dianoigo blog

Sunday 22 August 2021

Review of "The Immortality of the Soul: Is it Biblical?" by Fr Emmanuel Cazanave

This article reviews an article entitled, «L'immortalité de l'âme est-elle biblique?» ("The immortality of the soul: Is it biblical?") by Fr Emmanuel Cazanave.1 Rev Dr Cazanave is a priest of the diocese of Toulouse, France and a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Theology at the Institut catholique de Toulouse. The topic is of interest to me as a reader who has moved from a confessional community that answers an emphatic "No" to the titular question (the Christadelphians),2 to one that affirms the immortality of the soul as a matter of dogma (the Roman Catholic Church).3 In my view, Fr Cazanave offers insights that could be useful to a diverse audience. I refer firstly to those who deny the immortality of the soul and hold an "annihilationist" position (that death reduces the human person to nothing). Secondly, I refer to myriads of Catholics who are misinformed about Church teaching and regard death as a welcome escape from bodily existence. Since the article is probably inaccessible to most readers of this blog, due to being written in French, I thought I would offer a review with a little of my own commentary. I should mention that I also do not have access to the published version of the article, but Fr Cazanave kindly sent me a preprint.4

The article is broader in scope than the title suggests. It is divided into four main sections, only one of which deals primarily with biblical exegesis. Fr Cazanave first explains what the Magisterium—the teaching office of the Catholic Church—has stated on the subject of the immortality of the soul. Secondly, he lists some theological objections to the doctrine of the soul's immortality and attempts to answer them. Thirdly, he surveys biblical evidence pertaining to the topic. Fourthly, he discusses the contributions of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), one of the Church's most important theologians.


In the article's introduction, Fr Cazanave briefly surveys much of the ground that he will dig into more deeply later on. He begins by acknowleding an apparent incongruity between the notion of the immortality of the soul—understood as the existence of a disembodied human soul after death—and the biblical vision of the human person, which exhibits a profound unity that seems to exclude any notion of a separable soul. He further points out that the idea of an immortal soul brings with it the danger (also highlighted in recent times by Protestant luminaries such as Oscar Cullmann and N.T. Wright) of a distorted Christian doctrine of resurrection. He admits that many Christians conceive of resurrection as simply an afterlife of the soul without the body, and indeed that the majority of Catholics no longer believe in the resurrection of the body (notwithstanding that Catholics testify to such belief at every Mass when reciting the Creed).

In view of these problems, Fr Cazanave concedes that the opposition of some theologians to any concept of a soul or an immortal soul, which they denounce as a pollution of Judaeo-Christian thought by Greek philosophy, is understandable. But what is the alternative? One option is what he refers to as "total death": after death, the body returns to dust and whatever is meant by "soul" also no longer exists. Death is therefore the annihilation of the person. Corresponding to "total death," therefore, is "total resurrection," whereby God at the eschaton resuscitates humans in both their bodily and psychological or pneumatic dimensions. This doctrine both preserves the unity of the "biblical human" and avoids any confusion between the resurrection and ideas about the soul.

Nevertheless, Fr Cazanave expresses a number of reservations about accepting this "total death and total resurrection" doctrine. First, and obviously significant for a Catholic priest such as himself, the Church's Magisterium has for many centuries affirmed and reaffirmed the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Second, while conceding the Bible does not offer a notion of the immortality of the soul in the manner of a philosophical definition or a positive affirmation, he argues that this observation leaves the question unresolved, because the Bible is not written like a theological manual. This seems to me to be a vital point, since many Protestants—particularly of a fundamentalist or sectarian disposition—approach the Bible precisely as a doctrinal treatise or dogmatic constitution, and therefore presuppose that if a doctrine is "biblical," it must be expressly defined within the Bible.5 And, as Fr Cazanave observes, there is no shortage of biblical passages that at the very least call into question efforts by "total death" theologians to annul the notion of  a soul and its immortality.

