Platonism

I learned a new word this week, Platonism, the belief which says we’re merely spiritual beings temporarily encased in bodies. In Randy Alcorn’s Platobook Heaven, Randy states, “we are not, as Plato supposed, merely spiritual beings temporarily encased in bodies. Adam did not become a ‘living being’– the Hebrew word, nepsesh – until he was both body and spirit (Genesis 2:7). We are physical beings as much as we are spiritual beings.”

Of course reading Randy’s point of view set my mind to “chewing”. Instead of coming away with answers – I’m coming away with more questions and I’m only in chapter 2. On the flip-side, being in chapter 2 leaves me hope that by the time I get through the book, I will have answers to those questions; questions like –

What does Randy mean when he says, bodily resurrection?  Does this have any bearing on cremation?  In burial our bodies will decay for sure, but our skeleton remains. (Bone marrow can decay; the outer, more solid portion of bones often don’t, which is why bones are recovered from archaeological sites or become fossils which in some cases last for hundreds of millions of years, even though the organic component will be completely gone.)[i]

Would the potential of our very last act prevent us from being resurrected to live eternally with Christ? Surely not…

I went to the Bible, Genesis 2:7, “the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostril the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Some commentators interpret breath of life to mean literally God’s spirit, bringing man into a living soul. Of course, then I go down the whole dialogue of what makes up a person’s soul. Many equate this verse to say, lifeless body + breath of life = living soul; meaning….  dust created man became a living soul. The soul is not part of man, it is man. This would imply a man’s soul equals body and spirit – spirit could be separated from the soul ofSoul-vs-spirit the man.  Many believe soul and spirit equal the same thing and would line up more along the lines of Plato’s thinking; man being spirit occupying an empty shell.

Hebrews 4:12 would imply soul and spirit are 2 different things, “for the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

James 2:26, “as the body without the spirit is dead… ”In Ecclesiastes 12:7, “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” Which leads me to my next question; “is spirit different than soul”?  Could Plato have a clearer understanding than Randy Alcorn?  Questions, questions, questions; good thing I love to solve puzzles.  Bible study, for me, is like a big jigsaw puzzle.  Each gem of truth, of understanding becomes another treasured piece to the puzzle; closer to seeing and understanding the big picture. This may be a puzzle I cannot completely solve this side of heaven; but I’m tenacious in my endeavor 🙂

Food for thought: Paul in his letter to Philemon closes the letter with, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” Timothy signed off his letter with, “The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.” And the apostle Paul signed off his letter to the Philippians, in much the same way, “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Until next time,
Sandra

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Author: Sandra

I became a writer in my later years. I love blogging and sharing life with others. I speak to women's groups about the Christian life.

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