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Sermon No: 25978-Do I have a soul - Part 4



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SERMON TOPIC: Do I have a soul - Part 4

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 1 October 2017

Topic Groups: THE SOUL, PSYCHOLOGY, APOLOGETICS

Sermon synopsis: Christian theologians differ on how many components make up the human being.
- One part (Monism) – the view that humans are not composed of various components (i.e. body, soul), but rather as a radical unity.
- Two parts (Dichotomism) - the belief that humans are comprised of a material component (body) and a nonmaterial component (soul, or spirit).
- Three parts (Trichotomism) – holds that humans are comprised of three different elements: body, soul, spirit.

Dualism is the traditional Christian view… that the human being is made up of 2 components: material (body/flesh) and spiritual (soul/spirit). The soul or spirit departs from the body at death, and will be reunited with the body at the resurrection.

We will examine the following claims by Monists:
- Their view is closer to that of the Hebrew OT and Dichotomism and Trichotomism are derived from Greek philosophy.
- The Bible doesn’t teach that man has a separate eternal soul and the Hebrew word translated as “spirit” (ruach) simply means “breath”.
- Soul sleep: The soul/spirit dies when the body dies. Or alternatively the soul sleeps - there is no consciousness.
- Monism appears to be more consistent with modern neuroscience.
- The unrighteous soul will cease to exist instead of suffering eternally (annihilationism).
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DO I HAVE A SOUL?

(PART 4)

In parts 1 and 2, we asked the question “Does man have a soul and/ or spirit?”

The answer is “Not according to many atheistic psychiatrists and neuroscientists, but ‘Yes’ according to God’s Word.”

Chemical psychology/ psychiatry and atheistic neuroscientists deny the existence of the non-material soul of man, viewing man as only a physical being – a biological machine simply comprised of a bunch of chemicals.

DO WE HAVE A SOUL?

The materialist form of psychiatry says you’re only matter - therefore bad behaviour is due to a chemical imbalance in your brain. Thus you are sick and your behaviour can be treated by drugs which alter your chemical balance.

SICK OR SINNER?

The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) uses scientistic 1 and medical sounding labels to create the illusion that your behaviour is a medical problem, disorder and disease. Billing an insurance company for treating little Johnny's “temper tantrum” would be rightly met with scorn. But create a scientistic and medical sounding label called, “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder” and the insurance company start writing cheques. There is no difference between a “temper tantrum” and “Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder”, but the latter sounds like a mental disorder that needs to be treated by a doctor. Therein lays the fraud and the conn of the modern psychiatry and the DSM-5. 2

1 Characterized by or having an exaggerated belief in the principles and methods of science 2 http:// www.bible.ca/ psychiatry/ psychiatry-mental-illness-DSM-5-ICD-10-master-index-fraud-counterfeit-money-grab.htm

CHOICE & FREE WILL

The DSM-5 has over 300 categories of everyday human behaviour that are usually one of the 153 sins listed in the Bible. E.g. “Dysthymia disorder” is Greek for “someone who sulks, is negative and self-pitying”. “Histrionic disorder” is Greek for “someone who loves to be the centre of attention through inappropriate emotional expressions, including seductive behaviour if all else fails.” 1 A person with Alcohol Use Disorder is simply termed a drunkard by the Bible.

God’s Word says that, unlike real disease, sin is something we can avoid and overcome. God will hold you accountable for your actions – you cannot shift the blame to someone or something else. Bad behaviour is your fault. You don’t need a pill! Your spirit (which many psychiatrists deny that you even have) needs to be regenerated by God.

1 Ibid

CHOICE & FREE WILL

In part 3 we looked at the value of a soul and saw that Jesus said it was worth more than the whole world.

Matt 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

THE VALUE OF A SOUL

Why is your soul so valuable?

It is eternal and does not cease to exist at death (Rev 6:9-10, 2 Cor 4:16-18).

Your soul is valuable because it is made in God’s image (Gen 1:27).

The soul/ spirit is what distinguishes us from the animal kingdom (Psalm 8:4-8).

The value of your soul can be measured by…

… God’s concern for saving your soul (2 Pet 3:9).

… Satan’s interest in it. He is after your soul (Luke 8:12).

THE VALUE OF A SOUL

Q: How do you determine the value of any object?

A: Ask any real estate appraiser. The value of something is determined by how much someone is willing to pay for it.

Q: How valuable is your soul?

A: Your soul was purchased. 1 Cor 6:19-20 says, “You are not your own; you were bought at a price.”

