DO I HAVE A SOUL?
“Does man have a soul and/or spirit?” 1
Materialists 2 maintain that the physical world is all there is, and that man has no soul.
Chemical psychology/psychiatry views man as only a physical being and simply a bunch of chemicals, denying the existence of the non-material soul of man.
1 For the purpose of this study we shall use the terms ‘soul’ and ‘spirit’ interchangeably – as simply referring to the non-material part of humans.
2 In this study we use materialist in the 2nd sense. A materialist is:
a person who considers material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.
(PHILOSOPHY) a person who supports the theory that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.
MIND AND/OR MATTER
There are 3 main ways in which we can view the world:
Materialism… holds that there is nothing in the world besides matter… Accordingly, materialists view subjective consciousness as nothing more than the product of the interactions among the neurons in the human brain. 1
Idealism holds that nothing exists in the world except our conscious experiences. Idealists therefore regard the material world as a mere illusion of our consciousness. 1
Dualism is the philosophical tradition embraced by those who wish to reject neither the existence of the material world nor the existence of the mind. Dualists believe that there are two worlds: one of mind, and one of matter. 1
1 http:// thebrain.mcgill.ca/ flash/ d/ d_12/ d_12_p/ d_12_p_con/ d_12_p_con.html">
SICK OR SINNER?
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.
Michael Merzenich (professor emeritus neuroscientist at the University of California), says, “We operate on the principle that the laws of psychology that govern behaviour are really brain laws that operate on a materialist philosophy. When Johnny can’t read, there’s an explanation in the brain … when Billy has murderous intent, there is explanation for Billy’s murderous intent … Ultimately our plan constitutes a challenge to the societal assessments that led to the principles of common law [based on the presumption of free will].” 1
1 “Neurophysiology, philosophy on collision course?” - Paul Cotton
But if criminal actions are not the acts of free will, but simply the result of chemical imbalances or physical problems in the brain, then we shouldn’t hold criminals accountable!
CHOICE & FREE WILL
Renowned psychiatrist, Thomas Szasz writes, ”Since the 1950s the American people have been subjected to a relentless campaign of so-called mental-health education, indoctrinating them into the belief that mental diseases are brain diseases, curable with chemicals. Thus, the ostensible agenda of neuroscience is the quest for increased scientific understanding of the brain; its real agenda, however, is to elevate to the level of unquestioned ‘scientific fact’ the doctrine that (mis)behaviour is biologically determined and that holding individuals responsible for their (mis)behaviour is unscientific.”1
1 “The Meaning of Mind: Language, Morality, and Neuroscience”-T. Szasz, L. Stanley
Thomas Szasz was the former professor emeritus of psychiatry at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University. He was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry, and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society. His books include “The Myth of Mental Illness.”
Szasz argued that mental illnesses are not real in the sense that cancers are real. Except for a few identifiable brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, there are “neither biological or chemical tests nor biopsy or necropsy findings for verifying or falsifying DSM 1 diagnoses”, i.e. there are no objective methods for detecting the presence or absence of mental illness. 2
1 DSM: The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association provides standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders. 2 (2008). “Psychiatry: The Science of Lies” pp. 2–5.
Elliot S. Valenstein, PhD, is a professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan. He is a noted authority on brain stimulation and psychosurgery and author of Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health. He writes, “There are no tests available for assessing the chemical status of a living person’s brain.”
Ron Leifer, M.D., a psychiatrist with more than 45 years’ experience in the practice of private psychotherapy and author of In The Name of Mental Health says: “There’s no biological imbalance. When people come to me and they say, ‘I have a biochemical imbalance,’ I say, ‘Show me your lab tests.’ There are no lab tests. So what’s the biochemical imbalance?”
CHOICE & FREE WILL
The Bible says that, unlike disease, sin (and crime) is something we can avoid and overcome.
Thus you can be held accountable (responsible) for your behaviour. Can you judge a person or hold them accountable because they have cancer?
We can often change bad behaviour by an act of the will – we can decide to change their lifestyle or correct bad attitudes. If you have AIDS can you simply decide one day that you’re not going to have it any more?
