The origin of the doctrine of spiritual death

written by Tony

Firstly, the purpose of this series the myth of spiritual death and original sin  is to look at life, death and resurrection from what I believe was the original Judeo/1st century Christian perspective.

Secondly, my hope is to expose Christian Gnostic doctrines that started to infiltrate the Church around the fourth century, that laid the foundation for the theological system we know as Calvinism.
I believe Calvinism is a serious distortion of the Gospel and a direct attack on the very nature and person of God.
My intention is not to villainise those that support and spread Calvinism, but simply to expose these doctrines and how they distort biblical truths and end up misrepresenting God and the Gospel.
This is the second post in this series.


The traditions of men

The more I continue to read and study the inspired writings of those who contributed to the Bible, the more I started to reject many of the doctrines I once believed to be Biblical truth.
My feelings on these issues have become stronger and run much deeper and convicting than ever before.
To my mind, Calvinism is a direct attack on the very nature and person of God and dismantling the doctrines of calvinism will be the main focus of this series.

I encourage you, the reader to think carefully about what I share in this series.
What I have written, exposes what now appears to me, to be glaring inconsistencies between what some men teach and what the scriptures actually say.


What is Biblical death ?

This series started years ago for me with a question…

Why didn’t Adam and Eve die on the day they sinned, just as God told them they would?
I’m sure I’m not the first Christian to ask this question.

Outside of using metaphors and parables, the Bible defines death as the disembodied state of the soul.
Once Adams body ceased to function it decomposed, returning to the earth from which it was formed.
At the same time Adams soul descended into sheol or hades awaiting resurrection.
Once physical death entered the human experience through Adam’s sin, death ruled over mankind because man has no access to the tree of life which would provide eternal life.

My journey 

This series is the result of many years of struggle for me to reconcile what the scriptures clearly teach and what I had been taught in church.
When I eventually found my answer and I was set free from many man-made doctrines that I now feel oppose what the Bible clearly teaches.

My journey started here in Genesis 2, as clearly Genesis records that Adam did not die in the day they sinned but continued to live for hundreds of years before he died. So I saw a contradiction between what God said to Adam and what was recorded in the text.


Was spiritual death my ultimate solution?

Eventually I was introduced to the doctrine of spiritual death as the answer to my dilemma and at first I was satisfied with the idea that Adam and Eve died  spiritually. That was until began to study where this doctrine originated and what it truly proposes. After careful study of calvinism I rejected this doctrine along with calvinism as a legitimate representation of God and the Gospel as revealed in the Bible.

The doctrine of Spiritual death

The doctrine of spiritual death teaches that God did not mean that Adam and Eve would die physically in the day they sinned, but rather they would die a mystical spiritual death. This spiritual death is not mentioned anywhere in the text.


Putting the cart before the horse

The very popular self proclaimed moderately calvinistic internet resource Got Questions  explains the calvinist doctrine of spiritual death and the reason why regeneration or salvation, also known as being born again must precede faith.

Death is separation. A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will “surely die.” Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God must have had another type of death in mind—spiritual death. This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.

I find it interesting that the calvinist considers spiritual death more important than physical death yet not many calvinists would support the idea that Yeshua died a spiritual as well as physical death on the cross, something that would be necessary if spiritual death was true.
Other points I would like to point out is…

  1. The primary focus in Genesis 4 is not on some mystical spiritual death but  on physical death the calvinist is clearly in direct opposition with the actual text of Genesis.
  2. Secondly if spiritual death is so critically important, why is it never mentioned in the Bible as the two words never appear together in any sentence of scripture ?

Regeneration before salvation

Got Questions continues…

For the consistent calvinist being saved must happen before man can exercise faith.

For the Calvinist, Ephesians 2:1 is key: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” Without Christ, people are spiritually dead. Dead people cannot do anything. A spiritually dead person can no more do anything to remedy that situation than a physically dead person can climb out of a grave. Therefore, God must regenerate people, making them spiritually alive, before they can trust in Christ as Savior (John 3:8).

Again, for the Calvinist, Ephesians 2:1 is the deciding factor. It is impossible to draw, unblind, soften, or open the minds of dead people. God must make people alive, regenerate them, before they can believe.

