The Bible tells us that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps.139: 14). Created in other words. We know, according to the Bible that we have an immortal soul that will live as long as God (and God never dies) somewhere, in either Heaven or Hell. Though our present bodies are mortal (terrestrial) we will all receive one day a body that will be immortal as well.
In the account of Abraham, Lazarus and the rich man (Lk.16:19
-31) we encounter three men who are out-of-body who converse with each other across the chasm that separated Paradise and Hell, with the same personality and individuality that they had while living in-body on the surface of the earth.
Through this text we are given a view of the persons and hear one, of no doubt many, like conversations that took place in the after-life by disembodied spirits.
The personality and identity of each man is intact. They’re the exact same person that they were in their previous life on earth and know and recognize each other. (That the rich man recognized Lazarus means that the psychical or “Soulish” body we receive after death conforms to the earthly body we had while living on earth.) They’re real living persons and not phantoms. They have all their senses. They see, hear, feel, speak, and obviously think and reason.
The rich man in particular expressly shows he had his intellect and power of rational. He could think in retrospect, and by exercising his memory recall his past life (vs.25). He could think in the present and by exercising his attention converse with Abraham. He could think in the future and exercise his imagination and know that if his brothers didn’t repent (vs.30) they too would end up in Hell. We see a moral agent with his personality, with power of will and emotion, and the immortality of the soul.
All these things are seen as an out-of-body-experience. For the rich man’s physical body along with his brain was lying in the grave as were Abraham’s and Lazarus’. And still he with all the faculties and powers given to him by God was fully conscious of and alive to the sufferings and torments of Hell as Abraham and Lazarus were of the blessings of Paradise and later would be of Heaven (Mt.27:50-53; Eph.4:8-10). Death is not annihilation as some think, but instead another condition of existence.
Our physical body is a temporary tabernacle for our spirit (2 Cor.5:1-8; Phil.1:23
; 2 Pet.1:14
). When we die we’re separated from those living on earth and joined to those who died before us that are living in another world (Job 3:11
The account of this after-life scene, in the unseen world by three disembodied men who previously lived as we do today
on the surface of the earth in a physical body clearly illustrates the fact that life is real beyond the grave. And there is no soul-sleep. And that we will be very much alive and conscious of our surroundings and personally experience the torments of Hell or the blessings of Heaven.
All preoccupied dead bodies will be re-occupied by their self-same spirit that previously occupied it. But our bodies will be changed and altered to suit our eternal abode. The saved will receive a glorified body like Jesus had after His resurrection (I Cor.15:42
). And the unsaved it appears will receive a body that will be able to endure the horrors of the lake of fire for all eternity because it is impervious to its flames (Jn.5:24
James H. Cagle