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Featured Are we born spiritually alive or spiritually dead? What is your Scriptural justification for that?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Johnny4ChristJesus, Oct 12, 2018.

  1. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Are we born spiritually alive or spiritually dead? What is your Scriptural justification for that?

    The strongest claim I can find for being born spiritually dead is what Jesus says to Nicodemus:

    "Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you that you must be born again." (John 3:5-6)

    "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them He gave power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God." (John 1:11-13)

    The closest Paul comes to saying something similar is Ephesians 2:1: "And he has quickened you who were dead in trespasses and sins."
     
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  2. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    The Bible also says (Ps. 51:5) that all men are born in sin. I guess that people can construe the meaning several different ways, but it seems most obviously to support one particular conclusion, doesn't it?
     
  3. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    “So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12)

    How did all sin in Adam?

    “Consequently, just as condemnation for all people came through one transgression, so too through the one righteous act came righteousness leading to life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man many were made [constituted] sinners, so also through the obedience of one man many will be made [constituted] righteous.” (Romans 5:18–19)

    This might sound crude, but I believe that Adam proved we are a corrupt species when put to the test. So if he under the best conditions is bad, we all are. Just as Jesus passed the test for us. All united to him in faith share the benefits of his integrity.
     
  4. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    Do you suppose an infant who dies would be condemned? I think we can trust the mercy of God for them.

    But an infant who is born human WILL die at some point - humans are subject to physical death because of the natural consequences of sin which affects the world.
     
  5. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So, the question I have about Psa 51:5 or Ephesians 2:1 is: Does it mean we are necessarily born with a dead spirit, because we are born in sin? Or could it mean that we are born separated from God--like satan and his accomplices--because we are born in sin?
     
  6. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    But does "bad" literally mean "dead spirit" or does bad mean "separated from God but with a live corrupted spirit"?
     
  7. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree with what you said. I'm trying to get to the bottom of whether or not we are born spiritually dead or spiritually alive (but maybe with a broken connection to God).
     
  8. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If we understand the new birth, we can better understand Adam's plight after he sinned. All that Paul says the new birth delivers us from is what happened to Adam when he sinned. By looking at our natural state, we are alienated from God. Spiritually unable to perceive him in truth. Unable to do anything but sin. Motivated by hatred in all we think, say or do. And if we reach out for God, it is a false concept or idol we embrace. And if we hear the truth about God, we reject and hate him, thinking it is a false description of him. And so on...
     
  9. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    I understand.

    I actually didn't directly answer your question because I'm not so sure it's a helpful or accurate way to frame it. (I'm not criticizing you - it's just that often the words we use seem to cause confusion between us.)

    So I'm not sure if "spiritually dead" or "spiritually alive" would mean the same thing to two people who discussed it with each other.

    The spirit needs to be "awakened" at some point and put in some kind of communion with God. (Only possible through Christ of course.) But I don't believe that God condemns infants who never have that chance.
     
  10. Halbhh

    Halbhh The wonder and awe of His Creation! Supporter

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    Good start. I really enjoy those verses you quoted. :)

    Now let's also add Christ's words in the parable of the Prodigal Son also, to get more of the picture on when we are "dead" --

    11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

    13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

    17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

    “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

    21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

    22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

    25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

    28“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

    31“ ‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ ”
    Luke 15 NIV

    ---------------
    We can see here the son would be at first alive, then departed and became 'dead', and then was brought back into being 'alive' again upon his repentance.
     
  11. eleos1954

    eleos1954 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It would seem since all are born into sin nature, and we are sinful, we are separated from God because of sin and only through Jesus who had no sin can one be reconciled to God.
    Such as described in the verses given. So that would be we are born spiritually dead and become spiritually alive when we accept Jesus as our Savior.
     
  12. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    aww . . . that is what I was going to say :)

    And I think "dead" means especially how we were love-dead > selfish and mainly concerned about our own selves and how things were going for us and ones we wanted to use. God makes us alive in His love which makes us all-loving and "life-giving" like Jesus > 1 Corinthians 15:45, 1 John 4:17.
     
