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1 Corinthians 15: Resurrection not Immortality!

guibox

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We see that Paul preached the resurrection to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were pagan Greeks and Romans who believed that the soul was immortal. As a matter of fact, we see that Paul was mocked by many Gentiles for preaching resurrection. Why? Because everybody believed in the immortality of the soul! A resurrection was useless. Yet the fact that in the face of this belief, Paul emphasized the necessity of the resurrection for eternal life in such blatant terms shows that this was in contrast to the immortality of the soul, not a condoning of the belief.

To explain away some of the conditional mortality texts that I have presented the last few threads, many will say that when the bible talks about immortality, it is merely speaking about the body; the soul, however, is eternal. Myself and others have repeatedly shown that the Bible makes no distinction, but we see in the NT how important the resurrection was to Paul for eternal life for the Christian. For Paul and the NT Christians, there was no ‘body/soul reunification’. It was the whole man that either lived or died.

William Tyndale, a great English reformer and translator of the Bible into English, believed whole-heartedly in the resurrection and not immortality. In 1530 responding to Sir Thomas More's objection to his belief that "all souls lie and sleep till doomsday" he vigorously replied.

"And ye, in putting them [the departed souls] in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection...And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good a case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?" - An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue
Let’s look at the most compelling chapter in the scriptures about the resurrection and its ties to eternal life. 1 Corinthians 15 should settle the matter quite firmly for those not willing to put their preconceived notions into the scriptures. Let’s look at them.

If after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me if the dead rise not? Let us eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die! – 1 Corinthians 15:32
Paul is saying that if there is no resurrection, then why not live life in debauchery for there is no existence after life!

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen...for if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised...And if Christ is not raised your faith is in vain...Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished – 1 Corinthians 15:13,16-18
Those that have fallen asleep in Christ have not perished if they exist in some form in heaven already. One cannot say that because Jesus died and rose, therefore our souls can go to heaven at death', for Paul goes on to say that it is in the resurrection where Christ's example and reality of resurrection takes effect, and not at death.

It is funny how so many take the terms 'fallen asleep' to basically mean that one is 'with Jesus' and not literally asleep in their graves. This verse poses an interesting situation. If 'those who have fallen asleep are perished' and those 'who have fallen asleep' are already with the Lord, then we have a God who might allow the death of the soul in heaven simply because it is dependent on the body. This is completely redundant for the survival of the soul to begin with if it is dependent on the body for life.

You cannot make this verse to mean strictly' the body' or strictly 'the soul' for it makes no sense in either case. Instead, we see that it is the WHOLE man that PERISHES in the grave if there is no resurrection.]

We see how our hope in eternal life is wrapped up in the resurrection and the resurrection of Christ. One precedes the other and without the one, the other would not exist and there is no hope:

But I would not have you to be ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep. That you sorrow not even as them which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus God will raise them up in the same manner. For the lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God and the dead in Christ will rise first. - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15
If souls went to heaven at death, why would Paul tell them to not "sorrow as those who have no hope" and then continue to tell them about the resurrection? The reason is because the resurrection is our ONLY hope. Without it, there would be no eternal life but eternal death. Without the resurrection, all those Christians would perish and there would be no hope. We see that there is no room for a disembodied soul that survives death in this theology.

As William Tyndale sarcastically remarks concerning this in his response to Thomas More in their discussion over immortality of the soul or resurrection:

"Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again." And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had known it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, show me what cause should be of the resurrection†(ibid)
But now Christ is risen and has become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive – 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22
So when does this ‘being made alive’, this ‘eternal life’ occur? Is it at death?

But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits, afterward they that are Christ's at his coming - vs 23
This then culminates in vs 51-56 which shows that death is conquered only at the resurrection and immortality is finally given.

Behold I show you a mystery! We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in the moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal puts on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, death is swallowed up in victory! O death where is your sting? O grave where is thy victory? –I Corinthians 15:51-56
To take this verse to mean that Paul is only talking about the body and not the soul is to not only read in an unproven assumption the text doesn’t make, but to also ignore the context and importance of the previous verses. ONLY at the resurrection is death conquered. THEN shall be brought to pass the saying, ‘death is swallowed up in victory’’. If souls survived death, then death is swallowed up in victory at the time of death and not at the resurrection.

