I think after this post I'm going to quit or something, replying to this took about two hours, and I am, in all honesty, weary of constructing replies to them of lengths sufficient to give answers to them. These posts are simply too long for me to deal with in regular (on going and prolonged) discussion.
By "invisible nature" I assume you mean the "immortal soul." Because even I believe that there is a part of us that is "unseen" - I simply hold that this part of us refers to the "mental" aspect of our nature. But this aspect of our nature is not, I believe, something that can "survive the body," since I understand a functioning brain as being that which makes "mind" possible for a human being. When the brain dies, I think there is good reason to believe that all mental activity ceases.
In the body it ceases, not in the being.
It is not all that different from the internet-computer interaction between the two of us. If your computer messed up, and your keyboard went on the fritz and all of the vowel keys on your keyboard stopped working; "n vrythng y typd ws lk ths" that does not mean that you yourself are incapable of linguistic function. Or an even better example; if your computer was destroyed...or you went on vacation to the beach...that does not mean you've ceased to exist, you've only ended your conversation for a time; until you come back that is, and resurrect the conversation.
But when a statue is destroyed it no longer exists - all that exists is the matter by which it was constituted. And if we are constituted by our body and our body dies and is "destroyed," we no longer exist, either. We will, of course, continue to exist in a conceptual sense in the mind of God (just as we existed conceptually in God's mind before he brought us into actual existence), but in order for us to exist again in an actual sense we must be re-constituted.
Liberty would not be destroyed just because a statue of Liberty is destroyed though.
There is more to the existence of a thing than existence of a thing which is its outer manifestation.
Since you believe that we are immortal souls, is it your view that every individual who is said to have "died" in Scripture (and there are countless examples) did not, in fact, die? Because if every individual of which Scripture speaks is an immortal soul, how could they be said to "die?"
Not in the sense that you would call "die". I don't think Death has ever implied cessation of existence.
They stopped being involved with the Land of the Living, that is a fact at least. They became separated from their family and friends in the Land of the Living; that also is a fact. Death implies many things, and many hurts happen because of Death - but I don't think any of it implies cessation of existence.
I believe that God created us as embodied beings because embodiment is the only possible way in which localized, spatially extended beings can exist. To be disembodied is, I believe, to be non-localized, meaning we either do not exist in any place at all or we exist in every possible place. If the former, then I'm not sure how we can be said to exist at all (unless we're immaterial attributes), and if the latter, then we'd be omnipresent like God. Since we are by virtue of our creation embodied beings then I believe we will remain embodied beings for as long as we exist until God sees fit to change us in some radical way, just as I believe that we will remain mortal beings as long as we exist until God changes us into immortal beings at the time of the resurrection. Until God does so (and neither my experience/observation nor my study of Scripture informs me that he will), I believe being embodied will remain necessary for our existence as human persons just like I believe having eyes and a brain is necessary for us to see.
I don't think you quite understand the nature of a spirit.
Where is your evidence that if we are not embodied, we'd be omnipresent? I don't see how that follows.
I believe we exist in the same number of dimensions as the physical body by which we are constituted does, and I don't think you've yet given any evidence (Scriptural or otherwise) to the contrary. And where is your evidence that angelic beings are not embodied? Just because they are immortal and able to do things we can't do in our mortal state doesn't mean they aren't embodied. Since angelic beings exist, I believe their existence must either be localized or they must exist in every possible place. And if they don't exist in every possible place, then I can't conceive of them as being without some sort of body by which they are constituted and localized.
For sake of argument; if they are embodied in some sort of form - then we too would have this form after our physical bodies are passed. If there is no body for them, then I see no reason at all why we should not be able to exist as they do without one.
No Angel is omnipresent by the way, the devils certainly aren't.
As for scriptural evidence; are we not seated in Heavenly places? Are we not one with God? Is God not in us?
Where is your evidence that angels are
embodied? Where is your evidence that without a body, they would be omnipresent?
So beliefs that are most "common" and "general" among human beings are more likely to be true? If I'm not mistaken, a belief in either ECT or annihilation was the most "common" belief in Christ's day among both Jews and Pagans. And in Christ's day, a belief in multiple deities was more common in Christ's day than a belief in a single deity, unless you believe there were more Jews living in Christ's day than there were Pagans in the world.
The majority of people believe that colours exist, does that make the colourblind correct in denying they do?
If Christ were not preparing a place for us to be with him where he is in Heaven, he would have told us so.
