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Featured Mortalism and Soul Sleep

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017.

  1. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Are any Christians on here adherents of mortalism or soul sleep?

    I would like to engage in a friendly debate with any mortalists or soul-sleepers regarding my disagreement with your interpretations of the soul-body relationship in the Bible, especially in terms of the New Testament (but I'll also consider the Old Testament/Tanakh if you want).

    A brief overview: until the early 20th century a pre-modern, classical interpretation of the Bible held sway over much of the relevant scholarship. It erred in applying alien notions of afterlife with a basis in Platonic dualism to its exegesis of the scriptures. This was supplanted in the 20th century by a fresh paradigm guided essentially by mortalism (or, in its softer articulation, lack of interest by the ancient Hebrews) as concerned the survival of the soul in the Tanakh and an emphasis (in the latter case rightly) upon bodily resurrection post-exile/Maccabean period and in the New Testament, allegedly derived from Persian or other influence. This "consensus" has in turn been widely critiqued by recent scholarship on ‘Israelite religion’, "which has sought to interpret Israelite understandings of death in terms of the religious patterns of neighboring cultures" while emphasizing the intermediate state for understanding elements of the afterlife alluded to in the New Testament corpus. This recent trend perhaps over-exaggerates the predominance of soul-related beliefs in the Hebrew Bible, just as the preceding 'consensus' strived too hard to avoid and/or outright dismiss them.

    A number of the most up-to-date - and in my opinion intellectually robust scholarship - retrieves much that was true in the earlier accounts but also attempts to correct the errors, by locating both the belief in post-mortem soul survival and the resurrection of the dead far deeper and earlier in the Jewish tradition (prior to any alien influences from Greece, Persia and Babylon), to such an extent that "in the Second Temple period these ideas and ideals joined up and surfaced in Israel’s conscious faith" in the schema adhered to in the intertestamental literature, with influence at this latter stage from other cultures merely restoring and refining intuitions already known primordially to the Hebrews. For the resurrection side of this argument, see Jon Levenson's Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel: The Ultimate Victory of the God of Life (2006).

    Like Josephus in his Antiquities, Acts refers to the Pharisees' belief in disembodied spirits and angels, pared with the Sadducees rejection of these concepts. From Josephus, we learn that the Pharisees and their doctrines were "very influential among the body of the people", something that the New Testament and the later Talmudic authors both attest to as well.

    The prevalence of this theological presumption regarding the existence of disembodied human souls after death was such that the American scholar and Emeritus Professor of the Hebrew Bible, Lester L. Grabbe, could write: "It was a view of the soul similar but different to that in Platonism which became widespread in Judaism in the last century or so BCE" (Wisdom of Solomon p.54).

    Basically, populist first century Judaism had inherited notions of an intermediate disembodied state in Hades ("Abraham's Bosom" for the righteous and punishment for the wicked), immortality of the soul, disembodied spirits and the resurrection of the dead from influential earlier texts (i.e. the Book of Daniel, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra etc.) that had become very widespread among the Pharisees, Essenes and others such as Philo. This forms an important backdrop to the popular culture of the New Testament authors, with St. Paul having actually been a Pharisee and Jesus himself having had much in common with this school (certainly over against the Sadducees).

    While I'd be happy to go over the Old Testament dimension of this discussion, I'm primarily interested in analysing the soul-body relationship at the time when the NT scriptures were written.
     
    #1 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  2. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    Like on the tombstones R.I.P. , rest in peace. You sleep until the judgement day, then all who sleep in the dust of the Earth will wake up.
     
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  3. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Thank you for participating!

    Do you believe that the soul is annihilated with the body during this "sleep" prior to resurrection? Or is it still existent but unconscious/inactive? What I'm asking is, in your opinion is there no disembodied intermediate state in which a conscious "soul" lives apart from the body?
     
  4. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    I suspect it's like sleeping without a body. Yes you're a soul, i suspect you could dream or it's just black and the next thing you know you wake up. Scriptures compare it to sleeping, so that's what we have to go by.
     
  5. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    But what about the biblical verses which indicate disembodied consciousness after death rather than unconscious sleep?

    In 2 Corinthians 5:4, for example, Paul employs a metaphor describing the unresurrected human body as a burdensome but temporary earthly tent. This directly echoes language from the Wisdom of Solomon (9:15):

    • "…for a perishable body weighs down the soul, and this earthly tent burdens the thoughtful mind."
    As Klaus Berger notes, this text offers two verbal parallels to to 2 Corinthians 5:4 ("weigh down" and "tent") and "a third could just as well be present ("groan")". Furthermore, both texts are herein referring to the travails of bodily existence, that is of unglorified, embodied life.

    As already mentioned, in his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the nearly identical image of an earthly body weighing down a soul identified with the "we/I" inhabiting the body:

    For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden . . . .” (2 Corinthians 5:1, 4.)

    The Greek phrase translated as “earthy tent” in both Wisdom of Solomon and 2 Corinthians is not the normative word for tent (skene) but rather the highly unusual skenos which is found only twice in the New Testament (here and in v. 4) in this single passage, and only once in the LXX corpus in Wisdom of Solomon 9:15, where it is used figuratively to refer to the ensouled human body, leading one authority on the Apocrypha to conclude that Paul “had at sometime read this passage and [was] impressed by the Wisdom of Solomon.” Metzger, An Introduction to the Apocrypha at 158.

    In this regard, Fredrik Lindgård argued in his very exegetically dense 2005 study entitled, Paul's Line of Thought in 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10 p. 140:

    Skenos does not occur apart from 2 Cor. 5 in the New Testament. The LXX mentions the word once in Wisdom 9:15...It is possible that Paul's language here is influenced by Wisdom's dualistic terminology. It is obvious that, at least, there exists a similarity between, on the one hand, Phaedo 81c and Wisdom 9:15 and, on the other hand, between Wisdom 9:15 and 2 Cor 5:1-2

    While David Edward Aune in his 2013 Jesus, Gospel Tradition and Paul in the. Context of Jewish and Greco-Roman. Antiquity. Collected Essays II p. 365 noted:

    Wisdom 9:25 is a frequently cited parallel to 2 Corinthians 5:1...the italicized words in this quotation ("weighs down"/"earthly body") indicate relatively close verbal parallels with 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 which suggests Paul's familiarity with this Hellenistic Jewish mediation of Platonic tradition, if not with this passage itself

    Wisdom 8:19-20 states: "As a child I was by nature well endowed, and a good soul fell to my lot; or rather, being good, I entered an undefiled body." As with the exegesis provided of the Pauline paragraph in 2 Corinthians above by many scholars, where it can be inferred that Paul identifies the "we" that inhabits the body with the "inner person" or separable soul; Wisdom likewise differentiates between the "I", identified with the soul, and the body, which the "I/soul" enters and inhabits like a perishable "tent" (Wisdom 9:25) until death, when "the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them. In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster, and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace." (Wisdom 3:1-3) or as Paul would put it the soul will be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8) and "I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body" (Philippians 1:23-24).

