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Thread: Spiritual Death in Judaism

  1. #1
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    Spiritual Death in Judaism

    I tried to find how Judaism looks at Spiritual Death and couldn't find anything, it seems to be a solely Christian doctrine?

    If so, the ancient Jews held the position - the reason we die is because we are sinners, no further strings attached just read Genesis at face value. Genesis is the revelation of the ONE God in the middle of a saturated world of polytheism answering the big questions, among that the question - why do we die? [A] because we are sinners. Moses wanted to see God's glory and His answer was - And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Hence God withdraw from His creation.

    Spiritual Death is not mentioned in Scripture, it's a doctrine derived from Scripture passages and it strikes me as odd Judaism missed it. And so I like to play the role (for a while) that Spiritual Death is not a sound doctrine (against better knowing) for the sake of a good discussion.

    Gen 2:17 - but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

    They ate and died.

    Death = Death.

    Now shoot!


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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Interesting topic. If you want to know why the ancient Jews didn't understand spiritual death you should limit your research to what they had available. They did not have the NT available.

    And depending on how ancient you are thinking, much of the OT wasn't available either. So given what they had should they have reason to consider it?
    "He's wild, you know. Not like a tame lion."
    C.S. Lewis, "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe."

    "Oh, but sometimes the sun stays hidden for years"
    "Sometimes the sky rains night after night, When will it clear?"

    "But our Hope endures the worst of conditions"
    "It's more than our optimism, Let the earth quake"
    "Our Hope is unchanged"
    "Our Hope Endures" Natalie Grant

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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by ProDeo View Post
    I tried to find how Judaism looks at Spiritual Death and couldn't find anything, it seems to be a solely Christian doctrine?

    If so, the ancient Jews held the position - the reason we die is because we are sinners, no further strings attached just read Genesis at face value. Genesis is the revelation of the ONE God in the middle of a saturated world of polytheism answering the big questions, among that the question - why do we die? [A] because we are sinners. Moses wanted to see God's glory and His answer was - And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Hence God withdraw from His creation.

    Spiritual Death is not mentioned in Scripture, it's a doctrine derived from Scripture passages and it strikes me as odd Judaism missed it. And so I like to play the role (for a while) that Spiritual Death is not a sound doctrine (against better knowing) for the sake of a good discussion.

    Gen 2:17 - but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

    They ate and died.

    Death = Death.

    Now shoot!

    IMO some folks use faulty reasoning at times, or maybe it's me that does instead, who knows. Such as, since Adam didn't drop dead right then, spiritual death was the result of eating from that tree. Using that same logic, let's say there is a bottle of poison, and if you drink it you will die, but that it's slow acting poison, and that you don't die until a much later time. Would anyone think that equates to spiritual death then since you don't die right away? But if one said, in the day you drink that poison, you will surely die, don't they then? Doesn't have to mean they have to literally die that same day, but because of that day when they initially drank the poison, they therefore will die.

  4. #4

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Judaism has what some label spiritual death, it's represented in concepts like covenant relationship and veil in the temple.

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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Wouldn't the sacrifice being offered provide for spiritual life? So why would you offer a sacrifice except to change from spiritual death to life?
    Mark


    “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it." Matthew 7:13-14

    (All Scripture quoted is from NKJV unless otherwise noted)

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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by ProDeo View Post
    I tried to find how Judaism looks at Spiritual Death and couldn't find anything, it seems to be a solely Christian doctrine?

    If so, the ancient Jews held the position - the reason we die is because we are sinners, no further strings attached just read Genesis at face value. Genesis is the revelation of the ONE God in the middle of a saturated world of polytheism answering the big questions, among that the question - why do we die? [A] because we are sinners. Moses wanted to see God's glory and His answer was - And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. Hence God withdraw from His creation.

    Spiritual Death is not mentioned in Scripture, it's a doctrine derived from Scripture passages and it strikes me as odd Judaism missed it. And so I like to play the role (for a while) that Spiritual Death is not a sound doctrine (against better knowing) for the sake of a good discussion.

    Gen 2:17 - but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.

    They ate and died.

    Death = Death.

    Now shoot!

    I would argue that Adam didn't have a spiritual death in the day he ate the fruit. It was a literal one. The big difference being God's definition of a day.

