The Soul That Sins Shall Surely Die
Man's Conditional Immortality
God created Adam, the first man. as a mortal being with conditional immortality. What was that condition? As long as Adam obeyed God, he would be able to exist without the threat of death. God made this fact perfectly clear to Adam while they communed on a frequent basis in the Garden of Eden. The Garden of Eden was man's initial home and indeed Paradise on earth. Unfortunately, man's Paradise was invaded by Satan in the form of a serpent. The serpent convinced Adam's companion, Eve, the woman whom God had made from his ribs to disobey God, and thus become like God. The serpent beguiled the woman and told her that God was wrong, and to eat the fruits from the tree that God forbade them meant that their eyes would be open and they would be like God. To add further deception the serpent said: "You shall not surely die" (Gen. 3:4) The very act of disobedience brought enmity between God and man and created separation which could not be bridged by any good deeds or acts man did after his act of disobedience. The very act of disobedience demanded the capital penalty of death. Thus, the sin or very act of disobedience imposed the penalty upon Adam and Eve's descendants whenever they committed similar acts of disobedience or transgressions of the law.
The Sinful Soul Shall Die
The reference to death for disobedience of God's Law is not new. It has been around since the dawn of creation. However, the reference is simply not to a physical or biological death which all mortal men must endure. This death was brought on Adam and Eve's descendants, and cannot be avoided. The other death frequently mentioned in the scriptures is said to be of a permanent nature. This is the death referenced by the prophet Ezekiel in the 18 chapter and 4 verse. The soul that sins shall itself surely die. The father will not die for the son and the son shall not die for the father. What? The soul that is supposedly immortal shall die. What is a soul and why must it die? A soul is a living being. It has personality. It breathes and eats, and is able to do so because it has the spirit of God. What is this spirit made of and which comes from God? The spirit is a godly force that animates the soul and causes it to live. It is not the soul itself. Some theologians have called it God's borrowed breath, or breath of life. Without this borrowed breath, the soul cannot function, and it is nothing but clay which would eventually return back to the earth from whence it came. As a matter of fact, when the soul dies or ceases to continue living, the spirit returns to God and the soul returns back to its earth (see Ecclesiastes 12:7). It commonly said that "one gives up the ghost" at the time of death or separation of body and soul. This process is called death. This is the physical or biological death that all souls will encounter; this is the end of the natural or biological life of all souls.
Acceptance of Death As A Natural End of Life
Death is the natural end of life. It affects all carbon-based beings, and simply cannot be avoided. Despite man's advances in medical science, they can only prolong or extend life. Man cannot revive the dead or restore that which has been dead. Medical science with all of its technological advances over the centuries certainly cannot resurrect the dead. Death is a given which all men readily accept. However, what about that other death which nobody wants to talk about. Jesus Christ during his earthly ministry warned his disciples and followers to fear God because God had the power to destroy body and soul in Hell (Matthew 10:28). Christ often referenced the garbage refuge (Gehenna) outside the walls of Jerusalem as Hell. His audience could relate to the reference because they knew that the flames at Gehenna were fueled by constant materials, including the bodies of dead criminals. Thus, they knew exactly what he meant when he referred to Hell, or the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. This would be the location where the death referenced by Ezekiel 18:4 and Matthew 10:28 would occur. This is also called the "Second Death" in Revelation 20:10-15 and 21:8. This very Lake of Fire & Brimstone is where all of the enemies of God will be eventually destroyed and punished. Mortal men will eventually succumb to the flames and undergo the Second Death, the death from which no resurrection would be possible.
Christians Who Do Not Believe In the "Second Death"
Believe it or not, there is a group of Christian believers who boldly defy God's Word. They argue that nobody will die or encounter the Second Death because the soul cannot die. They are strong believers in the School of theology that states that man is already an immortal being. They claim that man has a soul that cannot die. Of course, their reference to the soul is not the person, but the very spirit, or borrowed breath of God. A significant number of Christian believers are indeed Platonistic Christians; they believe in the teachings of Plato as advocated by Origen, who lived from 185 to 254 AD. These teachings were supported and advanced by Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. What is interesting about these believers who have accepted the misleading theology of the immortal soul is that they often find themselves having to re-define words and terms to justify their beliefs. Often they would have to redefine the words like "perish", "destroy", or even "death". They generally come up with euphemisms that neatly support what they believe. Many of them have indeed accepted Satan's Great Deception (see Gen 3:4) and continue to perpetuate it. For sake of comfort, they conveniently avoid passages of scriptures that address the issue of the Second Death.