75) Truth Or Dare?

The serpent must have been laughing like a hyena when he saw the shock on the woman’s face as she realized that she had just killed herself.  Every human thereafter was exposed to the reality of death, so how could the Adversary perpetuate his fundamental lie that “you shall not surely die”?

Through the teaching of the immortality of the soul independent of the body.

According to the Sumerian belief…Man – as the work of the gods – had a soul, which after the death of the body, continued…

An interesting concept of sin and punishment existed among people of Mesopotamia, but it only related to earthly life and therefore it could be prevented by confession, sacrifices and prayers…

The existence of the soul in the afterlife, on the other hand, depended only on the splendor of the burial and sacrifices submitted by the family to the deity…Those with no heir eat bread like bricks…”

The Sumerian description of the dead soul’s abode as a miserable place validates Job’s contemporary account. Since both had access to the most ancient documents, that would be expected. The biggest discrepancy being, of course, that YHVH’s Bible is alive and well while the Adversary’s Sumerian religion is dead and gone. Just saying…

the ancient Egyptians believed in life after death, and that you would be judged by Osiris, the god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead. It was important to prepare the dead bodies for eternal existence in joy and happiness…which was not the end of life but only a transition to another reality.

For many Egyptians, eternal life consisted of traveling along with the sun during the day and returning to the well-stocked tomb in the evening…

Hindus believe in an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death. According to Hinduism, people repeat a process of life, death, and rebirth in a cycle called samsara. If they live their life well, their karma improves and their station in the next life will be higher, and conversely lower if they live their life poorly. After many life times of perfecting its karma, the soul is freed from the cycle and lives in perpetual bliss. There is no place of eternal torment in Hinduism, although if a soul consistently lives very evil lives, it could work its way down to the very bottom of the cycle…

Ancestor worship is any religious practice that’s based on a belief that deceased family members continue to exist in some capacity. Often, that includes a belief that the spirits or souls of the deceased have an impact on the lives and luck of the living…

The Vodun religion found in West African nations like Ghana and is known as Voodoo elsewhere in the world…centers around an elaborate series of gods, all with complex characters and similar to the gods of ancient Greece…Vodun worshippers believe the souls of the dead walk among the living at certain times. One of those times is during a dance performed by hooded figures called Egunguns, or “living ghosts…”

One of the most famous ancestral worship rituals in the world is the Día de Los Muertos ceremony that takes place in Mexico. For the “Day of the Dead” festival, celebrants use altars and unique Día de Los Muertos symbology to connect with departed ancestors and family members…offering items to deceased ancestors will help the departed souls through the afterlife...leaving water on the altar can help quench the spirit’s thirst, and an offering of bread helps keep the spirit satiated…

In Chinese folk religion, a shi is a ceremonial stand-in for a deceased ancestor. The word shi literally translates to “corpse.” At a…worship event, a “personator” can dress up as the ancestor…consuming ritual offerings that relatives want to give to the departed. Large shi gatherings often take place as a type of family reunion, where many ancestors can gather together in the forms of their personators…eat and drink, as well as enjoy blessings from living family members…

one of the most long-lasting types of ancestral worship are megalithic tombs…to bury the newly departed alongside the long-dead, and to entomb valuable objects alongside the corpses, too. Many of the tombs found from ancient Europe were built to resemble houses, indicating that the people of that time imagined their ancestors living on after death.

The Buddhist holiday of Pchum Ben is also known as Ancestors Day or the Caring for the Dead Ritual. And it’s one of the most important annual ceremonies in Cambodia…For 15 days each year, families create offerings of food, which they bring to their local places of worship…to the Buddhist monks. The merit earned by making this donation to the monks is thought to transfer to departed ancestors in the spirit world…

Most people know of Samhain as the pagan version of Halloween. But the Celtic holiday of Samhain was originally… that the Celts believed the spirits of ancestors could walk among the living at will. To honor the ancestors and protect yourself from negative faery encounters, celebrants can offer food and drink to the ancestors and offer departed family members a seat at the feast.

The religion of Shinto revolves around gods or spirits known as kami…a type of entity believed to inhabit everything on earth…the ancestors are often thought to be a type of kami. There are many festivals and rites…presenting offerings to Shinto shrines in exchange for good results from the kami.

According to an ancient Filippino religion, spirits called Anito…are the spirits of the ancestors, and they influence events in the lives of the living. The Paganito ceremony is a type of spiritual seance, in which a traditional shaman communicates with the Anito…also…acts of worship and sacrifice…to please the ancestral spirits.

