Is having a new physical body better than staying as a spirit?
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This is a great question. I used to ask the same question as well as others like “Why does Jesus need to come back to get me if I am already in Heaven with Him?” as is said in John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. “ When Adam and Eve were in the garden, God told them “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Gen 2:17) Satan, on the other hand, lied to Eve regarding eating from the tree and said "You will not certainly die.” (Gen 3:4) The result of Adam and Eve’s sin was that they were removed from the garden, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever." (Gen 3:22) Seems pretty straight, we are not going to live forever but we are going to die. Satan’s lie to Eve in Gen 3:4 is his first recorded lie in the Bible. It is a lie that is alive and well today. Modern Protestant churches teach that when you die you are not really dead, but that you continue to exist as a conscious spirit that is immediately transferred into Heaven to be with Jesus. There is no evidence in the Bible to support the idea of a ‘conscious’ spirit that exists separately from the body after death. The spirit is “the breath of life” that was breathed into Adam in Gen 2:7 “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.” So, to be a living being, we need our body and we need the breath of life. Take away either and we are not living. Gen 3:19 “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." Ecc 12:7 “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” So, our spirit does indeed return to God, but it is hardly conscious. If we are in a conscious state in Heaven after death then we obviously know something, but Ecclesiastes 9:5 says “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.” The Old Testament writers understood that dead means dead and certainly Jesus understood this. All of the scripture that He quoted during his time on Earth was what we refer to as Old Testament. Now, think about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. How big of a miracle is this if Lazarus is not really dead. Further, wouldn’t it be rotten to remove a friend from Heaven and return him to a corrupt earth? Jesus referred to Lazarus as being “asleep” and when the disciples did not get it, Jesus finally said “Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14) The question you ask is logical and indicates that you are searching for truth. You will get a lot of answers from today’s churches, but sometimes the answers just do not make sense. The simple answer is that when we die we are not taken immediately into the presence of God. Instead, we are “sleeping” as Jesus taught. This is not a bad thing as when we are asleep, we are aware of nothing. The next thing that we are aware of is Jesus’s second coming. This validates what John wrote, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. “ It also validates Paul’s writings such as 1 Cor 15:51-53 “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality…. Blessings to you as you continue to search for truth in the Bible. My prayer is that God will give you the enlightenment you are seeking.
I had the same question at one time. I thought, "If (as I have always believed) my disembodied soul will possess all the essential characteristics of 'personhood' (such as my senses and the ability to recognize others) after my death, even before the resurrection of all the dead at the Final Judgment, then what will be the purpose of the resurrection of my physical body? What will it add to my existence that I will not already possess?" Some deal with this by saying that our soul "sleeps" after our death until it is reunited with our body at the Resurrection, but I could not accept this, because, to me, if there were any interval after death when we would not be fully conscious in some form, it would mean that eternal life was not really "eternal". (Jesus had said in John 11:26, "He who lives and believes in me will never die." To me, that meant that we always had to be conscious in some form, even after physical death.) The question was finally answered to my satisfaction by a free e-book that I found entitled Journey Out Of Time by the late Dr. Arthur C. Custance, which is fully available online at http://www.custance.org/Library/Journey/index.html. Briefly, Dr. Custance explains that the instant we die, we are freed from the constraints of time, and go immediately to our eternal "end state" in our glorified resurrected physical body at the Final Judgment (along with all other believers from eternity past to eternity future). To those we leave behind, our physical body appears to be lifeless here on earth after our death, but that is because those we leave behind are still "trapped in time". When I first encountered this concept, I thought of several Biblical passages that seemed to present problems with it. However, Dr. Custance addressed all those questions in a logical, thorough, and completely Biblical manner. I highly recommend this free e-book to your attention. It has settled this question for me, and given me a great deal of peace, comfort, assurance, and joyous anticipation in dealing with the inevitability of my own temporal death, whenever it may occur.
