There is no life after death (and no hell)

  1. This issue came up in the letter to Dr Laura thread and rather than letting that thread deviate from its topic I thought I would deal with the issue here.
    Various scriptures in the Bible tell us that our life ends when we die. It is a complete and final end. There is no life after death. There is no immortal soul. And there is no eternal suffering or hell. I know this is not what Judaism or most so-called Christian churches teach but it is what the Bible says. Most supposedly Christian churches just do not teach what the Bible says. They create their own doctrines and over time these doctrines become entrenched teachings.

    Let us look first of all at what God told Adam. After commanding Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil God said: "in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Note the consequence of disobedience. Adam would die. God did not say: "If you disobey me your physical body will die but you have an immortal soul that will go on living forever and you will suffer eternal punishment".

    Let's move forward now to after Adam has eaten the forbidden fruit. God pronounces sentence on Adam and Eve and finishes with the statment: "For dust you are, and to dust you shall return." Here is a statement from God clearly explaining what death means. Adam would simply cease to exist. There is no mention of an immortal soul or eternal punishment in a fiery place of torment.

    Some scriptures expressly deal with the condition of the dead and indicate that far from being a place of suffering, the common grave of mankind is a place of inactivity:

    "For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 9:5-6

    "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going." - Ecclesiastes 9:10

    Another scripture equates the condition of dead humans with dead animals. In life man is superior to animals but in death we are all alike: "For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; ... as one dies, so dies the other ... All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust." - Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

    Jesus described death like being asleep. When Jesus learned of Lazarus' death he travelled with his disciples to Lazarus' grave intending to resurrect him. On the way Jesus said to his disciples: "Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up." If Lazarus had already passed on to a life in heaven it would hardly have been kind of Jesus to resurrect him back to an imperfect life on earth.

    Let us consider one more argument based on logic and common sense, not scripture. Assume for the sake of this argument that God is indeed the loving God that he tells us he is. Even we imperfect humans would not do what some churches accuse God of doing. I'm reminded of many western movies I've seen where the cowboy's horse goes lame and rather than let the horse die of thirst in the desert the cowboy shoots the horse to spare it the torture of a painful death. Even the worst kind of evil gunslinger in these movies will not walk away and let his horse suffer. Yet most supposedly Christian churches teach (and many people swallow) a story about what would have to be the cruelest act that God could do - create a place of eternal torment and suffering, a place where God would put anyone who rejected him, and this God would look forever on this place and watch humans endure pain and agony. That is not the God of the Bible and it is not the God of this universe.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Phobos

    Phobos 2,020
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Interesting. I certainly don't recall any mention of an afterlife in my reading of the Bible so far (granted, I'm only up to Joshua so far). I'm interested to see the debate on this topic.

    IIRC (and this was the subject of a past topic of mine), the Jewish belief system does not include a Hell...just distance/closeness to God in the afterlife.

    This is one of the first things, if not THE first thing, I questioned about religion when I was a child. It did not seem right (and still doesn't) that anything done within a mere 70 year lifetime could deserve such a horrible eternal punishment. The distance/closeness fate I mentioned above seems to make more sense.
     
  4. Ruling Love

    From the thread, Hell ...

     
  5. All of your quotes are from the old testament which is before Jesus allowed man an option to eternal death. I don't think any of them can be used the way you are using them. They must be read into context. There are countless passages in in the new testament which speak of eternal life.

    As for the common sense piece of your thread.... I can certainly relate. But you're going to judge god based on what a human considers good? This is flawed logic.
     
  6. ??????????????

    You were obviously DEAD before you were conceived in the womb.
    You are (presumably) ALIVE now.
    Life after death......c'mon, get real....
     
  7. Re: ??????????????

    And yet "I" did not exist, in order to "Die to the Lie" ... that there is no afterlife.
     
  8. Re: Re: ??????????????

    Do you REALLY believe you were 'created' at conception?
    Why?
    Every particle of your body existed prior to your birth.
    Why would you - the entity wearing the 'mud' - be any different?
     
  9. All I know is I wasn't conscious until after I was born. And yet there's something about consciousness that suggests I've always been here and, that I'm not supposed to die. Do you know why? Because my soul is conscious and, that consciousness -- i.e., "via the moment" -- is tied to Eternity.
     
  10. Consciousness (like body odor) is a state of being. It comes and goes and is highly dependent on the condition of your body. When you are unconscious (don't smell), it doesn't mean you have ceased to exist.

    Think of death as changing clothes. You wouldn't wear the same sox for eighty years. Without death, there would be no evolution and we would all be micro-organisms chasing each other for breakfast.

    Eternity is a two way street. Forward and backward.

    Existence is eternal. Change is eternal. Life - a state of being - comes and goes.
     
  11. And yet people are conscious even when they sleep -- "in their dreams."


    Ashes to ashes, dust to dust ... but the "soul" lives on.


    Eternity is Ever-Present.


    On a temporal earthly plane that is.
     
  12. Yes, I guess that means Elvis and Jimmy Hoffa are still around...somewhere....
     
  13. There is no difference between the old testament and the new testament on fundamental things like the nature of our existence. Basic things like what happens to us when we die do not change between the old and the new testament. The whole Bible was written by God and is consistent throughout. There are indeed many passages in both the old and the new testament that speak of everlasting life but that raises further questions. What kind of everlasting life is it talking about and how do we get it?