The holiday of Chuseok is celebrated in both North and South Korea…specifically dedicated to thanking the ancestors for the plentiful harvest. A ritual called charye…laying out food and lighting incense for departed relatives. Families also visit and clean the graves of their ancestors on Chuseok as a way of saying thanks.

In Wales, the first day of winter is known as Calan Gaeaf. It’s believed that on this date, the spirits of the ancestors can walk amongst the living. People in Wales traditionally avoid locations like churchyards, where the spirits are likely hanging out. The traditional way to…avoid a negative encounter with the spirits is by writing your name on a rock and placing it near a fire[Interesting.]

If you’re raising kids in a Pagan tradition, it can sometimes be hard to find rituals and ceremonies that are both age-appropriate and celebrate the aspects of the particular Sabbat…An ancestor altar cloth is something you can make any time of the year, although it can come in particularly handy for Samhain when many people choose to perform ancestor-focused rituals…Consider a Samhain cemetery visit to honor your family when the veil is thinnest…When you’re wandering around a cemetery, be considerate of others who may be present — both the living and the dead.

In Christianity…An indulgence is the extra-sacramental remission of the temporal punishment due…in Purgatory… An essential element in indulgences is the application to one person of the satisfaction performed by others…

The death of Socrates (as described by Plato) is a beautiful death. Nothing is seen here of death’s terror. Socrates cannot fear death, since indeed it sets us free from the body…Death is the soul’s great friend. So he teaches…

The Hebrew Bible speaks about Sheol (שאול)…the repository of the dead.

Like the word soul, the term sheol is multi-faceted, referencing physical holes in the ground – graves that are dug for dead bodies, a deep pit that yawned opened during an earthquake – as well as a place where immaterial souls of dead bodies are confined temporarily, and a place of torment for wicked souls.

What we can pull from these variations on a theme is that they are underground.

  1. “And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son…he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning.” (Genesis 37:34-35) 
  2. “if the LORD make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.” (Numbers 16:30-33)
  3. I will call on the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid; The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;” (II Samuel 22:4-6

Job in his one epic poem talks about Sheol more than any other biblical writer, including Moses throughout five books of the Bible, and the psalmists in 150 psalms. This makes sense, since later writers build on previous writers’ theses so didn’t need to repeat. Job paints a grim picture of Sheol when he thinks he has been abandoned by God and is hopeless and suicidal.

“he that goeth down to the grave / Sheol shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house [euphemism for body as used elsewhere in the Bible], neither shall his place [poetic repetition of body] know him any more…sleep in the dust; and…not be.” (Job 7:9,21)

“My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart. If I wait, the grave is mine house [for the soul] : I have made my bed in the darkness. I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it? They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.” (Job 17:11-16)

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not…Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass…

  • man dieth, and wasteth away: yea,
  • man giveth up the ghost [spirit]…
  • man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave / Sheol / hell / underworld, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past…” (Job 14)

This happened when YHVH’s Chosen Savior the Seed of the Woman, defeated sin and death.

“When he [the Word]…led captivity captive…he descended first into the lower parts of the earth?” (Ephesians 4:8-9)

The Bible is clear that the process of death of the soul is a form of unconsciousness – lack of communication or interaction with the environment, while the soul continues to exist during this state of unconsciousness. In the soul’s case, it is due to being an indestructible energy field, converted from the active to potential state. And as we know from medical science, even when separated from a body part or unconscious of surroundings, the soul can continue to be aware and feeling. And this is not a pleasant state of being

As a psychiatric provider I treat patients for conditions rooted in horrible trauma from being victimized to extreme guilt from being the victimizer. What a horrible doom is implicit in the immortality of the soul! Who wants to forever experience gut-wrenching emotional and physical pain?

What happens to the soul after death might be described in reports of out of body experiences by individuals, ghostly apparitions, and the Bible’s report of Samuel’s reappearance after death during a seance. This account support the commonly held belief that ghosts are the disquieted departed who, usually because of a violent death, can’t Rest in Peace, and are empowered to become active with the living by other spirits.

“Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul…came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine [“to be inspired – spirit breathed – by a god,”[3]] unto me by the familiar spirit…Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice…and said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the 940ennl-1_370xearth…An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” (I Samuel 28:7-15)

Samuel’s appearance was recognizable because the neurological system supporting the soul’s electricalfield penetrates throughout the entire body. Samuel’s statement that he had been disquieted by the reconnection to the living world equates with being roused from a comfortable state of unconsciousness, comparable to that experienced every morning by a relaxed sleeper being jangled awake by an alarm.

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