Secularism is the new religion taught and worshipped at the highest level in our land.
Are you willing to learn how to dismantle these high places?
Secular Humanism is the religion of atheism.
Its doctrine of Origins is now being enshrined in our Laws, our Politics and even our Churches.
Let God be true and every man a liar!
The leaflet above which is an introduction to this topic is available as indicated through a download pdf.
In this section of the website this leaflet will be commented on and expanded.
There is a larger more detailed document on the topic entitled ‘Conditional Immortality a Coherent Doctrine’ This is available as a pdf download by clicking here. Much of the comment on the leaflet is sourced on this document.
the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
The earlier part of this website had a large emphasis on the reliability of scripture and in particular the book of Genesis. Because in the secular world there is great cynicism of Genesis and generally the church has accepted their alternative view; big bang, evolution, long ages etc. then when other biblical concepts are spoken of in Genesis the church does not listen carefully. The scripture in Genesis is often interpreted metaphorically or maybe as only having a validity in challenging some peculiar pagan notion existing at the time when Genesis was written. What made up tales.
But it is extraordinarily straightforward and written for our belief. Taken as it is written, it gives profound understanding for the rest of the references to life and death in all of scripture. Mix it with the ideas of secularism and we get totally confused at best, and at worst it describes a God who bears no relationship to, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” and “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” John 1v14 Hebrews 1v3
So what exactly is the text saying here?
God formed, meaning designed, constructed, fashioned. Into that body, so constructed as to be able to sustain life, God breathed life. It was then that man became a living soul. Notice soul was not breathed in to the man. It was the function of the breath of life (spirit, Hebrew ruach (breathed) shamah (breath) into the body which produced a living soul. Man became a living soul, a living being, a living person…. when the breath (spirit) is returned to God then the person falls asleep as;
Act 7:59,60 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
We are made in the image of God but this is distinct from having immortality. We had the capacity for immortality but otherwise we share the same process of life as the animals… becoming a living soul (nephesh) produced by the breathing in of the Spirit (ruach) to a body made by God. The same combination of terms ruach and nephesh is used of the animals in Genesis Gen_2:19,Gen_6.17, Gen_9:10,
There is a theme mentioned here which will come through again and again in scripture. We were created for immortality but we were not given a immortal soul. The animals were given a similarly formed soul but only humans were made with capacities which the scriptures describe as “made in the image of God” An image which reflected in part the characteristics, holiness and creativity of our creator.
Check the verses Genesis 2v19 the Hebrew word use of the living creatures is the same as used for Adam (2v7 chay khah’- ee) as a living soul
Genesis 6v17 when humans and thus animals come under judgement then the Hebrew word “ruwach roo’- akh” (that which was breathed into man) is used of the breath in animals along with “chay khah” as a living creature which is used also in Genesis 2v7 of Adam.
In Genesis 9v10 we have the complete picture of the words used for the animals as for humans in terms of soul, spirit, breath when “nephesh neh’- fesh” is used for every living creature that was on the Ark.
The distinction, to repeat, from the animals is, that we were made in the image of God, not that we have a soul. Having a soul is common to both humans and animals which have the breath of life.
but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2v17
We know what the nature of the battle is going to be right at the beginning of scripture. The fight is going to be over life and death just as is presented all the way through the scriptures. The promise is for life the warning is against death and the means by which that will come. Disbelief in what the Designer/Creator says and disregard for the consequences. We shall follow the way in which death is defined in scripture in the next verse.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." ….he must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live for ever." ….. He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3v19,22,24.
The details of the punishment warned for disobeying the injunction by the Creator to his creature are set out here.
This is vitally important. This sets the scene and defines everything else which follows in scripture. Ignore or misunderstand or seek to replace these statements here with others and you will mess up the Power and the Goodness of God. You will entrap yourself in logical dilemmas and most of all will attribute to God characteristics which are heinous and completely against the whole revelation of God as found in Jesus. There is only tension between the Old and New Testaments if we insist on ignoring the definition of death as found in this text. After all this was what began the story. It didn’t change halfway through but we do have an enemy who immediately cast doubt on God’s word.