    The everlasting life that God intended for Adam and Eve was an everlasting life on earth, not in the spiritual realm. Remember what God told Adam and Eve to do: "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it". God gave them satisfying work to perform here on earth in their home. They were given everlasting life by design. It was God's gift to them. If they remained faithful they would never die. But they lost their perfect condition when they sinned and cut off from God's energy their bodies slowly deteriorated and they died. In the meantime they were able to pass on an imperfect existence to their offspring.

    The everlasting life that is spoken of throughout the Bible that we can gain is an everlasting life here on earth as physical beings. God's plan was for the earth to be populated and that plan has not changed, merely the means for bringing it about. Consider Psalms 37:29 - "The righteous shall inherit the land, And dwell in it forever." and Psalms 37:11 - "The meek shall inherit the earth, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace." This is our hope for our own future and the future of mankind, an everlasting life here in an earthly paradise. You can see this design reflected in our conduct. Throughout history people have been obsessed with finding "the elixir of immortality". Why? Because God made us with an inbuilt desire to want to continue living forever. But note that this desire is usually expressed in terms of wanting to continue living as a physical human. You don't hear people talking about how they would love to be angels and live in heaven, usually it's expressed as a desire to keep living here on earth. (There actually will be a small number of people that will become spirit beings but I don't want to unnecessarily complicate things by going into that here.)

    Everything that I have said so far is consistent with the view that death is a state of non-existence, we return to the dust from which we were made. Adam not only lost everlasting life for himself, he lost it for all of us too. God needed a way to reverse the effect of Adam's failure and that's where Jesus comes in. Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life, he never sinned, he showed perfect obedience to God's law and he died. His death is something of great value. Just as one man lost everlasting life for all, so too the death of one perfect man can recover it for all: "For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive." - 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 Here again is further proof that there is no life after death. The hope of resurrection is a theme throughout the Bible. The meaning of resurrection is to bring the dead back to life. If we lived on after we died then why do we need a resurrection? It is only because when we die we cease to exist in the way I have explained that we need to be resurrected.

    Jesus did not teach that everlasting life was something that we enjoyed automatically or that we had an immortal soul that lived on after we died. He taught that everlasting life was something that had to be earnt and that there were requirements to be fulfilled: "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life'" - John 11:25

    It's not so unrealistic as all that. Remember that we were made in God's image. Man has reasoning power, he has attributes like those of God such as love and a sense of justice. We can certainly form a view on the justice of punishing someone forever for the errors of this short life.
     
  14. megashawn

    megashawn 505
    Science Advisor

    I had always understood that (according to christian beliefs) when a person died, he/she remained in the grave until judgement day. At this time, he was either cast into hell, or welcomed to heaven. I've heard countless storys of heaven being paved with gold (seems like bad traction surface to me).

    It seems that everything you say negates the point in going to church, believing in a god. What purpose is it to spend your life worshipping a god that is just going to watch you fade away? People go to church because they are afraid to die, and this #1 fear that we must all face is what churches prey on. If churches preached what you claim, people would not come, as it does not remove one's fear of death anymore so then atheism.

    So, according to your beliefs/claims we will never meet our loved ones in heaven, or get chased around hell by the devil and his pitchfork?

    What is your reason again?
     
  15. I read a really disturbing letter in my newspaper today.

    It said something in the effect of:

    " Mr. X urges Christians to move towards a tolerant society. But Christianity is not about tolerance. Rather, true christians believe that truth is contained in the bible, that things like tolerance are worldly things. This does not mean that we should not love God, but appreciate the bible as truth without manipulation and avoid such worldly elements. "

    I'll see if I can find the quote...
     
  16. sounds a little crack-pottish to me. what other plane is there than the "temporal earthly plane".
     
  17. If this is all there is, then what do we even need morals for? Why should we give a crap, if there were no "long-lasting" repercussions?

    If in fact there were a "sense of purpose" in life, then where does it come from? There must be more to it than this "fleeting existence?"

    This is actually a good point, and probably should be explored in depth. You know, why should we be concerned about our actions, if there is no accountability for them? Then hey, you can pretty much do as you damn well please, and when you're dead you're dead, and who gives a crap?
     
  18. Because you give a crap. Your moral conscience, engrained by society and partially genes care. Because your life today directly suffers. Because it's up to you to give meaning to your own life so you matter to yourself, and is satisfied.

    A feeling of purpose does not mean there is in fact a purpose, outside of what you give or others give.

    If life goes on after death, and what we do can negatively influence it, why do we live at all? Why don't we just shoot ourselves here and move on?

    Because we believe that our life here is worth living outside of whatever happens afterwards, that's why. Because the point of morality and doing what you feel is right has in fact nothing to do with a reward at the end of it.

    In fact, that is supposedly true even if you do believe in God and an afterlife. Unless if you infer the whole goodness and rewards etc process is an exercise in personal hypocrisy...

    Hence I support what Laser Eyes is saying.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2003
  19. Could the Law of Conservation of Energy influence this discussion in any way?
     
  20. Nice try! But hey there's no need to get all sentimental about it, because when you're dead you're dead, and it will be as if you were never here ... i.e., so long as you "remain dead." :wink:
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2003
  21. Am not sure what you mean?

    Hey, did Einstein actually say that about imagination and knowledge? Better not let anybody else know about that around here! :wink:
     
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