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death – vs 26
If my soul goes to heaven at death, then death is the first enemy to be destroyed and is swallowed up, not at my resurrection but when my essence leaves my body and goes to enjoy heavenly bliss.

Paul is not speaking of two lives and two deaths, but rather one body and one life and one death. Notice his language describing the whole of man - ‘this mortal’. You absolutely cannot get the idea that only the body is being spoken about here. To Paul, like the rest of those in the scriptures, man was a wholistic being, not a dualistic one.
 
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SputnikBoy

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I would say that no one who enters this discussion with an unbiased mind would refute what you have to say, guibox. But, that's the trick, isn't it?
 
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CP_Mike

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And the usual proponents of the 'immortality of the soul' doctrine cannot answer or argue against this and most of them (if not all) can't explain what 'soul' is.
 

cyberjosh

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What I fail to see is why you believe that ressurection and eternal life are mutually exclusive (which they are not). We will be ressurected in some form of a body and live with God for eternity. Why resurect the dead if they are just going to die again, especially since Jesus would have established his kingdom by then? Both ressurection and eternal life are true.
 

guibox

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cybershark5886 said:
What I fail to see is why you believe that ressurection and eternal life are mutually exclusive (which they are not). We will be ressurected in some form of a body and live with God for eternity. Why resurect the dead if they are just going to die again, especially since Jesus would have established his kingdom by then? Both ressurection and eternal life are true.
As nice as it is to say, 'Why can't there be both'? The fact is, is that the immortality of the soul is a pagan belief that infiltrated the Christian church and robs the importance of a resurrection. What does God say?

Resurrection was important enough to the Bible writers that it is woven into the fabric of salvation history from the fall of man, the solution and the redemption. All of it is centered around Christ's resurrection of the body which thus allows the final resurrection to occur.

To the Bible writers it was simple:
1) sin brought death - Christ brought life
2) Christ died, was buried and rose and conquered death thus being our example
3) Without this act of Christ's resurrection a resurrection of the just is impossible
4) Without the first resurrection, there is no hope for eternal life

I would like to focus on 3) for a minute...

Have you noticed how important Christ's resurrection is? What did it accomplish for us? Did it give Christian's immediate eternal life? If so, why does Paul make it so emphatic that 'If Christ is not raised, then the dead are not raised'?

So what if the 'dead are not raised'? If my soul is immortal, it is immaterial (no pun intended :tongue ).

But we see what Paul says next..Really see the logic here:

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised, and if Christ be not raised your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins - vs 16,17
Now we have seen that one resurrection is contingent on the other. Why would our 'faith be in vain' if there is no resurrection? Do you not see the tie in to the gospel message of salvation? If Christ didn't raise, we are all liars and there is no hope for eternal life...

WHY??? Here is the crux...

Then they that are asleep in Christ have perished - 18
The bottom line is simple: NO RESURRECTION - - - NO ETERNAL LIFE

We see that the importance of Christ's resurrection is that the righteous are also resurrected. "By one man came death, by the other came life'. Life can only occur at resurrection and not at my physical death. This is what the death and resurrection of Christ did. This is how it brings life and without it, there is no life. Not as a disembodied soul, not as an immortal body...only the wages of sin which is death.

So many take Christ's words 'He who believes in me has eternal life' to support the immortality of the soul. But having eternal life means we will never die eternally. I can say right now that I have eternal life because I know that I will experience the first resurrection.

Blessed is he who takes part in the first resurrection as such the second death has no power over him - Revelation 20:5
Jesus said when this 'life' is realized

And whosoever should believeth in me shall everlasting life and I will raise him up at the last day - John 6:40
As in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive, but each in their own order: Christ the first fruits, then they that are Christ's at His coming - 1 Corinthians 15:23
For God so loved the world that whosever should believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life - John 3:16
Life is only realized and given for mankind at the resurrection, not at my physical death as a disembodied soul.
 

