Thursday, November 30, 2017

Our Inherent Mortality and the Gift of Immortality

Death, by definition, means "the end of life."

If someone dies, he or she lives no longer. The question that has been asked throughout the centuries is this: "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14).

The Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - all of whom lived hundreds of years prior to the coming of Jesus Christ - believed things contrary to the Hebrew Scriptures. They taught their followers that life never really ends for anyone. For these Greek philosophers, the "soul" or "spirit" within a man is inherently and naturally immortal. Therefore, they declared, the soul exists forever -  even independent of the human body.

To the Greeks, the soul of a man was like the trick birthday candles you tried to blow out as a child. No matter how hard you tried, the candles couldn't go out. For the Greeks,  it was considered impossible for the "soul" of a person not to exist. They simply defined death as the separation of  "the soul" from the body, not the end of life. Socrates explains:
"Is death not the separation of soul and body? When the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and body is released from the soul, what is this but death? (Five Great Dialogues, Classics Club, 1969, p. 93). 
Socrates (c. 470-399 B.C.) and his disciples taught that the soul of a man, once freed from the body at death, is rewarded by the Creator according to the good deeds done on earth or is punished for the bad deeds done on earth.

Socrates postulated his belief in the separation of the soul from the body after Malachi finished penning the last book of the Old Testament. So the belief that souls of human beings are inherently immortal became part of Greek thinking after the close of the Old Testament Hebrew canon.  Grecian King Alexander the Great (356 - 323 B.C.) conquered the known world, so Greek philosophy became part of most civilized cultures in the ancient world.

The Hebrew writers of the Scriptures, contrary to Socrates and the Greek philosophers, taught that death meant the end of life.

There is life after death, but it is only because God raises the dead. This is the teaching of the Bible. In fact, the resurrection from the dead is a central tenet of the Bible.

Jesus explained that the resurrection was taught in the Pentateuch:
"As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, ‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living." (Mark 12:25-27). 
God isn't the God of the dead for they cease to exist. He is the God of the living.  At the resurrection, the dead are raised to life. Some of the dead are raised to be judged for the evil things they've done in this life. After their judgment, they will be sentenced to die a second time (Revelation 20:14).

Others are raised from the dead to receive the grace gift of immortal life. 
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believes in Him should not perish (e.g. "the second death"), but have everlasting life." (John 3:16
The prophet Daniel spoke of the resurrection:
"And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt" (Daniel 12:2). 
Possibly the clearest teaching of the resurrection in the Old Testament is from the typology of the Festival of Firstfruits (see I Corinthians 15:20-23). The Bible is replete with the teaching that life after death only occurs because of the resurrection from the dead.

Many erudite biblical scholars have shown how the resurrection of Christ from the dead and the resurrection of all human beings from the dead is the crux of biblical faith. Death doesn't mean continued life. Death means cessation of life. Resurrection from the dead is the only way life after death occurs.

This truth causes some people to be upset.
"People were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead" (Acts 4:2).
It's easier for most people to believe that nobody ever dies (e.g. "because people are immortal and can't die") than it is to believe people die and that God raises the dead. I heard on the radio today a New Age charlatan who is charging money for a conference where she will "communicate with your dead loved ones" as if your dead loved ones continue to exist in the form of a spirit or ghost.

Isaac Watts, the great hymn writer of songs like Joy to the World, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, and other renowned songs clearly stated his belief that nowhere in Scripture is it taught that "the soul" is inherently and naturally immortal.
"There is not one Place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word Death, as it was first threatened in the Law of Innocency, necessarily signifies a certain miserable Immortality of the Soul, either to Adam, the actual Sinner, or to his Posterity.... (The Ruine and Recovery of Mankind - p. 228).
Yet even the Hebrew religious leaders in Jesus day had come under the influence of Socrates and the Greek philosophers. The Sadducees, the educated religious elite in Jerusalem, many of whom had been trained in Greek philosophy, scoffed at the resurrection. Why is the resurrection needed, they philosophically pondered, if the essence of a man is the soul of a man, the soul which can never die or cease to exist?
"Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees--religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead." (Luke 20:27 NLT). 
Evangelicalism in our day has some similarities to Sadduceeism in Jesus' day. Though we evangelicals will speak of the resurrection of the dead, and although resurrection from the dead is part of our official confessions, we evangelicals often privately scratch our heads over the concept of resurrection because we've been conditioned to believe that death doesn't mean the cessation of life, only the separation of the soul from the body and the continuation of life.

