Introduction: When you think of traffic laws, I expect that
you do not want a police officer pulling you over and giving
you a ticket. But, you believe in firmly enforcing the
traffic laws against others. Right? What about life after
death? You would love to live eternally, but there are a lot
of people who you are rather sure should not be allowed to
engage in evil forever. What does the Bible say on this
topic? Do humans have an eternal nature? Let’s dive into our
study of the Bible and learn more!

I. The Spirit

A. Read Genesis 2:7. What made man a “living
creature?” (Receiving the breath of life from

B. Read Ecclesiastes 12:1. What does this say about
getting old? (If you live long enough, at some
point you say of life, “I have no pleasure” in

C. The following verses in Ecclesiastes 12(verses 2-
5) paint a picture of what it is like to age.
Let’s read Ecclesiastes 12:5-7. When you focus on
verse 6, does it seem that death is the end?
(These things certainly seem final.)

1. Compare Ecclesiastes 12:7 with what we just
read in Genesis 2:7. Is this a reversal of the
process? (It seems like it.)

II. The Body

A. Read Genesis 3:22-24. How do you relate this to
our discussion of the spirit? Must we have both
the spirit (breath) and the Tree of Life to keep

1. As long as your body does not return to dust,
you keep your spirit?

B. Read Revelation 22:1-2. Why is the Tree of Life in
heaven? Is our situation in heaven the same as it
was for Adam and Eve in Eden? (Logic says that it
is indistinguishable – our immortality in heaven
depends on continuing to eat from the tree of

1. What does that say about all who do not make
it into heaven? (They cannot continue to

2. What does this say about the dependence of our
spirit upon our body? (Our body is essential
to the continuing life of our spirit. If this
were not true, we would not need a Tree of

III. The Spirit and Body

A. If we look again at Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes
12:7 it appears that the spirit is separate from
the body. When God blew into Adam’s nostrils “the
breath of life,” did He blow “Adam” as a distinct
human being?

1. Think about this: is every person who has ever
lived a person created in God’s mind and then
implanted into a distinct spirit to be merged
with our body while we live?

B. Read Jeremiah 1:4-5 and Galatians 1:15. What do
these texts say about God knowing us before we
were born? (They state specifically that God was
aware of us before we were born.)

1. Is this proof that when God blew His
breath into Adam, He blew a specific
identity into Adam’s body? (Yes.)

2. Or, is this a generic statement that God
knows the future and that future includes
us? (The way Jeremiah 1:5 is written
speaks of God’s interaction with Jeremiah
before he was born.)

C. Read Genesis 1:26. Who is the “us” that God speaks
of as creating humans? (Us seems to be the
Godhead, which includes the Holy Spirit.)

1. Does the Holy Spirit have an independent role?
(Yes. In John 16:7 Jesus says that unless He
leaves the Holy Spirit will not come. See also
John 16:13.)

a. Does that suggest that if we are made
like God our spirit has an independent
role? (It sounds like that – when we
begin to take in oxygen (which is in the
womb) that breath of God implants a
unique identity.)

b. Do you think the Holy Spirit could exist
without the rest of the Godhead? (No.
This parallel reinforces the idea that
the spirit needs the body to be viable.)

D. Read John 3:5-6. Whose “spirit” does this
reference? (This is a reference to baptism. The
body is ours, but the Spirit is the Holy Spirit.)

E. Read Romans 8:15-16. If the Holy Spirit “bears
witness” to our spirit, does that mean that our
spirit has an independent thought process? (It

F. Read 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19.
These verses are about sexual sin and they tell us
that not all sin is equal, this sin is worse. Why?
(Because in the sex act you are joined to “become
one flesh.” The problem is that you are already
joined with God.)

1. Let’s explore this idea of being joined with
God and being “one spirit with Him.” How does
this joinder occur? (Verse 19 tells us that it
comes from the “Holy Spirit within you.”)

2. Does this mean that we have an independent
spirit? (This is a bit difficult to
understand, but it appears that our
independent spirit is linked to the Holy

G. If God breathed an independent Adam (and an
independent you) into the body, do you have a
recollection of consciousness before you were
born? (No. We only recall knowing things while in
our body.)

1. What does that teach us about consciousness
when our spirit returns to God (Ecclesiastes
12:7)? (What returns to God is a unique you,
but not a conscious you.)

H. Let’s review what we have read and discussed to
see if we can reach a Biblically based (and
logical) understanding of our spirit. When God
created Adam he breathed a specific identity into
him. But, that identity could not continue without
the body, which is the reason for the Tree of Life
in Eden and in Heaven. Our spirit is like the Holy
Spirit and the two interact. Do you agree?

IV. Problem Texts

A. Read 2 Corinthians 5:6-9. What is Paul saying
about consciousness “at home with the Lord?” (He
seems to say that we would be conscious “away from
the body.” Context is important. If you read 2
Corinthians 5:1-10 Paul refers to a “tent” as our
body. His discussion compares living on earth to
living in heaven. He is not suggesting an
independent immortal spirit for he ends the
discussion with a reference to the final

B. Read Psalms 115:17-18. These two verses seem to
contradict each other. The dead do not praise, but
the Psalmist praises God “from this time forth and
forever more.” Does this mean that it is the
righteous who never die and have a conscious
spirit? (This reads too much into these texts. The
point is simple, dead people are not observed by
the living as praising God. However, the righteous
have an expectation of eternal life (in the earth
made new) and thus eternal praise.)

C. Read Ecclesiastes 9:5. This text seems to be the
most popular “go to” Bible text to show that we
know nothing after death. Look more closely. Do
you believe that the dead “have no more reward?”
Do you believe that God has forgotten the
righteous dead? (This is horrible text to cite
because if taken literally, it means there is no

D. Read Ecclesiastes 9:2-3. Does this seem to be
true? (Certainly not if you believe that God
rewards those who choose Him. Death is not the
end. If you read the entire chapter you will see
that Solomon seems depressed. His conclusion
(Ecclesiastes 9:7-9) is to live life as if there
is no tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow. That
is not the message of the Bible.)

E. Read Matthew 17:1-4. Are Moses and Elijah alive
and well? (Absolutely.)

1. Read Deuteronomy 34:5-7. Didn’t Moses die? (He

2. If the dead are unconscious, how do you
account for Moses being alive and well and
greeting Jesus? (Jude 9 tells us that Michael
claimed “the body of Moses.” Thus, God can
raise the dead and take them to heaven.)

F. Read Matthew 27:51-53. What does this say about
the dead? (The “saints” can be raised to life
before the Second Coming of Jesus.)

G. Friend, what should we conclude about the nature
of humans? I think that God implants in us a
unique spirit that returns to God at death. This
spirit needs the body to be conscious, and that
only happens when God decides to resurrect our

V. Next week: The Old Testament Hope.

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are
from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard
Version ), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing
ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All
rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within
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but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this
link: Pray for the guidance of the
Holy Spirit as you study.