“Afterlife” in Biblical View – Part 1


Cum diebus nostris, quod dolenter referimus, zizaniae seminator, antiquus humani generis hostis, nonnullos perniciosissimos errores, a fidelibus semper explosos, in agro Domini superseminare et augere sit ausus, de natura praesertim animae rationalis, quod videlicet mortalis sit, aut unica in cunctis hominibus, et nonnulli temere philosophantes, secundum saltem philosophiam verum id esse asseverent: contra huiusmodi pestem opportuna remedia adhibere cupientes, hoc sacro approbante Concilio damnamus et reprobamus omnes asserentes animam intellectivam mortalem esse, aut unicam in cunctis hominibus, et haec in dubium vertentes, cum illa non solum vere per se et essentialiter humani corporis forma exsistat, sicut in canone felicis recordationis Clementis papae V praedecessoris Nostri in (generali) Viennensi Concilio edito continetur, verum et immortalis, et pro corporum quibus infunditur multitudine singulariter multiplicabilis, et multiplicata, et multiplicanda sit.
Cumque verum vero minime contradicat, omnem assertionem veritati illuminatae fidei contrariam omnino falsam esse definimus; et, ut aliter dogmatizare non liceat, districtius inhibemus: omnesque huiusmodi erroris assertionibus inhaerentes veluti damnatissimas haereses seminantes per omnia ut detestabiles et abominabiles haereticos et infideles, catholicam fidem labefactantes, vitandos et puniendos fore decernimus.
Since in our days (and we painfully bring this up) the sower of cockle, ancient enemy of the human race, has dared to disseminate and advance in the field of the Lord a number of pernicious errors, always rejected by the faithful, especially concerning the nature of the rational soul, namely, that it is mortal, or one in all men, and some rashly philosophizing affirmed that this is true at least according to philosophy, in our desire to offer suitable remedies against a plague of this kind, with the approval of this holy Council, we condemn and reject all who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, or is one in all men, and those who cast doubt on these truths, since it [the soul] is not only truly in itself and essentially the form of the human body, as was defined in the canon of Pope Clement V our predecessor of happy memory published in the (general) Council of Vienne but it is also multiple according to the multitude of bodies into which it is infused, multiplied, and to be multiplied.
And since truth never contradicts truth, we declare every assertion contrary to the truth of illumined faith to be altogether false; and, that it may not be permitted to dogmatize otherwise, we strictly forbid it, and we decree that all who adhere to errors of this kind are to be shunned and to be punished as detestable and abominable infidels who disseminate most damnable heresies and who weaken the Catholic faith.
(Excerpt From the Bull Apostolici Regiminis, issued by Leo X on December 19, 1513. Emphasis added.)


Christliche Geseng Lateinisch Und Deutsch, Sum Begrebnis [Christian Songs Latin and German, for Use at Funerals], Wittenberg, 1542, in Works of Luther, Vol. 6, 1932 (This cover is from Luther’s Works, 1957 edition):

St. Paul writes to those at Thessalonica [ 1 Thessalonians 4:13], that they should not sorrow over the dead as the others who have no hope, but that they should comfort themselves with God’s Word, as those who possess sure hope of eternal life and the resurrection of the dead. For it is no wonder that those who have no hope grieve; nor can they be blamed for this. Since they are beyond the pale of the faith in Christ they either must cherish this temporal life alone and love it and be unwilling to lose it, or store up for themselves, after this life, eternal death and the wrath of God in hell, and go there unwillingly. But we Christians, who have been redeemed from all this through the precious blood of God’s Son, should train and accustom ourselves in faith to despise death and regard it as a deep, strong, sweet sleep; to consider the coffin as nothing other than our Lord Jesus’ bosom or Paradise, the grave as nothing other than a soft couch of ease or rest. As verily, before God, it truly is just this; for he testifies, John 11:11; Lazarus, our friend sleeps; Matthew 9:24: The maiden is not dead, she sleeps. Thus, too, St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, removes from sight all hateful aspects of death as related to our mortal body and brings forward nothing but charming and joyful aspects of the promised life. He says there [vv. 42ff]: It is sown in corruption and will rise in incorruption; it is sown in dishonor (that is, a hateful, shameful form) and will rise in glory; it is sown in weakness and will rise in strength; it is sown in natural body and will rise a spiritual body.

Accordingly we have driven the pestilential abominations from our churches, such as vigils, masses for the dead, processions, purgatory, and all other mockery and hocus pocus on behalf of the dead. We have abolished all these and have cleaned them out thoroughly and do not want our churches to be houses of wailing and places of mourning any longer, but koemiteria, as the old fathers were wont to call them, that is dormitories and resting places. Nor do we sing any funereal hymns doleful songs over our dead and at the graves, but comforting hymns, of the forgiveness of sins, of rest, of sleep, of life, and of the resurrection of Christians who have died, in order that our faith may be strengthened and the people may be moved to proper devotion.

– pp. 287, 288.

Dr. Martin Luthers Sämmtliche Schriften – Erster Teil – Auslegung des ersten Buches Mose, Erster Band, Johann Georg Walch, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Missouri, USA:

Thus after death the soul goes to its bedchamber and to its peace, and while it is sleeping it does not realize its sleep, and God preserves indeed the awakening soul. God is able to awake Elijah, Moses, and others, and so control them, so that they will live. But how can that be? That we do not know; we satisfy ourselves with the example of bodily sleep, and with what God says: it is a sleep, a rest, and a peace. He who sleeps naturally knows nothing of that which happens in his neighbor’s house; and nevertheless, he still is living, even though, contrary to the nature of life, he is unconscious in his sleep. Exactly the same will happen also in that life, but in another and a better way.

– Columns 1759, 1760 (Complete Works was originally published in Germany, 1740-1753).

The Complete Works of Martin Luther: Volume 5, Sermons 92-114, Delmarva Publications, USA, 2014:

In the second place, you must not calculate how far life and death are apart, or how many years may pass while the body is wasting in the grave, and how one after another dies, but endeavor to grasp the thought of Christ with reference to the conditions apart from this time and hour. For he does not calculate time by tens, hundreds or thousands of years, nor measure the years consecutively, the one preceding, the other following, as we must do in this life; but he grasps everything in a moment, the beginning, middle and end of the whole human race and of all time. And what we regard and measure according to time, as by a long drawn out rule, all this he sees as at a glance, and thus both the death and life of the last as well as of the first man are to him as only a moment of time.

Thus, we should learn to view our death in the right light, so that we need not become alarmed on account of it, as unbelief does; because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep, which brings us release from this vale of tears, from sin and from the fear and extremity of real death and from all the misfortunes of this life, and we shall be secure and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment, as on a sofa, until the time when he shall call and awaken us together with all his dear children to his eternal glory and joy. For since we call it a sleep, we know that we shall not remain in it, but be again awakened and live, and that the time during which we sleep, shall seem no longer than if we had just fallen asleep. Hence, we shall censure ourselves that we were surprised or alarmed at such a sleep in the hour of death, and suddenly come alive out of the grave and from decomposition, and entirely well, fresh, with a pure, clear, glorified life, meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the clouds…

Scripture everywhere affords such consolation, which speaks of the death of the saints, as if they fell asleep and were gathered to their fathers, that is, had overcome death through this faith and comfort in Christ, and awaited the resurrection, together with the saints who preceded them in death. Therefore the early Christians (undoubtedly from the Apostles or their disciples) followed the custom of bringing their dead to honorable burial and wherever possible interred them in separate places, which they called, not places of burial or grave-yards, but coemeteria, sleepingchambers, dormitoria, houses of sleep, names which have reamined in use until our time; and we Germans from ancient times call such places of burial God’s acres, as St. Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:44, says: “It is sown a natural body;” for whath we now call church-yards were not at first places of burial. This is the teaching and comfort of this Gospel lesson.

– Twenty-Fourth Sunday After Trinity. Second Sermon (Matthew 9:18-26).

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Luther’s WorksVol. 48 – Letters I – Luther’s Letters from April, 1507 to March, 1522 (Images: Luther’s Works, 1963 Edition, Fortress Press, USA and Luther’s Works, CD ROM, Fortress Press and Concordia Publishing House, USA, 2001):

Concerning your “souls,” I have not enough [insight into the problem] to answer you.  I am inclined to agree with your opinion that the souls of the just are asleep and that they do not know where they are up to the Day of Judgment. I am drawn to this opinion by the word of Scripture, “They sleep with their fathers.”  The dead who were raised by Christ and by the apostles testify to this fact,  since they were as if they had just awakened from sleep and didn’t know where they had been. To this must be added the ecstatic experiences of many saints. I have nothing with which I could overthrow this opinion. But I do not dare to affirm that this is true for all souls in general, because of the ecstasy of Paul,  and the ascension of Elijah and of Moses (who certainly did not appear as phantoms on Mount Tabor). 

Who knows how God deals with the departed souls? Can’t [God] just as well make them sleep on and off (or for as long as he wishes [them to sleep]), just as he overcomes with sleep those who live in the flesh? And again, that passage in Luke 16 [:23 ff.] concerning Abraham and Lazarus, although it does not force the assumption of a universal [capacity of feeling on the part of the departed],yet it attributes a capacity of feeling to Abraham and Lazarus, and it is hard to twist this passage to refer to the Day of Judgment.

I think the same about the condemned souls; some may feel punishments immediately after death, but others may be spared from [punishments] until that Day [of Judgment]. For the reveler [in that parable] confesses that he is tortured;  and the Psalm says, “Evil will catch up with the unjust man when he perishes.”  You perhaps also refer this either to the Day of Judgment or to the passing anguish of physical death. Then my opinion would be that this is uncertain. It is most probable, however, that with few exceptions, all [departed souls] sleep without possessing any capacity of feeling. Consider now who the “spirits in prison” were to whom Christ preached, as Peter writes:  Could they not also sleep until the Day [of Judgment]? Yet when Jude says concerning the Sodomites that they suffer the pain of eternal fire, he is speaking of a present [fire]. 

On purgatory I have this opinion: I do not think, as the sophists dream, that it is a certain place, nor do I think that all who remain outside heaven or hell are in purgatory.

(Who could assert this, since [the departed souls] could sleep suspended between heaven, earth, hell, purgatory, and all else, just as could happen with the living, when they are in a deep sleep?) I think purgatory is that punishment which they call a foretaste of hell and under which Christ, Moses, Abraham, David, Jacob, Job, Hezekiah, and many others suffered. This punishment is similar to hell, yet restricted in terms of time; it is purgatory for me regardless of whether this punishment takes place emotionally or physically, since we attribute such punishment to purgatory. Yet while it is declared that this punishment takes place physically, and that this is certain, it also cannot be denied that [this punishment] takes place emotionally, although this cannot be proven. Consequently you are by no means in error, whatever you may believe here. Even if you deny purgatory, you are no heretic, since you do not deny that the punishment [of purgatory] can be felt physically and emotionally, but you deny only that purgatory is a definite place and that it has been proven that such punishment is felt emotionally. This I deny too. For they who feel that punishment physically are actually no longer in the body, but dead, as far as life itself [and the senses] are concerned. And so it is not possible for you to deny that this punishment can be felt this way, that is emotionally. This is how I see it. If you have something else to say, let me know.

– pp. 360, 361 (excerpt from the letter to Nicholas von Amsdorf, January 13, 1522).

Assertio Omnium Articulorum M. Lutheri per Bullam Leonis X. Novissimam Damnatorum (Assertion of all the articles of M. Luther condemned by the latest Bull of Leo X.), Weimar edition of Luther’s Works:

Permitto tamen, quod Papa condat articulos suae fidei et suis fidelibus, quales sunt, panem et vinum transsubstantiari in sacramento, Essentiam dei nec generare nec generari, Animam esse formam substantialem corporis humani, Se esse Imperatorem mundi et regem coeli et deum terrenum, Animam esse immortalen, Et omnia illa infinita portenta in Romano sterquilinio Decretorum, ut, qualis est eius fides, tale sit Euangelium, tales et fideles, talis et Ecclesia, et habeant similem labra lactucam et dignum patella sit operculum.However, I permit the Pope establish articles of faith for himself and for his own faithful, such are that the bread and wine are transubstantiated in the sacrament, that the essence of God neither generates nor is generated, that the soul is the substantial form of the human body, that he (the pope) is emperor of the world and king of heaven, and earthly god, that the soul is immortaland all these endless monstrosities in the Roman dunghill of decretals, in order that such as his faith is, such may be his gospel, such also his faithful, and such his church, and that the lips may have suitable lettuce and the lid may be worthy of the dish.

– Vol. 7, excerpt from Article 27, pp. 131, 132.  (Assertio was a point by point exposition of his position, written Dec. 1, 1520, in response to requests for a fuller treatment than that given in his Adversus execrabilum Antichristi Bullam, and Wider die Bulle des Endchrists).

A Short Historical View of the Controversy concerning an Intermediate State and the Separate Existence of the Soul, Between Death and the General Resurrection, deduced from the Beginning of the Protestant Reformation, to the Present Time, Francis Blackburne, London, England, 1765 (This cover is from 2010 edition):

Cardinal du Perron [1556-1618], supposes Luther denied the immortality of the foul, for the fake of the effect the contrary doctrine would have upon the practice of invocating saints. But it is certain that Luther himself had not quite laid aside the practice of invocation, at the time he wrote this defence of his articles.

Afterwards indeed Luther espoused the doctrine of the steep of the soul, upon a scripture foundation, and then he made use of it as a confutation of purgatory and saint worship, and continued in that belief to the last moment of his life.

I know this hath been controverted even by some of his own followers. The question upon many accounts, is worth debating; and as the discussion of it would break the thread of our present disquisition, I shall reserve what I have to say upon the subject, for an Appendix; observing that Luther in his commentary upon Ecclesiastes [next quotation], which was published in the year 1532, was clearly and indisputably on the side of those who maintain the sleep of the soul.

– pp. 14, 15.

Excerpt from Luther’s commentary upon Ecclesiastes:

Salomon judgeth that the dead are a sleepe, and feele nothing at all. For the dead lye there accompting neyther dayes nor yeares, but when are awaked, they shall seeme to have slept scarce one minute.

– An Exposition of Solomon’s Book, Called Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, translation from 1573, folio 151 v.

Did Luther later reverse his position? To this question Francis Blackburne gives an unqualified “No.”:

Did Luther then so far alter his mind as to recant, and espouse the contrary doctrine? Nor our apologist does not say that, though he would not be unwilling you should so understand him. He only means that he qualified his opinions with certain saving limitations, the import of which, we shall have occasion presently to consider. In the mean time, it is next to certain, that he held the sleep of the soul, for ten long years without these savings, namely, from the year 1522, the date of his letter to Amsdorf, to the year 1532, when he published his commentary on Ecclesiastes. And his reflection on the death of John elector of Saxony, who died of an apoplexy immediately upon his returning from the chace, that same year shews that he was then in no disposition to retract it.

Then follows Blackburne’s considered conclusion, after all evidence had been painstakingly surveyed. Discussing Luther’s final view, expressed on the very day of his death, Francis Blackburne states:

Luther here considers those who will know their friends in that eternal life, as in the same state that Adam was when Eve was first presented to him, namely, just awaked out of a deep sleep. The renewal by Christ cannot possibly mean any thing but the resurrection of the dead; and these two circumstances, considered together, leave not the least room for a conscious intermediate state. A plain proof that Luther never departed from the sentiments he disclosed to Amsdorf in 1522, but retained to his dying moment, the same uniform idea of a total suspension of thought and consciousness during the interval between death and the resurrection.

– pp. 114, 124, 125.

Taito Almar KantonenThe Christian Hope, United Lutheran Church in America, Philadelphia, USA, 1954:

Luther, with a greater emphasis on the resurrection, preferred to concentrate on the scriptural metaphor of sleep. For just as one who falls asleep and reaches morning unexpectedly when he awakes, without knowing what has happened to him “we shall suddenly rise on the last day without knowing how we have come into death and through death.” We shall sleep, until He comes and knocks on the little grave and says, “Doctor Martin, get up! Then I shall rise in a moment, and be with him forever.”

– p. 37. See also “Auslegung des ersten Buches Mose” (1544), in Schriften, vol. 1, col. 1756; “Kirchen-Postille” (1528), in Schriften, vol. 11, col. 1143; Schriften, vol. 2, col. 1069; Deutsche Schriften (Erlangen ed.), vol. 11, p. 142ff.; vol. 41 (1525), p. 373.

An Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue. Originally published in 1531. Reprinted by The Parker Society in 1850, Cambridge University Press. (This cover is from 2010 Edition):

And when he [Thomas More] proveth that the saints be in heaven in glory with Christ already, saying, ‘If God be their God, they be in heaven, for he is not the God of the dead’; there he stealeth away Christ’s argumentwherewith he proveth the resurrection: that Abraham and all saints should rise again, and not that their souls were in heaven; which doctrine was not yet in the world. And with that doctrine he taketh away the resurrection quite, and maketh Christ’s argument of none effect. For when Christ allegeth the scripture, that God is Abraham’s God, and addeth to, that God is not God of the dead but of the living, and so proveth that Abraham must rise again; I deny Christ’s argument, and I say with M. More, that Abraham is yet alive, not because of the resurrection, but because his soul is in heaven. And in like manner, Paul’s argument unto the Corinthians is nought worth: for when he saith, ‘If there be no resurrection, we be of all wretches the miserablest; here we have no pleasure, but sorrow, care, and oppression; and therefore, if we rise not again, all our suffering is in vain: Nay, Paul, thou art unlearned; go to Master More, and learn a new way. We be not most miserable, though we rise not again; for our souls go to heaven as soon as we be dead, and are there in as great joy as Christ that is risen again.’ And I marvel that Paul had not comforted the Thessalonians with that doctrine, if he had wist it, that the souls of their dead had been in joy; as he did with the resurrection, that their dead should rise again. If the souls be in heaven, in as great glory as the angels, after your doctrine, shew me what cause should be of the resurrection?

– Book II, Chapter 8, p. 118.

More: “Item, that all souls lie and sleep till doomsday.

Tyndale: And ye, in putting them in heaven, hell, and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection. What God doth with them, that shall we know when we come to them. The true faith putteth the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put that the souls did ever live. And the pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree, no more than the Spirit and the flesh do in a Christian man. And because the fleshlyminded pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the scripture to stablish it. Moses saith in Deut. “The secret things pertain unto the Lord, and the things that be opened pertain unto us, that we do all that is written in the book.” Wherefore, sir, if we loved the laws of God, and would occupy ourselves to fulfil them, and would on the other side be meek, and let God alone with his secrets, and suffer him to be wiser than we, we should make none article of the faith of this or that. And again, if the souls be in heaven, tell me why they be not in as good case as the angels be? And then what cause is there of the resurrection?

– Book IV, Chapter 2, pp. 180, 181.

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William Tyndale, New Testament , 1534, (ed. David Daniel, 1989), Prefácio, pág. 15. (This cover is from 1995 edition). Also quoted in Documents of the English Reformation – 1526-1701, Gerald Bray, James Clarke & Co., Cambridge, 1994, p. 19:

And I protest before God, and our Savior Christ, and all that believe in him, that I hold of the souls that are departed as much as may be proved by manifest and open scripture, and think the souls departed in the faith of Christ, and love of the law of God, to be in no worse case than the soul of Christ was from the time that he delivered his spirit into the hands of his Father until the resurrection of his body in glory and immortality. Nevertheless, I confess openly, that I am not persuaded that they be already in the full glory that Christ is in, or the elect angels of God are in. Neither is it any article of my faith: for if it so were, I see not but then the preaching of the resurrection of the flesh were a thing in vain. Notwithstanding yet I am ready to believe it, if it may be proved with open scripture. And I have desired George Joye to take open texts that seem to make for that purpose, as this is: Today thou shalt be with me in Paradise, to make thereof what he could, and to let his dreams about this word resurrection, go. For I receive not in the Scripture the private interpretation of any man’s brain, without open testimony of any scriptures agreeing thereto.

