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Dear Mr Mansfield,

Thanks for marking the lessons and the booklet, "Why Man is Mortal". And the invitation
“…to write to us…all correspondence welcome”. I agree the body is mortal, but the booklet overlooks Scripture that says man consists of body [soma], soul [psuche] and spirit [pneuma] [ie. 1 Thes.5;23 Lk.1.46-47]. And the immaterial part of man consisting of two separate elements, soul & spirit [Heb.4.12]. The body has sense-consciousness, the soul the self-consciousness, and the spirit God-consciousness.

Man’s body has 5 senses, but his soul is not the same as the beasts. Gen.1:20 "Let the water teem with living creatures…” [See also Job 12;10]. “Let the earth bring forth”. Different language is used when man is introduced, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness …. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him…”. Only fallen man in his darkened mind confuses the two creations. These souls are absolutely different in kind, character and destiny. One ends in the earth from where it came, the other lives on parallel with His existence whose inbreathing produced it. You wrote –

>>You are making good progress as your answers show, but, before we go on to Lesson No.6, we ask you to give special attention to those answers in Lesson No.5 where you have mentioned your belief in the immortality of the soul and heaven-going at death<<

You promised the Bible course would “…set you on the path to true happiness [your letter 20 Oct.98]. But now say the reality is, death isextremely depressing” [your letter, no date]. Agreed, who hopes for extinction? Certainly, an encouragement to all the Hitler’s in this world, but not me. Thankfully the Bible promises heaven going at death’ is a reality for God’s children Mtt.5:12 19-20. 19:23 Phil.3:20 Col.3:1-5 [Note Eph.3:15 refers to some in heaven now]. These verses are particularly comforting -

Phil.1:23 "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far." Luke 23:43 "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Jesus promised the penitent that very day he would be in paradise. Nothing “
depressing” about that. Paul was caught-up into this place of glory [1 Cor.12.2-4]. The Jews regarded “Abraham’s bosom” is paradise. The same place Lazarus was taken at his death [Lk.16.19ff]. You write –

>>The clear teaching of the Bible is that man is wholly mortal, he possesses no immortal soul, or life spark in himself and at death simply ceases to exist. The words "immortal soul" are never found in Scripture together<<
.
Why would Jesus say, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul” ? [Mt.10:28]. Here we find that the body and the soul are distinct principles, for the body may be slain and the soul escape. And secondly, the soul is immaterial, for the murderers of the body are not able, that is, not in their power, to injure it. If these words of Jesus do not prove the soul’s immortality, English cannot express it. Does Christ contradict the Father ?

"For every living soul belongs to me, the father as well as the son--both alike belong to me. The soul who sins is the one who will die". Ezek.18:4

No. God is not saying the soul becomes extinct at death. It’s the person who sins is the one who will die for their sin. That is the purpose for using the phrase. Read vs.1-20, note Ezek.18:20. I will be very surprised if you can’t understand the meaning from a proper context. You write,


>>The word 'soul' in Hebrew and Greek means 'a living, breathing creature' and applies to both man and beast.<<

Yes, but according to the Bible it also applies to the immaterial, invisible part of man [Mt.10.28 Acts 2.27 – 1 Kg.17.21] and the disembodied [or unclothed, naked 2 Cor.5.3-4] man, Rev.6.9 [See W.E Vine’s dic]. And Strong writes, "The (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life." The soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)."

(Strong, J. The exhaustive concordance of the Bible. (electronic ed. 1996) (G5590). And also -
"5590 ψυχή psuchē, psoo-khay’; from (5594 ψύχω psuchō, psoo´-kho;)
breath, i.e. (by impl.) spirit, abstr. or concr. the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from (4151 πνευ̂μα pnĕuma, pnyoo´-mah)
pneuma, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from (2222 ζωή zōē, dzo-ay´) which is mere vitality, even of plants". (The New Strong's Dic. of Hebrew & Greek Words. Thomas Nelson 1996)

The booklet quotes Parkhurst’s dictionary [1728-1797] and disregards today’s scholars. This ancient book is not used today, for 3 reasons. [1] Many discoveries since have provided a far better understanding of Bible words. [2] Parkhurst didn’t realize the NT was written in the Koine not the Attic Greek. [3] It's out of print. Yet your booklet does not quote correctly [See pneuma, A Greek and English Lexicon to the NT’ 3rd Edn. 1826 Rev. John Parkhurst]. You write,

