Become Fully Human

Our job, each one of us, is to teach and be taught how to prepare our spirit for eternity – it is our means for becoming fully human.

Todd Beal

We are more than our personality. We are more than mere intellect, emotions, and electrical impulses housed within a physical body. We are living beings made up with a real soul and a real spirit residing within an earthly body. We each will one day physically die and begin a new eternal existence.

The question is, “What type of existence will eternity be?” There are two choices: exist in eternal life, or exist in eternal death. The Bible says that someday God, our creator, will make a new creation for those who love him. The Bible also says that at that time, he will literally personally live with us in our presence, forever. All tears will be wiped away. There will be no more goodbyes, no more pain and suffering, no more evil, and no death ever again. We will receive new bodies that don’t break down like the ones we have now. God also says, regarding the new creation, that we cannot possibly imagine what he has prepared for the person who, while physically living today, allows him into his or her heart.

The other choice for eternal existence is eternal death. It is not the same death as that which kills our physical body here on earth. It is the continual process of dying a conscious, anguishing death, a death that is always dying but never ends. In the Bible, God warns us it is a place of eternal darkness, more black than the absence of light. It is a darkness that destroys life – continually – for eternity. A non-physical fire, infinitely hotter than the core of our sun, will forever burn those who choose that existence. God tells us in the Bible it is not his will that any should perish but that all would believe in him and have everlasting life. He originally made this place for Lucifer – the angel God created who tried and still tries to be God. The name we call him is Satan. He desperately does not want us to live in heaven and God’s new creation because he wants you and me to serve him, to follow him to his future home, hell. This place is where all will go who physically die without repenting of their sin against God, who die without accepting Jesus Christ – our creator, the Son of God – into their heart and choose to serve him. His presence in your heart is the only way to live forever in the place he has specifically designed for you and me – a real place that will infinitely exceed our most pleasant imaginations, a place where everything will be as it should be, forever.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” The Bible says that Jesus stands at our heart’s door and knocks, and that if anyone hears his voice and opens up he will come in, and he and that person will be friends. To be fully human is to allow the one who made you to come in and complete you right here right now, to fulfill you, to make you brand new and give you real purpose for the first time in your life.

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About Todd Beal

I love truth and its facts. I love thought-provoking conversations that give both the other person and me a better understanding of a particular topic. I love to find answers to life-long questions; answers that let me see things for what they are instead of what they seem to be. I truly enjoy being in the midst of a group of people where all individuals are joining in, where everybody is enjoying the company of each other. I relax in the company of individuals who are competent yet humble. I like to catch myself doing or saying something ridiculous and then laugh my head off. I enjoy my church and being involved.
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26 Responses to Become Fully Human

  1. Awesome statement indeed! To be a new creation ‘In Christ’ is everything! (2 Cor. 5:17)

  2. Todd, you’ve never packed more truth into fewer words. God’s presence is heaven, and his absence is Hell. This life is a sort of hell in that we are physically veiled from God, but his Spirit grants us those heavenly glimpses that inspire us to endure to the end.

    Regarding this sentence: “God tells us in the Bible it is not his will that any should perish but that all would believe in him and have everlasting life.” I agree that God doesn’t want to lose anyone and that everyone will get an opportunity to hear and accept the gospel. What do you think about those many millions who died without a knowledge of Christ and without the ordinance of baptism, the importance of which Jesus stresses in John 3:5? Is there hope for them?

    • Michael,

      I was blessed when younger, to get to spend much time outdoors. And the Dublin Mountains were so beautiful growing-up! I loved to fish with my father and uncles/great uncles. And then we even shot some guns, in those days! My point was being in and seeing God’s creation! I knew God was both creator and sustainer of life. But I was also raised Irish Roman Catholic. And then my first conversion was even within the Catholic Augustinian position. Indeed God was very real to me even as a young boy. And Christ was also my Incarnate Crucified Lord…visually on the Cross, i.e. the Crucifix! Still powerful in my mind and memory..

      As to those lost, I see the factor of God’s contingency and even second causes. And also the doctrine of common grace. Have you checked out this aspect in theology? Friendly question. Also Romans 8: 30 ; Rom. 9:10-11, 16, etc. And election always includes individuals, even within national Israel. And in the end, God does not save everyone, as even Aquinas also believed. Btw, Aquinas was also something of a Catholic Augustinian.

      Finally, Baptism is a “covenant” act and does not save everyone baptised. Though it is that sign & seal therein.