  13. Hillsage

    Hillsage One for Him and Him for all Supporter

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    As I read this text I am led to say; Your eternal “spirit” was first “born of the eternal Spirit”. And if your spirit was ‘dead’, that would NOT demand a “born againexperience. It would demand a resurrection experience, just like is demanded of your “sinful flesh” body which dies. And it obviously does so even if you’re a “Christian” and have been genuinely “born again/saved”. Why? Because your body was “born of the ‘sinful’ flesh” bodies of your earthly mother and father.

    Sorry for a ‘drive by shooting’ but I’m just taking a little break from the men’s retreat for this comment.
     
  14. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Love it, except, that gives the impression that the older brother never dies, is born an heir, and never departs from being an heir. Is there such a thing in humanity? Or does the older brother represent angels, then?
     
  15. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So then you believe we are two part beings (body & soul) until we are born again by God, then we become three part beings?

    And, if so, do you believe the soul is eternal, then (since from death to the resurrection of judgment something of the person must be "living" on and then after the judgment something must be living on to be sent to the lake of fire to either be destroyed or suffer torment eternally)?
     
  16. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So, if I understand you correctly, you believe we are born spiritually alive, but separated from God? And, by being separated from God, we are considered "dead", though we aren't really dead? Is that correct?
     
  17. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    So, you use "separated from God" to mean spiritually dead? Do you mean it in a figurative or in a literally dead sense? So, do you believe we have no spirit-part until the born again thing happens or do you believe we are born with a dead spirit? What do you believe lives on in Sheol when we die to this world until judgment--for those who don't know Jesus?

    Just so you know, I'm not playing around. I believe God has me on the verge of a big breakthrough in my walk with Him. I'm really trying to get to the bottom of this.... I believe it is important.
     
  18. Johnny4ChristJesus

    Johnny4ChristJesus Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I understand. But, if we tiptoe around, our impact will never be known. We can't grow, if we live afraid of who we might offend--other than God. But, if we don't approach subjects because of possible confusion, how do we ever consider those topics--independently alone? Or based on what someone who has been given political (including church) authority over us tells us to believe? How well did that work for Jews of Jesus' time?

    The reason I love this forum and defend it, is that people with a major diversity of beliefs--who believe what they believe as strongly as I believe what I believe--come together and discuss issues. While I may not agree with them, I am exposed to things that are outside my own comfort zone. With exposure comes responsibility to examine. And, I do re-examine what I believe, based on what people post. I believe, like "iron sharpens iron", it brings me to a closer rendition of what God wants me to believe.

    I believe each tradition--just like each of the revelation churches--has issues. By discussing things across the normal indoctrinational lines, those lies can be exposed. Personally, I want to be free of any lies that are holding me back from all of what God has prepared for me.

    I don't claim to present my questions correctly. I am only trying to open the topic for discussion and clarification. I am often amazed at directions the conversation goes and sometimes it goes in ways I never expected, opening up new doors of opportunity for me to study.

    I was of the opinion that we were born spiritually dead, though I never considered whether that meant we had three parts and were just born with a dead spirit or whether the spirit being dead was simply meaning our spirit was separated from God. If we are born with a living spirit, but simply separated from God, then we are all created eternal beings from the outset. Even if people believe we are just body and soul, soul must live on--based on what Jesus shared. If we were created to be eternal and death really only means separation (from God's perspective)….

    Even my time in seminary pails in comparison to my time on this forum of exposing me to different beliefs that have forced me to re-examine what I believe and why. Because seminary is indoctrination in one way to approach the Scriptures and defenses against other ways.
     
  19. ~Anastasia~

    ~Anastasia~ † Servant of God † Supporter CF Senior Ambassador

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    :)

    I'm glad you mention that, so that I have a chance to clarify a little. It's not that I'm worried about offending or anything like any of the reasons you mention. It's just that the question itself presupposes a certain kind of process of salvation. And if your only question is "is the spirit alive or dead?" it assumes a very black-and-white lightswitch kind of approach to salvation (I'm guessing salvation is the bottom line of the question).

    In truth of course, only God can judge someone's salvation. But we (Orthodox - and so too the ancient Church since that's what we retain) very much see our transformation into the likeness of Christ as part of how we will be judged.

    Now, that can happen in a moment. There are in history times when martyrs were being put to death for their faith, and onlookers (or even those who were part of killing them) were converted because of their steadfast faith (or an observed miracle), and announced their own faith to be immediately put to death in martyrdom as well. We believe all those martyrs who died professing Christ are certainly received by God, on the basis of that faith they were willing to die for, even though they had received it only moments before. (I say all of this to put away the charge that it is "works-based salvation" that I describe.)