But how much was Jesus prepared to pay for it? The price that Jesus was prepared to pay for it was his life. So he valued our souls as worth the life of the Son of God. Isn’t that staggering?

DETERMINING VALUE

A PEARL OF GREAT PRICE

Jesus said that your soul is a “Hidden Treasure” and a “Pearl of Great Price”. In the latter parable the merchant “sold everything he had” to possess the pearl. Jesus also laid aside everything he had and came to earth to pay the ultimate price to redeem our souls.

1 Pet 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

THEOLOGIANS VIEW OF THE SOUL

Christian theologians differ on how many components make up the human being.

One part (Monism) – the view that humans are not composed of various components (i.e. body, soul), but rather as a radical unity.

Two parts (Dichotomism) - the belief that humans are comprised of a material component (body) and a nonmaterial component (soul, or spirit).

Three parts (Trichotomism) – holds that humans are comprised of three different elements: body, soul, spirit.

IS MAN 1,2 OR 3 PARTS?

MONISM

Some believe that the human being is an indissoluble unity. This is known as holism or monism. The body and soul are not considered separate components of a person, but rather as two facets of a united whole.

Monism is the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christadelphians and liberal theologians like the Anglican scholar J.A.T. Robinson (1919-83).

Monists correctly emphasize that the physical nature (flesh) of man is good because God created it. They also correctly assert that God’s ultimate desire is that his people be created anew as a unity (body + soul).

However they are mistaken that there can be no separation between the two natures at death!

MONISM – 1 PART

According to SDA teaching: Humans are an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit. They do not possess an immortal soul and there is no consciousness after death” (commonly referred to as soul sleep). 1

Others who believe in soul sleep include various Church of God organizations and related denominations which adhere to the older teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God. 2

1 Fundamental beliefs 7,26 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Seventh-day_Adventist_Church 2 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Christian_

MONISM – 1 PART

Monists claim that their view is closer to that of the Hebrew OT and that Dichotomism and Trichotomism are derived from Greek philosophy. They hold that “The Hebrew idea of personality is an animated body, and not an incarnated soul”. 1

Greek View: Soul trapped in a body

Hebrew View: Body animated by a soul

1 H. Wheeler Robinson, “Hebrew Psychology,” in The People and the Book, p. 362)

MONISM – 1 PART

Yet in the Hebrew OT, we have the case of Samuel who has died and whose spirit is called back from the dead.

1 Sam 28:3,13 (NASB) Now Samuel was dead… The king said to her, “Do not be afraid; but what do you see?” And the woman said to Saul, “I see a divine being coming up out of the earth.”

HEBREW OT

While accusing Dualists of being influenced by Greek philosophy, the same accusation came be made of monists. While Plato was a dualist, his pupil Aristotle (384–322 BC) had views similar to monists. Although he believed that we are made up of two components - a body (matter) and a soul or ‘psyche’ (the form), unlike Plato he held that the soul is an integral part of the body. You can’t have one without the other. The soul animates the body, by organising a potential living body into an actual living body. He used these analogies:

If the body were an ax, the soul will be its ability to chop

If the body were an eye, the soul would be its ability to see

There can be no soul present without the body 1

1 https:// revisionworld.com

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

Aristotle said, “It is not necessary to ask whether soul and body are one, just as it is not necessary to ask whether the wax and its shape are one…” 1

Aristotle saw the relation between soul and body as uncomplicated, in the same way that it is uncomplicated that a cubical shape is a property of a toy building block. The soul is a property exhibited by the body, one among many. Moreover, Aristotle proposed that when the body perishes, so does the soul, just as the shape of a building block disappears with destruction of the block. 2

1 De Anima ii 1, 412b6–9 2 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Mind%E2%80%93body_problem

GREEK PHILOSOPHY

DUALISM

Dualism is the traditional Christian view… that the human being is made up of 2 components:

material (body/ flesh)

spiritual (soul/ spirit)

The soul or spirit departs from the body at death, and will be reunited with the body at the resurrection. In fact the most common conception of the nature of man is that man has an immortal soul and/ or spirit within him that is conscious after death. This was the understanding of the Greek philosophers, the Pharisees of Jesus’ day and remains the common belief in Islam, Eastern religions, animism, Gnosticism and various pagan religions.

