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Biblical Anthropology VI

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Question #1:

Good day Dr. Bob,

Thanks a lot for the clarification and the orig. Hebrew word "tohu waw". It's amazing how you dig in to those reference.

Also, I'm really amazed on your article on the original status of lucifer...cant find a more elaborate and detailed explanation in the internet...your works is such a treasure & tremendous help. In this article you stated based on bible lucifer as a cherub with 4 wings but an anointed one to cover the Holy mountain of God. Is Seraphim have more powers or higher than Cherubim? Is St. Michael a Seraphim?

Also, hope you don't mind one more question about the Fall of Man, Why Lucifer tempted Eve first and not Adam?

Your site has too many interesting good articles having a hard time reading all.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge & expertise.

God Bless!

Response #1:

Thanks for your good words!

On the categories of angels, it would be best first to look over the BB 2A posting, "Angelology" (happy to answer questions once you take a look there).

On why Eve not Adam, all I can say is that the devil is a very clever tactician when it comes to sussing out our weaknesses and proclivities. He (along with his forces) apparently observed the first couple minutely for many years before devising this attack. If he thought he could have bent Adam from the truth by a similar appeal to pride, I'm sure he would have done so. But he realized that while Adam could not be tempted to partake of the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil by such tactics, the first man would surely give up paradise for the sake of the woman if only Eve could be tempted into eating. And that is just how it happened. All this is covered in much more detail in part 3 of the Satanic Rebellion series (see the link).

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Hello Dr. Bob,

A friend had recommended me this site and I firstly want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your devotion to truth and your love of our Lord's Word. So I pray your ministry is always so devoted, careful and uncompromising. I truly see God's work here and it's been wonderful to see!

And as a new visitor of the site, I have been going through the Satanic rebellion series and in Part 3 you claim as part of Eve's misquoting of scripture, that "It is very likely that Adam is the source of the additional 'rider' appended to the Lord's command". I'm confused as to where you got this interpretation from? It seems uncomfortable for me that Adam would have mistreated God's command like that and Eve would be allowed to hold some false notion of the command for however long she had. For Eve to be fundamentally less prepared than absolutely possible like this seems contrary to how God teaches us, which is by always providing us everything we need to know him. I feel much more ready to accept that Eve simply took a more extreme position than what was true in a show of zeal to try and appear wiser or more able in that moment than she truly was. But feelings and base intuition can be often misleading, so any insight of yours on this small point would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

In Him,

Response #2:

Very good to make your acquaintance. 

As to your question, let me start by saying that your essential point about not being able to be dogmatic about this interpretation is well-taken since scripture does not directly weigh in.  That is why I have used the qualifier "very likely" in offering this suggestion.  However, I do think it is more likely that Adam is the source rather than Eve – it has to be one or the other, after all –  and it seems fair to point out that it is equally impossible to be absolutely dogmatic about attributing this false conclusion to Eve (for the same reason of scriptural silence on the point).

 One of the main reasons I prefer to see Adam rather than Eve as the source has to do with what I say next in the paragraph you quote: "Adam, after all, had been the one to whom the Lord had given the command – before Eve's creation (Gen.2:15-18)".  The only way that Eve knew anything about this command, it seems, is second hand from Adam.  Since the man is the spiritual authority in any marriage, it certainly does make sense that the Lord intended Adam to be the priest of his household (just as all the later patriarchs were).  Things, including marriage, were somewhat different in paradise, of course, but it does stand to reason, based upon what we know from scripture about marriage, that Adam was the teacher, and that Eve was the student.  Students do get things wrong on occasion (believe me, as a professor, I know all about that); and teachers do present things in inadvertently misleading ways at times out of a desire to make an important point strongly (believe me, as a professor, I know all about that too).  The next thing I say in this section is apropos of this: "Here we see Adam's natural urge to emphasize an important prohibition (his paternal instinct, if you will)".

I suppose it comes down to the fact that I can more easily account for Eve's mis-impression through imagining Adam saying "don't even touch it!" than I can see Eve taking the precise prohibition as given by the Lord and expanding that to "don't touch".  Why would she do so in answer to a simple question if this had not previously been impressed upon her?  Adam would do so to protect Eve, but the serpent was a mere creature to whom this test/prohibition did not apply at all.  When you suggest that "Eve simply took a more extreme position than what was true in a show of zeal to try and appear wiser or more able in that moment than she truly was", this would make more sense to me after the fall once Eve had acquired a sin nature, but seems not as likely  in innocence before the accentuation of prideful tendencies.  So I find it somewhat incomprehensible to believe that Eve came up with this on her own "on the fly".

As to the objection that "it seems uncomfortable . . . that Adam would have mistreated God's command like that", we must remember that when it came to the love of his life Adam did immediately eat of the fruit just as soon as Eve handed it to him –  apparently "preferring the woman out of the garden to the Lord in the garden" as has been said (Gen.3:6).  So much for not mistreating God's commands.  Since Adam had no problem giving up paradise for Eve –  violating the one direct command of the Lord and doing so in complete understanding as opposed to being deceived (1Tim.2:14) –  I don't think we can conclude that Adam was particularly reluctant about "mistreating God's commands" when it came to Eve.  And as mentioned, he was probably only being emphatic in adding this "rider" in order to protect Eve –  and he probably didn't even realize that he was doing anything problematic by doing so.  But as I conclude in this paragraph you cite, "the imprecision, however well meant, gave Satan an opportunity".

As to "holding false notions" and "not being properly prepared", clearly, Eve did have a false notion (whether it came entirely from Adam or from herself or was a combination of the two) and was not properly prepared –  because she did fail the test, even though it is true that she was deceived; and Adam failed it too, even though it is clear that he was not deceived but knew exactly what he was doing.

Life is about choices.  Life is about free will.  It is a little bit dangerous to assume that God will "not allow us to be less than fully prepared" for what is coming precisely –  regardless of our actions or inaction –  because a good deal of that necessary prior preparation is our responsibility.  Clearly, most of us, even those of us who are very diligently preparing for personal tribulation and for the Tribulation, could be doing better; whether it will turn out that we "prepared properly" or not, the times to come will demonstrate.  But beyond all argument most Christians in the present day church visible era of Laodicea (see the link) are certainly not preparing properly –  far from it.  The result will be the greatest falling away from the faith in the history of the Church during Tribulation's "Great Apostasy" (see the link).  That is certainly not God's fault –  and it was not His fault that Eve was not properly prepared and that Adam was not ready spiritually for the eventuality he faced when he saw the love of his life corrupted and offering him the forbidden fruit. 

Just how it was that Adam didn't do all he could and that Eve didn't do all she could have done to prepare, we will have to wait until the other side to find out.  But since God is perfect and perfectly loving and faithful, it seems impossible to me that He would ever allow a situation to develop where a person could not even choose to do what was right.  Therefore we have to conclude that our first parents were remiss to at least some degree –  and the way I read this chapter they were no doubt both to blame.  In the event, they both fell.

Do feel free to write me back about any of this, and thanks so much for your kind and encouraging words about this ministry!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #3:

What does this verse mean?

"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment." (Proverbs 18:1)

Response #3:

My translation:

A man who separates himself [from the right way] (i.e., chooses his own ways) seeks only what he lusts for; [as a result] he is entirely at strife with wisdom.
Proverbs 18:1


But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
Jude 1:17-19 KJV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #4:

Okay. I was wondering if the proverb was referring to introversion. This would also be rather unfair because introversion is the only psychological trait which has been shown to be genetic. But if God were to have said it, who am I to question him?

