Statesboro, GA, USA
Well, if the Bible is correct, false christianity is widespread as Satan deceives the whole world. So, there has to be Biblical truths and Biblical falsities, and the understanding of belief of either that separate the true Christians of the little flock and the false christians whom are deceived by the false angel appearing as a minister of righteousness.
What gain would Satan have in deceiving people into believing that the soul can be separate from the body ... when either way, ressurrection seems to be the Biblical focus of the end? The difference seems trivial. And as one who studies the Bible, I don't see the "gravity" that you see.
The "true" church versus the "false" Christians, is a hard angle for you to argue from, as a non-believer. For, if I take your view seriously, ALL the Biblical doctrines become suspect. If no one can claim exclusive truth, then no one can say whether a man even has a soul ... much less what the nature of the soul is. Remember how absolutely you believe that truth is truly relative ... that "your truth" can never be "my truth", etc ... etc ...? From your perspective, what does authority have to do with it?
If you say that you are merely arguing about the Bible, from it's own claims, (which I would still ask why? if you hold no vested interest in absolute Truth) I would reply that the Bible never makes such peripheral doctrinal points, central to one's salvation. Even Arnold feels, (in spite of his enthusiasm on this point) that there are Christians who disagree with him, who are going to be saved nonetheless. So if believers, in general, do not assume such an "extreme" gravity, concerning this doctrine (and NO, scripture has not been shown to do so either), why do you? If you say that the Bible is very sober, and grave, when speaking about the soul, I will agree. But a man's philosophical undertanding of the exact nature of the soul ... is not put on that same plane. The Savior of the soul, is much more important than surmisings about the soul.
Stephen, we did discuss this subject to some extent on the UR thread, but all you brought up, (against the many, many verses pointing out the soul, man's experience, his feelings, can die, be killed, because, man is a living soul), is the account of Saul talking to the apparition of Samuel, and the vision of Moses and Esias seen by Peter, James and John on the mount when Jesus was transfigured.
I really don't think I ignore them. I interpret them, and measure them in view of a larger context of scripture. I certainly don't deny death. I would like to ask you how you ignore all the verses which present the soul as separate from the body in certain instances?
That may be true, but as "thoughtful" I wonder. How can all the verses attributing "death, dying, destroyed, etc" to the soul (because man dies), be ignored?
If I'm being "thoughtless", I'll at least reserve the right to doubt as Paul did, when he mused "whether in the body or out of the body, I know not ... God knows" (2 Corinthians 12:13). Your view would make Paul's division of body and soul to be an error, and muddled thinking. Was does that do to apostolic doctrine, in your opinion?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but from my research, I've concluded that the belief in an immortal soul was argued and promoted, primarily by St.Agustine. He accepted the Platonic philosophy wholeheartedly because, he argued, if the righteous are to enjoy eternal bliss, then the wicked must suffer eternal torment, and therefore, their soul must be immortal.
How is that "Platonic"? Augustine's thinking differed from Platonism significantly.
Why am I posting this topic? Because, in so many of Topics in this forum, the question of heaven and hell comes up. And how could a loving God send someone, say, who has never heard of Jesus, be sent to suffer for eternity?
Believing in "soul sleep" does not guarantee that someone will share your universalism. There are those who believe in soul sleep, who still believe that God will resurrect the righteous and unrighteous at the end of the age ... unto an eternal state of reward or punishment. There are also those who believe in a "soul" which can be separate from the body, who believe that God will save everyone.
My point? Universalism and soul sleep are two separate issues. You mix them, all the time, moving from one to another without warning. One does not support the other.
Now, if we get back to the issue of "soul sleep" alone ... why is it so important? It is an intermediate state between here and there. If your universalism isn't the issue (and it really can't be since the two are not logically or doctrinally co-dependent) then what IS the issue? Try to answer without universalism. Let's pretend I'm a universalist who still believes in a composite nature of man, body and soul. And don't tell me there aren't any ... I know one personally.