The Condition of the Dead
In order to understand the condition of the dead, we should first consider the condition of the living. The human being is a composite of various component parts: a body, a mind, a personality, and the indwelling divine spirit of the Father.
The body was formed from the elements of the earth and is actuated by the breath of life, just as are the animals. We learn in Genesis:
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.”
– Genesis 2:7
Our brain is a part of our body. It itself does not think; it is simply an organ – like our liver, heart, and lungs are organs. The function of the brain is to collect, sort and store data. It is different from the mind.
The mind remains an unexplained phenomena that reacts to the external and internal stimuli received and processed by the brain. It is the thinking part of man that experiences consciousness – the ability to know and be known. The mind accesses the data stored in the brain and has the ability to reason, learn and profit from experiences; thus, the mind has creative potential.
Animals have limited mind function; they cannot experience the higher aspects of mind, such as the capacity for spirit receptivity, and the ability to worship.
Yet these people slander whatever they do not understand, and the very things they do understand by instinct— as irrational animals do —will destroy them.”
– Jude 1:10
The personality is a unique gift from the Father. No two personalities are exactly alike. In the resurrection, when we are raised in a new body, it is our personality that survives and that identifies us. Whereas mind can recognize another person, personality determines how to relate to and communicate with that person. Personality is endowed with morality and is the part of man that makes the decisions as to how to respond to moral opportunities and dilemmas:
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.”
– Romans 6:5-6
A good example of the difference between mind and personality is when two people observe the same event, but come away with two different interpretations of what happened. Both minds see the event and process the data surrounding the event. But the divergent personalities characterize and color the meaning of the event and determine how to relate to it.
Personality is the part of us with the ability to choose to do or not do the divine will.
“Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.”
– Colossians 3:9-10
”That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
– Ephesians 4:20-24
And finally, the human is endowed with the indwelling spirit fragment of the Father.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
– 1 Corinthians 3:16
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.”
– 1 Corinthians 6:19
This is the actual presence of the Father that indwells our minds. It is the “force actuating our minds.” Our personality is developed through the united function of the mind and this indwelling spirit of the Father.
Having identified the parts that make up the living human being, we can determine the condition of the human being when he dies.
The body is part of the earth, so at death it returns to the earth; it does not go to heaven:
“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
– Genesis 3:19
The mind, the seat of consciousness, ceases to function at death:
“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.”
– Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
The indwelling spirit leaves the dead body and returns to the Father:
“When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.”
– Psalms 146:4
“And the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
– Ecclesiastes 12:7
That leaves only the personality, the identity of the person. We learn that the personality is recorded in God’s Scroll of Remembrance, the Book of Life. (Malachi 3:16; Revelation 20:15)
These facts conclusively show that at death there is no tormenting nor any hellfire for those who are disapproved. Tormenting requires a body to sense pain, a consciousness to be aware of the punishment, an a personality that can understand why it is being tortured. Further, eternal torment requires the person be gifted with everlasting life. But we know that everlasting life is a gift from God to those exercising faith in Jesus Christ. No, the penalty for failure to exercise faith and choosing to do the Father’s will is personality extinction, non-existence, nothing more:
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
– Romans 6:23
And from the information in Part 2, we know that God is loving, even the personification of love and therefore could have no part in tormenting his children. If we read scriptures that seem to indicate that the Father would engage in such unimaginable conduct, the reader must consider the context. Is it an illustration, a parable? Is it a tool used to explain matters to the Jewish mind? Or could it result from a failure to properly understand the words in the scripture? This type of examination will clear up the matter and uphold the Father’s love and mercy.