"If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'" (Job 9:12)

"But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’" (Romans 9:20)

Response #4:

I'm pretty sure that plenty of our traits are genetic (behavior and choice reinforce and suppress all manner of natural tendencies good and bad, however). We all have sin natures but these are all kaleidoscopically different (whatever the opposite of a rainbow would be).

God doesn't hold our traits against us. He does hold us accountable for what we actually think, say and do – and no one is blameless on that score. Since a single sin is worthy of condemnation, the magnitude of the cross cannot be underestimated or ever fully comprehended.

In the Name of the One who died for us, our Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

In writing about the empowerment of error in 2nd Thessalonians, you wrote: "That principle is given its most detailed expression by the apostle Paul in the first chapter of the book of Romans (compare Jeremiah chapter two)."

What parallels do you see between the two works?

Response #5:

Jeremiah chapter two gives a panoramic look at the backsliding, idolatry and apostasy that had come to characterize Judah just before the Lord removed her entirely from the land.  Through Jeremiah, the Lord presents details of the history of His people's revolt against Him, the reasons for it, its characteristics and the results of it.  The process of hardening the heart and turning away from the truth has always been the same, but this is a good chapter for believers to keep in mind inasmuch as the Great Apostasy –  of believers turning away from the Lord and falling into the "empowerment of error" –  is the seminal event, from the divine point of view, of the Tribulation's first half.  So Paul and Jeremiah are addressing the same phenomenon, namely, the effects that rejecting the truth has both in terms of how that affects individuals and how God responds to that rejection.  The main difference is that Jeremiah is addressing an apostate nation while Paul presents the principle at work in gentile unbelievers. 

In Jesus our dear Lord, 

Bob L.

Question #6:

What does Jude mean by "natural instinct"?

"These are the people who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit."

Response #6:

The Greek word is psychikoi, the same word Paul uses to distinguish the "natural body" from the "spiritual (pneumatikon) body".  So the word means "not spiritual".  The addition of "instincts" is the KJV et al. trying to make sense of it, but failing (in my view); I would prefer "unspiritual" –  which marks these individuals out as unbelievers. 

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

 Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Robert,

As always, many thanks for your last information, I do enjoy your writings. In fact, I came across something which you wrote which said that we had a dramatic change in our bodies after the fall. You are the only second person to tell me this, I briefly knew an old man in the UK in the early 1970's, he was completely wrapped in the bible all his life, never married and was self-taught in ancient and modern Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin. He had a big collection of bibles one, in particular, he had outlined verses pertaining to the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God, Unfortunately, he was almost deaf and he would often call into our shop every week to speak with me on scripture, he gave me tapes in Hebrew wanting me to study it "so I could read the bible for myself". My whole impression was that I had met this lovely man too late in his life because of his deafness our chats were limited, he was aware of his shouting and would apologize, he spoke in a lower voice. Anyway, he said the same thing as you about the dramatic change in Adam's body but he went into more detail about it. he told me not to tell anyone, but I thought I would find it myself in the bible. He was really into Egyptology and also told me that history had one of the dates of the pharaohs wrong, but I cannot re call what he was meaning. So can you go into more detail -when time permits- to explain this dramatic change in our bodies?

I know you are always busy so when the time suits you will just be fine.

As always best wishes

Response #7:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

I believe you must be referring to the acquisition of a sin nature, "sin in the flesh" (e.g., Rom.6:6; 7:18-20; 8:3; Eph.4:22; Col.3:9). The change in our bodies – which resulted in physical death for all (Rom.5:12) – is a direct result of the fall, Adam and Eve eating of the forbidden fruit which immediately precipitated the physical change. Functionally speaking, only Adam's sin matters in that the sin nature is passed down through the male line – Jesus had no sin nature because He was virgin born. In addition to the (terribly negative) physiological changes, namely, an irresistible propensity to sin (cf. Rom.3:23) and an inevitable physical decline ultimately resulting in death, there was also the internal, psychological change in terms of the energizing of our conscience (to "know the difference between good and evil"), without which human society could never have survived even in the low state human history reveals (incidentally, this last point also explains why even young children who are not "innocent" in the way our first parents originally were). You can find all the details on this written up in BB 3B: Hamartiology at the links: "The Sin Nature" and "The Conscience".

Blessedly, this is not the way things will be forever. We will be transformed even more dramatically at the resurrection when this "corruption takes on incorruption" (1Cor.15:42), and the difference between the body we now occupy and the one to come will represent a far more dramatic change even than that between the bodies of our first parents before and after the fall (see the link: "The Resurrection Body"):

(35) Now somebody will no doubt say, “In what manner do the dead rise? And with what sort of body do they come back?” (36) Use a little common sense! When you plant a seed, it doesn't “come back to life” unless the seed itself is first destroyed, does it? (37) And what you put in the ground is not the actual plant which later sprouts, but an “empty shell”, so to speak, of the wheat or of whatever you are planting. (38) God then transforms this seed into a plant in accordance with His creative plan, giving each specific seed its own unique structure. (39) [As it is with seeds and plants, the same is true of animate bodies.] For in an analogous way, not all bodies are the same. Obviously, the bodies of men are different from the bodies of cattle, the bodies of birds are different from the bodies of fish, (40) and, just as obviously, bodies capable of dwelling in heaven are different from the bodies we occupy here on earth. Moreover the splendor of our heavenly bodies will transcend that of our earthly ones. (41) [Nor should we imagine that all heavenly bodies will possess the same degree of splendor.] After all, the radiance of the sun and of the moon and of stars is different in each case, and even the stars differ amongst themselves in glory. (42) So it is with the resurrection of the dead. The body sown is corruptible, the one raised incorruptible. (43) The body sown is dishonorable, the one raised glorious. The body sown is weak, the one raised powerful. (44) The body sown is suited to physical life, the one raised to spiritual life. If there is a physical body (and there patently is), then there is also a spiritual one. (45) For as it has been written that “Adam, the first man, became a physical being, possessing life”, so Christ, the last Adam, became a spiritual being, bestowing life. (46) However it is not the spiritual body, but the physical body which comes first, and the spiritual body follows. (47) The first man was earthly, being taken from the ground. The second Man is heavenly. (48) And as was the earthly man, so also are we of the earth. And as is the heavenly Man, so also shall we be when we too take on heavenly form. (49) For just as we have born the image of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the image of the heavenly Man.
1st Corinthians 15:35-49

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

What does this verse mean?

"My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth." (Psalm 139:15)

Response #8:

Psalms are poetic, and all poetry takes license with expression. David did not actually exist until birth, but he takes the pose of one watching from heaven as a body is prepared for him. From that point of view, he is woven "in the depths of the earth", that is to say, down on the earth and in the secret place of the womb – which resembles, poetically, the depths of the earth. That is because it is as remote as a person can get and as far away from God as one can be in this world (analogous to being in the nether regions) – and yet none of this was hidden from God (that's the point: cf. the preceding vv.7-12).

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

In your study titled "Soteriology" you make the following statement: "Our dichotomous human nature remains unchanged when we are reborn: physically, our bodies are the same before and after salvation, and we also have the same unaltered human spirit we had before we were saved."

In your study titled "Anthropology" you state: "The human spirit is who we are: The human spirit is more than just a life-force that animates the body; the human spirit is essentially "who we are". Our will and self-determination, our conscience, our understanding and mentality, our consciousness and self-consciousness are, while not independent of the body, essentially aspects of the particular, individual human spirit that is us."

Ezekiel 36 says:

"24“ ‘For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 18 says:

"30“Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit."

Ezekiel 11 says:

"18“They will return to it and remove all its vile images and detestable idols. 19I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

Jeremiah 24:

"7I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart."

