Humans are made in the image of God. So unlike plants and animals, we have a spirit that lives eternally. However, Jesus proclaimed that we were spiritually dead. I understand that the standard explanation for this was that he was talking about separation from God. However, why does the Bible go out of it’s way to use terminology of life, death, birth spiritually if it was not actually the case? (i.e. born of water and spirit, spiritually dead, alive in Christ). So when we are born, are our Spirits alive or are they dead?
If you wish to stick to separation from God, how do you discuss the details and ramifications of being spiritually alive and dead at the same time? Are we spiritual zombies before being born again? How are our spirits more alive after we are born again? Are spiritually whole or stronger? I have a Mormon friend who asked me this question and I don’t have an answer.
@Xander Great question your friend asked there I think that this question can be quickly addressed by first recognizing the difference between spirit with a small ‘s’ and God’s Spirit. The short answer to your question is that it is God’s Spirit who makes us live eternally - not our own spirit. I’m not sure zombie is the right term - a better term might be that we are natural - of this world. Paul uses this term in 1 Corinthians 2 to describe those who do not have the Spirit of God.
1 Cor 2:14 - The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Grk “natural person.” Cf. BDAG 1100 s.v. ψυχικός a, “an unspiritual pers., one who merely functions bodily, without being touched by the Spirit of God.” NET Bible note
Each of us humans has a spirit, yet that spirit is not necessarily inherently immortal. If you think back to the Garden of Eden, God did not say that Adam and Eve died spiritually - that is nowhere in the text. We import it. What God said is that they would die without access to the Tree of Life - and die they did…
If we look at the New Testament, we see a few things:
God alone is immortal
it is the Spirit of God who lives in us who will raise us from the dead
Jesus IS life - there is no life apart from Him - life is in God and we cannot possess it apart from Him
Below are some threads for further thought, though you do not need to follow my conclusions in order to address your friend’s question. Does that begin to help you think through these issues? Christ grant you wisdom.
Romans 8:11 - And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
1 Timothy 6:15-16 - God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.