That we continue to consciously exist in a disembodied state after we die is not something that my experience/observation leads me to believe. If I am to believe it, it would have to be revealed to me by God. And since I don't see it as having been revealed by God, I can't just take your word for it. The fact that it was a common belief among the Jews and Pagans in Christ's day doesn't lead me to believe that they were correct in their opinions. In fact, it would seem that the more the Jews learned from and emulated the Pagans around them, the further they strayed from God.
I can't help that you only read Scripture through Materialist eyes. You've denied Samuel as being just a vision, or an outright demonic impersonation. Denied Elijah and Moses on the mount of Transfiguration as just being visions, and denied the Souls under the altar as being just symbolic. You would probably deny or explain away these verses as well;
And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul come into him again. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.
And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
Evidence I provide for disembodied, or rather; post-mortem existence, you tend to explain away as being mere fancy, or else you deny it outright, or you reterm or redefine the terms, such as spirit or soul.
In other words any evidence I present tends to fall on hard ground, it doesn't grow.
I'm not sure what you mean by going "to the full extreme." The fact is that rationality, morality and self-awareness are all fundamental and essential aspects of God's personhood, and for any being to possess these things he would necessarily reflect that which is essential and fundamental to who God is as a personal being. Correct? By virtue of being rational, moral and self-aware we would necessarily bear the image of God, while non-human "living souls" would not. But if being in the image of God has to do with having a "transcendent, immortal soul," and all non-human animals have "transcendent living souls" and thus "go to heaven" when they die (as you seen to believe), then what, according to your view, elevates a human being over, say, a dog or a chimpanzee?
The human is God's child. The dog and ape is not.
Also, the fact that man can be "evil" "immoral" or act "very irrational" presupposes rather than points away from the fact that he is made in the image of God, because to be "evil" or "immoral" is to violate one's moral nature and act in a way that is contrary to how one was created to live. One of my miniature dachshunds recently killed a baby duck that got into our yard (poor thing!), but it certainly wasn't "evil" or "immoral" for doing so. If my next-door neighbour were to do the same thing, however, I would definitely consider his actions "evil" "immoral" and "irrational." Why? Because I know he has a moral, rational nature, and I can't conceive of any reason why he might choose to brutally kill a baby duck that would not constitute a violation of his moral, rational nature.
This is irrelevant however to my point. Just because man has a transcendent nature doesn't mean he has to be omnipotent (be God) in order to be in the image of God any more than being immoral strips him of that imageness at all.
Morality, self-awareness, rationality, these are not the only attributes of being made in God's image.
I believe God only does what he thinks is best, and if God didn't do what you think he did, then it wouldn't be "better."
It would be worse. God would be repugnant and completely alien to me.
I wouldn't call him God, I'd wonder where God went and why this imposter sits in his place.
Certainly, but if God has so created man I think he would've revealed it in Scripture. Since I don't think he has, I don't believe he's done it.
Again, I can't help your ability to see.
One could argue that it would be "better" not to have been created mortal in any sense or to have to physically suffer and die at all. Who likes physical suffering and death and think it makes this present existence better than it otherwise would be? But since we are mortal, are able to physically suffer and do physically die (even though I'd prefer not to), then I'm inclined to believe that what seems "best" to us is not necessarily what seemed best to God when he created us and ordered our existence the way he did.
To be in the presence of God, embodied or not; is never "not best". To be in the presence of God both embodied and not embodied - is to have the best at all times.
Moreover, Paul didn't seem to have any desire for the intermediate state between death and resurrection (what he calls being "naked" and "unclothed"); rather, his burden and longing was to "put on our heavenly dwelling" and be "further clothed." And if by "naked" and "unclothed" Paul meant "existentially alive in a disembodied state," then it would seem that, for Paul, it would be "better" to go directly into the presence of God in an embodied state. And according to my view, this is exactly what we experience (and, I believe, what Paul was anticipating): we die in an embodied state and our next conscious experience is in an embodied state. I think God ordered our existence in the way that he did for a benevolent reason: since we weren't created to exist without a body, God made sure that the intermediate state between death and resurrection would be one of unconsciousness so that our next conscious experience would be in a re-embodied state. It sure beats being conscious of our "nakedness."
You have no idea what it is even like. It feels to me almost as if you trust your embodiment for your comfort more than your God.
Well then it can't be because our pets lack a transcendent immortal soul that they don't bear God's image. May I suggest that these non-human "living souls" don't bear God's image because they lack certain fundamental personal attributes such as rational self-awareness and a moral nature?
I would say it is because they are not his children, but His pets also.
As for rationality, self-awareness, and morality; I am inclined to think even animals have them. Their intelligence might be lower, and they might not be civilised, but I don't think they are "dumb" or "blind" to themselves, or even to wrong when they are taught the difference.
