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Biblical Anthropology IX

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Question #1:

Dr. Luginbill,

I highly respect your work, but after having read your writings pertaining to creationism (God breathing life into babies at birth), I was constrained to write a brief response, addressing some of the key points you used to support the premise for this teaching, and why I believe that scripture actually supports another viewpoint. After a bit of study, I’m convinced that certain things the Word of God makes clear were not taken into account, and thus may be the reason why I believe your suppositions may have missed key points. I am hopeful that you would review and consider, of which I would welcome any response you may deem worthy. I’m definitely not claiming absolute knowledge, but I do take hold onto that which resonates after seeking Him, reflecting and pondering whatever He would reveal. May God, who is ever faithful, continue to open the eyes of our understanding as we seek to serve Him.

Zechariah. 8:16

God’s fingerprints in nature…

It can be deduced, without controversy, that at least two phenomenon occurred simultaneously when God’s breath(s) was breathed into the inanimate, earthen clay form of Adam’s body:

Adam’s soul (nephesh) was formed when God’s impartation from His breath(s) of life (neshama) produced Adam’s human spirit (ruach). This was essentially who he was as an individual. Even though his spirit was derived from God’s spirit, it became his singularity, his conscious identity, his very self [reflective] essence as a living being apart from God.
Inanimate, inert clay matter came to life. Bios life became the viable reality of the inanimate, clay formed body, transforming mere earth into a living corporeal entity. It was inextricably linked with Adam’s soul from the start since each was purposed to have an innate connection/interplay with the other.

Genesis 2:7 clearly indicates that there was no life at all in the formed clay body until God breathed into it. It was only by God’s breath that it became a life form. Up to that point, it was only modeled earthen clay, consisting of inert, inanimate matter. By this established premise, bios life and spirit life were both essentially created together, at the same moment, in order to make man a living creature.

In this plausible scenario, it can be safely ascertained that the two essential parts of Adam, his immaterial and material, came to life simultaneously by God’s one breath, not in a subsequent, two step fashion. The body may have been formed/shaped prior to God breathing life, but its bios life, as well as the life of the soul, were simultaneous.

Thus to assert that the two part pattern of Adam’s creation in Genesis 2:7 was duplicated in like manner where God literally breathes life into the nostrils of each baby at birth, is to insert an extraneous understanding of the passage, which is simplistic in its interpretation, rather than a simple, insightful summation that is biblically/theologically sound.

The creationist’s theory that God breathes life at the point of birth is actually very similar to the theory of pre-created souls, which is unbiblical. In my opinion, it seems to be more akin to an old talmudist wive’s tale that would traditionally be cultivated from the shtetl. There’s obviously an attempt being made to draw a parallel (of pattern) between Adam’s creation and a baby’s moment of birth. Yet, if one were to give it any real thought, they would understand that it seems to miss some significant insights…

1) the linkage between the soul life and the corporeal body life was originally simultaneous when Adam was created.

2) the bios life within the womb, from conception on, is always alive, never inanimate or inert.

These two points are vital to understand….

If anyone insists that each human life begins only when the baby breathes when born, primarily because Adam’s life began when God breathed into him, then there’s definitely a major misunderstanding pertaining to the nature of the unborn’s respiration. One doesn’t have to be a medical professional to see this…

John Davis wrote in his book Abortion and the Christian:

“While breathing in the usual sense does not begin until birth, the process of respiration in the more technical biological sense of the transfer of oxygen from the environment of the living organism occurs from the time of conception…it is the mode but not the fact of this oxygen transfer which changes at birth.”

As Harold O. J. Brown put it in his book Death Before Birth:

“If God took inanimate matter and made a man from it, as Genesis 2:7 seems to be saying, then obviously what he created was not a human being until it was given life. But the fetus is not “inanimate matter.” It is already alive. And it is already human….to apply Genesis 2:7 to human beings who were carried for nine months in a mother’s womb before birth is clearly ridiculous. This argument is seldom used by people who take Scripture seriously.”

There was always an immediate linked relationship of life between the soul and the body. The immediate connection that occurred simultaneously in Adam’s creation is the same essential pattern and phenomena that has always occurred in procreation.

The verses often used by creationists as proof texts, which conveyed that all life begins with Gods breath, is easily explained by the fact that truth can be expressed in idioms. The purpose of the writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, used such expressions to preserve the absolute truth that all life begins with God. Analogies referenced back to Adam, concerning man, served this very purpose. The expressions that the people of that time used were references that pertained to Adam’s literal means of creation, idioms that held a deep significance in relating all of mankind’s origins to their first parent.

For example, in the book of Job, Elihu says:

“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Refute me if you can; Array yourselves before me, take your stand. Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay,” (Job 33:4-6).

Elihu was not literally/personally formed out of clay. The point he was making had to do with the nature of man, not the process by which each individual human life actually, literally comes into existence. In fact, the pairing of “the breath of the Almighty gives me life” with “I too have been formed out of clay” implies that the breathing of life into man was a one time act in Adam that sufficed for all mankind. Once God breathed life into Adam, He never needed to breathe life into another person again. Human life had begun. It continued from that point forward, ever remaining the breath of life from God in man.

As such, no man but Adam was directly created from the inert dust of the ground or breathed into directly. Yet, ever since, the bodies of all men will return to the dust from whence it (originally) came (via Adam). Likewise, the origin of all life began by God’s breath (again, via Adam).

In other words, God no more directly breaths life into a baby at birth than He forms every person’s body directly from the dust of the earth. The creation of Adam was historically unique, never again to be duplicated.

The correct Hebrew is that God breathed breaths (plural) into Adam, and the very life resulting from that breath has included and been inextricably linked to bios life, as it was to the soul, since the beginning, which is innately able to reproduce its own kind, in sum total, through procreation.

Just as the spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:21) of other creatures, as well as their genetics, is transmitted to their offspring through procreation, so is the immaterial and the material aspects of man. Even though, in God’s eyes, the value of the life of an animal is on a lower plane than that of a man, the fact it’s spirit is transmissible from parent to offspring should reveal evidence that the process is viable. It’s simply God’s chosen way in His creation of having life generate new life, each after their own kind, each within their own species. It may ultimately be a mystery as to how it actually occurs, but then again, most of what God does remains enigmatic in nature. Reason exercised in rightly dividing God’s Word accurately that’s submitted to Him by faith, simply believes in the evidence He reveals. It is our way of life.

The way man was originally made in the beginning, and thereafter the process of the transmission of life from parent to offspring, are two separate issues that are related in derivative essence, yet are not literally direct in correlation of process.

The transmission of life, through procreation, in no way diminishes the imprint of God as the Creator of man and originator of all that has been created. The only thing that in any way diminished man’s spiritual/physical state and thus, their relationship with God, was the fall.

Even though the body of corruption may be an influential factor for the human spirit to sin, the inception of the human spirit, nevertheless, always occurs the same moment the life of the body began, the life of the two ever meant to be linked together from the start onto eternity. Adam’s earthen, clay body, formed prior to being given God’s breath of life, does not override the principle behind that reality. God’s purpose in creating Adam in the way that He did emphasizes, in clear terms, what we are made of and where we came from, but it doesn’t convey that bios life precedes the life of the soul. It’s simply not what’s plainly revealed from scripture.