Fr Cazanave proceeds to ask whether the doctrine of "total death for total resurrection" really corresponds to biblical anthropology. What, he asks, would it mean to be created in the image of God if that image in no way reflects the eternity of its Creator? Fr Cazanave also underlines the notion of progressive revelation: the idea of the "biblical human" is not static, but evolves organically throughout the biblical revelation. The later texts do not contradict the earlier, but develop their ideas further in the same direction.6

Fr Cazanave concludes his introduction by emphasising that the notion of an immortal soul existing in a disembodied state is paradoxical, since God wills for humans to be whole, which entails embodiment. The notion of a disembodied soul is thus tied up in the mystery of sin, of death, and of the permanence of the divine purpose despite them. No one faithful to the biblical idea of resurrection can deny, he says, that a soul no longer giving form to matter in its own body is «une absurdité». Yet it is an absurdity in the same measure that sin is absurd! Since neither sin nor death was part of God's purpose for humanity, the same is true of a disembodied soul, which is only possible in death. Nevertheless, could not, asks Fr Cazanave, the latter be the sign of the permanence of the divine plan in the face of sin?

1. The Teaching of the Magisterium

Fr Cazanave does not discuss the teachings of the Church Fathers concerning the soul. However, as I have written elsewhere, it is clear from the earliest post-apostolic writings that, even as early Christian writings such as 1 Clement and Justin Martyr strongly emphasised bodily resurrection or even polemicised against Neo-Platonist ideas that denigrated bodily existence, they nonetheless affirmed the real existence of the faithful between death and resurrection.7 Fr Cazanave instead focuses on magisterial teaching that has emanated from ecumenical councils. At the Fifth Lateran Council (1512-17), the Catholic Church dogmatically affirmed the existence of a human soul as well as its immortality. An implication of this is the notion of an "intermediate state" between individual death and resurrection during which the human soul may be said to subsist "separately" without a body. Moreover, Pope Leo X at the Fifth Lateran Council condemned those who assert that the soul is mortal. This teaching has been constantly reaffirmed since, including in the document Gaudium et Spes from the most recent ecumenical council, Vatican II (1962-65). In a 1979 letter to bishops, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed the use of the word "soul" for that conscious element of the human "me" that subsists after death, without ignoring that this word takes on several meanings in Scripture.

2. The Difficulties Posed by the Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul

2.1. Is the immortality of the soul incompatible with resurrection?

Fr Cazanave next addresses theological objections that have been raised against the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, some of which had already been mentioned in the introduction. He quotes Protestant theologian Philippie-Henri Menoud to the effect that the ideas of immortality of the soul and resurrection of the body are not compatible but mutually exclusive notions between which one must choose, with the New Testament coming down decisively on the side of the latter. In response, Fr Cazanave reiterates an important point he has made earlier: Sacred Scripture is not a treatise on psychology and does not give conceptual definitions as a work of systematic philosophy would. He describes the practice of looking for an anthropological treatise in the biblical writings as a «piège» (trap), commenting that even if one were to assemble all the passages that describe man,8 this would not equate to the logical components of a systematic discourse on the subject.9 

Instead, Fr Cazanave argues that research into biblical anthropology must be theologically oriented, focusing not on man in himself but on God and the intent he reveals through the manifestations of his presence and action in the economy of salvation. Hence, he regards as a key text Wisdom 1:13-14, which asserts that God "did not make death nor does he delight in the destruction of the living. For he created all things that they might exist..." (NETS)10 Fr Cazanave comments that death certainly exists and things disappear when it reaches them. Nevertheless, man exists by virtue of a form that transcends his matter while constituting only a single actus essendi (Latin, "act of being"), matter and form. It is this paradox by which man uniquely exists in the image of God. In a world characterised by signification (the presence of divine signs), the sustenance of the human form beyond the destruction of its matter is the sign of persistence of the divine plan. Fr Cazanave reiterates the analogy between sin and death: just as sin has wounded mankind but not annihilated it, so death does not annihilate man but signals the absurdity of sin by the unthinkable separation of soul from body. The disembodied soul subsists without realising what it is essentially made for—to "in-form" matter, thereby making it into a body—and thus conveys the gravity of sin and the tragedy of death. In this sense, the terminology "immortality of the soul" is rather unfortunate.11 In Scripture, immortality is not mere existence but a hoped-for reward: life in all its fullness. Moreover, the term "immortality" suggests imperviousness to death, whereas—in terms of Fr Cazanave's description—the soul is wounded or denuded by its paradoxical separation from the body. The term "immortality" in "immortality of the soul" should be understood in the sense of subsistence and not in the biblical sense of eternal blessedness.