Resurrection to those who've adopted Greek philosophy seems irrelevant and unneeded.

But Jesus declared:
"Do not marvel at this, for the hour is coming  in which all who are in the graves will hear His foice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:28-29 NKJV).
I've actually had Christians say to me, "What's the big deal about the resurrection? Why would those already in heaven need anything else?"

Good question.

Some evangelicals seem unable to grasp that death means "the end of life."

If death means the cessation of life, then if life after death occurs, a resurrection is required.

The Bible teaches that God alone is immortal (I Timothy 6:16). Every living creature that the immortal God creates is therefore inherently mortal. Everyone dies. That includes male and female human beings. We are naturally and inherently mortal beings.

If mankind is to obtain to life eternal, it must be a gift from the immortal God.

Adam and Eve were created as spiritual living beingswith the ability to relate to the invisible, immortal Creator and with other things in God's realm (e.g. "Kingdom things"). Adam's spirituality separated both Adam and Eve - for the Bible calls both the "male and female" Adam (see Genesis 1:27)  - from the animals that God created.

You never see a dog bowing in prayer before eating. Nor do you see a horse with hooves raised to the heavens in worship. Animals are not spiritual like the human race. We relate to the spiritual realm.

Though Adam and Eve were created with the capacity to relate to the God, after their fall in their relationship with God, spirituality died. Adam and their descendants became "dead in their trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) toward God.

Mankind now needs a resurrection of spiritual life to relate to God and the things of God. This is what the Bible calls "the new birth" (John 3:7).

Unless a descendant of Adam is "born again" by the Spirit of God (John 3), that person will be unable to relate to the spiritual.
"For a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishiness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised" (I Corinthaisn 2:14). 
Don't misunderstand. Spirituality doesn't mean a man is a spirit. Angels are spirits, and contrary to what you hear at funerals, men and women never become angels.

Man is a physical being that is capable of relating to the spiritual realm. To be a spiritual person with the ability to relate to spiritual things requires regeneration from God (e.g. "the re-beginning (generation) of spiritual life").

Human beings are living, breathing creatures (nephesh) with abilities that other living, breathing creatures (nephesh) do not have, for God created humans in His image. When you read the Old Testament and come across the English word “soul" or the phrase "living soul," these words translate the Hebrew word nephesh. The literal meaning of nephesh is “a breathing creature.

Living creatures (nephesh) created by God in Genesis 1 and 2 include both man and animals.

The New Testament Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word nephesh is psuche.  Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words defines psuche as “the essence of life, the act of breathing, taking breath." 

The Bible teaches that God gives life (breath) to every nephesh. At death,  the breath of God returns to Him who gave it and the body goes to dust.  
"When you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust." (Psalm 104:29). 
"Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it..." (Isaiah 42:5). 
"The Spirit of God has made me and the breath of God gives me life" (Job 33:4). 
When God made the first man (Adam), the Bible says in Genesis 2:7 that God "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living creature (nephesh)."

Again, nephesh is also the Hebrew word also used for animals in Genesis 1.
"And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures (nephesh) according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.' And it was so" (Genesis 1:24)
But animals don't have the ability to relate to the spirit realm or to the things of God. They are not spiritual nephesh, but they are nephesh.

Mankind is different from animals in that God created us "in His image" (Genesis 1:26).

If you are looking for a biblical definition of what it means to be created in the image of God, you won't find one.

However, if you look closely at Genesis 1 you'll see the living creatures (nephesh) that the Bible identifies as animals differ from the living creatures that the Bible calls mankind (nephesh) in two fundamental ways.

God made Adam and Eve with the potential for spirituality (a relationship with God) and the potential for immortality (a life that continues forever). These two potentials seem to reflect God's image (spirituality and immortality).

Adam and Eve lost both qualities for themselves and their posterity in their sin against God.

But the last Adam (Jesus Christ) brings both potentials back into play for the sinful human race.

The immortal God created spiritual nephesh in His image (e,g. Adam and Eve) with the ability to fellowship with Him and with free access to the tree of life (Genesis 2:9), the fruit of which gave Adam and Eve the gift of living forever. As long as they related to their Creator in love, obedience, and submission, they would live forever in relationship with God.

But when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator and broke that relationship, God banished them from the Garden and from access to the tree of life. God gave the reason for His banishment:
"Lest Adam stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Genesis 3:22). 
The first Adam and all who descend from him are now under the sentence of death. For the wages of sin is the sentence of death (Romans 6:23).