    Notice how in Wisdom of Solomon and the Pauline epistles the "I" is within the body but can leave it ("departure"/"depart") at death to be with God/Christ.

    This is important for properly making sense of the anthropology in both texts, which is holistic but also dualistic in the sense that (according to Paul) the soul can be temporarily separated from the body at death (described as "nakedness") before being re-joined to a glorified pneumatic body at the resurrection by God, which seems to be subtly implied too in Wisdom 3:7 "In the time of their visitation [resurrection?] they [the righteous souls] will shine forth, and will run like sparks through the stubble."

    Paul was not, therefore, a "mortalist" or advocate of unconscious soul sleep in my opinion but rather a proponent of Hellenistic Jewish "body-soul" duality; just like the intertestamental Wisdom of Solomon, which he was so greatly influenced by, and this dualism was holistic in nature: ultimately looking forward to being "re-housed" in a heavenly, pneumatic body at the resurrection, as opposed to a perpetual disembodied "nakedness" in the Greek sense (as the Corinthians appeared to have wrongly understood it, thereby occasioning Paul's explanation that this wasn't a complete picture without bodily resurrection at the Eschaton).
     
    #5 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  6. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    That's a lot of writing. I'll respond to this quote.

    In 2 Corinthians 5:4, for example, Paul employs a metaphor describing the unresurrected human body as a burdensome but temporary earthly tent. This, once again, directly echoes language from the Wisdom of Solomon(9:15):

    The temporary Earthly tent is this mortal body we have in this short life we call life. Burdened with troubles, sickness and woes.

    The temporary mortal body is symbolized in the Jewish festival of tents, dwelling in tents. Not to say all Jews will agree with that understanding but I'm sure you could find some Messianic Jews who would. The Eternal dwelling place is the resurrected body, a spiritual body which is incorruptible. It doesn't get sick and doesn't die but is as real as the mortal body. The first one to get a body like that is the resurrected Jesus, who lead the way in the resurrection.

    Acts 26:23
    that Christ would suffer, and as the first to rise from the dead, He would proclaim light to our people and to the Gentiles."


    Like Paul says to this effect. if Jesus was not resurrected then there is no resurrection and my preaching is useless and so is your faith. But not to worry because they swear that Jesus was resurrected from the dead and those who sleep in the dust will be resurrected too.
     
  7. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    I concur with your exegesis in terms of the perishable earthly body (described as a "tent") and the resurrected heavenly body.

    But consider the element you have omitted: Paul's metaphor of "nakedness", referring to existence after death without our earthly "tent" (body) to cover our soul but before we receive our heavenly, glorified body at the resurrection and the fact that Paul was dependent upon the intertestamental Wisdom of Solomon (even using its rare word for 'tent') which clearly teaches conscious disembodied existence post-mortem.

    Paul explains that the soul, the "I" within our body, can be "away from the body and at home with the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:8) and says elsewhere "I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better indeed. But it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body" (Philippians 1:23-24).

    Notice how in Wisdom of Solomon and the Pauline epistles the "I" is within the body but can leave it ("departure"/"depart") at death to be with God/Christ but prior to the resurrection.

    In other words, the "soul" is not sleeping in the ground with the ashes of the corpse.
     
    #7 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  8. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    Yes he does seem to lead you around a bit. I would break down what Paul is saying in 2 Corinthinans 5 like this, Jesus says there is an inside of the cup and the outside of the cup. He says the hypocrites only clean the outside of the cup, but one should clean up their heart too, which is the inside of the cup. So in the body is related to this world and everything to do with it, which is the outside of the cup. The inside of the cup is more what you would find in meditation, prayer, dreams and other spiritual practices. That is how you communicate with God through prayer and meditation. Paul could mean he wanted to be with Christ through meditation, but also seems to say he wanted to die and be with Christ. So Paul isn't clear whether he means he wants to die and be with Christ or whether he wanted to go pray or meditate. He possibly left it unclear to mean both and lead us to draw the conclusion they are related and the part of you that is the inside of the cup is what goes with you in death.

    So I guess I am agreeing with you?
     
    #8 Kemosloby, Dec 9, 2017
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  9. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    The context dictates that "nakedness" means the intervention of death - with subsequent bodilessness.

    He refers to the "decay" and imminent "destruction" of the tent, which coupled with those verses from Philippians, make it clear to me that he is referring to the death of the body contrasted with the inner aspect or part of the person that will not be destroyed by death but immediately departs to be at home with Jesus, before the resurrection of the body.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    You posted this just after library hours! That is a clever debate tactic, but it will not avail you.

    You say here "...It erred in applying alien notions of afterlife with a basis in Platonic dualism to its exegesis of the scriptures. This was supplanted in the 20th century by a fresh paradigm guided essentially by mortalism (or, in its softer articulation, lack of interest by the ancient Hebrews..." My understanding is that plato is not necessarily at odds with a mortal soul, but also I think the NT fits very nicely with perfect mortality and a life hidden in Christ, in the church. I think that the Hebrews viewed (and possibly still do) the soul as a seed which can propagate to others. This leaves superstitions out and merely observes what is apparent, a model that need not explain the underlying mechanism of propagation.

    While there may have been non-Jewish people influencing Jews holding expectations of a selfish afterlife, there would also have been people like myself noting that damage to the body results in damage to the mind. Alcohol dulls the senses affecting judgment, and a blow to the head causes paralysis. Judaism overwhelms and destroys Egyptian and Grecian culture, not through promises of an afterlife but through dedication and the opportunity to provoke real positive change in a way that gives people hope. It quickly eats up the Roman empire, vanquishing many superstitions and drawing fire from the senate and the noble class. This is not accomplished through selfish aims of eternal life but by leveraging selflessness and the chance to do something lasting.