Further you comment in the study "Anthropology": "The "heart", then is the Bible's word for the interface between the body and the spirit. That is to say, when scripture mentions the "heart", it is referring to the "heart", then is the Bible's word for the interface between the body and the spirit. That is to say, when scripture mentions the "heart", it is referring to the inner spiritual, mental and emotional functioning of our person, of our human spirit thinking, planning, emoting, deciding, all through the apparatus of the body (via the brain, the mind, etc.).

Comments: I was always under the impression that at the New-Birth, one receives a new spirit, but after reading both of these teachings, I understand that this is not the case. So, as I now understand it, our heart is the same as our spirit. The word "heart" refers to the inner spiritual , etc. But something does change, our thoughts are different, our desires are not the same, our minds are tuned to follow God, etc. I can see now that the "soulish" part of the inner person is still alive along with the new heart and . . . ?

Question: In all of the above scripture verses God says: "I will give you a new heart and a new spirit". Is this not referring to when a person (the Jew) becomes a believer? I am confused.

2nd Email:

I read further down in your study on Soteriology and lo and behold, I found the answers to my questions. As I stated in my previous email, I never realized that we did not receive a "new spirit' when we are born-again, but like you said "we are given a "new heart" in the sense of being completely cleansed from everything old which obscured our view of the truth (Heb.10:2; 2Pet.1:9), a "circumcised heart" in the sense of having everything old which blocked our view of the truth completely removed (Col.2:11-14).

I have been taught that one receives a "new spirit" when one is born-again, but have subsequently found out that this is not true, as you stated. I had believed this for 37+ years. The doctrine that some teach is absolutely astounding because it is wrong; failure to study The Word is the reason. Again, you have opened my eyes to so many things, well actually the Holy Spirit using you has opened my eyes.

Thanks so much.

Your friend,

Response #9:

Good for you! This is what I was planning to write to you in response to your first message, when I got the time. Yes, as in your examples, we don't actually get a physical replacement for our physical heart, nor does our mind change materially. We do get a "fresh start for the heart", as I sometimes put it, a supernatural cleansing which allows us to see things crystal clearly . . . at first. After the initial bursting in of the light, whether or not we keep our spiritual eye clear (cf. Matt.6:22-23) and grow in grace or allow ourselves to return gradually to worldly viewpoint is up to us. Keeping our spiritual "vision" sharp requires spiritual growth. Even for those who regress after salvation (as most do), there can be a revival of the heart and spirit through turning again to the Lord and His truth with that heart and spirit. Our spirit is never tainted; but we are body as well as spirit, and our inner person is a combination of the two: that is, our "heart" (or "soul" in biblical parlance). Since the fleshly part is corrupted by the sin nature, the spirit is constantly having to fight against that pressure, which is why the heart (or "soul") is the battleground inside of us where we wrestle with the sin nature, our emotions, and temptations from without coming to our free will). A long way of saying that what you have figured out is indeed the case. The change that takes place when "all things become new" is not a change of body (we still have a sin nature) nor a change of spirit (for our spirit was never corrupt in the first place and the spirit is "us" and we remain "us" after salvation) but a divine sweeping away of the earthly and worldly cobwebs in our heart/soul, so to speak, to allow us to perceive the truth with crystal clarity. That clarity can continue to sharpen as we add layers of truth to it or it may regress, depending on the choices we make going forward. But it will always be challenged this side of heaven.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Let me bounce today’s thought for the day off you guys. Tell me what you think.

“The soul has to be saved, Ps 19:7, 34:22; Mk 8:36-37; 1 Pet 1:9; Heb 10:39, and is saved by the creation of the human spirit at the point of faith in Christ. Only the soul, not the body, is saved at the point of regeneration.” That’s a quote from Thieme in the doctrine of the Blood of Christ.

Here’s my thought: The immaterial human spirit becomes inseparably joined with the human soul at regeneration, so that the soul can be saved by union with the human spirit. Eternal life is imputed to the human spirit and the union of the human spirit to the human soul then saves the human soul.


Response #10:

This is a good example of why trichotomy causes interpretive problems that require deductive speculation to sort out, viz. because it is not a biblical position.  On the other hand, the biblical position of dichotomy –  which recognizes scriptural usage for nephesh / psyche as the "person" and often the "inner person" or "heart" (rather than falsely considering the "soul" as a tertium quid with independent existence) unlocks many other passages as well.  From a recent posting:

As to "souls", there is nothing of special significance in the use of this much misunderstood word here. The English word "soul" does not really mean the same thing as the Greek and Hebrew words of scripture where in some versions we find the word "soul" in the English text. In the Bible, a "soul" is a person, with special emphasis (sometimes) on the inner person (so that "heart" is a commonly used English synonym which is often employed in translation of nephesh / psyche). The immaterial part of the human being is the spirit (ruach / pneuma), not the heart/"soul" (nephesh / psyche), which later word(s) represents the inner life of the "whole person" or the whole "person" in toto as a combination of body and spirit. This misunderstanding of what "soul" means in the Bible is responsible for many mis-interpretations of scripture (please see the link which will lead to others).

Question #11:

Trichotomy is not a biblical position? What does “this” refer to?

Response #11:

"It" above (as in "because it is not a biblical position") refers to the false doctrine of trichotomy.  That position (trichotomy) is another hold-over from Augustinian theology where Latin anima and animus are back-interpreted on the Greek and Hebrew even though their semantic fields are significantly different from ruach/pneuma and nephesh/psyche respectively.  Most such incidents where false doctrine is commonly accepted by evangelicals go back as in this case to Augustine ("imputation" of "original sin" being a prime example; see the link).  If Augustine agrees with it, it's almost always wrong (his apologetics excepted), and, with the notable exceptions of the false doctrines of continuing tongues / prophecy and the "pre-Trib rapture", most such enshrined mistakes are his fault.  Dr. Christian at Talbot seminary used to tell that joke about the student mis-pronouncing Augustine's name being told by the professor: "St. AUG-istine is in Florida; St. AugUSTine is in heaven".  Personally, I wonder (and not about Florida).

Question #12:

I was searching through the site and reviewed the questions regarding when life begins. I was under the impression that blood was the sign of life. At 7 weeks old an embryo blood cells develop and they start making their own blood.

For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature, for the life of every creature is its blood. Whoever eats it shall be cut off. Lev. 17:14

"Also on your skirts is found The lifeblood of the innocent poor; You did not find them breaking in. But in spite of all these things. Jer. 2:34

Response #12:

This is true in terms of physical life – but human beings (and all animate creatures) are more than merely physical; we are also spiritual.  From BB 3A: Anthropology (at the link: "The Dichotomy of Man"): 

"Blood is the [symbol of] the life-soul" (Deut.12:23) – physical life, that is, and it is in the heart that we generally imagine this life to be concentrated. This is why Old Testament scriptures connect the blood with the nephesh, the "soul" (Gen.9:4): when the blood flows out, so does the physical part of life, just as when the breath-spirit departs, so does the spiritual part of life. We can see the end of the physical life in the blood spilled upon the ground, but the spirit's departure is invisible.

 The departure of the spirit is what ends life (as when Christ "gave up His spirit" on the cross); similarly, it is the arrival of the spirit that begins life –  the life of the person in question as a person.  All spirits are created by God within the person in question (Zech.12:1) at the point of birth and not before.  That is why the Bible always emphasizes the birth of any individual and not his/her conception.  Conception is important –  for there can be no birth without it; but no one "comes into the world" until the point of birth (cf. Heb.1:6;10:5).  That is when God creates the spirit.  If it were all about biology, then the materialists would be correct; but we Christians realize that the spiritual dimension is what is really important.  God gives life, true human life, life that includes the image of God and is not merely biological – and that is contained in the human spirit which is created by God within us the moment we are born. 

