thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these
things from the wise
A Brief History of Life and Death
By Edgar Jones
Introduction -- the Sources
First, a disclaimer: there may be countless planets that harbor life and death, but our planet is the only one we know. Therefore, this brief history is of life and death on the earth.
Second, the sources: they are three -- Jesus of Nazareth (the Lord of Life), selected portions of the Old Testament and Science. Jesus of Nazareth, to whom I subsequently refer as "the Lord," Is the ultimate and absolute source of absolute Truth and, in particular, the truth about life and death. Everything that follows begins with him as the source of Truth. The Old Testament, in the creation accounts of Genesis 1 & 2, speaks of the beginnings of life and death in mythical form that reveals Truth within the limits imposed by the Lord. By Science, I refer to natural science that has much to say about these things, though leaving much unsaid.
The Genesis creation stories are myths that contain some Truth when correctly interpreted, which is to interpret them as Jesus does. For example, I do not believe that there were two individuals, Adam and Eve. They are mythical, but they truly represent the origins of human beings. That is, they were molded from the clay by eons of evolutionary activity in response to the directives (natural laws) of the creator. They were then uniquely enlivened by the life of the creator, and from them we all evolve. The Lord validated this when he said,
My sources are contradictory in some respects, which mandates that I give primacy to the one wholly reliable source -- the Lord. The cardinal example is that contradiction between Genesis and science on how things came to be. Genesis informs us that the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them required six days of the creators time, after which he rested. Science, using the most reliable tools of observation and analysis available, tells us that all things evolved from a point of beginning about thirteen and a half billion years past and that they continue to evolve according to a process that goes by the name of (what else?) Evolution. Attempts to reconcile Genesis with science by making each "day" to be an era, or age, such as I once attempted, are not convincing due to what is simply the fact -- that the ancients considered each of the seven days to be earth days. The words were originally addressed to them, and I must assume they were couched in words they were expected to understand. A day is a day!
Mk.10:6 But from the beginning of creation:
He made them male and female.
What can we believe?
We must listen to the Lord to answer this question and resolve this contradiction. When we do so we hear him saying, in the course of a controversy with his enemies regarding his Sabbath observance or lack thereof:
The Father, who is the creator, did not rest from creating and continues to work! It follows that he is continuing his work of creation even until now. Science, by its Theory of Evolution, only explains that he is continuing his creative activity, which after more than thirteen billion years is even now not complete. The Lord has settled the contradiction between Genesis and science. Genesis is wrong. In this case, we can believe science and discount Genesis. Furthermore, science confirms evolution by observations of the cosmos that display the ongoing creation of new worlds in the vast reaches of space and time, and also by careful observation of earthbound data that shows that evolution continues on the earth and among living things, including humans.
Jn.5:16 FNT And because of this the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he did these [things] on the Sabbath. 17 But he answered them: My father works until now and I [also] work;
II. Defining of the Terms
The English words, life and death, mean different things in different contexts. Therefore, we cannot proceed until we define these terms that are our subjects. It is not necessary to refer to a dictionary because most understand the dictionary definitions of life and death, both animal and vegetable, and we find many related definitions there.
How do our sources define them?
As to life, the Lord says,
Jn.10:10 FNT The thief does not come except in order that he steal and slaughter and destroy ; I came in order that they have zoe-life and have [it] exceedingly.
In that the Lord came to earth that we might have life, we conclude that he surely knows what he means by the term, and can give understanding by the way he uses it. You will note in the above quotation the expression (from the Faithful New Testament) is zoe-life. Zoe is the New Testament Greek term that the Lord applies here, which has a specific and unique meaning in his Word. The Lord also utilized another NT Greek word for life, psuche that has it's own meaning in the Word distinct from zoe. The Faithful New Testament is the only translation, to my knowledge, that preserves the distinctive Greek terms where they appear so that we can know of which the Lord speaks in each case. Multitudes have wandered far astray from the Truth by not observing this distinction.
