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Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text
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Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text 7 months ago #5104

Hello board, thank you giving me access. I would like to share a few thoughts from an longtime believer in soul sleep. I was raised in a JW family. Back then I did not believe much but I sometimes feared doomsday and apocalyptic judgments but never believed in eternal torment . Later in adult life I became a believer and re-examined the JW beliefs and this particular doctrine I found worthy to keep.

Job 14:10-15 goes from describing the dead as permanently sleeping (eoanian / endless as far as this present world goes) to declaring the hope of the resurrection. Exactly as Jesus preached and Martha believed (John 11:12, 24). Paul says if the dead are not resurrected, then the Christian faith is in vain and the saints lost (1 Corinthians 15:16-19). I don’t see how anyone can ignore this fatal blow to the idea of disembodied spirits in bliss in “the good part of the Hadean realm".

But there are some verses and passages that can seem very difficult. "Lazarus in hell" in Luke 16 is one example. But go to Isaiah 14:9-10 and see some very similar symbolism. An amazing story of how the mighty ruler is brought down to rulers who already died and how his coming awakes them from their sleep. Lazarus is resting in the bosom of the good father of the nation, while the rich have had his blessings. This is about the fate of the good true believers / Israelites being turned and the bad ones judged and punished.

Another “prooftext” is when the thief said “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:42-43). We are supposed to believe this is a dead blow to soulsleep. But the argument is based on much assumption and ignorance about the way the Bible uses day. Sometimes day is 24 hours, sometimes not. God “God again set a certain day, calling it “Today” for his people (Hebrews 3:7). “The acceptable time” to accept the Gospel is “the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2), the 40 days walk in the wilderness was “a day of trial” (Hebrews 3:8 ) and we are to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” (Hebrews 3:13), so today can consist of many days indeed. “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4).
The thief after much suffering on the cross fell asleep in Christ and will be resurrected to life in the Kingdom.


Singalphile for some reason I can not respond to your post below:

Hello and thank you for wellcome

I think evidence of an intermediate state is seen as evidence of the immortality of the soul. God has to place the immortal souls somewhere. Luke 16 "Lazarus in hell" and "today you will be with me in paradise" is seen as evidence of the wicked being tormented until the day of judgment. Then their immortal souls willl be thrown into the lake of fire. ... But immortality is a gift .
Last Edit: 6 months, 4 weeks ago by webb. Reason: fix unintended emoticon

Re: Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text 7 months ago #5107

  • Singalphile
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Hi, Bjerregaard. Welcome!

Like others here (example), I don't understand why the question of the intermediate state has anything at all to do with conditionalism or hell.

I regard myself as a conditionalist/annihilationist, but I have no strong opinion about what happens to those who die before then. My best guess is that believers remain alive in Christ somehow and the lost do not, or perhaps only briefly, or maybe some do and some don't, I don't know. I think we have or are in some way a spirit/soul, but I don't care one way or the other. I would argue that it has absolutely nothing to do with the final judgment/punishment. In fact, I would argue that it muddies the waters, in my opinion.

To my knowledge, there is no teaching about the intermediate state in Scripture. There are possible hints and vague references, often in poetry (e.g., Job, Isaiah), metaphors (like "sleep"), and illustrations (parables), which are usually in the context of some other instruction. I suppose that most of the biblical speakers (e.g. Job) and authors knew a good deal less about it than we do, which is to say that they knew nothing about it. God could have told them and us all plainly through inspired Scripture if He wanted to.
"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.

Re: Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text 6 months ago #5177

Hello. I've never been a Jehovah's Witness, and I wouldn't describe my view as "soul sleep", but I do basically agree with that doctrine (just not the name). I think the Bible very clearly teaches that humans are material/physical beings who do not maintain conscious existence after the death of the body.

Living humans are "living souls" when they possess the breath of life given by God that animates the body, as it clearly states at the creation of Adam (man) in Genesis 2:7. This is exactly the same nature of animals, as Genesis chapter one (in Hebrew) clearly tells us (as a former JW, you're well aware of this). When God curses the creation and punishes mankind in Genesis 3 he explicitly tells Adam in verse 19, "For you are dust, and to dust you shall return." Notice Adam is dust (dust being a metaphor meaning that Adam is a physical being). This tells us 1. People in their nature are not ghosts, or spirits, or some sort of mystical conscious essence that survives the death of the body. No, people are dust, physical, material, earthly creatures, just like the animals. 2. In death we do not go to some spooky netherworld, or blissful floaty-place, we simply return to dust. Before we were living physical beings did we have a conscious existence? No. After the death of the body we go back to what we were before, dust without conscious existence. This is the same of human nature in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:47-49)

That's just from the creation/fall. There are many other verses affirming that people are dust endowed by God with the breath of life (NOT ghosts wearing flesh-suits): Ps 90:3; 103:14; 22:29; 30:9; 104:29; Gen 18:27; Job 10:9; 12:9-10; 33:4; 27:3; 34:14-15; Ecc 3:20; 12:27; Dan 12:2; Is 2:22, etc.