Conception is the beginning of bios life. This, in of itself, is an amazing manifestation of God’s creation. And yet, all evidence points to and reveals, in a consistent manner, that the human spirit begins simultaneously with it. It’s not in any way a lack of faith to believe this, but rather the opposite: to believe what God simply reveals.

Response #1:

When you write, "Conception is the beginning of bios life" and state that spiritual life begins simultaneously, this is an opinion not backed up by scripture. None of the scriptures you provide (very little scripture in this piece, I might add), suggests anything like this – because it is not true. What you have written here is theological speculation rather than biblical exegesis. You have a right to your opinion, but I don't find anything here the least bit convincing. You should also recognize that by adopting the materialistic view of the nature of man, you have thrown in your lot with evil – all strains of evil are materialistic and anti-spiritual by design. Denying the spiritual is the basis of most of the devil's lies designed to mislead and enslave humanity. We all hate abortion, but positions such as yours are usually directed towards engaging that issue politically – exactly what the devil wants.

A few observations:

1) You wrote: "Adam’s soul (nephesh) was formed when God’s impartation from His breath(s) of life (neshama) produced Adam’s human spirit (ruach)." It is not entirely clear to me what you mean by this; but it is clear that you misunderstand what took place. God made Adam's body; then God breathed into it the human spirit; the "breath of life" is a synonym for the human spirit (compare the "breath of the spirit of life" where the two are combined in Gen.7:22; cf. Gen.6:17; Job 12:10; 15:30; 27:3; 32:8; 33:4; 34:14; Ps.104:29; Is.42:5; Ezek.37:5-10; Acts 17:25; Rev.11:11). The word "soul" is a very unfortunate one to use here (or anywhere in scripture) since it conjures up Roman Catholic theology based upon secular philosophy and is not at all biblical. We are spirit and body; "soul", nephesh, psyche, are the words the Bible uses to describe us as persons (translate "self" often, or "person") or to describe the inner workings of our heart (translate "heart" often or "mind"). The "soul" is not therefore a "thing" but a concept; the spirit is who we are, housed in a body, and that spirit is created directly by God.

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

2) You wrote: "bios life and spirit life were both essentially created together, at the same moment". This is demonstrably NOT true. Part of the whole point behind God's separating out the creation of Adam, body first, spirit afterwards, was to demonstrate that the material without the spiritual is nothing: Adam did not become alive until the Lord placed the spirit into him. The words for spirit in both Greek and Hebrew mean, among other things, "breath" and "wind". This part of us cannot be seen like the wind, but, just like the wind, it is very real. Your assumption that Adam's body was inert is not backed up by scripture. A body may be physically viable – Adam's must have been, in the same way a fetus is – but it is not spiritually alive until God places the spirit within it. That happens at birth, following the pattern of Adam in all important respects: a viable body receives the breath of life from God, the human spirit, and we become living persons. Life and breath are simultaneous – at birth.

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

Thus says the Lord God to these bones, "Behold, I am about to put a spirit into you so that you may come to life. And I shall place sinews on you, lay flesh upon you, and put skin over you. And I shall put a spirit into you so that you may come to life and know that I am the Lord.
Ezekiel 37:5-6

The God who created the world and everything in it, this is He who as Lord of heaven and earth does not dwell in temples made by human hands nor is He tended to by the hands of men – as if He were in need of anything – He it is who gives life and breath and everything else to all [of us].
Acts 17:24-25

3) You wrote: "the nature of the unborn’s respiration": This is neither here nor there. Physical breath is not the issue; the breath of God is the issue. He is free to breath it into a person whenever He desires to do so . . . or not. He did that for Adam after his body was prepared – deliberately after. He does that for those born into the world when they are born into the world: at birth. Normal, post-natal physical breathing does begin coincident with the imparting of the human spirit. But that is something God has arranged for our benefit, in order to help us see that it is His giving of life which is important, not our biological processes.

If [God] should so purpose in His heart, and gather His spirit and breath to Himself, then all flesh would expire together, and Man would return to the dust.
Job 34:14

4) You wrote: "The verses often used by creationists as proof texts, which conveyed that all life begins with Gods breath, is easily explained by the fact that truth can be expressed in idioms." With this statement, you give yourself carte blanche to ignore the truth of all scriptures with which you disagree. Why not rather just proclaim your opinions without reference to the Bible at all? That would simplify your task and have the advantage of consistency. That is what the Roman Catholic church does as well as most cults. Putting up a straw man passage (Job 33:4-6) as an example of what you claim does not change the fact that you are essentially admitting here that you prefer your own rationalization wedded to contemporary scientific description rather than seeking to find out what scripture actually teaches. Elihu may not have been formed from clay literally but close enough: his body was material and formed in a material way, and that is what he means as is obvious to all; it is not permissible by any canon of interpretation – or any use of common sense – to proceed from that to suggest that when he says "the breath of the Almighty gave me life" what he means is that the biological process of my parents having intercourse resulting in me becoming alive in the womb – except in the fevered imagination of those who are so het up to score political points that they gladly abandon the obvious meaning of scripture.

5) You wrote: "The correct Hebrew is that God breathed breaths (plural) into Adam, and the very life resulting from that breath has included and been inextricably linked to bios life, as it was to the soul, since the beginning, which is innately able to reproduce its own kind, in sum total, through procreation." I hope that you can see by now that this conclusion of yours is a) confusing, b) not directly supported by any scripture, and c) the actual basis for your analysis: you started with your preferred conclusion and then used rationalization ("theology") to prove it, with only a nod to what the Bible actually says.

6) You wrote: "Just as the spirit (Ecclesiastes 3:21) of other creatures, as well as their genetics, is transmitted to their offspring through procreation . . .": That is NOT what Ecclesiastes says; that is entirely an assumption on your part, refuted by the passage you quote itself wherein animals are said to have spirits. Animals are precisely similar to human beings in being biological and spiritual; what they lack is the image of God (cf. Eccl.3:19: "they [men and animals both] all have one [and the same] spirit/breath"). The image of God is what makes us special. But if we are really only biological entities, with no direct spiritual input from God, we are worse off than the animals who do have spirits given by God as scripture affirms.

Here's a question for you: if we don't receive the human spirit directly from God but only indirectly, somehow bound up in our biology, how does this bio-generated spirit ever "get free" of the procreated flesh? If it can separate at death, then how was it ever so intertwined in the first place?

Here's another: if the spirit is generated through natural procreation, how then is it a spirit, and how is it not on some level therefore also material and part of this creation rather then belonging to the spiritual realm?

There are plenty of other inconsistencies in your construct. Trying to fix them or rationalize them would be a waste of time. Better to stick with what scripture says: we have a spirit, created directly by God; that is what makes us alive.