And the Lord God formed the man (i.e., Adam's body) from the dust of the ground, then blew into his nostrils the life-giving breath (i.e., his spirit), and [thus] the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7

Then they fell upon their faces and said, "O God, God of the spirits of all flesh (i.e., mankind), shall one man sin, and will you be angry with the entire congregation?
Numbers 16:22

Then [at death] the dust (i.e., the body) will return to the earth whence it came, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
Ecclesiastes 12:7

Thus says God the Lord, who creates the skies and stretches them out, who fashions the earth and its produce, who gives breath to the people upon it, even a spirit to those who walk upon it.
Isaiah 42:5

For I will not contend eternally, nor will I be angry forever. For [Man's] spirit would faint away before Me, even his breaths (i.e., human spirits) which I have made.
Isaiah 57:16

Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens and lays the foundations of the earth, who forms the spirit of Man within him.
Zechariah 12:1b

(24) The God who made the world and everything in it, He is Lord of heaven and earth. He does not dwell in man-made temples, (25) nor is he waited on by human hands, as if He needed anything from us. He is the One who gives us all life and breath and everything else.
Acts 17:24-25

At that time we had those who fathered our flesh to discipline us, and we respected them. Shall we not all the more submit ourselves to the Father of our spirits and live?
Hebrews 12:9

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, 

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi. My granddaughter just called and asked me what purgatory is. I am a Baptist and do not believe in purgatory but I was wondering if you could tell me why Catholics believe this way and especially what scripture in the Bible they base their belief on. Any information I can pass on to my granddaughter will be very much appreciated. Thanks.

Response #13:

Good to hear from you! 

I don't believe in purgatory either – because it doesn't exist.

Purgatory is a Roman Catholic false teaching of uncertain ancestry.  Those who believe the Bible know very well that believers in Christ go to heaven while unbelievers go to hell/Torments (and then to the lake of fire after the last judgment; see the link).  The teaching of a purgatory seems to stem from a complete misunderstanding of the true doctrine of salvation and the work of Christ in dying for our sins on the cross (see the link).  Whether one wants to believe (wrongly) in universal salvation –  so as to require a "purging" of sins committed by the unbeliever before being allowed into eternal life –  or (also wrongly) in the limitation of immediate salvation to "good" believers (as the R.C. church is pleased to define them, such as "dying in a state of grace") and the purging of the "not so good" believers in purgatory after death, either way, this teaching negates the cross.

We know that Christ has already died for all of the sins of every human being.  And we also know, since we all possess sin natures, that no human being is good enough to die for a single sin so as to propitiate it and remove it's guilt – and not even if said person had lived an exemplary life (we are all sinners even so) or were able to place the whole world before the Father's feet (Jesus created the world and sustains it by His Word of power: Col.1:16-17; Heb.1:3) –  God needs nothing from us.  Only the spotless Lamb of God was qualified to bear our sins.

The cross is the most ineffable, majestic and wonderful thing imaginable and beyond the imagination in fact of all human beings and angels put together.  Next to Christ dying for a single sin, all of history and the whole universe together are an inconspicuous mote in the sea of infinite glory He won at the cross  –  and He died for all of our sins.  Debasing the cross to the point of a transactional analysis reduces God to a super-sized bookkeeper and beclouds the entire purpose of life . . . which is the exercise of the free-will choice inherent in the image of God we have been give for or against God, to be saved or not through responding to the Gift of Jesus Christ.  Purgatory takes both grace and the true purpose of life out of the equation.

There is no biblical support for this false doctrine which, clearly, is an insult to truth in every way.  The only tangential "support" is to be found in the non-canonical, non-biblical, non-inspired Apocrypha book, 2nd Maccabees (2Maccabees 12:42–46) where prayers are offered for the dead.  But there is of course no point in praying for the dead.  The dead are either in Christ or in hell/Torments, with each having used his/her free will to decide their eternal future, a future either  with or without God, and all choose what is truly dearest to them.  But this reference does give an indication of why it was that the R.C. church took such a delight in this false doctrine.  If prayer can be offered for the dead effectively, then the established church might be able to do other things for them too . . . for a price.  The R.C. church got rich off of selling indulgences, "get out of purgatory – not free" cards that the church sold to bereaved loved ones promising their departed a place in heaven for enough silver and gold –  whereas in fact the departed one was either in heaven as a believer with no need to be helped or in hell/Torments as an unbeliever –  and not to be helped.

Here are two other links to where this subject is also treated:

Is there a Purgatory according to the Bible?

Last rites

Feel free to write me back about any of this.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

Hoping all is well with you and yours:)

Can you direct me in your site where I can get clarification on these verses since a catholic is disputing the existence of purgatory to me. I tried to tell him that only Jesus can wash us from our sins and not some punishment in a place called limbo, and that he is saying Jesus didn't do a good enough job on the cross by saying we have to suffer for our sins.

Thanks once again


Purification necessary for heaven Heb 12:14; Rev 21:27

An intermediate state of purification Mt 5:26; Lk 12:58-59

Degrees of expiation of sins Lk 12:47-48

Can be aided by prayer 2Mac 12:45

Salvation; but only as through fire 1Cor 3:15

Temporary agony 1 Cor 3:15; Mt 5:25-26

Christ preached to spiritual beings 1 Pet 3:19

Nothing unclean shall enter heaven Rev 21:27

Sacrifice for the dead 2 Mac 12:43-46

A reality beyond the two realms of Heaven and Earth a place between or near 2 Cor 5:10; Rev; 5: 2;3 Rev; 5:23; Phil 2:10; Matt 18: 23-25 Luke 23:42

No forgiveness in this age nor in the age to come. Mt 12:32

"Extra" suffering. Col 1:24; 2 Sam 12:14

Response #14:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

Your synopsis is key to the point.  If Christ did not save us on the cross, then we would not be saved – period.  That is absolutely fundamental to anything even remotely resembling true Christianity.  I will answer the specifics below, but in cases like this in my experience it is really best to stick to the "high ground", and you have it:

On the next day, [John] saw Jesus coming towards him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, the One who takes away the sin of the world”.
John 1:29

For I entrusted to you as of primary importance what I had also received, [namely] that Christ died on behalf of our sins according to (i.e., in fulfillment of) the scriptures.
1st Corinthians 15:3

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2nd Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

[God] has erased the charge against us along with its bill of particulars (i.e., the record of our personal sins).  This stood against us, but He removed it [as an obstacle] between us by nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:14

[Jesus Christ] who gave Himself on our behalf to redeem us from all lawlessness (i.e., sin; cf. 1Jn.3:4) and to cleanse for Himself a people [to be His] own unique possession, zealous for good works.
Titus 2:14

Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
1st Peter 2:24 NKJV

And He Himself is the atonement for our sins, and not just for ours, but also for the entire world.
1st John 2:2

One could go on at great length with such verses, but I hope it is clear from this short list that there is no ambiguity to be seen:  Christ died for our sins, not for some but for all, all sins for all people.  There is no verse in the Bible which says that anyone else ever did or could "die for sin" –  because no one else ever did and because no one else ever could.  Dying for sin required perfection of humanity to be qualified (Jesus was the only perfect One), and undiminished deity to be able to stand it (death for one sin outweighs all human suffering from Adam and Eve to the end of the Millennium and to an infinite degree –  so great is the cross!). 

(8) For you have been saved by [God's] grace through faith [in Christ]; and this did not come from you – it is God's gift.  (9) Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Further, as the passage above makes clear, "works" is not the way of salvation –  lest any boast; only faith in who Christ is and what Christ has done can save.