Unlike real physical diseases, people often sin because they find it enjoyable and appealing. They also encourage other people to join with them in sinning while, for example, they wouldn’t encourage others to have a heart attack or cancer.
The Bible teaches us that bad behaviour is your fault and the problem is with your soul. You don’t need a pill! Your soul (which materialist psychiatrists deny that you even have) needs to be regenerated by God – you become a “new creation”.
As such, God will hold you accountable for your actions – you cannot shift the blame to someone or something else.
Romans 2:7-8 (NIV) To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honour and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.
The following concepts need to be considered when looking at the mind or soul.
Consciousness is the state of being aware of and responsive to one’s surroundings.
Self-awareness is the awareness that one exists as an individual being. It is the belief that certain experiences belong to a ‘me’ as distinct from one’s surroundings.
Personality is the totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behaviour, that are peculiar to a specific person.
Intellect is the ability to learn and reason; the capacity for knowledge and understanding; the ability to think abstractly or profoundly.
Will is the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.
Emotions are mental states that arise spontaneously rather than through conscious effort; it is the part of the consciousness that involves feeling.
Memory is the mental faculty of retaining and recalling past experience.
Conscience is the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to one’s conduct together with the urge to prefer right over wrong.
IS MAN A MACHINE?
Materialists adapt the view that all activity previously ascribed to man’s soul and / or spirit is simply a function of the brain.
Some neuroscientists adapt the view that all activity previously ascribed to man’s soul and or spirit is simply a function of the brain.
Mario Beauregard is an associate research professor at the Departments of Psychology and Radiology and the Neuroscience Research Centre at the University of Montreal. He says, “I belong to a minority - nonmaterialist neuroscientists. Most scientists today are materialists who believe that the physical world is the only reality .” 1
1 The Spiritual Brain, 2007, p ix
MIND AN ILLUSION?
Q: Are mind and brain identical?
Beauregard’s response is:
A: Some materialists say that, but again, they have not demonstrated it. They assume it. Your mind is just the workings of your brain.
Non-materialists neuroscientists think differently. They think that the mind relates to the brain the way a movie relates to your TV set. The set does not create the program; it shows it. Of course, that is only an image and does not capture more than one aspect of the relationship between the mind and the brain. But it is a start. 1
1 harpercollins.com/ author/ AuthorExtra.aspx? displayType=interview& authorID=30251
IS THE MIND AN ILLUSION CREATED BY THE BRAIN?
Beauregard responds, “Materialists generally say yes. However, they have not proved that. Quite the opposite. They start with that assumption, and then they fit anything they see into it. Non-materialist neuroscience demonstrates that the mind is real and can change the brain. 1
He continues, “Similarly, some of my neuroscientist colleagues at the Université de Montréal and I have demonstrated, via brain imaging techniques, that women and girls can control sad thoughts, men can control responses to erotic films, and people who suffer from phobias such as spider phobia can reorganize their brains so that they lose the fear. Evidence of the mind’s control over the brain is actually captured in these studies. There is such a thing as “mind over matter.” We do have will power, consciousness, and emotions, and combined with a sense of purpose and meaning, we can effect change.” 1
LIFE AFTER DEATH
Materialists maintain that the physical world is all there is, and that man has no soul. Consequently, death results in physical extinction or annihilation and there is no such thing as immortality.
In contrast, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26, NIV)
WHO DO YOU BELIEVE?
DO I HAVE A SOUL?
As Christians we believe that there is more to the human being than can be proven scientifically, and there is more to life than what we perceive with our senses.
Q: What is a soul?
Firstly, it is something which is distinguished from the body:
3 John 2 (NIV) Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
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 into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
So in answer to the question “Do I have a soul?” one might argue that the most accurate Biblical response is actually:
“You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” 1
Phil 1:23-24 (NIV) 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 how Paul refers to himself as something distinct from his body.
