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“The Trial”  — Section 7

A spiritual resurrection versus a physical resurrection

Representative of a Christian church:
We have a conviction that the resurrection will be only spiritual in nature.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that when a person dies, his or her spirit leaves the physical body and goes to a spirit world to await resurrection.  Ecclesiastes 9:5 informs us that “…the living know that they shall die, but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.”  We go on to read in Ecclesiastes 9:10 that “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.”  Now if there is no more wisdom, knowledge, work, or device, and the dead know not anything, why do you teach “work in the spirit world” and baptism for the dead?  Your doctrine seems to contradict biblical scripture.

Missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
We believe that of the many doctrines taught in the holy scriptures, the doctrine of the spirit leaving the body upon death is one of the clearest of all.  We maintain that the two scriptures you just referred to are speaking only of our physical bodies, and we believe that the physical body will return to the dust and that in the grave they will not know anything nor have wisdom, because our spirits will not be in the grave with our bodies but will have returned unto God who gave them life.  Ecclesiastes 12:7 states: “Then shall the dust [the body] return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”  We read in Matthew 17:3 that Moses and Elias appeared unto Christ, Peter, and John.  Moses lived and died centuries before this event.  Deuteronomy 34:5-6 tells us that “Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab according to the word of the Lord.”   Moses had obviously been dead for hundreds of years.  We know that Christ was the “first fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20), meaning that He was the first person to be resurrected.  It is thus clear that Moses was appearing unto Peter and John as a spirit, since he was not resurrected at this time.  Thus, the spirit does leave the body at death and can talk, think, and in this case, communicate with man.  Some Christian faiths teach that the has not yet been any resurrection, but Matthew 27:51-53 informs us that “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent, and the graves were opened and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves and went into the Holy City, and appeared unto many.”  1 Corinthians 15:6, as well as other scriptures, refers to ‘sleep’ as death.  Peter also taught, “…for this cause was the Gospel preached also to them them are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit.”   It would be illogical for the Gospel to be preached to the ‘dead’ if they had no ability to reason, no knowledge, or no wisdom.  The last seven words of that scripture tell us that they “live according to God in the Spirit.”  These spirits await a literal and physical resurrection (see Ezekiel 37:1-12 and Matthew 27:51-53). and they will be resurrected with their bodies “that returned to the dust”.  Paul taught this doctrine in ancient times to the Philippians, when he said that Christ would “…change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body.”  This doctrine is found in Philippians 3:21.

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