Man was not "moral" in the Garden of Eden. They had no concept of it, they didn't know the difference between Good and Evil - it was only after partaking of the fruit which gave them their knowing via experiencing disobedience and learning the difference that Death even became an issue to begin with.
I believe that the individual who is in Christ stays in Christ as well. But I deny that being "in Christ" entails that one remains existentially alive after physically dying just like I deny that it entails that one remains physically alive in an embodied state after physically dying. And I believe Scripture supports the latter just as much as it supports the former (which is to say it doesn't support it at all).
Again with scripture, I can't help your sight. But for being "in Christ" not entailing existential continuance; that to me is to deny Life, and his power to give and maintain it; at the very least it lessens or diminishes it and confines it to bodily existence.
Well first, I'm of the opinion that the prophetic vision which God gave Micaiah was not necessarily a literal scene that actually transpired in heaven. The "lying spirit" of which Micaiah speaks is, I believe, a personification of the "spirit of error/falsehood" (1 John 4:6; cf. Ezekiel 13:3, 8). I don't think an actual, personal being went and became a "lying spirit in the mouth of all [Ahab's] prophets."
Evidence of my earlier point. You don't believe this spirit is a real spirit, and so you redefine the term and redefine the passage as fanciful.
Second, let's assume that this "spirit" was an actual personal, conscious being. Does being called a "spirit" preclude having a body? No, because angels are called "spirits" (Heb 1:13-14) and yet it's evident that they have visible and tangible bodies of some sort (Gen 19:1-3, 16; 32:22-31; Hosea 12:4; Rev 22:8). Even Christ in his resurrection body is referred to as a "life-giving spirit" (1 Cor 15:45). Being called a "spirit" does not mean one isn't constituted by a physical body.
"But" (it may be objected) "what about Luke 24:37-39?"
I don't think you understand the nature of a spirit. And I myself never said that a "disembodied" person (regarding the body of dust) is "intangible".
Again, angelic beings are called "spirits," but they could be both touched and seen, just as Christ could be after his resurrection. So if by "spirit" Jesus meant an angelic being, then his allowing his disciples to see and touch his hands and feet would not have done much good, because angels have hands and feet (again, Jacob wrestled with one, and John fell at the "feet" of one). Even for those who do not think angels have physical bodies must acknowledge that angels can look and feel like they have physical bodies. Had Jacob been present along with the disciples when Jesus appeared to them and understood Jesus to be talking about angels, he could've replied, "Well the angel I wrestled with had hands and feet and certainly felt like he had flesh and bones!"
So what is the meaning of this passage? My understanding is that the word "spirit" is not being used in the sense of a higher angelic being, but rather to what many today would refer to as a "ghost." Understood in this sense, the disciples didn't think they were seeing the kind of supernatural being of which the OT speaks, but rather a dead person. If this is the case, then Christ was not sanctioning the meaning that they were ascribing to the word "spirit" at this time (which is probably meant to be understood as synonymous with the word phantasma used in Matt 14:26 and Mark 6:49); he's simply telling them that a "spirit" (in the sense of a "ghost") does not have hands and feet and cannot be touched. It would be like me telling someone who mistakenly believes in the existence of vampires (and thought I was one), "See, a vampire doesn't have a reflection as you see that I have." For a person who from childhood has believed that vampires or ghosts exist, it wouldn't do much good to tell them that vampires or ghosts don't exist if they were frightened out of their wits because they thought they were in the presence of one. For one who is as "startled and frightened" as the disciples were, evidence that one isn't in the presence of what one mistakenly believes one is in the presence of would be more helpful - and of course, that's exactly what Christ does. Perhaps at another time (when the disciples were in a calmer state of mind), Jesus explained to them that the kind of "spirit" that they thought he was (i.e., a "ghost") exists only in man's imagination.
I think that is an incorrect interpretation caused by misunderstanding on your part.
In short, I believe the Jews understood "evil spirits" or "demons" to be the disembodied spirits of wicked men (i.e., malevolent ghosts), and that Christ and his apostles were simply using the language of the day to refer to the psychological maladies that demons/evil spirits were thought to be responsible for.
"All in their head"?
No demons or evil spirits at all? Just a broken brain?
Is John telling his readers not to believe every disembodied being they encounter? If so, how often do you think his readers encountered and received messages from disembodied beings?
As often as the Holy Spirit talks to you perhaps.