Now, for a definition of zoe-life, examine John 10:10 (above) and you will see that we can draw a valid conclusion from it: The Lord's disciples, his sheep, human beings, did not have zoe before he came. Had they possessed it, he need not have come. Without a doubt, they were alive as men count being alive, meaning alive in the flesh -- Peter, Andrew, James, John and the whole batch of his disciples then and now. Therefore, the "life" of which he speaks here is not the life that we have in the flesh. For this, the Lord applied another Greek word, psuche. We see that he assumes all to have psuche, as here in the Fourth Gospel rendition of the Great Principle::
You see? We all possess psuche with which we entered into the world, into life. It is the life of the flesh. From this same utterance we can learn the cardinal definition of zoe: It is eternal life.
Jn.12:25 The [one] philia-loving his psyche-life will lose it, and the [one] hating his psyche-life in this world will guard it to zoe-life eternal.
It follows that psuche is temporal life, that we all experience in this time, whereas zoe is life of an entirely different order -- of Eternity. But we can learn something else about zoe by listening to the Lord:
Mt.16:16 FNT And Simon Peter answering said: You are the Christ the son of the zoe-living God. 17 Jesus answering said to him: Blessed are you, Simon Barjonah, for flesh and blood did not reveal [this] to you but my father in heaven.
Peter said it, but the Lord blessed him for it and told him that it was the Father in heaven that had revealed it to him! It is the Father himself that defined the life by which He is the living God, through both Peter and the Lord in this dialog. Zoe is the life of the living God, the Father of the Lord. It must be so, because the zoe-living God is eternal, as is zoe.
The Lord provides a more detailed definition that provides remarkable insight into zoe-life:
Jn.17:33 This is eternal zoe-life, that they know you the only true God and whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
It also works in reverse, for as those that are zoe-living know God, and those not zoe-living do not know God, so God knows (and the Lord) the zoe-living and and does not know those that are not zoe-living. Therefore, it is and will be as the Lord has stated:
Mt.7:22 Many will say to me in that day: Lord Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and in your name do many powerful [things]? 23 And then I will profess to them that I never knew them. Be departing from me you working lawlessness.
So to be zoe-alive with the life of the Living God is to know Him and to be known by Him; all that are not zoe-alive do not know Him, nor does He know them. They are dead to Him, and he is dead to them, no matter the state of their flesh!
We are able to confirm the definition of psuche as the life of the flesh by reference to it's etymology. It is the very same as the New Testament Greek for breath, which Thayer gives as its primary definition. It is therefore the life of everything that breathes -- not only men, but also animals. It is the life that departs the body when breathing ceases. These are vital distinctions in the Word of Truth, and the Lord has exercised care to apply the appropriate word in the appropriate place -- either zoe or psuche. Other writers of the scriptures are not so careful to distinguish the two, nor are the translators. But the Lord does distinguish them, which suggests its great importance to the perception of Truth. We obtain yet more relevant information on this distinction from this footnote in the Faithful New Testament.
Therefore, psuche is the life that accompanies breathing. All breathing creatures possess psuche for as long as they breath. Zoe, in great contrast, is the life of the Living God and is therefore life eternal.
As to death, it also comes in two varieties -- the end of the psuche, or the commonly understood death of the body, is one. This is the end of the life in the flesh of each individual, and every breathing creature is temporally bound and must experience this death. So, we can speak of a dog or a cat dying, in addition to the death of humans.
The other variety of death marks the end of the human experience of zoe. Yes, zoe is eternal, but its possession by a human being is provisional. Therefore, a human that possesses zoe, possesses the life of the Living God, and will continue to do so provided the individual maintains the qualifying conditions for zoe.
A single word, separation, provides the key to understanding what takes place at death of either variety. The death of psuche, which is the temporal life of all humans, is the separation of life (and breath) from the physical body. The death of zoe, which is the eternal life of the Living God, is the separation of the individual from the life of the Living God and is therefore the separation of the individual from God. In their applications, a person that has experienced psuche-death is dead to the world and to men. Similarly, a person that has experience zoe-death is dead to God -- and to the Lord.
