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    July 6, 1903

    “The Immortality of the Soul” Australasian Signs of the Times, 18, 27 pp. 319, 320.

    ATJ

    BY A. T. JONES

    The doctrine of the natural immorality of the soul is one of the oldest and one of the most widespread doctrines that have ever been in this world. It was preached in the world before ever faith in Christ the Saviour was preached. “The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not sure die:” and from that day to this that doctrine has been believed more generally by the children of men than has the truth of God. Indeed, in our day the doctrine of the immorality of the soul has gained such favour among even those who profess the word of God as their standard of belief, that to deny it is considered by the majority of them as equivalent to a denial of the Bible itself. But, instead of such denial being in any way a denial of the truth of revelation, the fact is that the truth of revelation can be logically and consistently held only by the total and unequivocal denial of the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul. This, the Scriptures plainly show.BEST July 6, 1903, page 319.1

    THE RESURRECTION

    There is no truth more plainly taught nor more diligently insisted upon in the Bible than this: That the future existence of men depends absolutely upon either a resurrection of the dead or a translation without seeing death at all. Paul’s hope for future existence was in the resurrection of the dead. In speaking of his efforts to “win Christ,” he says: “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death: if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:10, 11. It was of “the hope and resurrection of the dead” that he was called in question by the council (Acts 23:6); and when he had afterward to make his defence before Felix, he declared that the resurrection of the dead was the end of his hope, saying: “And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead both of the just and unjust.” Acts 24:15. Time and again Paul thus expresses his hope of future life.BEST July 6, 1903, page 319.2

    BIBLE TESTIMONY

    Nor is Paul the only one of the writers of the Bible who teaches the same thing. The resurrection of the dead is that to which Job looked for the consummation of his hope. Job 14:14, 15; 17:13-15; 19:23-27. David says: “Thou which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken [give life to] me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:20. And, “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.” Psalm 17:15. And what shall we more say? For the time would fail us to tell of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Daniel, and Hosea, and Micah, and all the prophets and apostles, and of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for Jesus Himself declared that it was the resurrection of the dead of which God spake when He said, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” More than this, Jesus pointed His disciples always to the resurrection of the dead, through which alone they could obtain the reward which He promised. In John 6:39-54 we find that no less than four times the Saviour, in giving promise to those who believe in Him, sets it forth as the consummation of that belief that “I will raise him up at the last day.” And in Luke 14:13, 14 we read: “When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and ... thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”BEST July 6, 1903, page 319.3

    A LOGICAL ARGUMENT

    Paul, however, gives us, upon this subject, a straightforward, logical argument, which leaves the doctrine of the immortality of the soul not a particle of ground to rest upon. The fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted entirely to an argument in proof of the resurrection of the dead. The apostle first proves, by hundreds of living witnesses who had seen Him after He was risen, that Christ arose from the dead. Still there were some who said, “There is no resurrection of the dead,” and in refutation of that idea, he introduces three points of argument, any one of which utterly excludes the doctrine of the immortality of the soul from any place whatever in Christian doctrine.BEST July 6, 1903, page 320.1

    In verse 16, his premise is, “If the dead rise not.” The first conclusion from that is, “Then is not Christ raised;” then upon this conclusion follows the logical sequence. “Your faith in vain,” and upon that another, “Ye are yet in your sins.” From his premise,—”If the dead rise not,—the second conclusion is, verse 18. “Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Nothing can be plainer than that this statement and the doctrine of the immortality of the soul cannot both be true. For if the soul be immortal, as is held, it cannot perish, and, therefore, so far as its existence is concerned, it is utterly independent of the resurrection of the dead. Is it not supposed by all those who believe the soul to be immortal that all who have passed from this world in the faith of Christ, have gone to heaven, and are now enjoying its bliss?—Assuredly it is. Then, if that be the truth, upon what imaginable principle can it be conceived that they “are perished,” if there be no resurrection? What need have they of a resurrection? Have they not, without a resurrection, all that heaven can afford?—Upon that theory they certainly have. Then it just as certainly appears that not one of them has perished, even though there never be a resurrection.BEST July 6, 1903, page 320.2

    Over against this theory stands the word of God, that “if the dead rise not, then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” That word is the truth. Therefore it follows that if there be no resurrection of the dead, there is no hereafter for any who have ever died, or who shall ever die.BEST July 6, 1903, page 320.3

    But God has given assurance to all men that there shall be a hereafter, and that assurance lies in the fact “that He hath raised Him [Christ] from the dead.” Hebrews 9:27; Acts 17:31. The resurrection of Christ is the God-given pledge that there shall be a resurrection of all the dead: “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive,” and, “There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.” Therefore it is by virtue of the resurrection of the dead, and not by the immortality of the soul, that there will be any hereafter for the dead, whether just or unjust.BEST July 6, 1903, page 320.4

    (To be continued.)

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