1 Incorrectly attributed by some to C.S. Lewis, but a paraphrase of a George McDonald quote in Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood. McDonald was a Scottish author, poet, and Christian minister. He was a pioneering figure in the field of fantasy literature and the mentor of fellow writer Lewis Carroll.
When the spirit leaves the body, the body is dead:
James 2:26 (NIV) As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
Matt 27:50 (NIV) And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
John 19:30 (NIV) When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
If the spirit returns to the body, the person comes back to life.
Luke 8:55a (NIV) Her spirit returned, and at once she stood up.
At death the soul / spirit returns to God. Note Stephen’s prayer while they were stoning him (Act 7:59).
"Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
This passage in Ecclesiastes seems to be using metaphors about the connection between the soul / spirit and the body being severed at the time of death. 1
Eccl 12:6-7 (NIV) Remember him—before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, or the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
1 The general break-up of life is here delineated, not the progress of destruction in certain organs or parts of the human frame. The cord is what we should call the thread of life, on which hangs the body lit by the animating soul; when the connection between these is severed, the latter perishes, like a fallen lamp lying crushed on the ground. In this our view the cord is the living power which keeps the corporeal substance from failing to ruin; the bowl is the body itself thus upheld. (Pulpit Commentary
biblehub.com/ ecclesiastes/ 12-6.htm)
Materialists say that consciousness is simply a result of brain activity. Therefore when the brain dies, all consciousness ceases.
The Bible clearly teaches that there is a part of man which survives after the body is dead. In the passage below, although the soul survived, the phrase “they came to life” shows that man is incomplete without the body.
Rev 20:4 … (NIV) And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Rev 6:9-11 (NIV) I saw under the altar the souls 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 number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed.
The above passage indicates the existence of a soul apart from the body and consciousness subsequent to death.
They had been killed (so their bodies were dead).
Their souls had survived death.
They had consciousness and self-awareness - they knew 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.
With the story he related of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, Jesus taught that consciousness exists outside of the body after death.
The rich man could see (he saw Abraham and Lazarus), could speak (called out to Abraham), could hear (heard Abraham’s reply) and could feel (was in agony and was thirsty).
Memory: The rich man could remember. He recognized Lazarus and remembered that he had a father and brothers. (Luke 16:27-28) Abraham also appealed to his memory of a misspent life. (Luke 16:25)
Reason: He could reason – he reasoned that if his brothers were warned they would change and not suffer his fate (Luke 16:27-28).
Emotion: This also indicates emotion – he was concerned about his brothers’ fate.
NDEs & OBEs
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?”, 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 harpercollins.com/ author/ AuthorExtra.aspx? displayType=interview& authorID=30251
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 seekingtruth.co.uk/ resurrection.htm
At this point in near-death studies, researchers are particularly interested in studying those NDEs that may provide an answer to the question of whether the mind can function outside the physical body. This is the first step in determining whether consciousness can survive bodily death. One way is to discover this is to examine those NDEs which are ‘veridical’ (verifiable). 1
Veridical NDEs occur when the experiencer acquires verifiable information which they could not have obtained by any normal means. 1
Often, near-death experiencers report witnessing events that happen at some distant location away from their body, such as another room of the hospital. 1
1 near-death.com/ experiences/ evidence02.html
Raymond A. Moody, Jr. (born June 30, 1944) is a psychologist and medical doctor. He is most famous as an author of books about life after death and near-death experiences (NDE), a term that he coined in 1975 in his best-selling book Life After Life. 1
The book, which sold more than 13 million copies, is a report on a qualitative study in which Moody interviewed 150 people who had experienced NDEs.
1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Raymond_Moody
The following is an example of a veridical NDEs documented by Moody.
A woman with a heart condition was dying at the same time that her sister was in a diabetic coma in another part of the same hospital.
The subject reported having a conversation with her sister as both of them hovered near the ceiling watching the medical team work on her body below. When the woman awoke, she told the doctor that her sister had died while her own resuscitation was taking place. The doctor denied it, but when she insisted, he had a nurse check on it. The sister had, in fact, died during the time in question. 1
1 near-death.com/ experiences/ evidence02.html
Moody also relates how a dying girl left her body and into another room in the hospital where she found her older sister crying and saying: “Oh, Kathy, please don’t die, please don’t die.” The older sister was quite baffled when, later, Kathy told her exactly where she had been and what she had been saying during this time. 1
Perhaps the most famous case of this kind 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.
