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The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians)
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TOPIC: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians)

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months, 1 week ago #5073

kgdds wrote:
I don't conclude "dying from birth" from the notions of original sin and guilt that David expresses about himself in Psalm 51, but when you say "dying from birth" are you referring to an active and progressive state/process culminating in a state of death? How are you defining "dying?" And is this "dying" different from the dying of the second death?


I'm referring specifically to "dying" as a state of "not having inherent life." IE, not being able to sustain one's own existence, mortal, not having the eternal life imparted by Jesus Christ. If nothing else interfered, in the words of Athanasius, we would "be disintegrated and abide in death and corruption."

We know that the wages of sin is death, and that sin, when ripened, produces death. If we are sinners from when we are born, then we do not have life in us, and cannot until we believe in Christ. (John 6:53) Without God sustaining us, we would be nothing. We're not sure of the exact mechanics of the second death, how the soul is destroyed - whether God removes His sustaining power or actively participates in said destruction - but while we are in this state of death, if He did not sustain us, we would no longer exist.
So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months, 1 week ago #5075

  • kgddds
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Kyle Niemand wrote:
while we are in this state of death, if He did not sustain us, we would no longer exist.

Hmmm, I'm still trying to understand your perspective here...
Do you make distinction between the state of being dead and the state of dying? Did you just say that "dying" is a state of being "mortal?"

Since the topic you raise is "the definition of death," could you provide a statement of meaning for these words/phrases?

1.) dying
2.) death
3.) first death
4.) second death
5.) mortal
6.) immortal
7.) eternal life

Thanks for the discussion!

Ken
The beauty of grace is seen in the glory it reveals.
Grace is glory's seed; Glory is grace's bloom.

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months, 1 week ago #5077

I'll borrow Irenaeus's language. If you do not have continuance of days forever, then you have a limited number of days. If you have a limited number of days, you are mortal. While those days are elapsing, you are dying - advancing towards the state of death. Death is the lack of conscious existence, like a corpse. For now, only bodies are dead. I believe in a conscious intermediate state for the righteous and the wicked, which I will get into later.

I make a distinction between "dying" and "dead." "Dead" is the state that happens when the process of "dying" is complete and your days have run out. Even if you are in good health, your body is dying, advancing towards the point of no return when the damage from aging has built up and your organs will no longer function. This is natural for a mortal body. But this process of decay and entropy is the result of sin. Sin, having conceived, gives birth to death, and it was through Adam that death entered the world. Since we are sinners from birth, our days are limited and our bodies are marching towards death. Therefore, we are dying.

I was speaking of people in a current state of "death" because it relates to the language used in the passages quoted in my first post. My initial question was essentially, "Since annihilationism supposes that death is a lack of conscious existence, how can Paul speak of conscious death, and could that be used to support the traditionalist idea of death as separation?"

I affirm the existence of an immaterial soul and intermediate state because of Matthew 10:28, Luke 23:43, Philippians 1:23, and 2 Corinthians 5:6-8. Therefore, the first death affects only the physical body. The body becomes unconscious and rots. So it will be with the wicked soul, given the extensive metaphors in the Psalms and how many promises we have that the wicked will be burnt up. This is the second death, the death of the immaterial "true" person and their resurrected body at once.

As I said earlier, "mortal" simply refers to having a limited amount of time remaining. Therefore, immortality is having unlimited life remaining, or, to borrow from Irenaeus again, continuance of days forever. It could be said that the angels were made immortal, though we're not sure of that particular detail. I tentatively leave a small distinction between immortality and eternal life - a being created immortal by God can still be destroyed, but a being that has received eternal life from Him has been given a promise that they shall never perish. If angels are created immortal, and the fallen angels are destroyed in the end (which I also affirm), then they have not been given eternal life, even though their existence would have continued uninterrupted if God had not intervened.

Of course, most of this is crazy speculation, as we're not told about whether or not the soul naturally dies on its own or if it's just kind of "there" until God destroys it. What are your definitions of those terms?
So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months ago #5078

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Kyle, that's nicely said and it all resonates with me (but I'm undecided about the the nature of the intermediate state, and I go back and forth, not so much with regard to consciousness, but with respect to the dimension of time).