What does the text say about death. You will return to the ground… from it you were taken … for dust ….. Couldn’t be clearer. Not that his body would return to the ground and some part would remain alive. Adam came from nothing and the implication is that he would return to nothing.
The second part of the text here confirms this interpretation. Adam was to be refused access to the tree of life….why? In case he might eat and live forever. The idea of a sinful, disobedient person being able to exist forever was abhorrent to God. Life was denied to Adam.
So why didn’t Adam die immediately? Why didn’t God wrap up there and then this relationship which had gone wrong? Because it is hinted in the text, with respect to the serpent, of an ongoing battle which would result in the serpent’s head being bruised. There was a plan gradually revealed of redemption and restoration. God had already covered Adam and Eve by killing an animal to provide the skin, an indicator of what would be the content of his plan of rescue.
Therefore to answer why didn’t Adam die straight away…because that plan of rescue would also be procured for and available to Adam and Adam’s descendants. Those who availed themselves of this redemption and salvation understood it to be resurrection of the body. They were spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 22v31,32 as being alive because of the yet to occur resurrection of which Jesus would be the firstfruit.
“But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you,
32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living."”
The body is vital to the Christian story. The soul is never spoken of in scripture as being immortal, God alone has immortality. 1Tim. thy 6v16
But our body is raised immortal as in 1 Corinthians 15v51-57. God’s promises are true and the partriarchs believed them. Their hope is the same as follower of Jesus, “Christ in you the hope of glory” Colossians 1v27 and “but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.”
In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honour and might forever. Amen. 1Timothy 6v14-16
Here we have confirmation of the above approach. God alone has life in him. We are created. He alone determines who has life and who has not. To suggest that we have an immortal soul imparted to us which must live on in some fashion or other ie heaven or hell is a distortion of what the scripture says plainly. It does however fulfil the lie of the serpent… "You certainly will not die!" Any immortality which we have is purely because we have been joined to Christ and baptised into him by the Holy Spirit allowing us to share in his death to sin, in his burial and resurrection. That union alone repeated in various ways throughout the New Testament is the basis for our immortality and is spoken of in terms of the body.
Colossians_1:27 to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
But the Serpent suggested that God wasn’t telling the truth. ‘Surely you won’t die’ . The effects of this lie are devastating to humans and to the Goodness of God who is now tarnished with an image of torturing people forever.
Can you grasp this. The Lord God has used every possible way of saying that people who reject him will not have life but will return to dust. Think of the words, ‘wages of sin is death’, destruction, outer darkness, the abyss, thrown on the rubbish tip which burns stuff up and destroys, the smoke of their burning will go up forever, excluded from the presence of God the Life Giver, eaten up like a garment, the worm (which eats) will not die, perish, return to dust, have no rest etc. Every possible way of describing death and destruction is used and the term second death is use to indicate the final punishment, Gehenna, the Lake of Fire is consonant with the punishment which was pronounced and described in Genesis. Why the second death, because we have a chance of escaping the results of the first death, since everyone is raised from that to face judgement resulting in eternal punishment (the punishment of sin is death therefore eternal punishment is eternal death.
Despite all of these and more descriptions, which we will deal with later in this section, the Christian church by and large in its interpretation of the punishment prefers Satan’s judgement, ‘Surely you won’t die’ and describes death as a form of life which is totally abhorrent and reflects nothing of God’s character or the work of Christ on the Cross.
How is it possible that given the definition of death in the beginning, barred from the tree of life and told by Jesus not to fear him who can only kill the body but to fear him who can destroy body and soul in Gehenna that we insist that death means being alive forever in miserable conditions?
We seem to allow more authority to the person of Father Abraham in the story told in Luke 16, of Lazarus and the rich man. A common story amongst the Jewish people who along with the Pharisees thought that they had life through being descendants of Abraham John the Baptist meets with this entrenched attitude of the Jews in Matthew 3v9 responding “Don't think you can say to yourselves, 'We have father Abraham!' because I tell you that God can raise up descendants for Abraham from these stones!” John Wesley comments on this, “We have Abraham to our father - It is almost incredible, how great the presumption of the Jews was on this their relation to Abraham. One of their famous sayings was, "Abraham sits near the gates of hell, and suffers no Israelite to go down into it."
