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Journey with us as we dissect the concepts of an ‘Immortal Soul’ and ‘Being a Soul’. Drawing from biblical wisdom, we aim to bring clarity to your spiritual understanding. Explore your existence beyond the physical and venture into discussions about the afterlife, eternal life, and immortality.
Genesis 2:7 American Standard Version
7 And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
We are a soul. We do not possess a soul. Adam was not given a soul—he became a living soul or person.
The term “soul” in the Bible is a translation of the Hebrew term “neʹphesh” and the Greek term “psy·kheʹ.” The Hebrew term denotes a “breathing creature,” and the Greek term refers to a “living being”. This implies that the soul isn’t a separate entity that persists after bodily death but rather the entirety of a living creature.
Biblical references to the soul imply its connection to corporeal existence and actions. It is described as working, craving food, eating, abiding by laws, and interacting physically with the world, such as touching a dead body. These activities engage the whole being, suggesting that the soul isn’t separable from the body but rather the full person.
The soul, in the Biblical context, can also be seen as synonymous with a complete living being encompassing the body, emotions, and personality. The Bible refers to a mother giving birth to “souls,” which signifies whole, breathing individuals.
Upon death, the Bible states, our bodies return to the earth, and on that very day, our thoughts cease to exist. Therefore, the state of being dead is referred to metaphorically as sleeping in Scriptures.
The Hebrew “neʹphesh” and the Greek “psy·kheʹ,” which translate to “soul,” appear frequently in the Scriptures. They represent people, animals, or a person or animal’s life. “Soul” refers to people as seen in 1 Peter 3:20 and Exodus 16:16.
Animals, too, are identified as souls in passages like Genesis 1:20 and Genesis 1:24. In these references, fish, domestic animals, and wild animals are all denoted as souls.
Sometimes, the term “soul” implies the life of a person, as in Exodus 4:19, where Moses’ life is under threat. In this context, the enemies sought Moses’ “soul,” which signifies they sought to take his life.
The term “soul” doesn’t appear in conjunction with “immortal” or “everlasting” anywhere in the Bible. Instead, the soul is presented as mortal, capable of death. Thus, someone who has died is termed a “dead soul” in the Bible.
In the Hebrew language, which forms the foundation of the Old Testament, the term that has often been translated as “soul” is “neʹphesh.” Scholars of ancient Hebrew have posited that “neʹphesh” fundamentally implies a “breathing creature.” This is supported by lexical references such as The New Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament and the Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros.
Moreover, translations of the Bible often vary in their rendering of the words “neʹphesh” and “psy·kheʹ” based on their context, using equivalents like “soul,” “life,” “person,” “creature,” or “body.”
The concept of the soul in the ancient Hebrew mindset, as reflected in their lexicon and literature, was substantially different from many contemporary understandings. Instead of viewing the soul as an ethereal, immortal essence that exists independently of the body, the Hebrews saw it as the essence of life and vitality within a living being – whether human or animal.
The concept of a “breathing creature” does not separate the soul from the body but rather, integrates them as one unit. The soul, or “neʹphesh,” thus, encompasses the totality of a living, breathing being, as opposed to an intangible spirit that survives after physical death.
Furthermore, the frequency with which “neʹphesh” and its Greek equivalent “psy·kheʹ” appear in the Scriptures, and the various contexts in which they are used, further demonstrate the holistic understanding of the term. Whether referring to humans, animals, or the life that a being possesses, these terms reinforce the inseparable relationship between the physical body and the soul.
Therefore, according to the Hebrew lexicon and Biblical texts, any interpretation of the concept of the soul must account for its grounding in life’s tangible realities and its inherent mortality, as opposed to an immortal or everlasting existence. We do not possess a soul that departs from us and has eternal life or immortality. We are souls (persons) that will receive eternal life on a renewed earth, or we are ones that will be transformed into spirit persons and will receive eternal life in heaven.
Interpreting biblical passages can be challenging due to the complexities of ancient languages, cultural contexts, and varying translation methodologies. Here are a few examples of Bible verses that are often misinterpreted to suggest that humans possess an immortal “soul” separate from their physical bodies:
Matthew 10:28: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Misinterpretation: This verse is sometimes understood to imply that the soul is an immortal entity that cannot be killed by human means, thus suggesting dualism (the belief that humans are composed of two fundamentally different realities: material and immaterial).
Correct Interpretation: The Greek word used for “soul” here is “psyche,” which can mean life, person, or self. The context does not imply an immortal soul but rather the essence of a person’s life, which God alone ultimately controls. This verse underscores that God has authority over eternal life and death and that our ultimate fear should be God’s judgment, not man’s threats.