      • Fr. Robert,

        I appreciate your candor and knowledge of the Christian tradition and Church fathers. As Todd knows, I am a Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), so some of my views may seem wildly heretical especially in contrast with post-biblical writings. I’m not a theologian, simply a lay member who grew up steeped in my own tradition, now wanting to add to my knowledge. I’m interested in what other Christians believe and enjoy the friendly communication I’ve found on this blog. The last thing I ever want to do is contribute to a spirit of contention, as I am secure in what I know and respectful of others’ beliefs.

        I do believe in common grace in the sense of the gospel eventually being offered to all who will accept it, in this life or the next. I believe in election in the sense of Jeremiah’s foreordination, God having a knowledge of who he was from the womb. I believe that “many are called, but few are chosen”, as it applies to this mortal life. I am called to serve God, as everyone is, but I don’t become chosen until I become one of the few who actually takes up his cross and follows the Master.

        • Todd Beal says:

          > I am called to serve God, as everyone is, but I don’t become chosen until I become one of the few who actually takes up his cross and follows the Master. <

          What an awesome statement!

        • Michael,

          We had a nice visit and bit of a vacation in St. George Utah. We also loved the little Cedar City! This was in October.

          Yes, to take up the Cross of Christ, and enter into that personal place of death & dying “with” Christ is much more than doctrinal statement alone (2 Cor. 4:10-11). Though the doctrine/person of Christ (incarnate God..the God-Man) is always important! (2 John 7-9)

    • Todd Beal says:

      Michael, it is ironic that you mention this: [What do you think about those many millions who died without a knowledge of Christ and without the ordinance of baptism, the importance of which Jesus stresses in John 3:5? Is there hope for them?] I was just discussing this very issue on Thanksgiving Day.

      Numerous scriptures state that man looks on the outside while God looks at the heart. This does not mean that good intentions are good enough. It means that if a person opens his or her heart upon God’s inner prompting and accepts God’s forgiveness, that person will go to heaven. The Bible also says that no one is without excuse and that the very heavens declare the glory of God. In other words, God’s creation itself – including our human design – bears irrefutable evidence that God is who the Bible says he is. The Old Testament bears witness that God reveals himself to all people. In addition to all the Jewish prophets through whom God spoke, God also spoke through his non-Jewish prophets (gentiles of other nations). One such example is found in Numbers chapters 22-24: God spoke through Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet from the country of Moab.

      A few months ago I heard a retelling of how a young man raised in the Hindu religion came to Christ. He was in his early twenties, serving time in an Indian jail. One day after reflecting on the thousands of gods that Hindus worship, he realized that he still had not found truth and that those gods were not helping him. He grew so distraught that he made one final appeal. He said; if there is one true God that exists please let me know you’re real. The man said that his fear and angst disappeared and was immediately replaced by peace. A few years later he ran across some Christians who had studied the Bible. He told them of his experience and of how it had changed him completely but he didn’t know what it meant. They joyously told him that he had accepted Jesus Christ into his heart.

      Wow! What a reason to celebrate. God is the all-powerful creator who loves his creation so much that he meets us on our own level, our personal level, and then empowers us to live up to his standards. Whatever we have done – regardless of our past or present state – he gives us every opportunity to accept him and know him on a personal basis, thereby receiving his powerful love and forgiveness. The only requirement is our willingness to believe in our heart, and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ alone is Lord – whether or not we know him by name or have heard the gospel.

      So yes there is hope for those millions of people, providing they accepted Jesus Christ into their heart before dying – whether or not they had a Biblical knowledge of him.

      • I love this reponse and believe it’s true. As a father, I know how each of my children differ and that they have unique strengths and weaknesses. But I certainly wouldn’t pick one to succeed and one to fail, or blatantly favor one over the other. God’s ways are not our ways, but something whispers to me that our Father loves us all in that way. He will give us all a chance – many chances to most of us, and ultimately if we reject him it will be because we so choose. I also believe that even those who know nothing of Christ in this life will have the opportunity to hear the gospel in its fullness in the world to come. I interpret 1 Peter 3:18-20 to mean that Jesus took that message himself to the rebellious souls who lost their lives in the flood, who were in spiritual prison (a type of hell). Although those people were wicked enough to merit physical destruction, God’s mercy was extended to their spirits. I’m grateful to have the knowledge I have, and maintain a hope that the same knowledge will be eventually extended to all of God’s children. Their acceptance or rejection of that knowledge will remain their choice.