Further, not only is "purgatory" impossible (because only Christ's work is sufficient to forgive) and unnecessary (because He died for all), and all such notions offensive to God (because they seek to elevate our filthy "works" to the level of THE work of Christ), but there is also not a hint of any such place anywhere in the Bible.  What all such arguments as the one your acquaintance seems to be making have in common is that they are based only on faulty logic of a derivative nature and have zero positive biblical support.  Even a good argument that lacked any biblical support would be worthy of suspicion and even if it didn't seem to contradict the things we know by faith in positive biblical testimony.  But bad arguments which end in teaching things that are directly contradicted by the Bible are to be avoided like the plague –  especially when they cut against the grain of the Bible's most important teachings of all:  salvation by grace through faith in the Person and the work of Jesus Christ!  "Purgatory" is thus an offense against the gospel, and anyone who embraces it is either unsaved or throwing their salvation into risk . . . because only believers (in the Person of Christ and His WORK in dying for our sins –  not our tainted "works" –  are saved).  Here are a few links where the issue you ask about is treated at Ichthys: 

Is there a Purgatory according to the Bible?


As to specifics in your correspondent's list:

1) Purification necessary for heaven Heb 12:14; Rev 21:27

As to Hebrews 12:14; sanctification is a process with, as with salvation, three phases: we are sanctified completely in a positional sense when are saved by virtue of being "in Christ", and ultimately at the resurrection; only while on this earth CAN we "pursue" sanctification, using our free will image of God to strive to make our Christian walk line up with our position in Christ (see the link: "Sanctification") – there is no moral "choice" in hell and it is unnecessary in heaven.  As to Revelation 21:27, this is (clearly) an affirmation of the fact that unbelievers will not be present in the eternal state.  All believers sin (Rom.3:23), but we are not "professional sinners" by our position in Christ having been cleansed by His blood, His suffering for sin in the darkness of Calvary, His spiritual death (link).

Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1st Corinthians 6:9-11 NIV

2) An intermediate state of purification Mt 5:26; Lk 12:58-59

Matthew 5:26 and Luke 12:58-59 are speaking of literal debtor's prison used as an analogy to the issue of salvation.  Just as there is no actual adversary who has the power to hand us over to a judge, so as in all parables only the operative details are meant to be applied:  we are only in this life for a short time and now is the time to "make peace" with God –  through the blood of Jesus Christ (cf. Ps.50:5).  Just as no one could ever get out of debtor's prison without paying (and few who had the means were thrown in there in the firs place), so also no one can get out of hell without paying . . . and no one has the means to pay anything at all but Jesus Christ.  Hearing the words of this parable are motivation to accept the gift of Christ while there is still opportunity to do so, for they are in no way meant to justify the idea that to the contrary of what Christ says here and means here we CAN somehow pay and "get out".  That turns the parable on its head. 

3) Degrees of expiation of sins Lk 12:47-48

This passage on its face refers to degree of responsibility, not "expiation":  the more we are given, the more is expected of us. That is a common biblical truth and doesn't say anything about removal of sin, something only Christ can do.

4) Can be aided by prayer 2Mac 12:45

This book is not in the Bible.  I'm sure that a person can find things in the Quran and the Book of Mormon that are helpful for the support of false doctrines too.

5) Salvation; but only as through fire 1Cor 3:15

This verse refers very clearly in the context to the burning up of "works" –  like believing in purgatory and teaching it –  which are false.  This occurs for us all at the judgment seat of Christ where we receive our rewards.  The false works are burned up at that time, not us believers.

6) Temporary agony 1 Cor 3:15; Mt 5:25-26

Neither verse says any such thing.

7) Christ preached to spiritual beings 1 Pet 3:19

These are the fallen angels restrained in the Abyss for their actions chronicled in Genesis chapter six (see the link).

8) Nothing unclean shall enter heaven Rev 21:27

We believers are cleansed positionally already by the blood of Christ (2Pet.1:9).  Thus when we leave this corrupt first body behind, we leave behind everything unclean and shall be clean experientially and completely so.

9) Sacrifice for the dead 2 Mac 12:43-46

Maccabees is NOT the Bible!

10) A reality beyond the two realms of Heaven and Earth a place between or near 2 Cor 5:10; Rev; 5: 2;3 Rev; 5:23; Phil 2:10; Matt 18: 23-25 Luke 23:42

??? There is no "place" between heaven and earth and none of these passages so much as suggests it.  The use of these passages do confirm that correspondent has no clue about eschatology –  the biblical teachings of what is "next", but that it not unusual; what is irritating is the determination to be dogmatic about things which are very clearly not understood in the least.  There is a realm BELOW the earth, and that is where the lake of fire exists –  the place where all who have put their hope in their own works, despising the WORK of Christ, will be tormented for all eternity (with no way out; see the link).

11) No forgiveness in this age nor in the age to come. Mt 12:32

If there were no forgiveness, then anyone in a purgatory would have no way out.  This verse, however, is speaking of the blasphemy against the Spirit which is the sin of rejecting the gospel as the Spirit testifies to the heart about the Person and work of Christ –  the very sin anyone who wants to substitute their own works is committing (link).

12) "Extra" suffering. Col 1:24; 2 Sam 12:14

As to the first passage, "sharing the sufferings of Christ", otherwise known as undeserved suffering, trials that the believer who is walking with Him suffers for His sake, is something that –  as the context here and wherever the subject comes up –  happens in this life (link).  As to the second, a quite different situation, God does discipline us for our sins (cf. Heb.12:1ff.), and so He did punish David for the egregious double sin of adultery and murder; the child born of adultery died, and that was just the beginning of David's discipline, but the child was saved (by virtue of dying before being able to decide; 1Sam.12:23).

Hope you find this helpful.  Again, instead of getting pulled into the weeds, it's often better in such cases to try and leave the person with the most important point:  salvation comes by grace through faith in the Person and the perfect work of Christ on the cross in dying for all of our sins. 

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Bob again,

Many thanks for your informative response to my email. I always like asking you questions because you answer them, then send me to somewhere on your website that I may not have come across where other people are asking you interesting questions, and I learn even more. Yes the Catholics don't seem to understand that only Jesus can take our sins away and no need for purgatory, and yet I re-call at mass the priest holds up the Eucharist and says "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" they are not listening to their own words.

Thanks again Bob, in Jesus our Lord

Response #15:

You're most welcome!

Best wishes (and prayers) for all your efforts on behalf of God's truth.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Dear Bob,

Many thanks for your last informative email, I was just making sure that there were no other people around before Genesis. I do believe in the Gap you do a good job of explaining it too.

Also I searched around your extensive writings on the website for information as to why Catholics believe in purgatory, some one wrote this to me when I said it does not exist and Jesus has paid for all sin...to my mind once we die we sleep until God awakens us to judgement. here is what they said.

"Jesus spoke of purgatory. He said "you will be put in prison until you have PAID THE LAST PENNY.." Ever read Matthew 18?

He also said, there is one unforgivable sin which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. "You will not be forgiven in this world, NOR the world to come.."

Ok, then. We are not "forgiven" at the moment of death. We either die in a state of grace or we don't. It's either heaven of hell. But, Jesus said you wont be forgiven in the world to come means there IS some kind of "forgiving" that can be done, hence, atoning for our sins. This has all been given from Christ. Remember, just because the word "purgatory" isn't written, that doesn't mean it isn't "valid". Read 1Cor 3:12-15 and read what Paul says.