The death of things and all nephesh (e.g., "breathing creatures") other than man is natural, but the death of nephesh (mankind) created in the image of God is contrary to the gift of eternal life God gave promised man contingent upon obedience to Him.

Adam and his descendants have lost the gift of immortality and we all experience mortality (death), for all have sinned. Every human being is born dead spiritually toward God and under the sentence of physical death. Physical death is described by the prophet Ezekiel.
"The soul (nephesh) that sins, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20). 
Think carefully. Death is natural (e.g. "a part of nature") for every living creature (nephesh) as well as plants, stars, objects, etc. - but death is unnatural for the nephesh that God made in His image.

Death for mankind is a consequence of the first man's rebellion against God.

The Scripture teaches that there is coming a day when all descendants of Adam will be raised from the dead to either be judged for their sins and die again or to be granted immortal life through the work of the last Adam, Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:42-46).
"This has now been made evident through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who has abolished death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." (II Timothy 1:10). 
"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). 
I do not believe the Scriptures teach universal reconciliation but I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I do not believe the Scriptures teach the wicked will live forever in conscious torment though I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I believe the Scripture teaches those in Christ are given the gift of immortal life, and those outside of Christ will be judged for their sins and suffer eternal destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9).

Let the prophet Malachi have the last word.
"For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the Lord of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. You will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord of hosts (Malachi 4:1-3). 
Sola Scriptura. Sola Gratia. Sole Fide. Solus Christus. Soli Deo Gloria.


Victorious said...

It was the fruit of the tree of life that gave Adam and Eve sustained their lives.

I don't find anywhere in scripture that says Adam and/or Eve partook of the tree of life. Gen. 5:5-8 says Adam lived for 930 yrs. and Seth lived 912 yrs. If Adam's long life were attributed in any way to his partaking of the tree of life, how do we account for Seth's at nearly the same length without the benefit of that tree?

I also find it interesting that Gen. 3:21 speaks of Adam and Eve correctly as "them"..

Gen 3:21  The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them.

But the following verses revert to the singular rather than the plural; i.e. the man, he, his, him referencing the expulsion from the garden.

And lastly (sorry for the negative focus), the only references to Eve relate to her being deceived whereas Adam's sin was deliberate, intentional disobedience. Since God differentiates between intentional and unintentional sin in Leviticus and Numbers, and Romans 5 reads "through one man sin entered into the world...", I think it's erroneous to say "But when Adam and Eve rebelled against their Creator, God banished them from the Garden and from access to the tree of life."

As an aside, but equally important in my mind is that scripture speaks of the banishment in singular terms as I mentioned before; i.e. the man, he, his as opposed to the plural, they. was Adam's disobedience that led to life outside of the specially designed garden with God's presence and the withdrawal of the benefits of the tree of life that led to the mortality of mankind.

But again as Romans 5 contrasts one man's disobedience with the obedience of one...

Rom 5:19  For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 

Wade Burleson said...


Excellent points. I corrected a typographical error I made - based on your comment. Thanks.

The life sustained was immortal life - life forever. The early patriarchs lived a long time (including Seth), but the tree of life bestowed immortality.

In other words, the tree of life bestowed eternal life. Without it, Adam had mortal life (life that ends).

Christiane said...

"But animals don't have the ability to relate to the spirit realm or the things of God."

The sacred Scriptures do not tell us that the animals are made in the image of God, this is true.

But the animals do witness to God as their Creator, according to the Book of Job in the sacred Scriptures. I would not limit their ability to be loving and to be patient in so far as is their nature; and I would not limit the contribution of their interactions with our humankind for our healing and good benefit . . . and we may find in the animals some witness that they know what love means, how it is given and received, and since we know that all love comes from God, flows through His Creation, and returns to Him, we can begin to see that the animals are themselves our God-given witnesses to His existence, and our source of companionship, and our helpers, some as war-dogs trained to help our fighting men, some as therapy animals trained to work in hospitals, courts, schools, and other settings to be 'with' us in moments of need, and also as teachers who touch our hearts and consciences to be more humane in this world towards them, and also towards one another.

It was said among native Americans that if all the animals died, man would suffer from 'a great loneliness of the spirit'. I think the Indians got it right somehow and in words that are meaningful to anyone who has lost a beloved pet. Love IS eternal. :)

Christiane said...

