It looks like it's a common belief that Jesus was dead for around 3 days and was thereafter resurrected.

For example this website provides quotes from earlier Christians. They quote Ignatius from 250 AD as writing about Jesus:

During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathaea had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord's day He arose from the dead

And they quote Justin from 150 AD as writing:

But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead.

But it also seems like a common Christian belief that all humans have an immortal soul.

Since Jesus was a human he then should also have had an immortal soul. Which means that he should never have been really "dead" in the first place (or how this is to be understood?).

So I have 2 questions about this subject:

  1. If Jesus had an immortal soul, was he ever literally dead?
  2. What would "resurrection" even mean in a case where the resurrected person is not dead in the first place?

1 Answer 1


You appear to not be separating Physical death from Spiritual death. Jesus did in fact suffer physical death and he did in fact take up that physical life again.

John 10:17 and 18 KJV Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

The life Jesus is referring to here is his physical life.

Matthew 25:46 KJV And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

The life Jesus is referring to here is spiritual life.

So what is the difference between the two? That is where the living soul comes into play spoken of in:

Genesis 2:7 KJV And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

There are two deaths enumerated in the Bible.

Revelation 20:5 and 6 KJV But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

In these Scriptures we are told of both Physical and Spiritual death. Verse 5 deals with physical (first) death, while verse 6 deals with Spiritual (second) death. We are all very aware of the fist or physical death, but few are well versed on the Spiritual or second death. So let us define the second death as enumerated in the Bible.

Revelation 20:11 through 15 KJV And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

So actually death is a misnomer in that death is also in the lake of fire so there can be no more Physical death. This leads us to an explanation of what living soul means and exactly what eternal life indicates.

Life is a part of God as we see in:

Genesis 2:7 KJV And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

there are two very cogent statement we need to understand here;

and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,

The breath of life is from and is a part of God himself. and the second is;

Man was created, but did not have life until God breathed it into his nostrils. So if the breath of life is a part of God it is also eternal in that it had no beginning and will have no end.

And so the only thing left is spiritual life and the second death actually means the eternal destroying of eternal life (the soul) in fire.

Although this is somewhat off subject we know from our study of the Bible that fire is a purifying agent. Therefore, The soul will be purified either by the sacrifice of Jesus and our acceptance of that purification or purification through the lake of fire. It is also interesting to note that the Devil and his angels are also a part of that eternal purification, even though they, as will those who do not accept salvation, never attain full purification, and will spend eternity in the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

So these are the differences between the two deaths that the Bible enumerates and is the basis of Christianity and where the word saved comes into play in that Jesus saved the elect from eternity in the lake of fire.

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for your answer, BYE. So I take that with "physical death" you mean the death of a physical human body. But what do you mean with "spiritual death"? Is it A) some kind of "death in God's eyes" (e.g. that he no longer considers you alive even though you may be), B) a death of the soul (an inner part that would survive death of the physical human body), or C) some kind of conceptual death? And does all of it mean that after Jesus' human body died, he (Jesus) was aware of everything and continued his life as a spirit person until he was resurrected (3 days later) with human body?
    – user100487
    Commented Nov 1, 2015 at 17:27
  • @user100487 Although I could answer all of your questions in comments quite easily, I will not. If you do not have access to a Bible I suggest that you ask each of these as a separate question, and you will get much more than my belief from that. You should phrase each of those to address them to specific Denominations so as to receive answers that do not conflict with others.
    – BYE
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 10:52

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