II. The Beginning of Life
Our sources confirm that there was a beginning of all things, except for zoe-life. As the life of the living God, it is eternal life and without either beginning or end. It does have a beginning in human experience on the earth, which we locate and specify below. A history of life and death such as we attempt here should include a record of their beginnings. Science, while asserting a beginning of psuche, cannot yet explain it and may never do so, though the effort is very active and ongoing. The simple fact is that scientists are yet unable to explain how life, both zoe and psuche (in human experience), began. If we can learn anything about the beginning of life and death, we must look to the other sources. When we do so, we see immediately that Genesis provides its own record of the beginning of both kinds of life, in these words:
Genesis 2:7 describes the beginning of human life, but can we rely on a text that science and the Lord have both generally discredited? Normally we would not, but the Lord has validated portions of both creation myths (Gen. 1 & 2), with this saying:
Gen.1 Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth."
 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Gen.2 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
 when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up -- for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no man to till the ground;
 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground --
 then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.
By comparison, you will see that the Lord validated portions of both creation myths: Gen.1:27 in Mk.10:6 (He made the male and female from the beginning of creation) and Gen. 2:24 in Mk. 10:7,8. Therefore, for this reason and another that I will designate later, we will accept the Genesis account of the beginning of life as valid -- not that it is valid in detail -- for the details are largely missing, but that it is valid in terms of similitudes. Therefore, having no other specific information in any of the sources, we will accept this source. This is more than an assumption but is supported by other sayings of the Lord relative to life and death.
Mk.10:1 FNT And going up from there he goes to the region of Judea and [the] other side of the Jordan, and again crowds go with him, and as he was accustomed he again was teaching them. 2 And Pharisees coming out asked him if it is allowed for [a] man to put away his wife, testing him. 3 But answering he said to them: What did Moses command you? 4 So they said: Moses tolerated [a] scroll of divorce to write and to put [her] away. 5 But Jesus said to them, For your hard-heartedness he wrote for you this commandment. 6 But from the beginning of creation:
He made them male and female. 7 For this reason [a] man will leave his father and mother And be united with his wife 8 And they will be two into one flesh, So that no longer are they two but one flesh.
He has not specifically validated Genesis 2:7 that speaks of the beginning of life, and so we cannot conclude, on the basis of silence alone, that this is valid. We do not need to do so, as we will find that the Lord's teachings on life and death correspond to Genesis 2:7 and it is on that basis that we accept it as a valid but mythical statement of the beginning of life. Here it is once more:
. . . then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.
This is the beginning of zoe-life in man. We do not need to research the Hebrew of this text because the ancient Jews translated the OT into Greek in a version known as the Septuagint. I refer you to this footnote in the Faithful New Testament for supporting information. The critical phrase from Genesis 2:7 is this from the Septuagint, as quoted in the footnote:
...[God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of zoe-life, and the man became a zoe-living psyche-life.
The man became zoe-living, therefore he received the eternal zoe-life of the zoe-living God. It remains unstated as to when or how the man first experienced psuche. Genesis 2:7 does not tell us, but states only that the man received the "breath of zoe-life." Science has revealed that man evolved from lower forms of life, which is consistent with the creation myth of Genesis 1 that places the creation of other life forms ahead of man (Genesis 2 reverses the order, which cannot be correct in the light of Science). Genesis 1 refers to them as psuche-living creatures, again consistent with the appearance of creatures having flesh and breathing. It is reasonable, therefore, to conceive of the beginning of psuche-life in the flesh of human ancestors at an earlier point in their development when the ancestral beasts began to breath air and became psuche-living.
We do have the statement in Genesis that informs us of the beginning of zoe-life in man. However, the Old Testament scribes do not give evidence, in the Septuagint, that they knew of two varieties of life in existence, for they go on, in Genesis and elsewhere, to speak of the creation of the beasts and other psuche-livng creatures in precisely the same words as of the creation of man.
To repeat for emphasis, Genesis 2:7 does not speak of the beginning of psuche, but is very specific -- it was the breath of zoe that God breathed into the man. Yet the result is definite -- the man became a zoe-living psuche life!. The correct and obvious inference is that the man already possessed psuche-life, as one of the psuche-living creatures that had already evolved from the dust of the earth through the creative activity of the zoe-living God. This was in the remote, temporal past that Science has neither located nor explained -- but we are here with countless psuche-living creatures that share with us in the habitation of the earth. We can therefore say with assurance that there was a point in space and time, and on the earth, at which our prehuman ancestors became psuche-living. Then later, much later, eons later the Living God chose to impart his zoe-life to at least one of them (of their descendants) as depicted in the creation myths of Genesis.
