Post-Death Consciousness


Receiving a monograph in support of soul sleep or zero-consciousness between death and the future bodily resurrection, I felt inclined to answer with a contrary view, placing new scriptures into play.

~Martin D. Carlson



You may suppose this “preamble” is a small work coming before the main body of the work to explain something about the main body of the work. If such is the case, you are in grave error.[1] In fact, this preamble is a short work coming before that preamble (to the main body of the work) to explain that preamble (to the main body of the work). Let’s see if I can give some light as to what I mean:

Keep Reading: Pre-Preamble


I first met my friend Dr. Agonson face-to-face more than two decades ago at a semi-formal gathering of doctorate level scholars and amateur theologians held on the Oregon Coast. (Although I am not typically in the habit of name dropping—as I have found through the years that no one will listen[1]—I may mention that he and I are on first name bases. —That is, I often call Him Dr.without so much as a quaver.)

Keep Reading: Preamble

Leg 1

. . . I found some of your arguments more persuasive than others. I don’t know how I will proceed here, but probably more with scriptural references NOT utilized than with refutation of those you cite. However, I do hope to refute a few of the proofs you offer. Perhaps I will use NIV as a default, except where noted.

Keep Reading: Leg 1

Leg 2

At this time, according to the principals of “disclosure,” I frankly admit to you that I believe that “death” is the post-mortem jail for every refractory[1]person preliminary to judgment and sentencing. Death—including by any other name (Hell, Sheol, Hades, Gehenna, the pit, the unseen, behemoth, leviathan, etc.) —will be the unhappy lodging place of the unredeemed prior to post-judgment prison—the lake of fire.[2] Whoever dies in rebellion, supposing himself (his own) god—having imagined “in the land of the living” that God may indeed be mocked—will have his first wakeup call in this jailhouse.

Keep Reading: Leg 2

Leg 3

By reading your paper, I’m guessing you would call post-death Rachel “weeping for her children” a parable, metaphor or figure? Fine, but it was prophecy given in the Old Testament, which the New Testament claims is fulfilled in a peculiar way: (Jeremiah 31:15-16 (and onward) says:)

Keep Reading: Leg 3

Leg 4

Of Jesus it is said that “He came to His own people,” and was by and large rejected. But some Jews received Jesus, including him who became the Church’s first martyr. In the process, Stephen—perhaps the more encouraged by the vision he saw—seemed to suppose he was leaving Earth for immediate reception in Heaven:

Keep Reading: Leg 4

Leg 5

I began this paper without a clear idea of where it would go. Truly, I have brought new scripture into the discussion—parts of the Bible that I felt thematically relevant, which you had not brought to the topic, that I considered essential to a thorough examination. I now see, however, that I have done little or nothing to dispute your scripturally based proofs that a man’s consciousness ends when he dies. I now beg the right for a little latitude[1] in so doing.

Keep Reading: Leg 5

Leg 6

And on to ghosts, assuming we all take the meaning to be disembodied human spirits. “The 12” [give or take one apostle] twice set Jesus up to tell them, “Silly apostles, ghosts, don’t exist,” but He “failed” to do this. In the second instance,[1] He might even be said to have affirmed their existence, saying the equivalent of, “Such don’t eat and have palpable flesh as you see and feel of me.”[2] But I throw that in as more of a random thought than a strong argument. Except:

Keep reading: Leg 6

Leg 7

Is the book of Ecclesiastes inspired? Certainly; nor do I intend to disparage it, as it is my favorite (literary) read in the Bible. However, as a work order has just been received, I must head off to attend to it. A hammer should be sought if hammering is needed; a saw if sawing, a plane if planing, course grit sand paper where course sanding is needed, and a polishing cloth is the only tool in this short list useful for polishing. In each case, the job or needdetermines the tool to be brought forth from the box. Until it is the one that can—that is specifically designed to—perform the job, a given tool should stay packed and on the sidelines.

Keep reading: Leg 7

Leg 8

The Revelation of Jesus Christ speaks of a city wherein are the headwaters of “the river of the water of life,” and beside that river, “the tree of life.” The tree bears both fruit—12 crops per year—and leaves. The river flows through and departs that city for regions beyond. The tree’s leaves leave that city via the river.[1] The leaves flow to the nations outside the city, for their healing. (No one in Heaven City needs any healing or ever will again.) Treasures from these outer nations are being brought in (through the guarded gates of) that city from these outlying nations.

Keep reading: Leg 8

Leg 9

After thousands of years of Israel waiting for the promised One, He finally came. Things turned out to be so very differently from everyone’s anticipation of His coming, however. Reading between the lines, even Cousin John tried to provoke Him to hurry up and get the revolt moving forward.[1] In fact, if He intended to lead a revolt against Rome, He seemed slow getting off the mark.

Keep Reading: leg 9

Leg 10

Are people who die still conscious? Consider that Jesus already answered the question, when He said, “I Am the God of A, I, & J.” He is not—according to Jesus—the God of the dead, but of the living.[1] Considering that Jesus said this (i.e. reminds us that this was said) about three persons who had, from our perspective, “perished,” is that enough? Can the debate end right here? But if not:

Keep Reading: Leg 10


Dear Faithful readers –all six of you—I do not know what to write for this possibly last edition (for now) in this two-faced[2] series, except to start with one or more apologies. You may have thought I was kidding when I averred to “handing in” my work a few minutes  before midnight each Friday, when Dr. Agonson wishes he were in bed, and demanding he edit my work before publishing. I was not. I will never apologize to him, as he missed a typo once.

Keep Reading: Thorax


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