You wrote: ". . . to believe what God simply reveals." God reveals things to us in His Word. When theologians rely instead on their reason and on their analysis of the material world – out of questionable motives – no good ever comes of it. Nothing I read here and nothing I see in the natural process of birth and procreation gives me the slightest qualms about what scripture says on the subject. Quite the opposite. But even if everything my eyes and ears told me seemed to contradict the scripture, I would still believe the scripture.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
John 1:13 KJV

There is a good deal about all of this at Ichthys.  Here are some of main links which will lead to others:

BB 3A:  Biblical Anthropology

Biblical Anthropology I

Biblical Anthropology II

Biblical Anthropology III

Biblical Anthropology IV

Biblical Anthropology V

Biblical Anthropology VI

Biblical Anthropology VII

Biblical Anthropology VIII

Life begins at birth

And here is another link not written by me, approaching things from a slightly different but helpful angle:  "The Spirit of Life:  God's Gift to Us".

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Shalom Bob,

THANK YOU for your kind and prompt response to my previous question.

Can you please point me to a scripture(s) or biblical lexicon that actually defines a “baby” as you suggest in the highlighted section of your statement below? (emphasis added)

…There is a definite distance here, the same distance that is naturally and inevitably present with all the "yet to be born", precisely because there can be no direct interaction in utero. This is not an accident of divine design, in my view, but a reinforcement of precisely what I have been arguing here, namely, that the unborn are prospective persons (and extremely important as such, worthy of being highly valued and protected), but they do not have independent, spiritual life as true living persons until God gives that gift to them by imparting a human spirit, the "breath of life" which is not given until the point of birth.

Going forwards, as I have been reading through some of your posted materials on this topic, I came across a Q & A session with a pediatrician/Internal Medicine physician who asked you a question regarding part II,3,b "the human spirit is implanted by god at birth". To this end, you suggested to him the following:

This is not at all to imply that for this reason [i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life] the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

Subsequent to your answer, the physician replied by suggesting that you should consider Lk. 1:41 in support of his theological notion that life does indeed begin and exist even within the mother’s womb.

Luke 1:41 (KJV)
41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

As such, you replied by stating the following (emphasis added):

I have little experience of such things, but I believe that I am correct in saying that reflex movements of the fetus in the womb of expectant mothers do sometimes correspond to the emotional and physical experiences of the mothers. In the case of Elizabeth, she had an emotional response to hearing Mary's voice, knowing that Mary was carrying Jesus, and she is the one described in this context as being "filled with the Spirit", not John, who, significantly, would be filled with the Spirit – from birth (i.e., as soon as he left the womb, not while within it).

That being said, I will argue the point that John was indeed filled with the Holy Spirit even while he was in his mother’s womb. You translate and define the greek word “ek” used in Lk. 1:15 to mean, as highlighted above, when John left his mother’s womb and NOT while he was within his mother’s womb. As you well know, from a biblical greek translation perspective that is indeed acceptable. However, this is your personal choice and most certainly not one driven by any compelling greek grammar or context. Thus, there is equally, or maybe as I would suggest an even more appropriate translation for the greek work “ek” used in Lk. 1:15, and that being, even before He is born while still in his mother’s womb, as you can easily find by a brief internet search. Therefore, there are many credible greek scholars who translate the greek “ek” in Lk. 1:15 as I have just stated above - even before He is born. https://biblehub.com/luke/1-15.htm

Luke 1:15 (KJV)
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from [before He is born] his mother's womb.

Therefore, your argument of “after He left his mother’s womb” is only a personal translation/definition and may or may not be correct. However, if the later translation of “even before He is born while still in his mother’s womb ” is actually correct then your entire argument of God giving the Spirit/life after physical birth and his leaving the womb fails because we both know that the Holy Spirit does not fill and result in a dead non-entity (person/being)…

Finally, another area of concern that you reveal in your rebuttal regarding Lk. 1:41 goes to the question I asked at the very beginning of my argument - you reference the “BABY” that was in Elizabeth’s womb – the greek “brephos” as you define it above in the highlighted section of your statement. However, I will argue that this person inside of Elizabeth’s womb was indeed a “living” Holy Spirit filled “baby” and not a mere non-person fetus as you suggest. The same identical greek “brephos” (baby) is equally used to refer to the baby Jesus in Lk. 2:12 & 16. Therefore, if the “brephos” baby Jesus was alive outside of Mary’s womb, equally so was the Holy Spirit filled “brephos” baby John alive inside of Elizabeth’s womb, even before his physical birth and departure outside the womb.

Your kind attention and response to this concern will be most appreciated…

In Jesus,

Response #2:

You're wrong about "ek" – it means "outside of". The Greek is what the Greek is, even if translations are manipulated by those who don't want to accept the truth.

As to "brephos", this is what a fetus is called as well as a baby; this is a false argument from definition; i.e., because the word "baby" conjures up a new born human being to our minds, therefore using this word in Greek "must mean" that it has a spirit – but it does not. Lots of false theology is built on basing arguments on a priori definitions.

Question #3:

Shalom Bob,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response to my concern.

I agree with you that the greek "ek" used in Lk. 1:15 does mean "out of" as one of its several possible meanings.

To this end, the greek "ek" of Lk. 1:15 equally means "from". Therefore, "from" is defined as indicating the starting point of origin/source. Thus, the baby John was filled with the Holy Spirit even "from" his mother's womb. His mother's womb being the starting point of origin/source for both he and the Holy Spirit infilling.

The greek "ek" defined as "from" indicating a starting point of origin/source is used extensively throughout the NT and defined as such in all the greek lexicons I researched.

In summary, is what I have defined above for the greek "ek" an acceptable meaning?

In Jesus,

Response #3:

When 'ek' is used temporally it assumes that the word "chronos", "time", has been left out. That can't work here. "From childhood" works, meaning "from [the time of] childhood". But here we would have "even from the time of his mother's womb" and womb's don't have time; positing "womb time" is a bridge way too far, and I don't know of any parallels for "time of being" vs. strictly 'time'. Things that work in English don't necessarily work in other languages.

So it doesn't hold water in Greek. That is especially so since Luke could easily have said "still IN" if that is what he meant (using the preposition "en"); but instead he said "directly OUT OF".

Question #4:

Shalom Bob,

Thank you for your kind and prompt response to my Lk. 1:15 question.

What you suggest is that the infilling of John by the Holy Spirit could not have taken place until “AFTER” the baby had completely left both Elizabeth’s womb and her body – “Out Of”.

“…But the fact that God gives life at birth (with the simultaneous sign of breath)…”

However, if we compare only two simple Scriptural examples (and there are several) of the use and implication of the greek word “ek” with the definition for “Out Of” you suggest we see the following analysis: (emphasis added)

Luke 1:15 (KJV)
15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.

Matthew 3:17 (KJV)
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Therefore, the conclusion is this - by your Lk. 1:15 greek “ek” definition for “Out Of”– the greek “ek” of Matt. 3:17 must equally be defined as the Voice From Heaven could not have even existed until AFTER it had completely left Heaven as well… Why? By your definition of “Out Of” the Holy Spirit could not have existed INSIDE of Elizabeth’s womb, only AFTER the baby had completely left both her womb and her body. Likewise, once again, the Voice from Heaven could not have existed INSIDE Heaven, but only AFTER the voice had completely left Heaven - your definition of “Out Of”. However, we know the Voice of God used here originates from God inside Heaven.