Fr Cazanave then points out a central truth of biblical revelation, namely that God created man to be in covenant with him. God does not change and his covenant is eternal. Yet how can a covenant continue when one of the parties to it no longer exists? He therefore argues that the subsistence of man's being after death, the fact of his remaining without returning to nothingness, provides a point of connection between the One who simply Is and his creature. The immortality of the soul thus witnesses to the irrevocability of God's covenantal plan. Fr Cazanave thus summarises that the apparent absurdity of the soul's subsistence without the body is a sign conveying two important truths:
  1. The gravity of sin, which upsets the order of God's creation but does not cause him to renounce it altogether; 
  2. The irrevocable power of the Creator's merciful plan of redemption
A key text cited by Fr Cazanave in support of this theological anthropology is Romans 14:7-9, where St. Paul declares that we belong to the Lord in death as in life. The Lord, infers Fr Cazanave, is not the Lord of nothingness or of a memory of that which has lapsed into nothingness.

2.2. Is the idea of the immortality of the soul a pollution of Christian thought by Greek philosophy?

Having quoted some theologians—including the great Karl Barth—who describe the idea of the immortality of the soul as a contamination of Judaeo-Christian thought by Greek philosophy, Fr Cazanave poses two questions. Firstly, is there really a clearly defined Greek anthropology that posits a body/soul dualism? Secondly, is Christian thought in its development—especially the scholasticism of the second millennium—truly dualistic and does it really oppose soul and body?

To the first question, Fr Cazanave responds that, according to recent research, the Greek heritage is one of questioning and exploration rather than of clearly established definitions. It would be reductionist to think of "Greek philosophy" in monolithic terms. Even Plato, although influenced by the mystery religion of Orphism (in which the soul is clearly distinct from the body and imprisoned by it), only uses this tradition in the service of a philosophical vision. Plato did not bequeath a coherent philosophical definition of the soul and its relation to the body that could simply be passed on by others. Fr Cazanave grants that the school of Neo-Platonism systematised some of Plato's ideas in the direction of a dualistic anthropology in which the body imprisons the soul. However, he warns, this line of thought is not the only representative of Greek philosophy. On the contrary, in Aristotelian thought, the principle of animation (the soul) and the matter so animated (the body) are so unified and interdependent that they disappear together in death (though some interpreters of Aristotle maintain that, for Aristotle, something of the soul remains after death.) It is clear, therefore, that early Christianity did not simply inherit a well-defined "Greek anthropology." The thought of the Church Fathers and later the scholastics draws on various currents of the Greek tradition but does not adopt them uncritically. And Magisterial teaching on the soul, as promulgated dogmatically in the second millennium, is unambiguously Aristotelian—not Neo-Platonist—in its philosophical orientation.

2.3. Is "total death for total resurrection" biblical?

Fr Cazanave next observes that contemporary theologians present us with a stark choice: either be faithful to the unitary anthropology of the Bible and adopt a "total death for total resurrection" doctrine, or pollute biblical faith by clinging to the notion of an immortal soul that subsists in an "intermediate state" between death and eschatological resurrection. The first option not only entails choosing the Bible over Greek influence, but also restoring the primacy of divine action over against an exaltation of human autonomy expressed in the natural immortality of the soul. He notes that at their most extreme, detractors of the immortality of the soul concept regard it as an exemplification of human pride just as occurs in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) and at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11).