    Scholars tend to say that 2 Corinthians is a late addition, however this language of a temporary Earthly tent is not formula for believing in an afterlife other than that which is in Christ. If you wish it to mean something else then that is up to you, but its a figure of speech for self sacrifice and self denial -- concepts central to following Jesus. Remember this quote: "You cannot serve both God and Mammon" which is the context of entering eternal dwellings. Those dwellings are not places of physical pleasure nor of foods like we choose to desire. As Jesus says to his disciples when he has not eaten "I have food you don't know about." It seems Jesus believes that the kingdom of God is made of righteousness, peace and joy and that is our eternal dwelling.

    That overlooks the allusion this verse makes to the story of the stone made without hands in Nebuchadnezzar's vision, also termed the stone of stumbling. The entire problem with the statue in Nebuchadnezzar vision is that all of the beautiful kingdoms are made by people, and so they are doomed to fail and to be replaced. The stone is a kingdom made without hands, so it solves the problem replacing human politics with something better. The verse you are quoting is plainly alluding to it. I think you overlook this due to the RC papal claim of primacy which derails analysis of Peter's conversation with Jesus. I do not know whether you are even permitted to consider an alternative thought about it, and this troubles me. I think this subject cannot be avoided if the stone is to be discussed. Jesus says to Peter "Flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but my Father." The stone is made without hands, not with hands as we tend to expect and to desire; and Peter receives a revelation about Jesus from the Father, not from other people. That is, Peter is part of the stone made without hands strictly because he does not rely upon revelations from authority figures other people just like anyone else who is part of the kingdom.

    About your comments about Paul and the earthly tent and possible allusion to Wisdom and your position that Paul believes in a body-soul duality: I still disagree. There are several factors for me, and at the moment I do not have access to reference materials to show you other than the Bible. I think the major thing underlying my disagreement is a serious of images taken showing the development, over time, of the 7 branched lampstand and the symbols that it has built into it. People have always wondered how to create a stable society. We have consciences and while we sometimes are violent and grotesque, there are times when we are gentle and pensive when we hate the problems in the world. Towards this end people study those things which appear unchanging -- the cycles of nature like the way that life propagates through reproduction and the water cycles and the seasons and the sun's travels and the flooding of rivers. The tree dies, yet its seed becomes a new tree. Thus the tree remains alive. There are many allusions to the power of cycles throughout the Bible both the Tanach and the Christian part. The lampstand is the one that seems most obvious, but the tree of life is another. Moses uses terms such as 'Prune' when talking about people being cut off from Israel. He sees Israel as a plant, and he speaks about its cycles in his song. This later develops in the prophets in language about Israel's death and resurrection. It dies and is bones but is brought back to life. These things are not what I would expect from someone who believed in heaven-going. In the ark is placed Moses almond rod, which then buds. Almonds have from ancient times symbolized reproduction and eternal life, like a phoenix. Like Moses, Paul uses tree terms like 'Graft' to describe our relationship with Judaism. He says Christians are grafted on to the house of Judaism. These are not the words of someone who believes in heaven-going but in cycles. Like Paul, Jesus likes these terms. Jesus says he is the vine and we must abide in him. He says the kingdom of God is like a seed.
     
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  11. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    Nakedness means without Christ. Without Christ to cover your sins you would be naked and ashamed eternally. Like it is written some will "awake to eternal shame" because they didn't have Jesus clean them of their sins.

    Daniel 12:2 Many of those whose bodies lie dead and buried will rise up, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting disgrace.
     
  12. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    I beg to differ :)

    But thanks for your interesting post, I appreciate the time you've taken.

    Many scholars of note have read into this passage, to quote E.P. Sanders in his recent (2015) study Paul: The Apostle's Life, Letters and Thought, "anthropological dualism". Sanders argues:

    "...2 Cor.3-18-5:10 and other passages show the influence of inner/outer dualism in Paul's thought...In 2 Cor. 4:16, Paul continues to show himself ready to employ individual body/soul dualism...Individual dualism also dominates 2 Cor. 5:1-9. Paul states that "we" live in an "earthly tent"...Here the real human being ("we") is the "inner person". What is the body? A tent. The real person - the inner person - lives inside the outer tent and wishes to discard it...The inner, real person may be briefly naked, without a body/tent as covering (5:2-3)...

    This accepts the dualistic that the outer shell is not a good dwelling: 'we groan under our burden'. But he rejects the standard Greek idea [of indefinite disembodied existence]...The real (inner) person will not be unclothed, but rather be further clothed...

    In 2 Cor. 5:8, however, Paul once more raises the possibility of a bodiless person: "we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord". 'We' is again the real person, who can do without the body and be with the Lord...The formulation of 2 Cor.5:8 will eventually become standard in Christianity...

    When thinking of his death, he naturally thought of himself, that is, the "real person," as leaving the earthly body and going immediately to be with Christ (Philippians 1;23). Here, as in 2 Corinthians 5, there is an inner person that might leave the flesh, or earthly tent, to be with Christ..."

    I could cite a multiplicity of other studies which echo the points made above by Sanders, for example the American New Testament scholar, and historian of Early Christianity, Dale C. Allison who contended in 2016 (Death, Imagination, and the Last Things, p. 34), explicitly referring to 2 Cor. 4:18:

    "In more than one place, then, the New Testament takes for granted that the inner person or spirit is potentially independent of the body and isn't inert after death...The New Testament doesn’t anticipate modern physicalism. Matthew, Mark, the author of Luke–Acts, John, and Paul as well as the authors of Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, and Revelation all believed that the self or some part of it could leave the body and even survive without it...

    Paul’s letters hold more of the same. Despite his hope to see the second coming and his insistence on resurrection, his true home is in heaven (Philippians 3:20), and he desires to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better than remaining in the flesh (Philippians 1:23–24). The apostle also relates that he was once caught up to the third heaven, to paradise, and that he may not have been in his body at the time (2 Corinthians 12:2–3). Paul even, at one point, sounds a bit Platonic: “we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18)."​

    Udo Schnelle, professor of New Testament at the University of Wittenberg, likewise argued in his 2012 book, Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology p. 250:

    "2 Cor. 5:1-10 is characterized by a tendency toward dualism and individualization. This dualism is seen first in the imagery (earthly/heavenly dwelling; being at home/being away from home; being unclothed/being further clothed; mortality/life), which is based on an anthropology stamped by Hellenistic Jewish features. The image of the body as a tent and thus only a temporary dwelling of the self, the mystical understanding of 'clothing,' 'nakedness' as the result of the separation of body and soul, the idea that living in the body is living in exile from one's true homeland - all point to Hellenistic influence (esp. Epictetus, Diatr.1.9.12-14). Because the apostle would like to leave his earthly body, he here uses dualistic categories to evaluate bodily life."​

    Jan Lambrecht in a 2011 essay (Understanding what one reads: New Testament essays p. 224) states:

    "In Cor. 5:1-10 Paul speaks of the earthly body in an objective way, as if it were a substance, an entity of its own. It is a house to dwell in; it is a garment to put on...Paul even refers to the possibility of a 'naked,' disembodied state. Paul is at home in the body now, but he would prefer to go away from this body...