Ecclesiastes 12:7: “And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
Misinterpretation: The “spirit” returning to God is sometimes taken to mean an immortal soul ascending to heaven after death.
Correct Interpretation: The Hebrew word used here is “ruach,” often translated as “spirit” or “breath.” In this context, it refers to the breath of life that God gives to every living being. When a person dies, their body returns to dust, and the life force given by God ceases to animate it. This verse does not indicate personal consciousness continuing after death but the cessation of life.
Luke 23:43: Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Misinterpretation: This statement to the criminal crucified beside Jesus is often interpreted as proof of immediate life after death, implying the immortality of the soul.
Correct Interpretation: The timing of the phrase “today” is the crux of this verse. Greek punctuation was added much later, and the original statement could have been “Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise,” implying the promise was made “today,” not that the event would occur “today.” Jesus himself didn’t ascend to Heaven until after his resurrection, so it’s unlikely he meant the criminal would be in paradise the same day.
2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”
Misinterpretation: This verse is sometimes taken to mean that our souls depart from our bodies at death to be with the Lord, implying a conscious existence apart from the body.
Correct Interpretation: The anticipation Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:8 is more accurately a desire for the resurrection to heavenly life with a spiritual body, not a physical one. This aligns with his expectation of a transformation that believers will undergo when raised to heavenly life, as expressed in Philippians 3:20, 21.
In 1 Corinthians 15:40, 42-44, 47-50, it is indeed emphasized that there are different types of bodies—earthly and heavenly—with their respective glories. When people are resurrected to a heavenly life, they won’t have physical bodies; instead, they’ll have spiritual bodies, as it is stated: “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body.”
This point aligns well with what Jesus mentioned in John 3:6: “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” Furthermore, in verse 50 of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul emphasizes: “I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” This supports the view that the heavenly resurrection involves a transformation from physical to spiritual.
The Resurrection of the Whole Person
Some Bible scholars state that there is no solid Biblical basis for the dualistic soul/body theory. Here are a few representative quotations:
“The notion of immortality is the product of Greek thought, whereas the hope of a resurrection belongs to Jewish thinking.”—Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de la Bible (1935, Protestant).
“The soul in the O[ld] T[estament] means not a part of man, but the whole man—man as a living being.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967).
“The Bible does not state a doctrine of the immortality of the soul.”—The Concise Jewish Encyclopedia (1980).
“The N[ew] T[estament] does not actually refer to ‘the resurrection of the body’ or ‘the resurrection of the flesh’ but only to ‘the resurrection of the dead’ or ‘resurrection from the dead.’ The subjects of resurrection are whole persons.”—New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (1978).
The concept of an immortal soul in Christian theology isn’t derived from the Bible but rather from ancient Greek philosophy. As the Encyclopædia Britannica suggests, biblical passages link the idea of a soul to breath, without differentiating between the soul and the physical body. The notion of a body-soul dichotomy prevalent in Christian teachings originates from ancient Greek thought. The Bible, specifically Colossians 2:8, warns against getting ensnared in philosophical ideas and empty deceptions based on human tradition rather than God’s teachings.
Our Understanding of the Immortal Soul
Do we exist merely as flesh and blood? Is there more to us than the total of our physical components? Is there an invisible part of us that continues to exist after death?
Although world religions offer an array of beliefs regarding the afterlife, a common consensus is the notion of something within humans that survives death. This “something” is commonly interpreted as a soul. Do we consist of both body and soul? What does the term soul imply? Is the soul immortal? These are fundamental questions requiring a clear understanding of our very existence.
Does a part of man, the “soul,” separate from the body at death and continue to live? According to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, the term “soul” often represents the complete person. Genesis 2:7 refers to the first man, Adam, as a “living soul.” This understanding is reinforced by other biblical passages where a soul is depicted as being capable of labor, experiencing impatience, irritation, fear, and depression, or as being synonymous with a person.
Furthermore, the Bible includes animals within the definition of a soul, as seen in Genesis 1:20, 24. However, plants aren’t referred to as souls. In some instances, “soul” is used in a broader sense to symbolize the life a living soul enjoys, highlighting that a “soul” can refer to a human, an animal, or the life that a living being experiences.
The Mortality of the Soul
The Bible explicitly states in Ezekiel 18:4, “The soul that is sinning – it itself will die.” Prophets like Elijah and Jonah have asked for their souls (i.e., themselves) to die. Thus, the soul, which is equivalent to the person, isn’t immortal; it dies with the physical death of the individual.