Notable adherents: Augustine, John Calvin, Charles Hodge

DUALISM – 2 PARTS

Ancient Greek philosopher Plato (429– 347 BC) argued that, as the body is from the material world, the soul is from the world of ideas and is thus immortal. He believed the soul was temporarily united with the body and would only be separated at death, when it would return to the world of Forms. 1

Since the soul does not exist in time and space, as the body does, it can access universal truths. For Plato, ideas (or Forms) are the true reality, and are experienced by the soul. The body is for Plato empty in that it can not access the abstract reality of the world; it can only experience shadows. 1

1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Mind-body_problem

PLATONIC DUALISM

The Bible says that the body of man was lifeless until he received the breath of God.

Gen 2:7 (KJV) And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed (wayyippaḥ) into his nostrils the breath (nišmaṯ) of life; and man became a living soul (nephesh).

Even though the material (body) and immaterial (soul) are separate entities, they are also inextricably linked. When a man’s soul is afflicted (e.g. stress or depression), the body often suffers too.

Ps 31:9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

Prov 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

A SEPARATE SOUL

CLAIM BY MONISTS: the Bible doesn’t teach that man has a separate eternal soul and the Hebrew word translated as “spirit” (ruach) simply means “breath”.

But Jesus taught that man had a soul and that it is possible to kill the body without killing the soul. And so the following statement by Jesus is extremely troublesome for Christians who hold a monist view.

A SEPARATE SOUL

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. (Matt 10:28a)

CLAIM BY MONISTS: We don’t have a soul separate from the body. The soul/ spirit dies when the body dies. Or alternatively the soul sleeps – there is no consciousness.

SOUL SLEEP

They will use verses like “for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave” (Eccl 9:10 NASB) to try and back this up.

But this simply shows that the dead have no knowledge of what is happening on earth.

Thus we are forbidden to attempt to communicate with the dead in order to seek their advice - as mediums, clairvoyants and ancestor worshippers purport to do.

We are also wasting our time praying to dead saints who have no knowledge of the goings on in the land of the living, nor are they able to either hear our prayers or intercede to God on our behalf because “there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 2:5).

SOUL SLEEP

The SDA teach “Soul Sleep” i.e. we have no consciousness when we die until the resurrection. JW’s teach “soul annihilation.” i.e. when we die, the soul ceases to exist. At the future resurrection, the souls of the redeemed are recreated.

What about these passages?

Jesus said of Jairus’ dead daughter “Stop wailing, she is not dead but asleep.” (Luke 8:52)

SOUL SLEEP

When Stephen is martyred, Luke writes that “he fell on his knees and cried out, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60)

Paul says of the 500 people who witnessed Jesus’ resurrection that most “are still living, though some have fallen asleep” (1 Cor 15:6).

Speaking of the Rapture and the First Resurrection, Paul says that “we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep” (1 Thess 4:15).

Possibly alluding to death, he writes of those who partake of the Lord’s Table unworthily, “That is why … a number of you have fallen asleep.” (1 Cor 11:30).

SOUL SLEEP

When Lazarus has died, Jesus says, “our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep” (John 11:11). We see that “Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep” (v13).

Jesus points out that he was just using an analogy and “then he told them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead’” (v14). So the word “sleep” is used because in God’s eyes, death is a temporary condition – like sleep – and the sleeper can be woken. Thus Jesus says, “I am going there to wake him up.”

SOUL SLEEP

So to use these passages referring to death as sleep to “prove” Soul Sleep is to miss the point. The analogy was used to indicate the state of death is a temporary one, not that there is no consciousness – because elsewhere the Scripture speaks of consciousness outside of the body.

In addition how can describing a dead person as being “asleep” indicate cessation of existence as JWs assert?

A sleeping person has a heart that pumps, lungs that breathe, and a stomach that digests etc.

The mind of a sleeping person dreams. Furthermore the memory is still active. In a dream the sleeper remembers who they are and recognises people they know. When they wake they can often recall the dream, indicating their memory was operational at the time.

SOUL SLEEP

Soul sleep (mortalism) was not believed by the early church and Eusebius of Caesarea recorded that it was an Arabian heresy that originated in the 3rd century:

About the same time others arose in Arabia, putting forward a doctrine foreign to the truth. They said that during the present time the human soul dies and perishes with the body, but that at the time of the resurrection they will be renewed together. And at that time also a synod of considerable size assembled, and Origen, being again invited there, spoke publicly on the question with such effect that the opinions of those who had formerly fallen were changed. 1

1 Ecclesiastical History VI,37

SOUL SLEEP

Scripture plainly teaches that the soul leaves the body at death. The Bible also teaches consciousness after death.

Paul speaks of existing away from his body.