    The reality of the "outer self" of 4:16 is taken up up in 5:1-10 by several terms and concepts: the nouns house, tent and garment; the adjectives earthly and mortal; the verbs to be destroyed, to take off and to be at home in; but above all, the term 'body' in verses 6, 8 and 10...One can hardly deny that Paul as it were claims "to have and possess" a body. However this "we" seems to be the incorporeal self."​

    Paul Barnett, the Australian historian and New Testament scholar, in his The Second Epistle to the Corinthians has echoed this exegesis once again:

    "Perhaps Gentile readers within Greek culture need to be told that the disembodied state is incomplete until the general resurrection, however secure the soul of the righteous beyond death.

    Once more a verse in the sequence begun at 6:16 is antithetical in character, arising from the eschatological dualism...The context dictates that "nakedness" means the intervention of death - with subsequent bodilessness - before the inception of the end time at the general resurrection (4:14)...The verse establishes that Paul envisaged a state of disembodiment between death and the universal resurrection."​

    David E. Aune, Professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame, concurred in a 2013 study entitled Jesus, Gospel Tradition and Paul in the. Context of Jewish and Greco-Roman. Antiquity:

    This antithesis in verse 4:16 clearly expresses an athropological duality (here I avoid the terms dualistic or dualism because they are often understood to connote opposition or conflict)...The subject of the first-person plural verb [Greek] is that inner aspect or part of the person that will not be destroyed by death, explicitly contrasted with the dwelling place, garment, or body where the inner person resides, whether earthly or heavenly, but never completely identified with either. An implicit anthropological duality is reflected here...​

    Stanley K. Stowers, Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, writing in an article in the book From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100 BCE–100 CE published in June 2017 and edited by Troels Engberg-Pedersen, states:

    "Numerous [Pauline] texts suggest a mind or true self in that it is distinct from the body and at home in a higher realm. Paul writes (2 Cor. 12:2-3) that he once traveled to the third heaven, likely where the court of God is. Whether this trip occurred while he was in the body or outside of his body, he does not know...It is easy for Paul to talk of his self as able to leave the body. He would rather be away from the body and with Christ. Christ lives a pneumatic existence in the heavens, so being in the body means being away from him (2 Cor 5:6-9)..."​

    Finally, I would like to cite many more authorities but am aware of space constraints so will refer you to one last scholar, namely Jaime Clark-Soles, Death and the Afterlife in the New Testament (2006) which was referenced in the Oxford Bibliography with reference to 2 Corinthians 5 and Philippians 1:18b-26:

    "Further encouragement comes from Paul's conviction that death can actually bring one closer to Christ. Paul even claims that it is abundantly and exceedingly far better to die and be with Christ (Phil 1:23)...Phil 1:23 depicts dying as the better of the two goods...Given Paul's insistence that the resurrection body is bestowed only at the resurrection and given Paul's anthropological dualism, it is reasonable to assume that Paul implies a disembodied intermediate state, followed by the reunion of the body and soul at the Parousia....Paul is mobilized by as thoroughgoing a dualism as that of Philo. Unlike Philo, though, Paul never denigrates the body. The image of the human being that Paul maintains is of a soul dwelling in or clothed by a body, and however valuable the garment, it it is less essential than that which it clothes. It is the earthly tent that we live in; it is not "we".The body, while necessary and valued by Paul, is, as in Philo, not the human being but only his or her house or garment. Thus, to "depart" is to die, and to be "with Christ" is to be absent from the body".​

    None of these prominent scholars argued that it was a "late addition" to the text either.
     
    #12 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  13. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    Human consciousness is tied up with brain function as we can see when a person is in a coma. There is no awareness of time or any inkling of what has gone on in their 'absence', no matter how long they have been "asleep". Can a dead brain still think or plan? If an unconscious one cannot then there is your answer.

    Solomon, who wrote Ecclesiastes also makes this clear. Does Solomon contradict himself?

    "For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. . . . .Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going."

    "Sheol" is translated as "hades" in the Septuagint. But the ancient Jews had no belief in the "hell" taught by Christendom. Jews believed that "sheol" was the common grave, so we all 'go to hell'. It is a place of rest. And since Jesus said he will call "both the righteous and the unrighteous" from their graves, it means that are all still in them. (John 5:28-29) Why does there have to be a conscious existence between death and resurrection? What purpose would that serve and where will I find such an idea in the Bible?

    If we go back to Eden and ask what God said to Adam when he broke God's law.....
    "By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:19-20)

    When God created Adam, he wasn't 'given' a soul, but 'became' a soul when God started him breathing. The word "psy·kheʹ." in Greek is translated "soul", but English words allude to its real meaning. "Psychiatry" e.g. is the study of the mind.....the personality, which is in keeping with what the original word means. A "soul" ("neʹphesh" in Hebrew) is a living breathing, thinking, conscious creature...it is never used of a disembodied spirit.

    The Greek word for "spirit" is "pneuʹma" which again is alluded to by other English words that show its true meaning. "Pneumonia" or "pneumatic" are words we associate with breathing or air. So the true meaning of "spirit" would coincide with God "breathing" the "breath of life" into Adam. Only with this breath did Adam become a "soul". A soul cannot exist without a body and a body cannot live without breath (spirit). When breathing stops, the first organ to die is the brain. Once brain death occurs, no one can bring that soul back to life except God.

    Another example would be the account of Jesus resurrecting his friend Lazarus. Reading the account in John 11:11-14, where did Jesus say Lazarus was? Where did he bring him back from? Was Lazarus enjoying himself in heaven or some other place of conscious existence?

    "After he said these things, he added: “Lazʹa·rus our friend has fallen asleep, but I am traveling there to awaken him.” 12 The disciples then said to him: “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will get well.” 13 Jesus, however, had spoken about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus said to them plainly: “Lazʹa·rus has died"

    Did Lazarus speak of a place where he had been? Did he know that Jesus had brought him back from the dead?
    If Jesus said that Lazarus was "asleep", do we believe him or do we believe what Christendom teaches about the soul being conscious somewhere? I prefer to believe Jesus as he agrees with the rest of scripture.