TanNinety

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Many make resurrection out to be "coming of the immortally alive soul back into the body". I say, what's the use? If we are consciously already alive as a soul in heaven, then why not God just leave us the way we are. Resurrection becomes, “Hey come here and put your earthly clothes back onâ€Â, rather than “bringing back to life that which was dead by the power and spirit of Godâ€Â.
 

cyberjosh

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The bottom line is simple: NO RESURRECTION - - - NO ETERNAL LIFE

So then you do agree with me, but only partially. You exclude those who were wicked who will supposedly "not be resurected" I assume. I must ask, what then of all the people, wicked & righteous, being resurrected to be judged by God and confessing he is Lord? And what then would the point of the Lake of Fire be if no one was there (having eternal life) to be imprisoned there?

But having eternal life means we will never die eternally
That makes no sense. What are you saying? That Jesus will only let us be dead half the time, perhaps set the Saints up on a little time-share deal perhaps...? Once you are resurected you are resurected. Can you please elaborate?

Perhaps we can find a common ground to agree on.
 

guibox

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cybershark5886 said:
That makes no sense. What are you saying? That Jesus will only let us be dead half the time, perhaps set the Saints up on a little time-share deal perhaps...? Once you are resurected you are resurected. Can you please elaborate?

Perhaps we can find a common ground to agree on.
Well, to avoid any further confusion, let me lay out what I believe and what I am trying to say with this thread...

The death and resurrection of Christ took away the final death penalty that all mankind was under (see Romans 5). By doing this, Christ guaranteed our eternal life. However, this life is only given by the generating power of the Holy Spirit and like Christ, this occurs when we put on immortality at the resurrection. We do not have immortal souls, neither do we receive our reward at our physical death.

Once Christ comes, the righteous are resurrected to eternal life. The wicked remain dead until after the thousand years. Now they still have to be fairly judged (how many of them who are dead even know why they are condemned?) Hence the need for their resurrection.

Now the wicked do not have eternal life. Though they are resurrected, they are not resurrected immortal for eternal life is a gift of God but the opposite is death for the wages of sin. Because the wicked 'have not the Son', therefore, do not have 'everlasting life', they are still under the penalty of death.

The wicked are burned up from the fire out of heaven which creates the lake of fire and because they are mortal are burned completely and utterly. This is necessary so God can 'create a new heaven and a new earth' where 'there will be no more suffering or pain or death and I will wipe the tears from their eyes'.

God's victory cannot be completely fulfilled until all is made new. Sin cannot exist in a new kingdom in God's presence.****

Does that help?

**** BTW, if we are all accepted the knowledge that sin cannot exist in the presence of the Almighty God, have you noticed that the wicked are tormented in the presence of God and the angels? How long do you think that will last? Eternity? We have a contradiction then.
 

TanNinety

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guibox said:
**** BTW, if we are all accepted the knowledge that sin cannot exist in the presence of the Almighty God, have you noticed that the wicked are tormented in the presence of God and the angels? How long do you think that will last? Eternity? We have a contradiction then.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb

Tormented in the presence of the Lamb. And if tormenting is for eternity, then sin is in the presence of the lamb for eternity.
 
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SputnikBoy

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TanNinety said:
Tormented in the presence of the Lamb. And if tormenting is for eternity, then sin is in the presence of the lamb for eternity.
Very perceptive of you, TN ...I wonder how come WE have missed that scripture previously ...? I hope someone from 'the other side' on this issue responds to this text before too long.
 

stranger

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in the presence of the holy angels

TanNinety said:
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb

Tormented in the presence of the Lamb. And if tormenting is for eternity, then sin is in the presence of the lamb for eternity.
If I may add Rev14:11 'And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image,and whoever receives the mark of his name'.

If we take Rev14:9-11 I think it is fair to suppose some action occurs on earth. eg worshipp of the beast and taking the mark and some in heaven - where judgments are revealed from.

In Christ: Stranger
 
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