The Eternal Life of the Soul
The Journey Started
I'm writing this to document the Biblical research I've done on the life of the soul and to help explain, in part, why certain things happen in life...why people are tragically killed...something that makes no sense to the logical mind, but may be understood better if viewed through spiritual eyes.
This writing is dedicated in memory of Matthew Porter and Kyle Miller (the young man in the photo at left). I don't have a photo of Matthew because he was killed many years ago. These are two very important people who have touched my life and caused me to begin this journey. They were both killed very tragically; their deaths made no sense at all (to my human mind). People kept saying "God called them home." That didn't make much sense to me either...at first.
God Called Him Home
A Bit of Background
I have been a practicing Christian most of my life. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God (Three in One). I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God. I believe in Heaven and Hell. I believe the one way to Heaven is through belief in the Son of God, Jesus Christ, His death, and His resurrection: Jesus saith unto him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6 KJV) I believe my primary purpose as a Christian is to share this Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I also believe my soul has a divine mission in this life.
My faith was terribly shaken by the deaths of these two young men. I understand (with the mind) when someone dies of liver disease because he drank alcohol all his adult life. I understand (with the mind) when someone dies of lung cancer because he was a smoker all his life. I DO NOT understand when someone dies because they "were at the wrong place, at the wrong time." Kyle was riding his motorcycle, not speeding, not driving recklessly. He was killed instantly when a woman turned left in front of him, giving no signal of her intention. More tragically, this was the third accident this woman caused by doing the same exact thing!
Matthew was nine years old when he was killed by his older half-brother. Matthew was stabbed over 25 times. Think about that! How senseless is that! Nine years old! I did not actually know Matthew, but have come to know all about him in the last several years. A sweet, innocent child who never hurt anyone and had a sunny disposition. This brutal murder was part of the brother's sociopathic need to wipe out the family. He almost did. Following Matthew's murder, the brother went to his mother's room and killed her with a single shot from a rifle. He then proceeded to beat his step-dad (Matthew's father) with a baseball bat until he thought the father was dead. In an attempt to cover up what he'd done, the brother set fire to the house. He stole a neighbor's truck and drove to his aunt's house where he was arrested after telling her what he'd done. No conscious!
Did these tragedies have to happen? Why? These questions, and more, continuously poured through my mind.
At the funeral service for Kyle, folks kept saying "God called him home." I simply did not understand or accept this! I commented to Kyle's aunt how I felt about that statement. She replied that Kyle had finished his service, his mission, for the Lord and God called him home. That made an impact. "Finished his service...finished his mission." I believe the Holy Spirit revealed to me through those words more than I had ever understood up to that day. I continued to think about this, to pray about it, and then with the Spirit leading me, began researching the Bible.
In the following, I have described the purpose and mission of Jesus Christ, and the purpose and mission of Paul. I have also discussed a couple of key topics that are of special interest to me personally, as well as timely for this age in which we live. Furthermore, in studying the scriptures, I have clearly discovered that God has a purpose for each of us, as well as a specific mission for each of us...a mission about which our soul has foreknowledge. As human beings, we have been given by God the free will to choose each and every action we take. I believe this ability to make choices originates with our soul.
The following provides scriptual background, without which this writing has no merit. I've referenced the scriptures often so that the reader may understand the context of the subject. I encourage you to refer to your own Bible as you read this, and pray for spiritual understanding. Where emphasis has been made (bold/italics) within the scripture, I have attempted to bring forth the importance to the reader.
Why are we Here?
The Purpose of the Soul
God knew me before I was ever formed in my mother's womb. Think of that! He numbered the days of my life before I was ever born. I believe that, through God's eternal plan, at the moment of conception the soul is joined with the body.
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139:13-16 NIV)
I also believe that, at the point of death, the physical body dies and, the soul either returns to God (as a believer in Christ), or is sent to an eternal place of torment...hell. God has given each of us free will; we must make a choice as to where our soul will spend eternity:
Jesus said: "I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God." (Luke 12:4-9 NIV)
The primary purpose of the soul is to give life to the body, so that we may publicly acknowledge Christ as our Lord and Savior. The soul is truly what makes man in the image of God. In the above scripture, we see that here again, a choice is to be made: either we choose Christ and His miraculous gift of eternal life for our soul in heaven with the angels of God, or we do not. Later in this writing, you'll find more information about our primary purpose in this life "Our Purpose Through Jesus Christ" (Go ye therefore...).