Upon hearing Maria’s story, Clark, with some considerable degree of scepticism and metaphysical misgiving, went to the location described to see whether any such shoe could be found. Indeed it was, just where and precisely as Maria had described it, 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 discerned. 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. I retrieved the shoe and brought it back to Maria; it was very concrete evidence for me.” (Clark, 1984, p.243).
1 Ibid. 2 neardeathsite.com/ evidence.php
Some scientists theorize that NDEs are produced by brain chemistry.
But, Dr Peter Fenwick, a neuropsychiatrist and the leading authority in Britain concerning NDEs, believes that these theories fall far short of the facts. 1
In the documentary, “Into the Unknown: Strange But True,” Dr Fenwick describes the state of the brain during a NDE: “The brain isn’t functioning. It’s not there. It’s destroyed. It’s abnormal. But, yet, it can produce these very clear experiences… an unconscious state is when the brain ceases to function. For example, if you faint, you fall to the floor, you don’t know what’s happening and the brain isn’t working. The memory systems are particularly sensitive to unconsciousness. So, you won’t remember anything. But, yet, after one of these experiences [a NDE], you come out with clear, lucid memories… This is a real puzzle for science. I have not yet seen any good scientific explanation which can explain that fact.” 1
Pam Reynolds Lowery… from Atlanta, Georgia, was an American singer-songwriter. In 1991, at the age of 35, she stated that she had a near-death experience (NDE) during a brain operation performed by Robert F. Spetzler at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. 1
1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ Pam_Reynolds_case
Her experience is one of the most notable and widely documented in near-death studies because of the unusual circumstances under which it happened. 1
Reynolds was under close medical monitoring during the entire operation. 1
During part of the operation she had no brain-wave activity and no blood flowing in her brain, which rendered her clinically dead. 1
She claimed to have made several observations during the procedure which later medical personnel reported to be accurate. 1 (This was despite her eyes being taped shut.)
In an interview that took place for a BBC documentary in 2002, Spetlzer, the world-renowned neurosurgeon who operated on Pam Reynolds affirmed many of the observations that Pam had made and later admitted that he had no explanation for them. 1
1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Robert_F._Spetzler
Dr Michael Sabom is a cardiologist in Atlanta who researches NDEs. His book “Light and Death” investigates almost 50 cases including a detailed analysis of the NDE of Pam Reynolds which occurred while undergoing a rare operation to remove a basilar artery aneurysm in her brain.
This operation, nicknamed ‘standstill’ by the doctors who perform it, required that Pam’s body temperature be lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing stopped, her brain waves flattened, and the blood drained from her head. When all of Pam’s vital signs were stopped, the doctor turned on a surgical saw and began to cut through Pam’s skull. While this was going on, Pam reported that she felt herself ‘pop’ outside her body and hover above the operating table. Then she watched the doctors working on her lifeless body for a while. 1
Pam recalled what the nurses had said in the operating room and events that happened during the operation.
From her out-of-body position, she observed the doctor sawing into her skull with what looked to her like an electric toothbrush. 1 Sabom got a photo from the manufacturer — and it does indeed look like an electric toothbrush.
1 near-death.com/ experiences/ evidence01.html
There were 20 doctors in the room. She recalls a conversation about the veins in her left leg. She was defibrillated (i.e. delivered a therapeutic dose of electrical energy to the heart). They were playing “Hotel California.”
