reply to post by Seede
Seede, would it surprise you that I am aware of the problems inherent in translating from one language (Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic) into English?
I know that a whole mindset goes along with the language which is difficult to filter out. I am also aware of the long and glorious history of the
Assyrian Orthodox Church, the true eastern church.
However, I am Bible-Only oriented. I have NO use for various forms of midrash , Kabbalah, or the Talmud. I reject any view which has developed in
religious circles, whether Jewish or Christian. If the Bible has not spoken, I know nothing...
Knowing God, who He is, what He likes, what He abhors, is more important than theology, and religion is not sufficient.
Here is an essay of mine which will expand on what I have spoken of:
JUST BREATHE, the Gospel According to Laz
What are we, anyway? God tells us in Genesis 2:7, for He was there.
From the KJV II: “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living
From the Ferrar Fenton Version (FFV): “The EVER-LIVING GOD afterwards formed Man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the
life of animals; BUT MAN BECAME A LIFE-CONTAINING SOUL.”
Now a lot is said in this one verse – let’s see how these parts: dust, breath, and soul fit together. The first thing to note is that God made
man from the “dust of the ground.” Whether it was dust, dirt, or red clay is not too critical here, though the Miao people of China do refer to
Adam as the “Patriarch Dirt” in their lore. Also see Genesis 3:19: “…for dust you are, and to dust you shall return,” for a bit more on the
OK, we have a body, called “man” because of what is about to happen, but this man/body is not yet alive, not yet a soul. God next bestowed the
body with a Life Force – He breathed into the lifeless body “the breath of life” or “ruach.” The Hebrew word “ruach” covers a range of
meanings - breath, wind, spirit - and is fairly close to the Greek “pneuma,” the Latin “spiritus,” and the English “breath.” However, the
word “soul” is never far away, for they are closely associated.
Back to our story, we have a dust/dirt body, now with breath/life-force/spirit, and what results? Man then becomes a “living soul.” Note that!
Genesis, God’s Word is telling us that Adam/man does not HAVE a soul – no, Adam/man IS a soul, a living soul. It is common for Christians of just
about any persuasion to talk about “your soul,” but that is just plain wrong. We are souls, living souls, living persons. I learned all this in
the SDA church, by the way, and in that, they were entirely correct.
To reiterate thus far:
DUST + GOD’S CREATIVE WORK = A DEAD BODY
DEAD BODY + BREATH OF LIFE = LIVING SOUL
Looking through my Strong’s Concordance at the entries for the word “soul,” I see that the English language so often treats it as something that
one possesses, rather than is, so I think this may be how the “your soul” usage came about. But no, as a good friend once told me, your soul
doesn’t go flipping off to Heaven when you die. What returns to God is the breath/spirit which He gave in the beginning. The Revelation states
that there are seven Spirts of God, and elsewhere the Holy Bible says that God is Spirit. The part of us which is Spirit is God’s portion, and
therefore it returns to Him on our death. Perhaps no one has said it better than Solomon, though his view is dark and despairing:
“For one event is for the sons of Adam, and one event for the animals; - and the one event that is to them is; - as these die, so those die; and
the same breath is to all; - and man dies the same as the cattle! Is not the whole vanity? The whole go to one place; the whole come from dust; and
the whole return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of the sons of Adam when it goes, ascends? And that the breath of the cattle, when it goes
down, departs to the earth?-“ [Eccleiastes 3:19-21 FFV]
What Solomon says, and as Fenton translated it, ties in with Genesis 2:7, where Fenton translates “the life of animals,” instead of the more usual
“breath of life.”
What are we left with then, when we die? I posted this above:
DEAD BODY + BREATH OF LIFE = LIVING SOUL
To deepen your understanding, let's just reverse the process:
LIVING SOUL – BREATH OF LIFE = DEAD BODY
When you die, you stop breathing. Now as we all know, a lot of other things happen at and after death, but the Biblical view equates life with having
breath, so I'm going to stick with that.
made simple: soul - breath = body
Expanded a bit, at the risk of redundancy:
living person (soul) - life (breath) = dead/lifeless body
It's just the making of Adam in reverse, and what do we end up with?
The breath/Spirit returns to God, who gave it. It belongs to Him, and since it is most certainly a part of one of the seven Spirits of God, it is
Him. That being so, it doesn't go to "Hell" if it's part of God, does it? No, it goes to the Heavenly realms.
The body begins to decay, and one way or the other, returns to the ground, which gave it. That being so, it doesn't go to "Hell," except in the
sense of the grave (the original meaning of “Hell,” I believe) - there's no point in sending lifeless bodies to a Hell of eternal torment, is
there? It would be absurd.
Oops! What happened to the soul? Gone, gone! It no longer exists, as the living person no longer exists. It doesn't return to anything - it's
just like a chemical molecule when it is broken up into it's component atoms – you have atoms, no molecule. Poof! Consider a water molecule
undergoing electrolysis – and remember that our bodies are mostly water - the hydrogen bubbles off one electrode, and oxygen bubbles off the other.
Asking where the soul went is as pointless as asking where the water went.
It is common for people to think that not only do we have a soul, but an immortal soul. The concept of an immortal soul comes to us from Greek
philosophy, but the Biblical view is that the soul is mortal. A few examples will establish this. In Psalm 22:29, we read: “…none can keep
alive his own soul.” Ezekiel 18:4 is very telling: “The soul that sins, it shall die.” Finally, look at the Revelation 16:3 – “And every
living soul in the sea died.” [all from the KJV II] So there you go, there is no soul, mortal or immortal, to send to Hell – no point sending
the non-existent to “Hell.” There is nothing to go there at all, so I say Hell is non-existent: 404/Not Found. Now at this point, Damnationist
objections will appear – God will resurrect all, some to be saved and some to be cast into Hell. I say, no, they are cast into the Lake of Fire,
which is not Hell, but more on that later.