God's Certain Promise - The Purpose of Christ
An Anchor for the Soul
The Hope that is an anchor for our soul is Jesus Christ. This was Christ's purpose: to be born of a virgin, live a sinless life despite temptations, die on the cross, be buried in the tomb, and be raised from the dead. Upon His death on the cross, the curtain which separated the inner sanctuary in the temple was torn from top to bottom. That signified the end of the separation of God from his people...us. Jesus became a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek: Melchizedek was a "priest of the most high God" at the time of Abram, before God ordained the Jewish priesthood through the house of Levi. Jesus is now in the very presence of God, and intercedes with God on our behalf...He is our High Priest (Hebrews 6:13-20 NIV).
Jesus was placed in the tomb after He died on the cross. God raised Him from the dead on the third day. In Jewish law, the third day is significant. Food that was not eaten by the third day was to be burned. Anyone who ate of the food was to be punished and had to undergo a cleansing ritual. Food left uneaten by the third day (given no refrigeration) is in a state of decay. I also understand that, according to Jewish law, someone who had died was not considered "dead" until the third day in the grave.
"We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: 'You are my Son; today I have become your Father.'
God raised Him from the dead so that He will never be subject to decay. As God has said, 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'
So it is also stated elsewhere: 'You will not let your holy one see decay.' Now when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the One whom God raised from the dead did not see decay." (Acts 13:32-37 NIV)
One of the most profound prophecies in the Old Testament is in Isaiah, chapter 53. I encourage you to read this chapter and compare it with the writing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. The prophet Isaiah describes exactly what happened in the life of Jesus Christ: how He was betrayed, how He was falsely accused; how He suffered and died; where He was buried; and His reward by God for willingly going through all this for you and for me.
God, with His mighty strength and power, raised Christ from the grave and seated Him at His right hand and gave Christ power and dominion over all things under His feet. That is the Hope that is a steadfast anchor for our soul (Ephesians 1:17-23 NIV). Christ sits at the right hand of the Father, ever interceding for us as his children (those who have made the choice to accept Him as Savior and Lord). Praise Him forever! Hallelujah!
The Mission of Jesus
Why He Came
The very reason Jesus came to be born of a virgin, to live a sinless life, to die on the cross, and then be raised from the grave was to save you and me from the rightful punishment of Hell, for our sins (John 12:23-33). He did not have to do this. God did not make Him do this. He chose to do this for every one of us. Just as we have free will to make choices, Jesus also had free will (Matthew 26:39).
Jesus' mission on earth was to set aside the Law, and bring into being the age of Grace. He became the Perfect Sacrifice "once for all." The writer of Hebrews (a letter written to the Jewish people), in chapter 10 describes how, under the Law, blood sacrifices were made once a year for atonement of sins. People came to the temple and offered these sacrifices year after year. Jesus came to make that blood sacrifice one time for all sins of all people. Only by accepting by faith that Jesus freely became this Perfect Sacrifice, can we be made "white as snow and clean as wool" (as Isaiah 1:18 describes it). If we accept by faith the mission of Jesus, we no longer live under the Law, but now live under Grace. The Law serves the purpose of educating us about, and making us aware of our sins (Romans 3) so that we are without excuse for our sins: for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." But for those who believe, we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, the Perfect Sacrifice.
Jesus was tempted in the wilderness for forty days by satan himself, yet remained sinless (Mark 1:13). In every way Jesus was human, but He remained sinless so that He could become the Perfect Sacrifice for our sins. This most gracious gift, unmerited favor, has been given freely to each of us by our Lord Jesus Christ. All we need to do is choose to accept it.
When Jesus was preparing to die, He comforted His disciples by telling them about where He was going. He told them to not let their hearts be troubled. In His Father's house, there are many mansions (rooms). He was going there to prepare a place for them (and for us), that where He would go there we would go also (John 14:1-4). Another precious promise!
When Thomas replied to Him that they did not know where He was going and did not know how to get there, Jesus answered him and said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:5-6). This statement from Jesus confirms His mission from God, chosen by His own free will, to be the Atonement for our sins.
Promise to the Gentiles
God's Mission for Paul
In Ephesians 3:1-12, Paul reveals to the church at Ephesus God's mission for him. He (as Saul before his conversion) was on the road to Damascus, working for the Pharisees (indeed, he was a Pharisee) by persecuting Christians. The "mystery" that Jesus made known to Paul on that road was that through the gospel the Gentiles are joint heirs together with Israel, and sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus. Prior to this time, Jesus' desciples preached the gospel to other Jews. They had not gone out into the world of the Gentiles. This was to become Paul's mission. Paul describes his mission in Acts 26:12-18, as it was revealed to him by Jesus on the road to Damascus:
"On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' Then I asked, 'Who are you, Lord?'