Jesus said in John 16:12--15, there are many more things I have to yell you but WILL NOT at this time.. The Holy Spirit will guide you in all TRUTH.." This is an example. It comes THROUGH "The Church".. This is an example of a TEACHING that Christ will LATER give. Another example is the Immaculate Conception. If The Church GIVES IT, you don't dispute it! Why??!!! Because it first comes from JESUS CHRIST! The Church merely passes it on from God. to His apostles, the first Bishops. Things don't "have" to be written to placate you. The NT is ALREADY "OF" the very Church you attack! Jesus said He would SPEAK thru His Church and tell of things LATER. I mean, that's written black and white in Jn 16:12-15. Also, what does Paul say in 1Cor 11:2 ?

So if you have any articles on this matter of purgatory i would be grateful, I myself was a catholic as a child, but not anymore.

Best wishes in your wonderful works

Response #16:

Good to hear from you, my friend, and thanks for all your good words. 

As to your questions, first, I'm not sure what you correspondent means by "ever read Matthew 18?" – certainly, we have read it, and it doesn't have anything germane to say about this issue, namely, the false doctrine of a purgatory.  As to Matthew 5:26 and "not get out of prison until paying the very last farthing", however (perhaps that's the passage he/she actually had in mind), here is something I have written and posted about this (the link here is to my main treatment of the non-existent "purgatory"): 

On, the "uttermost farthing" of Matthew 5:26, I know that Roman Catholics use the passage to suggest that there is a Purgatory, but that is not the case (please see the link: "Is there a purgatory according to the Bible?"). The person in question in the parable is thrown into prison because he has nothing, will have no way to get anything in prison, and so will never get out – that is the situation in the lake of fire. That is why he needs to "reconcile" before being thrown in, as our Lord says, i.e., come to the Lord while you are still alive; afterwards there is no way to be saved.

I would add that one almost has to be R.C. to ever think that this passage, Matthew 5:26, could mean anything like "purgatory".  Let us all please remember and acknowledge that 1) Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world –  that is the most amazing thing in the world and bigger than the world and all of human history and all of human experience put together in its smallest part!  So how would the deceased be required to pay for something already paid for in full by our Savior –  as if what He did on the cross were not good enough?  And 2) only Jesus Christ could die for a sin so as to have it forgiven.  No human being, no matter how good, is spotless and blameless, and so only a perfect Lamb without spot or blemish could possibly be acceptable to the Father for being judged so as to forgive sin: even if we could die for a sin (we can't), we would not be acceptable to the Father.

 R.C. theology is one of works entirely, not one of grace –  and even when they say "grace" they mean "something I worked for", so it makes perfect sense for them to see sin and forgiveness through a transactional prism wherein we do something and are "forgiven" because of what we do (such as "good works" as they define them here on earth or suffering in "purgatory" later).  But where is the cross in that?  The cross has been eliminated in favor of human works.

There is no such thing, moreover, as a 'state of grace".  Grace is God's good favor –  that is what the word means in Greek and Hebrew both.  It is not some "magic amulet" or "magical concept" or "pixie dust", but that is how it is used by the R.C.s (and by far too many Protestants as well, I am afraid).  We believers are recipients of God's favor/grace because we have been bought out of sin by His one and only beloved Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and we are now seen by the Father as those who belong to Him.  This is totally a matter of God working for us and of us merely accepting the Gift He has given –  that is true grace:

(8) For you have been saved by [God's] grace through faith [in Christ]; and this did not come from you – it is God's gift.  (9) Nor did it come from what you have done, lest anyone should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

These verses couldn't make it clearer –  but the R.C.s only go to the Bible to pick and choose parts of it they think support their positions (classic cult behavior).

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (see the link) is the sin of rejecting the Spirit's witness to Christ –  that is, it is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ, the sin of disbelief.  Of course that cannot be forgiven because we have to accept Jesus Christ and His work for us on the cross in order to be saved.  That is why it says in Mark's gospel, Mk.3:30, "He said this [i.e., 'guilty of eternal sin' because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit”" –  whereas Jesus was doing miracles through the Holy Spirit to bring those who observed them to salvation (but they rejected the proof of the gospel and maligned the Spirit who was providing it).  So "no forgiveness in the world to come" means precisely what it says: unbelievers are not forgiven because they have chosen to reject the gospel, the Spirit's testimony about Christ, and there is no forgiveness for those who refuse to accept it, who refuse to accept the Gift of Jesus Christ.

As to "the Church merely passes it on from God", this paragraph is the most ridiculous drivel.  The idea that the R.C. church has some source of "special revelation" is absurd.  All one has to do is to make a cursory and preliminary investigation to see that their officials have been all over the map historically on virtually every point of doctrine taking both sides often of every important doctrine from time to time (Abelard wrote a famous book about that, Sic et Non ["Yes and No"]).  The Council of Trent "made" the Apocrypha part of the canon –  what?  It was not the Word of God before a 15th century council but it was afterwards?  It can't be both –  they had to be wrong before or after.  Correct answer: after.  The only thing "special" about the supposed revelation of the R.C. church is that their views have been going from bad to worse over time as they have been constantly changing –  and the only thing they have in common is their utility to maintain the power of the hierarchy by oppressing those foolish enough to continue with them through various and sundry lies (I see that the pope is now changing the Lord's prayer to make it more timely!).  The fact of constantly changing "doctrine" is something which tells you all you really need to know . . . in regard to claim that their views are divinely given.  The Bible is inspired.  The R.C. church's leaders are not.  In fact, by claiming that their leaders know better than the Bible, they dishonor scripture –  obviously.  That is something all cults and cult leaders have in common.  It would be a miracle if any of them are even saved.

One last thing.  There is no "soul sleep" as it is often termed.  Only those on this earth in our first bodies ever sleep.  Once we leave this earth, we are awake for all eternity (regardless of where we have chosen to spend it).  Our Lord's description of Lazarus, Abraham and the rich man in the gospel of Luke makes it clear that such was the case even before believers were transferred to the third heaven at Jesus' ascension (Lk.16:19ff.); and as to the status today, the appearance of the as yet not resurrected believers in Revelation makes that point clear also (Rev.6:9-11; Rev.7:9-17); after death, we will be exulting in the presence of Christ, blessedly!  Here are a few links which discuss the matter in greater detail:

The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep" I

The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep" II

Sleep as a Euphemism for Death:  Debunking 'soul sleep'

'Soul Sleep' versus our true Heavenly State

Biblical Anthropology II: 'Soul sleep', & dichotomy vs. trichotomy

Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State

Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body

More on the interim body

More on 'soul sleep'

Do feel free to write me back about any of the above.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Happy Resurrection Sunday my dear brother in the Lord!

I think of you fondly and often, and remember you in my prayers.

Quick clarification needed. Are the interim bodies, which all believers have received since Adam, and do receive up until Christ's 2nd Advent, the state in which we will remain in through the Millennium? Or do our eternal glorified bodies come at that time of His Second Coming, with Millennial believers entering the interim state until the final resurrection echelon, and then their eternal bodies? Or do Millenium believers enter right into the glorified state when they die with no interim state?

When you have a couple moments, I appreciate your reply.

In Him,

Response #17:

Good to hear from you – and thanks so much for your prayers, my friend!

As to your question, the Church, among whose members we belong, is resurrected at Christ's second advent return, and we shall share in His Millennial rule in resurrection.  The believers of the Millennium, those saved after Christ's return and after the resurrection of the Church, are not resurrected until the end of history (see the link).  From what scripture says about that blessed time, where Christ personally rules with the curse removed from the earth, there doesn't seem to be any death except in cases of those who have given themselves over to sin and lawlessness (that is the meaning of Isaiah 65:20).  Could a believer be murdered or meet with an accident during that time?  It is possible –  although given the fact that there will be no demons at large and that both the resurrected Church and elect angels will be making the administration of Christ's kingdom their full time job it is also equally possible that all such things will be prevented in the case of the righteous.  But what then if so?  God the Father is perfectly capable of allowing such a person to dwell on earth somewhere in an interim body or in heaven with Him until the last phrase of the resurrection (it won't be unpleasant in either case); and our God is a God capable of bringing the dead back to life with ease.  Consider, for example, our Lord bringing Lazarus back to (physical) life.  That miracle was part of the prophecy of the Messiah and our Lord raised the dead on a number of occasions during the first advent –  how much more so after the second (cf. Matt.11:5; Lk.7:22)?

