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Friday, May 2, 2008

Can God Die?

This is a common question and source of confusion for many. This question was brought up in a comment left for me. I'd like to repeat my response, & expound a bit more...


We have understanding of the physical but we can't presume to understand the 'spirit being' or the 'spirit realm'. So often we look at these from our human perspective and apply our own reasoning to them. As I mentioned in my Did Jesus Have A Beginning post, the bible tells us that Jesus was rich [spirit] but became poor [flesh] so that we could become rich [spirit].


{Need interlinear to translate properly}:

Php. 2:5-8 Says he EMPTIED himself. What did He empty himself of? I'd say, of His 'equality' with the Father; i.e., being a spirit being, and becoming flesh.


v.6
Who, subsisting (G5225) in form of (G3444) God, did not consider equality with God to be plunder (G725)
[i.e., something he should grasp and not let loose of],

v.7
but emptied (G2758) himself taking the very nature of a servantbeing made in human likeness.
[became flesh, no longer spirit], [did not come to be served but to serve]


He became flesh. And flesh can die. However, death of the flesh is merely 'sleep'. If you recall the story of Lazarus, he died but Jesus said he was sleeping.

Jn. 11:
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."


12
His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better."

13
Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.


14
So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead,

15
and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."


From our perspective, he was dead - we have no control over death. From God's perspective he was sleeping - God has control over death. He resurrected Jesus, whose physical body was dead/sleeping, but His spirit was still intact.
He then speaks with a sister of Lazarus;

Jn.11:24
Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."

25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
[resurrection from physical death]

26
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die
[Those still alive at Jesus' return, made spirit]. Do you believe this?" Again, Jesus says;

Jn.8:15
I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death."

Now what did He mean when He said that? People die every day.He was talking about actual death; Death of the soul. Death is not permanent until the soul has been destroyed.Jesus said in
Matthew 10:28
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.


Do you see the distinction between the two kinds of death?
What we think of as 'death' is not actual death. (Death of the body is none the less painful for those left behind, because it'll be a long time before God resurrects them). Real death does not come until the soul has been destroyed in the lake of burning sulfur, reserved for those who do not inherit the Kingdom of God. And by the way, if God can destroy both body & soul, that includes:

Re. 20
:
And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown


.
In response to some questions & thoughts posed:
FIRST NOTE: Self-Existent means; Having No Creator. Therefore, humans that are made spirit become eternal but are not self-existent. (There are some who don't understand this.)

  • If we believe that Jesus is self-existent,& gave up His spirit body to become human & die a physical death, does it mean His spirit could have died also?
No, this is simply not the case. If you know your Bible, you know that the spirit returns to the Father when the body dies;

Ecc. 12:7
and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

  • Could Jesus have ceased to exist?
It seems silly to even have to address this, but some people actually think it. His soul would have to be destroyed for that to happen & that is not God's nature. He is Love, not Evil. So, Jesus' s soul had not died. But the body He inhabited did.
As I stated earlier;
We have understanding of the physical but we can't presume to understand the 'spirit being' or the 'spirit realm'. So often we look at these from our human perspective and apply our own reasoning to them. It just doesn't work that way.
Again, I recommend you also read Did Jesus Have A Beginning?
I'd be curious to know if, after doing so, questions still remained. I will be addressing other false teachings of Ron Weinland in future posts, with plenty of scriptures.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;[resurrection from physical death] 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die[Those still alive at Jesus' return, made spirit]. Do you believe this?"

You just pulled an Armstrong with your comments in brackets, thereby negating the statement made by Jesus.

The alternative a bit much for you?

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26

The body dies, but not the person.

To equate Lazarus and his resurrection from "sleep" that was prior to Christ's death and resurrection and the giving of the Holy Spirit to believers is to mix what cannot be mixed.

God can indeed destroy the soul. It does not say he would or will. Satan, for example, was created a spirit being, and not a physical being, subject to death or destruction. If God did destroy him, then God is a liar, as well as one who kills (murders) in order to suit his own wants.

You do not yet understand the mind of God. He is not going to commit acts that He declared were wrong and a sin for Israel to commit in the law.

Bill Hohmann

Seeker Of Truth said...

Bill H.,

What exactly DID Jesus say, in your opinion?
(And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:26)
-This says BELIEVERS who are alive when He returns will not suffer the second death in the pit.

What is the "alternative" in your mind?
Is it eternal life for those who inherit the kingdom, and eternal life for those who don't - in hell?

We all know the penalty for sin is death (Ro. 6:23).

You said, "the body dies, but not the person."

-There is the body, there is the soul. When the body dies, the soul returns to the Father (Ecc.12:7), and the dead know nothing (Ecc.9:5).
-The resurrection takes place at the return of Jesus (Re.20:5-6). Notice the mention of the "2nd death"? This is death of the soul. What other death would it be?
-Those who are lost will PERISH (Jn. 3:16).
-Transgressors will be DESTROYED (Ps.37:38).
-The day comes when the lost become ASHES (Mal.4:1,3).
-The lake of fire is the SECOND DEATH (Re.21:8, 20:14).
-The wicked will CONSUME AWAY (Ps.37:20).
- Mt.13:40 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age.
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.


You mention Lazarus.

-Equate Lazarus and his resurrection with...what?
-What is it that can't be mixed?

Jesus died for the sins of those from the beginning to the end, regardless of what contract they were/are subject to. Sin is sin.

You said; "God can indeed destroy the soul. It doesn't not say he would or will..."

Mt 10:28 Fear Him who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.
-Actually the Bible DOES say He will, and what is there to FEAR if God WON'T?
Is God a murderer for killing those in Sodom? (Ge.18), or those in th flood? (Ge.6:17).
The penalty for sin is death.

You say Satan isn't subject to death or destruction because he is a spirit being.

-Again, God can destroy BOTH body and SOUL.
-Satan is not immortal; God alone has immortality (1Tim 6:16), believers receive immortality when Jesus returns (1Cor.15:51-55).
-Ez.28:13 You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you...
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you...
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created
till wickedness was found in you.
16 ...So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.
18 By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you,
and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
19 All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.' "

If I have missed your point somewhere, let me know.

Lee said...

Is not a soul the union of dust and breath or the body and human spirit?
As the body without the spirit is dead so is faith without works. As Solomon says there is nothing of life beyond the grave and the human spirit does go back to God but has no life. In the resurrection our human spirit is placed into a spirit body and we will live forever. Jesus had to experience the same type of death as all humans do and if he did not what would that mean? How would this impact the question did God really die?

Lee said...

Man does not have a soul, man is a soul. There are not three components of body, soul and spirit but only two, body and spirit. Genesis explains this clearly. If this is true at the beginning then it will hold true to the end.