As I have previously stated, I humbly submit that the greek word “ek” used in Lk. 1:15 implies that the baby John was filled with the Holy Spirit even “from a point of origin/source” hence, Elizabeth’s womb, just as the Matt. 3:17 Voice from Heaven was “from the point of origin/source” Heaven.

Your kind dialogue is much appreciated.

In Jesus,

Response #4:

In that analysis, the Spirit would be coming "from his mother's womb" – and that is clearly wrong.

Question #5:

Shalonm Bob,

Thank you for your kind response.

The question is whether or not what I have suggested is grammatically acceptable in accordance with the greek language - or is your reasoning the "only" allowable translation/defination for Lk. 1:15?

Most appreciated...

Response #5:

Not really. The question is whether or not the alternative means what you think it means. It would have to mean in that case, in your alternative, "the Spirit [coming from] his mother's womb" – and that is clearly wrong.

Question #6:


In a brief followup to my earlier question regarding the theological notion of a suggested "age of innocence" or aka "age of accountability", I asked why if such a theology was indeed true, would God violate His own Sixth Commandment of "Thou Shalt Not Kill" by ordering the murder of the "innocent" of 1 Sam. 15:3?

Likewise, when God rained fire from heaven and burned the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah there were absolutely no children (innocent?) whatsoever who escaped. There could not be found ten righteous souls. (Gen. 18:32) Moreover, when God rained upon the earth forty days and forty nights during Noah's flood, once again, out of all the earth only eight souls were counted acceptable to escape the deluge. (1 Peter 3:20)

Does the theological notion of the age of innocence/accountability actually fail to accept the fact that ALL children are not born innocent and that because of the Adamic curse we are ALL born into sin just as apostle Paul and others declared - Rom. 3:23; 5:8, 12; 11-32, Ecc. 7:20; Ps. 51:5? Thus, God concluded ALL mankind in unbelief, so that the freely shed righteous blood of Jesus could have God's mercy upon ALL.

Finally, 1 Cor. 7:14 answers the required covering of the "innocent" children. As such, the greek word "akatharta" used here and defined in this passage is just what it implies "unclean" and not merely martially illegitimate.

One then can only summarize that Godless parents reproduce Goddless children and therefore ALL children are not automatically born "innocent"...

Your kind attention and response to my concern will be most appreciated.

In Jesus,

Response #6:

I never said children were "innocent"; all are born with a sin nature, as I have always affirmed.

The question is one of choice and free will, the image of God – which is why we are all here in the world, to choose.

Obviously, a baby cannot yet be expected to make a decision about salvation and eternal life; that is why scripture suggests that all such are saved automatically if they die before reaching what I do refer to as the "age of accountability", that is, the age by which the person in question actually has reached an age of understanding so as to have had a fair opportunity to avail him/herself of salvation through faith in Christ. Sin is not the issue – since Jesus paid for it. Free will, the image of God and how we use it, is the issue, and the individuals we are talking about never had a chance to do so (which is why they are automatically saved).

Jesus died for ALL sin, so God is just to save everyone – everyone willing to be saved and everyone who never had a reasonable chance to express that will.

Question #7:

Hi Bob,

I'm currently in a conversation dealing with life at birth vs. conception and such, and Luke 1:44 has predictably come up. My correspondent (another person with Greek) does not believe the syntax of Luke 1:44 in the Greek supports taking ἐν ἀγαλλιάσει with Elizabeth. His exact words were "This seems like a huge huge stretch given the syntax of the verse."

Any comments on the word order here? The verb is at the beginning, presumably for emphasis, but past that, I don't much see how one would go about making it clearer with what the prepositional phrase goes.

In Him,

Response #7:

It's not a question of word order. The Greek says "with joy", and the question is "whose joy?" There is nothing in the Greek to apply that to either Elizabeth or her unborn fetus – except for common sense. Fetuses do not experience joy, but they do react biologically (kick, etc.) to their mother's experiences.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi Bob,

Sometimes, in some circumstances, word order is important in determining meaning though, correct? I mean, there are obvious cases, like if something's in the attributive position, but I'm talking about more generally in sentence structure.

I was coming into this more from the point of view that I don't think the location of the prepositional phrase in this specific verse can really make it more likely to be taken one way or the other. So of course I agree with your comments, and the bit about common sense, but I more just wanted to double check that there isn't some grand syntax argument to be made here, and that it really does come down to the interpretive common sense.

So sometimes sentence structure can be important, but not here? Or am I overestimating its importance in general? Obviously Greek has flexible word order, but even so there are patterns... which are freely violated according to emphasis, poetic license, and things like that. Tricky to pin down as determinative, I suppose.

In Christ,

Response #8:

Yes, word order is important, but there are differences between what we expect in English and what we get in Greek. To give one of many possible examples, reading Revelation 13:8 in Greek, one might be tempted to connect "the Lamb slain" with "from the foundation of the world" – an unfortunate misreading of the Greek which has led to many false mystical interpretations and has thus obscured the true meaning of Jesus' sacrifice. But in that case we also have Revelation 17:8 where we see clearly by comparison what we should have figured out from before, namely, that "from the foundation of the world" applies instead to those "written in the book of life", not to "the Lamb slain". The lesson is that we cannot ignore context, meaning and the overall message of truth in the Bible in figuring these things out. After all, those writing in the Spirit certainly expected their readers to understand all these matters. Same thing applies in this passage we are discussing. Of course anyone with a basic knowledge of the Bible knows that a person's life begins at birth and that there is no biblical indication of a "babe in the womb" thinking anything or have any conscious emotions – as all human experience confirms as well.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Dr. Luginbill,

Greeting and I hope you are well. I was reading through the study on the purpose, creation and fall of man and came across the following:

"Breath, a manifestation of physical life which (while not synonymous with it) is coterminous with that life, is therefore the perfect symbol and analogy for the life that begins at birth, when God puts our human spirit into our body."

What are the implications of this on the issue of abortion? Does this mean abortion then should not be considered murder or taking of life?

Does this view conflict with other passages in Scripture that suggest that life begins before the point of birth (if birth is defined as emergence from the womb when the baby is delivered) such as:

Exodus 21:22-23 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine. But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life,...."

RJC Comment: Seems to clearly imply that the child in the womb is valued and protected by God

Luke 1:41 "And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb."

RJC: seems to imply that a baby in the womb is already sentient being able to respond to God

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

RJC: since God knew the child in the womb would not this give the child personhood or status as a creation of God?

Any guidance on the above issue would be most welcome.

A better phrasing of my question is:

How does life beginning with breath at birth reconcile with the below passages.

If life begins at birth, does that suggest that the act of abortion is not a sin?