I love how therapy animals are used to help children with disabilities progress . . . the 'secret'? Unconditional love, selfless service, patience, bringing joy and comfort . . . not such bad ways to help the little ones . . . the animals don't see them as 'less than',
so in their natural humility, the animals who qualify for this special service and are trained are able to provide a kind of care that is inspiring for human care-givers to see and to model.

I think it important to give thanks for all our gifts from God, even if some are covered with fur and know nothing of 'theology' and will trust anyone who is kind to them.

Wade Burleson said...


As always, good points.

In the resurrection, I do not believe animals will be given immortal life. I believe they will die naturally even in the resurrection.

Immortality is a gift, and I'm not convinced animals will be gifted with immortality.

I believe there will be possibly a change in the nature of animals (from viciousness and fear), but not a change in the mortality of animals.

Wade Burleson said...

The difficulty most people have with comprehending the resurrection is "what happens to the people who die" between death and the resurrection?

The Biblical answer is "they go back to dust."

But Christians respond, "But Jesus and Paul also taught there is consciousness between the time of death and the resurrection."

That's why the Bible calls death "sleep."

What happens in the interim between death and resurrection for the "consciousness" of a person created in the image of God is a profound question.

In death, one wonders if the wicked have "a bad trip" (dream) before the resurrection where the "conscience" (e.g., "worm") gnaws at them. One wonders if the righteous have "sweet dreams." :)

Again, only conjecture, for we know that God "raises the dead" bodily, and the judgment is of human beings that He restores to life and calls by name from the graves.

I recently separated my shoulder and received a drug called "ketamine" which puts people to sleep. When you receive the drug, there are three stages - paralysis, hallucinations, and "the key zone." The key zone is when you appear dead to others and remember nothing taking place around, but you still breathe. I passed through all through stages while they repaired my severely injured shoulder. I closed my eyes in sleep, and I awoke in an instant (from my perspective) even though much time had passed (from others' perspective). During that "instant" of sleep for me, I had a "good trip" (hallucination) - my dream state was not tormenting. I have no difficulty believing that the wicked may have a bad trip while they sleep awaiting the resurrection (e.g. "they have a bad trip"). I have no difficulty believing the righteous are at peace during their sleep in Sheol (e.g., "the grave"). Whether this torment or peace occurs during the interim sleep (death) before the resurrection is beyond my scope. If it does occur, it's in a realm or spiritual dimension that exists while the body is turning back to dust in the grave. But again, the Bible calls it "sleep" for a reason.

What I do know is that the Judgment comes "immediately" upon death (from the perspective of the one who dies) even though much time may have passed (from the perspective of those who live), because the resurrection of the dead is an awakening from sleep (death) similar to awakening from anesthesia. Whether a dead person dreams in the interim period before the Resurrection is a question only be answered by God. Other than implications from the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, I do not feel the Scripture gives us much information on the interim state.

The focal point of the Bible is the Resurrection

Death is called sleep.

God is the God of the living.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I'd add is the sleep of death is without a living brain, while being under anesthesia has the brain still functioning, though at a lessoned state. Thus perhaps no dreams in the actual being dead state.

Wade Burleson said...


Of course. Sleep, though, is what the Scripture calls death. Not sure how "the brain" sleeps as it decays, but you make a good point.

Victorious said...

Wade, I forgot to say how sorry I am to hear of your recent shoulder injury. :(

Blessings to you....

Mary Ann

Rex Ray said...


WOW! We got a jumbo apple today! Thanks

Shoulder separation! OUCH! How did it happen? Been there; done that. I didn’t keep my arm in a sling long enough which caused a separation five more times. Came out once when I was asleep.

This week I’ve felt like the guy that said, “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.” One finger bled a cup of blood; one next to it felt broken. (It wasn’t.) Called 911 to put out a pasture fire I caused by welding. Got the ‘hot foot’ so bad, jumped in shallow water, shoes stuck in mud, getting a replacement pacemaker Monday.

I’ll throw in my two cents:

Bible teaches Christians will be raised higher than angels. “Don’t you realize that we will judge angels?” (1 Corinthians 6:3 NLT)

Did the head angel, Lucifer, in a rage, tell God: ‘NO LORD, NOT HIGHER THAN ME!’ Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!” (Luke 10:18 NLT)

That could be why the devil hates us so much because as God’s children we would be ‘higher’ than him.