    Immortality of the human soul is a Platonic Greek belief not found in the scriptures at all. It was adopted into Jewish and Christian thought in times when Greek influence was strong.

    I understand this as an inordinate desire by those anointed with holy spirit to be with their Lord in heaven. In order to be resurrected to heavenly life, they must first die and be resurrected with an entirely new body....a spirit body as Paul indicated....
    In explaining the resurrection of the Seed, Jesus Christ, the apostle Peter writes that he was ‘put to death in the flesh, but was made alive in the spirit.’ (1Peter 3:18) The apostle Paul, in dealing with the subject of the resurrection of Christ’s chosen ones, draws on an agricultural illustration.....“What you sow is not made alive unless first it dies; and as for what you sow, you sow, not the body that will develop, but a bare grain, it may be, of wheat or any one of the rest; but God gives it a body just as it has pleased him, and to each of the seeds its own body. . . . So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption, it is raised up in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised up in glory. . . . It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.” (1Corinthians 15:36-44)

    Those composing the ‘seed of Abraham’ therefore die, giving up earthly bodies of corruptible flesh, and are resurrected with glorious incorruptible bodies of spirit, just as Jesus was.
     
  14. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Thank you Deeje, for your lengthy and detailed post. I welcome your contribution to the thread! It's late here in the UK, so I'll focus on just a few elements of your post tonight and the others tomorrow.

    We aren't discussing neurobiology but scriptural texts composed in the first century AD for the New Testament and at least circa 500 B.C. at the time of the exile for the OT. So allusions to modern understandings of brain chemistry are not applicable for the purposes of this discussion.

    Conscious existence between death and resurrection ensures continuity of personhood. When we enter a coma, our body is still intact, as is our brain. When we die, the atoms comprising our body wholly disperse and are gone. How would a reconstructed physical body truly be "us"? The idea of an interim disembodied state in part maintains continuity of identity for the deceased.

    As to where this arises in sacred scripture, there are a number of instances from the New Testament. Many scholars (as I demonstrate above in my overview of the scholarly literature) find reference to such an intermediate state in that 2 Corinthians 5 passage I've been discussing.

    Another instance is the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus:

    Luke 16:19-31

    19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham.

    The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away
    with Lazarus by his side. 24 He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’

    27 He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets,neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

    Note that the rich man and Lazarus have both died but are conscious in Hades.

    The rich man's brothers have not yet died, so we know that in the background provided in the parable, the resurrection of the dead has not yet happened. And yet the individuals are fully conscious and communicating with one another in an intermediate state.

    Many interestamental texts that were popular among Jews in the first century, such as the Wisdom of Solomon, 2 Maccabees, Enoch and 4 Ezra, advocate belief in post-mortem but pre-judgement existence outside the body in some manner of intermediate state. The Enochic literature was very popular too, as Peter H. Davids pointed out.

    It is not surprising, therefore, to find Josephus describing how both the Pharisees and Essenes held beliefs which assumed the immortality of the soul, while the Sadducees rejected such views in Antiquities XVIII, 11-17:

    > The Jews had for a great while three schools of philosophy peculiar to themselves- the Essenes, the Sadducees, and the third was that of those called Pharisees. . . .

    > (12) Now, for the Pharisees...They also believe that souls have an immortal power in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, depending on whether they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life. The latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but the former shall have power to revive and live again. (15) On account of these doctrines, they are very influential among the body of the people, and whatever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction. In this way, the inhabitants of the cities gave great tribute to the Pharisees by conducting themselves virtuously, both in their way of life and their discourses as well.

    > (16) But the doctrine of the Sadducees is that souls die with the bodies. Nor do they regard as obligatory the observance of anything besides what the law enjoins them. For they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent. (17) This doctrine is accepted only by a few...

    His statements here are corroborated by the New Testament, namely the Book of Acts:

    Acts 23: 6-9: "...6Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee_"...When he said this, a dissension began between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. 8 The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, or angel, or spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge all three. 9 Then a great clamor arose, and certain scribes of the Pharisees’ group stood up and contended, “We find nothing wrong with this man. What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”..."​

    Like Josephus in his Antiquities, Acts refers to the Pharisees' belief in disembodied spirits and angels, pared with the Sadducees rejection of these concepts. From Josephus, we learn that the Pharisees and their doctrines were "very influential among the body of the people", something that the New Testament and the later Talmudic authors both attest to as well.

    Basically, populist first century Judaism had inherited notions of an intermediate disembodied state in Hades ("Abraham's Bosom" for the righteous and punishment for the wicked), immortality of the soul, disembodied spirits and the resurrection of the dead from influential earlier texts (i.e. the Book of Daniel, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, 1 Enoch, 4 Ezra etc.) that had become very widespread among the Pharisees, Essenes and others such as Philo. This forms an important backdrop to the popular culture of the New Testament authors, with St. Paul having actually been a Pharisee and Jesus himself having had much in common with this school (certainly over against the Sadducees).

    After all, Paul was educated as a Pharisee and still claimed to be a Pharisee in Acts, so it is not surprising to find him admitting belief in the possibility of out-of-body revelatory experiences in 2 Corinthians 12:2:

    "I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. 3 And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows"

    Pharisees believed in disembodied spirits, as evidenced by Josephus and Acts. Paul did too. An advocate of soul sleep or Sadducee-like mortalism could not have admitted this as being even a theoretical possibility, let alone a plausible one.

    Luke, who also authored Acts, assumes this pre-existent framework for his Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Consider for a moment the standard definition of parabolic literature. Dr. Kenneth Boa states that:

    "Parables are extended figures of comparison that often use short stories to teach a truth or answer a question. While the story in a parable is not historical, it is true to life, not a fairy tale. As a form of oral literature, the parable exploits realistic situations but makes effective use of the imagination"​

    We have no other examples of a parable being attributed to Jesus that employs anything beyond "normal", universally accepted "everyday" things. This is precisely why Jesus's parables involve situations like a woman baking bread (parable of the Leaven), a man knocking on his neighbor's door at night (parable of the Friend at Night), or the aftermath of a roadside mugging (parable of the Good Samaritan).

    They are meant to be stories with realistic, true to life situations. In that vein, we should interpret the assumed background of an afterlife intermediate existence in Hades prior to the Last Judgement, as an instance of Jesus taking and presupposing a situation that seemed perfectly normal, realistic and expected to the Jews of his day.

    As much as the idea of a man dying and his spirit being carried away by angels to the abode of the dead to enjoy happiness with the Patriarch Abraham might seem otherworldly and unrealistic to our modern sensibilities, it wouldn't have seemed so to Jesus's original audience.