Is this conclusion consistent with the teaching of our primary source, the Lord Jesus?
I have not located a specific confirmation in his Word. Yet all of his relevant utterances are consistent with it. The evidence is so strong that I cannot deny it, and find it remarkable how all three or our sources are mutually supportive.
To conclude, humans have, or may have, two distinctly different kinds of life: psuche, which is the temporal life of all breathing creatures, and zoe, which is the eternal life of the Living God. Our best information, derived from our three sources, is that the experience of psuche came first, in the dark eons of pre-history, after which our earliest human ancestors, already psuche-living, were enlivened with zoe by the zoe-living God.
III. The Beginning of Death
As there are two varieties of life, so there must be two varieties of death. Both have meaning only as applied to the individual. Psuche-death is the death of the physical body, the point at which the breath and therefore the psuche (temporal life) departs the individual. Zoe-death is the spiritual death, the point at which zoe (eternal life) separates from the individual and therefore also when the zoe-living God separates from the individual. So, it is possible to have zoe and then lose it, even though zoe, the life of the Living God, is eternal. It is the individual's connection to it that constitutes zoe-death of the individual.
Science enlightens us as to the beginning of psuche-death. The Creator decrees the existence and ongoing reign of natural law over the creation. Fundamental to all natural law is the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or simply, the Second Law. This law decrees that all of creation -- of the whole complex of time, space, matter and energy in all their forms, must degenerate over time. Anything in creation that happens to have order must degenerate into a condition of greater disorder. On the local level, it reveals its action in many ways, but for the human individual it is most apparent in the process of aging -- the degeneration of the physical body and the mind, and the individual psuche-death. There is a built in limitation of the psuche-life span of each individual that seldom allows more than four or five score years from psuche-birth to psuche-death. This experience has been common to all our predecessors, both human and pre-human. We cannot therefore specify a time of beginning of psuche-death, as we cannot do so for the beginning of psuche-life. We can say with the authority of Science and natural law that its beginning was in the dark of past eons, shortly after the creation of the first psuche-living (breathing) creatures.
Therefore, we can also confidently state that it was never the intention of our Creator, the zoe-living God, that humans live forever in psuche-living physical bodies upon the earth. The whole creation, the heavens and the earth and all things therein, are destined to pass away according to the Second Law, which the Lord confirms with this saying:
Mk.13:31 FNT Heaven and [the] earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
The reign of psuche-death has been continuous from the first breathing creatures. Therefore, together with psyche-life, it will continue while air breathing creatures continue to exist. This death serves a vital purpose for the Creator, but it also imposes a restraint that he overcomes by means of gender based reproduction so that all such creatures endure as species from one generation to the next. The species are therefore not killed off in one generation due to the Second Law. Reproduction transcends death in a sense, and also the Second Law, and multiplies the creatures on the earth with each generation building onto the previous one.
Genesis enlightens us as to the beginning of zoe-death. The creation myth of Genesis 2 informs us that the Lord God placed the newly created man in the midst of the Garden of Eden and carefully instructed him, saying (Gen.2:16:17 RSV),
You may freely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.
We next learn of the creation of Eve, of her yielding to the serpent's temptation to eat of the forbidden tree and of the man's succumbing to the temptation and also eating. The Lord God learns of their disobedience and decrees, for the woman, that she shall bring forth children in pain, thus preserving the specie as explained above. Then he sentenced the man, sending him forth from Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken lest he also partake of the tree of life (zoe in the Septuagint) and live forever.
Yes, but "the day that you eat of it" passed, and the man is yet alive, tilling the ground from which he was taken. How do we explain this?
The man zoe-died. He lost his zoe-life but continued to retain his psuche-life. This means that from that point (see the definitions above), he knew not the Lord God, our Father, nor did the Lord God know him. This was the beginning of zoe-death -- not that zoe in the man died, for it is the life of the zoe-living God and is eternal -- but that the man became dead with respect to zoe by separating himself from it -- and from God. From this point man is dead to the Lord God, and the Lord God is dead to man. He is also dead to the Lord Jesus, for what is dead (unknown) to the Father is dead (unknown) to the Lord Jesus.