It must have been pretty common for him to give such a warning. But I don't think the word "spirit" refers to disembodied beings at all. Rather, I believe John is using the figure of speech metonymy. The word "spirit" can refer to a person's mind, feelings or mental disposition, or the inward influence or principle that governs and motivates a person's actions. John is likely using the word to refer to those people who were professing to be prophets. IOW, he's telling his readers not to believe every prophet, but to test them. And why is this? "Because many false prophets have gone out into the world." The "spirits" in view here are living, embodied men who were either being guided by the "spirit of truth" or the "spirit of error."
It also refers to an anthropomorphic entity. And most often that is the case when it is refered to as such.
Again, the word "spirit" can refer to the mental/emotional aspect of our nature, but that doesn't mean it's a separate entity or "immaterial substance" that exists in a disembodied, conscious state after death.
That it can refer to that, doesn't mean it isn't
a person that continues on after death, conscious, and existent.
What do you mean by "more?"
I'm not sure where our disagreement is here, Lefein. Jesus proved his power over death by restoring a man to physical, embodied life. It's true that Lazarus wasn't raised in an immortal body, but he was restored to physical life nonetheless. I'm sure it's not your view that Jesus was demonstrating the full extent of his power over death by restoring a dead man to a mortal existence. And of course the sense in which Christ is "the resurrection" is much greater in meaning than his having the power to restore the dead to a mortal existence, for I believe he will raise all who die in Adam to an immortal, happy and holy existence. I cannot conceive of a "better resurrection" than this, so I'm perplexed why you would say the resurrection is "much more" than this.
You aren't looking at the context of the conversation between Lazarus' sister and Jesus. The Resurrection is first and foremost; Jesus, before it is ever even the physical event of a bodily resurrection. The Life is Jesus, before it is ever the life in the resurrection.
The sister, like you seemingly, looks to the future event for Life (even if initiated by Jesus)...but not to Jesus Himself which you already have and he already has you.
That you are perplexed tells me you don't yet understand the scope of what it means to be a living being in Christ, who is Life. When I say "more" I mean that there is more to the Resurrection than just an immortal, embodied, happy holy existence some time far off in the future; some event. I am saying that it is a whole universe of Life and Livingness to be tapped and enjoyed even in the now
that ever increases through event, to event, to event, to Resurrection and beyond; things we cannot imagine.
In other words; there is more to the person's ability to exist than the existence of the body; there is more the the Resurrection than the event. There is more to God than what we see.
Of course; Jesus is today bestowing spiritual "life" upon those who believe on him, and will be dong so for as long as he reigns. Jesus also has the power to restore those who have physically died to a mortal existence both today as well as tomorrow. Neither this kind of "resurrection" nor this kind of "life" is "just a thing for the future." But Jesus also has the power to raise those who have physically died to an immortal, sinless existence, and I don't believe he will exercise this power (which I believe is the full extent of his power over "death, the last enemy") until the "last day."
I believe better, he's killing Death even as we speak by usurping it with Life; with Himself, and on the Last Day when every last person is fully enveloped and permeated with Life, with God; and God is all in all - Death will then be defeated, having been consumed by the all consuming fire.
The Jews were monotheists long before Plato came around, so I hardly think this is an example of God "inspiring" heathen with divine truth. I'm more inclined to believe that apart from divine revelation man tends to believe in multiple gods, so Plato's monotheism should more properly be attributed to God's previously having revealed this to the Jewish people. It's certainly possible that God had been preparing the heathen so that they might be more receptive to what God had already revealed to the Jews. And how do you know Plato's beliefs regarding the immortality of the soul were more "inspired" than any other pagan belief that was not derived from the OT?
The same way you know that pi is 3.14 even though God doesn't say so in the Bible.
The Jews had embraced a lot of pagan ideas by the time Christ came into the world, but if the ideas weren't derived from what God had revealed to them (and the ideas could only be derived from a divine source rather than experience/observation), then I don't see any reason to believe they were true. And I didn't say an idea is negated of its value as being "true" just because it's "Greek." But if it's contrary to what God has chosen to reveal to man, I don't think it's of any value whatsoever.
Before Babylon, the Hebrews believed Yahweh had a wife named Asherah. Before Moses, the Hebrews worshiped Egyptian gods (and a golden calf when Moses was around). The Jews have never had a pure religion, even in Jacob's day.
I don't consider ancient theology to be pure simply because it is ancient; even if I saw "soulsleep" in the ancient theologies of the Jews. Which I do not.
As far as I know Christ didn't stand up and say any pagan beliefs were wrong. But that doesn't mean he thought they were right, especially if the Law and the Prophets had nothing to say about it. And I'm very much aware that Gentiles throughout history have believed the dead to exist in a conscious disembodied state, but it was Plato who I believe made an already ancient pagan idea more intellectually acceptable and appealing.