Thieleman J. van Braght, The Bloody Theater or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians who baptized only upon confession of faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Saviour, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660. Reprinted by David Miller, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, 1837. (This cover is from 2011 edtion):

In short, beloved brethren and sisters this letter shall be a farewell to all of you who truly love and follow God (others I do not know); and also a testimony of my love which God has given into my heart towards you, for the sake of your salvation. I did indeed desire, and it would have been profitable, I trust, if I had labored a little while longer in the work of the Lord; but it is better for me, to be released, and to await with Christ the hope of the blessed. The Lord is able to raise up another laborer to finish this work.

A bit further in that letter, Sattler makes clear what exactly was his “hope”:

…Finally, beloved brethren and sisters, sanctify yourselves for Him that has made you holy, and hear what Esdras says, “Look for your Shepherd; he shall give you everlasting rest; for he is nigh at hand, that shall come in the end of the world. Be ready to the reward of the kingdom. . . .Flee the shadow of this world. . . .Arise up and stand, behold the number of those that be sealed in the feast of the Lord; which are departed from the shadow of the world, and have received glorious garments of the Lora. . . .and  shut up those of thine that are clothed in white, which have fulfilled the law of the Lord. The number of thy children whom thou longedst for, is fulfilled. . . .I Esdras saw upon the mount Sion a great people; whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon everyone of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marveled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel, What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord.” II Esdras 2:34-36, 38-47; Rev. 19:12; Matt. 13:43.

– The Bloody Theater was first published in Holland in 1660 by Thieleman J. van Braght. The book documents the stories and testimonies of Christian martyrs, especially Anabaptists. Before his execution, Sattler wrote a letter from prison “To The Church of God at Horb” (excerpts above). This letter of Sattler is found on pages 346-349.

The Works of The English Reformers – William Tyndale and John Frith, Edited by Thomas Russell, A.M., Vol. 3, The Third Book, Which Answereth Unto My Lord of Rochester, and Declareth the Mind of the Old Doctors, London, England, 1831 (This cover is from 2010 edition):

“Be it in case that all the doctors did affirm purgatory, as they do not, what were my Lord the nearer his purpose? Verily not one iota; for the authority of doctors, by my Lord’s own confession, extendeth no further, but is only to be admitted whilst they confirm their words by Scripture, or else by some probable reason. For my Lord writeth on this manner: (Article 37) ” The Pope hath not so allowed the whole doctrine of St. Thomas, that men should believe every point he wrote were true. Neither hath the church so approved either St. Augustin or St. Hierome, nor any other author’s doctrine, but that in some places we may dissent from them, for they in many places have openly declared themselves to be men, and many times to have erred.”

These are my Lord’s own words. Now since the doctors sometimes err, and in certain places are not to be admitted, (as he granteth himself,) how should we know when to approve them, and when to deny them? If we should hang on the doctors’ authority, then should we as well allow the untruth as the truth, since he affirmeth both. Therefore we must have a judge to discern between truth and falsehood. And who should that be? the Pope? Nay verily, for he being a man, (as well as the doctors were,) may err as they did, and so shall we ever be uncertain. Our judge, therefore, must not be partial, flexible, nor ignorant (and so are all natural men excluded); but he must be unalterable, even searching the bottom and ground of all things.

Who must that be? Verily, the Scripture and word of God, which was given by his Son, confirmed and sealed by the Holy Ghost, and testified by miracles and blood of all martyrs. This word is the judge that must examine the matter, the perfect touchstone that trieth all things, and day that discloseth all juggling mists. If the doctors say any thing not dissonant from this word, then it is to be admitted and holden for truth. But if any of their doctrine discord from it, it is to be abhorred, and holden accursed.

… The first reason that my Lord hath, which is not before solved, (for, as I said, the reasons that are already dissolved, will I now overhip) is this, which he groundeth on divers Scriptures. “Of the souls that are departed, some are already damned in hell, and some are already in heaven.” And to prove this true, he allegeth the parable of the rich man. (Luke xvi.). I am sure my Lord is not so ignorant as to say that a parable proveth any thing. But the right use of a parable is this, to expound a hard text or point that was before touched, and could not enter into every man’s capacity. Neither are all things like which are spoken in a similitude, neither yet all things true that are touched in a parable; but we must consider the thing wherefore they be spoken, and apply them only to that they are spoken for, and let the residue go, as William Tyndale hath well declared unto you in the parable of wicked Mammon. This parable is very hard to be expounded. The cause is this: no man can well espy by the text for what purpose it was spoken. But this should seem to be the cause, that there were many of the Pharisees and other multitude which would not believe the preaching of Christ, although he confirmed his words with the authority of Moses and the prophets; but they were curious, and some deal fantastical, and therefore would they not believe his words, except some apparitions had been made unto them, that they might have been assured by them that were before dead, that his words were true.

Unto such it is like that he speaketh this parable, plainly concluding that they should have no such apparitions of the dead, and also that it was not necessary; but that they had Moses and the prophets, to whom, if they would give no credence, then should they not believe although one of the dead should rise again and tell it them. Notwithstanding, let me grant it him [the bishop of Rochester], that some are already in hell, and some in heaven, (which thing he shall never be able to prove by the Scripture, yea, and which plainly destroyeth the resurrection, and taketh away the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul do prove that we shall rise) yet, I say, let me grant it him, to see how he will conclude. What followeth on that?

“Neither it is creditable,” (saith he) ” that all which are cast into hell should straightway go to heaven, therefore must we put a purgatory, where they may be purged.”

I answer: All that live are faithful or unfaithful. If he be unfaithful, then is he damned. (John iii.) If he believe, then is he not condemned, but is gone from death to life. (John iii. v.) The righteous man, when he dieth, shall rest in peace. (Sapien. iii.) And every faithful man is righteous before God, as the whole Epistle to the Romans proveth. Ergo, then every faithful man shall rest in peace and not be tormented in the pains of purgatory. And as touching this point, where they rest, I dare be bold to say that they are in the hand of God, and that God would that we should be ignorant where they be, and not to take upon us to determine the matter.”

– pp. 189-192.

The Acts and Monuments of the Church, John Foxe (best known as “The Book of Martyrs”), M. Hobart Seymour, New York, Robert Carter & Brothers, 1855 (this cover is from 2009 edition):

[Article 13 of the indictment of the inquisitors said:]

“Thou hast preached plainly, saying there is no purgatory, and that it is a feigned thing for any man after this life to be punished in purgatory.”

[At this, Wishart replied:]

“My lords, as I have said heretofore, without express witness and testimony of the scripture I dare affirm nothing. I have oft read over the bible, and yet such a term found I never, nor yet any place of scripture applicable to it. Therefore I was ashamed ever to teach that thing which I could not find in the scripture.”

[Article 18 said:]

“Thou false heretic has preached openly saying, that the soul of man shall sleep to the latter day of judgment and shall not obtain life immortal until that day.”

[At this, Wishart replied:]

“God full of mercy and goodness forgive them that say such things of me; I know surely by the word of God, that he which hath begun to have the faith of Jesus Christ, and believeth firmly in him, believeth that the soul of man shall never sleep, but ever shall live an immortal life; which life, from day to day, is renewed in grace and augmented; nor yet shall ever perish or have an end, but ever immortal shall live with Christ. To which life all that believe in him shall come, and rest in eternal glory. Amen.”

– pp. 625, 626. It should be noted Wishart hasn’t denied, even under threat of death, that he had taught that there is no such thing as “purgatory” and that the soul is unconscious from the time of death to resurrection day. What he said before his inquisitors is that the soul rests in God and “ever immortal shall live” [in the future]).

A Complete Collection of State Trials, Vol. II, London, 1816 (this cover is from 2012 edition):

Wightman’s “heresy” commenced with his understanding of the mortality of the soul, adopting the “soul sleep” view of Martin Luther. In one of his early public messages he preached that “the soul of man dies with the body and participates not either of the joys of Heaven or the pains of Hell, until the general Day of Judgment, but rested with the body until then”. The Article 11 from charges of the Consistory said his ‘heretic’ sayings included:

That the Soul doth sleep in the sleep of the first death, as well as the body, and is mortall as touching the sleep of the first death, as the body is: And that the Soul of our Saviour Jesus Christ did sleep in that sleep of death as well as his body.

– p. 736. (See also ‘The 1607 Return of Staffordshire Catholics’, Marie Rowlands, Midland Catholic History Society, Nº 4, Autumn 1963; Lives of Two and Twenty English Divines, Samuel Clarke, London, 1660, pp. 147, 148 and Evangelical Biography, Erasmus Middleton, Vol. III, 1816, pp. 28, 29).

George Wither (1588-1667), English Puritan. In 1636 he produced an English translation of a treatise, The Nature of Man, originally written in Greek by fourth or fifth-century Bishop Nemesius. Nemesius had been a Neo-Platonist, but became bishop of Emesa (Phoenicia) and one of the most ancient “Fathers of the Church”. Wither’s comments on the treatise indicate that his own beliefs were in harmony with those of Nemesius and in conflict with the “orthodoxy” of his day.

[This is not the real bookcover]:

The Hebrewes affirme that MAN was made from the beginning, neither altogether mortall, neither wholly immortall, but, as it were, in a state betweene both those natures, to the end that if he did follow the affections of the body, he should be liable to such alterations as belong to the bodie; But if he did prefer such good things as pertaine to the soul, he should then be honoured with Immortalitie For, if GOD had made MAN absolutely mortall from the beginning, he would not have condemned him to die after he had offended; because it had beene a thing needlesse to make him mortall by condemnation, who was mortall before. And on the other side, if he had made Man absolutely immortall, hee would not have caused him to stand in need of nourishment; for, nothing that is immortall needeth bodily nourishment.

Moreover, it is not to be beleeved, that God would so hastily have repented himself, and made Him to be forthwith mortall, who was created absolutely immortall: For it is evident that he did not so in the Angels that sinned, but (according to the nature which they obtained from the beginning) they remained immortall, undergoing for their offences not the penalty of Death, but of some other punishment. It is better therefore, either to be of the first mentioned opinion touching this matter; or, else, thus to think, that MAN was indeed created mortall, but, yet, in such wise that if hee were perfected by a vertuous and pious progression, he might become immortall: that is to say, he was made such a One, as had in him a potentiall abilitie to become immortall…

The Science, is, before working according to that science; and Aristotle calls the forme it selfe [in non-Latin alphabet], that is, the first continued motion: The working according to this forme, he names [in non-Latin alphabet] the second continued motion. As for example:

The eye consisteth of a materiall subject, and of a certaine forme. This materiall subject, is in the eye it selfe; even that which containeth the sight (I meane the matter of the eye) and this matter is equivocally called the eye. But the forme and continuall motion of the eye is the operation wherby it seeth: A whelp before he can see though he hath neither of the two motions afore mentioned, hath yet, an aptnesse to receive such a motion: Even in such maner we must conceive of it in the SOUL. When sight commeth to the welp it perfects the eye; and when the SOUL commeth unto the Body, it perfects the living-creature.

So then, in a perfect living-creature, neither can the SOUL bee at any time without the Bodie, neither the Body without the Soul: For, the SOUL is not the Body it selfe; but, it is the SOUL of the BODY: and therefore, it is in the Body, yea, and in such a kinde of body: for, it hath not an existence by it self.

– pp. 23-26, 131-133. Full text: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo/A08062

Joachim Stegmann (1595-1633) was a Lutheran pastor in Brandenburg (Germany) and afterwards a Socinian theologian. He was also Bible translator, mathematician and rector of the Racovian Academy (Poland):

Whether the Dead do properly live – We have hitherto seen in general, that those who follow Luther and Calvin for their Guides in Religion, cannot solidly refute the Papists. Now if we should descend to particulars, a large Field would offer itself to us, wherein we might expatiate. But that we may not pass the set bounds of Brevity, we will briefly touch a point or two.

And first we will shew, that they either afford, or retain the grounds of the greatest Errors that are amongst the Papists.

Again, that they teach such things as are injuriously defended, not only against the Papists, but also against the very Life of the Christian Religion; I mean true Piety. Of the former sort is that Opinion wherein they hold that the Dead live. It will seem absurd, and indeed the thing itself is very absurd, yet they believe it. For they suppose that the Souls of Men, in that very moment wherein they are parted from their Bodies by Death, are carry’d either to Heaven, and do there feel heavenly joy, and possess all kinds of Happiness, which God hath promis’d to his People; or to Hell, and are there tormented, and excruciated with unquenchable Fire. And this, as was said before, they attribute to the mere Souls separated from the Bodies, even before the Resurrection of the Men themselves, that is to say, while they are yet dead. But those things cannot happen to anything which is not alive; for that which doth not live doth not feel, and consequently neither enjoyeth Pleasure, nor endureth Pain. Wherefore they believe in effect, that the Dead live: namely, in the same manner that they affirm PeterPaul, and other dead Men to live in Heaven. Now this is the Foundation not only of Purgatory, but also of that horrible Idolatry practis’d amongst the Papists, whilst they invocate the Saints that are dead. Take this away, and – there will be no place left for the others. To what purpose is the Fire of Purgatory, if Souls separated from the Bodies feel nothing? To what purpose are Prayers to the Virgin Mary, to Peter, and Paul, and other dead Men, if they can neither hear Prayers, nor intercede for you? On the contrary, if you admit this, you cannot easily overthrow the Invocation of Saints. Now tho the thing be such of itself as deserves to seem absurd to everyone, yet will we see whether the contrary thereof be not set down in Scripture. Nor need we go far for an example, since we have a pregnant one in the Argument of Christ, wherein he proveth the future Resurrection of the Dead from thence, That God is the God of AbrahamIsaac, and Jacob, but is not the God of the Dead, but of the Living: whence he concluded that they live to God, that is, shall be recall’d to Life by God, that he may manifest himself to be their God, or Benefactor. This Argument would be altogether fallacious, if before the Resurrection they felt heavenly Joy. For then God would be their God, or Benefactor, namely, according to their Souls, altho their Bodies should never rise again. In like manner, the Reasoning of the Apostle would be fallacious, I Cor. 15. 30, 31, 32. wherein he proveth the Resurrection by that Argument: Because otherwise those that believe in Christ would in vain run hazards every hour; in vain suffer so many Calamities for Christ; which he teacheth by his own Example. Again, because otherwise it would be better to sing the Song of the Epicureans, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die. In short, of all men Christians would be most miserable. Certainly this would be false, if the Godly presently after death did in their Souls enjoy celestial Happiness, and the Wicked feel Torment. For they would not in vain suffer Calamities, nor these follow the Pleasures of the Flesh scot-free; and the Godly would be far happier than the Wicked. Since therefore it is the absurdest thing in the world, to say that Christ and the Apostle Paul did not argue rightly; is it not clear that the Doctrine is false, which being granted, so great an Absurdity would be charg’d on Christ and the Apostle Paul? Furthermore, why should Peter defer the Salvation of Souls to the last day? 1 Pet. 1. 5. Who are kept by the Power of God thro Faith unto Salvation, ready to be reveal’d in the last time: And Paul the Crown of Righteousness to the Day of Judgment; 2 Tim 4. 8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shalt give to me at that day, etc. To what purpose should the Judgment be appointed? How could it be said of the godly under the old Covenant, that they receiv’d not the promise, God providing some better things for us, that they might not without us be made perfect, Heb 11:40, if the soul of every one presently after death, even without the body, felt celestial happiness?

But the very Nature of the thing itself refuteth it. Is not Living, Dying, Feeling, Hearing, Acting, proper to the whole Man, or the Compound of Soul and Body? Is not the Body the Instrument of the Soul, without which it cannot perform her Functions? As an Artist knoweth indeed the Art of working, but unless he have Instruments at hand, he cannot produce any Effect. Let the Eye be shut, the Soul will not see, tho the Power of Seeing be not taken away from it. For as soon as you shall restore the Instrument, a man will presently see. Wherefore Souls separated from Bodies are neither dead nor live, and consequently enjoy no Pleasure, and feel no Pain; for those things are proper to the whole Compound.

But the Scripture saith, that the Dead are not, that the Spirit returneth to him that gave it; and of the Spirits of the Godly, that they are in the hand of God, but at the Resurrection they shall be join’d with the Bodies. And then having gotten Instruments, they will put forth their Operations.”

(Brevis disquisitio an et quo mado vulgo dicti Evangelici Pontificios, ac nominatim Val. Magni de Acatholicorum credendi regula judicium solide atque evidenter refutare queant [A Brief Inquiry Touching a Better Way than Is Commonly Made Use of to Refute Papists and Reduce Protestants to Certainty and Unity in Religion], Eleutheropoli, 1633. This work is included in The Polish brethren: Documentation of the history and thought of Unitarianism in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and in the Diaspora 1601-1685. Edited, translated and interpreted by George Huntston Williams, Harvard Theological Studies Series, Scholars Press, 1980).

Inscrições no túmulo de Peter Chamberlen, medico inglês
To tell his learning and his life to men,
Enough is said by Here lyes Chamberlen;
Death my last sleep, to ease my careful head,
The grave my hardest, but my easiest bed;
The end of sorrow — labour and of care,
The end of trouble, sickness, and of feare.
Here I shall sin no more — no more shall weep,
Here’s surely to be found a quiet sleep;
Death’s but one night, my life hath many seen,
My life brought death — death brings me life againe.
Seeds rise to trees — hearbes rise again from seed,
Shall bodies then of men obtain worse speed?
We dayly die, entombed in sleep and night,
But in the morning we renue our light;
Hence spring my joyes and comfortes evermore,
I cannot feele but what Christ felt before.
Wee now believe, and heare, and talk by guess,
Then I shall see, and what I see possess;
And when I wake wrapt in Eternal light,
Of God and Christ, I know no more of night;
Crown’d with Eternal glories ever blest,
Oh! happy rest that brings me all the rest.
Bodies calcin’d to iemmes like stars shall sing,
Ravish’d with joyes and praises of my King.
Praised be God my Saviour, Praise his name;
Angels and Saintes sing with me his fame.
These verses were found, made, and ordered by Dr Peter Chamberlen, here interred, for his epitaph.

John Milton, A Treatise on Christian Doctrine, chapter 13, Charles R. Sumner, Cambridge University Press, 1825 (This cover is from 2015 edition):

We may understand from other passages of Scripture, that when God infused the breath of life into man, what man thereby received was not a portion of God’s essence, or a participation of the divine nature, but that measure of the divine virtue or influence, which was commensurate to the capabilities of the recipient. 4 For it appears from Psal. civ. 29, 30. that he infused the breath of life into other living beings also; — thou takest away their breath, they die ..thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created; whence we learn that every living thing receives animation from one and the same source of life and breath ; inasmuch as when God takes back to himself that spirit or breath of life, they cease to exist. Eccles. iii. 19. they have all one breath. Nor has the word spirit any other meaning in the sacred writings, but that breath of life which we inspire, or the vital, or sensitive, or rational faculty, or some action or affection belonging to those faculties.