Biblical passages referring to the departing and returning of the soul, like in Genesis 35:18 and 1 Kings 17:22, don’t necessarily imply the existence of a non-physical entity that leaves or enters a body. Remember, “soul” can also denote “life.”
The Bible provides a straightforward description of human nature. A person does not possess a soul; instead, they are a soul. Since a person is a soul, any hope for future life for the deceased rests on the concept of resurrection. The Bible assures us of a resurrection in John 5:28, 29, which forms the basis for a real hope for the dead, not the concept of the soul’s immortality.
The understanding of the resurrection and its implications for humankind, along with the knowledge of God and Christ, is of utmost importance. As Jesus states in a prayer, knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ leads to eternal life (John 17:3).
1 Corinthians 15:54; John 3:16 Is There a Difference Between Immortality and Eternal Life? If So, What Is It?
1 Corinthians 15:54 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
John 3:16 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, in order that whoever believes in him will not be destroyed but have eternal life.
IMMORTALITY: (ἄφθαρτος aphthartos) immortal, imperishable, indestructible, cannot be destroyed, so, of course, it means lasting forever
This is not really semantics because, if taken literally, immortality means the being is imperishable and indestructible, which means the being cannot be destroyed. The Greek word translated “immortality” (ἀφθαρσία aphtharsia) is formed from the negative “a” and from (θάνατος thanatos), meaning “death.” Therefore, the basic sense of immortality is ‘without death.’ It has always been that only God was indestructible (Psalm 36:9; 90:1-2). The Son, who is “the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his nature,” is described as “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of those who reign as kings and Lord of those who rule as lords, the one who alone possesses immortality.” (Hebrews 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:15-16) No creature can take The Father or the Son’s life as they are immortal, which makes them different from humans or angels, that are destructible.
Even Michael the archangel, the highest-ranking angel and the second most powerful being there, is, aside from God, destructible. That is, he can be destroyed. So, the question that now begs to be asked will everyone who receives eternal life be immortal? I highly doubt that. Those that go to heaven will receive immortality, which encompasses eternal life, and those on earth will receive eternal life. However, they can still be destroyed, which is clear from what will happen to some after the thousand-year reign of Christ when some will be tempted by Satan and receive the Second Death from which there is no resurrection. Even though Adam and Eve were created to live forever, they were not immortal. So, immortality does encompass the sense of eternal life, but it is beyond that as it implies more than the fact that the person having immortality will live forever. It is connected with incorruption, which is imperishable, indestructible, cannot be destroyed, and cannot die.
1 Corinthians 15:53-55 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
53 For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
However, the Bible does not offer us many insights into what life will be like for those who receive immortality. As was said above, Adam and Eve possessed eternal life. And we know that they had to eat food and drink water to maintain life. It can be inferred that if, hypothetically, they stopped eating and drinking water, they would die, and they would experience corruption, even though they possessed eternal life. (Genesis 2:9, 15, 16) There is nothing within the Scriptures that would suggest that those who will receive immortal life in heaven with spirit bodies will need to consume something to sustain their eternal life. Thus, immortals are not subject to death. When they receive their spirit body, they will be imperishable, receiving incorruptibility. (Compare 2 Corinthians 5:1; Revelation 20:6) Thus, immortality involves eternal life but also deathlessness, unable to die, cannot be destroyed, while eternal life here on earth does not involve these things.
Breaking it Down
This interpretation of the concepts of immortality and eternal life, as expressed in the Bible, is comprehensive and consistent with the teachings of many Christian theological traditions. Let’s break down the argument for further discussion:
Immortality: According to the explanation above, immortality (Greek: ἄφθαρτος aphthartos) refers to the state of being imperishable, indestructible, and not subject to death, which is a state uniquely attributed to God, and by extension, to the risen Christ, returning the immortality that he had before coming to the earth. This aligns with many interpretations of verses such as 1 Timothy 6:15-16, where Paul refers to God as the one “who alone has immortality.” Immortality, then, is an inherent characteristic of God’s nature and a returned gifted characteristic of the risen Christ.
Eternal Life: I’ve identified eternal life (Greek: ζωὴν αἰώνιον zōē aiōnion) as being of unlimited duration but not inherently indestructible. This is an interpretation that aligns with verses such as John 3:16, where the promise is given that “whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” This eternal life is a gift given to those who put their faith in Jesus, but it does not necessarily imply indestructibility or imperishability.
