Your typical orthodox Christian believes that man was made in God's image and hence can never *truly* die in that death to them means only a body dies while a soul lives on.In other words,to typical Christians,even death means life.Even in death there exists immortality.They don't think the person perishes,only the person's body with no one in it.The bible says in 1 Tim 6:15-16:
"God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,who *alone* is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light"
From what I've examined prayerfully in scripture(and this paragraph is kind of on a side note..forgive me),when the bible says God "alone" is something,it doesn't mean no one else can be.What it means is that no one else is but by his granting or allowance.In other words,God gives to all and no one has to give him anything at all.For him,it's a "given."For us,it's a "gift."For example,scripture says God alone is immortal,but others can be MADE immortal by him.God alone is savior,but others can be sent by him to save,essentially becoming saviors...etc..(Isaiah 43:11,1 Samuel 23:5)
If God makes us immortal or grants us the gift of everlasting life,it is only then that we can boast of possessing what God originally intended for man before sin entered the picture.No,those overcome with sin do not receive immortality.This should be clear.In fact,it was God's whole point in Genesis when conversing with Adam about the consequences of failing to exercise faith properly.Immortality and life after death weren't the outcome of disobedience!So why is it taught by mainstream Christianity that disobedience breeds immortality just like exercising faith does?
I'm not sure what God could have possibly said to define death for us so that we could know what it is.Could he have said that the dead don't think or breathe?Well,he did.(Ps. 146:4)Could he have said they sleep and cease to function?Well,he did.(Ecclesiastes 9:5,10,John 1:11)Could he have said that the only hope is a resurrection BACK to life to prove that the dead aren't alive?Well,he did.(John 5:25,Acts 24:15)The Book of Wisdom says in 2:23,24(from the New Jerusalem Bible):
"For God created human beings to be immortal,he made them as an image of his own nature;*Death came into the world only through the Devil's envy*,as those who belong to him find to their cost."
Here the author agrees with the bible when it contrasts,as opposed to compares,immortality and death.Here we see that God intended man to live forever,inhabiting and caring for a perfect earth in peace and happiness(according to Genesis),but death came upon men through the sin of the first man.(Romans 5:17,18)It is only an exercising of faith in the Lord and his God that we receive the GIFT(as opposed to the "given") of immortality.If sinners automatically receive everlasting life(in whatever capacity) this would make moot of God's sentiments to the first Adam that he would "surely die" if he were to sin.(Gen. 2:17)God should have said something like "you will surely live forever in agony instead of bliss" instead were the orthodox view of death palpable.Death is the stark opposite of life.In life there is breath and vitality and awakeness.In death,lack of breath and unconsciousness.Again,death is the antithesis to life as opposed to the equivalent.God uses terminology such as "ashes" and the like to communicate easy reasoning about death for our consideration,to define it precisely for us in fact so that Plato and others shouldn't have been able to fool us.When we go beyond that terminology with our own ideas is when we fall into error.God used specific language to educate and instruct us, and I would guess he never desired for us to discard common sense use of the simplistic terminology he kindly provided by going (far)beyond what he said with contradictory propositions to accommodate long held traditions.The bible says in Deuteronomy 30:19:
"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live."
Here again we have a clear contrast in life and death.They are not synonyms.If death meant "life in bliss" or "life in hell" after the body dies with no one in it,then it would be a synonym with life.Where IS the contrast in life and death,in turning to ashes and receiving immortality for Christians?If you don't comprehend the simple and appropriate contrast,then when and how was it lost?Ashes,consumption,not breathing or thinking,sleeping(etc.) all apparently mean "awake and alive"(nonsensically enough) to Christians.
The bible doesn't define immortality as two types..one good,the other scary.It defines our hope of glory in Christ as an immortality worth seeking with everything we have,every ounce of that concept of immortality being fantastic!Nothing scary about it.Gehenna(hell in Greek) is scary,but it consumes.(Matt. 3:12,Mal. 4:3)Yes,the fate of those who don't seek the precious gift of immortality is described as "death","perishing","destruction","consumption","ashes".(Rom. 6:23,Jn. 3:16,Matt. 3:12,Mal. 4:3)The wicked are tossed into the lake of fire(or the second death from which there can be no resurrection in it's frightening hopeless finality)along with death and hades.The bible also says death will "exist no more"..It is the last enemy to be utterly destroyed.(1 Cor. 15:26)So apparently whatever is thrown into the lake of fire(including the wicked and death) will be utterly and irreversibly destroyed.(Rev. 20:14,Matt. 10:28)Therefore there is no "eternal dying process" nor blessed gift of immortality for the wicked.How could anyone miss these basic truths?