    • Lance Ponder says:

      I agree this was a great post. Very little to debate. As for dying without knowledge of Christ, I think Ro 1 (esp v20) lays out at least some sort of answer to this. As to water baptism, that’s a symbol or sacrament, if you will. It isn’t a condition of salvation, rather a sign of it. Even the baptism of the Holy Spirit is, I think a sign rather than a requirement, the spiritual baptism which purifies and regenerates might be said to be part of the process. Salvation is a person, not an event – that’s how I think of it. Besides, if you read the OT you can drop “Jesus” in every single time you come across a form of the word “salvation” – it is a form of the same word/name Y’hoshua (Hebrew) or Yeshua (Greek).

  3. Todd Beal says:

    Michael I’m right there with you when you talk about God giving us many chances to accept him and that ultimately we choose our eternal destination.

    Regarding your explanation of 1 Peter 3:18-20, that passage is a stumper for me. Your reasoning initially makes sense according to how the passage reads but, as always, I’ll need to do my own in-depth study to reach personal understanding. I have never tackled that scripture.

    However, two scripture passages immediately come to mind while thinking about this topic: [ESV] Hebrews 9:27 “…it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment”; and [ESV] Luke 16:19-31 (parable of Lazarus and the rich man). The rich man died without repentance and immediately went to hell. Lazarus, the poor man who was right with God immediately went to heaven. While in hell, seeing Abraham and Lazarus in heaven, the rich man begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his physically alive brothers and sisters lest they also go to the place of torment. Vs. 29: But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ Vs. 30: And he (the rich man) said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ Vs. 31: He (Abraham) said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’

    I believe the Bible makes very clear that our one physical life is our single chance to repent and accept God. This is why I disagree with the concept of purgatory, as I find no scriptural basis for supporting it. Whether or not the passage on which you expounded (1 Peter 3:18-20) is an exception, being that the Mosaic Law was non-existent at the time of the flood, I personally don’t know. I have never run across any teaching, published or otherwise, that even attempts to address this issue. Your reasoning is certainly interesting and I can see where you’re coming from.

  4. I agree that mortality is the time that makes or breaks us, and in fact a statement from my tradition puts it as “for behold this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.” I don’t like the idea of purgatory either, but our spirits have to be somewhere between death and resurrection. I believe our spirits return to God, but also that no unclean thing can abide his presence. The two thieves crucified with Jesus (Luke 23:43) went to “paradise” because (I surmise) they were repentant enough at that point to qualify. I imagine someone like Judas Iscariot, on the other hand, would have another place to await the resurrection. I guess this would be a form of “immediate judgment”, not the same as the post-millennial final judgment.

    I’m a little outside my comfort zone discussing doctrine with people online because I haven’t studied as much as I should, and you and your readers are so knowledgeable. I’m also aware that my tradition and beliefs are not mainstream so there are bound to be some differences. I’ll try to focus on the commonalities we share in worshipping Christ (which are many and much more important than our differences). I am curious about those differences though, and enjoy the discussion.

    • Todd Beal says:

      > our spirits have to be somewhere between death and resurrection. I believe our spirits return to God, but also that no unclean thing can abide his presence. <

      Regarding where our spirit goes after death, we have some good examples within scripture. Jesus referred to the rich man as being in hell (Hades) because his heart was not right with God before dying. Jesus also said that the angels carried Lazarus to Abraham’s side (heaven), which means that Abraham, who died hundreds of years before the telling of this parable, and Lazarus both were in heaven because their hearts were right with God before dying.

      Revelation 7:9-17 also serves as good reference. In this part of his vision, the apostle John saw a great multitude of people of all nationalities standing before God’s throne and before the Lamb (Jesus); they were wearing white robes. One of the heavenly elders told John that these people came out of the great end-time tribulation, and that they were executed because of their faith in Jesus Christ; keeping in mind that the great tribulation is still ravaging earth while these people are in heaven. Revelation 6:9-11 serves as a prime reference: John saw all souls who had been slain for the Word of God and for the witness they had borne (people from all periods of human history).