None of us are saved by Abraham nor do we go to his bosom. It is Christ alone who saves us and in whose presence we fall asleep and then are resurrected into at the Second Coming.
This is corrupt folk religion which Jesus is teaching against. It is the kind of thinking which slides into accepting the Devil’s lie, “surely you won’t die”. We merely change state in this thinking.
Jesus’ response is to say exactly what Abraham would say since Abraham knew and acted on the the truth. Moses and the Law. They had been barred from the tree life.
This is the truth of what Abraham knew and acted upon at the encounter on the mountain in being willing to offer Isaac. God could raise Isaac from the dead, “Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.” Hebrews 11v9
Jesus deals with this entrenched attitude of the Jews in this retelling of the story, incidentally which story only deals with Hades the place of the dead and not Gehenna the final punishment, pointing them, not even to someone rising from the dead, but to the words of Moses. In accepting the ideas of immortality and the survival of the soul after death it made the Jews dismiss the idea of resurrection. It was unimportant if Lazarus indeed was already in paradise. It was this kind of pagan thinking which allowed in the Roman Catholic church the development of corrupt practises connected with saying prayers for the dead.
The following chapter 17 (no divisions in the original) speaks of the judgement of those who hinder children and would be thrown into the depths of the sea with a millstone around them. This is consistent with Biblical teaching, but not Jewish folk teaching, on judgement.
In the book of Revelation we find, at first appearance a contrary idea. In Revelation 5v9-11 “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled”
This would at first look seem to support the idea that the souls are alive, conscious and active before the resurrection. Except it says ‘rest yet’ implying that sleep is still the normal and this is an exceptional event perhaps even figuratively crying out.
Such an interpretation is confirmed by a similar reading in the same book.
In Revelation chpt 20 v4,5 speaking of those souls who had been beheaded for the testimony of Christ,
“And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection”
The souls were speaking figuratively since they were not alive till they “came to life” at the first resurrection.
This agrees clearly with the apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 8 that we are “saved in the hope of the resurrection of the body”
Matthew 13:41 The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. 42 They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous 50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
A couple of verses from the same chapter as translated in the NIV. Notice the “where there will be” in both of these passages. The ‘where’ is an addition to the original Greek which implies a place where this continues to happen as in accordance with the assumption of an immortal soul. The text only says that on the pronouncement of the judgement and its execution there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. We must be careful not to add to scripture particularly important as we look next into the book of Revelation where that particular warning is written.
Revelation 14v10 “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
And death and hell (hades) were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
These words, make no mistake, are inspired by the Spirit of Christ and Jesus confirms these words by clear statements in the gospel as above.
How are we to understand them?
Torment is a Greek word and its meaning is framed by the Greek philosophical position of Plato who believed in the immortality of the soul. This was also a general pagan approach to the question of death and justice. Bible dictionaries use this as the primary Biblical meaning of the word thus confusing God’s revelation and putting the words of Satan into the mouth of God.
What is the biblical meaning of the word? In other words how is it used in the New Testament and is that usage consistent with the rest of scripture?
The equivalent word in the Old Testament is used of disappearance. Like a garment eaten by a moth which disintegrates. Isaiah 50v10-51v8. Of course torment has an aspect of pain. In Job 19v2 he speaks of people trying to break him in pieces by tormenting him with their words. We know this is the case. A young girl in secondary school is tormented by a classmate with words leading to her committing suicide the logical and known outcome of torment: death.
So it is in scripture. But it is distinguished in scripture from suffering which can be redemptive and torment is never used to describe the death of Christ but only suffering and that of death.
The certainty of death ie disappearance, returning to dust, as judgement by God never giving room to sin ever again is evidenced by the use of the active sense of God tormenting for ever and ever. There is no return from the second death.
It has to be the most marvellous trick of the Satan to get the church to believe his lie that “surely you won’t die” in the face of all that God has caused to be written in scripture on the topic. “The soul that sins it shall die”
John the writer of Revelation uses it in the same way in chapter 18 of his letter. Speaking of the judgment and torment of Babylon whose fate we are urged to avoid he speaks of the removal of function, abilities and eventually of being:
“Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: "With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.”” Revelation 18v21
But you will also notice in the quote at the top of this section that it speaks of those under judgement of having, ‘no rest day or night’ .
