(10) Robinson was reading in the Bible the other morning and in Numbers 27:16 he found a most interesting expression that proves conscious existence after death:
Numbers 27:15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
Numbers 27:16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
He thought he read something just like that a few chapters back, and after a bit of a search, found Numbers 16:22,
Numbers 16:22 And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?
He reasoned that “spirits” must represent an immaterial entity within man, not identified as part of his physical body, but a separate conscious entity.
(11) The expressions used in Zechariah 12:1 prove conscious existence after death.
That seemed to be certain from what he read in Zechariah 12:1,
Zechariah 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
Robinson took note of the fact that the Bible is a self-interpreting book, and he really didn’t feel all that lonely since he had God by his side, and three good Bibles to read, and plenty of undisturbed time to read them. The more he read, the more he understood, and the more he saw how it all fit together into a unified, noncontradictory whole, surely an evidence of the divine inspiration of the Bible.
Robinson realized that laying the foundations of the earth, stretching forth the heavens, and forming the spirit of man within him are all equally creative acts of God Himself. The spirit, therefore, is not merely breath or wind, which if so would demean the comparison, but the spirit is a conscious entity in man which survives the dissolution of the body.
The mistaken notion of some that Adam did not have a soul but is a soul, and that the soul is equivalent to the body, is therefore false. Those who believe that the soul and body are equivalent, teach that when the body dies, the soul dies too.
This is an error because those who teach that the soul can die fail to distinguish the kinds of death spoken of in Scripture. All is lumped into a single category: physical death.
This is an error because the Bible also speaks of spiritual death, which is not the annihilation or dissolution of the spirit (or the immaterial soul), but the condition of permanent separation from God after death of the body, or the condition in this life of not having a personal relationship with God based upon a saving knowledge and relationship to our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is an error because the penalty threatened by God for Adam’s disobedience was not physical death, though that may well have been an ultimate consequence, but spiritual death.
We know this because the emphasis present in the Hebrew text, also perceivable in English translation, by the presence of a common emphatic figure of speech, requires that in the very same day that Adam sinned, he would be subject to the penalty. There is nothing in the entire text of the book of Genesis to warrant considering “day” as a period of 1000 years. The immediate context forbids it.
That Adam and Eve suffered immediate consequences for their disobedience is evident because immediately they attempted to (1) hide from God and (2) cover their nakedness. This obvious conscious change or “break” in their relationship with God marks their immediate spiritual death or estrangement.
Did God leave them in that state of spiritual death?
Clearly not. He provided them with clothing made from the skins of animals, which required the shedding of blood of innocent life, a picture or type of the ultimate sacrifice which would be given for all mankind by Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, Who shed His blood on the Cross for our sins. This, of course, was in fulfillment of Bible prophecy and type, and the very first prophecy of this is given in Genesis 3:15, a promise given directly to Adam and Eve.
When we say Adam “was a soul,” this usage is only correct if we apply the category of lexical meaning for nephesh to this context that means “person,” a meaning frequently found in conjunction with nephesh.
One of the central principles of accurate Bible interpretation is that we must consider all that the Bible teaches about a subject before we draw our conclusions. Otherwise, our conclusions may be mistaken.
Another central principle of accurate Bible interpretation is that we must not over-generalize from a given text, or over-simplify from a given word. A word must be understood by taking into account all its occurrences and all its contexts, which requires a complete induction of the word prior to drawing conclusions about what it means or how it is used in general or specifically in a single passage.