    Parables are not fairy tales set in magical situations. Jesus did not tell fairy tales involving wholly fictional and purely abstract metaphysical doctrines that bear no relation to the reality already assumed by both he and his listeners.

    So, Jesus' audience in the Lukan parable of Lazarus already assumed the actual existence of this intermediate, disembodied state in Hades (described in the Book of Enoch and in 4 Ezra), where the souls of the righteous are with Abraham in a "blessed" quarter and the ungodly dwell in suffering in another quarter.

    Luke does not question this belief but assumes it as part of the background for Jesus' parable about the wealthy neglecting the poor, just like he assumes a background of highway robbers and Samaritans familiar to his audience in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    The intertestamental texts were popular during the lifetime of Jesus and formed part of the intellectual currents.
     
    #14 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  15. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    I am not arguing St. Paul or any other NT author believed in Platonic dualist beliefs in a naturally immortal soul (which is connected to the Theory of Forms and reincarnation). In its pure elaboration, this is objectionable from the standpoint of biblical teaching. The (temporary) existence of a person without a body and bodily resurrection are not mutually exclusive alternatives. It is not a straight choice between "Platonic immortality" on the one hand and "mortalism" on the other. There are alternatives that don't end up with either extreme.

    I'm actually arguing in favour of the importance of retaining the language of duality in terms of a “holistic substance-dualism,” which according to one prominent scholar "deletes what is objectionable in the traditional anthropology while retaining the sort of duality required by the scriptural teaching of individual survival between death and the resurrection. Thus the Bible indicates that humans do not cease to exist between death and resurrection, a condition sometimes euphemistically termed "soul sleep," or that final resurrection occurs immediately upon death. An intermediate state ought not to be confused with a Platonic notion of "the immortal soul,"" (John W. Cooper). I'm not a Platonist but neither am I a mortalist or a soul-sleeper. There is a via media and it was articulated very well by St. Justin Martyr.

    It has absolutely nothing at all in common with an "otherwordly heaven, immaterial soul ensnared in a physical prison" or indeed Valentinian Gnostic style "liberation".

    Let me demonstrate, with reference to some helpful distinctions provided by the early church father St. Justin Martyr, the gulf in meaning between the intertestamental/Pharisaic intermediate state from other theories in antiquity and later exegesis postulating a pre-modern, classical basis for the immortal soul that "in interpreting the Bible grievously erred in applying alien notions of afterlife based based in Greek dualism to its readings of the Hebrew scriptures" (Cook, Stephen; Funerary Practices. (2007)).

    Consider Dialogue with Trypho 80.4:

    "If you have ever encountered any nominal Christians who do not admit this doctrine [i.e. the doctrine of God], but dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob by asserting that there is no resurrection of the dead, but that their souls are taken up to heaven at the very moment of their death, do not consider them to be real Christians, just as one, after careful examination, would not acknowledge as Jews the Sadducees or similar sects" (Dialogue with Trypho 80.4)​

    St. Justin gives the reader here, in this section of his broader argument, a very blunt and uncompromising refutation of the kind of appeals to a doctrine of soul immortality on the basis of immediate, post-mortem assumption into "an otherworldly heaven" which leaves no room for the resurrection of the dead but rather views the soul as being "ensnared in a physical prison" and in need of "liberation" from it. That's precisely the viewpoint that the bibliographical source we are discussing, correctly, claims few biblical scholars now associate with the Hebrew Bible.

    If a person incorrectly conflates the opinion that "souls are taken up to heaven at the very moment of their death", without any orientation towards eventual bodily resurrection, with the "conscious existence of the soul in the interim state" in wait for the bodily resurrection, then it might surprise them to find that St. Justin was a firm believer in the idea of post-death but pre-bodily resurrection consciousness in a "better or worse place". The following quotations from his First Apology make his position clear:

    "1 Consider what happened to each of the kings that have been. They died just like everybody else. Which, if death led to unconsciousness,, would have been a godsend to all the unjust. 2 But, since consciousness endures for all those who have existed, and eternal punishment lies in store take care to be persuaded and to believe that these things are true. 3 For conjurings of the dead – both visions obtained through uncorrupted children, and the summoning of human souls – and those whom magicians call “dream-senders” or “attendants” – and the things done by those who know these things – let these persuade you that even after death souls remain in consciousness. " (1 Apology 18.1-3)

    "And in our saying that the souls of the wicked are punished after death, remaining in consciousness, and that the souls of the virtuous remain free from punishment and live happily, we will seem to say the same things as the poets and philosophers." (1 Apology 20.4)

    “Therefore,” he concluded, “souls do not see God, nor do they transmigrate into other bodies”… 5.1. “Nor should we call the soul immortal, for, if it were, we would certainly have to call it unbegotten.”… 5.2. “Souls, then, are not immortal.” “No,” I said, “since it appears that the world itself was generated.” “3. On the other hand,” he continued, “I do not claim that any soul ever perishes, for this would certainly be a benefit to sinners. What happens to them? The souls of the devout dwell in a better place, whereas the souls of the unjust and the evil abide in a worse place, and there they await the judgment day. Those, therefore, who are deemed worthy to see God will never perish, but the others will be subjected to punishment as long as God allows them to exist and as long as he wants them to be punished.”(Dialogue with Trypho 4.7-5.3)​

    The latter quotation is expressly concerned with persuading one of the truth of Christianity by attacking the tenets of Platonism, which regarded souls as unbegotten and inherently immortal. St. Justin was not a mortalist but rather he believed souls to be neither predisposed to mortality nor inherently immortal (on account of pre-existence) but as existing consciously post-mortem by the grace and will of God. Thus it was solely the denial of resurrection that Justin considered heretical, not the idea of souls retaining conscious awareness somewhere after death until the resurrection when all people will be judged, which he actually adhered to himself. And yet a cursory, uncontextualized skim of his writings could lead one to the wrong conclusion.

    In summation: please don't conflate the intertestamental "disembodied state" with the metaphysical premises underlying Platonic dualism (it did exert great influence in the intertestamental period but in a heavily Judaized form). It is similar only in the sense of positing the survival of a conscious soul post-mortem but otherwise very different, especially in their approaches to the body.

    As St. Justin himself contended, it is God’s supernatural power alone that temporarily sustains deceased persons in conscious existence apart from their bodies, which become corpses, until the resurrection when they are re-constituted. God is the motive force behind "immortality", or rather survival of conscious existence post-mortem, not some inhering eternality that has a purely naturalistic basis, as with Platonism.
     