The notion of "total death for total resurrection" may appear to do justice to biblical notions of divine primacy and unitary anthropology, but for Fr Cazanave a serious concern arises: what of the intermediate time between the moment of death and that of resurrection? The annihilation of the deceased makes it impossible to think of a continuity of the personal "me" and in this respect is hardly biblical, for there is then not a resurrection but a re-creation.12 The person who is rewarded is not the same "me" as the one who died. Fr Cazanave notes two solutions to this conundrum that theologians typically offer. The first is that the dead person is held in God's memory (cf. Isa. 49:15-16). However, is it really "existence" for one to exist only within the memory of God? To refer to an earlier point, can annihilation really be the sign and witness of the irrevocability of the divine plan? Can a covenant subsist while one of its parties does not? Moreover, does the notion of an annihilation that is attenuated by an absorption into the memory of the divine Word not resemble the Neo-Platonist idea of the divine part of the soul merging with the divinity?13 This resemblance is ironic, given that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is often accused of being a Neo-Platonist corruption of Christianity.

Fr Cazanave notes that other theologians have sought to address this problem by positing that resurrection takes place immediately after death (e.g., due to the dead passing outside of linear time). However, such a doctrine is at odds with the biblical vision of history and time, which compels us to situate the resurrection of the body at the Parousia of Christ.

3. The "Biblical Man"

3.1. The human person and death in the Hebrew Bible

Fr Cazanave quotes the Protestant theologian Oscar Cullmann to the effect that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul represents a serious misunderstanding of both Old and New Testaments. In response, Fr Cazanave surveys biblical anthropology. Beginning with the Hebrew Bible, he asserts that it presents a man who is fundamentally one, and that any kind of soul/body dualism is foreign to it. A man is characterised by three dimensions or elements: the nefesh, the basar, and the ruah.14 Nefesh designates the throat and respiration and can be understood as the breath that signifies man as a living being who desires, who possesses an appetite. Nefesh is therefore the person, who is not self-sufficient but fulfilled by aspiring to something beyond oneself. The basar is then the bodily and carnal expression and manifestation of the nefesh, the two being dimensions of one psycho-physiological being. The ruah is the spirit of God, which communicates to man something of divine energy and establishes him in relation to God.

Death, then, occurs when God withdraws the ruah (Qoh. 12:7) and the basar perishes (Job 34:14-15). Fr Cazanave states that, since the biblical man is characterised by profound unity, one could be tempted to conceive of biblical death as the disappearance of the whole person. However, while the early biblical vision of the afterlife is less than cheerful and akin to the Babylonian idea of a dark abode, there are indications that the deceased do not return to nothingness. The deceased are rephaim, mere shadows of themselves (e.g., Job 26:5; Prov. 9:18; 21:16; Isa. 14:9); but being reduced to a shadow, to sleepiness or a comatose state, is not equivalent to ontological annihilation. Thus, Fr Cazanave infers that the nefesh, despite being deprived of the vital breath (ruah), does not return to nothingness at death. In a similar vein, Fr Cazanave argues that descriptions of the dead as being in a place, Sheol—albeit a place of darkness, shadow, and disorder (Job 10:20-22; cf. 3:13-19, Ps. 88:9-12)—imply that the dead have not completely ceased to exist.15 Death in the Hebrew Bible is an unenviable, unfulfilling state but it is not annihilation.

3.2. Not the God of the dead, but of the living

Fr Cazanave asserts that Jesus' affirmation to the Sadducees, "He is not the God of the dead but of the living" (Mark 12:27 par.) confirms the evolution of intertestamental Jewish eschatology, in which faith in bodily resurrection appears, the fruit of reflection on the faithfulness of God to his covenant. While some early biblical texts on resurrection probably refer—at the grammatical-historical level—to political or national revivals within history (e.g., Isa. 26:19; Ezekiel 37), the hope of individual bodily resurrection at the end of history appears explicitly in late strata of the Old Testament, such as Daniel 12:2 and 2 Maccabees 7. 