Prior to the operation proceeding, Reynolds was placed under general anaesthesia, then had her eyes taped shut and a monitoring device placed in both of her ears. She was later induced into clinical death by Spetzler and his team, which was necessary for the operation to take place. 1
At this time, every monitor attached to Pam’s body registered ‘no life’ whatsoever. For practical purposes outside the world of academic debate, 3 clinical tests commonly determine brain death. 2
1 http:// en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Robert_F._Spetzler
2 near-death.com/ experiences/evidence01.html
A standard electro-encephalogram (EEG) measures brain-wave activity. A ‘flat’ EEG denotes non-function of the cerebral cortex – the outer shell of the cerebrum. 1
Auditory evoked potentials, similar to those [clicks] elicited by the ear speakers in Pam’s surgery, measure brain-stem viability. Absence of these potentials indicates non-function of the brain stem. 1
Documentation of no blood flow to the brain is a marker for a generalized absence of brain function. 1
But during “standstill”, Pam’s brain was found “dead” by all three clinical tests - her electroencephalogram was silent, her brain-stem response was absent, and no blood flowed through her brain. Interestingly, while in this state, she encountered the “deepest” NDE of all Atlanta Study participants. 1
Then there are many cases where people born blind can see during a NDE. If sight and our other senses are completely functions of brain activity, how can this be explained? Dr Raymond Moody relates this case:
An elderly woman had been blind since childhood. But, during her NDE, the woman had regained her sight and she was able to accurately describe the instruments and techniques used during the resuscitation her body. After the woman was revived, she reported the details to her doctor. She was able to tell her doctor who came in and out, what they said, what they wore, what they did, all of which was true. 1
1 near-death.com/ experiences/ evidence03.html
Kenneth Ring (Professor Emeritus of Psychology) and Sharon Cooper from the University of Connecticut, US conducted a 2-year study into NDEs and OBEs (out-of-body experiences) in 31 blind respondents. Their findings revealed that “blind persons, including those blind from birth, do report classic NDEs of the kind common to sighted persons; that the great preponderance of blind persons claim to see during NDEs and OBEs; and that occasionally claims of visually-based knowledge that could not have been obtained by normal means can be independently corroborated.” 1
1 link.springer.com/ article/ 10.1023/A:1025010015662
In their book “Mindsight: Near-Death and Out-of-Body Experiences in the Blind,” Ring and Cooper relate how Vicki Umipeg’s optic nerve was completely destroyed at birth.
Vicki told Dr Ring she found herself floating above her body in the emergency room of a hospital following an automobile accident. She was aware of being up near the ceiling watching a male doctor and a female nurse working on her body, which she viewed from her elevated position. 1
1 near-death.com/ experiences/ evidence03.html
The Bible teaches that man’s soul continues to live after the body dies. We read of Rachel:
It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. (Gen 35:18 NASB)
If the soul survives death, this necessitates the soul being something distinct from the physical body.
We know that Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb, so how could he be in paradise unless he had a distinct soul?
Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)
Paul speaks of remaining in his body as opposed to departing from his body and being with Christ. He thus considers the body to be a housing place for the real person (the soul).
Phil 1:21-24 (NIV) For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 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.
The body is a tent in which the real person lives:
2 Cor 5:1 (NIV) Now 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.
The body simply houses the soul, which is the “real you”.
2 Cor 5:2-9 (NIV) Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed 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 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. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
Jesus promised his followers eternal life:
John 3:36 (NIV) Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life…
John 10:28 (NIV) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
These are the promises made by the only man who ever came back from the dead.
John 17:2 (NIV) For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
John 6:40 (NIV) “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 3:14-16 (NIV) … the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. 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.
In 2 Cor 5:8 (NASB) Paul says that when we are “absent from the body” we will be “at home with the Lord”. When Jesus returns, he brings those who have died with him:
1 Thess 5:13-14 (NIV) Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.
The Bible constantly refers to those who have died as being “asleep.” Sleep is a temporary condition – we expect that a person who is asleep can be woken up.
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself.” (John 5:24-26, NIV)
John 5:28-29 (NIV) “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.”
The epistles reaffirm that, in Jesus, we have been promised immortality by God:
Rom 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2 Tim 1:10 (NIV) … our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
Titus 1:2 (NIV) a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time
1 John 2:25 (NIV) And this is what he promised us—even eternal life.
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. ( Lockman.org)