Response #9:

1) On Exodus 22:21-22: English has a technical term for the unborn: the fetus; because Hebrew does not have such a term cannot be used to prove that this passage is saying that the fetus in question has been given a human spirit already; it does not say that at all; we know from other passages in scripture that this happens at birth (e.g., Gen.2:7; cf. the angels celebrating Jesus' birth, not Mary's pregnancy; see the link). Plus, if these were living souls, then why is there merely a modest financial penalty for something that would then be murder or at the very least manslaughter? Also in this case much birth control would be murder because once the egg was fertilized it would be a person; and preventing unfertilized eggs and sperms from conceiving through measures that destroy them would also be a deadly sin, it seems to me.

2) Luke 1:41: Greek does have a term used for the fetus, brephos, and that is the term used here. It may be used of a living child as well, but it is also used of an unborn one, so the occurrence of the word "child" in translations is no basis for deducing that this fetus had a human spirit. It did not. As to the "leaping" of the fetus, notice that scripture doesn't say that the fetus heard Mary's voice and leapt as a result. Elizabeth is said to be the one who heard and so it is her emotional state that produced the reaction, obviously. The fact that Elizabeth is thrilled with that fetal movement is fine – but such is no basis for assuming something that scripture does not say either here or elsewhere (for more on this see the link).

3) Jeremiah 1:5 likewise doesn't say that there is life in the womb. The Lord knew him BEFORE he was formed . . . just as He knows us all before any of our days have begun.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 NIV

None of our days "come to pass" until we are alive – and that only happens when we are born. It is at that point that the Lord creates the spirit within us (Zech.12:1).

As to your question, "If life begins at birth, does that suggest that the act of abortion is not a sin?", here is the standard response I always give (found at the link):

This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of justification (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hi Robert. I continue to grow by using your teaching to mine my bible. Thank you for caring and for your faithfulness.

I was reading something in the Satanic Rebellion series # 3 and it made me question something about my stance on abortion. I'm receptive to anything you have to offer and trust that my God will reveal the rest.

In the section titled c) the human spirit of man is implanted by God at birth, you wrote:

Though His body was conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ entered the world when we all do: at birth.(26) This explains why at Matthew 1:20-21 the angel can tell Joseph "that which has been engendered in her is from the Holy Spirit, and she will give birth to a Son", and why at Luke 1:35 Gabriel can tell Mary "the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; for this very reason that which is going to be born will be called holy, the Son of God". Both the grammar of these passages (Greek neuters: "that which") and the prophecies here which are both primarily concerned with the birth of Christ (as is the case of all the Messianic prophecies; cf. Jdg.13:7; Is.7:14; 9:6-7; Lk.1:15), make it clear that it is not His conception, but His birth that is our Lord's point of entrance into the world after the pattern by which we have all entered it: the physical birth of our bodies followed by God's breathing into us of our human spirit. The star of Bethlehem and the angelic chorus that herald His arrival are celebrating not His conception but His birth (Lk.2:8-20), the point when He first drew breath as a human being (albeit the only divine One: Phil.2:6-7; Heb.2:14), for that is the point at which the Father brought His Son "into the world"

Am I to take that to mean that I don't receive 'life' until my birth? I know the argument is always formed around "where does life begin?" But this confuses me and gives me pause to protect the sanctity of life and argue against those who stand on their definition that life doesn't begin until it takes its own first breath.

I think my stance will always be to protect life from conception but I'm curious to understand what God says about it all.


Response #10:

Good to make your acquaintance.

You are correct that there is no independent spiritual life in the womb. However, that does not make abortion "OK" by any means. Here is the note I posted in that part in case you missed it:

This is not at all to imply that for this reason [i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life] the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

What is unacceptable is altering what the Bible teaches for the sake of political advantage. If we had a rash of burglaries and people decided to mount a campaign for more stringent laws and proclaimed that it was also high treason punishable by death, that would also be a wrong thing to do. Burglary is bad enough without twisting the constitution. But here we are talking about something much more important: the Bible, the truth, and the devil just loves to get good Christians fired up about political issues because that always leads to embracing lies instead "for the sake of what is 'good' ".

Here is a link where all this is discussed a great length: "Life begins at birth".

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Thank you! Diving into those links as we speak.

One more random question at the moment…. In the RCC links / Q&As, I spotted something you said about life beginning at birth. As in, the spirit was not given until birth. But isn’t there scripture about John the Baptist (in the womb) jumping for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice? How do we explain that?

Very confused!

Response #11:

Human procreation is the means God provided for the development of the human body – a truly miraculous process (cf. Ps.139:14). But we are spiritual as well as physical beings, and the image of God is contained in our spirits, not our bodies.

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

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

The creation of Adam set that pattern which scripture affirms ever after: God creates our spirits, the true "us" which possess the image of God, at our birth. That is why birth is the point of celebration and the point of rejoicing (as with the coming into the world of the Messiah, which happened at His birth, not His body's conception: Lk.2:8-14).

As to Luke 1:41-44, the scripture never calls the fetus "John" or "him"; he is not "John" until after he is born. The fetus "leapt" when its mother heard Mary's voice – a not uncommon sort of thing in pregnancy. Was this prophetic? No doubt. But it doesn't say or mean that John yet existed; his body did but "he" did not since his spirit was not given to him until birth. The body comes first (as with Adam), but God is the One who gives spiritual life, not human beings.

This is just a brief overview of the passage. Here are some links with the details:

The Human Spirit

The Holy Spirit's Role in Creation:  Individual Creatures

John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?

Life at birth

Life Begins at Birth.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

I’m almost through all of these links! Ha, I should’ve known there would be others to address this — especially if people are relating unborn “John” to the abortion topic.

I had never once thought about life beginning at first breath, but I suppose it does make sense. I had also never thought about the reaction in the womb as Elizabeth’s rather than that of the unborn baby. You’ve given me a lot to think about.

In my former life as a feminist I used to March and protest downtown for pro-choice. I was so convicted against this when the Lord woke me up. It still feels like “murder” to me, but I guess is not truly murder if there is only body and no spirit. But even so, you’re saying it is still a heinous thing to do. I think I can get behind this.

That whole topic is so so political and really disturbing. I have friends on extreme ends of this debate and there seem to be very few in the middle who either have no strong opinion, or who would agree with your take. And those (pro-choice) friends who would say life begins at birth are not believing it for the God-breathing reasons we are.

My mind is kind of blown on this topic!

The part I WILL need to re-read a few times is the “soul” section… I’m not sure I’m grasping that yet!

Thank you!

In Jesus,

Response #12:

Clearly, abortion is horrific. The fact that it's not technically murder doesn't make it any less horrific. The fact that groups opposed to abortion – like the RC church – have falsified the truth in order to strengthen their political position is horrific too. Politics never leads anywhere good for believers, since the devil is motivating both sides when you get down the bottom of things.

Here's a footnote I generally include in all such discussion:

This is not at all to imply that for this reason [i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life] the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

You know, I have wondered for the last couple of years about the unborn. We talk about the path to Heaven being narrow. Then you learn that MILLIONS of babies are aborted each year. It made me wonder if Heaven is full of babies.

