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Home Scripture Controversial beliefs Preexistence of men and spirits

Preexistence of men and spirits

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One of the most intriguing doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints is that man is literally a son of God who was born as a spirit prior to being born here on earth. The critics claim that such a belief is unbiblical. To them, the Bible teaches that in the beginning there was only God and that man was first created from the dust of the earth on the fifth day of creation. Before then man did not exist and after then all men have been born in sin. From this they reason that man could not have existed before the creation of the earth. 

But is this the correct understanding of what the Bible teaches. To find the answer to that question, let’s look at several other verses of scripture.

In Numbers 16:22 we read, “And they fell upon their faces, and said, O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?”But this is the only place the Bible makes such a statement.

In Numbers 27:16 “Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation.”

Proverbs 16:2 tell us “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.”

Notice that these verses state that God is “the God of the SPIRITS of all flesh,” and that the Lord weighs, or judges the spirits. Man is composed of two parts – his earthly body, made from the dust of the earth, and his spirit.

How do we know that there is a spirit in man? Because the Bible tells us in Job 32:8, 18 “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding... For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.”

And in Psalms 31:5 we read, “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth”

We learn in Luke 23:46 that when Christ died it was because His spirit left His body. “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.”

This is verified in Ecclesiastes 12:7 which tells us, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” 

James 2:26 explains, “For as the body without the spirit is dead.”

Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 2:11 “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?”

Isaiah 26:9 also states, “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

So we see that man is not just his earthly body but also has a spirit in him. Is God the father of just our earthly body?

In Hebrews 12:9 we read,  “Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?” Here we see that Paul is comparing the father of our flesh with the Father of our spirits. Just as we have earthly fathers who gave us earthly bodies, so also do we have a someone in heaven who is the Father of our spirits.

This is verified in Zechariah 12:1 which reads,  “The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.”

Hebrews 12:23 tells us,  “To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

Who were these spirits? We read in 1 Peter 3:19 “By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison,” and in 1 Peter 4:6 “For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”

Here we see that when Jesus died in the flesh, he went to preach to them that were dead. But how could He preach to them unless they were a spirit? As Paul said, they were dead to the flesh but alive in the spirit. As we have already seen, God is the Father of spirits.
Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 8:55 “And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.”

John 3:6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

Romans 8:16 “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:”

1 Corinthians 6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

John 9:1-3 “And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

The scriptures make it abundantly clear that God formed man from the dust of earth and put the spirit in his creature. When man dies, his body, which was made from earth, perishes, but his spirit lives on.  But where did this spirit come from before the earthly body was made? The Bible calls us the “children of God” and “the sons of God.” The Bible is just as clear that God is the Father of our spirits and not just our flesh. If that is so, then we must have had a beginning that pre-existed our life on earth.

Other scriptures related to this are:

Deuteronomy 32:7

7 ¶ Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Deuteronomy 32:8

8 When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.

Acts 17:26

26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

Jesus, firstborn of every creature

God once a man

Last Updated on Monday, 17 May 2010 10:39  

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