Sunday, December 21, 2008

Are the Dead Really Dead? (State of the Dead)

Death just might be one of the most misunderstood subjects today. To many it is shrouded in mystery and evokes dreaded feelings of fear, uncertainty, and even hopelessness. Others believe that their deceased loved ones are not dead at all, but instead live with them or in other realms! Still others are confused about the relationship between the body, spirit, and soul. But does it really matter what you believe? Yes...absolutely! Because what you believe about the dead will have a profound impact on what happens to you in the end-times. There's no room for guessing, so this Study Guide will give you exactly what God says on this subject. Get ready for a real eye-opener!

How did we get here in the first place?

"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 being" (Genesis 2:7).

God made us from dust in the beginning.

What happens when a person dies?

"Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it." (Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The body returns to dust again, and the spirit goes back to God, who gave it. The spirit of every person who dies - whether righteous or wicked - returns to God at death.

What is the "spirit" that returns to God at death?

"The body without the spirit is dead" (James 2:26). "The spirit of God is in my nostrils" (Job 27:3, KJV).

The spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life. Nowhere in all of God's book does the "spirit" have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. It is the "breath of life" and nothing more.

What is a "soul"?

"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" (Genesis 2:7, KJV).

A soul is a living being. A soul is always a combination of two things: body plus breath. Body (dust) - Breath (spirit) = Death (no soul). A soul cannot exist unless body and breath are combined. God's Word teaches that we are souls.

Do souls die?

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:20, KJV). "Every living soul died in the sea" (Revelation 16:3, KJV).

According to God's Word, souls do die! We are souls, and souls die. Man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). The concept of an undying, immortal soul goes against the Bible, which teaches that souls are subject to death.

Do good people go to heaven when they die?

"All who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth" (John 5:28,29). "David ... is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day." "For David did not ascend into the heavens" (Acts 2:29, 34). "If I wait, the grave is mine house" (Job 17:13, KJV).

No, people do not go either to heaven or hell at death. they go to their graves to await the resurrection day.

How much does one know or comprehend after death?

"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." "There is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going" (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10). "The dead do not praise the LORD" (Psalm 115:17).

God says that the dead know absolutely nothing!

But can't the dead communicate with the living, and aren't they aware of what the living are doing?

"So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep." "His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; they are brought low, and he does not perceive it" (Job 14:12, 21). "Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 9:6).

No, the dead cannot contact the living, nor do they know what the living are doing. They are dead. Their thoughts have perished (Psalm 146:4).

Jesus called the unconscious state of the dead "sleep" in John 11:11-14. How long will they sleep?

"So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more" (Job 14:12). "The day of the Lord will come ... in which the heavens will pass away" (2 Peter 3:10).

The dead will sleep until the great day of the Lord at the end of the world. In death humans are totally unconscious with no activity or knowledge of any kind.

What happens to the righteous dead at the second coming of Christ?

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work" (Revelation 22:12). "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, ... And the dead in Christ will rise ... And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17). "We shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, ... and the dead will be raised incorruptible. ... For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

They will be rewarded. They will be raised, given immortal bodies, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. There would be no purpose in a resurrection if people were taken to heaven at death.

What was the devils' first lie on Earth?

"Then the serpent said to the woman, 'You will not surely die'" (Genesis 3:4). "That serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan" (Revelation 12:9).

You will not die.

Why did the devil lie to Eve about death? Could this subject be more important than many think?

It is one of the pillars of the devil's teachings. He has worked powerful miracles down through the ages through people who claim to receive their power from the spirits of the dead. (Examples: Magicians of Egypt - Exodus 7:11 ; Woman of Endor - 1 Samuel 28:3-25 ; Sorcerers - Daniel 2:2 ; A certain slave girl - Acts 16:16-18.)

A Solemn Warning
In the end-time Satan will again use sorcery - as he did in Daniel's day - to deceive the world (Revelation 18:23). Sorcery is a supernatural agency that claims to receive its power and wisdom from the spirits of the dead.

Posing as Jesus' Disciples
Posing as godly loved ones who have died, saintly clergymen who are now dead, Bible prophets, or even the apostles or disciples of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:13), Satan and his angels will deceive billions. Those who believe the dead are alive, in any form, will most assuredly be deceived.

Do devils really work miracles?

"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles" (Revelation 16:14, KJV). "For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24).

Yes, indeed! Devils work incredibly convincing miracles (Revelation 13:13, 14). Satan and his angels will appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and, even more shocking, as Christ Himself (Matthew 24:23, 24). The universal feeling will be that Christ and His angels are leading out in a fantastic worldwide revival. The entire emphasis will seem so spiritual and so super-natural that only God's elect will not be deceived.

Why will God's people not be deceived?

"They received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11). "If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:20).

God's people will know from their earnest study of His book that the dead are dead, not alive. Spirits of the dead do not exist. Therefore, God's people will reject all miracle workers and teachers who claim to receive special "light" or work miracles by contacting the spirits of the dead. And God's people will likewise reject as dangerous and false all teachings that claim the dead are alive in any form, anywhere.