Wade, you said: “Death for mankind is a consequence of the first man’s rebellion against God.”

I believe one word would make that complete: “Spiritual death…”

‘Spiritual death is separation from God which occurred when Adam and Eve. “…hid from the Lord…” (Genesis 3:8 NLT)

It was God’s plan from the beginning for man to die a physical death and be raised higher than the angels as children of God through his Son.

Over and over the Bible refers to death but really means ‘spiritually death’.

“For this son of mine was [spiritually] dead and has now returned to [spiritual] life. He was [spiritually] lost, but now he is [spiritually] found.” (Luke 15: 24 NLT)

“…those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have [spiritual] eternal life…they have already passed from [spiritual] death into [spiritual] life. (John 5:24 NLT)

Wade Burleson said...


You make a great point about spiritual death - with which I agree! :)

The question is “Upon physical death, will a man live again?”

The Bible - through the teaching of the resurrection - loudly declares “Yes!”

Rex Ray said...


Yes, yes, yes!

Unknown said...

There is very likely a conflict or contradiction to be found in these three sentences;

I do not believe the Scriptures teach universal reconciliation but I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I do not believe the Scriptures teach the wicked will live forever in conscious torment though I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I believe the Scripture teaches those in Christ are given the gift of immortal life, and those outside of Christ will be judged for their sins and suffer eternal destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9).

Unknown said...

I should have been more specific as to what appeared to be a contradiction:

I do not believe the Scriptures teach the wicked will live forever in conscious torment though I love my brothers and sisters in Christ who do.

I believe the Scripture teaches those in Christ are given the gift of immortal life, and those outside of Christ will be judged for their sins and suffer eternal destruction (II Thessalonians 1:9).

The first sentence indicates that you do not believe the wicked "live forever in conscious torment."

The second sentence indicates that you believe "those outside of Christ will be judged for their sins and SUFFER ETERNAL DESTRUCTION,"

It seems that the statement of beliefs in each sentence contradict each other.

Christiane said...

I expect that in our desire to 'know' once and for all some solid answers to what happens after death, we can find some answers in sacred Scripture.

One verse I particularly find enlightening is this:
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Corinthians 15:26)

Another verse that I find great meaning in is this:
" ‘Behold, I make all things new’” (Rev 21:5)
I find this particularly thrilling because it is proclaimed by 'The Lamb Who Once Was Slain', the Living Word, the Logos Who spoke Creation into being, the Lord of Life

Whatever 'salvation' is, I think it involves redemption and renewal on an epic scale.
I don't see that it is wisdom to minimize the power of the Cross.

Wade Burleson said...


Eternal destruction is different than eternal torment. Destruction means to be totally destroyed - with the effects eternal.

Rex Ray said...


I agree with you that Byron is wrong about your two statements conflicting because both statements disagree with Jesus and his parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus.

“…I am in anguish in these flames…I have five brothers…warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.”” (Luke 16: 24-26 NLT) This tells the Rich Man is still in anguish which disagrees with you saying “Destruction means to be totally destroyed – with the effects eternal.”

If the Rich Man was destroyed he would no longer exist. He would not be in hell and if no one is in hell then hell has no purpose. Hell is mentioned in the Bible more than Heaven.

Tom said...


You have approached a very difficult subject on the subject of death, however in your blog, you have mixed the mortal death of a person who has come to the end of the life with the death of a person associated with the Second death.

In Genesis 2:17 Adam is told that if he sinned, i.e. ate the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, that he would then die the second death at some time in the future.

Isaiah 24:21-22 speaks of the fallen heavenly hosts being judged in heaven and the kings of the earth being judged on the earth and that the will be gathered together and imprisoned in a pit, and after many days they will be punished, that is to say after 365,250 plus days have passed that they will be punished and that that punishment is the Second Death.

You also made the statement that “death is unnatural for the nephesh that God made in His image” and that “Death for mankind is a consequence of the first man's rebellion against God.”

The inference I got from your blog, is that Adam when he sinned would then die a mortal’s death, as if that was not the case before he fell, because he had access to the tree of life. However, it is stated in Genesis 3:22-23: - Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever" — therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken”. which tells us that Adam and Eve had not eaten from the Tree of Life before they were sent out of the Garden of Eden.

God had created mankind with a finite life and during the first 1,500 years of man’s existence it was in the order of around 900-1000 years in duration. Just before the flood, when God saw the wickedness on the earth, he then shortened man’s life to no more than 120 years in duration.