The following statements do convey what I think, but they could certainly be tweaked and improved upon (it's hard to write meaningful, concise definitions!).

1.) dying: a progressive state approaching death
2.) death: the cessation of life
3.) first death: the cessation of physiologic function of the human body; a human physical death that is a partial death of the whole being
4.) second death: the cessation of the full essence of the resurrected being (the resurrected body and soul); a physical and spiritual death which is a complete and permanent death.
5.) mortal: subject to human death
6.) immortal: not subject to death
7.) eternal life: the gift of unending life

Kyle Niemand wrote:
Of course, most of this is crazy speculation


Certainly! We all routinely consider a redeemed Adam, but rarely do we consider a redeemed atom. The New Heaven and the New Earth just may not be composed of the old "groaning" atom—that would certainly change things up if you know anything about atoms! In that regard, we know very little of what's even possible and "wait expectantly for things we have never seen."

Ken

Romans 8:19-25 Voice
[19] For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. [20] You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God's. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope [21] that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. [22] For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. [23] And there is more; it's not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete- [24] for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? [25] But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.
The beauty of grace is seen in the glory it reveals.
Grace is glory's seed; Glory is grace's bloom.

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months ago #5079

kggds wrote:
We all routinely consider a redeemed Adam, but rarely do we consider a redeemed atom.


I am totally stealing this.

While I was reading earlier and saw some of those passages I mentioned in my post about the intermediate state, something struck me. The only explicit references we see to an intermediate state involve the righteous, not the wicked. Consider these:

Philippians 1:23. "I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ..."
2 Corinthians 5:6-8. "So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord."
Luke 23:43. "And He said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”"
1 Samuel 28:11-14.
"“Who is it that you want me to bring up for you?” the woman asked.

“Bring up Samuel for me,” he answered.

When the woman saw Samuel, she screamed, and then she asked Saul, “Why did you deceive me? You are Saul!”

But the king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?”

“I see a spirit form coming up out of the earth,” the woman answered.

Then Saul asked her, “What does he look like?”

“An old man is coming up,” she replied. “He’s wearing a robe.” Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he knelt low with his face to the ground and paid homage."

All of these are righteous individuals, whereas the wicked are consistently said to disappear and be cut off from the earth. If you don't take the parable of the rich man and Lazarus as a historical narrative, it's entirely possible that the righteous get a conscious intermediate state, since they have been granted continuance and eternal life- therefore their souls persist after death, while the wicked get an unconscious intermediate state because they have not been granted life. This would solve the tension between the passages above and the idea that the wicked would suffer needlessly from now until the return of Christ, at which point they suffer the true, "judicial" suffering and death after being judged.
So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have done only that which we ought to have done.’

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 7 months ago #5082

  • kgddds
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I lean towards the unrighteous not having awareness as they await judgement, and I could go either way (I’m undecided) with regard to the righteous having awareness in the intermediate state.

2 Peter 2:4,9 NIV
...If God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell...to be held for judgment, ...then the Lord knows how to...hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.


2 Peter 2:4,9 could be interpreted to say that the fallen angels and the unrighteous are being passively held (not tormented) in a state that is unknown. It could be a state of consciousness or in a state with no awareness. More recently, I have been considering the possibility of this state being a state where they are essentially suspended in a timeless state—where a state of consciousness/unconsciousness is not relevant. The bottom line, though, is that God knows how to “hold” those pending judgement whatever their state of being may be.

Regarding Luke, It’s possible the thief is conscious in paradise right now awaiting a future new paradise. The promise of paradise was given “today” by Jesus, yes, but maybe this is referencing a future paradise that is still to come for the thief and for us all. Besides that, the day Jesus said this he himself went to the grave and Good Friday does not have a “paradise” feel to it.

Regarding 1 Corinthians and Philippians, the preference of one place or thing over another doesn’t necessarily mean there are only those two possibilities. If I voice a preference to be away from the office and on the beach, it doesn’t mean that when I leave the office that I’m on the beach (beach front offices excluded!).

Regarding 1 Samuel and the rich man, I’m not sure how much weight parables, mediums, and spiritists ought to be given when deciding the awareness in the intermediate state.

Just my thoughts...

Ken
The beauty of grace is seen in the glory it reveals.
Grace is glory's seed; Glory is grace's bloom.
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