IV. Life and Death in the World Before Hearing the Word
We have already seen that the Old Testament scribes, in particular those that produced the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was available in the First Century), failed to distinguish between the life possessed by man and the life possessed by beasts -- yet the language does suggest the presence of two kinds of life -- that possessed by air breathing creatures, including man, and that possessed additionally in the first man before his transgression, by the breath of God. The first man continued to live a life of the flesh after his transgression, which had taken away his zoe-life of the spirit. The Hebrew of the Old Testament also has two primary terms for Life, chaiyim and nephesh (breath). Of these, chaiyim tends to designate life on the best of terms, nephesh otherwise, but the Hebrew scribes were not careful to maintain the distinctions in all cases, indicating they did not understand the distinction.
The Patriarchs, prophets and the just kings of Israel do not show awareness of eternal life, or life of the Spirit as distinguished from life of the flesh. Their perception of the life promised by their God was of a long and happy life lived in Canaan. We have this, for example, from Deut.30:19:
I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day that I have set before you life (zoe - Septuagint) and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life (zoe- Septuagint) to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Thus Moses spoke to the people of Israel as he prepared them to cross the River Jordan and take possession ot the Promised Land. Those scribes to whom we are indebted for the Septuagint either did not know of the zoe / psuche distinction, or anticipated that the nation would dwell forever in Canaan. The Hebrew here is Chaiyim,
Post Exilic Israel brought with it from Babylonian exile, toward the end of the Sixth Century BC, a more focussed conception of immortality but not such as to understand the meaning of zoe as expressed by Jesus in the Gospels. Of them all, Daniel, writing in the early Second Century BC, speaks in terms easily understood to refer to a resurrection to eternal life, as in this passage:
Da.12:1 RSV At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time; but at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life (zoen aionion , Septuagint), and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Still, there is no clear cut distinction between the life of the flesh and that of the spirit. Daniel's prophecy could be understood to be the resurrection of the body of flesh to an everlasting life lived in Canaan. But it is significant to see the Septuagint expression, zoen aionion, which is precisely the same as the Lord utters in the Greek New Testament.
Only the Lord, as our prime source, can provide enlightenment as to the recognition of zoe-life in the Old Testament. He did this in his response to the devil's temptation:
The Lord is quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3. There is no suggestion in Deuteronomy that the eternal life of the Father is in view here, nevertheless, the Lord makes it so. There is the life in the flesh, temporal life, that is sustained by bread. It is the life in the Spirit, eternal life, that is sustained by every word proceeding out of the mouth of God, just as the breath of God that proceeded from the mouth of God and gave zoe-life to the first man.
Mt.4:1 FNT Then Jesus was led into the wilderness by the spirit to be tested by the devil. 2 And having fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterwards hungry. 3 And the [one] testing him having come, he said to him: If you are [the] son of God, speak in order that these stones become bread. 4 But answering he said: It is written:
Not on bread alone does man zoe-live, but [also] on every word proceeding out of the mouth of God.
The words of Moses and the prophets were not included in these words: every word proceeding out of the mouth of God. The Lord spoke specifically and only of his words, words he heard from the mouth of the Father, as the bread of life. He was very specific in asserting that the bread of Moses (represented by the manna) did not give life -- for those who ate of it died. With the Lord's bread, one may eat of it and not die:
Jn.6:32 FNT So Jesus said to them: Truly truly I say to you, Moses did not give you bread from heaven, but my father gives you the true bread from heaven.
49: Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread coming down from heaven, in order that anyone who eat of it also not die. 51:I am the zoe-living bread having come down out of heaven.
Were there no zoe-living persons during the Old Testament Age other than the first man in his innocence?
Yes, and again we must go to the Lord Jesus to receive our answer. It was there, and it was there in two forms, even as it continues in those two forms today among peoples that have never heard the Word of the Lord Jesus so as to have opportunity to receive the bread from heaven. The evidence of the first form is in this Word:
Mk.10:13 FNT And they were bringing to him children in order that he touch them; but his disciples were rebuking them. 14 And when he saw, Jesus was indignant and said to them: Permit the children to come to me, do not be hindering them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 15 Truly I say to you: whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as [a] child, he may not enter into it.
