This was a question from a coworker - I offered some discussion, but wanted some other input. Thanks for your help!
Not if one is in Hell.
I’m not sure where that is in the Bible, but 2 Corinthians 5:8 says: We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. The passage continues: So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body. 2 Corinthians 5:9-10. RSV 2nd Catholic Edition
So I think the Catholic response is that “to be absent of the body is to be in the presence of the Lord” is not Biblical and does not appear in the Bible.
This is 2 Cor 5:8 from the NAB:
**Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord.
This is the same verse from the KJV:
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
It means nothing more or less than St Paul’s and other believer’s great hope and confidence that they will be in the immediate presence of God when they die. Compare it to Phil 1:21-24:
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain. 22If I go on living in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. And I do not know which I shall choose. 23I am caught between the two. I long to depart this life and be with Christ, [for] that is far better. 24Yet that I remain [in] the flesh is more necessary for your benefit.
Yes. Immediately upon death is the Particular Judgement. Then it’s reward time.
Break it down for him.
Paul would rather be in Heaven with the Lord.
Being mortal, Paul cannot enter Heaven while living on Earth.
Therefore, Paul’s soul must leave his body before Paul can be present with the Lord in Heaven.
What the verse does not say is that the soul automatically enters Heaven upon exiting the body.
This is a very interesting thread. I’ve been searching with Google to find one ‘single’ Protestant website that points out that the Bible does not actually say this and what the implications are for this. I tried about every permutation of the quote (and variations thereof) and “not in the bible,” “not actually in,” “not biblical,” etc. that I could think of. I saw some that quoted this verse correctly and went on to comment on it as if it actually said, “To be absent of the body is to be in the presence of the Lord.” All along I too thought that the Bible actually said, “To be absent of the body is to be in the presence of the Lord.” I wonder where this erroneous verse came from? Paul is simply saying he would rather be with God instead of being on earth, with all the suffering and hardship that it entails. That’s it. I also checked the KJV, NASB, NIV, and ESV versions and none of them have 2 Cor 5:8 given as such. Amazing. It makes me wonder exactly how much Sola Scriptura Protestants really want to hear the “true Biblical message” of the “God-breathed Scriptures” when it does not support their preconceived views. Even if the quote was correct, as one poster pointed out, what about people who go to hell? They are no longer in the body and are most definitely not “in the presence of the Lord.”
I believe that error came from an older version of the King James-and that’s why it’s so common.
Thank you. Was it in the original KJV? How long did this error persist? Getting off topic here a little, does anyone know of any online source where we can read the original 1611 version? I’d actually love to be able to look at the original Douay-Rheims too but I have never run across it. I found one source that has it for sale, but if I recall it’s kind of expensive and I’m kind of cheap.
Nevertheless, any person with a Bible can read 2 Cor 5:8 for themselves and see what it actually says. You would think that after doing 1,000’s of Bible studies twice a week and reading the Bible (especially Paul’s letters) for 10’s of 1,000’s of hours plus commentaries thereof - which are (or should I say, can be) good things - people would learn what the verse actually says.
Here’s an example of how doing a Bible study on 2 Cor 5:8 can be a bad thing:
“When Paul says in 2 Cor 5:8, ‘We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord,’ (NASB) he means that all Bible-believin’, “saved” Christians will go straight to heaven when they die. This is the Biblical truth. If anybody says otherwise they are being unbiblical.”
Of course, “unbiblical” is the worst word a Protestant can use to describe another Christian, with the possible exception of “Catholic.”
Here is the KJV (1611) translation: We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor 5:8)
How about that it’s not said anywhere in the bible?
On Friday afternoon I’d rather be absent from work and present at the beach, but that doesn’t mean that to be absent from work is to be present at the beach.
In hindsight, maybe ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ just became a catch-phrase, a corrupted way of stating 2 Cor 5:8 based on biased theology.
Thank you for looking that up and thanks for the link. That still expresses the same thing as modern translations, however.
Could be. Sort of like how we’re saved by “faith alone” apart from works. But, unfortunately, many people think that that’s what Scripture actually says. I myself was one of them until I read this thread.
Although it is true that the KJV was based upon what we would today consider to be a very small manuscript base (6 then vs. 5000+ today), I do not thank that this is an issue. The phrase “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” is clearly interpretive, though not unreasonably so.
(2 Cor 5:6 NRSV) So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord–
(2 Cor 5:7 NRSV) for we walk by faith, not by sight.
(2 Cor 5:8 NRSV) Yes, we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
(2 Cor 5:9 NRSV) So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
It seems to me that Paul is presenting an either or situation. The saved believer is in one place or the other.
However, I find the first part of verse 8 to be encouraging “Yes, we do have confidence”. I believe that our confidence is in Christ. The most important thing is that the one we trust in is worthy of that confidence. I’ll go wherever the one who has led me and cared for me for the last 40 years, the one who has changed my life and made it worth living - where ever he leads me I will go. I don’t think he will stop when my heart does
Does this verse suggest that it is possible to be apart from the body when humans are body AND soul/spirit verses Angels are only Spirits?