Your “life begins at birth” would not be a popular opinion for many Christians, but it does make sense. And all the verses you list to support it really help me see your point more clearly.

I have many friends who have had miscarriages and stillbirths. They are greatly comforted thinking about their baby being in the arms of our Savior. And I don’t blame them. I’ll just have to be careful how I talk about these topics in the future.

I’ve always despised politics, thank goodness. I think it started with those awful Mud-slinging commercials I’d see on TV as a child. Unpopular opinion, but I can’t remember the last time I voted. Pre-Jesus it just felt like a waste of time. And after Jesus, it felt like Politics were two sides of the same evil coin. And so divisive.

Thank you for this interesting discussion, Bob! Praise! My mom is one-week post-surgery and doing well. She is now listening to the book of Mark on her audio Bible!

Response #13:

Great news about your mom! I'm keeping her and your brother and you and the rest of your family in my daily prayers.

God knows all. His plan is perfect. He knows if a birth was intended. In any and all such cases, I would not be surprised if the spirit is created for that intended birth, even though it never came to the point of birth. That is what this scripture suggests:

Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child,
Like infants who never saw light?
Job 3:16 NKJV

Scripture does not give us enough information to be dogmatic about it, but the above verse, coming in the context of Job yearning to be like one of those who have already passed into paradise, should be a comfort to all those in the situations you mention. As to babies in heaven, there won't be any, nor any old people either. We will all be adults in our prime, just as Adam and Eve were created originally.

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1st John 3:2 NKJV

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

As to babies in heaven, there won't be any, nor any old people either. We will all be adults in our prime, just as Adam and Eve were created originally.

I read that aloud to my husband and without skipping a beat he said, “Yea, that’s what I assumed.” I hadn’t! But I guess I’ve never really thought too much about it. I do believe you on this, but are there specific verses that point to this idea?

In Jesus,

Response #14:

On "specific verse", the one I gave you is a good one:

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
1st John 3:2 NKJV

"Like Him", meaning as I interpret it, with a resurrection body like His (including being of full adult age but not past prime).

Also, as mentioned, Adam and Eve were created at full adult age. Babies are necessary in the present regime for individuals to learn about life in a family before they are on their own. But there's no need for that in eternity (New Jerusalem – which will be on the new earth, not in heaven).

"For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven."
Matthew 22:30 NKJV

"Like angels", meaning in the important respects. From what we can tell from scripture all angels are fully adult, but there aren't any "old angels". They don't marry, so no young offspring angels either. Therefore another verse indicating that we in resurrection will all be fully mature of the same basic "age", because "this is what eternal persons look like" in terms of their apparent age.

And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man, so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man.
1st Corinthians 15:49 NIV

The earthly man starts as a baby and ends up as an old person; the heavenly man is unchangeable – so follow the pattern of Christ in resurrection, looking "like Him" in terms of our apparent age.

There is a lot more to say about the resurrection. Here are the best two links at Ichthys for that subject:

The Resurrection

The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I just wanted to show you what this Christian brother believes and insists that he is correct. Any comments you may have would be greatly appreciated. I believe he is thoroughly confused. Thanks for your comments.

Blessings to you always,

Your friend,

Charactertics and differences of the FLESH, SOUL, SPIRIT

FLESH: That is the easy part of the triology as humans understand it since they all have a body and everyone can see it with their human eyes. It is mortal, e.g. it will die and return to the dust of the Earth eventually. This understanding is by all people, those who acknowledge God as well as those who don’t acknowledge God. They also know the features of the FLESH, also commonly referred to as the body and include most if not all the body parts including the brain. It is mortal, easily deceived and is principally selfish. It is also error prone and oftentimes considers itself to be NUMN|BER 1 and always on the look-out “what’s in it for me?” It’s general perception is the world revolves about it. The important aspect of it is that it has been tainted with original sin which was inherited from the parents along with a lot of other parental features and physical characteristics and psychological aspects.

SOUL: That is what God created in His own image and likeness and housed it into the body. The soul is immortal, that is it will never die like the body will. It will live forever either with God in Heaven or without God in Hell for eternity. The soul is invisible to man’s human eyes and it is often referred to as the essence of man, i.e. the real person of mankind. It is the part of the triology of man that makes decisions (from our intellect that is the mind of man, not from our brain [which is chemical and electrical in nature}. The mind is what makes our judgment calls, evaluations, conclusions and decisions. Its development grows and matures with age, training, experience and environments. The individual mores comes from the mind as well as understandings and perceptions of the world and all of its environments. Scripture has an abundance to say about the soul. The soul is that part of man which chooses to do good works or is tempted and then chooses to commit sin or avoid committing sin. It decides what is right and wrong, good and ban, evil or righteous. The body is subject to be obedient to the decisions of the soul. The soul has personality and hundreds of other what is called human characteristics. No two people are the same in either body or soul, we all have a uniqueness from each other. Sometimes it is erroneously referred to as the spirit of man. Faith comes to the soul by the intellect meditating and studying the Scriptures, it is a gift of God for those who seek after Him. If you do no seek after God, you will not ever find Him, and your soul will be forever in a state of hunger for something that it has not ever found.

SPIRIT: The Spirit is also immortal and comes from God and is housed within our soul. It comes into us when we have been born again, only by the decision of the soul inviting God’s Spirit into us. Such a decision can not be made without God’s Spirit working with our soul. In other words, we can claim no credit whatsoever for us being born again i.e. saved. The Spirit is flawless, it is perfect and when we worship God we are only able to do so by the Spirit He has given us. Without the Spirit it is impossible to worship God. God’s Spirit brings the zoa life to man, brings fulfillment, joy, peace, happiness and a blessedness indescribable by human words or human experience. The Spirit literally opens up a second world to the eyes of our soul and we can spiritually see, hear and rejoice in the Kingdom of God. It is a status that God desires for all humans to have and experience. It totally changes the attitude, perception, motivation and understanding of the soul from that of being a citizen in the carnal world to being a citizen in the Kingdom of Heaven. All old things are passed away and brand new spiritual things are now visible and present. We now have a new desire that is aligned with God’s world and is totally fulfilling. It gives us a new purpose in life. It gives us a new power within ourselves to become victorious in all things of importance and eternal value. We see that everything in the carnal world is passing away, but not in this new spiritual world, it along with us will last forever.

Response #15:

I notice that there is not a single scripture citation here.

It's very easy to "theologize" based upon what a person thinks he/she knows about the Bible. But the Bible is the test of all such theories. Building up theoretical theology apart from scripture is precisely how the Roman Catholic church developed, and, sadly, far too much Protestant theology operates that way as well.

If we actually look at scripture, we find that there is not a single passage where the word "soul" (which in English versions usually stands for the Greek word psyche and the Hebrew word nephesh) has to mean "a separate and discrete invisible organ / part". That IS true of the human spirit; but the "soul" is a concept word meaning the inner "us" or our "heart", the "place", so to speak, where our spirit and body interface(see the link).

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Yes, I also noticed no Scripture to support what he wrote, and this is exactly what I expressed to him. If he has an opinion he is free to express it, but if there is no scriptural support, then it remains just an opinion, nothing more.