It follows by a reasonable inference that the little children are endowed with zoe in their innocence. This has ever been true, and continues so to this day. I have expanded on this subject in this paper, The Salvation of the Innocents. We see in the experience of the mythical Adam, the first man, the life experience that individuals continue to have throughout the world and throughout all ages. As the first man was endowed at the first with the dual life of psuche and zoe, of which he lost the latter when he lost his innocents through transgression, so little children, in their innocence, continue to be endowed with both when they enter the world, then to lose zoe when they, like the first man, lose their innocence. The mythical life experience of the first man prefigures the life experience of every child. On that day (when the child loses innocence) the child zoe-dies, and more death enters into the world.
The other form consists of the penitents, of which I have written more extensively in the paper, The Salvation of the Penitents. These are those who, as servants of God (that have never heard the Word), repent of their transgressions, obey the Law, confess their sins and forgive the offenses of those that offend them. They are also in the kingdom and include these notables from the Old Testament;
Mt.8:11 FNT And I say to you that many from east and west will have come and will recline with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of the heavens.
Further, the Lord leaves no doubt whatever as to the life - status of these Patriarchs:
Mt.22:30 FNT For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, 31 but are as the angels in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, haven't you read the [thing] spoken to you from God saying: 32 I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob? He is not God of the dead but of the zoe-living.
Not only the Patriarchs, but also all the prophets are in the kingdom, and are eternally zoe-living.
Lk.13:25 FNT When the master of the house arise and close the door, and you begin outside to stand and to be knocking on the door saying: Lord, open to us, and answering he will say to you: I do not know from whence you are. 26 Then you will begin to be saying: We ate before you and drank, and in our streets you taught. 27 And he will say to them: I do not know whence you are. Depart from me all [who] do injustice. 28 There will there be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you cast out.
These persons are servants of God. They are not Sons, nevertheless they are known by and to the Father as beloved servants that eat at the table of the master. They did not hear the Word of God so as to receive it during their time of psuche-life in this world, but it remains clear that the Father has yet another way to impart zoe to the penitents who psuche-die without having heard the Word while in the flesh -- both then and now. Such is the magnificent mercy of our Father!
All die a zoe-death on the day they lose their innocence, as all responsible persons have done. The first man did, the patriarchs and prophets did, I did, you did. That is the powerful reach of this death through the ages, from the first man until now. The innocents may lose psuche but never zoe; they abide in the kingdom (in heaven) forever as angels. The penitents (as innocents) lose first zoe, abide in death prior to repentance, then regain zoe and lose psuche, to abide in the kingdom of God eternally as servants. Such is the magnificent mercy of our Father!
Such is the experience of life and death of all persons who live or who have ever lived without having heard the Word.
V. Life and Death in the World After Hearing the Word
Just hearing the Word, sown in the world by our Lord, is the most serious matter because one becomes immediately accountable to it. Those that ignore, reject or edit it will be judged by it on the Last Day:
Jn.12:48 FNT The [one] setting me aside and not receiving my words has [one] judging him: the word that I spoke - that will judge him in the last day. 49 Because I have not spoken from myself, but the [one] having sent me, [the] father himself has given to me commandment what I should say and what I should speak.
But all that receive the Word and believe have the unspeakable blessing of zoe-life eternal. They have been begotten from above, of the Spirit and the Word, and are sons of the zoe-living Father. They are sons of the kingdom, of the kingdom that the Lord inaugurated with his last breath on the cross. It is for this that the Living God created the world and all that is within it -- that we freely choose to become his sons and to do his will. The Lord Jesus came into the world precisely at the right time to sow the divine seed and through that seed initiate the begetting of the sons of God.
The Lord explained this process with the parables of the Sower and the Tares, and when one accepts them as true, one understands that there is no glorious future for this world or for the sons of God while they abide within this world. But there is a glorious future, a glorious eternity with the Father in heaven as sons of the kingdom for all that hear and believe the Holy Word, the Logos of God, the Teaching of Jesus our Lord that he received from the mouth of the Father in heaven.
