THESES FOR THE RE-FORMATION #11
Thesis#11 of 95: When Paul speaks of non-Christians being "dead" he is not referring to damnation but to the disruption of the incarnate soul's communion with the Source of its spiritual life
Eph2:1-2: “And you were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the pattern of this world”
Rom7:24: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? [Greek: ἐκ τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου]
Col3:2-5 Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth.For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.Therefore, treat the parts of your earthly body as dead to sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which is effectively idolatry
Jn6:53: “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves
Regarding what Paul actually means by death in the context of the gospel, in Romans 7 he describes the temporary vessel our souls inhabit as “the body of this death”. Regrettably, “Somatos tou thanatou toutou” is often inadequately translated, for example in the New Jerusalem Bible utilized by Catholics where it is “the body doomed to death”. That is not what the Greek relays and entirely misses the point. The apostle is not referring to the human body’s fate but its current condition that he had outlined in the previous verses. Hence his reference to the body of this death, as the KJV, NASB and Greek literal translation among others rightly relay “τοῦ σώματος τοῦ θανάτου τούτου” . The effect of that condition is summarized in his earlier statement: “Whilst I joyfully agree with the law of God in the inner man, I am aware of a different law in my bodily members waging war against the law of my mind, making me a prisoner of the law of sin, the law which is in my bodily members” (vv22-24). For Paul is affirming that it is the degenerative procreated intellectual vessel that leads the divinely planted soul into death (i.e. disruption in divine communion). Such deprivation is what the apostle means by “this death”. It is not damnation or total depravity, which would pertain to the soul or whole person. The mortal body is indeed “doomed to die”; an obvious fact but not the point Paul was making; for that issue can and will be resolved at resurrection. The body of this death on the other hand requires a more immediate remedy for those chosen to relate to God whilst still in it – so that their soul may be fashioned for a still greater destiny.
That remedy is participation with Christ – but note from the Col3 reference Paul states “For you (Christians) have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. The Christian is (or should be) “dead” in terms of his worldly allegiances and aspirations, just as he was previously dead to things pertaining to the Spirit, the gospel and the world to come. That is the sense in which Paul utilizes the term “death” (and Jesus “life” – Jn6:53) in the context of the gospel, and the next few theses will elaborate further.