back to Questions Readers Asked
A reader who appears to believe that nothing of the human survives biological death—that is, that there is no life after death—wonders how there could be life after death if there is to be a coming resurrection.
I don’t understand why it’s a problem if I believe (as I do) that people survive biological death and still wait for the resurrection.
I developed this a bit in several pieces on conditional immortality (click here) so let me make some simple affirmations.
God made humans as embodied beings and not ghosts or simply breathing bodies.
Death assaults the human and robs him/her of that “embodiedness” (which is part of the nature of a human).
Death affects the body of the human as well as the “spirit” or “soul” of the human. However we wish to speak of the “spirit” or “soul” of a human we are to take it that it is to be identified in some real way with the person who dies. [Paul said “I” long to die (depart) and be with Christ because, he said, that would be gain for “me”. Click here for something on that.]
Death does not affect the body in the same way it affects the soul/spirit—the body disintegrates and the soul/spirit is left in a disembodied state.
So Death affects the entire person—the visible and invisible aspects of a human. It’s a mistake to say Death only affects the body! The Death experience leaves the person (the “I” or “me”) disembodied.
But the body is an aspect of a human and for the human to be completely redeemed the redemption must include the redemption of the body. That’s where resurrection enters.
The body is not for wickedness or Death or the Grave—it is for the Lord and the Lord is for the body (1 Corinthians 6:13). God purposes the resurrection because without resurrection the person is not redeemed.
To survive biological death—in a disembodied state—is not our final state. Our final state is immortality (deathlessness) which occurs when Jesus returns.
Even if we knew that following death a Christian sat literally at Jesus’ feet he would still be a disembodied being and as long as he is disembodied Death is still a fact for him. It’s only when Jesus returns and obliterates Death completely that that person is fully redeemed.
The Christian faith offers much more than “life after death” (lots of religions speak of that); it offers the full redemption of the human and that includes a restoration to (deathless) embodiment.