      > The two thieves crucified with Jesus (Luke 23:43) went to “paradise” because (I surmise) they were repentant enough at that point to qualify. <

      Just a friendly correction regarding the thieves: in Luke 23:39, one thief railed on Jesus saying if you are the Messiah (the Christ), save yourself and us. Then in Vs. 40, the thief on the opposite side of Jesus rebuked the other thief, rhetorically saying, do you not fear God. Afterward he asked Jesus to remember him in Jesus’ kingdom (showing his repentance). Jesus then told the repentant thief that he would join him in paradise that very day. However, Jesus did not extend the same promise to the thief who railed on him. I wanted to bring that to your attention just in case you had overlooked it.

      So, to summarize where our spirits ultimately go, based on the above examples, our spirit goes to one of two places upon our physical death: heaven, if our heart is right with God; or hell, if our heart is not right with God (including Judas Iscariot). I read a true story of a man who was dead for 90 minutes and went to heaven [“90 Minutes in Heaven”, Don Piper]. I highly recommend this book because it takes heaven out of the imagination and plants it firmly within reality.

      Regarding the judgment, there are two different judgments. One judgment will be awesome; it is when all who believed in Jesus Christ before physical death (or the before the rapture) will receive their rewards and appointed positions of authority for both God’s millennial kingdom and his post millennial new creation. Jesus speaks about these rewards in the Gospels, and the apostle Paul refers to this topic throughout his writings. This judgment takes place subsequent the rapture of all believers (dead and alive), which occurs prior to the great tribulation (Hebrews 9:28). This is not the judgment we normally think of, as in the sentencing of a criminal. We can think of it as God’s “judgment for the plaintiff” in the form of heavenly reward. Essentially it is an awards banquet for believers, as there is no sin in them for God to judge. Once a person accepts Jesus into his or her heart, that person is sealed and God remembers their sins no more Hebrews 10:17 and Psalm 103:12.

      The other judgment is the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15). This is the one all do all, where all people who were ever born, that died without being right with God, will stand before God’s throne. God will judge each person according to his or her deeds and pronounce sentence, the Lake of Fire.

      > I’m a little outside my comfort zone discussing doctrine with people online because I haven’t studied as much as I should <

      First, I want to say that this is a place to ask and to answer the question, “Why”, regardless of personal background. This is not a place for selfishly throwing around one’s theological weight. However, if a theologically-based issue happens to come up during discussion (such as this one), or if the post itself is directly theological by nature, then whoever wishes to participate is welcome to do so (whether or not we all end up in agreement). Additionally, anytime we get right down to the nuts and bolts of truth, God always enters the picture because he is the source of truth, the living truth, which leads us right back to scripture (as is custom for you and me within our conversations).

      Secondly, I am not a theologian like Fr. Robert and Lance Ponder; I just love to study my Bible. It is good for this blog to have balanced perspectives for keeping the air fresh, theologians providing for the non-theologian and vice versa.

      Finally Michael, it is interesting to see your reasoning and to hear your take on the topics discussed here. Your background makes you see things differently and compels me to dig even deeper into truth and scripture to know where I stand. After all, that’s what we’re here for, you and I, to challenge each other in our love for truth.

      • Lance Ponder says:

        You’re very generous to refer to me as a theologian. I am, like you, someone who loves to study the gift of scripture our Lord has handed down to us.

      • One of the major thoughts for me at least, would be, just how is the sinner made or become “right” with or before God? This has been a perennial and active question since the Reformation.

        • Todd Beal says:

          [One of the major thoughts for me at least, would be, just how is the sinner made or become “right” with or before God? This has been a perennial and active question since the Reformation.]

          Paul says in Romans 10:09, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” However, to fully answer this question, we must also address those cases where someone has not heard of Jesus Christ by name, or is ignorant of the Bible’s existence.

          Numerous scriptures reiterate that man looks on the outside while God looks at the heart. This does not mean that good intentions are good enough. It means that if a person opens his or her heart upon God’s inner prompting and invites Jesus inside (thus asking for and receiving God’s forgiveness), that person will go to heaven. That person is right with God.

          The Bible also says that no one is without excuse and that the very heavens declare the glory of God. In other words, God’s creation itself – including our human design – bears irrefutable evidence that God is who the Bible says he is. The Old Testament bears witness that God reveals himself to all people. In addition to all the Jewish prophets through whom God spoke, God also spoke through his non-Jewish prophets (gentiles of other nations). One such example is found in Numbers chapters 22-24: God spoke through Balaam, a non-Israelite prophet from the country of Moab.

