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   “The first man, Adam, became a living soul…”

–I Cor. 15: 45 (as reported by St. Paul–NASB)

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A draft of some personal thoughts.

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   A lot of thinking has occurred recently, as well as through the centuries, about what a person’s soul actually is. My words which follow are in no way definitive, or reflective of special language expertise or study. But as we’ve mentioned time to time, the “far view”¹ tempered by broad and serious reflection over time is often worthy of reflection.

   God gave the Bible to humans (created in His image) to inform them of what they should do and think about. And in no way did He make everyone Bible specialists. In fact, Jesus declared that people must come to Him first, trusting as children.

   That said, here are some comments after reading the Bible several times–and the portion above once again this morning. Allowing for obvious use of metaphor, as Jesus frequently did, we will accept the Bible resting in our hands for what it is and go for a natural common sense interpretation of the text:

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   The Soul 

   (1)  Perhaps the most extravagant face-to-face promise ever offered in the Bible was Jesus’ promise to the converted thief on the cross as both were dying: “Today you will be with me in Paradise²” (Luke 23:43).

   (2)  Jesus’ body went to a tomb from which He was resurrected three days later; the thief’s body (probably) went to the garbage dump. What part of the thief went to Paradise? Nothing that could be put on a scale and weighed.

   (3)  We often think about bodies of Christians “rising from the grave” when Christ returns at the end of the age. But what about the bodies of Christian martyrs who were eaten by lions or were burned at the stake? Or people lost at sea³ (See Rev. 20:13)? Or people who are cremated today?

   (4)  How are people recognizable in the hereafter as they go in and out of the doors of the places that God has prepared for those who love Him?  Name tags?  And how “old” will everyone appear?

   (5)  What about the 3-dimensional cube–the New Jerusalem–that will “descend” from heaven with a 1400 mile edge (equal to almost halfway across the U.S.)–described in the Bible (Rev.21:16)?

   (6)  And what about the Biblical warning “Fear not those who can destroy the body, but those that can kill the body and the soul (Matt.10:28; Luke 12:4).”

   (7)  The soul…that’s what Adam (Gen.1:27; 2:7) “became” with God’s creative act. Further, it’s assumed that every person has, or “is,” one. No DNA marker here (at least discovered so far).

   (8)  Perhaps it’s a concept, a reality, to be put on the intellectual shelf alongside, maybe, with what we’ve observed in small particle physics which insists with “evidence” that the same thing–when referring to matter–can be in two places at once, or that a companion “reflection” of “it” appears at the other side of the universe, or that it doesn’t exist at all unless it’s being “observed.” (Observed by whom?)

   (9)  “Eye has not seen, nor ears heard, nor have entered into the heart of man” wonders that God has prepared for those who love Him (I Cor.2:9 & several related passages).” Note that both sense observations and “feelings” are considered here.

   (10)  The individual soul, however, seems not able–yet, anyway–to receive certain important hoped-for knowledge and experience. Dare we suggest that a quantum leap of some kind lies ahead in the hereafter?

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   ¹ The other two postures from which to “view” and understand things, which we’ve discussed, are “close” or “near,” and “middle.”

   ² As to the exact nature of “Paradise,” it’s debated–and not our subject here. Suffice it to say, it is a place of reward and comfort–and going there to the thief, among other things, is to be with Jesus.

   ³ “Lost at sea”–see Rev.20:13.