SOUL SLEEP- Introduction
Death and dying, what happens to Christians when they die? Some teach a concept called soul sleep, but doesn’t the Bible teach us that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord?”
SOUL SLEEP- Intermediate State
While the Bible has little to say about the intermediate state, or the state of existence between physical death and our resurrection, the New Testament does indicate that a disembodied conscious existence awaits everyone — and then the resurrection either to eternal life, or to eternal damnation.
SOUL SLEEP- The Union of Material and Immaterial
Man’s natural state of existence on earth is clearly a union of his immaterial nature or soul, with his material nature or body. So while the Bible describes man as a psychosomatic unity, this doesn’t imply that the body is absolutely essential to self-expression. The concept of man’s conscious existence after death was without a doubt envisioned by Jesus in His story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. And don’t forget his promise to the dying thief in which he said, “This day you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).” Well, there are numerous other passages which could be cited which clearly indicate conscious existence following death (Matt. 10:28; Acts 7:59; Rev. 6:9; 20:9).
SOUL SLEEP- The Teachings of Paul
However, the strongest passages are found in the writings of the Apostle Paul. In Philippians 1:23, Paul says I’m torn between my desire to remain on earth in my body and my desire “to depart and be with Christ.” This passage clearly teaches that Christians are immediately with Christ after death. Now, needless to say, soul sleep could not possibly have been more appealing to the Apostle Paul. If you doubt this, read his comments in 2 Corinthians 5. Here again he said he “would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” For Paul, death is the preference, because he knows he will be at home with Christ. You may wish to take a moment to read 2 Cor. 5 for here you have Paul’s stunning description of what the new resurrected body will be like. Truly, the hope of the believer does not involve soul sleep, but to be present with Christ. On soul sleep and the intermediate state, that’s the CRI Perspective. I’m Hank Hanegraaff.