Did you know that “Hell” is also a verb? This is how my father explained it to me. Back in the old days, before refrigeration, if you lacked a
root cellar, you had to keep fruits and veggies fresh by other means. Say you had a crop of apples to lay by. To do so, you would dig a trench to
below the local frost line in the soil, lay down some straw, place a layer of apples on the straw, sprikle more straw on top of the apples, and cover
the whole thing with the excavated dirt. At least, that was one method, and it was called “helling” the apples, meaning simply to put them into
the ground until used.
Where does this leave us? The soul is no more, the Spirit has returned to God, the body is in the ground, and nothing is left over to go to Hell. It
would be so easy to conclude, as Solomon did, that that is the end of us – to die just like an animal – but that is not the end of the story.
Bear with me, and read on, please.
Before we leave the creation of Adam, let’s look at the genealogy of Jesus the Christ, in Luke 3:38 – “…the son of Adam, the son of God.”
Now, Adam was made or begotten of God, but not as Jesus was, who was the “only begotten Son.” No, Jesus had birth by a woman and possessed the
full indwelling of the Spirit. Adam had neither, but we see that he was converted from inanimate matter to a living, breathing, thinking person
(soul) by the use of some small dose of breath/Spirit, apparently as much as an animal gets, or not much more. Adam, by this, was immersed into the
world of matter, experience, consciousness. Just before God made Adam, we see this reference to water, in Genesis 2:6 – “But there went up a mist
from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.” [KJV II] It puts me in mind of what Jesus said to Nicodemus: “…unless one is born
of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” [John 3:5 KJV II] Is it just possible that the creation of Adam was just
such a thing as Jesus was saying – being born of water and the Spirit? Only the ingredient of dust is mentioned as being used, but God must have
made or added quite a bit of water to the dust to make Adam’s body. If so, it was a baptism, an immersion into the reality of the world.
Now, let’s look ahead some 4,000 years, to the time of Jesus, the Christ. In the Gospels, we see a lot of water – there is John the Baptist at
the river Jordan, there is the Sea of Galilee, there is water made into wine at a wedding, and there is Jesus’ strange comment to Nicodemus. I am
going to try to make sense of that. Mentioned only in the Gospel of John, we read: “Jesus then said to them again, Peace be on you! As the Father
has sent Me, I also send you. And when He said this He breathed on them and He said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit!” [John 20:21-22 KJV II]
Now if we have kept the creation of Adam fresh in our minds through hundreds of pages of the Old and New Testaments, we see something truly amazing
happening! These men, souls, disciples of Christ, are being given more of the Spirit of God. If they were not receiving more, this exercise would
have been pointless. Later, we see the same thing happening in an even more amazing way, in Acts 2, where we read, “…a sound was heard from the
sky, similar to that of a very violent tempest-blast, filling the whole house…And they saw…fiery tongues, which settled upon every one of them.
And they were all filled with Holy Spirit; and began to speak in foreign languages, as the Spirit endowed them with clear expression.” [Acts 2:2-4
Now, the first thing to notice is not explicit in the quoted text, but the whole number of the ones who were disciples/followers of Jesus at that time
was about 120, as mentioned in chapter 1. Here, we already see more people being given the Spirit than were mentioned in all of the entire Old
Testament, and before the book of Acts closes, hundreds and thousands more received the Spirit. Clearly, God is beginning a new age of the Spirit
here, and opening up the way back to Him to great masses. This time around, the Spirit is being given to souls who already have a minimal amount of
it. Further, this is not the intimate, personal act of giving a little puff of breath to one man, but it is now a mighty event, with a blast of
wind/breath/Spirit, and the new element of fire. Is the Pentecost event a further act of baptism on God’s part? Peter quotes Joel later in chapter
2: “…I WILL POUR OUT MY SPIRIT UPON ALL FLESH…” [Acts 2:17 FFV]. “Pour out” reminds us of water, and with the Spirit, it does follow
the pattern set up in the creation of Adam/man. I’m going to put it thus:
soul + Spirit (more of it) = saint
Or, to expand it a bit, a soul with the minimal amount of Spirit, receives a lot more, and becomes a saint, a person who is justified and sanctified
before God. Many call this gift of the Spirit the “Earnest,” a sort of down-payment as a promise of the full amount to be given later. This was
made possible by Jesus taking upon Himself the sins of us all. If we think of sin in terms of debt, He cancelled our debt of sin, and made it
possible for us to go free at the appointed time, and receive our proper inheritance. The reader should go to to the law God gave to Moses, and read
up on the Law of the Jubilee (beginning in Leviticus 25), for it established the pattern of the spiritual release of mankind from the bondage of sin
and death. Every fifty years, trumpets would sound across the land to announce it, and I think this looks forward to the “last trumpet” as
mentioned in I Corinthians 15:52 – “…at the last trumpet – for a trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised forever pure…” [KJV
Let’s review a bit. We know now how man was made, and by that we know by extension what man is and consists of. We know that when we die, we’re
dead, not alive in some immortal afterlife in some automatic way. I like to think of our life in the here-and-now as short preface to something which
would reduce the Library of Congress to a Haiku in comparison. The death separating the two seems all too final and awful to us, but I see it as
nothing more than a turn of the page, after the preface is finished. It is not even to be feared. Now we delve into what happens after that “last