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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) 4 months ago #5065

  • Piqsid
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Kyle Niemand wrote:
I'd like to expand on the idea of death as separation. We were dead in sin, but not completely separate from God, since He is the one who sustains the universe, and in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3). If He is the only possible grounds for existing, then separation from Him is essentially non-existence, since He is no longer there to hold that thing together. As God is omnipresent and infinite, describing a place without God is like describing a married bachelor. It seems like a traditionalist describing spiritual death as "eternal separation" is shooting himself in the foot.


I agree that separation is not an adequate description in this life, but even more so in Hell. If sinners are to be tortured forever in hell, they will continually be in the presence of God's wrath. But the popular text of II Thess. 1:9 says that the lost will be destroyed away from the presence of God. How then can God continually punish them? Isaiah 33:14 asks who can dwell in the consuming fire? After all, God's consuming fire was capable of killing Jesus on the cross. Yet traditionalists believe that the lost will be able to endure this punishment for all eternity. That would not be possible unless God constantly sustained them and regenerated them. He wouldn't be sustaining them like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, because there was no evidence of fire on them when they emerged. Instead God would have to allow the lost to be burned to an extent, and then heal them so they could be burned some more.

That is not separation from God.

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 4 months ago #5066

  • kgddds
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Kyle Niemand wrote:
Does this prove the traditionalist idea that the soul's death is merely a very unpleasant kind of conscious existence?

No, I don't interpret those verses to prove anything like that (and I don't see them even slightly pointing to something like that). I think those passages describe an unredeemed (or lost or guilty or unrighteous) vs. a redeemed (or found or innocent or righteous) state of existence. I think a better understanding of those passages is derived by substituting "dead" with "unredeemed or guilty or lost or unrighteous" and substituting "alive" with "redeemed or found or innocent or righteous."

You were lost, now you are found.
You were guilty, now you are innocent.
You were unredeemed, now you are redeemed.
You were unrighteous, now you are righteous.
You were dead, now you are alive.

When you say "the soul's death," are you referring to the "second death?" If so, how do those passages you cite relate to the second death as being a transition point to something very unpleasant?

Kyle Niemand wrote:
It could be said that souls that do not have inherent life are "dead."

Hmmm, that brings about a convoluted thought for me. I then would have to also believe that immortal souls are created dead (spiritually stillborn?) to either be revived to life or remain dead (The Immortality Dead?). Weird to me, but that does sound like a good Sci-Fi series!

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) 4 months ago #5069

  • Singalphile
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That reminds me ...

Last week, we were reading 1 Corinthians 15, and at verse 53 ("corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"), our main group leader gave his opinion that while those in Christ will be raised immortally incorruptible, those not in Christ would be raised to be "immortally corruptible".

I said nothing, but another lady did say something like, "How could you be immortality corruptible?" I think he said it was spiritual corruptibility.

I thought that was kind of funny, but, hey, maybe he's right. What do I know. It's a good group, anyway.
"Singalphile" - Name chosen (hastily) to indicate being on a narrow path, pursuing the love of God. Male, upper-30's, USA.

Re: The Definition of Death (Ephesians, Colossians) 4 months ago #5070

Piqsid wrote:
But the popular text of II Thess. 1:9 says that the lost will be destroyed away from the presence of God.


I've read about the debate on the translation of this passage - "destruction away from God" or "destruction from God" - and I really don't think either reading does the traditionalist any favors. Paul says that in God, we move, breathe, and have our being in the book of Acts, and in Colossians he says that it is Christ in whom all things hold together. The author of Hebrews says that Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power. So if it really does mean actual, substantial separation from God, that can only be nonexistence, since He is no longer there to uphold you.

On the other hand, if it is "destruction from the face," then the traditionalist is still in just as much trouble. It is destruction from the face of God, in His presence. Will people be tormented forever in the presence of God, in His sight, so evil will always exist? Or will they be destroyed as the text says? It seems to be a catch 22.

kgdds wrote:
Hmmm, that brings about a convoluted thought for me. I then would have to also believe that immortal souls are created dead (spiritually stillborn?) to either be revived to life or remain dead (The Immortality Dead?). Weird to me, but that does sound like a good Sci-Fi series!


That makes me think of the doctrine of original sin, and subsequently of Psalm 51:4-5.

Against you—you alone—I have sinned
and done this evil in your sight.
So you are right when you pass sentence;
you are blameless when you judge.

Indeed, I was guilty when I was born;
I was sinful when my mother conceived me.


If we're sinful from birth, then we are also dying from birth and do not have that inherent life.

Singalphile wrote:
Last week, we were reading 1 Corinthians 15, and at verse 53 ("corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality"), our main group leader gave his opinion that while those in Christ will be raised immortally incorruptible, those not in Christ would be raised to be "immortally corruptible".


To be fair, many translations include the idea that it is the corruptible body putting on immortality and not the soul. For your standard dualist or idealist monist (they believe that there is an immaterial aspect to a person, but this Mind and the Brain share properties) it wouldn't be suggestive of conditional immortality.
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) 4 months ago #5071

  • kgddds
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Kyle Niemand wrote:
If we're sinful from birth, then we are also dying from birth and do not have that inherent life.

More than sinful from birth, but sinful from creation (conception). We were guilty and sinful from our beginning, yes—I can accept that, but created dead? That's the weird thought for me.

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?

You bring up a very important (and difficult!) concept in death, but it seems death means a variety of things to different people. I wonder what concept of death Satan had in mind when he declared, "You shall not die."

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) 4 months ago #5072

  • Piqsid
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Kyle Niemand wrote:
Piqsid wrote:
But the popular text of II Thess. 1:9 says that the lost will be destroyed away from the presence of God.


I've read about the debate on the translation of this passage - "destruction away from God" or "destruction from God" - and I really don't think either reading does the traditionalist any favors. Paul says that in God, we move, breathe, and have our being in the book of Acts, and in Colossians he says that it is Christ in whom all things hold together. The author of Hebrews says that Jesus upholds all things by the word of His power. So if it really does mean actual, substantial separation from God, that can only be nonexistence, since He is no longer there to uphold you.


My understanding of the final day of judgement has been shaped by reading all of the passages together and understanding them all describing the same event. In Revelation 14 (traditionalists love to quote) it says "he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb." This passage clearly says that "he" (the worshiper of the beast) will be tormented in the presence of God (or at least Christ, who is God). Revelation 18 talks about Babylon being burned down in the presence of lots of different observers. In Daniel 7, as Daniel looks on, the beast is killed.

All these verses imply that the torment/death will be viewed publicly, then, afterwards, the dead bodies/remains will be thrown into the fire pit/garbage heap/depths of the sea etc... The Thess. passage says the wicked will be destroyed away from the presence of the lord. After its destruction in Rev 18, Babylon is said to be like a millstone cast into the sea, gone forever. In Isaiah and Jer. the lost are slain and then thrown into the valley, their dead bodies to be burned and eaten. In Daniel 7 after being killed, the beast is thrown into the fire.

If you look at all of the passages together, it provides a pretty consistent narrative of what judgement day will look like.
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