2 Tim. 4:3:For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
You simply cannot say death will be no more when it's tossed in the lake of fire but that the wicked will be forevermore alive in the flames of that same lake.That would defy logic and basic common sense,assigning the same lake within the same scriptural passage with two different functions,to suit a theological presupposition.This would not be honest exegesis,but rather egregious eisegesis.The two functions that Christians assign the same lake in the same text are to preserve the wicked while destroying death.Two complete opposite functions from the same source within the same text!While they at the same time propagate the opposite of what the bible says when they claim that death will actually exist forever in a process of sadistic torture for the wicked.If death for the wicked means eternal life in flames and death will be destroyed,then how could death be perpetuated eternally in flames that preserve the wicked infinitely?Either death will be destroyed OR there will be an "eternal dying process",which is how I've heard some Christian apologists describe the fate of the unrighteous.It can't be both ways.I'm sure many traditionalists would say "death will be no more for the righteous but perpetuated infinitely only for the wicked."However,the bible simply says that it won't be anymore at all,while failing to acknowledge it's preservation for most of humanity like traditionalists choose to do.If there is automatic immortality in death for both the righteous and unrighteous(according to traditionalists),would it be true that those who inherit the kingdom of God will be dead eternally?If the dead are alive(both the righteous and unrighteous dead),I'm assuming so?
One of the most enticing savory morsels of good news in scripture is that the righteous can receive immortality.This gift of eternal life for us was manifest when God's "word of life",or his plans to give life to the world, became flesh in Yahushua.(1 John 1:1,2,John 1:14)This eternal life plan of the Father for mankind in his beloved Son will culminate in a kingdom where death will be no more,neither sickness,mourning nor pain.(Rev. 21:3,4)Yah's kingdom will put an end to all the kingdoms of this world and will last forever and ever.(Dan. 2:44)So question is:
"Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God..(2 Peter 3:11-13)"
Yes,"according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells."(2 Peter 3:13)Like our Lord said: "blessed are the meek,for they shall inherit the earth."(Matt. 5:5)
God has put it in out hearts to desire immortality and to desire his approval and love because that's what he can provide for us.(Ecc. 3:11)He doesn't give us any righteous desire that he isn't willing to meet if we listen to him.(Eph. 3:20)The immortality he put in our hearts wasn't a promise of eternal pain for us if we're wicked in one of it's supposed two spectrums.Put quite simply,so that even a child could understand:
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."(Rom. 6:23)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."(John 3:16)
Again we have a contrasting of death and perishing with eternal life.They're not synonyms in any respect.One involves lack of breath and life..the other breath and life eternally.The latter is God's word made flesh.Our hope of glory in Christ.Thy kingdom come!
The former(death) is described further in the book of Wisdom(which I will end here with because it was Wisdom 2:23,24 that inspired this blog to begin with):
"The breath in our nostrils is a puff of smoke,reason a spark from the beating of our hearts;extinguish this and the body turns to ashes,and the spirit melts away like the yielding air."
Scripture is clear that when the spirit leaves the body,there is no life left anywhere except that God can return your life in a resurrection.Hence the metaphorical "spirit returning to God" when we die because he will give our lives and breath and animation(spirits) back in a resurrection.(Spirit means "breath" but entails more in that there's a spark of life that animates our souls.)In this remarkable sense,our "spirits" are in God's hands.The focus is always life in a resurrection..as opposed to life in death.There is life in death only in the sense that the dead are promised a resurrection.The resurrection is of entire persons and not bodies with no persons in them,common sensically as well as biblically.When Yahushua preached that we would be raised at the last day,he wasn't preaching that we'd already be alive before we came back alive.If so,surely there would have been some serious clarification somewhere because that notion would be astounding considering our hope from biblical cover to cover is a resurrection back to life FROM death,as opposed to life AT or IN death(as if they're synonyms instead of antonyms)itself.God doesn't intend to confuse us with basic essential doctrines.He states them so simply that even children can grasp the truth.(see John 3:16,again)Seek for immortality.If you do not exercise faith,God did not promise it to you.Those who teach eternal life(even if it's in torment) for the wicked misunderstand a very basic bible truth.Follow the path of Yahushua and let everyone know they can receive eternal life in a resurrection if they exercise faith in the Messiah.