Jewish faith in the resurrection required, argues Fr Cazanave, a harmonisation between two convictions: (i) a certain continuation of the "I" after death, albeit in a shadowy state; and (ii) the eschatological resurrection of the flesh. Together, these two affirmations necessitate an "intermediate state" in which the person exists in a kind of "standby" between death and resurrection. Fr Cazanave reasons that later biblical authors—particularly the author of Wisdom of Solomon—adopted the Hellenistic notion of the immortality of the soul to help conceptualise the post-mortem continuation of the nefesh. He emphasises that this adoption is not a pollution of biblical thought by "Greek philosophy" (which did not offer a monolithic concept of the soul) but the assimilation of a concept useful in the ongoing development of biblical thought. Moreover, it was not Greek thought in its entirety, nor even a thoroughgoing dualism, that was adopted. The selective and discerning assimilation of Greek ideas about the soul does not necessarily result in a dualism that elevates the soul, denigrates embodiment, and destroys the unity of the human person. Fr Cazanave warns that reductionism on this point is the source of widespread misunderstanding.

A further clarification offered by Fr Cazanave is that a doctrine of the immortality of the soul that is compatible with Scripture would not be a doctrine of natural immortality. That is, the soul's immortality is not due to its own intrinsic nature but to the faithfulness of God (Wisdom 3:1-4).

3.3. The Soul in the New Testament

Fr Cazanave points to Matthew 10:28 ("Fear not those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul") as a text that mentions the soul/body distinction. He acknowledges that psyche ("soul") in this text designates the whole person in her capacity to transcend the earthly dimension of life. Nonetheless, he considers it significant that a distinction between body and soul is made (and that the whole person is not annihilated by earthly death).

Our author identifies the Gospel of St. Luke as the New Testament book with the greatest interest in the question of the fate of the dead before the Parousia. In this respect, he points to the Parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31) and Jesus' saying on the cross to the good thief, "Today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43).16 The emphasis in the latter text is on presence with Christ. This same emphasis emerges in St. Paul's concept of the intermediate state (2 Cor. 5:6-8; Phil. 1:20-24). Fr Cazanave asserts that, by equating his death with "being with Christ," St. Paul clearly shows that he does not think of death in terms of annihilation. Moreover, if he was thinking merely of a datum in God's memory, he would not have used the term sun Christō einai ("being with Christ"). These passages draw out the afterlife implications of Paul's assertion in Romans 14:8-9 that "whether we live or die, we are the Lord's" and that Christ is "Lord of both the dead and the living." St. Paul's experience of union with Christ is so intimate that he cannot conceive of it being dissolved, even temporarily, by death (cf. Rom. 8:38).

Fr Cazanave draws another important insight on Pauline anthropology from 2 Corinthians 12:2. This text is concerned with a mystical experience rather than death, but for Paul to twice say of the experience "whether in the body or out of the body I do not know" shows that a strict identification of the "I" with the body is not in accordance with Paul's thought. Indeed, his words imply some separability from bodily existence (without in any way denigrating embodiment).

There are numerous other New Testament texts relevant to the subject of the intermediate state that the article does not discuss. The subject is obviously not a major concern of the New Testament writers (why would it be, since they expected an imminent Parousia?) and is never treated systematically, but there is enough evidence to conclude that they anticipated the ontological continuation of the person in Christ's presence between death and resurrection.

