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Are We Born Sinners?
Part 9

Spiritual Death?

Bro. Mike Miller

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The doctrine of original sin has so many tentacles reaching out in so many directions that is an overwhelming task to try to cover them all. Its origin isn’t found in one single misinterpreted Scripture or idea, but in many. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a doctrine has been spun off of original sin or if it is itself one of the foundations for original sin. Such is the idea of spiritual death.

No where does the Bible speak of spiritual death. The Bible never says the spirit dies, or ever has died. There is no evidence whatsoever to prove that Adam’s spirit died when he ate the forbidden fruit. Yet for most Christians who claim to believe the Bible this is a major doctrine. The idea of spiritual death is foundational to their understanding of the Atonement and salvation. Naturally, when you start off with a false teaching that isn’t even mentioned or hinted at in the Bible you are going to get really off-track in your understanding of other things.

The spirit is always associated with life in the Bible – never with death. I challenge you to get a concordance and search it out. You will not find any mention of a spirit dying anywhere, anytime, since God created man.

Man is a three-fold being, made in the image of God. Man consists of body, soul, and spirit. To try to separate them into three separate entities is like trying to separate the Godhead – it can’t be done. What we can do is see the manifestation of each one.

The body is easiest for us to understand because we can see it with our eyes and feel it with our senses. The body is the means by which we experience the physical world we live in. The body dies. That is a fact of life. When the body dies we can no longer experience the world or things of the world, because the body is the only means we have for doing that. It is over! A dead body doesn’t come back to life, no matter what the doctors do. Everyone since Adam has died eventually, and we can be assured that everyone that is alive now will also die unless they are caught up when the Lord returns.

The soul is the essence of who we are. It is our consciousness. The soul will live on after the body is gone back to dust. Man is a living soul – not just a body.

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Gen. 2:7

Your soul is YOU, with your affections, your desires, your opinions, and beliefs. The soul is sometimes referred to in the Bible as the heart. It is where sin originates and comes from.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: Matt. 15:19

The soul can be lost. The soul can die in the sense of being separated from God forever.

The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Ezek. 18:20

The spirit is the means by which we experience God. God is a spirit and to even be aware of his existence is a spiritual exercise. We cannot communicate with God outside of the spirit, and if we have a dead spirit, or no spirit, God cannot communicate with us. By the way, how could you be born with a dead spirit? A dead spirit is one that doesn’t even exist. A spirit is not physical and not a body. When the soul and spirit leave the body it is dead, but what could be separated from the spirit to make it dead? Whenever you read of the spirit in the Bible it is always associated with life. The spirit is not something that can die.

The argument is that God told Adam that “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” (Gen. 2:17) and they reason that since Adam didn’t drop dead immediately he must have died spiritually. Most people automatically accept that as a good explanation, but don’t consider the fact that there is no Scripture to back it up. Someone just dreamed up that idea one day. The Bible just doesn’t teach that Adam died spiritually. What the Bible does teach is that Adam brought sin into the world and death came with it – physical death. Every person since Adam, except One, has sinned and died, or will die – physically.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Rom. 5:12

And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died. Gen. 5:5

God said they would die and they did. So has every sinner since Adam, and those who are alive and sinning at this moment will also die. Death is a fact of life and a certainty.

More of the reasoning to defend the idea of spiritual death is found in Ephesians 2:1:

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Since the natural man cannot understand spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14) they cannot conceive any idea of death that isn’t literal, with a body lying there to prove it. “Dead” must mean DEAD, like a body lying in a casket. Obviously, they aren’t literally dead, so it MUST mean they are spiritually dead, they reason. Their spirit must be dead and that is why they are unresponsive to God. The truth is that they are SEPARATED from God because of their sin, just like Adam and Eve were. Sin SEPARATES and that is likened unto death in the Bible.

Jesus gave us a very clear example of this in the story of the prodigal son. He LEFT his father and WENT astray. It was HIS OWN doing – NOT his raising, NOT his genes, NOT anything his father or mother, or anyone else did. HE wanted his own way with no restraints or boundaries in his life. When he returned his father said two different times that his son “was DEAD, and is alive again.” (Luke 15:24, 32) Now we know the prodigal son was not literally dead, but he was separated from his father because of his sin. He was not so dead that he couldn’t “come to himself” and remembering his father’s goodness, to say, “I will arise and go to my father.” Neither was he too dead to get up and do it. There was something in him that could still be touched by the goodness of his father. It should be noticed that the father didn’t do anything to contact him while he was in the far country. He didn’t send for him, he didn’t send him a ticket home or do anything for him. What brought the son around was what he ALREADY knew about his father and his father’s house. It was what he ALREADY knew about his father’s character and all that his father had done for him in the past. It was what he ALREADY knew about how his father treated everyone else, including his hired servants.

The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly. Prov. 20:27

But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job 32:8

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him…1 Cor. 2:11

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Eccl. 12:7

Likewise, there is still something in man with which God has to work to enlighten us. That something is the spirit of man, which is not dead or non-existent. The Bible speaks of man’s spirit as if it is present in man. There are no Scriptures that teach that the spirit is dead.

You may believe this is not that important, but it is. You see, if our spirit is dead and God cannot communicate with us, then God has to literally DO something to each individual to “quicken” them before they can even realize that He exists. Now the truth is that God IS the initiator but He has done that through sending his Son to die in our place and make atonement for our sin. When Jesus said it was finished – it was finished. He will not come down and FORCE anyone to look to him. Now the Spirit of God works through the preaching of the Word of God and the testimony of his saints to cause people to consider God. If they have no spirit then all our preaching and all our godly living is in vain, as far as having any influence on them. Besides that, the Bible teaches in Romans 1, for example, that the invisible things of God can be clearly seen in his creation, so that they are without excuse. Without a spirit they would not be able to see those things at all.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Rom. 1:20

If the spirit of man is dead and God must do something to each individual to quicken them BEFORE they can begin to consider the things of God, then the Calvinistic teaching of election which says that God just picks out a few and the hates the rest, is true. There is no need for you to seek God because if you aren’t one of the elect there is no hope for you. You should just wait on God and if He DOES something to you then you’ll know, if not, then you have no hope anyway. Thanks be to God for his Word, which plainly denies such a wicked teaching:

That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. John 1:9

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. John 1:7

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: Eph. 3:9

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim. 2:4

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Titus 2:11

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Pet. 3:9

If there is anything that is clear in the Word of God it is the fact that God wants ALL men to be saved, and that He has made provision and provided the means for ALL to come to him. Sadly, not all men WILL come. They hate the light because their deeds are evil. It isn’t that their spirit is dead, and it isn’t because they do not understand and God has left them out – it is because their heart is hard because of their sin.

The idea of spiritual death fits very well into the doctrine of original sin and all its framework of wrong understandings. It is just another offspring of this doctrine that makes it easier for men to sin, and harder for them to repent and turn to God. This is the mark of EVERY tentacle that grows from this false teaching of the ancient Gnostic cults and the church in Rome – it makes sin a objective matter and removes our personal responsibility. It takes the power out of the true Gospel message and makes sinners feel sorry for themselves rather than guilty before God. Jesus never taught a single doctrine that has that effect on sinners. Neither did any of the apostles, including Paul. It is leaven that, without a doubt, was introduced by the devil himself. Mark any doctrine that has these tendencies and get rid of it. It is mud in the water and you will be amazed how God will open your eyes and you will begin to see all things clearly when you lay it aside and just believe the Word of God instead of the false teachings of men.

Next part: Why Every Person Should Know That Original Sin Isn't True

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