Soul-Sleep


#1

I was researching the theory of soul sleep, I’m fully aware of what this theory means and teaches, and Also aware that most christians today reject this theory and as do the early church fathers. but I would have a difficult time trying to explain this to a christian who believes in this theory researching this topic, I come to learn these are the common verses they use to try to prove soul- sleep.

John 5:
28"Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned

Psalm 115:
7The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence

Psalm 6
5For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 ( this is a very common one)
5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.6Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

in the Story where Jesus brought Lazarus back to life, they have concluded that his experience of death was being asleep.

1 Corinthians 15:51-54
1Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

1 Thessalonians 4:13
13Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.

with this passage they link it with these verses.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
15According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Now, this is my favorite one

Luke 23:42-43
42Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.[a]"43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth today**, **you will be with me in paradise.”

they believe that the comma was meant to be after the word today because “there were no commas in the original greek neither did they seperate words to sentencers”. but since they know they cannot prove anything with this scripture, they go on and quote this passage.

John 20:17
17Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ "

since they see that Christ didn’t go to paradise that day, could is it that the theif did? and also because the theif didn’t die that day either.

the Rich man and lazarus, they pretty much believe that this parable shouldn’ be taken litterally

now out of curiousity, what would a Catholic’s response from all this ( note i do not believe in soul-sleep, sometimes I just have a hard time putting it all together)


#2

Well, I can give you this Catholic’s take on the teachings of the Church.

When St. Paul spoke in Thessalonians about souls that had “fallen asleep”, he was not using a euphemism for death. The people he spoke of had indeed died, and he was not disputing that fact. He was, however, placing that physical death into the context of existence with God, outside of time.

We know that there will be a resurrection of the body. Jesus Himself has had such a resurrection. We don’t have detailed knowledge of the attributes of that body, except that it will be human, ours, and glorified, very different from the physical bodies that we currently have. St. Paul used the image of sleeping to highlight this aspect of our exernal existence – the time between earthly life and the reunion of the soul with the glorified body.

So a reference to sleep is a reference to this time and state. In things eternal, life is being with God forever in heaven, and death is permanent separation from God in hell, from which, by God’s grace, may we all be delivered. It was that eternal death from which the reference to sleep for physical, earthly death seeks to differentiate.

Blessings,

Gerry


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