'I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 'Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'"
As believers in Jesus Christ, our primary purpose in life is to share the Good News, the gospel of Christ, just as Paul shared in the above scriptures. However, I believe we also have a divine mission to be fulfilled in our lifetime. Many of us may never discover this mission. Some may lose his/her way. I believe my soul knows my mission and acts according to God's will to complete this mission, but only if I allow it. We have free will, remember? For each action we take, we make a conscious choice to do so. And, we must each live with the consequences of our action. More importantly, our souls must live eternally with the consequences of this one choice we make: whether by action or inaction to choose Christ as our Lord and Savior. If we do not choose, we have in fact, made a choice.
What May be Known About God is Plain
I am quoting the full context of Romans 1:18-32 (NIV) to emphasize the fact that even though this was written around the first century following Christ's return to Heaven, it describes almost perfectly the condition in our world today. Toward the end of the scriptures, note the condemnation of even those who approve of those who practice this wickedness. We as Christians need to be so in tune with Christ that we never "go along to get along" as many in our world do today.
"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
Hmm...sounds quite a bit like the world in which we live today. They knew God, but chose to not retain their knowledge of God. Since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen: all his creation witnesses to us through the complexity and divine nature of the heavens and earth, so that we are without excuse. Even if no one ever witnessed to us about God's Gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ, we are without excuse! The very heavens provide witness of God Himself! Hebrews, chapter 11 talks about faith being the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen...by faith we believe the world was framed by the word of God. Because of this, I believe that if anyone were alive today and had not heard the Gospel, but he recognized God's handiwork through His creation, and earnestly sought to know more, a way would be provided by God for him to hear the gospel. As David said:
"How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (Psalm 84:1-2 NIV)
I believe the soul yearns for God, even when we are physically/mentally unaware. We as believers should certainly be aware of this yearning. However, should someone not know Jesus as his Personal Savior, this longing in his soul will lead him, if he allows, to someone who can share the Good news with him.
Heaven or Hell?
Where Will Your Soul Spend Eternity?
Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees when He told them they could not serve God and money:
"The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. He said to them, 'You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight.'" (Luke 16:14-15 NIV)
Then he told this parable to emphasize to the Pharisees the end result of their choice:
"There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man's table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'
But Abraham replied, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'" (Luke 16:19-25 NIV)
Jesus clearly describes the difference between Heaven and Hell. Heaven is a place of comfort; Hell is a place of torment and agony in fire. How much more clear can it be? Notice also that Lazarus was taken by the angels to Abraham's side. That is the way in which Heaven is described. Your soul, as a believer, will be immediately taken to the Lord. Your soul, if not a believer, will be sent immediately to Hell. Have you responded to your soul's yearning for Jesus? Have you made the choice?
One of the most recognized verses in the Bible pertaining to where a believer will spend eternity is Luke 23:43 (NIV) where Jesus on the cross answered the repentent thief. The thief asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. "Jesus answered him: 'truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise'." Not tomorrow, not after the tribulation...today!
Those Believers Who Have Died
This writing would not be complete without a discussion about believers in Christ who have died. Where does the soul go when we believers die? What is the rapture?
Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words." (I Thessalonians 4:13-18 NIV)
These verses describe what will happen when Jesus comes in the clouds for His own. Note: this is not the Second Coming of Jesus (see the book of Revelations). The English word rapture is defined as meaning "snatched up" or "caught up." It comes from the same Latin root as "raptor," the kind of birds such as eagles who "snatch up" their prey (see BibleStudy.org).
When a believer dies, his soul returns to heaven to be with the Lord. When the Lord comes from heaven as the above describes, the souls of these believers will be with Him. The Lord will shout a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet call of God. The physical bodies of those believers will arise from the grave; those whose grave is the sea will rise; those who have been cremated will rise (with God, nothing is impossible), and will be joined with the souls of the believers and "in the twinkling of an eye" those souls and bodies will be transformed into perfect bodies. Then we who are alive and remain on earth will be caught up together to meet them and Jesus in the air. We too, will be transformed and our bodies become perfect. Just as Jesus ascended into heaven with His perfect body, following His resurrection, so too shall we. What an awesome promise!
Romans 6:23 (NIV): "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The wages of sin is death...another way of phrasing this: the payment for sin is death. Remember, "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." But, another precious promise to those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior: eternal life of the soul. Our physical bodies may die (unless we are alive when the rapture occurs), but our soul will live eternally. If our physical bodies die, our souls go to be with the Lord in Heaven until the time of the rapture. For more information about the resurrected, perfect body, see I Corinthians 15:35-58.
Our Purpose Through Jesus Christ
"Go ye therefore..."
As believers in Christ, we are given a purpose by which we live our lives. We are to spread the gospel, the Good News, to every one (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV). The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentence through the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). A question for you: Who have you shared the Good News with?