4. St. Thomas and Scholasticism: A Keen Awareness of the Difficulty

In the last part of the article, Fr Cazanave interacts with the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Common Doctor's anthropology draws on Aristotelian thought, in which the soul is the form of the body: it in-forms (gives form to) matter, allowing it to realise its potential as a human body. The soul is for a body and the body is for a soul; they are so profoundly united that the body is like the skin of the soul. The soul is a single actus essendi ("act of being") with the body, but being made spiritually in the image of God, is personal and immortal. The body and soul are not two beings that come together but together constitute a single being.

Within this framework, the notion of a human soul without a body is a contradiction, and St. Thomas so acutely appreciates the difficulty of thinking of a soul separated from its body after death that he wonders whether such a soul can even be described as a person. Clearly, St. Thomas cannot be accused of a Neo-Platonic dualism in which death is the soul's liberation from its bodily prison. Fr Cazanave quotes at length from Joseph Ratzinger's assessment of the anthropological problem faced by medieval theologians and St. Thomas' solution thereto. Theological anthropology had, on the one hand, to recognise in each human person a unique creature of God, created as a unified whole and willed to exist. On the other hand, it had to distinguish between that which is ephemeral in man and that which endures. The ephemeral accounts for the reality of death brought on by sin, while the enduring opens the way to resurrection (as opposed to re-creation ex nihilo). 

Although St. Thomas' anthropology is Aristotelian in orientation, he does not adopt Aristotelian anthropology uncritically. For Aristotle, "form" is a reality only when united with matter, and thus the soul dies with the body. If, conversely, the soul is "immortal," it is immortal in a universal, not an individual, sense. The idea that the human soul is at once personal and "form" of matter would have been inconceivable to Aristotle. Thus, St. Thomas goes beyond Aristotle by conceiving of the soul as an intellectual substance, a substantial form of matter. In short, St. Thomas' idea of the soul as the substantial form of the body provides a philosophical anthropology that at once preserves the fundamental unity of the human person (against the Neo-Platonist idea of the body as the soul's instrument), the particularity of each human person (against any notion of a "universal spirit" into which one is absorbed at death), and the substantial soul as the subject of rationality (against the materialist idea of the rationality of un-in-formed matter).


Fr Cazanave begins his conclusion by acknowledging that the idea of the immortality of the soul presents dangers (that do not, however, invalidate the doctrine). Firstly, there is the danger of veering into a Neo-Platonist anthropology in which the soul is the real person and the body a mere vehicle. This danger is all too commonly seen in popular Christian piety, including among Catholics, and reduces resurrection to a redundant afterthought. The profound unity of the human person, as taught by the Bible, must be reaffirmed, and the resurrection of the body reaffirmed as the Christian hope.

Secondly, there is a danger that the idea of an immortal soul leads to a proud self-exaltation by man in the face of his Creator. If the Church affirms that the soul endures in death, this is not to surrender to the quest for vain consolation, but is a reflection of the eternal purpose of God for his image-bearers. The absurdity of a soul without a body to give form to is not bypassed but becomes the sign of another absurdity—sin—that however did not defeat the Creator's plan.

It seems, therefore, that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is widely misunderstood by many of its adherents and detractors alike! Many on both sides seem to conceive of the doctrine as elevating the soul at the expense of the body and obviating the need for resurrection. In my estimation, Fr Cazanave's article makes an important contribution toward correcting misconceptions of the Church's teaching. 