          A few months ago I heard a retelling of how a young man raised in the Hindu religion came to Christ. He was in his early twenties, serving time in an Indian jail. One day after reflecting on the thousands of gods that Hindus worship, he realized that he still had not found truth and that those gods were not helping him. He grew so distraught that he made one final appeal. He said; if there is one true God that exists please let me know you’re real. The man said that his fear and angst disappeared and was immediately replaced by peace. A few years later he ran across some Christians who had studied the Bible. He told them of his experience and of how it had changed him completely but he didn’t know what it meant. They joyously told him that he had accepted Jesus Christ into his heart.

          Wow! What a reason to celebrate. God is the all-powerful creator who loves his creation so much that he meets us on our own level, our personal level, and then empowers us to live up to his standards. Whatever we have done – regardless of our past or present state – he gives us every opportunity to accept him into our heart and know him on a personal basis, thereby receiving his powerful love and forgiveness. The only requirement is our willingness to believe in our heart, and confess with our mouth that Jesus Christ alone is Lord – whether or not we know him by name or have heard the gospel.

    • Lance Ponder says:

      Michael, I always thought the reference to paradise when Jesus spoke to the thief was odd. I’ve read some different viewpoints on it and frankly I am still not completely certain. I don’t believe there’s a “second chance” purgatory kind of place. I have read enough to know there’s legitimate reason to question whether we go directly to heaven or hell upon physical death, though after looking it over pretty well I’ve come to believe the spirit, apart from the departed shell, does go to either “heaven” or “hell,” or at least some sort of “anti-chamber” to whichever is your final destination. There’s too much I don’t know. What I take on faith is that God is who He claims to be and that Jesus is both Lord and Savior of all who believe and obey. In reverent response to His grace and mercy I seek to be humble and submit to His will. My ability to actually do this is inadequate, of course, so I trust His blood is sufficient to cover my sin. As for works, while they do not save, they do serve as a sign and witness of salvation in this life and there is a relationship between heavenly reward and works. You also mentioned not having entirely mainstream beliefs. I can relate. On the surface I probably come across very fundamental, but some of my personal positions are a bit off the beaten path as well. I don’t mind a bit chatting with people who hold “unconventional” beliefs. I don’t have to agree, but I am willing to both learn and share what I’ve learned. It is better to be clear in disagreement than to be in some foggy sort of false agreement. That’s just my opinion, of course. ;-)

  5. pbus1 says:

    This has been a wonderful discussion with many thought-provoking statements, as well as passages of Scripture! I have enjoyed reading the conversation, as well as the article. I have been blessed by both! I also agree, that we are going to spend eternity, in either heaven or hell! I do not believe in purgatory, nor have I ever found scriptural basis for belief in it. (This is not to say, by any means, that I am a theologian!) As it pertains to the two thieves, and the statement made by Jesus, “Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise.” It is my opinion, that Jesus was referring to the repentant thief only. Paradise, in this instance, meant heaven. Therefore, I also believe that upon death, the soul leaves the body, and goes to its eternal destination.

    To know TRUTH, and not live our lives accordingly, will profit us nothing! In the end, our eternal existence, will be spent in eternal torment!

    Todd, a wonderful post, as always! God bless you!

    • Todd Beal says:

      I was hoping you would stop by Paulette. Thanks for jumping into the conversation, and for your vote of confidence regarding the post. I have really enjoyed the dialog with everyone. I have learned a bundle, both from everyone’s comments and through looking up scripture for comment replies.

      I would like to thank each one of you for your fellowship and great thinking. It truly has been a pleasure.

    • Todd Beal says:

      [To know TRUTH, and not live our lives accordingly, will profit us nothing!]

      Absolutely, great statement!

  6. Yes, thank everyone, your humble and caring responses strengthen my faith. Todd — you’re right, I didn’t review the story of Jesus and the thieves as thoroughly as I should have.

  7. Viv says:

    The idea of a body that doesn’t break down is right now more appealing than almost anything else.

    • Todd Beal says:

      Yes, that will be awesome!  Can you imagine no need to sleep, no aches and pains, no disease, no conflicting thoughts, no cloudy judgment, no angst, and no depression.  The list goes on and on; whatever bad you can imagine, it will instantly disappear forever.   Whatever good you can imagine, multiply that by infinity, and we will be fully empowered to do and be just that, and more.  Why; because Jesus, our all-powerful creator, will be physically forever present and in our midst.  That’s good stuff.

      Thanks for your comment, Viv.  I enjoyed your post, The Healing Power of Metaphorical Mud.

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