>>The Psalmist expressed that in Psalm 49:20, that man who does not understand (the true gospel) "is like the beasts that perish."<<

Those who don’t understand’, their life is wasted like the beast’. But surely those who do are NOTlike beasts that perish’. You seem to ignore my pervious comments [Why ?], that the word “perish” [apolonto] does not mean extinction. With ‘apollumi’ – destroy, the idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being. Note its use – the marring of the wine skins Lk.5.37, of lost sheep Lk.15.43,6 lost son 15.24, perishing food Jn.6.27. Check Bible words. Whether, katageo, kath-ah’ee-res-is, kathaireo, luo, kataluo, olothreuo etc, they never mean extinction. The Greeks [NT language] didn’t believe such a condition for man. You write –

>>Men and beasts share the mortality of their nature, though in fact, man is created mentally and morally on a far higher principle than the beasts (Gen. 1:26, 27).. Apart from a bodily resurrection, where man is recreated from the dust and given the breath of life (Gen2;7), he has no hope in death (Ecc 9:5,6;Job 10:21,22;19:25,26)<<

I looked up these verses. You seem unaware that Ecclesiastes portrays Solomon’s apostasy so is questionable for determining doctrine. It sketches life “under the sun” and reveals the hopelessness and emptiness of the soul apart from God. Did you not know this ?

Whether death, labour, wisdom, instruction, etc., it views things from a natural standpoint “All is vanity”. However, note your verses refer to the body. Read where Solomon refers to man’s spirit which survives death – “God’s ways are as mysterious as the pathway of the wind, and as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of baby while it is yet in it’s mother's womb” [“so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things” NIV]. [Ecc.11:5] “…and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”. [Ecc12.7] And also read Job 4:11,16 7:11 10:12 32:8 compare - Jas.2.26. The Atheist also thinks man is only an animal. But the Bible teaches man is created with a spirit.

"The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him…" Zec 12:1

Man’s spirit is “like the wind is invisible and immaterial” [W.E.Vine Dic]. It’s the most important part, by which man perceives, reflects, feels & desires.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.[1 Cor.2.11].

Would you say God can’t exist [or think] without a body? Are “
thoughts” impossible without a body ? Consider the angels and God, they have “thoughts” yet are spirit [Heb.1.14]. Open your eyes to spiritual things, and fix your “..eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. Man’s “likeness” to this Creator is mental, moral & spiritual. So instead of being essentially like the lower animals, man is essentially different. Animals don’t know God, love, reason, speech, moral judgment, accountability or humour. Nor conscience-reflection, imagination, nor do they have power to preserve thoughts with the same recollection. And, no appreciation of beauty, design, order and complex mathematical laws of nature and universe. The Bible refers to “the spirits of the departed” [Isa.14.9-10NIV]. It reveals death is not the end [ie Samuel’s appearance to Saul 1 Sam.28.18-19, see also Ez.32.21-27. Lk.16.22-23, Mk.17.2-3, 2 Cor.5.8, Phil.1.23. Heb.12.23 Rev.6.9-11. 7.9-17. The booklet is wrong saying, “Never does the Bible suggest that a person continues to live after the death of the body” [pg1]. Christ suggested the opposite [Mt.10.28] speaking of the dead as alive to God -

I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob' ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." Mt.22:32.

So “heaven-going at death” doesn’t sound like
fableorimaginationat all. You write

>>…the desperate need of man for redemption from death by identifying with Christ…<<

The BIBLE teaches man’sdesperate need is not redemption from death” but redemption from sin [Jn.1.29 16.8-9 Mk.9.42-47 Mt.18.8-9 Rom.3.9, 5.12,16 6.2]. That’s what the gospel is all about. Christ came to free us from sin. It is sin that separates man from God. And there are millions of people who think their religion identifies [them] with Christ”, yet they are far from Him. You write –

>>We ask you to look into those principles mentioned more closely as they form the very basis of all true Bible teaching without which the lessons which are entirely based on the Scriptures cannot be properly understood<<

You say they form the very basis of all true Bible teaching”. The Bible and the lessons don’t seem to say this. I think I understand the lessons and are answering the interesting questions. They are saying when I die I become extinct and I’m not going to heaven. But I’m not sure about that because there is life after death. In fact we were dead, before we were conceived or born. I look forward to the next lessons, and thanks again for help and marking the lessons.

Regards,
Mark Purchase



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