    Jubilees 4:29 And at the close of the nineteenth jubilee, in the seventh week in the sixth year [930 A.M.] thereof, Adam died, and all his sons buried him in the land of his creation, and he was the first to be buried in the earth.
    30 And he lacked seventy years of one thousand years; for one thousand years are as one day in the testimony of the heavens and therefore was it written concerning the tree of knowledge: 'On the day that ye eat thereof ye shall die.' For this reason he did not complete the years of this day; for he died during it.

    Jubilees is no longer considered scripture, although Paul quoted from it as well as most of the ECFs. If that source doesn't suit you, the same topic is mention by Peter.

    2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    Not to go off topic, but this is incredibly important. We can be certain of the Millennial reign of Jesus by using the OT only. The Day of the Lord is the Millennium. The Last Day is the Millennium.

  7. #7

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    The biggest problem with "spiritual death" discussions is the lack of definition and clarity, because of no scripture, so I'll give my -entirely backed by scripture.

    Adam had relationship with God. With sacrifice, Adam's descendants had relationship with God but it was different. Anyone call that "spiritual death"?
    This continued. God working towards restoring the garden relationship makes Israel and gives the law, showing that man in this best case scenario is behind the veil of the temple.
    Man in his best scenario is behind animal sacrifice and is "not in His presence" without sin. He's still able to have relationship with God, but not like it was originally.

    This is not what we label "spiritual death". Yet, many say "spiritual death" is something all men suffer, even though the above didn't.
    Should we consider the above "spiritual life"? Absolutely not, because we know it was not the garden relationship restored. One without sin and sacrifice.
    What we label as "spiritual death" goes beyond the above. Those not in covenant relationship through sacrifice. Those in sin, no sacrifice, no relationship, not even allowed in the temple.

    Based on this, "spiritual death" was not an immediate consequence of Adam's sin. Did God know, eventually, most would be in sin without sacrifice and relationship? Sure.
    Man has always had relationship with God. Not all men mind you but man has never been cut off entirely.

  8. #8

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by Old man View Post
    Interesting topic. If you want to know why the ancient Jews didn't understand spiritual death you should limit your research to what they had available. They did not have the NT available.

    And depending on how ancient you are thinking, much of the OT wasn't available either. So given what they had should they have reason to consider it?
    I could argue the further you go back the better understanding you'd have.

  9. #9

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
    Wouldn't the sacrifice being offered provide for spiritual life? So why would you offer a sacrifice except to change from spiritual death to life?
    You'd have to define "spiritual life". Then it could. Did Israel have more than Gentiles? Sure but.....then we have more spiritual life in Christ. Is it the same we'll have after the resurrection? If Adam wasn't glorified then.....see what I mean?

  10. #10

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Methinks one would be hard pressed to find, in either the Hebrew and or the Greek, the words spiritual and death and spiritual and life together, anywhere in the Word of God.

    Just, life and death.

  11. #11

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Words used don't have to be found for the concepts they are meant to describe to be found.

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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by Old man View Post
    Interesting topic. If you want to know why the ancient Jews didn't understand spiritual death you should limit your research to what they had available. They did not have the NT available.

    And depending on how ancient you are thinking, much of the OT wasn't available either. So given what they had should they have reason to consider it?
    From gotquestions -

    Question: "What is spiritual death?"

    Answer: Death is separation. A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will “surely die.” Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God must have had another type of death in mind—spiritual death. This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.


    No NT (needed) in that definition, just the first 3 chapters of Genesis. Why didn't the Jews from 500 BC on did not come up with this (not so hard) reasoning? I think they understood (and apparently still understand) how the Genesis story reads at face value, death=death, no strings attached.

    But let's drop Judaism, do you agree with the definition of gotquestions ?

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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    I have no problem with what "gotquestions" states.
    I would say eternal life (that we were barred from ) has and always has had conditions IE: Holiness (no sin)
    There would be no separation without sin = death.

    The Mercy of God sent His only begotten son, Christ, to be the sacrifice for ALL Sin, that somehow, by Faith we could be partakers in eternal life, it just would not have happened after Adam's sin without His mercy, His Righteousness.

    I wonder if they have anything on sin = darkness, that gives some reasoning as to why God separated the light from the dark to begin with, knowing, the two cannot co-exist.

    Genesis 1:4
    And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness.

    Revelation 22:5
    And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
    Peace to you!

    John 12:46
    “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”



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    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by ProDeo View Post
    From gotquestions -

    Question: "What is spiritual death?"