We will have to wait and see on all this, but I do want to assure you that we and all our brothers and sisters in the Church today will indeed rise eternal when Christ returns, whether we have been in heaven awaiting that return or are still down here eagerly awaiting the Tribulation's end when that blessed hope is fulfilled.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Actually I'm believing in soul sleep, it does make more sense. But I think it's not much important.

Response #18:

Paul says he desires "to depart and be with the Lord" (Phil.1:23). It's clear he doesn't anticipate being asleep. Soul sleep is actually a very dangerous false doctrine because it robs Christians of the idea of imminency of being with the Lord and being reunited with loved ones after death – which is the truth. There are other serious problems with it too: as always, a rotten beam in the structure weakens the whole; only sound timber can produce a stable edifice (and the same is so with the truth in your heart). Here are a few links:

Soul sleep?

Eternal realities (see Q/A #3)

Biblical Anthropology III: Soul versus Spirit, "Soul Sleep", and the Interim Body

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hello Professor,

Professor, you prayers for our friends are really appreciated. I have to say it has been one of the most encouraging relationships with fellow believes that I have experienced. Such relationships are always few, but they really are precious.

I've got two questions on textual matters.

2 Corinthians 5:3 (NASB):
3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked.

What is the reason for the relatively weak textual support of the reading ἐκδυσαμενοι? It seems that all the best manuscripts have ἐνδυσαμενοι?

2. Metzger gives attention and to the textual issue at Mark 1:41 and suggests that for reasons associated with Christian apologetic, the participle saying that Jesus got angry has been omitted (“The Text of the New Testament”, pp. 292-294). Have you every looked into this?

In the grace of our Lord,

Response #19:

You're most welcome of course.  I do rejoice in your good news too, and am continuing to pray for your friends as well of course also for your living situation and job circumstances.

As to your questions:

1) Textual criticism is, as I have often noted, more of an art than a science.  All factors have to be taken into account.  One thing I will say is that while in Classics it is often the case that scholars have made textual recommendations (and changes, in the case of editors) based on no external support but merely on the meaning and their expertise in Greek (and have in many cases been proven correct by later evidence that has emerged), there is so much evidence in the case of the New Testament that it is inadvisable to question the text if there is no external support whatsoever.  But just because, e.g., Sinaiticus and some other mss. and papyri are usually right (because of quality and also relative closeness in time to the original), it doesn't mean that they are always right.  Here is the latest thing I have written about 2nd Corinthians 5:3 (just in case you missed it; link in "The Resurrection"): 

Here is how I translate the first passage:

For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the heavens (i.e., the resurrection body). For indeed we do groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes from heaven. And [even] if we do put off this present one, at any rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e., "body-less"; for we will enjoy an interim body in the meantime: cf. Lk.16:19-31; Rev.7:9-10; Rev.7:9-17).
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3

The key part for these purposes is the emphasized portion. Most versions reverse what is there in the Greek. E.g., NASB: "because when we are clothed . . . ". But the Greek does not say "when we are clothed"; rather it says "when we are un-clothed we will not be found naked". 

The justification for the versions printing what they print is, admittedly, a good deal of textual evidence for the reading I have rejected.  Based on the forms of the Greek words, it is easy to see how the word prefixed with en- crept into the text and replaced the correct form prefixed with ek- (which does occur in some early witnesses): the immediately preceding form of the compound word for "putting on" and "putting off" in context has en-.  Secondly and of equal importance is the fact that it is very easy to misunderstand the Greek here if Paul's argument is not being followed closely (and this is not the first instance in the history of copying where the sense, misunderstood, has lead to both conscious and unconscious corrections to actual incorrect texts).  Moreover, in the final pair of these forms in verse four where we have both ek- and en-, we wouldn't have the ek- form there unless it had already occurred (because Paul uses it and the en- form in verse four to parallel the idea he has just introduced).  But if we read and understand the correct text, we find a perfect parallelism which makes sense (as opposed to an unbalanced comparison which seemingly would have no point).  Finally, the word found twice (correctly) with en- is actually a double compound: ependusasthai, whereas the incorrect reading does not have the prior ep- (a strong piece of evidence that that single compound endusamenoi is incorrect and that ekdusamenoi is the correct reading).  

Here is what is what Metzger's A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament has to say in defense of printing ek- instead of en- : 

It is difficult to decide between endusamenoi and ekdusamenoi. On the one hand, on the basis of external attestation, the former reading is to be preferred. On the other hand, internal considerations, in the opinion of the majority of the Committee, decisively favor the latter reading, for with endusamenoi the apostle's reasoning is banal and even tautologous, whereas with ekdusamenoi it is characteristically vivid and paradoxical . . .

In other words, what Paul is really saying would be "paradoxical" if the more well-supported reading were accepted as the correct one. So it is understandable that the major versions have gone with the more conventional approach; however, the 26th edition of the Nestle-Aland Greek text printed ekdusamenoi at 2nd Corinthians 5:3. 

With the text understood correctly, this verse teaches the existence of the interim body because in it Paul assures us that even if we lose this present body we will "not be naked" before the Lord – which can only be true if our spirits have been given some sort of interim "tent" once we have put aside this "tent" (cf. 2Pet.1:13). Revelation 7:9-10 actually shows us believers in this interim state. There we see in heaven a "a huge multitude" of human beings "clothed in white robes". As this is after their death (they are in heaven after all) and before the resurrection (which does not occur until the return of Christ in chapters 19-20), it is clear that this must be a case of believers in the interim state (see also Rev.6:9-11 where the entrance of the martyrs into this state is described). 

The above is a little dense admittedly, so as to your specific question, I suppose I would say that this (reading/writing en instead of ek) was a very easy mistake to make –  one letter (and kappa and nu are not that different in the orthography of the time) especially if a person is a little drowsy or for whatever reason not following Paul's argument precisely (something which, after all, happens all the time even in English or maybe especially in English) –  and especially under the influence of the letters epen- just a few words earlier.

2) This is another instance of where the Metzger commentary has reversed itself.  In my version (1st ed.) the reading splangnistheis is strongly defended and the mistake involved in writing orgistheis properly explained.  It seems repetitive to say, but for most "scholars", anything that demeans the sanctity of scripture and the honor of our Lord seems to be preferred, regardless of actual evidence.

 FYI: Here's what I say about this in "Mark Q/A": 

I have a hard time understanding why the 2014 NIV has switched from the 1984NIV "Jesus was filled with compassion" – that is what all the other major versions have, and what the Greek verb splangnizo always means in the passive voice. The only thing I can surmise is that the translator wanted to do something different (to justify the new secret version), and possibly was worried that someone might be upset at the idea that Jesus "became compassionate" on seeing this man since of course He is love and compassion. But either way it would be silliness. On the other question, I agree with you. The mere fact that our Lord was willing to touch a leper (and this happened on a number of occasions recorded for us) showed that He was Lord of the Law in every respect and in the process of fulfilling its promises of healing when the Messiah came.

Your friend in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior, 

Bob L.

Question #20:

Hi Bob,

My question: When was the Christ (spirit), the only begotten son 1st seen by the created 'things' of God? I am not questioning incarnate or carnate, I am questioning the first appearance to the created 'things' of the will of God the Father.