Man having been created after this manner, it is said, as a consequence, that man became a living soul; whence it may be inferred (unless we had rather take the heathen writers for our teachers respecting the nature of the soul) that man is a living being, intrinsically and properly one and individual, not compound or separable, not, according to the common opinion, made up and framed of two distinct and different natures, as of soul and body, — but that the whole man is soul, and the soul man, that is to say, a body, or substance individual, animated, sensitive, and rational; and that the breath of life was neither a part of the divine essence, nor the soul itself, but as it were an inspiration of some divine virtue fitted for the exercise of life and reason, and infused into the organic body; for man himself, the whole man, when finally created, is called in express terms a living soul. Hence the word used in Genesis to signify soul, is interpreted by the apostle, 1 Cor. xv. 45. animal. Again, all the attributes of the body are assigned in common to the soul: the touch, Lev. v. 2, &c. if a soul touch any unclean thing, — the act of eating, vii. 18. the soul that eateth of it shall bear his iniquity; v. 20. the soul that eateth of the flesh, and in other places: — hunger, Pro v. xiii. 25. xxvii. 7. — thirst, xxv. 25. as cold ivaters to a thirsty soul. Isai. xxix. 8. — capture, 1 Sam. xxiv. 11. thou huntest my soul to take it. Psal. vii. 5. let the enemy persecute my soul, and take it.

Where however we speak of the body as of a mere senseless stock, there the soul must be understood as signifying either the spirit, or its secondary faculties, the vital or sensitive faculty for instance. Thus it is as often distinguished from the spirit, as from the body itself. Luke i. 46, 47. 1 Thess. v. 23. your ivhole spirit and soul and body. Heb. iv. 12. to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit. But that the spirit of man should be separate from the body, so as to have a perfect and intelligent existence independently of it, is nowhere said in Scripture, and the doctrine is evidently at variance both with nature and reason, as will be shown more fully hereafter. For the word soul is also applied to every kind of living being ; Gen. i. 30. to every beast of the earth, &c. wherein there is life (anima vivens, Tremell.) vii. 22. all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died; yet it is never inferred from these expressions that the soul exists separate from the body in any of the brute creation.

The death of the body is the loss or extinction of life. The common definition, which supposes it to consist in the separation of soul and body, is inadmissible. For what part of man is it that dies when this separation takes place? Is it the soul? This will not be admitted by the supporters of the above definition. Is it then the body? But how can that be said to die, which never had any life of itself? Therefore the separation of soul and body cannot be called the death of man.

Here then arises an important question, which, owing to the prejudice of divines in behalf of their preconceived opinions, has usually been dismissed without examination, instead of being treated with the attention it deserves. Is it the whole man, or the body alone, that is deprived of vitality? And as this is a subject which may be discussed without endangering our faith or devotion, whichever side of the controversy we espouse, I shall declare freely what seems to me the true doctrine, as collected from numberless passages of Scripture; without regarding the opinion of those, who think that truth is to be sought in the schools of philosophy, rather than in the sacred writings.

Inasmuch then as the whole man is uniformly said to consist of body, spirit, and soul, (whatever may be the distinct provinces severally assigned to these divisions), I will show, that in death,  the whole man, and secondly each component part suffers privation of life. It is to be observed, first of all, that God denounced the punishment of death against the whole man that sinned, without excepting any part. For what could be more just, than that he who had sinned in his whole person, should die in his whole person? Or, on the other hand, what could be more absurd than that the mind, which is the part principally offending, should escape the threatened death; and that the body alone, to which immortality was equally allotted, before death came into the world by sin, should pay the penalty of sin by undergoing death, though not implicated in the transgression?

It is evident that the saints and believers of old, the patriarchs, prophets and apostles, without exception, held this doctrine…

Thus far proof has been given of the death of the whole man. But lest recourse should be had to the sophistical distinction, that although the whole man dies, it does not therefore follow that the whole of man should die, I proceed to give similar proof with regard to each of the parts, the body, the spirit, and the soul, according to the division above stated.

First, then, as to the body, no one doubts that it suffers privation of life. Nor will the same be less evident as regards the spirit, if it be allowed that the spirit, according to the doctrine laid down in the seventh chapter, has no participation in the divine nature, but is purely human; and that no reason can be assigned, why, if God has sentenced to death the whole of man that sinned, the spirit, which is the part principally offending, should be alone exempt from the appointed punishment; especially since, previous to the entrance of sin into the world, all parts of man was alike immortal; and that since that time, in pursuance of God’s denunciation, all have become equally subject to death. But to come to the proofs…

Lastly, there is abundant testimony to prove that the soul (whether we understand by this term the whole human composition, or whether it is to be considered as synonymous with the spirit) is subject to death, natural as well as violent.

– pp. 190, 191, 279-286.

Man’s Mortallitie, Richard Overton (fl. 1640–1664), printed by John Canne, Amsterdam, Nederlands, 1643:

Man’s Mortallitie; Or a Treatise Wherein ‘tis proved, both Theologically and Phylosophically, that whole Man (as a rationall Creature) is a Compound wholy mortall, contrary to that common distinction of Soule and Body: And that the present going of the Soule into Heaven or Hell is a meer Fiction: And that at the Resurrection is the beginning of our immortallity, and then Actuall Condemnation, and Salvation, and not before.

With Doubts and Objections answered and resolved, both by Scripture and Reason, discovering the multitude of Blasphemies and Absurdities that arise from the fancy of the Soul.

Also, divers other Mysteries; as of Heaven, Hell, the extent of the Resurrection, the New-Creation, &c. opened, and presented to the Trial of better Judgment.

– Cover page.

2 Cor. 5.1, 2, 3, 4. there out Being after death is called, a building of an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: with this the Apostle desires to be clothed; and what it is, he defines, viz. mortality swallowed up of life: whence it is most evident, that all his hope of future life was grounded upon the Resurrection; and that his hope was altogether grounded thereon, he confirms, 1 Cor. 15, arguing, if Christ be not risen, the dead should not rise: and (vers. 18.) They which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished: and (vers. 14.) Then is our faith also in vaine; whose end (1 Pet. 1.9.) is the Salvation of our Souls. How should then all be in vaine, if our souls as soon as breath is out of the body enter into glory and salvation? For by that, though there were no Resurrection of the flesh, we should receive the end of our Faith, the Salvation of our Souls. Nay further, he maketh all our hope to be in this life, if there be no Resurrection; for vers. 19. having showne the evils that follow the denyall of the Resurrection, faith; If in this life onely we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable: vers. 32. Saint Paul said, If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? whence plainly appeares, that the denyal of the Resurrection confines all our hopes and advantages within this life; and so all our sufferings, persecutions, prayers, faith, &c. were to no purpose: which could not be, by this Soulary fancy of present reward of beatitude after this life.

– pp.43-45.

John Canne (1590-1667), Baptist preacher, published Richard Overton’s Man’s Mortallitie in Amsterdam (1643), which aroused much hostility against him, as well as against Overton himself. About this time he brought forth his own major contribution — a Bible with marginal notes, the first of its kind to be published, which formed the basis for all later reference Bibles, and for which he is best known. Canne’s motto was that “Scripture was the best interpreter of Scripture.” He also stressed the Baptist principle that “the Bible is everything in religion,” and that every human being should study the Sacred Scriptures for himself. In the preface to his “Bible With Marginal Notes”, he said:

6. It is not the scripture that leadeth men into errors and byways, but the misinterpretations and false glosses imposed upon it; as when men, by perverting the scriptures to their own principles and purposes, will make them speak their sense and private interpretation. Laying therefore aside men’s interpretations, and only following the scripture interpretating itself, it must needs be the best way and freest from errors.

The Holy Bible… With Marginal Notes, 1647. This cover is from 2011 edition.

John Tillotson (1630-1694), archbishop of Canterbury:

For we are to know that the Scripture supposeth us to be men, and to partake of the common notions of human nature, and therefore doth not teach us philosophy, nor solicitously instruct us in those things which are born with us ; but supposeth the knowledge of these, and makes use of these common principles and notions which are in us concerning God, and the immortality of our souls, and the life to come, to excite us to our duty, and quicken our endeavours after happiness. For I do not find that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is anywhere expressly delivered in Scripture, but taken for granted; in like manner, that the Scripture doth not solicitously instruct us in the natural notions which we have of God, but supposeth them known to us ; and if it mention them, it is not so much in order to knowledge as to practice ; and therefore we need not wonder that this expression, which doth set forth to us the nature of God, is but once used in Scripture, and that brought in upon occasion, and for another purpose, because it is a thing naturally known.

… So that natural light informing us that ” God is a spirit,” there was no need why the Scripture should inculcate this: it is an excellent medium or argument to prove that the worship of God should chiefly be spiritual; and although it was not necessary that it should have been mentioned for it self; that is, to inform us of a thing which we could not otherwise know; yet the wisdom of God, by the express mention of this, seems to have provided against an error, which some weaker and grosser spirits might be subject to. You know God is pleased, by way of condescension and accommodation of himself to our capacity, to represent himself to us in Scripture by human imperfections; and gives such descriptions of himself, as if he had a body, and bodily members. Now, to prevent any error or mistake that might be occasioned hereby, it seems very becoming the wisdom of God, some where in Scripture expressly to declare the spiritual nature of God, that none through weakness or willfulness might entertain gross apprehensions of him.

– Sermons on Several Subjects And Occasions, London, 1743, Vol. 8, Sermon 153, pp. 3707, 3708 – Princeton Theological Seminary Library. This cover is from 2013 edition.

John Locke,The Reasonableness of Christianity, as Delivered in the Scriptures, 1695, pp. 4-7 (This cover is from 2012 edition).

It is obvious to any one, who reads the New Testament, that the doctrine of redemption, and consequently of the gospel, is founded upon the supposition of Adam’s fall. To understand, therefore, what we are restored to by Jesus Christ, we must consider what the scriptures show we lost by Adam.

This I thought worthy of a diligent and unbiassed search: since I found the two extremes that men run into on this point, either on the one hand shook the foundations of all religion, or, on the other, made Christianity almost nothing: for while some men would have all Adam’s posterity doomed to eternal, infinite punishment, for the transgression of Adam, whom millions had never heard of, and no one had authorised to transact for him, or be his representative; this seemed to others so little consistent with the justice or goodness of the great and infinite God, that they thought there was no redemption necessary, and consequently, that there was none; rather than admit of it upon a supposition so derogatory to the honour and attributes of that infinite Being; and so made Jesus Christ nothing but the restorer and preacher of pure natural religion; thereby doing violence to the whole tenour of the New Testament. And, indeed, both sides will be suspected to have trespassed this way, against the written word of God, by any one, who does but take it to be a collection of writings, designed by God, for the instruction of the illiterate bulk of mankind, in the way to salvation; and therefore, generally, and in necessary points, to be understood in the plain direct meaning of the words and phrases: such as they may be supposed to have had in the mouths of the speakers, who used them according to the language of that time and country wherein they lived; without such learned, artificial, and forced senses of them, as are sought out, and put upon them, in most of the systems of divinity, according to the notions that each one has been bred up in.

To one that, thus unbiassed, reads the scriptures, what Adam fell from (is visible) was the state of perfect obedience, which is called justice in the New Testament; though the word, which in the original signifies justice, be translated righteousness: and by this fail he lost paradise, wherein was tranquillity and the tree of life; i. e. he lost bliss and immortality. The penalty annexed to the breach of the law, with the sentence pronounced by God upon it, show this. The penalty stands thus, Gen. ii. 17, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” How was this executed? He did eat: but, in the day he did eat, he did not actually die; but was turned out of paradise from the tree of life, and shut out for ever from it, lest he should take thereof, and live for ever. This shows, that the state of paradise was a state of immortality, of life without end; which he lost that very day that he eat: his life began from thence to shorten, and waste, and to have an end; and from thence to his actual death, was but like the time of a prisoner, between the sentence passed, and the execution, which was in view and certain. Death then entered, and showed his face, which before was shut out, and riot known. So St. Paul, Rom. v. 12, “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;” i. e. a state of death and mortality: and, 1 Cor. xv. 22, “In Adam all die;” i. e. by reason of his transgression, all men are mortal, and come to die.

This is so clear in these cited places, and so much the current of the New Testament, that nobody can deny, but that the doctrine of the gospel is, that death came on all men by Adam’s sin; only they differ about the signification of the word death: for some will have it to be a state of guilt, wherein not only he, but all his posterity was so involved, that every one descended of him deserved endless torment, in hell-fire. I shall say nothing more here, how far, in the apprehensions of men, this consists with the justice and goodness of God, having mentioned it above: but it seems a strange way of understanding a law, which requires the plainest and directest words, that by death should be meant eternal life in misery. Could any one be supposed, by a law, that says, “For felony thou shalt die;” not that he should lose his life; but be kept alive in perpetual, exquisite torments? And would any one think himself fairly dealt with, that was so used?

To this, they would have it be also a state of necessary sinning, and provoking God in every action that men do: a yet harder sense of the word death than the other. God says, that “in the day that thou eatest of the forbidden fruit, thou shalt die;” i. e. thou and thy posterity shall be, ever after, incapable of doing any thing, but what shall be sinful and provoking to me and shall justly deserve my wrath and indignation. Could a worthy man be supposed to put such terms upon the obedience of his subjects? Much less can the righteous God be supposed, as a punishment of one sin, wherewith he is displeased, to put man under the necessity of sinning continually, and so multiplying the provocation. The reason of this strange interpretation, we shall perhaps find, in some mistaken places of the New Testament. I must confess, by death here, I can understand nothing but a ceasing to be, the losing of all actions of life and sense. Such a death came on Adam, and all his posterity, by his first disobedience in paradise; under which death they should have lain for ever, had it not been for the redemption by Jesus Christ. If by death, threatened to Adam, were meant the corruption of human nature in his posterity, ’tis strange, that the New Testament should not any-where take notice of it, and tell us, that corruption seized on all,because of Adam’s transgression, as well as it tells us so of death. But, as I remember, every one’s sin is charged upon himself only.

pp. 4-7.

Samuel Richardson, ‘On the Torments of Hell’, 1658. Republished in The Doctrine of Eternal Hell Torments Overthrown: In Three Parts, Trumpet Office, 1833. (This cover is from 2010 edition).

2. Man in his first being was corporal and visible to be seen; things seen are not eternal. Mr. Bolton saith, if Adam had stood, he could not have conveyed to us a body immortal, or not dying, in his Treatise of Heaven, p. 131. Basil saith, if God had given Adam an immortal and unchangeable nature, he had created a god, and not a man, Augustine, in his Book of Confessions, saith, because the Lord created man of nothing, therefore he left in man a possibility to return to nothing, if he obeyed not the will of his maker.

3. Man in innocency needed food, &c. That which depends on mutable and earthly things, is earthly and mutable: we see it in all other creatures that live upon perishing things; they all perish; and herein man, by the first Adam, hath no pre-eminence above a beast. Heaven and earth were created, therefore had a beginning; and although they have a much longer life than man, are to have an end; heaven and earth shall be dissolved, 2 Pet. iii. 12.

If Adam had not died, (Rom. v. 12.) he should have continued in this world, and should not have gone to the world to come; therefore by his fall he lost no happiness nor eternal life in that world; for he could not by that fall lose more than he had, and was to have. Death is according to nature; but to attain immortality is above nature. Adam, being earth, and from the earth, his enjoyment, life, and loss, and punishment, must of necessity be earthly. How Cometh he then by his fall to be capable of a punishment never to end, unless by his fall he could purchase eternal life, which none will affirm? Eternal life cannot be by the first man, much less by sin.

… The Scripture declares that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, the just and the unjust, Acts xxiv. 15. The unjust would enter into life, but shall not, John v. 29. Unto whom I swear in my wrath, that they should not enter into my rest, Psalm xcv. 11. Heb. iv.. 5 — 7. And you yourselves thrust out, Luke xiii. 28. When they rise to judgment at the last day, they shall be consumed with the earth by fire, that is their end; so that not to enter, to be thrust out, the second death, and to perish, is one thing. If they live forever, and have eternal life, how do they perish? and how is the end of those things death? Rom. vi. 21, if there be no end? To be carnally minded is death, Rom. viii. 6; how is this true, if they live forever, and never die?

… The soul that sinneth shall die, Ezek. xviii. 20; that is, all that sin doth bring forth. God, in giving his law, did express the punishment of the breach of it, saying. In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die, Gen. ii. 17.

– pp. 66-68, 75.

Henry Dodwell, An Epistolary Discourse, proving, from the Scriptures and the First Fathers, that the Soul is a Principle naturally Mortal; but immortalized actually by the Pleasure of God, to Punishment; or to Reward, by its Union with the Divine Baptismal Spirit. Wherein is proved, that None have the Power of giving this Divine Immortalizing Spirit, since the Apostles, but only the Bishops, London, 1706. (This cover is from 2012 edition). Dodwell set out to

… prove from the Scriptures and the First Fathers, that the soul is in principle naturally mortal, but immortalized actually by the pleasure of God.

Isaac Newton, Paradoxical Questions concerning the morals & actions of Athanasius & his followers. Unpublished religious work by Newton  that lambasts the champion of trinity, Athanasius. The text (written c. 1690) is located at the Newton Project website (This image was extracted from there):


(Quest.: Whether Athanasius did not set on foot the invocation of saints.). This text has been available online since 2004.

The Christians of the first ages taught that at the day of judgment, Christ would sentence some immediately to heaven others to perpetual torments & others to be baptized with fire & shut up in prizon till they should pay the outermost farthing. What was the state of souls between death & the day of judgment the Greek Churches of those ages (so far as I can find) determined not till Athanasius in the life of Antony by relating how Antony saw the soul of Ammon ascend up to heaven, brought in an opinion that the souls of the blessed went immediately after death to heaven & by consequence that those of the wicked went immediately to hell & those of the middle degree to Purgatory. And because it’s absurd that men should be rewarded before they are judged therefore the Athanasians have feigned without any foundation in scripture that there is a double judgment, the first particular of every man at his death & the second general. And to make out this opinion they allege the promise of Christ to the thief which if rightly pointed may run thus. Verily I say unto the to day, Thou shalt be with me in paradise the words I say say unto the to day being opposed by way of answer to the thiefs petition, Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. They allege also the Parable of Dives & Lazarus applying it to the present time, whereas if they had the same notion of the last day with the first Christians they would understand that it might as well belong to that time: & besides it is but a Parable. They press also S. Paul’s saying I desire to be dissolved & be with Christ: not considering that the interval between death & the resurrection is to them that sleep & perceive it not, a moment. They argue also from the vision of Moses & Elias with Christ, tho’ the vision was not of their souls (for Elias never died) but of their living bodies. On the other hand if the saints go into heaven before the resurrection then every man is rewarded according to his works before Christ comes  to {reward} them & the dead are judged before the time comes that they should be judged Apoc. 11 & Many come from the east & west & sit down with Abraham & Isaac & Iacob in heaven before the last day, Matt. 8 & they that sleep in the dust shine as the stars in the firmamt before they awake & Daniel stood in his lot as soon as he was dead. Dan. {12} Were not men greatly prejudiced they would consider such texts of scripture as these. In death there is no remembrance of thee in the grave who shall give thee thanks Psal. 6. 5 Shal thy loving kindness be declared in the grave thy wonders in the dark & thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? Psal 88:11, 12. The dead prais not the Lord neither any that go down into silence Psal 115.17. The dead know not anything… There is no work nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave. Eccles: 9.5, 10. The grave cannot praise thee, death cannot celebrate thee Isa. 38.18. God hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Iesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance… in heaven 1 Pet. 1.3, 4 which is as much as to say that without the resurrection there is no hope, no inheritance in heaven. And to the same purpose speaks S. Paul. I would not have you ignorant brethren concerning them which are asleep that ye sorrow not even as other which have no hope ffor if we beleive that Iesus died & rose again even so them also which sleep in Iesus will God bring with him – for the Lord shal descend from heaven – & the dead in Christ shal rise first. Then we which are alive & remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, & so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thes. 4. Here you see the Apostle places all our hopes & comfort in the resurrection & from that time dates our being with Christ in heaven. And to the same purpose it is that Christ himself saith: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go & prepare a place for you I will come again & receive you to my self, that where I am there ye may be also. Iohn 14.3. So then Saint Paul is not yet with Christ. He tells you plainly that if the dead rise not our faith is vain the dead in Christ are perished, we are of all most miserable & what shall they do that are baptized for the dead 1 Cor. 15. & Christ tells you also as plainly that God is not the God of the dead & thence inferrs the resurrection because God said to Moses I am the God of Abraham.