2 Cor 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

If you don’t have a soul/ spirit, how can “you” be away from your body? If there is no consciousness after death, how can you be at home with the Lord when your body is dead?

SOUL SLEEP

Jesus talked of people having a consciousness out of the body.

Luke 16:22-23 “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.”

SOUL SLEEP

The rich man could see (Abraham and Lazarus), speak (to Abraham), hear (his reply) and feel (was in agony and was thirsty).

He could remember Lazarus and recalled that he had a father and brothers (v27- 28). Abraham also appealed to his memory of a misspent life (v25).

He could reason – that if his brothers were warned they would change and not suffer his fate (v27-28).

He had emotion – was concerned about his brothers’ fate.

CONSCIOUSNESS

Rev 6:9-11 … I saw under the altar the souls (psyche) of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.

SOUL SLEEP

They had consciousness and self awareness - they were aware of who they were.

They had memories of how they had been killed.

There is a conversation going on indicating the capacity for speech and hearing.

They had intellect and reason – they were aware of the concept of justice and were pleading God to avenge their murder.

They had a will – they were encouraged to exercise patience.

These are all things we attribute to mind and soul – yet the text states that these people are dead – “the souls of those who had been slain

CONSCIOUSNESS

When the spirit leaves the body, the body is dead.

James 2:26 As the body without the spirit is dead

Matt 27:50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

And to those who argue that “spirit” here is just a reference to breath, Jesus also said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit (breath?).” (Luke 23:46)

SOUL SLEEP

Even the Hebrew OT indicates that man’s soul leaves when the body dies; this necessitates the soul being an element distinct from the physical body.

Our soul leaves the body at death. We read of Rachel:

Gen 35:18 (NASB) It came about as her soul (nephesh) was departing [for she died], that she named him Benoni; but his father called him Benjamin.

SOUL SLEEP

The soul/ spirit will return to the body upon resuscitation.

When Elijah prayed for the dead son of the widow at Zarephath:

SOUL SLEEP

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul (nephesh) of the child came into him again, and he revived. (1 Kings 17:22 - KJV)

We read that when Jesus prayed for the dead daughter of Jairus that:

SOUL SLEEP

Her spirit (pneuma) returned, and at once she stood up (Luke 8:55).

The Bible speaks of the spirit returning to God at death.

Eccl 12:7 (NASB) then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Acts 7:59 (NASB) They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!”

SOUL SLEEP

Jesus promised the thief on the cross “today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43), but we know that Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb (Luke 23:52-53).

Yet while his body was in the grave, Jesus was preaching to “the spirits in prison”.

2 Pet 3:18-20 (NASB) For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah…

Peter clearly states that Jesus was dead in the flesh (body), but “alive in the spirit”!

SOUL SLEEP

Paul said that he was torn between being martyred or continuing to live. He expresses that being out of the body would mean departing to “be with Christ”.

Phil 1:22-24 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labour for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.

Note that he talks of remaining in his body (in life) and departing from the body (at death). So he did not consider his body to be “the real Paul”, but a place where he resided during life.

SOUL SLEEP

Elsewhere he refers to his body as a tent, which is a temporary residing place – not a permanent home.

2 Cor 5:1-3 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.

SOUL SLEEP

2 Cor 5:4,6-8 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life… Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord… We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Peter uses similar terminology when referring to his approaching death.

2 Pet 1:13-14 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.

SOUL SLEEP

Paul says it is possible for a man to have consciousness while having an “out of the body” experience.

2 Cor 12:2-4 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. And I know that this man— whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows— was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell.

SOUL SLEEP

It is true that the Hebrew word for spirit is the same as the one for breath and wind, but (like most languages) the meaning is determined by context.

Strong’s H7307 – Ruach (Total: 378x in KJV)

The KJV translates it in the following manner: Spirit or spirit (232x) 61%, wind (92x), breath (27x)

Likewise the Hebrew word for soul can have different meanings, based on the context in which it is used.

Strong’s H5315 – Nephesh (Total: 753x in KJV)

The KJV translates it in the following manner: soul (475x) 63%, life (117x), person (29x), mind (15x), heart (15x), creature (9x)

OT HEBREW

Could you really translate “ruach” as breath or wind in the following scenarios.

“Ruach” is used to refer to spirit beings:

1 Kings 22:20-21 …And the LORD said, “Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?” And one said one thing…Then a spirit (breath?) came forward and stood before the LORD, saying, “I will entice him.”