Animals are also called "living souls" (just like humans are) elsewhere in the Bible: Gen 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15, 16; Lev 11:10, 46; 24:18; Num 31:28; Job 41:21; Ez 47:9.

Ecclesiastes 3:18 literally says "humans are animals" (though most translations add the word "like", so that it says "people are like animals", which is NOT what the Hebrew says!) verse 19 goes on to tell us that "man has no advantage over the animals" and verse 20 explains that they both go to the same place when they die, heaven? No, dust!

In Job 10 Job talks about how he wishes that he would have just died at birth, and it's interesting that he says in verse 19, "I would have been as though I had not been. I would have been carried from the womb to the grave." How on earth do people get around that verse? Job clearly equates death with non-existence. He clearly states that if he would have died at birth it would have been as if he never existed at all! Exactly as I stated earlier, when we die we go back to the same state we were in before we were born, non-existence!

Also see Job 3:11-13; 14:10-15; and Job's future hope was clearly in the resurrection of his body, not in going to a floaty-place as a ghost, 19:25-27.

David also expresses over-and-over gain in the psalms that there is no conscious existence in death - 6:5; 13:3; 30:9; 88:9-12; 115:17-18; 146:3-4.

In Ecclesiastes 9:3-6 tells us that both human emotions and all cognitive activities cease at the death of the body.

If Christians really go to heaven when they die as disembodied ghosts, then how could Paul has written that if there is no future resurrection of the body, "Then they also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished." (1 Cor 15:18) What do you mean they perished? Aren't they alive right now with Jesus in heaven? Nope, not according to Paul. If our bodies are not brought back to life at some point then everyone, including Christians, have perished and have no conscious existence. The only way to defeat death, according to the Bible, is by bodily resurrection. I have no idea how people get around a verse like that.

Yes, there are certain problem passages with this view (as with every view), but they're all rather weak, and they all assume a soul/body dualism that the Bible doesn't teach. What people really need to do is present a biblical case for a dualist understanding of the nature of man, where the essence of man is a conscious ghost that can survive the death of the body. But there's no good evidence for that, so their entire case collapses.

There are many, many verses that clearly teach that souls can die. For example, Jesus himself explicitly taught this in Matthew 10:28. The Bible also clearly says that God alone possesses immortality in 1 Timothy 6:16, so to claim that human souls are inherently immortal or eternal is actually not only unbiblical, but also blasphemous, because people are taking an attribute that belongs only to God and applying it to people.
Last Edit: 6 months ago by dancingclare.

Re: Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text 6 months ago #5180

  • Singalphile
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Bjerregaard wrote:
I think evidence of an intermediate state is seen as evidence of the immortality of the soul. God has to place the immortal souls somewhere. Luke 16 "Lazarus in hell" and "today you will be with me in paradise" is seen as evidence of the wicked being tormented until the day of judgment. Then their immortal souls willl be thrown into the lake of fire. ... But immortality is a gift .


Perhaps it is seen as such, but I don't think it should be. I think it's easy enough to show that whether or not those in Christ (and possibly those who are not) remain alive (in Christ or not) during the intermediate state has nothing to do with whether or not both believers and unbelievers will actually remain alive forever (i.e., will be immortal). Once that is easily proven, then there's no reason to debate the intermediate state as it relates to the final state of the lost. It's a distraction, I would say, and you will likely lose the debate based on losing a weaker point that is not even relevant to the much stronger point, imo.

As has been stated on the Rethinking Hell podcast a number of times, Christ brought immortality to light and those in Christ might live on in Christ until the resurrection (assuming a "soul" or "spirit"). And God may "keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment" (2 Peter 2:9). ... or you can interpret those another way. As for whether or not the lost will perish, be destroyed (sóma/body and psuché/soul) at the second death, the intermediate state does not matter one way or the other, I would say.

So again, those passages don't need to present any difficulty for annihilationism/CI, imo.
"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.

Re: Some of my favorite prooftexts and difficult text 4 months, 3 weeks ago #5203

I believe in the sleeping Mother, Mother Nature, our universe. I believe that those not in Christ (pre and post Jesus) become one with her sleeping consciousness (sheol) . They shed their human body and become one with the universe and the universe is then their body.

Those in Christ die and become one with the Body of Christ who is not sleeping. Their consciousness is now one with Christs consciousness. Their body is now gone and Christ is now their body.

In. both cases, individual consciousness is lost and the dead person knows nothing until the resurrection.

Right now while we are alive we are one with Mother Nature. Those who are in Christ are one with her and with Christ at the same time.
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