Now according to the tenour of these texts of scripture the first Christians placed all the dead in Hades, that is, not in hell as we corruptly translate the word, but in the land of darknesse & silence as the old testament sometimes expresseth it. Whence came the opinion that Christ descending into Hades brought with him from thence the Souls of the Patriarchs. But the Egyptians, Platonists & other heathens placed the souls of the better sort of dead men about their sepulchers & statues & temples & in the air & in heaven & so filled all places wth ghosts or Dæmons . And Athanasius by making Antony see the soule of Ammon ascend up to heaven, laid the foundation for introducing  into the greek Churches this heathen doctrine of Daemons, together with that Popish one of Purgatory. And this I take to be the true original of worshipping Saints in the Greek Church for Athanasius in the end of his Epistle to Marcelline concerning the interpretation of the Psalms written in a time of temptation or trial (as he calls it) & by consequence before the death of Iulian the Apostate, lays down this doctrine. Let not any one, saith he, adorn the Psalms with secular words for eloquence, nor let him endeavour to change the words, or wholy to substitute one thing for another: but let him recite & sing them as they are written, that the saints who composed those words, knowing them to be their own, may pray together with us. And a little after.  When the Devils see the words changed they deride them but are afraid of the words of the saints & cannot beare them.  In these words Athanasius teaches three things, that the saints understand what we say, that they intercede with God for us, & that in certain forms of words there are supernatural  virtues: & these principles readily inferr saint-worship & charms.

As we can see, Newton takes his argument about how to interpret Jesus’ promise to the thief on the cross on the ground of “proper” punctuation. If, as in Newton’s manuscript, Jesus says, “Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with me in paradise,” then Jesus means that he is giving his promise to the thief today, as they are being crucified, for immortality at some unspecified time in the future. The location of the comma after “today” was thus crucial to Newton’s interpretation.

William Coward, A Survey of the Search After Souls, R. Basset, London, 1702, p. 156. (This cover is from 2011 edition).

Second thoughts concerning the human soul, demonstrating the notion of human soul, as believed to be a Spiritual and Immortal Substance, united to a Human Body, to be plain Heathenish Invention, and not Consonant to the principles of Philosophy, Reason or Religion, but  the ground only of many absurd, and superstitious opinions, abominable to the reformed churches, and derogatory in general to true Christianity.

(This work was published in 1702. The author has written under the fictitious name of “Estibius Psycalethes”.)

About “Second thoughts…”, we have the following additional information:

This work was dedicated by the doctor to the clergy of the church of England; and he professes at his setting out, “that the main stress of arguments, either to confound or support his opinion, must be drawn from those only credentials of true and orthodox divinity, the lively oracles of God, the Holy Scriptures.” In another part, in answer to the question, Does man die like a brute beast? he says, “Yes, in respect to their end in this life; both their deaths consist in a privation of life.” “But then,” he adds, “man has this prerogative or pre-eminence above a brute, that he will be raised to life again, and be made partaker of eternal happiness in the world to come.” Notwithstanding these professions to the authority of the Christian Scriptures, Dr. Coward has commonly been ranked with those who have been reputed to be the most rancorous and determined adversaries of Christianity… His denial of the immateriality and natural immortality of the soul, and of a separate state of existence between the time of death and the general resurrection, was so contrary to universal opinion, that it is not very surprising that he should be considered as an enemy to revelation. It might be expected that he would immediately meet with opponents; and accordingly be was attacked by various writers of different complexions and abilities; … Mr. Broughton wrote a treatise entitled “Psychologia, or, an Account of the nature of the rational Soul, in two parts;” and Mr. Turner published a “Vindication of the separate existence of the Soul from a late author’s Second Thoughts.” Both these pieces appeared in 1703. Mr. Turner’s publication was answered by Dr. Coward, in a pamphlet called “Farther Thoughts upon Second Thoughts,” in which he acknowledges, that in Mr. Turner he had a rational and candid adversary. He had not the same opinion of Mr. Broughton; who therefore was treated by him with severity, in “An Epistolary Reply to Mr. Broughton’s Psychologia;” which reply was not separately printed, but annexed to a work of the doctor’s, published in the beginning of the year 1704, and entitled, “The Grand Essay; or, a Vindication of Reason and Religion against the impostures of Philosophy.” In this last production, the idea of the human soul’s being an immaterial substance was again vigorously attacked.

So obnoxious were Dr. Coward’s positions, that on Friday, March 10, 1704, a complaint was made to the house of commons of the “Second Thoughts” and the “Grand Essay;” which books were brought up to the table, and some parts of them read. The consequence of this was, an order, “that a committee be appointed to examine the said books, and collect such parts thereof as are offensive; and to examine who is the author, printer, and publisher thereof.” At the same time the matter was referred to a committee, who were directed to meet that afternoon, and had power given them to send for persons, papers, and records. On the 17th of March, Sir David Cullum, the chairman, reported from the committee, that they had examined the books, and had collected out of them several passages which they conceived to be offensive, and that they found that Dr. Coward was the author of them; that Mr David Edwards was the printer of the one, and Mr. W. Pierson of the other; and that both the books were published by Mr. Basset. Sir David Cullum having read the report in his place, and the same being read again, after it had been delivered in at the clerks’ table, the house proceeded to the examination of the evidence with regard to the writing, printing, and vending of the two books. Sufficient proof having been produced with respect to the writer of them, Dr. Coward was called in. Being examined accordingly, he acknowledged that he was the author of the books, and declared that he never intended any thing against religion; that there was nothing contained in them contrary either to morality or religion; and that if there were any thing therein contrary to religion or morality, he was heavily sorry, and ready to recant the same. The house then resolved, “that the said books do contain therein divers doctrines and positions contrary to the doctrine of the church of England, and tending to the subversion of the Christian religion;” and ordered that they should be burnt, next day, by the common hangman, in New Palace-yard, Westminster; which order was carried into execution. Notwithstanding this proceeding, in the course of the same year he published a new edition of his “Second Thoughts;” which was followed by a treatise, entitled, “The just Scrutiny; or, a serious inquiry into the modern notions of the Soul.”

The General Biographical Dictionary, Volume 10, London, England, 1813, pp. 375-377.

Henry Layton (1622-1705), A Search After Souls: or, The Immortality of a Humane Soul, Theologically, Philosophically, and Rationally considered, with the Opinions of Ancient and Modern Authors. By a Lover of Truth, 2 Volumes, London, England, 1706 (This cover is from 2010 edition.):

We may observe that death in the New Testament, is frequently called and compared to a sleep, and that, the most sound and profound; and in such a sleep, viz. a sound sleep, whatsoever time passes over the sleeper’s head, he hath no perceivance of, if it be two, ten or twenty hours; the length or shortness of the passing time, doth not at all appear to the sleeper, but at his waking he rises, as if he had but newly fallen asleep. Man’s death is such a profound sleep, and his resurrection such a waking. If, during that sleep there go over the dead man’s head, months or years to a hundred, or a thousand, this is no way perceivable by the dead person; but when he rises, it will be but as if he had newly fallen asleep. — It would look like a great impropriety to term death a sleep, if it were true that after death, the better part of the man, viz. his soul, continued waking and aliveand at a greater liberty and freedom of action than ever it enjoyed during its conjunction with the body.

– Vol. 1, pp. 184, 185.

The materiality or mortality of the soul of man, and its sameness with the body, asserted and proved from the holy scriptures of the old and new testament, shewing, that upon the death of the body, all sensation and consciousness utterly cease till the resurrection of the dead, anonymous, London, England, 1729 (This cover is from 2018 edition.)

Life only then is the cause of all our operations, under God, who is the fountain of life. And when life ceases, all the properties, powers, passions, attributed to the mind and heart of man, cease together with it. For, according to the Holy Scriptures, death is an utter extinction of all consciousness, reason, wisdom, knowledge, memory, thought, affections, etc.

[Following this saying, the author then cites scriptural texts, such as Ecclesiastes 9:5 and Psalm 6:5.]

Quoted in The Works, Theological And Miscellaneous, Francis Blackburne, Vol. 3, 1804, Cambridge, England, Chapter 24, p. 241.

Johann Lorenz von Mosheim (1693-1755), Institutes of Ecclesiastical History, Longman & Co., London, 1841 (This cover is from 2012 edition.):

They [General Baptists in England] believe that the soul, between death and the resurrection at the last day, has neither pleasure nor pain, but is in a state of insensibility.

– Vol. III, p. 578.

Edmund Law, Considerations on the Theory of Religion, 1765 (This cover is from 2009 edition):

Give me leave to subjoin the sentiments of a very pious, worthy person, eminently well versed in the Scripture-language; I mean the Reverend Dr. Taylor, who was pleased to write as follows:

‘I have perused your papers upon an important subject, which wants to be cleared up and which cannot well be crowded within the narrow limits of a note; but richly deserves to be expatiated upon in a distinct treatise. — They comprehend two points, one upon the nature of the human soul, or Spirit; so far as revelation gives us any light; the other, concerning the state to which death reduces us. From the collection of Scriptures under the first of these points, I think it appears, that no man can prove from Scripture, that the human soul is a principle, which lives, and acts, or thinks independent of the body. — As to the other, the question is, Do the souls of men, when they die, immediately enter either upon a state of glory in Heaven, or upon a state of misery in the place of torments; and continue conscious, thinking, enjoying, or suffering, in the one or the other state, till the resurrection? Or do they remain dead, without thought, life, or consciousness, till the resurrection? Revelation alone can give an answer to these queries: For whatever the metaphysical nature, essence, or substance of the soul be; which is altogether unknown to us: it is demonstratively certain, that its existence, both in the manner and duration of it; must be wholly dependent upon the will and pleasure of God. God must appoint its connection with, and dependence upon any other substance; both in its operations, powers, and duration. All arguments, therefore, for the natural immortality of the soul, taken from the nature of its substance or essence as if it must exist and act separate from the body, because it is of such a substance, etc., are manifestly vain. If indeed we do find anything in the faculties and operations of the mind, to which we are conscious, that doth shew, it is the will of God that we should exist in a future state; those arguments will stand good. But we can never prove, that the soul of man is of such a nature, that it can and must exist, and live, think, act, enjoy, etc. separate from, and independent of, the body. All our present experience shews the contrary. The operations of the mind depend, constantly and invariably, upon the state of the body; of the brain in particular. If some dying persons have a lively use of their rational faculties to the very last; it is because death has invaded some other part; and the brain remains sound, and vigorous. But what is the sense of revelation? You have given a noble collection of texts, which shew it very clearly. — The subject yields many practical remarks; and the warmest, and strongest excitations to piety.’ —

But it might look like begging the question should we draw out all these in form; together with the consequences of this doctrine; in regard to either papist or deist; till the doctrine itself, which has been so long decryed by the one, and so frequently disgraced by the other, shall appear free from the various prejudices that attend it; and be at last understood to have a fair foundation in the scriptures; by which we protestants profess to be determined; and when we have duly examined them; may possibly discern, that the natural immortality of the human mind, is neither necessarily connected with, nor to a Christian, any proper proof of future state, of rewards and punishments.

I shall conclude with a testimony, which the above mentioned truly candid and conscientious writer bears to his adversary, in this point. Remarks annexed to the Scr. Doctr. of OrS. p. 5. ‘I think he is perfectly just in affirming, that the death threatened to Adam was a total forfeiture and extinction of life; and that our present life, and the resurrection from the dead, is owing to the grace of God, in a Redeemer: for this he has good evidence in Scripture; and honestly deserves the public thanks of the Christian world, for asserting it. For the removal of error, whatever our prejudices may suggest, is so far from being hurtful, that it is of great service to religion.’

– Concluding excerpt from Appendix [pp. 365-424]: Concerning the Use of the Words Soul or Spirit in Holy Scripture and the State of the Dead There Described.

Francis BlackburneA Short Historical View of the Controversy concerning an Intermediate State and the Separate Existence of the Soul, Between Death and the General Resurrection, deduced from the Beginning of the Protestant Reformation, to the Present Time, London, England, 1765 (This cover is from 2008 edition):

The question is, whether the scriptures afford any just and solid grounds for the doctrine of the immortality of the soul of man, and particularly, any evidence of its existence, when disunited from the body, in a state of conscious perception; and whether, in consequence of this notion, there is not a certain intermediate state of happiness and misery for good and wicked men respectively, between death and the general resurrection?

They who hold the negative in these points, allege, that according to the scriptures, life and immortality were brought to light by the Gospel of Christ, in a sense exclusive of all other teachers, and all other revelation, at least from the birth of Moses downwards; exclusive likewise of all information from the light of nature, or the result of philosophical disquisition on the substance or qualities of the human soul. They insist that Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, so that no man cometh to the father [so as to be like him, and to see him as he is in a future state] but by the mediatorial power of Christ. That the way of coming to God, in the sense, and by the means above-mentioned, is the resurrection of the dead, of which, assurance is given unto all men, by the resurrection of JESUS. They hold moreover, that the sentence pronounced upon our first parents, imported a total deprivation of life, without any reserve or saving to the life of the soul; and consequently, that eternal life, or a restoration and redemption from the consequences of this sentence, was effected for, revealed, consigned and insured to man, in and through Christ, and will be accomplished in no other way than that spoken of by Christ and his apostles, who have left no room to conclude that there is a separate or intermediate life for the soul, when disunited from the body.

… while our Reformers were studiously lopping the branches of superstition and imposture, they inadvertently left the stock, with a vigorous root in the ground, which their successors, with a surprising inattention to the pernicious consequences of their misapprehension, have been cultivating to a fresh growth, to the great hazard not only of the protestant religion, but even of Christianity itself, which is at this hour well nigh choaked and obscured under the thick shade of this venomous exotic.

It is remarkable that Protestants, who have on most occasions refused to be governed by tradition, seem to have submitted to it in this matter with the most implicit deference.

The doctrine of the New Testament is, that men shall become immortal by the way of a resurrection of the dead, a restoration of the whole man to life; and the N. T. is so far from acknowledging any intermediate consciousness in man, between death and the resurrection, that it always speaks of that interval as a sleep, which implies a suspension of the thinking faculty, a rest from those labours, which require thought, memory, consciousness, etc. during which those faculties are useless.

But this is not all. The scriptural system of immortality, supposes that man had forfeited his original title to immortality, and would never have recovered it but for the interposition of a redeemer. The consequence of this doctrine is, that between the time of the forfeiture, and the actual appearance of the Redeemer, the dead could have life in no sense at all: and that neither before nor after the appearance of the Redeemer, dead men were or would be restored to life, otherwise than in the way revealed by the Redeemer, namely a resurrection of the dead.

Hence to suppose the souls of dead men to be alive, conscious and active, and capable of happiness and misery, from the death of the first man, to the resurrection of the very last, and to pretend to demonstrate this by reason and philosophy, is plainly to overturn the whole Christian system.

– pp. xxvi-xxviii, xliii, xlv, 68, 69.

Peter Peckard, Observations on the Doctrine of an Intermediate State between Death and the Resurrection, London, England, 1756:

The Doctrine of a future State, established upon the Principles of Christianity, is the impregnable Fortress of Truth; but the injudicious Defence of this Doctrine, by metaphysical Reasonings, and too refined Distinctions, hath greatly weakened the Christian Support of it. By adhering to this, we shall find that our immortal Life is procured for us by Jesus Christ, and by Him alone: But if we insist upon a natural Principle of Immortality, we leave indeed very little to be performed for us by Jesus Christ; we desert our strong Holds, and fly to those Places for Security, which are by no means tenable; for the metaphysical Arguments upon this Subject are not of that Force, which will stand the Test of an impartial Examination.

It may be proper to observe here, once for all, that the denial of a natural principle of immortality doth not at all affect the Scriptural, the Christian doctrine of a future state: For the Scripture doth not anywhere assure us of the truth of this doctrine, from such natural principle, but from the redemption by Jesus Christ, and from that alone: Nay, the Scripture expressly asserteth the mortality of man, and the restoration to life, from that mortality, by the same Jesus Christ. The important Doctrine of a future State then standeth firm upon its own proper Foundation, notwithstanding a natural Principle of Immortality be disallowed. He that buildeth his Hopes of future Existence upon this Foundation, is like the foolish Man who built his House upon the Sand; but he who taketh the Authority of Christ, and will abide by that, is like the wise Man, who laid his Foundation upon a Rock.

The Scripture then being our only Authority upon this Point, all that can be produced from any other Quarter, except it be defensible by Scripture Authority, is not to be considered as being of any Weight and all the learned Arguments drawn from the abstract Nature of the Soul, from arbitrary Negations with regard to the Powers of Matter, and from ontological Distinctions among the several Sorts of Souls and Substances, are manifestly vain and inconclusive. The whole Process of such Arguments is denied, as being derived from Premises which are of no Authority, which are not granted, and which cannot be proved. To Scripture we tie down our Opponents; by That will we be determined, and by That only.

Now, as the Doctrine of an intermediate State of Sensibility between Death and the Resurrection, is derived from the Supposition of a natural inherent Principle of Immortality, if that Supposition be false, this Doctrine cannot be true. And as nothing is allowed to be proper Authority upon this Subject, but the Scripture, the Doctrine of an intermediate State must stand or fall by that Authority; the Weight and Tendency of which hath lately been laid before the Public, in a very fair and ingenuous manner.

… From this short and imperfect Account of the Rise of this Opinion [the natural immortality of the soul], and the manner It was introduced amongst the Christians, We may see that the Doctrine concerning an Intermediate State of Sensibility is taken originally from the Subtleties and Confusion of Greek Philosophy, first mingled with Christianity, perhaps without any bad Design; but afterwards continued, and made an Article of Church Doctrine, with mean and lucrative Views; Views utterly destructive of the System laid down by Jesus Christ; as will appear more plainly from a short Sketch of some of its necessary Consequences. And first, as the proper Notion of Death was now banished, by establishing a natural Principle of Life; and as it is very plain, and and beyond all Dispute, that Jesus Christ came into the World on purpose to redeem Men from Death, and to give them Life and Immortality, it is very certain that he could not redeem them from that State in which they were not, nor give them that Life and Immortality of which they were already possessed: So that, by this Scheme, the whole Notion of Redemption by Jesus Christ is absolutely and entirely destroyed. What, then was to be done? It was too glaring an Absurdity, for the Churchmen to preach Redemption by Jesus Christ, and yet assert a Doctrine, which contradicted the very Notion of Redemption.