    #15 Vouthon, Dec 9, 2017
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  16. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    And yet biology backs up what the Bible says about Adam. He was not told about an afterlife of any description...just that he would go back to where he was before God created him. He didn't exist.
    Where were we before our parents created us? We didn't exist either.

    I cannot find this in scripture anywhere. Can you provide a reference?

    Do you not trust a God who calls all of the trillions of stars by name, to remember beings made in his image? (Psalm 147:4) Are you underestimating his power? Giving him human limitations? I can never use the word "never" where God is concerned.

    When Jesus resurrected his friend Lazarus, he had been dead in Middle Eastern heat for four days. Even his sister mentioned that "by now he must smell" indicating the decomposition of his body. Yet such decomposition was reversed by the power of God's spirit.

    Every seven years, there is a complete renewal of cells in the human body. There is not a single cell that was there seven years ago.....this translates to God recreating the cells of our bodies and re-implanting our memories and personalities so that our resurrected bodies will be healed and made new. Will God resurrect the emaciated bodies of victims of cancer or the disabled bodies of those with birth deformities?

    A state of identity is not at all lost when we sleep. Those who awoke from a coma, even after years of unconsciousness, did not forget who they were. They woke up as if they had just gone to sleep.

    Sorry, but I have no interest in what scholars have to say on the subject. If they subscribe to Christendom's teachings, they have nothing to teach me. I extracted myself from that fragmented mess more than 40 years ago. I don't believe what they assume. They don't even agree with one another. I just believe what the Bible says.

    Oh dear....this parable has nothing to do with life after death. Jesus was Jewish and believed what Jewish scripture taught, not what the hypocritical Pharisees might have believed....he knew that the dead are not conscious in some other realm. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) There is no reason for them to be. They are in a place of rest..sleeping peacefully until Jesus calls them from their graves.

    The characters in this story were representative of those to whom Jesus was speaking.
    The rich man pictured the Pharisees, and the poor beggar represented the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" to whom Jesus was sent. Their deaths were symbolic of a change in status. The Pharisees lost "the Bosom" position of favor with God and it was given to the humble ones who accepted Jesus as Messiah.

    A drop of water on someone's finger is certainly not going to do a great deal for someone burning in flames.
    And do we imagine that heaven and hell are in speaking distance to one another....taking that parable literally, the story is absurd. And it flies in the face of Jewish scripture.

    I do not accept the non-canonical books as scripture either...sorry. None of them agree with the canonical books IMO. They are omitted for obvious reasons when you read their content.

    The rich man and Lazarus was not that much different to other parables and was included with a string of them. Why single that one out? It was a powerful illustration for teaching how the Pharisees had lost God's favor. The ones they despised the most had replaced them. Any wonder they hated Jesus and his followers who exposed them as frauds!

    The apostles would not have questioned what they already understood. They could not have been Jesus' constant companions for three and a half years and not known what he taught. Jesus so often quoted OT scripture because that was the only scripture they had. They knew the condition of the dead.

    They might have been, but they are not part of the inspired scriptures for a good reason. Jesus and his disciples were not part of that" intellectual current". He exposed those ones as hypocrites who followed human traditions rather than God's word. Not a single one of the 12 was a graduate of their schools. Do you know why?

    More later.....
     
  17. Vouthon

    Vouthon In varietate concordia
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    Modern science finds no basis for an eternal, transcendent Creator either. Nor angels. Nor demons. Certainly not resurrected bodies. Do we really want to go down this road? Because, if we take it to the logical extreme, we'd have to reject everything the Bible teaches.


    This is not in any sense the same as the complete dissolution of our cells at death.

    Exactly, but the same cannot be said for death. As I stated earlier, when we fall into a coma our brains are still in existence but simply impaired. When we die, the neurons don't simply stop firing: they no longer exist.

    So one cannot meaningfully compare a coma with death.


    Then there is not a lot we can discuss, since our personal opinions are as nothing compared to actual expertise in the New Testament, archaeology and understanding of the broader context in which the scriptures were written. They didn't come into being in a vacuum.

    We have to interpret the scriptures according to the genre, literary style and intellectual milieu in which they were written, not our own suppositions.

    What parable of Christ makes use of a background without any basis in reality?

    Who said it was about heaven and hell? Not me.

    I don't believe that many of these non-canonical texts are scriptural either. That's entirely beside the point. 1 Enoch is explicitly quoted in Jude. This tells us that the sacred author was familiar with and willing to rely on this apocryphal text as part of his theology. It doesn't matter whether or not its scriptural.
     
  18. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    Thanks for calling it interesting. I am more interested in EP Sanders other idea from Paul and Palestinian Judaism, his term 'covenantal nomism'. (wikipedia on EPS) I notice he is a proponent of "participationist eschatology" very similar to the concepts mentioned in my reply to you. Note Isaiah 61:3 "...they will be called oaks of righteousness" and Psalm 1:3 "That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season..." Notice the emphasis is upon plants and their results (fruit). Paul insists upon spiritual fruits or 'Fruits of the spirit' in the here and now, and these fruits are the seeds of the people who are like the husks of seeds. That which is corrupt dies, but that which is incorruptible does not. This is a recipe for mortality and self sacrifice.

    I am not able to find much information about the other scholars you have mentioned. They do not seem to have any critics.

    Yes, well I could have misheard about it being a late edition. If I turn any information up about it I'll make a pip.
     
  19. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    On the contrary, true science must back up what the scriptures say, otherwise God is not the creator of what science studies. I am not suggesting anything to do with evolution, but in biology.....the study of life and its complex structures....we find evidence for creation and deliberate design.

    Science, (both primitive and modern) has been searching for ways to stave off aging and death for centuries.
    They will never achieve it because only God knows what causes it. It was not part of our original creation. Death only came upon mankind as a result of disobedience. We were not created with a program for death, hence this need in man to find ways to avoid what is for the present inevitable.

    Why not? Our cells are made of matter and God created matter. He can recreate matter into a human body as easily as he first created Adam from the elements of the earth. Do you doubt his ability to do that?

    If the dead simply "sleep" as Jesus said of Lazarus, then on awakening, they will have no memory of being anywhere but asleep. Why did Lazarus not mention where he had been? Why did Jesus return him to this life, only to die a second time....did Jesus do him a favor by bringing him back to this life if he was somewhere better?

    Since consciousness needs a functioning brain, what happens to consciousness when we are unconscious? When we die, the "soul" that is the living, breathing human being, ceases to exist. Souls die. Why is that so hard to accept?

