God and the Biblical Zombieland

zombie zombieland

To paraphrase the serpent, “Did the Bible truly say that you are dead?”

I recently addressed a challenge issued by a Calvinist brother who wanted to establish his core arguments around the notion of humanity being unable to respond to God due to their deceased condition. Zombies, I thought, we’re all zombies walking around (though not feasting) until the moment we are brought back to life by the grace of God. Are we truly bodies without souls hungrily seeking to satisfy the emptiness but finding no relief? Is this the portrait of humanity that the Bible portrays?

The proof text was, as you probably already guessed, Ephesians 2:1:

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

We might as well put up the parallel verse in Colossians (2:13) as well:

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.

Well, as long as we’re at it, we should include a verse from Romans (5:12) that provides a similar thought:

Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned–

Death in these verses is often, either by casual reading or theological filter, interpreted to mean that the soul has died as the body has died. By extension then, the unsaved are bodies walking around with dead souls. Souls that are unable to hear, recognize, or respond to God’s call to repentance and belief. Dead, dark souls. What we need to ask is whether or not spiritual death is the same as physical death in the language of the Bible.

Our answer, found in the pages of the Bible, is that there are three forms of death mentioned. In the scope of all of scripture, death includes a spiritual, physical, and eternal death. The Bible informs us that the common thread among all of them is separation:

  • Physical death is separation of the soul from the body.
  • Eternal death is permanent separation from God. (Rev 19:20, 20:10)
  • Spiritual death is holy separation from God (Isa 59:1-2)

Separation does not mean spiritual annihilation, contrary to a popular theological position. If it did then that destroyed, actually non-existent, soul would not be able to hear and respond to God. Yet,

  • The “dead” can still perceive the truth of God (Rom 1:20)
  • Adam and Eve were “dead” but still heard and responded to the voice of God (Gen 3:10)
  • The “dead” are able to believe (Col 2:12-13 n.b. We should always read verses in context)

Without the demonstration of annihilation and the destruction of the soul, the spiritual death must be seen as portrayed in the scriptures: a soul that is separated spiritually from God but that retains the ability to hear and respond. As demonstrated from the scriptures above, we must agree that the unregenerate soul is able to hear and respond positively to God. The image of God embedded in humankind was not erased by the Fall (Gen 9:6, James 3:9), rather, it has been marred and defaced, separating us from the Father. If it were otherwise (ie: the soul was destroyed/annihilated) then God would not be able to call on His people to believe (John 3:16-18, Acts 16:31;20:21).

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13 thoughts on “God and the Biblical Zombieland

  1. LOL- Sooo much theology!!! If I were to write a theology book, I would write that the death (in these particular scriptures) is not of the soul, or body, or spirit. Death comes to our person, our will as it surrendered to God, that we may live this and eternal life in the fullness He originally intended for mankind.

    Death to the parts of us that make this world about ‘us’. As the running joke goes… “enough about me, let’s talk about you…. what do you think of me?” Yes, if I wrote a theology book, I would sit in prayer about God means when he says die… I’m pretty sure he’s not out to crush our spirit, body OR soul… I’m convinced He’s looking for the good companions He created us to be.

    Thanks! I like theology. Mine is a lone drum! LOL

  2. Well…its not that I COMPLETELY disagree, its that I believe God’s roll in election plays a part in these types of issues. The one thing that Scripture never says the dead can do is resurrect themselves.

    • seems to me that our response, our actions, are not to the means of ressurecting ourselves….
      it is the ressurecting of our spiritual life, giving God the credit here, that we respond to….

      that is, if I understood what you meant here, Andrew….

      Ha! and re-reading my comment… good grief all the typos and mistakes! My eyes just keep getting worse! Does anyone know a good eye doctor?! 😉
      Peace!

  3. I agree that what we respond to is the the ressurecting of our spiritual life. That’s always been the Calvinist view. Our confession of faith is always a response to the new life already given to us. I guess for me the problem comes in when a “non calvinist” can willingly admitt that our confession is a response to the resurrection done to our spiritual self. The issue then is, what about those who never confess? If our confession of faith is a response to the spiritual resurrection, this means 2 things when someone doesn’t confess faith. Either there is no spiritual resurrection in them for them to respond to (which would lead to Calvinism eventually because only God can work a spiritual resurrection and if that does not take place in a person, it must be because of God’s choosing) OR God works that resurrection in EVERYONE, some can reject it thus making the resurrection of God in that person’s life null and void, and THAT I have a serious problem with.

    Meh…no Calvinist/Arminian debates! I’m tired of them haha! You all can respond, but I can’t promise I’ll respond back. It never goes anywhere for either side.

  4. I’m shocked, SHOCKED Andrew, that we differ on the directions from which come toward this issue! ;-} You are absolutely correct in saying that it is God that resurrects but is it necessary? Is the soul truly and completely dead or has sin separated it from the Holy Father? I would say that rather than resurrecting, the Lord’s grace Restores us. Either way, we agree that it is God that does the resurrecting/restoration.

    BTW, I could use some new Logue and the Banshee tunes for my winter bike rides. Anything new on the horizon?

    Peace brother

    • “Is the soul truly and completely dead or has sin separated it from the Holy Father?”

      Some might say, is there really a difference? What is Hell but separation from the Father? Maybe that’s a bit more on the philosophical side of things though. I like to wander into that from time to time.

      “Either way, we agree that it is God that does the resurrecting/restoration. ”
      Yup and either way I’m not sure it matters to the situation I wrote about. The conundrum still exist.

      • And Hell is true spiritual death…that’s why I brought up Hell. I got distracted in the middle of writing my thoughts out.

  5. Well stated Cindy – we/our actions/etc. are not the source of resurrecting themselves. We are gracious receivers of the offer of the gift of life and the restored relationship with the Father.

    When you do get that eye exam, buy your glasses online. I started doing that and saved hundreds of dollars.

  6. I’ve had NO time to work on Logue and the Banshee! I’m fully engulfed in working on the new “The Suburban Sound” album right now. Its been months of work and I’m sure it’ll be months more!

    I was just thinking of doing some Christmas songs though for Logue and the Banshee. Something about the winter gets me in the mood to record Irish music. I don’t know why. Its dificult though. All my recording equipment is set up in the building where we’re recording the band right now, and that’s about 30 minutes from my house. With having a kid now, its tricky for me to take extra time away from the fam and go down there to record. Maybe…just maybe…I’ll bust out the old 4 track recorder and do it that way! Might have a good sound for the music!

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