… Another Consequence derived from the Opinion of an Intermediate State of Sensibility, is the loading the Notion of Death, in itself very plain, simple, and intelligible, with insuperable Contradictions, and destroying all the Evidence of Sense, and common Principles of Reason: For they who maintain this Opinion, are driven also to make these Assertions, “That they who are said to be dead,” are dead only unto Men here upon Earth,’ “but not dead to themselves.” “That” their Life is not extinct, but disappeared “only to us.” “That they are neither “dead nor asleep, but still alive and awake.” Now what kind of Death that is, in which Men are neither dead nor asleep, but still alive and awake, in which their Life or Personality is not extinct, but a spiritualized Body is vitally united with a percipient and active Soul, for my own part I cannot possibly conceive. That all these Assertions are maintained by the Propagators of this Opinion, can be sufficiently proved, whenever there shall be Occasion. I shall forbear all Remarks upon these Passages, that I may neither be thought guilty of Insult to the Dead, or Offence to the Living; but must take the Liberty to say, That there is not a stronger Contradiction in the Doctrine of Transubstantiation, than in the Doctrine of such a kind of Death, as includeth Perception and Consciousness.

– pp. 3-5, 18-21.

Isaac Watts, The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind, London, England, 1740

Here note that as human Lift often includes not only Existence, but all the Blessings that attend it, and all possible Enjoyments whatsoever, more especially such as are visible and sensible; so the Word Death in the general notion of it, and in the most obvious and common Sense of Mankind, may reasonably include a Lo(s of every Thing which Man possessed, i. e. Existence itself together with all the Blessings of it: and consequently when Death was threatned for Sin, it more obviously appeared to signify, that by Sin Man forfeited every Thing that he received from his Maker. This, I say, might be the first and most obvious Signification of the Word Death, when it was considered as reaching only to Things visible, tho’ afterward its Sense might be enlarged or limited on particular Occasions, as the invisible World came further into the notice of Men.

 There is not one Place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word ‘Death, as it was first threatned in the Law of Innocency, necessarily signifies a certain miserable Immortality of the Soul, either to Adam the actual Sinner, or to his Posterity. I say, I do not remember any such Text, but will not positively assert there is none.

But suppose this Death mean the utter Destruction of Soul as well as of the Body, to be a Penalty due to every Sin, (for the Wages of Sin is Death) even the least Sin or Offence against God; yet where the Sin of Man hath any Degrees of Aggravation, perhaps the Divine justice would not destroy the Soul, but would continue the Soul in its natural Immortality and Consciousness after the Death of the Body, to sustain farther Punishments answerable to these Aggravations: God may resume more or less of what Man has for feited by Sin. And ‘tis a Point determined by our Saviour, that Continuance in Life and Misery is a greater Punishment than Annihilation; for he says, ‘Tis better never to have been born, than to be punished as Judas the Traitor shall be punished, Matth. xxvi. 24.

And since there is scarce any actual Sin but what has some Aggravations, either greater or less, perhaps there is no actual Sinner, but has deserv’d some Continuance of his Soul in its Existence, Consciousness and Misery. And on this account the Death threatned by the Covenant of Works, especially to the actual and personal Transgressor, may perhaps include in it that Indignation and Wraths Tribulation and Anguish, which is due to every immortal Soul that actually doth amiss πᾶσαν ψυχὴν ἀνθρώπου τοῦ κατεργαζομένου τὸ κακόν, every Soul that worketh Eyil, Rom. ii. 8, 9. For as I shew’d before, the Apostle seems to speak there of Justification and Condemnation, by a Law or Covenant of Works.

But whether the Great God would have actually continued the Soul of Adam, the first Sinner, in a State of Existence after Death, and in a long Immortality, to punish his actual Offence, if he had not given him a new Covenant, i.e. a Covenant of Grace and Salvation, this is not plainly reveal’d nor determined in Scripture. Tis certain that the Wages, or due Recompence, of Sin is Death, whether it mean an utter Destruction of Soul and Body, or bodily Death with a State of Misery for the Soul after the Body is dead. The whole of our Life and Being and Comfort in Soul and Body, is forfeited by Sin, and God may resume more or less, as his Wisdom shall direct, in order to punish the Guilty according to the greater or less Aggravations or Demerits of their Crimes.

Secondly, The other Part of Eternal Death, or Eternal Misery, consists in the raising the Body up again from the Dead, and rejoining it to the Soul, in order to be made eternally miserable together with the Soul, or rather to be an everlasting Instrument of the Soul’s Misery and Torment. But that this Resurrection of the Body to a State of Misery, is threatned in the Bible for the Punishment of Adam’s first Sin, is what I cannot prove, nor do I know in what Text of Scripture to find it. The Law of Innocency threatens Death; but as the Promise of Life made to Innocency was Immortality and eternal Life without need of a Resurrection, Rom. ii. 7. so the Threatning of Death to Sin did not (that I can find) imply a Resurrection. It was not said in Gen. ii. Thou shalt surely die, and shalt rise again to new Sorrows.

There are several Places of Scripture wherein the Resurrection is attributed to Christ, and his Undertaking in a Covenant of Grace, besides that remarkable one, 1 Cor. xv. 21. As by Man came Death, so by Man came the Resurrection of the Dead: but I know not of any one Line in the Word of God that provides a miserable Resurrection as the Punishment threatned to the Offence of Adam. ‘Tis very probable therefore, that the Resurrection of the Body was introduced by Christ the second Adam upon another foot, namely, upon the Gospel-Proposal of Mercy to all Mankind in the Promise made to Adam after his Fall, which has been usually called the First Gospel or an Epitome of the Gospel of Christ: And whosoever should refuse this Grace, or abuse it by actual Impenitence and Indulgence of Sin, should suffer Punishment in Soul and Body for ever. This is called the second Death, Rev. xxi. 8.

So that as the Gospel or Covenant of Grace has provided Hope and Salvation by Jesus the Mediator, for all that would accept of it, whether under the Patriarchal, Jewish, or Christian Dispensation; so those who continue impenitent, and will not return to God according to this new Covenant, are exposed to double Punishment under the Government of the Mediator, who will raise them from the Dead to receive the Reward of their Obstinacy and Impenitence, their Violation of the Law of God, and their Neglect of all the Means and Hopes of Grace.

– pp. 198, 228-230 (from 1742 edition).

John Parkhurst, A Hebrew and English Lexicon Without Points: In Which the Hebrew and Chaldee Words of the Old Testament Are Explained in Their Leading and Derived Senses,… to This Work Are Prefixed, a Hebrew and a Chaldee Grammar, Without Points, W. Faden, London, 1762 (This cover is from 2015 Edition):

As a N. נֶ֫פֶשׁ [nephesh] A living creature, a creature or animal that lives by breathing. Gen. 1:20, 21, 24… Particularly a human creature, being, or self, as being the principal of animal frames, a person…

As a N. נֶ֫פֶשׁ [nephesh] hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul: I must for myself confess, that I can find no [biblical] passage where it hath undoubtedly this meaning. Gen. xxxv. 18. 1 K. xvii. 21, 22. Ps. xvi. 10, seem fairest for this signification. But may not נֶ֫פֶשׁ [nephesh] in the three former passages be most properly rendered breath, and in the last, a breathing or animal frame?

– 6th Edition, 1811, pp. 459, 460. (About the meaning of the word נֶ֫פֶשׁ [nephesh]).

Encyclopædia Britannica, 1768-1771:

SOUL – in religion and philosophy, the immaterial aspect or essence of a human being, that which confers individuality and humanity, often considered to be synonymous with the mind or the self. In theology, the soul is further defined as that part of the individual which partakes of divinity and often is considered to survive the death of the body.

Many cultures have recognized some incorporeal principle of  human life or existence corresponding to the soul, and many have attributed souls to all living things. There is evidence even among  prehistoric peoples of a belief in an aspect distinct from the body and residing in it. Despite widespread and longstanding belief in the existence of a soul, however, different religions and philosophers have developed a variety of theories as to its nature, its relationship to the body, and its origin and mortality.

Among ancient peoples, both the  Egyptians and the Chinese conceived of a dual soul. The Egyptian  ka (breath) survived death but remained near the body, while the spiritual  ba proceeded to the region of the dead. The Chinese distinguished between a lower, sensitive soul, which disappears with death, and a rational principle, the  hun, which survives the grave and is the object of ancestor worship.

The early  Hebrews apparently had a concept of the soul but did not separate it from the body, although later Jewish writers developed the idea of the soul further. Old Testament references to the soul are related to the concept of breath and establish no distinction between the ethereal soul and the corporeal body.  Christian concepts of a body-soul dichotomy originated with the ancient Greeks and were introduced into Christian theology at an early date by St.  Gregory of Nyssa and by St.  Augustine.

Ancient Greek concepts of the soul varied considerably according to the particular era and philosophical school. The  Epicureans considered the soul to be made up of atoms like the rest of the body. For the Platonists, the soul was an immaterial and incorporeal substance, akin to the gods yet part of the world of change and becoming.  Aristotle’s conception of the soul was obscure, though he did state that it was a form inseparable from the body.

In Christian theology, St. Augustine spoke of the soul as a “rider” on the body, making clear the split between the material and theimmaterial, with the soul representing the “true” person. However, although body and soul were separate, it was not possible to conceive of a soul without its body. In the European Middle Ages, St. Thomas  Aquinas returned to the Greek philosophers’ concept of the soul as a motivating principle of thebody, independent but requiring the substance of the body to make an individual.

From the Middle Ages onward, the existence and nature of the soul and its relationship to the body continued to be disputed in Western philosophy. To  René Descartes, man was a union of the body and the soul, each a distinct substance acting on the other; the soul was equivalent to the mind. To Benedict de Spinoza, body and soul formed two aspects of a single reality.  Immanuel Kant concluded that the soul was not demonstrable through reason, although the mind inevitably must reach the conclusion that the soul exists because such a conclusion was necessary for the development of ethics and religion. To  William James at the beginning of the 20th century, the soul as such did not exist at all but was merely a collection of psychic phenomena.

Just as there have been different concepts of the relation of the soul to the body, there have been numerous ideas about when the soul comes into existence and when and if it dies. Ancient Greek beliefs were varied and evolved over time. Pythagoras heldthat the soul was of divine origin and existed before and after death. Plato and Socrates also accepted the immortality of the soul, while Aristotle considered only part of the soul, the noûs, or intellect, to have that quality. Epicurus believed that both body and soul ended at death. The early Christian philosophers adopted the Greek concept of the soul’s immortality and thought of the soul as being created by God and infused into the body at conception.

– Digital Edition, 2005, Entry “Soul”.


Judaism. The canonical writings of biblical Judaism record the relations between certain outstanding individuals and their god. The events described are perceived as landmarks in the unfurling of a national destiny, designed and guided by that god. Jewish eschatology is in this sense unique: its main concern is the fate of a nation, not what happens to an individual at death or thereafter.

In classical Judaism death closes the book. As the anonymous author of Ecclesiastes bluntly put it: “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward” (Eccles. 9:5). The death of human beings was like that of animals: “As one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts . . . all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Eccles. 3:19–20). Life alone mattered: “A living dog is better than a dead lion” (Eccles. 9:4). Even Job, whose questioning at times verges on subverting Yahwist doctrine, ends up endorsing the official creed: “Man dies, and is laid low… As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up, So man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake, or be roused out of his sleep” (Job 14:10–12).

Yet such views were far from universal. The archaeological record suggests that the various racial elements assimilated to form the Jewish nation each had brought to the new community its own tribal customs, often based on beliefs in an afterlife. Both Moses (Deut. 14:1) and Jeremiah (Jer. 16:6) denounced mortuary practices taken to imply such beliefs. Necromancy, although officially forbidden, was widely practiced, even in high places. Saul’s request to the witch of Endor to “bring up” the dead prophet Samuel for him (I Sam. 28:3–20) implied that the dead, or at least some of them, still existed somewhere or other, probably in Sheol, “the land of gloom and deep darkness” (Job 10:21). In Sheol, the good and the wicked shared a common fate, much as they had in the Babylonian underworld. The place did not conjure up images of an afterlife, for nothing happened there. It was literally inconceivable, and this is what made it frighteningdeath was utterly definitive, even if rather ill-defined.

Many were unsatisfied by the idea that individual lives only had meaning inasmuch as they influenced the nation’s destiny for good or ill. There was only one life, they were told, yet their everyday experience challenged the view that it was on earth that Yahweh rewarded the pious and punished the wicked. The Book of Job offered little solace: it was irrelevant that the good suffered and that the wicked prospered. One did not pray to improve one’s prospects. The worship of God was an end in itself; it was what gave meaning to life. Against this backdrop of beliefs, the longing for personal significance was widespread.

It is difficult to determine when the notion of soul first emerged in Jewish writings. The problem is partly philological. The word nefesh originally meant “neck” or “throat,” and later came to imply the “vital spirit,” or anima in the Latin sense. The word ruach had at all times meant “wind” but later came to refer to the whole range of a person’s emotional, intellectual, and volitional life. It even designated ghosts. Both terms were widely used and conveyed a wide variety of meanings at different times, and both were often translated as “soul.”

The notion of a resurrection of the dead has a more concrete evolution. It seems to have originated during Judaism’s Hellenistic period (4th century BC – 2nd century AD). Isaiah announced that the “dead shall live, their bodies shall rise,” and the “dwellers in the dust” would be enjoined to “awake and sing”(Isa. 26:19). Both the good and the wicked would be resurrected. According to their deserts, some would be granted “everlasting life,” others consigned to an existence of “shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan. 12:2). The idea that a person’s future would be determined by conduct on earth was to have profound repercussions. The first beneficiaries seem to have been those killed in battle on behalf of Israel. Judas Maccabeus, the 2nd-century-BC Jewish patriot who led a struggle against Seleucid domination and Greek cultural penetration, found that his own supporters had infringed the law. He collected money and sent it to Jerusalem to expiate their sins, acting thereby “very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead” (II Macc. 12:43–45).

Sheol itself became departmentalized. According to the First Book of Enoch, a noncanonical work believed to have been written between the 2nd century BC and the 2nd century AD, Sheol was composed of three divisions, to which the dead would be assigned according to their moral deserts. The real Ge Hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”), where the early Israelites were said to have sacrificed their children to Moloch (and in which later biblical generations incinerated Jerusalem’s municipal rubbish), was transmuted into the notion of  Gehenna, a vast camp designed for torturing the wicked by fire. This was a clear precursor of things to come — the Christian and Islāmic versions of hell.

Orphic and Platonic ideas also came to exert a profound influence on the Judaic concept of death. These were perhaps expressed most clearly in the apocryphal text known as the Wisdom of Solomon, written during the 1st century BC and reflecting the views of a cultured Jew of the Diaspora. The author stressed that a “perishable body weighs down the soul” (Wisd. Sol. 9:15) and stated that “being good” he had “entered an undefiled body” (Wisd. Sol. 8:20), a viewpoint that was quintessentially Platonic in its vision of a soul that predated the body.  Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian of the 1st century AD, recorded in Bellum Judaicum (History of the Jewish War) how doctrinal disputes about death, the existence of an afterlife, and the “fate of the soul” were embodied in the views of various factions. The Sadducees (who spoke for a conservative, sacerdotal aristocracy) were still talking in terms of the old Yahwist doctrines, while the Pharisees (who reflected the views of a more liberal middle class) spoke of immortal souls, some doomed to eternal torment, others promised passage into another body. The Essenes held views close to those of the early Christians.

Following the destruction of the Temple (AD 70) and, more particularly, after the collapse of the last resistance to the Romans (c. 135), rabbinic teaching and exegesis slowly got under way. These flowered under Judah ha-Nasi (“Judah the Prince”), who, during his reign (c. 175–c. 220) as patriarch of the Jewish community in Palestine, compiled the collection of rabbinic law known as the  Mishna. During the next 400 years or so, rabbinic teaching flourished, resulting in the production and repeated reelaboration first of the Palestinian (Jerusalem) and then of the  Babylonian Talmuds. These codes of civil and religious practice sought to determine every aspect of life, including attitudes toward the dead. The concepts of immortality and resurrection had become so well established that in the Eighteen Benedictions (recited daily in synagogues and homes) God was repeatedly addressed as “the One who resurrects the dead.” Talmudic sources warned that “anyone who said there was no resurrection” would have no share in the world to come (tractate Sanhedrin 10:1). Over the centuries, a radical doctrinal shift had occurred. One would have to await the great political volte-faces of the 20th century to witness again such dramatic gyrations of decreed perspective.

– Digital Edition, 2005, Entry “Death”

Human substance and nature. The conception of death in most religions is closely related to the particular view held about the constitution of human nature. Two major traditions of interpretation have provided the basic assumptions of religious  eschatologies and have often found expression in mortuary rituals and funerary practice. The more primitive of these interpretations has been based on an integralistic evaluation of human nature. Thus, the individual person has been conceived as a psychophysical organism, of which both the material and the nonmaterial constituents are essential in order to maintain a properly integrated personal existence. From such an evaluation it has followed that death is the fatal shattering of personal existence. Although some constituent element of the living person has been deemed to survive this disintegration, it has not been regarded as conserving the essential self or personality. The consequences of this estimate of human nature can be seen in the eschatologies of many religions. The ancient Mesopotamians, Hebrews, and Greeks, for example, thought that after death only a shadowy wraith descended to the realm of the dead, where it existed miserably in dust and darkness. Such a conception of man, in turn, has meant that, where the possibility of an effective afterlife has been envisaged, as in ancient Egyptian religion, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity, and Islām, the idea of a reconstitution or resurrection of the body has also been involved; for it has been deemed essential to restore the psychophysical complex of personality. In Egypt, most notably, provision was made for the eventual reconstitution in an elaborate mortuary ritual which included the mummification of the corpse to preserve it from disintegration.

The alternative view of human nature may be termed dualistic. It conceives of the individual person as comprising an inner essential self or soul, which is nonmaterial, and a physical body. In many religions based on this view of human nature, the soul is regarded as being essentially immortal and as existing before the body was formed. Its incarnation in the body is interpreted as a penalty incurred for some primordial sin or error. At death the soul leaves the body, and its subsequent fate is determined by the manner in which it has fulfilled what the particular religion concerned has prescribed for the achievement of salvation. This view of human nature and destiny finds most notable expression in Hinduism and, in a subtly qualified sense, in Buddhism; it was also taught in such mystical cults and philosophies of the Greco-Roman world as Orphism (an ancient Greek mystical movement with a significant emphasis on death), Gnosticism (an early system of thought that viewed spirit as good and matter as evil), Hermeticism (a Hellenistic esoteric, occultic movement), and  Manichaeism (a system of thought founded by Mani in ancient Iran).

Forms of survival. The conception of human nature held in any religion has, accordingly, determined the manner or mode in which postmortem survival has been envisaged. Where the body has been regarded as an essential constituent of personal existence, belief in a significant afterlife has inevitably entailed the idea of the reconstitution of the decomposed corpse and its resurrection to life. In turn, a dualistic conception of human nature, which regards the soul as intrinsically nonmaterial and immortal, envisages postmortem life in terms of the disembodied existence of the soul. This dualistic conception, in many religions, has also involved the idea of rebirth or  reincarnation. In Hinduism, Buddhism, and Orphism this idea has inspired a cyclical view of the  time process and produced esoteric explanations of how thesoul becomes reborn into a physical body, whether human or animal.

– Digital Edition, 2005, Entry “Death Rite”

RESURRECTION, the rising from the dead of a divine or human being who still retains his own personhood, or individuality, though the body may or may not be changed. The belief in the resurrection of the body is usually associated with Christianity, because of the doctrine of the Resurrection of Christ, but it also is associated with later  Judaism, which provided basic ideas that were expanded in Christianity and Islām.

Ancient Middle Eastern religious thought provided a background for belief in the resurrection of a divine being (e.g., the Babylonian vegetation god Tammuz), but belief in personal resurrection of humans was unknownIn Greco-Roman religious thought there was a belief in the immortality of the soul, but not in the resurrection of the body. Symbolic resurrection, or rebirth of the spirit, occurred in the Hellenistic mystery religions, such as the religion of the goddess Isis, but postmortem corporeal resurrection was not recognized.

