FEEDBACK: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE TERM “SPIRITUALLY DEAD”?
We appreciate feedback on the studies posted on this website. It helps us to see if there is anything on this website that does not agree with the Bible.
Below IS A QUESTION ABOUT THE TERM “SPIRITUALLY DEAD”
THE READER’S QUESTION IS IN ITALICS. OUR RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
On your website, you say that we can't use the term 'spiritually dead,' because the Bible doesn't use it. However, in I John 5:12, and other verses, what else could God be speaking about?
He says that if we have the Son, we have life, and if we have not the Son, we don't have life. But other verses teach that even the believer's body is still dead in sins (Romans 8:10), so at the moment of salvation, we become spiritually alive, but we're dead in our body.
If a person is just 'dead' in sins, and God doesn't differentiate between being dead in body and soul, then why doesn't a person become fully alive in Christ, and not just in his soul?
There are several problems with the term "spiritually dead". One problem is that most people use it in a vague way without defining what it means.
A big problem is that it is a misleading term. The term "spiritually dead" implies that the spirit of unsaved man is dead, but his body is not dead. This is incorrect because the Bible teaches that both the spirit and body of unsaved man is dead (Romans 8:10, 1 Corinthians 15:29).
If people were to say that unsaved man is spiritually and physically dead, then that would be accurate to the Bible and not misleading.
People use the term "spiritually dead" to make contrast to a body that they believe is not dead. So, people think that unsaved man is "spiritually dead but physically alive". That is because we have mistaken the corpse for death. The corpse is actually a body sleeping in the dust. Death is the opposite of life and God is life (John 11:25, 14:6). So, the term "spiritually dead", which does not come from the Bible, immediately gets people going down a wrong understanding of what death and life are for mankind according to the Bible.
The Bible teaches that before salvation, man's spirit is dead and his body is dead also. Upon salvation, his spirit is made alive; it passes from death unto life (Psalm 80:18, John 5:24, 1 John 3:14, etc.). That is because God comes to indwell and energize his spirit (Romans 8:9, Philippians 2:12-13). God is life.
His body is still dead (Romans 8:10, 1 Corinthians 15:29). That is because God does not indwell his body (Romans 7:18). It is clear and correct to use this language to describe life and death for mankind.
Other People think of "spiritually dead" as some other kind of death. But, in their minds, they think of the corpse as really being dead. That is why some people say "when you're dead you're dead." They are focused upon the corpse. But, the corpse is a body sleeping in the dust. Death has to do with man's relationship to God, who is life. Death is separation from God who is life. God focuses on what is important; man's relationship to God. Man focuses upon what he can see; a corpse.
Then they use the term "physically dead" implying that now the body is dead. However, that does not agree with the Bible that says that the body is already dead.
A more clear statement to say is that upon salvation our spirit is made alive, but our body is still dead. God does teach that after salvation our body is still dead in Romans 8:10 and 1 Corinthians 15:29. Thus, we can know that when we are made alive and have passed from death unto life, like the Bible teaches, this refers to our spirit-essence.
There is more information on this subject in the studies at the links below:
You also asked why is it that only our spirit is made alive upon salvation and our body is left in it's dead condition. The answer would have to be that this is just how God has worked out His salvation plan. The believers' bodies remain dead, separated from God, until the Rapture. We just have to say that this is so because this is God's plan.
Thank you for the question.