    Ezekiel 18:4....
    "Behold, all souls are Mine. Like the soul of the father, like the soul of the son they are Mine; the soul that sins, it shall die."

    This is what Jesus believed. It is also what the apostle Paul believed.....

    "Moreover, brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who are sleeping in death, so that you may not sorrow as the rest do who have no hope. 14 For if we have faith that Jesus died and rose again, so too God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in death through Jesus. 15 For this is what we tell you by Jehovah’s word, that we the living who survive to the presence of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16 because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-16)

    Those sleeping in death had to wait until Christ came back and called them to heaven. These were to rise "first".
    The general resurrection of the dead will take place once the Kingdom has accomplished its mission regarding the earth.

    Understanding of the scriptures does not require the interpretation of men, especially when they can disagree about it. It requires the operation of God's spirit and he will only invite those who demonstrate teachableness and meekness 'like young children'....not like pompous educated intellectuals.

    Expertise is well and good, but when you have conflicting ideas, who can be certain of the truth? Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees, despite their schooling and education, were not teachers of the truth. They had allowed the "traditions of men" to infiltrate their thinking and to corrupt their religion. He said that their teachings 'invalidated' God's word. I believe that Christendom has followed them down the same path.

    If you understand the illustrative value of the story, and the fact that Jesus never taught anything about life after death, then being "dead" in one's trespasses is more understandable. There is more than one kind of death in the scriptures.
    The following is an excellent explanation of the parable IMO.

    A Change for the Rich Man and for Lazarus — Watchtower ONLINE LIBRARY

    Life after death has long been the catalyst for all manner of beliefs....heaven....hell....reincarnation.....the "souls" that live on after death need to go somewhere and since the Bible is silent on this matter, humans are want to invent places for them to go. Catholicism had a field day with this subject. But if there is nothing that survives death, then there is nowhere needed but the grave itself. Jesus said he would call all of the dead from their tombs (John 5:28-29).....how does he do that if they are not still in them? Where will I find a teaching that "souls" and "bodies" will somehow be reunited? The resurrection, as the Bible teaches it, makes all that unnecessary.

    According to my sources, the Book of Enoch is an apocryphal and pseudepigraphic text, falsely ascribed to Enoch. Produced probably sometime during the second and first centuries B.C.E., it is a collection of extravagant and unhistorical Jewish myths, evidently the product of exegetical elaborations on the Genesis reference to Enoch. This alone is sufficient for students of God’s Word to dismiss it. I do not believe that God would have inspired such a book.

    How Jude received the information about Enoch’s message to the ungodly is a minor detail about a matter only briefly reported in the scriptures. Its reliability is attested to by the fact that Jude wrote under divine inspiration.
    At Hebrews 11:5 Paul also spoke of Enoch, being familiar no doubt with the Genesis account.
     
  20. Clear

    Clear Well-Known Member
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    Hi Vouthon :

    I think that your presentation of the earliest base model of duality (i.e. man as a spirit and a body) is, historically, correct and it is good. This earliest interpretation of the earlier Judeo-Christian worldview was always more logical and rational than the later theory of an unconscious “soul-sleep”. I am honestly not sure when an unconscious and non-communicative theory of “soul-sleep” appeared in Judeo-Christian literature, but it seems relatively late.

    The early Judeo-Christian model envisioned sleep, not as a time of complete unconsciousness/blackness such as Deeje has adopted but, instead, they viewed sleep as a time of “higher consciousness” of the spirit when higher revelations were received. It is in such contexts that the dreams of revelation are couched in the Talmudic and in the Old and New Testament literature.

    Job 33 describes this early belief that God speaks to men in Dreams. Elihu describes God speaking “In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction (vs 14-15)

    Sleep was a time of revelation in early Judeo-Christian worldviews.
    For examples : The dream called “Jacobs Ladder” with its’ symbology was given to the prophet in a dream : Genesis 28:12And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. It isn’t just prophets, but others have communication by dreams.

    In Daniel 2, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” as a form of revelation, In Genesis 41, “Pharaoh dreamed” as revelation and In Genesis 40 the chief butler and the chief baker “dreamed a dream both” which Joseph interpreted. In Gen 37, “Joseph dreamed a dream”. In Judges 7, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow” Jacob describes “the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I” and in Gen 31:10-11 he describes the revelation. In Kings 3:5, "the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God said, Ask what I shall give thee.” The point is that dreams were not seen as an unconscious state in early Judeo-Christianity, but a time of communication and higher revelation.

    Joel 2:28 describes that God will “”pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.


    This sort of pattern is woven into the scriptures and early Judeo-Christian literature so deeply that the principle of revelation and dreams in sleep cannot be separated. In Genesis 20, "God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou art but a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she is a man’s wife” In fact, when God is angry he is described as withholding revelation, even in dreams. 1 Samuel 28:6 And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. The person who interprets dreams was highly valued. Daniel 1:17 tells us of Daniels' qualities and among them are that “Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” This characteristic was repeated twice within 5 verses (vs 12 says he had “an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams…”

    This is not simply an old testament pattern, but continues on into the New Testament era. In Matthew 2:12 the parents of Jesus “being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” Joseph is reassured to betroth Mary because of a dream, Matthew 1:20But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a adream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. The ancients took great stock in dreams and in interpreters of dreams : Matthew 27:19 tells us that Pilates wife feared because of something communicated to her in a dream. Thus when Pilate was set down, “his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a adream because of him.”


    THE HISTORICAL IMPORTANCE OF YOUR ABILITY TO USE EARLY JUDEO-CHRISTIAN LITERATURE

    I also think the fact that you are able to make use of other early Judeo-Christian literature is important historically. While your model is able to make use of a wide variety of early Judeo-Christian literature, the later, more modern theories cannot make such easy and comfortable use of early literature. The reason for this is that the early literature does not support later theories.

    I am impressed that you knew about the importance of the Enochian literature and it's affect on the New Testament. Lawrence was able to find more than 127 references to Enochian literature in the New Testament. While the non-historian Deeje is "dismissing it", religious Historians have found it to be one of the most influencial genres of literature in all of Jewish and Christian literature. It was incredibly popular and influential. In fact, there were more copies of Enoch found among the Dead Sea Scrolls than any other Old Testament book outside of the pentateuch and psalms.


    Kudos to you for your historical points @Vouthon . Are you familiar with the Talmudic literature about spirits and their cognitive and communicative state after death?


    Clear
    τωσετωω
     
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