In the context of the resurrection, our differentiation between immortality and eternal life also leads to a distinction between the heavenly resurrection and the earthly one. I suggest that those who are resurrected to heavenly life will be granted immortality, becoming imperishable spiritual beings, while those who are resurrected to life on a renewed earth will have eternal life in the sense of unending duration but not immortality in the sense of being indestructible.
My interpretations align well with many Christian perspectives and can be seen as a reasonable and logical interpretation of the Biblical texts you referenced. My understanding appears to be more in line with the Bible that emphasizes a clear distinction between a heavenly resurrection and an earthly one.
What Does the Bible Really Say About the Resurrection?
All of us have lost a loved one to this force to be reckoned with, and it is only a matter of time before we have to face the greatest enemy humankind has ever known, death! However, we have been given a hope that is as great as the penalty that we are under. We have the hope of life eternal, and if we die, it is the hope of a resurrection. This hope means we will be reunited with the loved ones we lost. Some in the past have had a foretaste of this great hope:
Mark 5:35, 41-42 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
35 While he was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?” 41 Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which is translated, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42 And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years old), and immediately they were amazed and completely astounded.
Acts 9:36-41 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas); this woman was full of good deeds of kindness and good works which she continually did. 37 Now it happened that in those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up. Then, calling the holy ones and widows, he presented her alive.
We have already heard of the charges that Satan has risen against God in chapter six of this book. The resurrection hope allows God to let Satan play out his challenges to resolve the issues that would have otherwise plagued us for an eternity. It is like when you suffer through a painful medical treatment, to enjoy thereafter with all the complications of the issues you had. It is only by means of the greatest resurrection, namely Jesus Christ, that we can have this hope.
Matthew 20:28 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his soul as a ransom for many.”
Resurrection is a Foundational Doctrine
Hebrews 6:1-2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
1 Therefore, leaving behind the elementary doctrine about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and faith in God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
The resurrection is a foundational doctrine of our Christian faith. However, it does not fit into the world of humankind that is alienated from God. They see this as the only life there is, and so they are in pursuit of fleshly pleasures to make the most of it. The mindset of some of the first century was, “If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” (1 Cor. 15:32) On the other hand, we do not need to chase after the things that Satan’s world has to offer.
Acts 17:32 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, but others said, “We will hear you concerning this also again.”
We need to look at two hopes humans have the opportunity to have. Some are of new Israel and are seen as being given a kingdom, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, and ruling with Christ for a thousand years. There will be a need to investigate this, and this section will be a little more complex than any other part of this book. It is crucial to all of us, so bear with me. I am going to quote some leading evangelical scholars at length.
Revelation 5:9-10 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
9 And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and purchased for God with your blood men
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign over the earth.”
A further result of the Lamb’s sacrifice is the establishment of the redeemed as a kingdom and priests: kai epoiēsas autous tǭ theǭ hēmōn basileian kai hiereis (“and You made them a kingdom and priests to our God”). The threefold occurrence of this theme in Revelation (cf. also Rev. 1:6; 20:6) indicates that talk about such a spiritual heritage was common parlance among Christians of John’s day (Swete). As God’s possession, the redeemed will not merely be God’s people over whom He reigns, but will also share God’s rule in the coming millennial kingdom (cf. 1 Cor. 4:8; 6:3) (Charles; Ladd). This kingdom is the goal toward which the program of God is moving as emphasized by basileusousin (“they shall reign”) later in v. 10 (cf. Rev. 20:4). The idea of priesthood found in hiereis (“priests”) means full and immediate access into God’s presence for the purpose of praise and worship (Ladd). It also includes the thought of priestly service to God (Mounce). Though believers are currently viewed as a royal priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; cf. Ex. 19:6), this is only preliminary to the fullness of the way they will function alongside Christ in the millennial kingdom.
Kai basileusousin epi tēs gēs (“and they shall reign on the earth”) explains more fully the earlier basileian (“kingdom”). The fact that believers will serve as reigning powers means that they will be the equivalent of kings (Charles; Beckwith). Spelled out more particularly in 20:4 regarding the millennial kingdom and in 22:5 regarding the eternal state, they will join with Christ in His continual reign following His second advent to the earth. This all stems from the epoch determining redemptive work of the Lamb.
Revelation 5:9-10 has a high level of theological content. It either says that Jesus and his co-rulers will rule from heaven, over the earth, or on the earth. It is theological bias to have several cases of similar context and the same grammatical construction, rendering the verses the same every time, yet to then render one verse contrary to the others simply because it aligns with one’s theology. Whether that is the case here or not, the readers must determine for themselves. The point, regardless, is this, either way, Jesus is ruling the earth, and we are blessed to have had his ransom sacrifice and resurrection. Slow down for the next few pages, as things will get a little deeper. We can grasp it if we just slow down, meditate on what is being said, get out our dictionary if we have to, and write the definitions in the book beside the word, and read again.