If it where a falsehood that there was no afterlife (aside from a physical resurrection of the body); I am absolutely certain Christ would have made it a point to tell the Pharisees their error in this belief they held. He called out most of their other beliefs, but never this one. I take that as something to be considered, at least on my part.
Nor do I believe the "Jews, by simple sake of being Jews had all the answers, all the ideas (etc.)." But to whatever extent that they believed what God chose to reveal to them and reverently/humbly refrained from embracing that which God had not revealed (but which only God could give any certain knowledge of), I believe their beliefs were far superior to those of the pagans or even the "early church Fathers" (who I see no reason to believe were more "Spirit-filled" than those Christians who denied that man has an "immortal soul").
Those Christians being the very vast minority, and in a very negative way.
Is Christ's silence on the matter of reincarnation or transmigration also "telling" to you that this common belief wasn't and isn't a gross error? Christ also said nothing directly against the view that some will be annihilated or eternally miserable; is this also "telling" to you that this common belief wasn't and isn't a gross error?
I honestly don't care much either way, I don't believe in reincarnation and consider it just as gross and horrid as soulsleep, and ETC, and annihilation.
Christ never denies the thing I consider beautiful, therefore I see no reason why "I" should, unless given sufficient reason to do so - and that would be to eat dirt over bread in my opinion.
How does this tell you that it is not just a mere fancy? Is something more likely to be true because it's been believed for a long time by a majority of people?
The same way that Atheists aren't right just because they use the same expression of logic as you are right now to deny the existence of God.
"If the majority believe a thing, and are wrong in some cases, then they are wrong in all cases; the minority being right in some cases, are right in all cases"
Or to put it aptly;
"The majority believe this, I don't because the majority are often wrong"
In other words, they're immortal-soul dependent.
On God's Immortal Soul yes.
I know from experience and observation that I have and am constituted by a body, but my experience and observation does not lead me to believe that I have what you call an "immortal soul." And unless God has revealed that we have an "immortal soul," I can't help but see it as existing only in one's imagination, and don't see why we should believe we are dependent on it rather than on our body to exist.
I can't help your experience, or your ability to see.
I think we'd be "immortal-soul dependent" if we had immortal souls just as much as you think we would be "body-dependent" if we didn't. Your talk of being "God-dependent" vs. "body-dependent" is, I believe, little more than bombast.
Your logic is faulty in not understanding what I mean by "God-dependent" if you think it is just bombast. Your logic is faulty anyway, considering that you're arguing against what boils down to this (my argument);
"An Existence is dependent on its Existence to Exist"
It's true that physical death cannot separate you from the LOVE of God in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:38-39), but "death, the last enemy" will not be "destroyed" and "swallowed up in victory" until the dead are raised at the sounding of the last trumpet (1 Cor 15; 1 Thess 4:13-18). Not before. The "death" that you will not and cannot die as long as you believe on Christ and abide in him is the "death" of which Christ speaks in John 5:24, and of which Paul speaks in Eph 2:1. This "death" has nothing to do with whether or not one is conscious after physical death.
This isn't an internally consistent statement.
Your post translates to this;
"Nothing will ever separate you from God, but you will cease to exist for a time (which is to be separated from God)"
This statement alone voids the consistency before it even reaches "And then you'll be resurrected and no longer separated from God".
Cessation of existence is the very highest form
of being separated from God. That it is eternal or temporary is irrelevant to the fact that separation occurred between the Existent God and his existing child, by reason of the child ceasing to exist.
It is our DNA, memory and consciousness/self-awareness (i.e., our first-person perspective) that makes us who we are. If a person is raised with your DNA, memory and first-person perspective after you die, then this "clone" (as you say) will be you, not someone else. It will be you who will have been restored to a living existence.
I didn't say the clone was a clone of me after I died when I asked the question. If the clone stands beside me; is he me? Am I him?
Unfortunately, all this response on your part does is tell me that "I am the sum of my parts and faculties", which only goes back to the machine, construct issue.
When Paul said that he had "a hope in God...that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust" (Acts 24:15) he was referring to human persons - i.e., human individuals with DNA and memory and consciousness - being raised from the dead (i.e., restored to a living existence). It is not a person's body that is "just" or "unjust." It is the person who is "just" or "unjust." Thus, it is the person - the individual - who is being raised/restored to a living existence. And if it's the individual who is to be raised, then it's the individual who was dead and in need of being raised. But "immortal souls" don't die and aren't in need of being restored to a living existence. Thus, human persons/individuals aren't "immortal souls," nor are they constituted by "immortal souls."
No, they have their being in God, their transcendent nature is dependent on God to exist, not their bodies.