    But most of us don't die immediately after we convert. For us, we must persevere in the faith, and it must be a living faith - not a dead faith (after all, the demons believe). We are born with the effects of sin. Every person is born naturally self-centered, with a bent toward doing whatever their own flesh or desires or preservation inspires them to will to do. Infants are not evil or depraved, but they are naturally selfish.

    Does that mean they are "spiritually dead"? It depends on what you mean by the term. Their "nous" (which we might understand in a similar way to "spirit" - it is that higher part of man's self that is capable of connecting with God) has not become aware of God. They are not yet quickened or made alive in that way. They are imperfect, not yet like Christ. But ... if they should die not having had an opportunity to either approach God or willingly sin, we trust them to God's mercy. The spirit of the child has to deal with God, but unless there was something in the child that made him choose to hate God (and I've never until this moment even imagined such a possibility) then surely they will be able to accept the mercy and love He offers when He meets them after death.

    For those of us with life experiences, we are shaped by those experiences, and especially by our cooperation with God or our opposition to Him. Some end up professing that they hate God to the point they would choose to reject Him. He loves everyone, but some are so opposed to Him and so unlike Him, and desire darkness rather than light, such that the pure light of God (Who loves them, and who they cannot escape) is going to be a fiery torment to them when they must encounter Him. "Our God is a consuming fire" - and "God is agape/love" are both simultaneously true.

    Much more could be said. The living/dead spirit is an idea we can discuss. But it is not the sole indicator of salvation and I wanted to be sure not to feed into that. It is easier I think to understand the true condition to say a spirit (nous) becomes awakened to God, is aware of Him, can connect with Him, is then made alive in a sense. But it is possible, such as in the case of the infant who dies, for one not yet awakened to still be able to accept the mercy of God if they die. And it is also possible for one who has been awakened to still let their own selfish desires turn them still increasingly more to self than to God and to fail to be transformed and then perhaps they will not find themselves truly in the faith after all.

    That's why I avoided the simplistic "alive or dead" answer - especially with all the assumptions some might have along with it. But it's a perfectly valid question. :)

    Indeed, I love this forum too, and greatly appreciate what I have learned from pursuing things I was first exposed to here - some of which I ultimately found to be true and I agree with them, and some I have determined to be error and don't accept - but I am thankful to have been given the opportunity (and responsibility as you say!) to learn of many different ideas I never would have in my own little denominational bubble(s).

    I have held different opinions along the way, including what you describe here. Yes, we ARE created beings that will continue forever from the point of our creation - both body and soul/spirit. The spirit will remain conscious after our physical death, when the soul separates from the body. The spirit/soul will have an experience after that based on who we are in relation to God. And then at the end of this age, all bodies will be physically resurrected and we will once again be as we were created to be - a composite being of both body and soul/spirit. Then the judgement - and what happens after will be our eternally fixed state, and again will be determined by who we are in relation to God. But no one will be destroyed. All will continue, body and soul/spirit, in that sense eternal. But Christ refers to "eternal life" for those who are in communion with Him after the judgement, because God is the very source of life. The existence of those who reject Him will continue, but it won't be truly "life" in the sense of receiving it from communion with God.

    A good point. :)

    God be with you!
     
  20. eleos1954

    eleos1954 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    God calls (draws) all through His Holy Spirit. If one answers (confesses, repents & accepts Jesus) then the Holy Spirit begins working in the believer. This is a life-long process.

    Sheol (hell) is the grave. After earthly death nothing of us "lives on" (heaven or hell). To believe that would be believing in immortality (original lie of satan - You will surely not die) and we (the saved) do not receive immortality until the 1st resurrection. Paul puts it this way:

    1st Thessalonians 4

    13Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, we also believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in Him.

    15By the word of the Lord, we declare to you that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a loud command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will be the first to rise. 17After that, we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord.

    18Therefore encourage one another with these words.

    The 2nd resurrection the unsaved (along with satan and the fallen angels) are totally destroyed and burned up with the earth (GWTJ).

    With the destruction of Satan and the unrighteous, sin is eradicated and death itself is destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 20:14; 21:8).

    God then makes every thing new.

    God Bless.
     
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