Revelation 14:1-4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
14 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb.
The whole of chapter 14 is proleptic. As a summary of the Millennium (20:4–6), the first five verses feature the Lamb in place of the beast, the Lamb’s followers with His and the Father’s seal in place of the beast’s followers with the mark of the beast, and the divinely controlled Mount Zion in place of the pagan-controlled earth (Alford, Moffatt, Kiddle).
Revelation 7:4 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 And I heard the number of the ones who were sealed, one hundred forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
Various efforts have sought to determine the significance of the number 144,000. An understanding of the number as symbolical divides it into three of its multiplicands, 12 × 12 × 1000. From the symbolism of the three it is concluded that the number indicates fixedness and fullest completeness. Twelve, a number of the tribes, is both squared and multiplied by a thousand. This is a twofold way of emphasizing completeness (Mounce). It thus affirms the full number of God’s people to be brought through tribulation (Ladd). The symbolic approach points out the impossibility of taking the number literally. It is simply a vast number, less than a number indefinitely great (cf. 7:9), but greater than a large number designedly finite (e.g., 1,000, Rev. 20:2) (Lee). Other occurrences of the numerical components that are supposedly symbolic are also pointed out, 12 thousand in Rev. 21:16, 12 in Rev. 22:2, and 24, a multiple of 12, in Rev. 4:4. This is done to enhance the case for symbolism (Johnson). Though admittedly ingenious, the case for symbolism is exegetically weak. The principal reason for the view is a predisposition to make the 144,000 into a group representative of the church with which no possible numerical connection exists. No justification can be found for understanding the simple statement of fact in v. 4 as a figure of speech. It is a definite number in contrast with the indefinite number of 7:9. If it is taken symbolically, no number in the book can be taken literally. As God reserved 7,000 in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 19:18; Rom. 11:4), He will reserve 144,000 for Himself during the future Great Tribulation. (Thomas, Revelation 1-7: An Exegetical Commentary 1992, 473-74)
These ones are made up of those under the new covenant, the Law of Christ, those called out of natural Israel, and the new Israelites, also known as the Israel of God. They are a chosen number that is to reign with Jesus as kings, priests, and judges. Therefore, we ask, what is the other hope?
The New Earth: The Earthly Hope
In the O[ld] T[estament] the kingdom of God is usually described in terms of a redeemed earth; this is especially clear in the book of Isaiah, where the final state of the universe is already called new heavens and a new earth (65:17; 66:22) The nature of this renewal was perceived only very dimly by OT authors, but they did express the belief that a humans ultimate destiny is an earthly one. This vision is clarified in the N[ew] T[estament]. Jesus speaks of the “renewal” of the world (Matt 19:28), Peter of the restoration of all things (Acts 3:21). Paul writes that the universe will be redeemed by God from its current state of bondage (Rom. 8:18-21). This is confirmed by Peter, who describes the new heavens and the new earth as the Christian’s hope (2 Pet. 3:13). Finally, the book of Revelation includes a glorious vision of the end of the present universe and the creation of a new universe, full of righteousness and the presence of God. The vision is confirmed by God in the awesome declaration: “I am making everything new!” (Rev. 21:1-8)
The new heavens and the new earth will be the renewed creation that will fulfill the purpose for which God created the universe. It will be characterized by the complete rule of God and by the full realization of the final goal of redemption: “Now the dwelling of God is with men” (Rev. 21:3).
The fact that the universe will be created anew shows that God’s goals for humans is not an ethereal and disembodied existence but a bodily existence on a perfected earth. The scene of the beatific vision is the new earth. The spiritual does not exclude the created order and will be fully realized only within a perfected creation. (Elwell 2001, 828-29)
What have we learned so far in blog publication? God created the earth to be inhabited, to be filled with perfect humans, who are over the animals, and under the sovereignty of God. (Gen 1:28; 2:8, 15; Ps 104:5; 115:16; Eccl 1:4) Sin did not dissuade God from his plans (Isa. 45:18); hence, he has saved redeemable humankind by Jesus’ ransom sacrifice. It seems that the Bible offers two hopes to redeemed humans, (1) a heavenly hope or (2) an earthly hope. It also seems that those with heavenly hope are limited in number and are going to heaven to rule with Christ as kings, priests, and judges either on the earth or over the earth from heaven. It seems that those with earthly hope will receive eternal life here on a paradise earth as originally intended.
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