“Ruach” is repeatedly used of the “Spirit of God”:

1 Sam 10:10 When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit (breath?) of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying.

OT HEBREW

“Ruach” is used of the immaterial portion of man that returns to God at death.

Eccl 12:7 … the spirit (breath?) returns to God who gave it.

In Num 16:22, Moses and Aaron call God the “God of the spirits of all flesh”. Is he the God of our breath or our inner man?

“Ruach” is used of the seat of emotions.

Joshua 5:1 (NASB) … their hearts melted, and there was no spirit (breath?) in them any longer because of the sons of Israel.

Elisha asks Elijah, “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit (breath?)”.

OT HEBREW

CLAIM BY MONISTS: Monism appears to be more consistent with modern neuroscience, which has revealed that the so-called ‘higher functions’ of the mind are emergent from the brain, rather than being based in an immaterial soul.

While Christian monists claim that their view is closer to the Biblical Hebrew concept of man, the reality is that monism is not really derived from a honest reading of the Scripture, but rather from an attempt to harmonise the Bible with modern neuroscience.

NEUROSCIENCE

Does consciousness and memory cease when the brain dies? Not according to the Bible and not according to many who have had NDEs (Near Death Experiences). There are well documented incidents of people having NDEs while brain dead.

When asked, “Can the mind be active when the brain is non-functional?”, cognitive neuroscientist Mario Beauregard’s response was:

Much serious near death research suggests so. Reports of near death experiences are more common now, on account of the fact that high tech interventions frequently bring people back from states of death. 1

1 http:// www.harpercollins.com/ author/ AuthorExtra.aspx?displayType=interview&authorID=30251

NDE

Many people claim to have clinically died (zero brain activity and stopped heart) and then returned to live in the body. The atheistic response is that any experiences can be explained naturally from physical and chemical properties of the body. They argue that NDEs only occur during the time there is brain activity i.e. just before death or when regaining consciousness. It is maintained that NDEs are the product of the brain and so cannot happen whilst clinically brain dead. To counter the atheistic view, there are well documented incidents of people describing events, activity and conversations whilst in the state of brain death. They describe specific earthly events such as operating theatre activity that happened during brain death. This strongly suggests the existence of consciousness beyond physical death. 1

1 http:// www.seekingtruth.co.uk/ resurrection.htm

NDE

One of the most famous NDE cases is that of Maria, originally reported by her critical care social worker, Kimberly Clark (1984). Maria was a migrant worker who, while visiting friends in Seattle, had a severe heart attack. She was rushed to Harborview Hospital and placed in the coronary care unit. A few days later, she had a cardiac arrest and an unusual out-of-body experience. At one point in this experience, she found herself outside the hospital and spotted a single tennis shoe sitting on the ledge of the north side of the third floor of the building. Maria not only was able to indicate the whereabouts of this oddly situated object, but was able to provide precise details concerning its appearance, such as that its little toe was worn and one of its laces was stuck underneath its heel. 1

1 http:// www.neardeathsite.com/ evidence.php

NDE

Upon hearing Maria’s story, Clark, with some scepticism, went to the described location. The shoe was found at the precise spot that Maria had described, except that from the window through which Clark was able to see it, the details of its appearance that Maria had specified could not be seen. Clark concluded: “The only way she could have had such a perspective was if she had been floating right outside and at very close range to the tennis shoe.” 1

1 Clark, 1984, p.243

NDE

Kimberly Clark Sharpe

CLAIM BY MONISTS: This belief in Soul Sleep is traditionally accompanied by the belief that the unrighteous soul will cease to exist instead of suffering eternally (annihilationism) 1 e.g. SDA, JW, Christadelphians and the followers of Herbert Armstrong.

Annihilationism is a belief that after the final judgment some human beings and all fallen angels will be totally destroyed so as to not exist, or that their consciousness will be extinguished, rather than suffer everlasting torment in hell (the lake of fire). It is directly related to the doctrine of conditional immortality, the idea that a human soul is not immortal unless it is given eternal life. They assert that God will eventually destroy the wicked, leaving only the righteous to live on in immortality. 2

1 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Soul 2 https:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Annihilationism

ANNIHILATION?

Annihilationists believe that God is too loving to torment his creations forever.

The Scriptures teach a God that is loving, but is also holy (1 Pet 1:16) and just (2 Thess 1:6) and will ultimately punish sin that is unconfessed and those who have not repented. The torments of hell are attributable not to a defect in God’s benevolence, but in human free will.

