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The Immortal Soul? Part 10: Absent from the Body, Present with the Lord

Absent

In our previous post, we explored Paul’s use of the “naked” metaphor in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. We discovered that rather than referring to a disembodied soul, Paul was using “nakedness” to describe our current earthly existence – incomplete compared to our future glorified state. But this interpretation raises a question: How does it fit with Paul’s words about being “absent from the body” and “present with the Lord” later in the same chapter? At first glance, these phrases seem to support the traditional view of souls existing apart from the body after death.

The task before us now is to study 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 to unravel this apparent contradiction. It is impossible to correctly understand this passage if we fail to respect the Bible’s definition of “soul.” Whatever we conclude about this passage, it must align with the broader biblical teaching about the human constitution and the resurrection.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Afterlife, Immortality, Misconceptions

The Immortal Soul? Part 9: In This Tent We Groan

Tent

What happens when we die? This question has intrigued humanity for as long as people have been dying. Christians have interpreted 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 as teaching that our souls leave our bodies at death ascending immediately to heaven. People assume that Paul’s metaphors of the “tent” and being “found naked” support this idea. This interpretation, deeply rooted in Platonic dualism, has shaped Christian thought for generations. But what if this interpretation misses Paul’s intended meaning?

If we approach the text through the philosophical framework of Socrates and Plato, we might indeed conclude that Paul describes a soul’s journey from body to heaven. The key to correctly understanding Paul’s message lies in how we define crucial terms. When we embrace the biblical authors’ concept of “soul” rather than Greek philosophy, a strikingly different interpretation emerges. We must allow the Bible to define its own terms rather than imposing Greek philosophical concepts onto the text.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Afterlife, Immortality, Misconceptions

Listen on the Go: The Ready4Eternity Podcast Experiment

Podcast

I’m implementing an experiment with the website by adding something new. I’m planning to narrate some of the more popular blog posts on the site. If that goes well, I’m going to – perhaps – start narrating all new blog posts as they come out and publish them as a podcast. This will allow people who are on the go to take advantage of the content without being tied to a screen.

This is something new for me, and I don’t know quite what to expect. Nor do I know how much work it’s going to require. So, for now, it’s just an experiment. If you find the podcast helpful and would like to see it become permanent, let me know. My email address is here, and here are my X (Twitter) and Facebook links. Send me some feedback – let me know what you think.

Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Blog

The Immortal Soul? Part 8: Challenging Our Assumptions about Matthew 10:28

Matthew 10:28

If there is any verse in the Bible which teaches that the body and soul are separate entities, it must be Matthew 10:28. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28 BEREAN). It is perfectly understandable why most Christians see this verse as evidence, if not proof, that the soul and body are two distinct things. Because church teaching about the soul has been influenced more by Plato than the Bible, it is no wonder that we can’t see the verse teaching anything else! 

Was Jesus really communicating that the soul and body are two different things? Or do we interpret it this way because our immersion in the Greek paradigm prevents us from considering that He could have meant something else? The fact is that Greek Platonic thought regarding the human constitution has so dominated our religious and secular culture that we do not even question whether there might be other ways to think about this topic.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Afterlife, Immortality, Misconceptions

The Immortal Soul? Part 7: Today You Will Be with Me in Paradise

Today

Are our deceased loved ones, who died in the Lord, already in heaven? It is a common refrain at funerals for the pastor to comfort the grieving by assuring them that the recently departed are, today, in the presence of God. One passage referenced to support this idea is found in Luke. Luke 23 contains the familiar story of the thieves crucified alongside Jesus. While one thief insulted Jesus, the other asked Jesus for something:

42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!” 43 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43 BEREAN)

Jesus’s response is usually cited as evidence that upon death, the faithful go immediately to paradise where they are awake, alert, and active while awaiting the resurrection and judgment. Upon first glance, the verse does seem to support this conclusion. However, this is not the only possible meaning of Jesus’s promise to the thief. 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Afterlife, Immortality, Misconceptions