The expectation of the resurrection of the dead is found in several Old Testament works. In  the Book of Ezekiel, there is an anticipation that the righteous Israelites will rise from the dead.  The Book of Daniel further developed the hope of resurrection with both the righteous and unrighteous Israelites being raised from the dead, after which will occur a judgment, with the righteous participating in an eternal messianic kingdom and the unrighteous being excluded. In some intertestamental literature, such as The Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch, there is an expectation of a universal resurrection at the advent of the Messiah.

– Digital Edition, 2005, Entry “Resurrection”.

Joseph Priestley, A History of the Corruptions of Christianity, Part V – The History of Opinions Concerning the State of the Dead, London, England, 1782 (This cover is from 2013 edition):

I think that I have sufficiently proved in my Disquisitions Relating to Matter and Spirit, that, in the Scriptures, the state of death is represented as a state of absolute insensibility, being opposed to life. The doctrine of the distinction between soul and body, as two different substances, the one material and the other immaterial, and so independent of one another, that the latter may even die and perish, and the former, instead of losing anything, be rather a gainer by the catastrophe, was originally a doctrine of oriental philosophy, which afterwards spread into the western part of the world. But it does not appear that it was ever adopted by the generality of the Jews, and perhaps not even by the more learned and philosophical of them, such as Josephus, till after the time of our Savior; though Philo, and some others, who resided in Egypt, might have adopted that tenet in an earlier period.

Though a distinction is made in the Scriptures between the principle, or seat, of thought in man, and the parts which are destined to other functions; and in the New Testament that that principle may sometimes be signified by the term soul; yet there is no instance, either in the Old or New Testament, of this soul being supposed to be in one place and the body in another. They are always conceived to go together, so that the perceptive and thinking power could not, in fact, be considered by the sacred writers as any other than a property of a living man, and therefore as what ceased of course when the man was dead, and could not be revived but with the revival of the body.

Accordingly, we have no promise of any reward, or any threatening of punishment, after death, but that which is represented as taking place at the general resurrection. And it is observable that this is never, in the Scriptures, called, as with us, the resurrection of the body (as if the soul, in the meantime, was in some other place), but always the resurrection of the dead, that is, of the man. If, therefore, there be any intermediate state, in which the soul alone exists, conscious of anything, there is an absolute silence concerning it in the Scriptures; death being always spoken of there as a state of rest, of silence, and of darkness, a place where the wicked cease from troubling, but where the righteous cannot praise God.

– Reprint by The British and Foreign Unitarian Association, London, 1871, p. 132.

John Kenrick, The Necessity of Revelation To Teach The Doctrine oa Future Life: A Sermon,  J. Belcher and Son, Birmingham, England, 1814.

It does not belong to this place to enquire, whether the principle of thought in Man be really that immaterial essence which this argument supposes it to be; nor is it necessary to my purpose, to assume any thing respecting its nature.

Be its essence what it may, we have no evidence whatever, independently of Revelation, that it exists separately from the body to, which it has been united. While, the man lives, we see that he thinks and feels and wills; and we may, if we, please, attribute, these effects to the union of a spiritual principle with his material body: Death puts a stop to all these operations, and, therefore, though it should not destroy the soul, destroys every thing from which we could ascertain its existence. I am not maintaining by any means that the soul loses its powers at death: I am only enquiring, what evidence we have that it retains them; and it appears to me that, without Revelation, we can have none.

… How different is the hope which the Gospel affords to all who believe in it! It is built on no refined speculations, incomprehensible to the majority of mankind and unsatisfactory even to those who comprehend them; varying in their evidence with the cheerful or melancholy humour of the mind, and least convincing when most needed; inspiring a momentary belief, when enforced by some eloquent and subtle advocate, and leaving the mind to scepticism when the volume is closed.

The evidence of the Christian’s hope is at once comprehensible by the meanest and satisfactory to the most exalted understanding. It is simple, obvious and decisive. The fact of our Master’s resurrection is confirmed by the most unquestionable historical testimony; the gracious promise, that “because he lives, we shall live also,” rests for its accomplishment on His word, who has never yet said what has not come to pass. How deeply then must their error be deplored, who desert the everlasting Rock of revealed truth, to build this doctrine, so essential to the virtue and the happiness of man, on the sandy basis of inference and analogy!

– pp. 12, 13, 23, 24.

Richard Wright,The Resurrection of the Dead an essential Doctrine of the Gospel; and the Neglect of it by reputed Orthodox Christians, an Argument against the Truth of their System, Liverpool, England, 1820:

Death and resurrection are opposed to each other. In death man falls, and remains dead until he is raised again. In the resurrection he is delivered from a dead state, made alive and stands up again among the living. A real resurrection must be preceded by the actual death of that which is raised. That which does not die cannot be raised from the dead. The resurrection made known in the scriptures is a resurrection from the dead. Whatever is to be raised from the dead must remain dead until it is raised.

The resurrection which the apostles preached was that of real persons, of conscious and intelligent be ings. Whatever Christ was in his person, they testified that this person, the real Christ, actually died, was buried, and raised from the dead. Upon this subject the New Testament is most plain and positive. The apostles preached no Christ, no Son of God, but the person who actually died and was raised from the dead. With devout exultation they dwelt on the fact, that Christ was raised from the dead. Again, what ever man is in his real person, whatever is essential to him as man, to his identity, as an individual, conscious, intelligent being, according to the scriptures, dies and will be raised from the dead. It is plainly asserted, that man dies, and that man will be raised from the dead. Such language can be applicable to none but real persons.

In connexion with the resurrection of Christ, the New Testament teaches that all the persons who bear the name of man, and have died, will be raised from the dead. It is of the utmost importance to adhere strictly to the plain language of scripture, and the clear facts there stated: and no language can be plainer than that which asserts the resurrection of Christ, and the future resurrection of mankind at large; no fact can be more clearly stated than the former or announced with greater precision than the latter.

– p. 6.

About this tract, The Unitarian Magazine Chronicle (Edwin Chapman, ed., London, 1834) stated on p. 167:

In this tract the nature and importance of the doctrine of the resurrection are clearly shown; also the earnestness and frequency with which it is insisted on in Scripture; and, lastly, its neglect by the self-reputed orthodox; ‘first, from the consideration that the leading doctrines of reputed orthodoxy are independent on, and have no necessary connection with the resurrection of the dead; secondly, from the consideration that the leading doctrines of reputed orthodoxy are incapable of being made fully to harmonize with it:’ and thence an argument is fairly drawn: ‘that modern orthodoxy is not the pure gospel of Jesus Christ’.

Russell Scott, An Analytical Investigation or The Scriptural Claims othe Devil: To Which Is Added, An Explanation othe Terms Sheol, Hades, and Gehenna, As Employed By The Scripture Writers, Rowland Hunter, London, England, 1822.

Unbelievers in the divine mission of Jesus have adopted from these Heathen philosophers, what is called the natural immortality of the soul, which leads them to consider the Christian religion as, at least, unnecessary, revealing nothing new ; and, therefore, not of divine origin. A real, corporeal existence in a future life, can, however, be no where found, except in the gospel, and which is most satisfactorily confirmed by the resurrection of the body and mind of Jesus from the region of the dead.

The future existence of the body and mind, as inseparably connected, is a pearl of inestimable value, and was never discovered until Jesus imparted the knowledge of it to the world, and acquainted men with the means of obtaining possession of so interesting and important a treasure. Christians in general, however, have adopted the Heathenish notion of there being a principle in man, which is naturally immortal. They have cast this pearl from them by adopting the opinions of the Alexandrian philosophers who became converts to Christianity. Among these opinions were three separate principles in the Deity, which were afterwards converted into three separate persons, and this principle in man, distinct from the body, originally considered to be an emanation from the Deity and returnable to him. This opinion subverts the influence and destroys the effect of the death and the resurrection of Christ, the cornerstone of Christianity, since we are expressly taught to consider his resurrection from a state of death, as an assurance to us that we also shall arise from the dead: ” And as God raised the Lord to life, he will also raise you up by the same power,” 1 Cor. vi. 14. Paul also tells the Philippians, (iii. 21,) that Jesus will change this lowly body of ours into the form of his own glorious body. ” He, who raised the Lord Jesus to life, will also raise us through Jesus,” 2 Cor. iv. 14. And the resurrection of the whole man is proved at large by the Apostle in 1 Cor. xv. The continuation of existence, by the natural immortality of what is termed the soul of man, is, therefore, in direct opposition to the Scriptures of the New Testament. In some of the preceding Lectures it has been shewn at large, that the Scriptures of the Old Testament never refer to any state of consciousness, or of existence beyond the present. The punishment inflicted upon Adam for disobedience was the death of the whole system — his corporeal and mental frame. The sentence is, (Gen. ii. 17,) ” Thou shalt utterly die ;” see Gen. xxxvii. 33, and Exod xxi. 19, where the same construction of the original signifies entirely, totally. What could Adam understand by this most positive sentence? Could he think that to die utterly meant, his existence should be continued at death, and be extended to an eternity? Could he suppose that the disobedience of which he had been guilty, would invest him with immortality? Must he not rather conclude that to die utterly was the extinction of his being, a return to the same state of nonentity from which he had been taken? Could he imagine that utterly to die included a continuation in being, and in a state of eternal torments? “In the sweat of thy face, thou shalt eat thy bread, until thou return to the ground out of which thou wast taken,” Gen. iii. 19. This is another consequence of Adam’s disobedience, and corroborates the construction given to the sentence which was passed upon him: “Thou shalt utterly die,” thy whole frame shall return to the dust. This death continued in force till the resurrection of Christ, who hereby destroyed it, and delivered us from its influence. He was empowered to revoke the sentence by his personal or corporeal resurrection from the dead: “Since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection from the dead,” 1 Cor. xv. 21. The punishment of utter death inflicted on Adam was a return to the dust — “Dust thou art, and to dust thou shalt return:” the reversing of this sentence must be the resuscitating that dust —” As in Adam all die, so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

– pp. 619-625 (footnotes omitted).

Richard Watson (1781–1833), Theological institutes: or, A view of the evidences, doctrines, morals and institutions of Christianity. Originally published in 1823, New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1836. (This cover is from 2012 edition):

A question, as to the transmission of this corruption of nature from parents to children, has been debated among those who, nevertheless, admit the fact; some contending that the soul is ex traduce; others, that it is by immediate creation. It is certain that, as to the meta-physical part of this question, we can come to no satisfactory conclusion. The Scriptures, however, appear to be more in favor of the doctrine of traduction. “Adam begat a son in his own likeness.” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” which refers certainly to the soul as well as to the body. The fact also of certain dispositions and eminent faculties of the mind being often found in families appears to favor this notion; though it may be plausibly said, that, as the mind operates by bodily instruments, there may be a family constitution of the body, as there is of likeness, which may be more favorable to the excitement and exertion of certain faculties than others.

The usual argument against this traduction of the human spirit is, that the doctrine of its generation tends to materialism. But this arises from a mistaken view of that in which the procreation of a human being lies, which does not consist in the production out of nothing of either of the parts of which the compounded being, man, is constituted, but in the uniting them substantially with one another. The matter of the body is not, then, first made, but disposed, nor can it be supposed that the soul is by that act first produced. That belongs to a higher power; and then the only question is, whether all souls were created in Adam, and are transmitted by a law peculiar to themselves; which is always under the control of the will of that same watchful Providence, of whose constant agency in the production and ordering of the kinds, sexes, and circumstances of the animal creation, we have abundant proof; or whether they are immediately created. The usual objection to the last notion is, that God cannot create an evil nature; but if our corruption is the result of privation, not of positive infection, the notion of the immediate creation of the soul is cleared of a great difficulty, though it is not wholly disentangled. But the tenet of the soul’s descent appears to have most countenance from the language of Scripture, and it is no small confirmation of it, that when God designed to incarnate his own Son, he stepped out of the ordinary course, and formed a sinless human nature immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost. The philosophical difficulties which have presented themselves to this opinion appear chiefly to have arisen from supposing that consciousness is an essential attribute of spirit; and that the soul is naturally immortal; the former of which cannot be proved, while the latter is contradicted by Scripture, which makes our immortality a gift dependent on the will of the giver. Other difficulties have arisen for want of considering the constant agency of God in regulating the production of all things, and of rational accountable creatures especially.

– Vol. II, pp. 82, 83.

Walter Balfour, Three Essays. On the Intermediate State of the Dead. The Resurrection from the Dead. And On the Greek Terms Rendered Judge, Judgment, Condemned, Condemnation, Damned, Damnation, etc. in the New Testamentpublished by G. Davidson, Massachussets, USA1828 (This cover is from 2010 edition):

The only thing which remains to be shown is – how these heathen traditions came to be incorporated with the Christian religion. It is evident they prevailed many ages before Christ appeared, and prevailed both among Jews and Gentiles at the commencement of the gospel dispensation. See a quotation in my First Inquiry, from Dr. Campbell, where he shows the Jews had imbibed many of the heathen opinions, ch. i. sect. 3. When the gospel began to be preached among all nations, the converts made to it had imbibed such heathen traditions, and in fact, susceptible of the most satisfactory proof, that the first fathers of the church were all attached to the Platonic philosophy, which then generally prevailed. Some of those fathers spoke in the highest terms of Plato and his doctrines, and it is said Plato perfected the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Augustine confessed, that the books of the philosophers were very useful to him in facilitating his understanding of some orthodox truths. Eusebius avers, that Plato even penetrated into the doctrine of the Trinity. The early fathers, such as Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertulian, Origen, are all allowed to have been Platonists. That Christianity soon became corrupted from the philosophy of the times is universally allowed by all sects of Christians in the present Day. I have only room for one brief extract from Enfield’s History of Philosophy, p. 13, 14. “Among the first Christians, who were industriously employed in disseminating the divine doctrine of their máster, the subtilties of Gentile philosophy obtained little credit. But very soon after the rise of Christianity, many persons, who had been educated in the schools of the philosophers becoming converts to the Christian faith, the doctrine of the Grecian sects, and especially of Platonism, were interwoven with the simple truths of pure religion. As the Eclectic philosophy spread, heathen and Christian doctrines were still more intimately blended, till, at last, both were almost entirely lost in the thick clouds of ignorance and barbarism which covered the earth; except that the Aristotelian philosophy had a few followers among the Greeks, and Platonic Christianity was cherished in the cloisters of monks. About the beginning of the eleventy century, a new kind of philosophy sprung up, called the scholastic, which, while it professed to follow the doctrine of Aristotle, corrupted every principle of sound reasoning, and hindered, instead of assisting, men in their inquiries after truth.”

Such being the fact, that Christianity became corrupted from the philosophy of the times, let us now notice, that from this very source the apostles forewarned Christians, errors should arise among them. Paul said to the Collosians, ch. 2:8, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” See also 1 Tim. 6:20, 21. 1:4, 6. And 4:7. 2 Tim. 2:16-18. These errors were not introduced without opposition, for it required ecclesiastical authority to establish in some places the immortality of the soul. Accordingly Eusebius testifies, that A.D. 249, the doctrine that “the souls of men perish with their bodies,” was condemned in na Arabian council. No wonder the Arabian Christians opposed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul even in the third century, for by Dr. Good’s own showing, it was not found in the writings of Job, their ancestor, nor taught them by Christ their máster. This doctrine however being once established, laid a foundation for a superstructure of priestcraft and superstition in the Catholic church, which for many ages was the admiration of the nations, but the curse of the world. Its very ruins excite our astonishment. At the Reformation, many things were reformed, but all will admit, many things were left unreformed. For example, saving immortal souls after death was laid aside, but the reformers still went on to save them before death. Whether men had immortal souls to save from endless misery was never made a question with them; and from their day to this few Protestants have suspected the unscriptural nature of this doctrine.

– pp. 94-96.

O atributo alt desta imagem está vazio. O nome do arquivo é encyclopediaamericana1959.jpg

The Encyclopedia Americana, 1829-1833:

Resurrection, an article of belief contained in all the formularies of the Christian faith, namely, that at the last day all the human creatures that shall have lived on earth will rise from their graves in the bodies which they had in life. It is a doctrine peculiar to the Christian religion, one not entertained by the pagan nations of antiquity nor by the Hebrews till the latter period of their history as a nation. In the Hebrew scriptures are many passages which favor more or less the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead; but such passages are in no instance free from ambiguity; and even were it to be granted that they unequivocally assert a resurrection, they do not accord with the doctrine that is taught in all the creeds of Christendom, namely, that when the period of man’s life upon the earth is closed then the entire human race, not the good alone, but the wicked, not the blest alone, but those also who are destined to everlasting punishment shall arise from the grave with the bodies which they had in life and appear before the supreme tribunal. The passages of Hebrew Scripture that have been regarded as intimating this doctrine are chiefly Isaiah xxvi. 19, Job xix. 23-27, and Daniel xii.

2. The passage of Isaiah, as rendered in the Authorized Version is, “Thy dead men shall live; together with my dead body they shall arise.” The words italicized are supplied by the translators. In the Septuagint the latter half of the passage is rendered, “and those in the graves shall arise.” If this is unequivocally a declaration of the resurrection of the bodies of men, at least it does not assert that there will be such a resurrection of the entire human race. Job xix. 25-27 reads : “I know that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another.” Again a mutilated Hebrew text, with variant readings and variously translated in the versions: but granted that it tells of a resurrection on the last day, it says at most only that Job will then appear in his body as when he lived — one man, not all mankind. Much clearer and stronger is the passage, Daniel xii. 2, “Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt”: this is explicit, but it does not say that all the dead will arise clothed in their bodies; and this becoming “awake” does not necessarily imply reassumption of the bodies at all. Toward the time of the downfall of the Jewish nation the belief in the resurrection of the body was generally entertained among the Jews: in the apocryphal book 2 Maccabees the doctrine of the resurrection is strongly asserted, yet even there nothing is said about a resurrection of all the dead; and though the resurrection of all the dead is now the 13th article of the Jewish creed, it is a doctrine that cannot be proved from the Talmud or the Midrashim, according to which only the just will rise again. But in the books of the New Testament the resurrection of all on the last day is explicitly declared, and in all the formularies of Christian belief, beginning with the Apostles’ Creed, this doctrine is most distinctly asserted. That not only the just but also the wicked shall rise again is explicitly taught by the Founder of Christianity in Matt. v. 29, x. 28, and particularly in John v. 28, 29, “The hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” — The Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day after his crucifixion is by Saint Paul made the very basis of Christian faith: “If Christ be not risen then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” The evidence of the truth of Christ’s resurrection, for those who were to form the first nucleus of his church was the fact that on eleven different occasions between the resurrection and the ascension into heaven he manifested himself to his apostles and others, his companions and friends: and these testify to the truth of this resurrection in clear, definite, positive state ments. Those who deny the objective reality of Christ’s resurrection — and it was denied in the very first age of the Church  attempt to explain it away on various grounds: but his disciples distinctly testified that it was Jesus himself, in corporeal presence, who conversed with them at sundry times during the 40 days preceding the ascension.

– 1904 Edition, entry “Resurrection”.

