Friday, March 06, 2009

Why Immortality of the Soul Makes No Sense

Why Immortality of the Soul Makes No Sense

Where does the idea of immortality of the soul come from?

The author of the lesson says that “the notion of human immortality is found in all primal, animistic, and polytheistic religions. It was also an important concept in Greek philosophy, which conceived of Hades (the world of the dead) as a ghostly, shadowy underworld, in which the soul lived a twilight existence. The Greeks viewed human beings as consisting of matter and soul. At death, matter and soul are separated, releasing the soul from the prison house of matter into an independent existence.” It is an idea that crept into the church in the early Centuries of Christianity.

Does the Bible teach immortality of the soul?

The Bible is clear, “only God is immortal” (1 Tim. 6:16) and it also says that human beings apart from God are subject to death.” The lesson quotes William Temple, archbishop of Canterbury saying about this, “Man is not immortal by nature or of right; but he is capable of immortality and there is offered to him resurrection from the dead and life eternal if he will receive it from God and on God’s terms.”—Nature, Man, and God, p. 472.

What makes us a living soul?

The Bible says that we are a unit not two different yet coexisting dimensions. We are the living souls.

Ge2:7 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.

That energy that God breathed in Adams nostrils that made his heart beat and the rest of his body functioned. When Adam died he was not a dead soul, he was just dead. Adam ceased to exist after death. The energy that kept him alive is now gone from him. This energy goes back to God, it is not a Spirit, and it is merely God’s miraculous life giving power. Before the fall we were un-fallen living souls and after the fall we are now fallen living souls evil by nature. Innate goodness is not biblical. The flesh is sinful bent toward evil and self will. It is perhaps this problem that forced the Greeks to come up (or borrow) the idea of soul dualism. Not wanting to admit they were evil by nature they decided to give up on the flesh as evil, but still put some goodness in their bodies which would come from a spirit or soul inhabiting the flesh.

How does immortality of the soul affect core Christian beliefs as the Cross and resurrection?

If we can get immortal lives just by living a “good” life and dieing then our souls will go to heaven, then

a. Christ’s deliverance is not needed. The cross would not be necessary if to die is all we had to do to go to heaven. It his is true then God could just kill us all or allow all us to die. This means Christ would not have to die for us to go to heaven. But, this would perpetuate the Sin problem, because as long as we are here procreating more human beings would have to die before they go to heaven.

b. If we had immortal souls we would not really die, because our flesh would be nothing more than a host for our souls which means we would not really cease to exist. But, the Bible says we do cease to exist after death. As it says in these following two verses,

Psalms 146:4 NKJV 4 His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NKJV 5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share In anything done under the sun.

c. Also, the resurrection- as told in 1 Corinthians 15: 51 – 55 - would be needless. If we can go to heaven after death, will we then come back for the resurrection? Why? If we are already there why should we come back? Just to get our glorified bodies? We would be already glorified. It makes no sense.