Most Christians agree that the soul survives death. What happens until the resurrection, however, is a matter of debate.
What happens to the human soul when a person dies?
Does it disintegrate the moment a person’s brain flat lines like materialists argue?
Or does it survive the body to live forever?
Of course most Christians agree that the soul survives.
However, not everyone agrees on what happens to that soul once a person dies.
Roman Catholics insist they trudge through purgatory.
This is called “soul sleep.” Or “conditional immortality.”
Soul Sleep: Biblical Proofs
Sects who embrace the soul sleep concept base their beliefs off of a host of verses:
Who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see…. 1 Timothy 6:16
But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. Genesis 2:17
The soul that sins shall die. Ezekiel 18:20
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
At first blush it seems they might have a case. But they don’t. These verses have been wrenched out of their context.
Soul Sleep: Where These Sects Went Wrong
Yes, First Timothy 6:16 suggests that it is God alone who has immortality. No argument from me. But in no way can we assume that he’s the only one.
In fact, Paul argues it’s BECAUSE God is the author of immortality that he is also the giver of immortality. We live forever because God sustains us.
I’ll admit, the notion of death in Genesis 2:17 is peculiar simply because Adam and Eve don’t actually die. At least not right away.
What’s going on? Here we have the promise of [future] physical death AND [immediate] spiritual death…
But the spiritual death the author of Genesis had in mind isn’t the soul sleep kind. No.
What about Ezekiel and Romans? They simply echo the notion that physical and spiritual death is the punishment of sin. Adam’s original sin.
Okay. If souls don’t sleep while they wait for resurrection, what do they do? Here’s what the Bible teaches.
Orthodox View of the Soul After Death
Traditional Christians affirm that the human soul survives death. But not in a slumber.
The Apostle Peter suggested that death meant the “shedding of this body” and union with Christ in spirit.
Paul echoed a similar sentiment when he said, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” Philippians 1:23.
Then you have the spirits of the martyred tribulation saints in heaven who cry: ”O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Revelations 6:10
The clincher, of course, is Jesus who said to the thief on the cross, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” Luke 23:43.
As you can see, the biblical evidence for soul sleep is lacking while evidence for the souls immediate union with God is strong. In a nutshell, when a redeemed person dies his soul is united with God immediately to wait the final resurrection of his body…
And when an unregenerate person dies, he is immediately ushered out of the presence of God to await final judgment.
Now, it’s your turn. What did I miss? Got any questions?
Share your thoughts. Brutal and all.