    Answer: Death is separation. A physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will “surely die.” Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God must have had another type of death in mind—spiritual death. This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God.” The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.


    No NT (needed) in that definition, just the first 3 chapters of Genesis. Why didn't the Jews from 500 BC on did not come up with this (not so hard) reasoning? I think they understood (and apparently still understand) how the Genesis story reads at face value, death=death, no strings attached.

    But let's drop Judaism, do you agree with the definition of gotquestions ?
    I don't agree with gotquestions for the following reasons.

    First, had A&E spiritually died that day, they would not have cared whether or not they were naked. The awareness of being naked is evidence that the couple were spiritually alive, feeling guilty, and feeling vulnerable. Had the couple been spiritually dead, they would have acted like nothing had happened, but as it was, they very much felt the shame of what they had done. Pangs of conscience, and a painful feeling of humiliation can only be experienced by those who are spiritually alive. Paul doesn't talk about spiritual death but he does talk about spiritual impairment in his letter to Timothy.

    1Timothy 4
    But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

    If men were spiritually dead they would have no moral sensitivities at all, but they DO have moral sensitivities, only Paul says that a man's moral sense can be impaired or restricted in some way as if a hot iron was pressed against nerve endings so that a man will loose feeling in that part of the body. Something has seared a man's conscience so that he no longer is willing or able to pay attention to the truth.

    Secondly, A&E were not separated from God. He continued to interact with the couple, even providing them clothing and moral training. Both Cain and Able learned to offer sacrifices to the Lord, presumably from their parents, indicating that A&E were spiritually aware enough to understand the need to reach out to God in prayer and devotion, and to live in gratitude.

    Finally, the sense in which the couple "died" that day is illustrated by Paul in Romans 7.

    What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

    Was Paul physically dead? No. Was Paul spiritual dead? No. A spiritually dead person would have no awareness of his status before the Law of God. In what way did he die? What died? Self-image.

    Paul describes an event wherein he was in the middle of his study of the Ten commandments. One can imagine a Bible student like Paul reviewing each of the ten commandments one at a time, setting about to understand each commandment in depth. All the time assured of his good standing before God and before the law. As he says in one place, he was blameless before the law. In his mind he carried a picture of himself in terms of his abilities and his status before God. He might have said to himself, "God must be pleased with me since I ' was circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.'"

    During his study of the Ten Commandments, he began to study the tenth commandment, which is a prohibition against coveting. Perhaps you know that the Tenth Commandment is unlike all the others in this respect. Whereas, the Seventh commandment prohibits the practice of adultery, the Tenth commandment prohibits the desire to commit adultery. Whereas the eight commandment prohibits stealing and theft, the Tenth Commandment prohibits the desire of another man's stuff. In essence, the other commandments speak to a man's behavior; the tenth commandment speaks to his inwardness -- his desires, his wants, his cravings etc. In short, God says, "thou shalt be somebody else." Accordingly the day Paul finally understood the profundity of the tenth commandment, his self-image changed. The person he thought he was died that day, as he discovered his true self. His former self-image was alive until the day he finally understood the tenth commandment, and the day he came to the truth about himself at the deepest level of his existence, that self-image died to be replaced by another one -- a wretched man searching for a way to find life again.

    A&E died in a like manner, the day they ate of the fruit is the day they learned the truth about who they really were. The image of themselves as obedient children of the creator in good standing with him, died that day. They could no longer claim innocence or righteousness or simpatico with God. That image died to be replaced by a shameful, embarrassing moral failure.

    We all face the same question, "who am I" and when A&E ate of the tree, their answer changed that day. I used to be that person, but that person "died". Now I'm this other person instead. But A&E didn't actually change. Only their perception changed that day. They came to know themselves the way they really were.

    As a prelude to salvation, all of us must be willing to face the truth about ourselves.

  15. #15

    Re: Spiritual Death in Judaism

    Spiritual death doesn't mean the inability to be or the lack of a spiritual aspect of one's life. THus guilt, joy, etc., are all still experienced, even by the spiritually dead.

    Spiritual death is simple separation from the source of life, God.
    Some people are offended that the Sovereign God, because He loved man so much and wanted to be in an intimate relationship with his creation, gave Man a free will to respond to God's grace, offered to all. They are offended that God is God as God chooses to be, not as they choose for God to be.

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