

 

The Spirit (Ruach)

On the flip side, there are a number of verses that can be used to support the notion that we all have a spirit inside of us that continues to live after the body dies.  And at first glance, some of these verses are very convincing. 

For example

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

2 Corinthians 5:8

Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

James 2:26

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

 

Obviously, the key to understanding such verses is understanding the meaning of “spirit”.  As it turns out, in these examples, the word spirit refers to the breath of God, which is life.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

This verse seems to imply that our spirit goes up to heaven when we die, but actually “spirit” here refers to the life that God breathed into man in Genesis 2:7.  It’s the life that returns to God, because the life came from God.

Genesis 2:7

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.

The word used through the old testament for spirit is the Hebrew word Ruach ר֫וּחַ, which can also be translated as “breath or wind”.   In fact, this is how it is translated in various other verses including Genesis 7:15 and Psalm 104:29.

Genesis 7:15

Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life (ruach) in them came to Noah and entered the ark.

Psalm 104:29

When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath (ruach), they die and return to the dust.

When God gave man life, it was his breath/wind/spirit which God gave.  The spirit of God is life.  And it’s this spirit, this life, that returns to God in Ecclesiastes 12:7

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (ruach – life / breath) returns to God who gave it.

Other verses clearly explain that it is the spirit of God, or the breath of God, that has given us life. 

John 6:63 says The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you--they are full of the Spirit and life.

Job 33:4 says The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

 

The many Hebrew names of God in fact include the word Ruach each time.

English Name

 

Hebrew Name

 

The Spirit of God

Ruach Elohim

The Spirit of the Lord

Ruach Adonai

The Holy Spirit

Ruach Hakkodesh

The Spirit of the Lord God

Ruach Adonai Elohim

The Spirit of God

Ruach-El

 

 

 

 

 

Clearly, the word Ruach does not refer to a ghostly spirit that lives inside each of us, but rather the breath of life which came from God himself, and which is a part of God himself.  Let’s look at the verse again.

Ecclesiastes 12:7

the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit (breath of life) returns to God who gave it.

And now compare that to the verse that describes man becoming a living creature.

Genesis 2:7

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.

In other words, God gave his living spirit (Ruach) and man became a living soul (Nephesh). 

 

 

When Jesus Died

When this discussion of a spirit comes up people often point to references around Jesus’ death on the cross as proof that his “spirit” left him. 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

 

I used to think, as most people do, that each reference to “spirit” in these verses referred to a conscious ghostly entity that left Jesus’ body and floated up to heaven (or hell, depending on who you ask) where Jesus continued to “live”.  However, if we look at the original Greek word used we get an entirely different picture.

Remember, the Hebrew word translated as spirit in the old testament is Ruach and it means “breath” or “wind”.  In the new testament the original text is Greek and in each of these three verses above, the word translated as spirit is the Greek word “Pneuma”.  Pneuma means “wind, breath, spirit”.  It has the exact same meaning as the Hebrew Ruach.  Go figure.

Also remember that in Genesis 2:7 God created man and gave man the breath of life.  That god given breath is not just a simple breath that we take for granted; it is life.  So if we understand that the Greek meaning of the word “pneuma” is actually a reference to life itself which God breathed into us, these verses suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

 

Luke 23:46

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit life.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.

Matthew 27:50

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit life.

John 19:30

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit life.

Of course, looking back at it now, it seems so obvious that Jesus did not continue to live in spirit form after his death, because if that were the case he wouldn’t have really died.  But he actually did die.  He really died.  The breath of life left him and he died.

There is literally no Bible verse that claims there is a ghostly spirit inside each of us that lives on after death.  In fact, quite the opposite.  All indications are that when we die, we return to the dust of the earth, without any consciousness, knowing nothing and realizing nothing.  And it’s only at the resurrection, when the breath of God returns to us, that we become spiritual creatures.

 

 

Further Evidence

Acts 2:29

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day”

Acts 2:34

For David is not ascended into the heavens

John 5:28-29

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth

John 3:13

And no man has ascended up to heaven

You are talking about soul sleep and that is not biblical. When a believer dies their body stays in the grave and their soul goes immediately to heaven. Their body will be resurrected at the rapture of the Church. When a nonbeliever dies their soul goes immediately to Hades and their soul will be resurrected at the end of the 1000 year millennium to be judged at the White Throne judgment and they will be thrown into the eternal fire of hell 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.When the Bible talks about sleep it is not a literal sleep but death. Some of the religions that believe in soul sleep are SDA, JW and Christadelphians. 

 

  • This is Worthy 2
  • Loved it! 1
  • Brilliant! 1
  • Oy Vey! 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...