All people will die a physical death when their bodies wear out and they cease to have breath left in their bodies, and they then go to the designation place to await the time of the resurrection where if their name in in the Book of Life, they enter into eternity, and if not they are cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second death.

Jesus taught the following: - Matthew 10:28: - And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell, i.e. the place of everlasting punishment.

Our English translations do not acknowledge the second death, and as such the second death is hidden from our view. It is hidden with expressions like, “you will surely die” instead of “you will die the second death.” References in the original text in both the Hebrew and Greek Text point towards the Second Death but those clear indications in the original texts are absent from the English translations except in Revelation 20:14 where it is explicitly spelt out “thanatos" is “death, the second.”

The person who has the ability to “kill” a person with the second death, is the very person we should fear. Satan does not have this authority to do so, however, he can entice us to sin such that, if we do not repent, we then become candidates for the Second Death.

In or article you treat the second death as being the same as the mortal death of a person when they have breathed their last breath.



Errors and omissions accepted.

Wade Burleson said...


Thanks for your comment. If there was a mixing of the second death with the first death, it was definitely unintentional.

However, I do believe both deaths are similar in that each speaks of time when "they have breathed their last death." In other words, I do not believe the second death is a spiritual death, but it is a mortal physical death as well (just like the first death).

Wade Burleson said...


Again, as always, great comment.

In the Rich Man and Lazarus, you have the only instance that Jesus speaks of "Hades" which is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew (Sheol). And, yes, there is "torment" mentioned.

The "intermediate" state (the time prior to the resurrection) is a topic of great debate, but I am open to the idea that the "conscience" or "worm" of the wicked torments them in the intermediate state (I think I mention this in the comment section in a discussion about the dreams of the wicked).

Tom said...


I did not mention or indicate what the second death is except to say that those who are destined for the Second death will be cast into the Lake of Fire just the GWTJ. I did not make mention of a spiritual death not do I agree with this attempt to explain why Adam did not die immediately after he ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

You also said the following: -

"However, I do believe both deaths are similar in that each speaks of time when "they have breathed their last death." In other words, I do not believe the second death is a spiritual death, but it is a mortal physical death as well (just like the first death).

I am wondering if you can back up this statement with scripture as I am not sure of the validity of your above statement where you have suggested that both the mortal and second are the same in that each death speaks of them having breathed their last breath.

Thanking you in anticipation of your response with the scripture that back up your above statement.



Wade Burleson said...


My view is based on the resurrection from the dead. God raises the dead to life. They die a second death.

Tom said...

Thanks Wade, your response has provided the answer to my question.

Unknown said...

"Other than implications from the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, I do not feel the Scripture gives us much information on the interim state."

I'm curious -- what about the implications of 1 Samuel 28 (the medium at En-dor who supposedly brought Samuel back from the grave) or Matthew 17:3 (Moses and Elijah appearing to talk with Jesus)? Don't they seem to imply some sort of interim state short of resurrection?

Wade Burleson said...


I have written about Moses and Elijah in the post called "The Tube of Time" and I believe the medium of Endor called up a demon impersonating Samuel

Unknown said...

Thank you for the posts. This article is very useful.
Thank you very much.

Rex Ray said...


Your reply to Victorious made me almost smile. You had written: “It was the fruit of the tree of life that gave Adam and Eve sustained their lives.”

Victorious said that was wrong that they never ate of the tree of life.

You told her: “Excellent points. I corrected a typographical error I made - based on your comment. Thanks…”

What was the “typographical error”? Your ‘corrected’ post is a half page longer than the first one.

You dodged the chance to ‘eat crow’. Once you’ve ‘eaten crow’ it’s not so bad. :)

I have a question: Was the DNA of Jesus on earth different from when he was in heaven?

I believe Mary was the surrogate mother of Jesus.

Wade Burleson said...

I would imagine the DNA of the resurrected Christ is the same. :)

Rex Ray said...


When we pray to God who should we pray ‘through’? Muslims pray through Mohammed while looking in the direction of Mecca. Some pray with their arms outstretched toward the sun etc.

Jesus tells who we should pray through.

“…I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly; and he will grant your request because you use my name…Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:23-24 NLT)

Do you believe if those who believe Mary was the ‘real’ mother of God would stop worshiping and praying to her if they realized she was only the SURROGATE mother of Jesus?

Rex Ray said...

Oops, should be ‘…mother of Jesus…’