"God breathed the breath of life into Adam and he became a living soul." Not given a soul. The word spirt means breath from the greek pneuma, as in "pneumonia". We do not have aware spirits, we have the breath of life that comes from God. The question is a good one, with a faulty premise. I know all the arguments, all the persecution someone goes through who believes what I have just stated. Study the Word and you sill see that we do not have spirits, we do not become ghosts floating on clouds. When a person dies, they sleep. Jesus said plainly "Lazurus is dead". The resurrection is the great event, loved ones reunited with each other and the blessed hope of seeing Jesus face to face. Jesus was resurrected with a body, he was asleep in the grave. The day you die is not judgment day. Jesus is coming and "His reward is with him to give to every one according to their works". The soul is the fusion of two basic things: The body made from dust and the breath of life from God. Remove the breath and the soul ceases to exist. Yes, you will find that people get really upset, swear they talk to their dead relatives or their presence is with them. Then you have the "near death experiences" that are about as viable as ANY DREAM. So if I dream about Jesus coming to earth in a BMW, I guess that is real? Hence a great deception Satan will use against the "very elect if it were possible". Think of a chair with nails or an electric light bulb. Remove the nails and the chair went no where, it ceased to be a chair. Turn off the electricity and there is no more light coming from the bulb. It is good news! We sleep until the resurrection and our relatives and loved ones are not witnessing the sin and suffering of our lives or the temptation we go through. Study the subject from The Word of God and don't be deceived by me or any other teacher, study for yourself. Yes, when you come to "The Rich man and Lazurus" and "to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" your bias will kick in, but what are those verses really saying compared with the overwhelming evidence of scripture. Read the context for yourself and compare scripture for yourself. I'm just a messenger, take take it up with the Word and see that it is indeed illogical that we would receive a body, aside from coming back to earth when our spirit is already in heaven. That is the confusion and the truth is actually quite simple, merely convoluted by false teachings, myths and not so traditional belief. We walk by faith and not sight, "do not give heed to seducing spirits", but rejoice that Jesus gained the victory and holds the keys of life and death, that He alone is immortal and He will give the gift of eternal life at the resurrection, not when we fall asleep. (There are exceptions, but these exceptions are not the rule: Enoch, Moses, Elijah, those when graves busted open at the death of Jesus.) Jesus described death as sleep because He knew that death was not an end anymore, that He would win the victory for us and we need not receive the penalty, not receive the "wages of sin is death". That verse is not referring to the first death because it is in context of "but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ" and why say that if everyone dies? Keep studying and see that it really is all about Jesus and not our own inherent immortality or superstition of our having a "spirit" after we die. This mortal and corruptible body of flesh is changed into a spiritual body at the sounding of the last trump, in the twinkling of an eye at the resurrection and what better place to have this reunion right here before we go to heaven. Then what happens? Keep studying, Jesus saves and will not hide the truth from us if we search with all our heart. My prayer is you find out the truth. I wasn't raised with these beliefs, but they were too obvious and simple to ignore because of bias and pride.
This question delves into a very crucial understanding of what constitutes a "human". Notice, Gen. 2:7, "Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." From the narrative in Genesis, man is composed of: 1. Matter: our physical body comes from the "dust of the ground" that has no life. It comes from "earth, earthy". 2. Breath of life: our physical body became a"living soul/body/being" only after this component (breath of life) was given by God. This did not come from "earth and not earthy". It came from God, therefore, heavenly and spiritual. This "breath of life" is the energizing power that brought life to the material body. This is not "oxygen" that we breath since oxygen is "matter" not "spiritual". This is what we now call the "spirit of man". Truly, the "flesh is weak" and is temporary as the "temple" is temporary. As we are the "temples of God", He intimated their temporal nature in the Old Testament times by dwelling from tabernacle which was pitched from place to place, to 1st temple to 2nd temple which was destroyed in 70 AD. The Spirit of God then dwells fully in man-Jesus(anthropos) at river Jordan after coming out of water baptism (Mk. 1:10), and dwelled among the apostles in Pentecost (Acts 2:1-13) and others, since then. This is the "spirit power of God" that seals us to the body of Christ, teaches us the "mind of Christ" to be like him. The physical body will die and at death, the body goes to "hades"(hell/burial place" and deteriorate, while the "spirit of man" goes back to its Creator. As Jesus is the Creator Elohim in Genesis 1, YHVH Elohim in Genesis 2 and the Logos in John 1, no wonder Jesus said to the thief in Golgotha, "today, (at death) you shall be with me in paradise". Without a body, this "spirit of man" can not express any "action or activity" much like our "mind" can not do anything without a body. Hence, this "spirit of man" has to be placed in another body, this time an "immortal body" for the "firstfruits" at Christ's return, then the "latter-fruits".
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