I also informed him that a number of times, that he must always keep scripture in the context in which it is written.

This brother was a former Roman Catholic, a former Charismatic, and now a Lutheran because he claims that the there doctrine is closer to the bible than any other denomination. I pointed out some flaws in his "theory", such as the fact that the Lutheran doctrine completely rejects the biblical doctrine of Millennialism, and he did not know that as was aghast when I informed him.

I sadly doubt if he studies the Word of God much at all, for he is far to busy with worldly affairs, such as real estate, stock market, buying gold, etc. etc.

Anyway, can you please pray for him so that God will so get hold of him to begin earnestly studying His Word. He is 83 years old, and his name is James.

Thanks again Dr. Luginbill for your kindness and help.

I am currently studying Hamartiology, and it is excellent.

Blessings to you always,

Grace, peace, and joy be yours, Your friend,

Response #16:

Thanks for your good words, my friend.

I'll say a prayer for James.

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Dr. Luginbill;

I am trying to better understand the definitions of soul and spirit. I have read many links and emails that you have posted on this subject and thought I understood it pretty well, but while trying to explain the concepts to my sister I found that I didn't understand it quite as well as I thought.

In Genesis 2:7 God created Adam's body from the dust of the earth and then He breathed the breath of life (the spirit) into his nostrils and Adam became a living being (living soul). When Adam sinned, his spirit died (he experienced spiritual death). Was he now a living soul with a dead spirit? Is that even possible? Is that the condition of all unbelievers since then? Adam was not a living soul until God breathed the spirit into him. I take that as meaning Adam's body was not alive until God breathed the breath of life (spirit) into him. That must mean that the body can't live without the spirit (obviously), but the body can live even though the spirit is dead. The fact that the spirit is dead doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it means that it is separated from God - that it is in tune with the flesh rather than being in tune with God. So as long as the body is alive, a person is a living being (living soul) whether the spirit is dead or alive?

To take that concept further, once a believer's body has died (or we are resurrected) we will receive a new body and we will still have our living spirit, therefore our soul will still be the combination of our body and spirit - but we (our souls) are now located in heaven with Christ. When an unbeliever's body has died, he will receive a new body prior to the Great White Throne judgment, but his spirit is dead - separated from God - now to be separated for eternity. He still has a soul (the combination of new body but dead spirit) that will spend eternity separated from God.

If that is the case, then what did Jesus mean in Matt. 16:26 when he said "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?". And in Matt. 10:28 Jesus says "...fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Is He saying that losing your soul and having your soul and body destroyed in hell is equivalent to spending eternity separated from God? Is that just another way of saying "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and have his soul (life) spend eternity separated from God?

Please tell me if (and where) I am off base here so I can paint a more complete picture in my mind and be able to better explain it to others. Thank you so much for your help.

Response #17:

I'm happy to give you the brief version here, my friend, and will send you to some other links below.

First, human beings are dichotomous, that is, consisting of two parts that make up their whole. This can be clearly seen by the way the Lord made Adam, namely, by constructing his body and then breathing the human spirit into it. Human beings are never meant to be disembodied spirits, and the spirits – of any kind (human, angelic, animal) – once created never go out of existence. All spirits once created by God exist forever.

There is a great difference, however, between our spirits in eternity and the spirits of those who choose against the Lord. Their spirits will exist in a body resurrected for judgment rather than for blessing, and their existence is so horrible in the lake of fire that it is called "the second death". However, spirits never "die" if by that word we mean "go out of existence". That never happens.

Also, the human spirit is the real "us", the part of our dual nature that has the image of God. When God put the spirit into Adam, Adam became "a living being" or "nephesh". The English Bible translates that word as "soul", but that is problematic because in Roman Catholic theology, which follows secular Roman beliefs, the "soul" is an independent "thing". In fact, in biblical expression, the "soul" is the "life" or the "heart" or the "person", that is, a way to express the combination of a spirit in a body. We, our spirit, expresses itself (as well as thinks and feels) through the body, and that is ever the case because the spirit is never without a body, not even after death (there is an interim body in between physical death and the resurrection).

Just as the spirit entering the body results in a "living person", so the spirit exiting results in a person losing his "life" (soul) – but only in terms of THAT body. So when Jesus says, "what will a person give in exchange for his SOUL", one could/should translate "life" – because what He means is that without salvation there is only the second death ahead . . . not an existence without a spirit, but a spirit in a body made for judgment where the end is so terrible that it is described as death.

This is a difficult issue for many to understand because of the way our culture thinks about the word "soul", but there is no "soul" existing on its own: the "soul" is the "heart" or the "life" or the "person", and the "person" or "soul" only exists as the combination of the spirit in the body.

Here are those links:

The Creation of Adam

The word "soul"

Is the Soul a Tertium Quid?

Do feel free to write me back about any of this.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

The "soul" and "spirit" is used in these verses. Just wondering if you have a more effective translation of these verses? I am using these verses in a sermon I am preparing and need a better translation.

I know you can be of great help. As always, Blessings to you, in the Name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Your friend,

Response #18:

Here's my version:

(12) For the Word of God is living and powerful; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even to the point of being able to divide the spirit from its earthly life and the marrow from its bones; [for] it (i.e., the Word when resident in our conscience) acts as a judge of our heart's intentions and emotions. (13) For there is no created thing [which can remain] invisible before Him. Everything is naked and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Hebrews 4:12-13

"Earthly life" is what the "soul" is. And that is what this verse means, namely, that the Word is capable of splitting things that nothing else can split. No one at that time could cleanly split bones from marrow (not really possible today if we are talking about absolute disaggregation) – and no one even today can split the spirit from the body – it's earthly life – without killing the patient.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Does the Bible reference whether our beloved pets will be in Heaven? Thank you. In His Name

Response #19:

Good to make your acquaintance.

While scripture does not say directly, there is reason to believe that all "animals", that is, creatures with animae or "spirits", are not lost forever. We know that in the case of human beings, no created spirit ever suffers annihilation. For unbelievers, of course, it would be better for them if they had never been born, for though they are resurrected, they are cast into the lake of fire (e.g., Matt.26:24; Rev.20:11-15).

Animals, however, do not face the issue of believing in Jesus Christ for life eternal or suffering the consequences for rejecting Him, since they do not possess free will as we do, the image of God. So there is no reason for them to be condemned, obviously, but also no reason for them – that is to say, their spirits – to be discarded. In any case, since God never allows a human spirit once created to go out of existence, that parallel at least argues for animals in eternity.

Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?
Ecclesiastes 3:21 NIV

Wherever the spirits of animals are being kept until eternity begins, the verse above seems to make it clear that God is concerned for them.

Finally, the original creation before Satan's rebellion had flora and fauna; when God re-created the earth for mankind, He of course created the present flora and fauna we now see; and in eternity, in the New Jerusalem, we do see the Tree of Life. An eternity without some additional flora and no fauna whatsoever would not fit the pattern.