So death in both sorts and life of both sorts continue to co-exist in the world. But do not be deceived. All that have sinned so as to lose their innocence and so to lose their zoe-life, abide in death while the psuche-life remains in their fleshly bodies, except they, never having heard the Word, become penitents or, having heard, believe. The Lord therefore looked out upon the multitudes that came to hear him preach and saw only the dead -- except they believe. All responsible persons, having heard the Word but not having believed, are dead already, zoe-dead, whatever the state of their flesh. All responsible persons, not having heard the word even today, are zoe-dead except they repent, seek the Lord's forgiveness and mercy, and forgive others.
Lk.9:60 FNT But he said to him: Let the dead bury their own dead, but you having departed proclaim the kingdom of God.
Jn.5:24 FNT Truly truly I say to you that the [one] hearing my word and believing the [one] having sent me has eternal zoe-life, and does not come into judgment, but is moved out of death into zoe-life. 25 Truly truly I say to you that [the] hour comes and now is when the dead will hear the cry of the son of God and those having heard will zoe-live. 26 For as the father has zoe-life in himself, likewise also to the son he has given zoe-life to be having in himself.
Do you think it would be better not to hear the Word, so as not to come under the terrible judgment that results should one hear and reject it? No, for the Father has sent the Word into the world such that he may beget zoe-living sons for his Glory. He is not seeking more servants through the ministry of the Son. He is seeking sons! That is the goal of all things, and the purpose of the sending of the Son into the world with the begetting Word. Also, the Lord has clearly expressed the numbers that enter into the way of zoe:
Mt.7:13 Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road leading to destruction, and many are those entering through it. 14 And confined is the way leading to zoe-life, and few are those finding it.
This "few" must include the Penitents as well as the Infants of the Father. This leads me to believe that there are not many that hear the Word and believe so as to be begotten from above, and also that there are not many -- not having heard the Word -- that repent, keep the Law, and forgive others. Added together, both categories remain few! It therefore follows that, in love for the lost souls of men, we who are blessed to have heard and received the Word must dedicate ourselves to witnessing to the Truth that at least some who hear may believe and be saved for zoe. Yes, in Mt. 8:11 (above) the Lord did use the word "many" but this must be viewed in the light of his overall emphasis according to which the total number will be few. They are many, relative to the total number from Israel that will sit with the Patriarchs in the kingdom, but few relative to the total numbers of mankind.
VI. The Current State of Life and Death
Now to summarize this brief history by specifying the current state of life and death, keeping always in mind that what we say applies only to this planet. Though we assume there are others similarly endowed, we know nothing and can say nothing of them.
Since the first man, humans have entered the world in a state of innocence and endowed with both zoe and psuche. This continues without change. All have proceeded, since the first man, to die to zoe when they lose their innocence, as all do that psuche-live long enough. They are dead to the Living God and, since the world has been and remains primarily inhabited by these "dead ones," this world has been and remains the domain of the dead. There have been and remain the few exceptions, righteous persons that have not heard the Word and that have repented of their sins and sought the forgiveness of the living God, and also have forgiven those that offend them.
Since the Lord came into the world and sowed the Word, there has opened up to the dead the wonderful privilege of regaining zoe through receiving and believing the Word, as issued from the mouth of the living God -- a begetting from above that issues from the Word, and the thing begotten is a son of the Father, fully invested with the zoe of the Father and known and beloved by the Father and the Son. Currently, then, there is a mix in the world of the multitudes of the dead, plus the innocents -- the little children -- and the penitents whose numbers are few, and also those few that have been begotten from above by hearing and receiving the Word, according to the Lord's promise:
Jn.3:16 FNT For God thus agape-loved the world: so that he gave his uniquely-begotten son, so that everyone believing in him not perish but be having eternal zoe-life. 17 For God did not send his son into the world that he judge the world, but that the world be saved through him. 18 The [one] believing in him is not judged, the [one] not believing [in him] has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the uniquely-begotten son of God.
VII. Conclusion: Life and Death in Coming Ages
This assumes what is most uncertain -- that things will long continue as they are.