To suggest “Adam did not have a soul” is unscriptural, a denial of the Biblical truth found in the New Testament asserted by Christ that the soul is an entity separate from the physical body:
Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Notice carefully what Jesus said:
(1) It is possible for man to kill the body;
(2) It is NOT possible for man to kill the soul;
Conclusion: the soul is not the same entity as the body
(3) Jesus affirmed that the body can be killed;
(4) Jesus did NOT affirm that the soul can be killed;
Conclusion: the soul is immortal and survives the death of the body as a conscious entity
(5) Saying the body can be killed is not the same as saying the body can be destroyed;
(6) Jesus does NOT affirm that the soul will be killed–a different word is used;
(7) Jesus affirms that God can destroy the soul;
Affirming that the soul can be destroyed by God does not affirm that God will kill the soul
(8) The original language word for “kill” is never confused in Scripture with the term for “destroy”;
(9) While the original term for “destroy” can be used for “kill” with reference to this life, the term “kill” NEVER is used with reference to the state of existence or non-existence after the death of this physical life;
(12) Therefore, it is utterly false teaching to affirm that conscious life ceases with the death of the physical body. Jesus said so, and that is enough to satisfy Robinson Crusoe on the desert island where, thankfully, at least he is uninfluenced by the teaching of mistaken man-made religions, for he has only the plain Bible (well, three good Bibles) before him.
(13) Luke 20:35-36 teaches the conscious existence of spirit or soul.
If “death is the last enemy,” as expressed by Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:26), what kind of death is referenced?
Clearly, the reference is to physical death that pertains only to the body, for it is only the body that will experience resurrection.
The immaterial and conscious soul or spirit of man cannot experience physical death, only mortal creatures possessing physical bodies experience physical death.
The Biblical proof is seen in what Jesus said as recorded in Luke 20:35, 36,
Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Luke 20:36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Once the body has been resurrected and is thus in its glorified state (Philippians 3:21), it is no longer subject to physical death. Therefore, it cannot die any more.
In such a state, the resurrected saints are like the angels, Jesus said, which we know from other Scripture are spirits (Hebrews 1:7, 14), who are not subject to physical death.
But since we each have a spirit and soul which continues in consciousness after the physical death of the body (in the light of the 12 prior strands of evidence or proof given above), the spirit of man is likewise deathless and not subject to physical death, and conscious, just as the angels as spirits are (Luke 20:25, 36).
I would also call attention to the fact that this statement of Jesus from Luke 20:35, 36 is recorded as part of His refutation of the Sadducees, who did not believe in spirit (Acts 23:8) or resurrection, or consciousness after death. Jesus told them plainly that they were greatly in error, not knowing the Scriptures, neither the power of God (Mark 12:24). Clearly, anyone who agrees with the Sadducees disagrees with our Lord Jesus Christ. I surely would not wish to be siding with the position of those who were the enemies of Jesus Christ.
I would hasten to add that many holding to materialist theology today say they believe in the future resurrection of the body, unlike the Sadducees in the days of Jesus. Yet even they are in actual denial of genuine resurrection, for they deny the continuity of the person in consciousness after death, believing, therefore, in a newly created copy of the original person at the resurrection, not the continuation and bodily resurrection of the original person.
(14) Recall also that Paul affirmed that to be “absent from the body” is to be present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). Now how can one be said to be absent from the body unless one still consciously exists while not being in the body? Paul is taking for granted that when we die, our spirit returns to God who gave it and is in the blessed and conscious presence of Christ.
Remember, bodies sleep, souls and spirits do not!
Returning to the opening text of this three-part series, Luke 23:43, I would have every reader here carefully observe that all who properly followed Christ believed in conscious existence after death, and Jesus affirmed it unmistakably for all time when he promised the penitent thief on the cross that the thief would be with Jesus in paradise, which the NT strictly equates with heaven, on that very day.
Come on–for any who believe otherwise–if you did not have an annihilationist axe to grind, you would see this and admit it in a minute once the truth was brought to your attention. Talk about who refuses to relinquish their hold upon proven false doctrines!
The promise to the thief on the cross becomes totally meaningless if one must believe he was that very day with Christ in an unconscious state! The poor penitent thief would never know even yet whether Jesus proffered a false promise or a true one, because he would not be alive or sensible to experience it! Such a position is obviously a monstrous lie, and a dishonoring denial of the promise Jesus gave.