From an exegetical standpoint, one of Fr Cazanave's most significant observations is that the Bible cannot be approached as though it were a systematic theological treatise (either at the level of individual passages or formed by assembling various texts). Scripture does not conform to human expectations by treating subjects with a level of detail and precision proportional to our level of interest. Scripture does not, in fact, offer us either a philosophically precise account of the human person or of human death. It does, however, offer a vision for man, individually and collectively, as purposed by his Creator. In reflecting on that vision, the Church has seen fit to promulgate a doctrine of the immortality of the soul—or, as it might be termed to avoid confusion—the subsistence of the human person despite death and until resurrection.
  • 1 Cazanave, E, «L'immortalité de l'âme est-elle biblique?», Bulletin de Litterature Ecclesiastique 120 (2019): 7-43.
  • 2 Article 7 of the Doctrines to be Rejected of the Birmingham Amended Statement of Faith reads, "We reject the doctrine - that man has an immortal soul." The main statement affirms belief in the Resurrection of (some of) the Dead at the Second Coming of Christ, with the final judgment leading to one of two destinies: bodily immortality or annihilation.
  • 3 See, for instance, articles 362-68 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Following St. Thomas Aquinas and others, the Catholic Church follows an Aristotelian anthropology in which the soul is described as the "form of the body." The Church does not in any way denigrate corporeality or materiality. The Catechism states that "every spiritual soul is created immediately by God—it is not 'produced' by the parents—and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection" (CCC 366). The Church's teaching on what happens at death is summarised thus: "Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers to his life in Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven—through a purification or immediately,—or immediate and everlasting damnation" (CCC 1022). Thus, the Church affirms an intermediate state that is incorporeal but already anticipates the final state that will occur after the Resurrection of the Dead and the Last Judgment.
  • 4 For this reason, I will not cite page numbers in referencing the work.
  • 5 No one who has spent much time with Scripture can suppose that Scripture always reveals truths in this way. The New Testament epistles, much as the Old Testament prophets, for instance, are largely of an occasional nature. They bear witness to theological truths as often as they explicitly teach them. Hence, rather than imposing on the Holy Spirit an obligation to reveal the dogma of the immortality of the soul (or any other truth) on our terms, our task is to carefully interpret what Scripture does reveal, even indirectly.
  • For instance, contemporary biblical scholars now widely agree that the earliest texts in the Hebrew Bible convey nothing of a beatific afterlife, including personal resurrection; this is a development that appears only well into the Second Temple Period.
  • 7 On 1 Clement, see my article, A Systematic-Theological Analysis of Mortalism as an Evangelical Position (written while I was still an Evangelical). On Justin Martyr's ideas about the soul and afterlife, see my article, Justin Martyr, the Soul, and Christadelphian Apologetics.
  • I follow Fr Cazanave in using the term "man" to describe humanity or the generic human; this term should be understood in a gender-inclusive sense.
  • 9 The point was already made in the introduction but bears repeating since this seems to be precisely the hermeneutical methodology taken by some interpreters of Scripture.
  • 10 A number of important biblical texts bearing on our subject come from the deutero-canonical books, which are of course not considered as divinely inspired by Protestants. The reader may to refer to my prior article here for evidence that the early Church regarded these books as Scripture long before the canon was formally defined at councils held at the end of the fourth century.
  • 11 This is my own observation, not Fr Cazanave's.
  • New Testament language about resurrection, as exemplified by the noun anastasis and the associated verb anistēmi, depicts it not as an act of creation ex nihilo but as a rising. The dead are therefore conceived of as compromised—fallen, prostrate, in a state analogous to "sleep"—but not as non-existent.
  • 13 Since the creature loses its separate existence, its distinctness from God, after death, the notion of "total death for total resurrection" seems to border on pantheism and call into question the particularity of the human person. This is my observation, not the article's.
  • 14 I am following the transliterations as they are in the preprint version of the article.
  • 15 Other Old Testament texts that imply an ontological continuation of the person after death include 1 Samuel 28:11-20, where a medium succeeds in summoning Samuel from beyond the grave, and 2 Maccabees 15:12-16, where Judas Maccabeus relates a dream in which two deceased saints, Onias the high priest and Jeremiah the prophet, offer prayers and encouragement in the Jews' battle for their city and law.
  • 16 For my own commentary on these and other passages, see my article, A Systematic-Theological Analysis of Mortalism as an Evangelical Position, as well as—on Luke 23:43—my more detailed article, "Today in Paradise? Ambiguous Adverb Attachment and the Meaning of Luke 23:43," Neotestamentica 51 (2017): 185-207.