All of the hype generated by Christians concerning the future of the world and life in the world --of peace on earth, of paradise, Millennium and a kingdom of God yet to come -- has no basis in the Word. Life and death of both varieties will continue to coexist in the world throughout history, then here is what will take place, according to the Lord:
Jn.14:1 FNT Let not your heart be being troubled. Be believing in God and be believing in me. 2 In my father's house[hold] are many dwelling-places . If [it were] not [so], I would have told you, 3 because I go to prepare [a] place for you. And if I go and prepare [a] place for you, again do I come and will take you to myself, in order that where I am you may be also. 4 And where I go you know the way. 5 Thomas says to him: Lord, we do not know where you are going. How do we know the way? 6 Jesus says to him: I am the way, the truth and the zoe-life ; no one comes to the father except through me.
Mt.25:31 FNT But when the son of man comes in his glory and all his angels with him, then will he sit on the throne of his glory. 32 And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right: Come you blessed of my father, Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I hungered and you gave me to eat, I thirsted and you gave me to drink, I was [a] stranger and you gathered me, 36 naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, in prison and you came to me. 37 Then the just will answer him saying: Lord, when did we see you hungry and we fed you, or thirsty and we gave you to drink? 38 And when did we see you [a] stranger and we gathered you, or naked and we fed you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and we came to you? 40 And answering the king will say to them: Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did [it] to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. 41 And then will he say to those on his left: Be departing from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I hungered and you did not give me to eat, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, 43 I was [a] stranger and you did not gather me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not look after me. 44 Then they also answered saying: Lord, when did we see you hungering or thirsting or [a] stranger or naked or sick or in prison and we did not serve you? 45 Then he will answer them saying: Truly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, neither did you do it to me. 46 And these will go into eternal punishment, but the just into eternal zoe-life.
Jn.5:26 FNT For as the father has zoe-life in himself, likewise also to the son he has given zoe-life to be having in himself. 27 And he gave him authority to be doing judgment, because he is [a] son of man. 28 Be not marveling at this, that [the] hour comes in which all those in the graves will hear his voice, 29 and those having done good will come out to [the] resurrection of zoe-life, [but] those having done [as a practice] worthless [things] will come out to [the] resurrection of judgment.
The end time schemes devised and preached throughout history and today will continue to be preached, and those that do not listen to the Lord will continue to be deceived by them. The root of their problem is clear, and the Lord expressed it in this commandment:
Mt.6:19 FNT Be not treasuring up treasures to yourselves on earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. 20 But be treasuring up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
They are treasuring things on the earth, including the life we have and the bodies we inhabit here, and cannot let them go by hating the life in this world according to the Great Principle of the Lord. Their hearts are therefore set on earthly things. They do not want to go to the Father, therefore they cannot and they are the dead.
Great multitudes are setting their hearts on vain visions, and most or all of them confess Jesus as their Lord. Surely they will be saved by the grace of God in any case?
Let us listen carefully to the Lord again:
Mt.7:13 FNT Enter in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the road leading to destruction, and many are those entering through it. 14 And confined is the way leading to zoe-life, and few are those finding it.
It is not coincidental that the Lord proceeds immediately with Mt. 7:15, the very next verse, to say:
15 Be giving heed from the false-prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside are ravishing wolves.
He then informs us that we will know them by their fruits. Surely, in view of this, we know their fruits that include prophecies of the glorification of life on earth.
The coming ages will continue according to the Lord's word, until the resurrection. Many false prophets will continue to speak of a glorious future for the saints on the earth, and multitudes, in love with life on the earth, will believe them. So it is today, and so will it ever be. A few, those that have set their hearts in heaven, will hear the Lord and believe so as to enter through the strait gate onto the the narrow way that leads to zoe. When all is said and done, there will be no life of any kind on the earth, which will have dissolved (passed away), and even the dead will have gone to their destiny, according to the Lord in Mt. 24:41:
And then will he say to those on his left: Be departing from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
And here is the destiny of the living:
Come you blessed of my father, Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
The Parable of the Tares tells the same story in parabolic form:
Such is the brief history of life and death.
Mt.13:27 FNT So when the slaves of the householder came they said to him: Lord, did we not sow good seed in the field? Whence therefore does it have tares? 28 But he told them, [An] enemy did this. So the slaves say: Do you wish therefore when we go that we gather them? 29 But he tells them, No, lest gathering the tares you uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow them to grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to the harvesters: Gather first the tares and bind them into bundles in order to burn them, but the wheat gather into my storehouse.