There is a great deal about the eternal state we don't know (see the link for a discussion what we do know). As I often have remarked, it is really beyond the scope of our present perception to appreciate the wonders to come (cf. 2Cor.12:4). What scripture does say mostly describes things in terms of the LACK of troubles, pain, problems, death with which we are currently plagued in this world. As I also often say, if we knew just how wonderful eternity really is, it might just ruin us for being able to endure this present one any longer – and we're here just as long as Jesus wants us to be here to do just what He wants us to do.

Here are a few links:

The fate of animals

More on animals

One thing I DO know: God is absolutely loving and absolutely faithful, and He knows very well the concerns of our hearts, all of them. We can trust Him that, one way or another, everything is going to work out just fine – for those who belong to Him through faith in Jesus Christ.

In our dear Savior.

Bob Luginbill

Question #20:

Thank you for responding so quickly. You are right, God is so good and knows how we love our pets.  God's word gives me hope! I just discovered your website today. Thank you for serving Jesus. God bless

Response #20:

You're most welcome,

Do feel free to write any time.

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:


This troubles me (link: "c) The human spirit is implanted by God at birth).

Are you saying by implication that abortion is okay.

Response #21:

Absolutely not.

You failed to read the footnotes.

Note #26: This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38:1.ff.; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).

The fact is that people involved in the anti-abortion movement have perverted scripture and proclaim that we are merely biological entities. That is what Communism and evolution say too, namely, that all life is physically generated – but that is the devil's own lie. We are spiritual first and physical second with that physicality being temporary while the spiritual is eternal. No one exists as a person until God creates his/her spirit – at birth. Period. Anything else is from the evil one. The fact that this removes an argument from political crusaders who care more about their own self-righteousness than the truth is something that should not trouble any believer who is trying to walk closely with Jesus Christ through the truth. And the fact that we stand for the truth does NOT mean that we support or are in any way in favor of abortion. I would have hoped that this went without saying.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dr. Luginbill,

What do you make of Exodus 21:22? I believe the spirit is implanted in a baby at birth the same as you but I am having trouble understanding this verse. I'd appreciate some quick input. What's the message? Is abortion seen as murder in the Bible?


Response #22:

Hello Friend,

I think the fact that the offender is merely modestly fined demonstrates that no murder took place.

In any case, however we take this verse, it's not talking about the deliberate ending of a pregnancy but an accident wherein there is culpability (so it really doesn't apply to that issue at all).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

The referenced verse is a bit confusing.

" 1Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

I don't understand how we can defile our "spirit", after it has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this can only be done by the rejection of the Gospel and losing our Faith in Jesus Christ?

Hebrews 10:29 is the scripture I thought about:

29How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? "

I know that sin separates us from God, but true repentance and confession restore us back.

Am I thinking correctly?

Thanks again Dr. Luginbill for your great help. Hope you are keeping yourself healthy and being blessed by God.

Your friend,

Response #23:

You are certainly correct in your theology!

As to the interpretation of 2nd Corinthians 7:1, human beings are dichotomous, as you know, having a body (flesh) and a spirit (pneuma); together these constitute the whole person. We cannot function in any way just in our spirit or just in our body as we are a whole person, created that way by God.

So when Paul mentions both here he is focusing our attention of the two parts of the whole; if he had said "of the heart" instead of "of the flesh and the spirit" it would mean essentially the same thing, only then focusing on the whole which we know contains the two parts (since "heart" or "soul" speaks of the inner person which is a combination of the two).

Why split them here? For emphasis, but also to remind us that while the flesh is corrupt, the spirit is not, so we should be sowing to the spirit and not to the flesh (Gal.6:8).

In Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob and family,

Hoping you and yours are well in these days that are fast slipping by – into the 3rd month already!

Just a quick question about the spirit or life force that is within all of us. I have enjoyed reading about this subject in past emails and one thought leads to another and I’m wondering if you would kindly advise me on it. Can you tell me the difference between the spirit or life force that God installs at birth in all of us and the Holy Spirit that Jesus fills us with on believing?

I’m not sure as to the correct way to write about it – to my mind they’re not both one and the same – I’m just not sure how to differentiate the two, if they are two separate entities and I’m sure they are. I understand that God knows our spirit and our spirit knows God, which I’m sure the Holy Spirit can communicate with our spirit by causing us to understand and then correctly interpret his promptings in our hearts and know what he means.

I’m a bit confused and I’m not even sure if I’ve explained it the way I’m thinking it but I’m hoping you know what I mean.

Again and as always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #24:

Good to hear from you as always, my friend.

As to your question, first of all here's the best place to get the full treatment on the human spirit:  in BB 3A, "The human spirit".

The Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Trinity.  He is given to take up residence in our bodies when we of this age believe in Jesus Christ (see the link: "the indwelling of the Spirit").

The human spirit, on the other hand, is "us". Human beings are dichotomous, composed of a body – which would be lifeless without the spirit – and a spirit which God creates within us at the point of birth. If we were in resurrection, there would be no need to even consider the difference between body and spirit because the resurrection body is "spiritual", not in the sense of not being physical and material, but in the sense of being completely integrated with our human spirit in a way that is not true today largely because of the sin that infests our physical bodies.

When we struggle between right and wrong in our hearts, for example, that is our "willing spirit" struggling with our "weak flesh". Our present body limits the expression of our spirit in many ways, and that is actually a good test to find out just how "willing" our spirit is, because to do what the Lord wants us believers to do requires effort to break through fleshly resistance, consisting of physical weakness, temptation, and worldly influences upon our physical selves.

"We" are the spirit inside, even though it is greatly influenced by the flesh; but the Holy Spirit helps us in this fight whenever we are truly willing to let Him do so (Gal.5:16-25).

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

Hi Bob and family,

Thank for the links, as always they were very helpful.

So sad that so many are in ignorance of what Jesus has blessed us with – first and foremost, salvation by His unspeakable gift.

And His gift of the Spirit – if only they knew. So many have never stopped to think about what this life-force that is within all of us is and without it we wouldn’t even be alive. They’ve never even considered that God imparted it at birth – I’m sure they just think we exist because we were born without any external input, yet if they would think about it for a moment they might realise there is something more that makes us alive and our body is just the vehicle that carries ‘it’ around.

And thinking further from that knowing that it’s our spirit, God knows our spirit and our spirit knows God simply because He gave it. Then it stands to reason that the Spirit of God can and will certainly communicate with us through our own spirit into our hearts and minds, which in turn causes us to know and then correctly understand his message. That is also why everyone, no matter what nationality, race or tribe all know that there is a higher being, for want of a better way to put it. So because of that, no-one can say in honesty that they don’t believe God exists.

So much humanity is missing out on through ignorance when it doesn’t have to be that way.

Again Bob, so glad I’ve found ichthys while I’m still here no matter what comes.

As always dear Bob, with brotherly love,

Response #25:


Indeed, it is the height of ingratitude not to respond to the One who created us – we wouldn't even exist without Him. And then to throw salvation back in His face – bought with the precious blood of Christ . . .

It's a pleasure, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Savior,

Bob L.



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