1) in heaven with the angels or

2) as Jesus (Yeshua) the Christ born of a virgin as a human being made of flesh and blood?

I believe I understand that the Christ Spirit was with the Father before the world, was, but when did the created things of the will of the Father 1st see the Christ Spirit, the only-begotten Son of the Father? I am attempting to 'rid' my mind of unnecessary doctrine. I need chapter and verse scripture. I hope I am framing this question, correctly?

Note: ALL my life I thought Christ the Lord was seen in heaven first, but now I have a few questions and finding the answer to this is the first place, I need to start. Depending on your answer, I may need additional questions answered. I hope that is ok?

Response #20:

Good to hear from you, my friend.

On your question, Jesus Christ is God (as the Father and the Spirit are God); God is "spirit"; human beings have a "human spirit" – and the difference is profound. After all, God is/was/always will be "spirit" outside of space and time. Human spirits (as with angelic and animal ones) are creations and only exist inside of time and space. So as I have often pointed out in discussions about the nature of angels, this "spirit" is not something which is "immaterial" vs. something "material" in the way medieval philosophers and theologians often set up that dichotomy. While neither "material" nor "immaterial" fit the bill in describing it, we can say that the human spirit is real, that it is confined to one place at a time (just as something material would be), and that it could not exist outside of the confines of the time/space universe that God has provided for the working out of His plan.

Human spirits do not exist before birth. Nor are they somehow generated by human procreation (the false view known as "Traducianism"). Rather, they are created within us by God at the point of our birth.

Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him.
Zechariah 12:1 NKJV

Christ is a genuine human being in every way. He did not receive a sin nature, being virgin-conceived (the sin nature passes down through the male line), but He did receive a human spirit at the point of His incarnation, that is, His physical birth. That is the first time anyone, men or angels, saw Him as He now is, a true human being (as well as being undiminished God).

Christ did appear in human form before His incarnation as THE Angel of the Lord (what is called in theology a Christophany; see the link), but not until the point of physical birth was a human spirit created within His human body – just as in the case of all other human beings.

Hope that clears this up – but do feel free to write me back.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

You are always awesome, Bob! Thanks for the Link: Christophany

Response to: (Rather, they are created within us by God at the point of our birth.) not conception?

poor example: (like 1st comes the power (of conception), then the Holy Spirit (at birth))?

And secondly, Did Christ with a 'human' spirit remember things before or past like heaven, being the angel of the Lord, etc., prior to becoming human of flesh and blood? OR was all the past revealed to Him, by His mother, God the Father, Holy Spirit, angels that ministered unto Him, a bright child growing in favor with God and men? I know He descended, but did Christ remember? Ephesians 4:10

In other words (I'm a little thickheaded), did Jesus (after birth) remember or 'know things' before becoming human or was He just like us - learning life as we come, along? (like, glorify me so I can glorify you).

Was everything by faith and works, alone?

How Jesus in flesh grew up to accept that He was God (in Holy Spirit), this is the question?

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
John 17:5

Response #21:

On the human spirit, Christ's is exactly like ours, for He is human, exactly as we are (only without sin – and now resurrected and glorified).  The unique thing in this respect about our Lord is that He alone has two natures, one divine –  He is God –  and one human.  He did not have a human nature before His physical, human birth.  At that point a human spirit was created in His human body just as is the case with all of us.  So just as with every other human birth, there was no human spirit before the point of physical birth because that is the point when God creates it individually in each case, just as He did with Adam when He breathed into his fully formed body "the breath of life" (Gen.2:7).  Just as we only have eternal life at the point of being "born again", with born being the operative word, so we do not exist spiritually in the first place until we are born the first time – for that is when we receive the spirit and the corresponding image of God.

Most of the issues people have on this and related subjects are to be explained by the fact that Christ has two natures, and further by the fact that while at present there is no division between these two natures, during the first advent, in order to be an acceptable sacrifice and "fulfill all righteousness", Jesus had to operate in His humanity under special rules wherein His deity could not give His humanity unlimited help –  so that Christ would have to walk through this world in the way that we all have to do.  Of course there are differences, the three most profound being that He never sinned, that He was the target of more satanic opposition than anyone before or since to an at present unknowable degree –  and that His ultimate goal was to atone for the sins of the entire world (a matter so sublime it is difficult to comprehend the smallest part of its significance; see the link: "the Blood of Christ").  This is "the humiliation of Christ" in theology (aka kenosis; see the link), and it is explained by Paul in Philippians: 

Since He already existed in the very form of God, equality with God was [certainly] not something He thought He had to grasp for. (7) Yet in spite of this [co-equal divinity He already possessed], He deprived Himself of His status and took on the form of a slave, [and was] born in the likeness of men. (8) He humbled Himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even [His] death on [the] cross [for us all].
Philippians 2:6-8

In terms of the specific question you are asking, Jesus had to "learn" everything He knew in a similar way that we have to learn what we learn.  That is not saying that He didn't have any special revelation; it is saying that He had to learn the Bible and learn from the Spirit as we all have to do –  and of course He did so in a perfect way with perfect self-discipline from His very first days (Lk.2:40; cf. Is.50:4).

Here are some links on all this where you will find the details:

The Early Life of Jesus Christ

The Hypostatic Union and Kenosis

The Creation of Adam and the Human Spirit

Biblical Anthropology V

Kenosis in Philippians

Christology Questions IV

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I am studying the subject "Christology" material again, as I think it vitally important to understand. I have a question on one of the references in the study and that is Colossians 1:15. What does the word "Image" in this text mean? Strong's Concordance is not much help.

Thanks again for your great help.

Blessings to you from The One who is coming soon.

Your friend,

Response #22:

The word is eikon from which we get "icon"; here is how I translate the verse:

He is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
Colossians 1:15

Hebrews 1:3 is similar:

(1) God, from antiquity having communicated to our fathers in the prophets at many times and in many ways, (2) has in these last days communicated to us in a Son, [the One] whom He has appointed heir of all things, [the One] through whom He created the universe. (3) He is the shining forth of [the Father's] glory, the precise image of His essence, the One who sustains the universe by His mighty Word. When He had accomplished the cleansing of [our] sins, He took His seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Hebrews 1:1-3

What should be noted immediately: 1) this "being the exact image of the invisible God" and "the precise image" (Greek character from which we get the English word) is meant to extol Christ, not to denigrate Him in any way; 2) to have said anything else in either passage might give the impression that Christ "IS" the Father – but while the Father is God and Christ is God and the Spirit is God, Christ is not the Father or the Spirit, the Father is not Christ or the Spirit, and the Spirit is not Christ or the Father: the Trinity consists of three separate and distinct persons, even though they share one unique divine essence. So any time scripture does speak about the Trinity or matters related thereto, very careful language is used to avoid encouraging any one of a dozen or so mis-impressions and heresies related to that critical doctrine.

Christ, after all, is absolutely unique. This universe, created by Him in the power of the Spirit according to the direction of the Father, is infinitesimally small compared to God. Christ taking on of true humanity in addition to His deity was thus an amazing sacrifice in and of itself, for He wed Himself in so doing to this tiny creation forevermore – and pledged Himself to die for the sins of the world, dying for the least of which was more terrible than all human suffering from the beginning to the end of time combined.

Since Christ is both God and man, how He is to be described – so that human beings can understand (to a degree) and not mistake the truth – must be very precise. So in the two passages above, a distinction has to be made between Christ and the Father (because they are distinct persons) but also between Christ in His humanity since neither the Father nor the Spirit have taken on humanity as Christ has. "Exact image" and "precise image" both do just that, namely, they both express the wonder and uniqueness of Christ without diminishing His deity while at the same time distinguishing His person from that of the Father.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.


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