Some view hell not as retributive punishment, but rather as an option that God allows so that people who do not wish to be with him are not forced to be. Although a benevolent God prefers to see everyone saved (2 Pet 3:9), he also allows man to control his own destiny. As Jesus spoke of hell as being “prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt 25:41), man indirectly chooses it as his own destiny by rejecting God.

ANNIHILATION?

Annihilationists hold that eternal torment is a disproportionate punishment, because humans have a finite lifespan and can commit only a finite number of sins.

The counter-argument is that all sin is against God.

Ps 51:4 “… Against you, you only, have I sinned…”

The punishment for a crime is proportional to the status of the wronged individual. God’s infinite dignity requires that any transgression against him warrants an infinite punishment.

ANNIHILATION?

Annihilationists claim that Jesus inferred that the wicked are completely destroyed in hell, by using the word “destroy” rather than “torment” in the following passage.

Matt 10:28 (NASB) “… but rather fear Him who is able to destroy (apolesai) both soul and body in hell.”

But while this text does not specifically support eternal consciousness, nether does it refute it. The word απολεσαι (apolesai) is the aorist active infinitive of the verb ἀπόλλυμι. The aorist tense leaves undefined the duration of the action, as the author is simply making reference to the act of destruction itself, without respect to the duration (much like a “snapshot” of an event). 1

1 https:// hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/ questions/ 13291/ matthew-1028-is-there-anything-linguistic-to-support-eternal-torment-in-this

ANNIHILATION?

ἀπόλλυμι means (1) “to cause or experience destruction,” or (2) “to fail to obtain what one expects or anticipates,” or (3) “to lose something that one already has”. Given the parallelism in the verse with killing (“Do not fear those who kill the body”), “destruction” is the better concept.

But destruction or ruin does not necessarily mean ceasing to exist (i.e. annihilated), though it can mean that (such as in Mt 26:52; Jude 11). First, something can be destroyed or ruined for the purpose to which it was to serve, but still exist (such as wine-skins that burst [Mt 9:17], or food gone bad [Jn 6:27]); or second, something can be being destroyed, not yet having achieved a cessation of its existence, nor necessarily a finished state of ruin (such as the disciples perishing on the sea [Mt 8:25], or the prodigal son of starvation [Lk 15:17]).1 1 Ibid

ANNIHILATION?

Annihilationists claim that by calling the lake of fire “the second death” (Rev 20:14-15) it implies total destruction of those “thrown into the lake of fire”.

Firstly “death” in the Bible never means extinction, it means separation:

Physical death: separation of the body and soul/ spirit.

Spiritual death: separation of man and God (Gen 2:17 “in the day that you eat from it you will surely die”. Adam didn’t die on that day but he was separated from God).

Second death: permanent separation of man and God.

Secondly why would God resurrect the bodies of the wicked simply to immediately annihilate both body and soul?

ANNIHILATION?

Annihilationists claim that everlasting punishment is a concept not found in the OT, yet Daniel writes:

Daniel 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

Isaiah spoke of everlasting burning for the godless.

Isa 33:14 The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

Many OT passages refer to eternal shame for the wicked.

Ps 78:66 He beat back his enemies; he put them to everlasting shame.

Jer 23:40 “I will bring on you everlasting disgraceeverlasting shame that will not be forgotten.”

Ps 52:5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin: He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living.

Jer 25:9 “I will completely destroy them and make them an object of horror and scorn, and an everlasting ruin.”

To experience shame requires consciousness. If you have been annihilated how could you have everlasting shame?

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

Isaiah also spoke of a fire that will not be quenched and worms that will not die.

Isa 66:24 “And they will go out and look on the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; the worms that eat them will not die, the fire that burns them will not be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

Jesus quoted this passage in Isaiah applying it to hell.

Mark 9:46–48 “And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell (Gehenna), where ‘the worms that eat them do not die, and the fire is not quenched.’”

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

Jesus said the fire of hell is eternal.

Matt 18:8 “It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.”

Matt 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”

What need is there for an eternal fire if those thrown into it are exterminated immediately?

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

John writes of eternal torment for Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

Rev 20:10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Likewise for those who followed the Antichrist.

Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.

ETERNAL PUNISHMENT

Although God is just and will not leave sin unpunished, he does not want people to perish in hell.

2 Pet 3:9 The Lord is… is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

As such, he has made a plan of redemption.

John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

Have you repented of your sin and put your faith in Jesus for your salvation? If not “Today is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).

THE GOSPEL

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http:// www.Lockman.org)




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