IMMORTALITY. … Belief in some form of immortality is widespread, although not universal. It is found in all stages of civilization from the lowest form of aboriginal life to the highest Occidental culture. The doctrine varies from a belief in an indefinite survival-period after death to the belief in eternal personal life, the latter being the legitimate use of the term Immortality

Hebrews. — Sheol, or the realm of shadows, appears in the early history of the Jews to be an amplification of the idea of the grave, as the dark abode of departed spirits, where souls dwell bodiless, unconscious, without feeling. The references in the early part of the Old Testament Scriptures to a future life are rare and vague, and the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is nowhere explicitly taught in the early books. The rites of necromancy were discouraged by the prophets and lawgivers of ancient Israel as antagonistic to belief in the God of life, whose realm excluded Sheol (or the realm of the dead), until post-exilic times. Eternal life belongs to God alone, and to those celestial beings who have eaten of the tree of life and live foreverIn connection with the Messianic hope and under the influence of Greek and Persian ideas, the later Jews adopted a doctrine of resurrection of the body which made room for belief in the soul’s continuous life. The Cabalists took up the doctrine of transmigration (Gilgul, “rolling on” of souls) according to which the soul of Adam passed into David and shall pass into the Messiah, as is mystically set forth in the letters of that name (Ad[a]m). The Platonic doctrine of pre-existence is also found in the rabbinical philosophy. Immortality conjoined with the dogma of the resurrection is the prevailing conception in the post-exilic literature, the latter (resurrection) becoming fixed in the Mishna and liturgy. Since the time of Moses Mendelssohn, who rehabilitated the doctrine of Plato in his “Phædon,” progressive Judaism tends to lay less emphasis on the resurrection of the body, and greater emphasis on a purely spiritual immortality, the former dogma being discarded in the Reform rituals.

The Greeks.— The origin of the doctrine of immortality amongst the Greeks is lost in the remotest antiquity. It is found in the early traditions of the Orphic and Dionysiac mysteries, in the poems of Homer and Hesiod, and forms a central tenet in the philosophy of Pythagoras, a contemporary of Buddha-Siddhartha and Lao-Tze. The view of Pythagoras includes the doctrine of transmigration, which may have been suggested to him by the theology of the Orphic mysteries or by Pherecydes, rather than by the Egyptians (Zeller, ‘Pre-Socratic Philosophy,’ Vol. I, pp. 71, 514). The great problem of a man’s life is moral purification, which he pursues in a divinely governed Cosmos, where his chief end is to become like God. The soul is imprisoned in the body because of sins committed in a pre-existent state, and after death passes into a superior or inferior state. According as it has served Good or Evil. In the ascending stages of metempsychosis the soul is prepared for moral redemption. Although the belief in some form of immortality prevailed amongst the Greeks throughout their history, and probably came into their philosophy from their religion, it was not until Plato that a philosophic basis was furnished to the doctrine. The Platonic arguments for the immortality of the soul may be summarily stated as follows:…

The views of the Greeks, and especially the views of Plato, have had a profound, an incalculable influence on Christian thought, on early theological formulæ and on the sum of Occidental philosophy. Plato was not merely a framer of philosophy, an intellectual interpreter of reality, but still more a man of religion, a seer.

– 1959 Edition, Vol. XIV, pp. 716-718.

RESURRECTION, … I. Pagan Traces. — In pagan religions, degenerated from God’s primitive revelation to the human race, there is a common and definite belief in the survival of human personality after death; but the traces of a hope of a future resurrection are not universal nor distinct. Many savage tribes witness to a crude belief in metempsychosis. Such theories of reincarnation and transmigration of souls may readily be distortions of a primitive revelation of the resurrection of the body. The totemistic worship of the bear, the beaver, etc., which is found among the Sioux, Iroquois and other American Indians, follows upon the idea that the souls of the tribal ancestors have been reincarnated in those animals. Among the Egyptians, reincarnation was a purification of the soul and a preparation for final and separate existence…

II. Old Testament Teaching.— 1. Genesis. The human race, at its creation, was endowed with the preternatural gift of immortality. At the dawn of human life, the separation of soul from body in death was precluded by God’s special providence. The tree of life stood in the midst of Eden (Genesis 3); and the eating of the fruit of that tree was somehow associated with the immortality of Adam’s animated body. Jahweh intended to perpetuate this preternatural and deathless union of man’s soul with his body, had Adam not sinned. But Adam sinned. He and the human race lost the preternatural gift of immortality. God had threatened: “Dying thou shalt die, if thou disobey” (Genesis ii, 17 and iii, 3). After the disobedience, that threat was fulfilled: ‘Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return’ (Genesis iii, 19). “By one man the sin entered into the world; and by the sin entered death. And in this wise death passed unto all men, for as much as all sinned” (Romans v, 12). However, the final triumph over death is implied in the promised victory of the seed of the woman over the seed of the serpent (Genesis iii, 15).

2. Job. — It is not certain how this revelation of the triumph over death was evolved into a clear belief in the resurrection of the body. All at once we come upon that belief in its full evolution about the 10th century B.C. Our witness is the dramatic epic called the Book of Job. Without any prospect of human comfort, the patient sufferer looks forward to the unending joy of an eternal reunion of his soul and body. The Masoretic, Septuagint and Vulgate traditions of the text are slightly variant, though substantially the same. To the scepticism of Bildad and the Shuhite, Job makes reply:

I know that my Redeemer liveth:
And on the Last Day from the dust shall I rise.
Yea, again shall I be clothed with my skin; And in my flesh shall I see God.
Him I shall see for myself,
Yea, mine eyes shall look on, not another’s.
Full fraught is this hope in my bosom.

(Job xix: 25-27)

3. Hosea. — During the dreadful times that preceded the Assyrian exile, Hosea, a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel, about B.C. 750, foretold the triumph of the chosen people in terms that clearly refer to the resurrection, especially to that of the Messias:

Come, let us go back to Jahweh.
For He hath bruised, that He may heal us; He bath smitten, that He may cure us.
After two days He will quicken us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live before His face.

(Hosea vi, 1-2)

The triumph of Israel over death is a resurrection hope, bound up in the promise of national redemption that Jahweh makes through His prophet:

From the power of She’ol shall I free them;
From death shall I redeem them.
Where is thy sting, O death? Where is thy doom, O She’ol?

(Hosea xiii, 14)

This prophecy, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians (1, Cor. xv, 54-55), is to be fulfilled at the resurrection of the flesh.

4. Isaiah. — Shortly before the fall of Samaria B.C. 722, Isaiah, a prophet of the southern kingdom of Judah, intermingled thoughts of the resurrection with his Messianic prophecies. By means of the Messianic triumph Jahweh of hosts “shall cast death down headlong for ever” (xxv, 8). In that day of complete redemption,

Thy dead shall come to life again;
My slain shall rise up again.
Awake and shout for soy,
Ye that dwell in the dust.
For thy dew is a dew of light;
Yea, the earth shall forth her dead.
The earth shall unveil her blood;
She shall cover her slain no more.

(Is. xxvi. 19-21)

In the prophets of both the Assyrian and the Babylonian period the redemption of Israel from thraldom in Assyria, and of Judah from Babylonian bondage, is a type of the resurrection of the world from slavery to sin. The sacred manumission of the slave to sin, by means of the mediatorship of the Messias, is completed in the glorious resurrection of the body. That is why Isaiah now and then is inspired to shift his thought from the salvation of Israel or of Judah to that of the soul of man by reunion with its body in glory.

5. Ezechiel. — Coming to the Babylonian period of prophecy, we find Ezechiel (B.C. 592-586) foretelling the salvation of Judah in terms that vividly picture the resurrection. The prophet in vision stood in the midst of a vast plain “full of bones… and, lo, they were very dry.” Then Jahweh prophesied to the bones:

Lo, within you I shall put spirit,
And ye shall live.
I shall grant you sinews.
I shall raise up for you flesh,
I shall set over you skin,
Within you I shall put spirit,
And ye shall live.

(Ezech. xxxvii, 5,6)

Straightway “there was a noise… and a rattling; and the bones moved nigh, each bone to its own bone.” Lastly “came into them the spirit; and they lived, and they stood upon their feet. They were an army exceeding great” (xxxvii, 10). The belief in the resurrection must have been real and universal in Judah; else Ezechiel would not have received and set forth, in terms of that figure, the revelation of the ultimate triumph of his people.

6. Daniel. — Throughout the Babylonian Exile (B.C. 586-536) and thereafter, the prophet Daniel is a clear witness to that part of Jewish eschatology, which has to do with the fact of a future resurrection of the body. “At that time Michael, the great leader, who stands for the sons of thy folk, will rise up; and there will be a time of anguish, such as never has been since nation was even until then. At that time shall thy folk be saved,— all that are found to be written in the book. And the multitude of those that sleep in the dust of the ground shall awake,— some unto life eternal, others unto reproach and unto shame eternal. Yea, they that teach wisdom shall shine like the refulgence of the firmament; they that bring many to justice shall be like stars forever and beyond” (xii, 1-3).

7. The Psalms. — The Book of Psalms, in its present state, is likely the result of a series of inspired redactions, dating from the time of David (B.C. 1017-977) up to the time of the close of the canon of Esdras (B.C. 444). The soul’s longing for immortality is clear, and the resurrection-hope at least faintly glimmers throughout this long period of liturgical evolution of Israelitic hymnody. The Davidic Psalm 16 (15):9, 10 proclaims the immortality of the pious:

Therefore my heart is glad, and my tongue exults;
Surely my flesh now abides in hope.
For thou wilt not give over my soul to Sheol;
Nor suffer thy pious one to see corruption.

A later Psalm 49 (48):14-15, of the Psalter of the Sons of Korah, consigns the wicked to She’ol and redeems the just:

Like sheep to She’ol they are driven; Death shepherds them;
The just shall rule over them in the morning;
Their beauty is for She’ol to waste out of its dwelling.
Surely God will save my soul from the power of She’ol;
For He will take me.

Asaph’s Psalm 73(72):24, 25, yearns for immortality. David sings that his joy will be complete in the beatific vision of God, after his awaking from the sleep of death (Psalm 17:15)…

III. New Testament Teaching. — The time and details of the Parousia are treated elsewhere. (See ESCHATOLOGY). This article is limited to the fact and manner of the resurrection. The current Jewish eschatological belief, at the beginning of the Christian era, is manifested by Martha in regard to her brother Lazarus: “I know that he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day” (John xi, 24).

1. Doctrine of Jesus. — Our Lord repeated the Old Testament teaching in this matter. The Sadducees “said there was no resurrection,” and denied even the immortality of the soul (Josephus, ‘Antiquitates Judaicae’, XVIII, i, 4). They proposed to Jesus the case of a woman, who by the Mosaic law of go’el had married seven brothers, one after the other. “At the resurrection, to whom of the seven will she be wife?” In reply, our Saviour blamed them because of ignorance of Scripture. “For at the resurrection there will be no marrying nor being married; but they will be as angels in heaven.” The glorified body will not be subject to the appetites of the flesh. The Sadducees grossly caricature the glory of the resurrected body. Its joy is of God. “He is not a God of the dead, but of the living” (Matt. xxii, 23-32; Luke xx, 28-38). Besides, Jesus claimed that, as Son of Man, He would be the Judge of men (John v, 23-27). He added: “A time is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live… A time is coming when all who are in their graves shall hear His voice. And they shall come forth — they that have done good, unto a resurrection of life; they that have done evil, unto a resurrection of condemnation” (John v, 28, 29). This resurrection unto life, Jesus promises, He Himself will accomplish in the case of those that believe in Him (John vi, 39, 40); follow the impulses of God’s grace (John vi, 44); eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man (John vi, 45). He said to Martha “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me shall live, though he die; yea, he shall never die, who lives and believes in me” (John xi, 25, 26). The charitable shall receive their “reward at the resurrection of the good” (Luke xiv, 14). The unjust also will rise from the dead to be punished for their sins (Matt. v, 29, 30; Mark, ix, 43-49); they will go soul and body to hell (Matt. x, 28). At the Parousia, the risen just will stand at the right, and the risen unjust at the left of the Judge. He will pronounce sentence of damnation of the latter to eternal fire, and of welcome of the former to everlasting bliss (Matt. xxv, 31-46)…

– 1959 Edition, Vol. XXIII, pp. 422-425.

The Old Testament concept of man is that of a unity, not a union of soul and body. Although the Hebrew word ne’phesh is frequently translated as ‘soul,’ it would be inaccurate to read into it a Greek meaning… Ne’phesh is never conceived of as operating separately from the body. In the New Testament the Greek word psy·khe’ is often translated as ‘soul’ but again should not be readily understood to have the meaning the word had for the Greek philosophers. It usually means `life,’ or `vitality,’ or, at times, “the self.” While most Christians believe in a life after death, the Bible does not provide a clear description of how a person survives after death. Christian theologians have had to resort to the discussions of philosophers for an adequate means of describing survival of the individual after death, and philosophers have traditionally utilised the concept of the soul as the vehicle of immortality.

– 1977 Edition, Vol. XXV, p. 236.

Renn Dickson Hampden,The Scholastic Philosophy Considered in its Relation to Christian Theology – In a Course of Lectures Delivered Before the University of Oxford in the Year MDCCCXXXII. At the Lecture Founded by John Bampton,Oxford,England, 1833. (This cover is from 2010 edition).

The notion of the separate existence of the soul has so incorporated itself with Christian theology, that we are apt at this day to regard a belief in it as essential to orthodox doctrine. Even in maintaining that such a belief is not essential to Christianity, I may incur the appearance of impugning a vital truth of religion. I cannot, however, help viewing this popular belief as a remnant of scholasticism. I feel assured that the truth of the resurrection does not depend on such an assumption; that the life and immortality of man, as resting on Christ raised from the dead, is a certain fact in the course of divine Providence; whatever may be the theories of the soul, and of its connexion with the body.

– p. 310.

Constantin Ackermann, Das Christliche im Plato und in der platonischen Philosophie entwickelt und hervorgehoben, Hamburg, Germany, 1835 (In English: The Christian Element in Plato and the Platonic Philosophy. Translated from German by Samuel Ralph Asbury, 1861. This cover of English edition is from 2010 Edition):

Plato stood high in the regard of the ancient Christian Church, especially so long as the Greek Church Fathers were peculiarly the formers and leaders of theology. This was induced, partly by the custom of the times of deriving philosophical instruction principally from Plato, and they attached themselves to him in preference to any other, partly from conviction, because they found in him more Christian elements than in Aristotle. The remark of Patricius is, in the main, correct, that the elevation of Aristotle by scholasticism and the University of Paris, was in exact opposition to the reigning view concerning him in the ancient Christian Church…

It was especially Clement of Alexandria, who sought to derive the true and beautiful in Greek philosophy, particularly in Plato, from the original source of highest wisdom. He was a decided Platonist, although he called himself an Eclectic. His writings are full of quotations from Plato, and of comparisons between Platonic and Christian doctrines… His Platonico-Christian way of thinking, and the endeavour to represent Platonism and Christianity as friendly to each other, Clement handed down to his spirited and fertile pupil, Origen, to whom also Platonism came from another source, namely, from Ammonias Saccas, his instructor in philosophy. There are, indeed, in Origen fewer single passages than in the other Church Fathers, in which he mentions the Christianity of Plato with commendation, he often comes out even in decided opposition to it. But, notwithstanding this, Origen must be accounted one of the greatest admirers of Plato, in the Christian Church. His Platonising is seen less in the details than in the whole of his teaching, which is organically penetrated with Platonic ideas, and in part rose out of them….

None [Church Father], however, instituted so thorough a comparison between Platonic and Christian dogmas, and brought out the harmonious relation of Platonism to Christianity, so industriously as Eusebius of Caesarea.

Theodoret also labours to show this in his interesting work on ‘The healing of the Grecomania.’ In this work, he gives the Platonic philosophy preference above every other, because it comes nearest to the chief doctrines of Christianity.

It is well known, and as easily understood, in how commendatory and appreciative a manner the great Augustine expresses himself concerning Plato and his philosophy, especially in his celebrated work, ‘De civitate Dei,’ which a modem investigator calls the ripest fruit of the inward union of Christian and Platonic wisdom

There was, in general, in Christian antiquity, a great and decided disposition to bring Plato within the circle of the Gospel, and to represent his teaching as similar to the evangelical. Hence the younger Apollinaris made the remarkable attempt to recast the New Testament into Platonic dialogues. Hence, also, the legend arose, and became widely diffused, that Plato came into immediate contact with Christ on His descent into hell, and was by Him redeemed and raised to heaven…

– Excerpts of Chapter 1, pp. 17-29.

The Hopes of the Church of God – In Connection with the Destiny of the Jews and the Nations. As Revealed in Prophecy – Eleven Lectures Delivered in Geneva, 1840. G. Morrish, 20, Pathernoster Square, E.C. London, 1840 (Image: John Nelson Darby’s scrapbook. This scrapbook contains personal memorabilia relating to the life and travels of the Christian evangelist John Nelson Darby (1800-82). It has been placed online by the Library’s Centre for Heritage Imaging and Collection Care. [University of Manchester, England]).


Lecture 4
Read Luke 20:17.

First Resurrection; or, Resurrection of the Just.

The subject which I propose for this evening’s lecture, is the resurrection, and particularly the resurrection of the church apart; that is, the resurrection of the just as altogether distinct from that of the unjust.

We have already spoken of Christ, the Heir of all things; of the church as co-heir with Him; and of the coming of Christ to reign before the thousand years – an event which we must not confound with the day of the resurrection of the unjust, and of the judgment before the great white throne, which will not take place until after the millennium. We have now to see that the church will participate in this coming of Christ; it does so as the subject of the first resurrection.

There is no need to speak to you of the resurrection of Jesus as being the seal of His mission; it is an admitted truth; it is enough to quote Romans 1:4, where the apostle tells us that “Jesus Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power . . . by the resurrection of the dead.”* This resurrection was the great fact which demonstrated that Jesus is the Son of God; but it was likewise, for other reasons, the great theme of the preaching of the apostles, the basis of their epistles, and of all the New Testament.

*It is not exclusively by His own resurrection, though there was the first and most important proof. The reader will do well to pay attention to the expression, “from among the dead,” employed elsewhere. It is an expression distinct from the present, and indicates the introduction of a divine power into the realm of death – a power which withdraws some from it in such a sort as to distinguish them completely from others. This it was that astonished the disciples (Mark 9:10). Resurrection was the faith of every orthodox Jew; but what they did not understand was a resurrection from among the dead.

Let us commence by saying, that the difficulty people find in the subjects of which we are treating do not arise from the word of God not being simple, clear, and convincing; but from this – that preconceived ideas often rob us of its natural sense. We have habits of thinking apart from the Scripture, before we know it; then it is we find inconsistencies – incompatibility – in that which presents itself to us, not suspecting that this incompatibility belongs alone to human preconceived opinions.

The doctrine of the resurrection is important under more views than one. It links our hopes to Christ and to the whole church, in one word, to the counsels of God in Christ; it makes us understand that we are entirely set free in Him, by our participation in a life in which, united by the Holy Ghost to Him, He is also the source of all strength for glorifying Him, even from the present time; it sustains our hopes in the most solid manner; finally, it expresses all our salvation, inasmuch as it introduces us into a new creation, by which the power of God places us, in the second Adam, beyond the sphere of sin, of Satan, and of death. The soul in departing goes to Jesus, but is not glorified. The word of God speaks of men glorified, of glorified bodies; but never of glorified souls. But, as before observed, prejudices and human teachings have taken the place of the word of God, and the power and expectation of the resurrection has ceased to be the habitual state of the church.

The resurrection was the foundation of the preaching of the apostles, Acts 1:22. “One must be with us a witness of his resurrection.” This was the constant subject of their testimony. Let us now see in what terms they testified.

Acts 2:24. “Whom God hath raised up.” So verse 32: “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.”

Acts 3:15. “And killed the Prince of Life, whom God hath raised from the dead, whereof we are witnesses.”

Acts 4:2. This doctrine of the resurrection was acknowledged as the doctrine publicly preached by the apostles; it was not that the soul in dying went to heaven, but that the dead shall live again. As the Pharisees were the greatest enemies of the Lord whilst He was upon earth – that is to say, the falsely righteous ones, as opposed to the truly Righteous One – so in like manner, Satan, after His death, raised up the Sadducees, who were enemies to the doctrine of the resurrection; Acts 4:1; 5:17.

Acts 10:38, 40, 41. Peter testifies to this same fundamental truth before Cornelius the centurion and his friends. Paul preached it to the Jews of Antioch in Pisidia, saying (Acts 13:34), “And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead . . . he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.”

Acts 17:18-30. He announces, in the midst of the learned Gentiles, this doctrine, which was the stumbling-stone of their carnal wisdom. Socrates and other philosophers believed, after a fashion,* in the immortality of the soul; but when these men, curious in science, heard of the resurrection of the dead, they mocked. An unbeliever is able to discourse about immortality; but if he hears about the resurrection of the dead, he turns the subject into derision. And why? Because in virtue of the immortality of the soul he may exalt himself, he can elevate his own importance. There is something in the idea which can ally itself to man such as he is; but to think of dust raised again – of a living and glorious being made out of it – this is a glory which belongs only to God, a work of which God alone is capable. For if a body reduced to dust can be reconstituted by God into a living and glorified man, nothing is hid from His power. With the immortality of the soul man can still connect the idea of self – of power in the body; but when the leading truth is the resurrection of the body, and not the immortality of the soul, man’s impotency becomes glaring.

*It was in metempsychosis, or transmigration to other bodies, after all.

See again (whether the apostle was right or not in appealing to the prejudices of the Pharisees), Acts 23:6: where Paul directly affirms, that it was for the preaching of this doctrine he was called in question In chapter 24:15, he tells the same truth. In chapter 26 he gives it to king Agrippa as the reason of his detention; so also verse 23. From these passages it is easily seen, that the resurrection was the basis of the preaching of the apostle and of the hope of the faithful.

We now come to the second part of our subject, the resurrection of the church apart, or the special resurrection of the just.

“There will be,” says the apostle, “a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust”; but the resurrection of the just, or of the church, is a thing altogether apart – which has no relation with that of the wicked, which does not take place at the same time with this last, nor after the same principle. For, although both the one and the other are to be accomplished by the same power, there is in the resurrection of the just, a particular principle, namely the habitation of the Holy Ghost in them, which is foreign to the resurrection of the wicked; Rom. 8:11.

The virtue of the resurrection embraces the life, the justification, the confidence, the glory, of the church. God Himself is made known unto us by the name of “God who raiseth the dead” (2 Cor. 1:9), who introduces His power into the last depths of the effects of our sin – into the domain of death – to bring men out of it by a life from which that moment puts them outside the reach of all the dreadful consequences of sin – a life close to God.

Romans 4:23-25. It is in “God who quickeneth the dead” that we are called upon to believe; it is the resurrection of Jesus which is the power – the efficacy – of our justification. This is the truth presented in the passage before us. Our union with Jesus raised gives us acceptance with God. We ought to see ourselves already as beyond the tomb.

On this account the faith of Abraham was a justifying faith “He considered not his own body now (already) dead”, but he believed in a God “who quickeneth the dead”; for this reason his faith “was counted to him for righteousness.”* The resurrection of Jesus was the great proof, and as to all its moral effects, the establishment of this truth, that the object of our faith is that God raises the dead. This truth is pointedly expressed in the first epistle of Peter (1 Peter 1:21). The application is made to us by our union with the Lord.

*Remark the difference: he believed God was able to perform it, we, that He has done so. Through it we believe on Him.

Colossians 2:12. “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” The church is raised now, because Christ is raised as its Head. The resurrection of the church is not a resurrection whose object is judgment, but simply the consequence of its union with Christ, who has been judged in its stead.

We may observe in this passage how these truths hang together. The resurrection of the church is a thing of itself, because the church participates in the resurrection of Christ we are raised, not only because Jesus Christ will call us from the grave, but because we are one with Him. It is by reason of this unity, that, in partaking of faith, we are already raised with Christ, raised as to the soul, but not as to the body. The justification of the church is, that it is risen with Christ.

The same fact is expressed in Ephesians 1:18, etc., and Ephesians 2:4-6. Paul never said, “If I am saved, I am content.” He knew that it is hope that makes the soul active, which excites the affections, which animates and directs the whole man; and he desired that the church should have the heart full of this hope. Nor is it enough for one of us to say, “I am saved”; it is not enough for the love of God, which is not satisfied unless we are participators of all the glory of His Son; and we ought not to be indifferent to His will.

Ephesians 2:6 shews forth the same truth. The presence of the Holy Ghost in the church is that which characterises our position before God. As the Spirit of Christ is our consoler, and helps us in our infirmities, testifying withal that we are children of God, and making us able to serve God, so it is on account of the Holy Spirit who is in us that we shall be raised; and it is on account of the Holy Spirit also that the principle of the resurrection of the church is quite other than that of the resurrection of the wicked. Our resurrection, we say, is the consequence of the abiding of the Holy Ghost in us (Rom. 8:11) – a very essential difference. The world does not receive the Holy Ghost, “because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him,” John 14:27. Now, “our body is the temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Cor. 6:19); our soul in consequence is filled, or at least it ought to be, with the glory of Christ. Our body, also, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, will be raised according to the power of the Holy Ghost who dwells in us; a thing which can never be said of the wicked.

It is the resurrection which, having introduced us into the world of the last Adam (even now as partaking of this spiritual life), will introduce us in fact into a new world, of which He will be the Head and the glory, since He has acquired it and will reign there as the risen Man.

Observe, in the passages concerning the resurrection, not one speaks of a simultaneous rising of just and unjust; and those which refer to the resurrection of the just speak of it always as of a thing distinct. All will rise. There will be a resurrection of the just, and a resurrection of the unjust, but they will not take place together. I will cite the passages successively, which refer to it. It is at the coming of Christ that the church will rise; Phil. 3:20, 21; 1 Cor. 15:23.

The idea of a resurrection of the just was familiar to the disciples of Christ; and such is represented as to happen in Luke 14:14, “Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

But before coming to direct proofs, I would express the conviction that the idea of the immortality of the soul,* although recognised in Luke 12:5 and 20:38, is not in general a gospel topic; that it comes,** on the contrary, from the Platonists; and that it was just when the coming of Christ was denied in the church or at least began to be lost sight of, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul came into displace that of the resurrection. This was about the time of Origen. It is hardly needful to say that I do not doubt the immortality of the soul; I only assert that this view has taken the place of the doctrine of the resurrection of the church, as the epoch of its joy and glory.

*In the expression (2 Tim. 1:10): “Brought life and immortality to light,” – “immortality” signifies the incorruptibility of the body, and not the immortality of the soul.

**i.e., the propagation of this as a special doctrine comes from them.

Luke 20:35, 36. “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead.” The resurrection, then, mentioned here, belongs only to those who shall be made worthy of it. “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age,” that is to say, this world of joy, of the reign with Christ. That resurrection of the dead, then, belongs to the period spoken of, and not only to eternity. “Neither,” adds the Saviour, “can they die any more . . . for they are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” The wicked shall be raised to be judged, but those others shall be raised because they have been accounted worthy to obtain the resurrection which Jesus has obtained. We see, in the passage quoted, the proof of a resurrection which concerns the children of God alone; they are the sons of God, being the sons of the resurrection. To be a son of God, and to have part in this resurrection, is the title and inheritance of the same persons.

John 5:25-29. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; and hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” It is customary to oppose the latter part of this passage to a view of the resurrection of the just apart; but we shall see that the whole passage enunciates, and even explains and strengthens, the truth which is occupying us.

Two acts of Christ are presented as the attributes of His glory; one, to make alive; the other, to judge. He gives life to those whom He will, and all judgment is entrusted to Him; in order that all, even the wicked, should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. Jesus has been shamefully entreated here below; God the Father takes care that His claim of glory shall be recognised: He (Christ) gives life to whom He will – to their souls first, and then to their bodies. These glorify Him of good will. As to the wicked, the way of obliging them to recognise the rights of Jesus, is to judge them; and this judgment is in the hands of Jesus. In the work of vivification, the Father and Son act together, because those to whom life is given are put into communion with the Father and Son. But as to judgment, the Father judgeth no man, because it is not the Father that has been wronged, but the Son. The wicked will own Jesus Christ in spite of themselves when they are judged. At what epoch will these things be accomplished? For the wicked, at the time of the judgment – the judgment both of the living, and of the dead before the great white throne; for the just, the children of God, when their bodies shall participate in the life already communicated to their souls (the life of Christ Himself) at the resurrection of the just. The resurrection for these is not a resurrection of judgment, but simply, to repeat it again, the exercise, towards the bodies of God’s children, of that quickening power of Jesus, in which He has already worked upon their souls, and which, in God’s good time, shall work upon their bodies. “They that have done good,” says our text, “unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.”*

*Really, judgment (see Greek); which is said before to be committed to Christ.

But the objection is made, Jesus has said (v. 28), “The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” The wicked and the just will then evidently rise together. But three verses before (v. 25) it is said, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Hour comprehends here all the space of time which has elapsed since the coming of the Saviour; and under this word is contained two states of things quite different, seeing that the dead heard the voice of the Son of God during the time He was living on earth, and that they have been hearing it for eighteen centuries since. Thus, then, is the interpretation. The hour* for giving life to the soul is an hour which has lasted eighteen centuries already. And the hour is also coming for the judgment. The word hour has the same sense in the two passages. That is to say, there is a time of quickening and a time of judgment; there is a period during which souls are quickened, and a period when bodies shall be raised. For us, the resurrection is only the application of the quickening power of Jesus Christ to our bodies. We shall be raised, because we are already quickened in our souls. The resurrection is the crowning of the whole work, because we are children of God, because the Spirit dwells in us, because (as far as our souls are concerned) we are already risen with Christ.

*For the use of this word, see (in the Greek) John 5:35; John 16:4, 25, 26; Luke 22:53; 1 John 2:18; 2 Corinthians 7:8; Philemon 15.

There will be a resurrection of life for those who have been already quickened in their souls; and a resurrection of judgment for those who have rejected Jesus.

1 Corinthians 15:20, 23, sets forth very clearly the connection which exists between the coming of Christ and the resurrection of the dead. The order of the resurrection is explicitly shewn. “Christ is become the firstfruits of them that slept” (v. 20); “of those which slept,” and not of the wicked. They that are Christ’s shall rise at His coming; then cometh the end, the time when He shall deliver up the kingdom to God the Father. When He comes, He will take the kingdom, but at the end He will deliver it up. The appearing of Christ will therefore take place before the end; it will be for the destruction of the wicked. He will come to purify His kingdom. “Christ the firstfruits; afterwards they that are Christ’s, at his coming. Then cometh the end.”

1 Thessalonians 4:14-16. “Them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him”; “and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” It is the complement – the filling up – of our hopes; it is the fruit of our justification, the consequence of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

The righteous dead shall rise first; then the living righteous shall be changed, and “shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord.” All this is a matter which belongs exclusively to the saints – to those who, sleeping or living, are Christ’s, and who will be, from that moment, for ever with the Lord.

Philippians 3:10, 11. “To know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection from among the dead.”

Why speak thus, if it be true that good and bad must rise together, and in the same manner? This resurrection from among the dead is just this first resurrection which Paul had before his eyes. I am willing, he says, as it were, to lose all, to suffer all, if, cost what it may, I arrive at the resurrection of the just: such is my desire. Evidently the resurrection from among the dead was a thing that concerned the church exclusively. I might say, like the apostle, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

As to the period or interval which elapses between the resurrection of the faithful and the wicked, it is a circumstance altogether independent of the principle itself, that is, of the distinction of the two resurrections. Our faith on this point depends upon a revelation, which has only importance, because God has so chosen to order it for His own glory. The period is only mentioned in the book of Revelation under the expression, “a thousand years.” Between the two resurrections a thousand years elapse. The only point then on which I cite the book is upon the length comprised in the reign of the Son of man on the earth. The passage is found in Revelation 20:4, “And I saw thrones . . . .”

The world will then know that we are the objects of grace, that we have been loved as Jesus Himself has been loved by the Father.

If the first resurrection – that of the just – is not to be taken literally, why should the second – that of the unjust – be so taken? As the object of our hope, and source of our consolation and of our joy, it is but a small thing to know that the unjust shall be raised; but the precious thing – the essential – is to know that the resurrection of the just will be the consummation of their happiness; that in it God will accomplish His love towards us; that, after having given life to our souls, He will give life to our bodies, and will make of the dust of the earth a form suitable to the life which has been given to us on the part of God. We never read in the word of God of glorified spirits, but always of glorified bodies. There is the glory of God, and the glory of those who will be raised.

I desire, dear friends, that the knowledge of this truth, by the power of Christ, on which depends its entire accomplishment, may strengthen us in our hearts unto all perfection. For this knowledge in all its extent is that to which the scripture applies the word “perfection.” Christ was thus made perfect as to His state and position before God; we, also, ourselves are now perfect by faith, in acknowledging that we are raised with Him, as we shall be later as to our bodies. May your bodies, souls, and spirits, be preserved blameless until the coming of our Well-beloved! May this truth of the resurrection of the church become bound up, in our minds, with all the precious truths of our salvation consummated in Christ, and may it be accomplished in the plenitude of our salvation in our bodies also!

– pp. 39-54.

Henry Grew, Future Punishment, Not Eternal Life in Misery, but Destruction, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 1844:

But what saith the Scriptures? In vain do we search for a single inspired declaration, that man, in the general, is immortal. The contrary is revealed. “Shall MORTAL man be just with God?”  Job 4:17. He is here represented as mortal; without any distinction of body, soul or spirit. It is true, that in the scriptures, the term “mortal body” is used. But it is to be observed that it is used only in reference to the saints to whom eternal life is given by Jesus Christ through faith in his name. If the soul or spirit of man in general, or man in general, is, in a single passage declared to be immortal, then must we indeed conclude that when he is called mortal, his body only is intended. But surely the fact that the body is mortal, is no proof that the soul is immortal. Of the saints it is said “the body is dead ( i.e.,  must die) because of sin, but the spirit is life (why? because it is naturally immortal?) because of righteousness”-i.e., “ the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.”  Ro 3:22. Man’s life, without reference to any distinction between body and spirit, was originally suspended on his obedience. “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely DIE.” There was not indeed an immediate execution of the penalty. All who admit that the death of the body, or punishment of a future state, was intended in the penalty, must admit that the whole of the penalty was not immediately executed. But if God consistently with his word, could postpone the execution of any part of the penalty, he could, if he pleased, postpone the execution of the whole. A man judicially condemned to die, is considered as dead. Thus the Apostle said to his brethren, “the body is dead” i.e.,  condemned to die.

The discerning mind, unbiased by human tradition, must perceive that in the sacred oracles, immortality is revealed, not as an object that all possess, or will possess, but as an object to be sought after and obtained by faith and “patient continuance in well doing.”  Ro 2:7. What prophet or apostle “moved by the Holy Spirit,” ever told men that they have immortal souls or deathless spirits?

– p. 3. – See the entire book HERE.

Henry Grew, The Intermediate StateMogridge’s Foundry, Philadelphia, USA, 1849:

God, “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”Compare this expression with that in Isa 2:22, “Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils.” Is this an appropriate expression to define such an immortal independent soul as man is supposed to possess? Read Ge 7:21,22. If we can possibly cast off from our minds the bias of preconception, shall we not acknowledge that it is a plain expression of the simple fact of imparting vitality to the perfectly organized structure formed of the dust of the ground? The Almighty “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.”Will any one affirm that his breath, antecedent to its connection with the new formed man, was itself a conscious, intelligent and immortal substance? -Was not consciousness and intelligence the result of the connection of this breath with all the material functions? Was it not destitute of these qualities antecedent to such connection? If it did not possess this consciousness and intelligence anterior to its connection with the material organization, how can it possess it when, at death, it is separated from that organization? If Ge 2:7, proves an immortal soul in man, must not Ge 7:21,22, prove the same in beasts?

… If it is true that man possesses a conscious spiritual substance so superior to and independent of the material organization, how can we account of the omission of the fact in the inspired record of his original creation? Why is no mention made of a matter of such transcendent importance? Is it not reasonable to expect, according to the popular theory, that Moses would have been inspired to record, first of all, the creation of such an immortal soul as the chief part of the noble creature of such an immortal soul who was to have dominion over the whole earth? Would not the mere outward material tenement have been a secondary matter? Or if it was proper to mention it first, was it proper to denominate it MAN previous to its occupation by that which is considered as essential to the nature of man? Is it reasonable to suppose that in the inspired description of man’s creation, a phraseology would be adopted, which precludes the idea of man’s life and intelligence being derived from such a distinct substance?

– Excerpts from Chapter 1.

Richard Whately, A View of the Scriptural Revelations Concerning a Future State, London, England, 1842.

The passage (Matt. x. 28.) “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul,” &c., I had not adverted to, from not supposing it to have any connexion with the present subject; nor can I now perceive any; but as the learned Whitby, in his extreme anxiety to prove from Scripture a separate state of consciousness, has in his Commentary so applied this text, it is due to such an authority briefly to mention it. He does not seem, however, to have written in this place with his usual judgment.

The expression of Jesus to his disciples was manifestly intended to remind them that their enemies could only in flict temporal death, could only put an end to a man’s life in this world; whereas God’s power extends to the whole of our existence,—to all eternity —in the next world as well as in this. The question about the intermediate condition between death and the resurrection, evidently was not at all in his mind. But Whitby imagines Him to imply that the soul never can be in an unconscious state, because then it would be killed; “for,” says he, “’tis not easie to perceive how an intelligible, thinking, and per ceiving Being can be more killed than by depriving it of all sensation, thought, and perception.” He did not re collect that it is a thing of every day’s occurrence for a man to receive, for instance, a stunning blow, which for some minutes deprives him of all sensation, &c., though he afterwards recovers; yet we should not say that the person inflicting such a blow had killed the other’s soul, any more than to leave him in the dark for some time would be the same thing as to destroy his eyes. But Whitby does not in general reason in this manner.

… If therefore we suppose the hearers of Jesus and his Apostles to have understood, as nearly as possible in the ordinary sense, the words employed, they must naturally have conceived them to mean (if they were taught nothing to the contrary) that the condemned were really and literally to be ‘destroyed,’ and cease to exist; not that they were to exist for ever in a state of wretchedness. For they are never spoken of as being kept alive, but as forfeiting life: as for instance, ‘Ye will not come unto me that ye may have life:’ – ‘He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.’ And again, ‘perdition,’ ‘death,’ ‘destruction,’ are employed in numerous passages to express the doom of the condemned. All which expressions would, as I have said, be naturally taken in their usual and obvious sense, if nothing were taught to the contrary.

 pp. 67, 68 (Note A), 230.

Karl Immanuel Nitzsch, a German Lutheran theologian, pastor at Wittenberg, and professor of Ecclesiastical History and Theology. He worte:

But if the soul being dependent on its Creator does not possess absolute immortality 1 Tim. vi. 16 compare Ecolesias. xii. 7, this at least is certam that it has been created and constituted to participate in eternal life and if it must lose its true self-life in proportion as it is deserted by truths love, and blessedness, it follows that as sin increases, the soul faces destruction in hell or its death; Matt. x. 28; Rev. xx. 15.

(System der Christlichen Lehre, Bonn, 1851, Sec. 122, pp. 253, 254).

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