 

I  reject the doctrine of spiritual death for many reasons but the idea that salvation precedes faith should set off raise alarm bells in anybody’s head unless you have already been indoctrinated.

Calvinism redefines the Gospel

12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
Colossians 2:12

Calvinism is not true Biblical Christianity.
Paul taught we are raised through faith, not raised before faith.

Calvinist theology teaches that believing faith does not lead one to being born again (raised) and that only those who are regenerated first (saved) will receive the gift of faith.

Calvinist focus on spiritual death, where as Paul is being very specific when he talks about about us being raised up and his focus is always on a bodily resurrection, here and here.
So Paul majors on being raised up as living in a newness of life, namely having a hope in a bodily resurrection where as the calvinist focus is fixed on a mystical spiritual resurrection.

Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in newness of life.
Romans 6:4

I would ask how many different kinds of being raised up is there in the Christian faith?


Dead people cannot do anything

The calvinist insists that it is impossible for spiritually dead man to respond to the call of God, yet the New Testament is filled with appeals to the will both to the saved and unsaved alike.

In one instance Paul spent three sabbaths  trying to persuade his fellow Jews to receive salvation, by appealing to their wills.
If irresistible grace, another cornerstone doctrine of Calvinism were true this would be a senseless wasted act from Paul. Logicly all who were predestined to salvation would have surrendered to the irresistible grace being placed on them and no matter how hard Paul preached those who were not predestined would never respond.  But Paul was patient and some were eventually saved after much work. Pauls efforts would never work on dead ears but would work instantly on those who would find the good news irresistible.

Even more telling is that Yeshua Himself spoke in parables so that those who habitually hardened their hearts to Him would never come to an understanding of  what He was teaching and come to their senses and repent. Their time for repentance had passed.
If spiritual death was true then Yeshua’s words could never have woken those not predestined for salvation…
But Yeshua said “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted
Yeshua spoke in parables because…

15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their heart, and return,
And I would heal them.’

Yeshua would not have had to speak in parables in order to hide the meaning of His Teaching as spiritually dead people cannot hear, understand and respond anyway.

Calvinism is not consistent with what is clearly revealed through scripture.


The origins of the gnostic doctrine of spiritual death 

The doctrine of spiritual death can be traced back to the heavily gnostic influenced teacher and Christian apologist, Augustine.
It is important to note that Augustine could not read Hebrew but even worse, did not have a great grasp of Greek. Augustine wrote in his Confessions that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students. As a result, Augustine rebelled by vowing never to learn Greek. Even though later Augustine did pick up a greek word or two here and there He primarily used Jerome’s Latin Vulgate.
For a man given such a heavyweight of authority, he was very light on biblical scholarship.

Dr Ken Wilson is one of the world’s most foremost scholars on the works of Augustine. In the video below Wilson provides great insights into Augustine’s mindset and methodology.

This appears to be the case with Augustine who it appears had no trouble reverting back to his Gnosticism in order to win a public debate.

So Augustine invented the doctrine of spiritual death so he could defeat pelagius on the issue of free will and created a gnostic system that attacks the very nature and person of God.
Augustine’s system was adopted by John Calvin and was made very popular throughout the 1600s into the 1800s.


Calvinism

John Calvin, was the most influential of all of the reformation teachers and was heavily influenced by the teachings of Augustine. Calvin cemented the idea of the doctrine of spiritual death and original sin into what would become known as the reformed or protestant Church.

By the end of this series, I believe I will have clearly built a solid biblical case for rejecting the doctrine of spiritual death along with its evil sibling, the doctrine of original sin. These doctrines are imposters, grounded in gnostic mysticism.

 

How many times did Yeshua die?

I will leave you with this…

According to those who follow the reformed tradition, being made alive is a spiritual rebirth from spiritual death, a state that all mankind is born in.
I do have a few questions…

  1. How can one die spiritually unless one was alive spiritually in the first place?
  2. How many times or types of death did Yeshua die?
  3. Did Yeshua die spiritually on the cross to redeem us from spiritual death?
    After all if we were born spiritually dead because of sin, then Yeshua would have to die for us spiritually in order for us to be redeemed. Sin of any kind requires a suitable death sacrifice.

Paul wrote…

8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10For the death that He died, He died to sinonce for all time; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11So you too, consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6 NASB

According to Paul Yeshua died once not twice.


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