The traditional way of interpreting this, assuming the immortality of the soul, is to imagine the agony of the soul in an unending process of torment never having peace and it seems consistent … with error.
But what does the phrase ‘rest’ mean in scripture.
Rest is a particularly loaded doctrinal word used from the very beginning of scripture when God ‘rested’ on the seventh day after his work of creating.
What then does ‘rest’ refer to.
We need scripture to interpret this word.
We are urged in the book of Hebrews to obtain the rest of God which many in the Exodus failed to do and died. They did not inherit the promised land they died. Jesus is spoken of in the book of Hebrews1:2
“God ….. has in these last days spoken to us by a Son whom he appointed to be the heir of everything and through whom he also made the universe. He is the reflection of God's glory and the exact likeness of his being, and he holds everything together by his powerful word.”
In the gospels Jesus says Mat_11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” speaking of the life which he alone can give to overcome the curse which was pronounced in Genesis 3,
“cursed is the ground because of you. You'll eat from it through pain-filled labor for the rest of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you'll eat the plants from the meadows. You will eat food by the sweat of your brow until you're buried in the ground, because you were taken from it. You're made from dust and you'll return to dust."
Rest is often amplified to restoration which is perfectly fulfilled in resurrection of the body which in the case of believers is raised immortal, 1Co 15:53 “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”
In which case the converse must be; if the unbeliever is raised with a mortal body then it and therefore their soul as Jesus warned will be destroyed in hell.
That rest for the Israelites in the desert was to enter the Promised Land which is the foretaste and foreshadowing of the Heavenly promise of the new earth and heaven. When they have no rest day and night for ever and ever it is because they will never have the life promised but be a carcass like those who died in the wilderness.
The phrase "day and night" in the context of judgement is meant to represent the total inability at any time, in any way, to come back to life. The words day and night are first used biblically in Genesis 1:3 at the beginning of creation. It was the first result of the creation from nothingness. The imagery is that they will be denied rest, life or existence, a return to nothingness, by God's first act of creation. The new heaven and new earth is a place where "mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away." [Rev 21:4]
COMPASSION AND RIGHTEOUSNESS IN JUDGEMENT
So what about someone like Hitler. Does Jesus words about some being beaten with many stripes and some with few apply if they are all going to disappear?
Totally! Everyone actually recognises that the worst punishment is death. It is the only legal form of punishment which is disbarred by many countries. Because it is final. Jesus made it plain however that there will be a significant difference between those who sin grievously and those who are indifferent. Both are worthy of death and will be raised to face and recognise their sins and the judgement of death. The second death will be effected more quickly for some than others.
The term which Jesus used for hell, the place of final judgement, was Gehenna, which was the rubbish dump outside of Jerusalem where fires burned continuously for the purposes of destruction. Not unlike the incinerators of our day. It was not a place of survival but destruction. The use of the adjectives unquenchable and eternal are thus descriptive of the permanency of that destruction. They are not intended to describe an eternal continuance of what is put into the fire. That would be to turn the overwhelming clarity of the concept in scripture on its head, making what is meant to indicate the last word in destruction the exact opposite.
Altering the biblical ideas of judgement to merely allegorical ‘tortures of the mind’ is the approach of C S Lewis and FF Bruce. Shrinking from the logical implications of their position and the incredible conclusion as Richard Dawkins says of a ‘sado masochistic’ God they alter the physical realities to mere figures. They fall into the trap of ‘dualism’ separating the physical and the spiritual, a mark of paganism, which the scriptures never do, except for the recognition of the effects of sin.
The suffering of Jesus on the Cross was that He ‘suffered death’. It is not the amount of sins that He took on himself which is important but that He became sin for us. No one else was perfect and had Life in themselves as Jesus had being the God/Man. He alone was able to overcome the judgement of non-existence effected by death because of his own immortality.
Understanding the nature of the judgment as being consistent with the very first warning and definition of death in Genesis, is essential to retain the integrity of scripture. It is also critical for the integrity of God’s character and salvation in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you wish to study a more thorough treatment of this topic please download the following pdf file: