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1. Resurrection Reflections (revised)

Added: Saturday, April 11th 2009 at 12:02pm by richardericgunby


Resurrection  Reflections


By Richard Eric Gunby


     I refer to myself as being a Christian. Therefore, I profess my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus drew me to Himself some 37 years ago.  I call myself a person of Biblical faith.  By that, I certainly don’t mean to somehow imply that I am a person of great faith!  I am a most wretched sinner saved by grace alone.  Rather, I am simply attempting to define what I mean by being a true believer.  My definitionofChristianity is (by attempt) informed by the Bible. The Bible is the Word of God. 


I am also a definite immortalist. That means I believe in something called definite immortality.  The older terminology that some of you might be familiar with for this systemic doctrine was “conditional immortality” –the proposition that human immortality is conditional upon God giving it to man in salvation.  Thus man is mortal, apart from salvation.  All men, since the fall, are mortal.  All men are sinners.  The wages of sinisdeath.  Every person born has the death principle operative in their lives –they are going to die; death is their destiny.  Mortality and death are synonymous.  Mortal and immortal are mirror opposites.

The Bible teaches that those dying apart from redemption actually die twice.  Their first death, that we are all familiar with and all face, is normal (since the fall) death, so to speak:  it is the cessation of life, the person passing out of existence, the dissolvent of life.  The Bible terms death as destruction, perishing, and ceasing to be (ceasing to exist).  The second death (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 20:14, 21:8), is reserved only for the unredeemed dead.  Thus, true believers (the redeemed), in counter-distinction to the unredeemed, die only once; and that is followed by being awakened from their sleep of death unto the resurrection of life.

I don’t like the older terminology, “conditional immortality.”  I prefer the phrase, definite immortality.  This term (and doctrine) is analogous to the phrase (and doctrine) called definite atonement (which was previously called limited atonement a kind of “conditional” atonement, as it were).  Just as Calvinists in adopting the new adjective “definite,” want to emphasize the centrality, specific individuality, and sureness of God’s work of atonement, so also I wish to regard God’s work of immortality for man as central, individually specific, and sure.  Therefore the clear, undeniably explicit, didactic teaching of Scripture is that every redeemed person is slated for immortality, hence the term:  definite immortality. 


In this life:  true believers are now accounted (reckoned, promised, assured) righteousness.  This is known theologically as imputed righteousness.  This righteousness is ours now, only by a kind of legal warrant.  It will be ours (that warrant will be served) by impartation (infusement) on the day of consummation. 

In this life:  true believers are now accounted (reckoned, promised, assured) resurrection.  This is a kind of imputed resurrection.  Indeed, positionally, we have been (past tense) resurrected already (imputed positional resurrection as it were) so that we “sit in the heavenly places with Jesus” now (by legal reckoning, you must understand).  We will sit with Jesus in actual (objectively realized) point of fact (i.e., rubber meets the road type experience)inglorification after or on the day of consummation.

In this life:  true believers are now accounted (reckoned, promised, assured) immortality.  This is imputed to us now by way of promise, a kind of promissory note –it being recorded in the Bible.  We have (sureness of) immortality becoming ours by way of promise.  Just as a Calvinist would say atonement for the true believer (the elect redeemed) is definite, so also I would proclaim the Biblical truth that immortal life is definite for every true believer.  It is imputed now; and to be imparted(infused)then.


Righteousness for the true believers will be imparted (infused righteousness) in the resurrection/transformation event (1 Cor. 15:12-58).

Resurrection for the true believers will be imparted to us (in an actual return to life, to living, to being a living creature, and even a new creature) in the resurrection/transformation event (1 Cor. 15:12-58).

Immortality for the true believers will be imparted to us (infused to or in us) in the same resurrection/transformation event (1 Cor. 15:12-58).


Repeatedly, without contradiction, the Bible proclaims over and over again, in explicitly clear teachings and unambiguous examples, that man is mortal, and that in death the whole man dies.  Mortality is the opposite of immortality. 


Mortal < as opposed to > immortal


Furthermore, the Bible explicitly declares that God alone has true immortality (1 Tim. 6:16).  Only God has immortality.  Thus we can have immortality only by way and virtue of being in Christ Jesus.  By being in Christ Jesus He shares all good things with us.  Because in this life, true believers are positionally (legally accounted as being) in Christ Jesus right now, weareimputed immortality –right now.  We have immortality now via imputation, its God’s promise to us of immortality, said promise given us right now, reckoned to every one of the saved or redeemed.  We will in the resurrection/transformation event, be gifted with imparted (infused) immortality via our transformation to incorruptibility (a type of actual, infused immortality, via God’s gifting).

Man is mortal.  He has by creation no inherent immorality.  None.  Man’s only avenue to immortality is God’s gifting of it to true believers.  God gifts us now with promised immortality; he will gift us with actual immortality (infused) in the resurrected life to come (the new life).  Man’s only avenue to living again is by resurrection.  What is this new life, this life to come?

ANSWER:   Resurrection unto life


At this point I must stress the following.  The Bible knows nothing of soul ascension.  The Bible knows nothing of a so-called interim life, or intermediary life.  Search high and low, neither teaching is in the Bible.  The Bible knows nothing of disembodied souls; or of bodiless souls; or of self-separating at death, self-sustaining, objectively realized free-standing souls.  None of that is in the Bible.  The Bible has no such teaching or doctrine which involves a dualistic understandingofman.  The Bible is monistic regarding man.  The Bible views man wholistically:  man is one, a unity of being, a unified being.  The Bible never teaches any doctrine of an objective or “objectifiable” soul.  Objective means free standing, as in it can stand alone freely; it has free standing existence or being; existing apart from the living or dead body on its own.

The Bible, in counter-distinction to such pagan myths (for that is what they are), proclaims man “became a living soul.”  It does not say or teach that man received or got a soul, as if soul was or could again be a separate thing.  No, that is not what the Bible teaches.  Rather, the Bible says (Genesis 2:7) man became alive (by the union of the non-personalized life force –“the breath of life” with the formed of dust lifeless body; man became a living creature, or living person, or livingman,or living soul.  [And when disunion occurs the separation of the non-personalized life-principle (life force) from the “dust body,” the person ceases to exist, ceases to be.]  The Bible never teaches or speaks of ensoulment or incarnation regarding man.  The Bible, in point of fact, doesn’t even use the terminology incarnation in reference to God the Son becoming Jesus, the Son of Man.  The biblical declaration regarding this harkens directly back to man’s creation (Genesis 2:7), man’s becoming alive, by declaring, “The Word became flesh,” echoing man becoming a living fleshly creature.

“Soul” is used in a variety of ways throughout Scripture.  It’s most primary and prevalent meaning is simply of soul as an old English term for person, as in the living body we each are.  This soul, in actuality the body-person, this living creature is viewed as having one nature; he is viewed “wholistically,” as a true unity (Biblical Hebraic Anthropology).  Man has one nature:  the living body.  Man has only one nature.  Man’s nature of existence is bodily life:  body life.  The Bible teaches man (the body-person) is either alive or he is dead.  When he is alive he is totally alive; when he is dead, he is totally dead.  When the person is dead he ceases to exist or to be; he has perished; he no longer has any objective existence.   

The Bible knows nothing of the separation of man into distinct objective parts (dualism); of one part being “the body” and the other part being “the soul.”  None of that is in the Bible!  That is pagan Greek mythology, not biblical anthropology.

The Bible knows nothing of separating souls.  The Bible never teaches anything whatsoever at all about any soul ascension.  It’s not in there!  There cannot be any soul ascension precisely because there is –according to the Bible, no such thing as a free-standing self-sustaining objective soul.  What the Bible does teach is that we are living bodies.  And that living bodies have projections:  mind, heart, soul, and spirit.  These are bodily projections just as a movie on a screen is the result of the projector projecting it out onto the screen.  When the projector “dies” as in stops projecting, the movie ceases to be, ceases to have existence –as in life.  When we die, as in become lifeless bodies, our projection of mind, heart, soul, and spirit ceases to be; this is when the body’s projections stop being projected, stop occurring.  Think about it.  In order to have a mind, you must have a brain; if there is no functioning brain, no manifestation (projection) ofmind occurs.  Mind is a projection of the living brain.  The movie projector ceases to project, and the movie ceases to be, to exist (ceases to have objective existence).  When the living body ceases to live, and thus its projections of mind, heart, soul, and spirit ceases, and those four things cease to be –cease to exist.  Please be clear about this:  when man dies, those projections have no self-sustaining free from the body existence.  The body dies, you die.  You die, the body is dead. You are your body.  Your live body is you.  You are one person and you have one nature of existence (reality), that nature is of the living creature, which is the living body.


ONE life.

ONE person.

ONE living body.

ONE nature of existence:  bodily existence


The whole man lives, the whole man dies:  that is the biblical view.  Therefore, you could rightly ask me, “What does the Bible teach, as that which comes after death for true believers, if it doesn’t teach soul ascension?”

Good Question!

ANSWER:  The Bible declares that death for true believers is sleep.  The Bible teaches that after the sleep of death comes the…

Resurrection unto life

What is “new life” in the Bible?

Resurrection unto life

What is “life after death” in the Bible?

Resurrection unto life

What is “immortal life” in the Bible?

Resurrection unto life

What is the culmination of “salvation” in the Bible?

Resurrection unto life (glorious)

What is the true believer’s “blessed hope,” in the Bible?

Resurrection unto life (with Jesus)

What comes after death?  What is the very next event true believers will experience after death, according to the Bible?

Resurrection unto life

Some at this juncture will offer the opposition argument that, “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,” and maintain therefore that there must be separating souls living on elsewhere, or the Scripture is lying.  Point well taken; let’s explore that.  By what means is God reckoned as the God of the living and not the God of the dead?  And I would offer in answer that God is the God of the living by means of, and only by means of:

Resurrection unto life

Let’s complete our addressing of this subject with:  Matthew 22:23-33 (NRSV)


The Question about the Resurrection

23 The same day some Sadducees came to him, saying there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, 24‘Teacher, Moses said, “If a man dies childless, his brother shall marry the widow, and raise up children forhisbrother.” 25Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died childless, leaving the widow to his brother. 26The second did the same, so also the third, down to the seventh. 27Last of all, the woman herself died. 28In the resurrection, then, whose wife of the seven will she be? For all of them had married her.’

29 Jesus answered them, ‘You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angelsinheaven. 31And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God, 32“I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? He is God not of the dead, but of the living. 33And when the crowd heard it, they were astounded at his teaching.




What is the subject matter of this passage?  Resurrection!  By what means is God accounted as the God of the living?  By resurrection!  Thus it is unmistakably clear that the Scripture specifically teaches God is the God of the living and not the dead via resurrection; and certainly not by any imagined soul ascension!  This passage has no mention of soul ascension, not even the scarcest hint of such.  Indeed, no where does the Bible ever posit soul ascension as our hope; or as any kind of Biblical reality.  We urgently need to throw off that pagan and ungodly teaching.


What do the unredeemed dead face next, after death?

     Resurrection unto condemnation

(followed by the second death!)


Repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  That is the Biblical command.


John 5:19-29 (ESV)

The Authority of the Son

19 Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father* does, the Son does likewise. 20The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing; and he will show him greater works thanthese, sothat you will be astonished. 21Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomsoever he wishes. 22The Father judges no one but has given all judgement to the Son, 23so that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. Anyone who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. 24Very truly, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life.

25 ‘Very truly, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For just as the Father has lifeinhimself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27and he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all

who are in their graves

will hear his voice 29and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.







Amen.  Where, according to the Bible, are true believers after death?  You see the undeniable answer above:  “in their graves.”  Who are in their graves?  “The dead” (verse 25) are in their graves.  So, the dead truly are dead.  They are not living yet another life as disembodied souls in heaven.  And of course the Bibleconsistentlyteaches this cover to cover.  John 3:13 (ESV) proclaims that, “No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.”  That was true then and remains true now.  How do I know that?  Peter in Acts declares that David remains in his grave!  (And remember, Peter is declaring this after Jesus himself has ascended). 

Acts 2;29, 34 (ESV) 29"Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.  34For David did not ascend into the heavens,”

Hello!  Notice how verse 34 is so emphatically and precisely clear.  Thus, there is no such thing as soul ascension.  I believe in the Scriptural message of the future resurrection unto life of all true believers who are in their graves.


Blessings to you in the name of Jesus, who resurrected,


Richard Eric Gunby, May 22, 2009



User Comments

Fish 2Thankyou for the biblical post! I agree with it!


Much appreciate your response Cathy.  Glad that you liked the article and found it encouraging to your understanding.  I hope to post a follow-up in the not too distant future, further exploring the meaning and centrality of Resurrection which will be titled, Resurrection versus Reincarnation.  One is Hebrew/Christian Biblical, the other is pagan Greek mythology.



Fish 2I look forward to it, thankyou!

Great article.  Keep up the good work that spreads the true biblical message instead of man-made traditions.

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