We as believers ought to live our lives in such a way that non-believers can see that we're different simply by watching us, how we act, what we say, who we spend time with, where we spend our time. We may be the only Bible someone may "read." When we do not live our lives like this, we miss the mark...which is the definition of sin. It's not necessarily doing "bad" things. The original Greek word for sin means "to miss the mark." Jesus set the standard for us; we ought to live as He lived. He wrapped up all the commandments from the Law and Prophets (the Old Testament) into two commandments: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:34-40 NIV).
When someone asks you what it means to be a Christian, a believer, don't hesitate to share the gospel of Christ with him/her. There are a number of ways in which to do this...share your own story of how you came to know Christ; share the scriptures...the simplest, yet most profound is John 3:16. Be ready to share because you never know when someone may ask...be prepared. That is our purpose!
What is Your Mission?
Your Soul Knows
Going back just moment, I stated earlier that each of us has a mission, and that our soul is aware of that mission. The life of our soul is eternal...it will live forever. "Forever" means there is no end, and there is no beginning. That is what eternal means. There is no timeline where the soul began existence, nor where the soul ends...ceases to exist. I believe that until that point of conception where our physical body became alive (where the soul joined the physical body), our soul exists in the heavenly plane, that is, with God. I also believe that during that heavenly existence, our soul fellowships and communes with God, worshipping him as the Father of all.
My theory is that as my soul existed in heaven before it joined my earthly body, God had a particular task that He needed to be accomplished here on earth. It may be that He wanted to rescue a soul who had lost his way; it may be a calling to the Christian ministry (as the shepherd of a local church, or a missionary); or, it may be God needed someone to provide a particular service to a specific person or group of people (as a caregiver, for example). I believe God fully reveals the entire circumstances of this mission, even those which have a tragic end (as Kyle's and Matthew's did). Our souls are free to choose whether we will volunteer for a given task or not. If my soul chooses to volunteer for the task, that becomes my mission on earth. Even in heaven with God, we have free will.
Remember, David wrote in Psalm 139:13-16, that God knew him before he was ever conceived; God knew the number of days he would live before one of them came to be.
In Psalm 33:11-15, David writes: "But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth- He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do."
God has a plan for each of us. This plan, this mission, was given each of us before we were even conceived. My soul volunteered for this mission. In our earthly life, it is up to each of us to discover our mission. Through prayerful study of God's word, and the urging of God's Holy Spirit in communion with our spirit, we can know our mission in life. Some of us, once born in this physical body and subject to satan’s temptations, may lose our way, and never fulfill that mission. Even those people we consider "evil" such as Adolph Hitler, had a mission for which his soul (in heaven) volunteered. Tragically, both for him and millions of other people, he lost his way during this earthly life and succumbed to evil. I believe Hitler's soul is now spending eternity in everlasting torment. Even so, people today can learn critical life lessons by studying the results of Hitler’s years on earth. Closer to home, the story of Matthew's death reveals another soul who lost his way: his older brother is now in his early forty's and has spent the last twenty-odd years in prison. He did not get the death penalty because he was not an adult when he committed this crime. He is now serving three consecutive life sentences for what he did. A complete life...wasted.
Paul wrote in Romans 7:14-25 about the struggle between his "outward" (physical) man, and his "inward" (soul) man. What he would strive to do (good), he would not do; but what he did not want to do (sin), he would do. A constant warring between our physical body and our soul! But in verse 25 he claims the promise of God: "Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! "
Through prayerful study of God's word, and the urging of God's Holy Spirit in communion with our spirit, we can know our mission in life. Even those people we consider "evil" such as Adolph Hitler, had a mission for which his soul volunteered. Tragically, both for him and millions of other people, he lost his way during this life. I believe Hitler's soul is now spending eternity in everlasting torment. So, listen to your "inward man" and be deligent in your quest to find your mission. Your eternal soul depends on it!
As for Matthew and Kyle, I believe each of these young men fulfilled his mission in this life. It is not for me to say exactly what each mission may have been. I am satisfied to know that, with the death of Kyle and the death of Matthew, someone was influenced in a life-changing way. It may have been that the woman who caused Kyle's death was the person whose life was changed as a result. And Matthew? I am firmly convinced that Matthew's young life had a profound affect on all who encountered him. From everything I've been told, he was a beautiful child with an infectious laugh and sunny disposition. Everyone loved him and considered him very special. Perhaps that was his mission. Only God knows for sure, but I know that one day I will know all about it.
One absolute truth is this: God is all powerful (omnipotent), He sees and knows all (omniscient), and He is definitely in control of every situation (omnipresent). God is a loving God (He would not have any to perish), but he is a just God as well (“The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”). God cannot look upon sin; that is why He turned away from Jesus on the cross (as Jesus cried “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV)).
I wil leave you with this scripture written by the Apostle Paul as inspired by God, that you may be assured you may know also:
"For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." (I Corinthians 13:9-12 NIV)