Back in Moses' day, what did God command should be done to people who taught that the dead were alive?

"A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones" (Leviticus 20:27).

God insisted that mediums and others with "familiar spirits" (who claimed to be able to contact the dead) should be stoned to death. This shows how God regards the false teaching that the dead are alive.

Will the righteous people who are raised in the resurrection ever die again?

"But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, ... nor can they die anymore" (Luke 20:35, 36). "And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:4).

No! Death, sorrow, crying, and tragedy will never enter into God's new kingdom. "So when this corruptible has put in incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1 Corinthians 15:54).

Belief in reincarnation is expanding rapidly today. Is this teaching biblical?

"For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing. ... Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6).

Almost half the people on earth believe in reincarnation - a teaching that the soul never dies but is instead continually reborn in a different kind of body with each succeeding generation. This teaching, however, is contrary to Scripture.

The Bible Says
After death a person: returns to dust (Psalm 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalm 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not (Job 14:1, 2).

Satan's Invention
We learned in questions 11 and 12 that Satan invented the teaching that the dead are alive. Reincarnation, channeling, communication with spirits, spirit worship, and the "undying soul" are all inventions of Satan, with one aim - to convince people that when you die you are not really dead. When people believe that the dead are alive, "spirits of devils, working miracles" (Revelation 16:14) and posing as spirits of the dead will be able to deceive and lead them astray virtually 100 percent of the time (Matthew 24:24).

Didn't the thief on the cross go to paradise with Christ the day He died?

No. In fact, on Sunday morning Jesus said to Mary, "I have not yet ascended to My Father" (John 20:17). This shows that Christ did not go to heaven at death. Also note that the punctuation of the Bible is not inspired, but was added by men. The comma in Luke 23:43 should be placed after the word "today" rather than before, so the passage should read, "Assuredly I say to you today, you will be with Me in paradise." Or, "I'm telling you today - when it seems that I can save no one, when I myself am being crucified as a criminal - I give you the assurance today that you will be with me in paradise." Christ's kingdom is set up at His second coming (Matthew 25:31), and all the righteous of all ages will enter it at that time (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) and not at death.

Doesn't the Bible speak of the "undying," "immortal" soul?

No, the undying, immortal soul is not mentioned in the Bible. The word "immortal" is found only once in the Bible, and it is in reference to God (1 Timothy 1:17).

At death the body returns to dust and the spirit (or breath) returns to God. But where does the soul go?

It goes nowhere. Instead, it simply ceases to exist. Two things must be combined to make a soul: body and breath. When the breath departs, the soul ceases to exist because it is a combination of two things. When you turn off a light, where does the light go? It doesn't go anywhere. It just ceases to exist. Two things must combine to make light: a bulb and electricity. Without the combination, a light is impossible. So with the soul; unless body and breath are combined, there can be no soul. There is no such thing as a disembodied soul.

Does the word "soul" ever mean anything other than a living being?

Yes, it may mean also (1) life itself, or (2) the mind, or intellect. No matter which meaning is intended, the soul is still a combination of two things (body and breath), and it ceases to exist at death.

Can you explain John 11:26, which says, "whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die"?

This refers not to the first death, which all people die (Hebrews 9:27), but to the second death, which only the wicked die and from which there is no resurrection (Revelation 2:11 ; 21:8).

Matthew 10:28 says, "Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul." Doesn't this prove that the soul is undying?

No, it proves the opposite. The last half of the same verse proves that souls do die. It says, "but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" The word "soul" here means life and refers to eternal life, which is a gift (Romans 6:23) that will be given to the righteous at the last day (John 6:54). No one can take away eternal life that God bestows. (See also Luke 12:4, 5.)

Doesn't 1 Peter 4:6 say the gospel was preached to dead people?

No, it says the gospel "was" preached to those who "are" dead. They are dead now, but the gospel "was" preached to them while they were yet living.

What about the souls crying out from under the altar in Revelation 6:9, 10? Doesn't this show that souls do not die?

No. This cry was figurative, as was the cry of Abel's blood (Genesis 4:10). The word "soul" here means people (or living beings) who had been slain for their faith. Surely no one believes that souls who die literally lie under the altar, nor do people believe that the righteous beg God to punish their enemies. Rather, the righteous beg for mercy for their enemies, as Christ did on the cross (Luke 23:34).

Doesn't the Bible say Christ went and preached to lost souls in hell between His crucifixion and resurrection?

No, the Bible passage in question is 1 Peter 3:18-20. The preaching was done "by the Spirit" (verse 18) in Noah's day - to people who were then living (verses 19, 20). The "spirits in prison" refers to people whose lives were in bondage to Satan. (See Psalm 142:7 ; Isaiah 42:6, 7 ; 61:1 ; Luke 4:18.)

Again thanks to Amazing Facts for this Bible study.

Friends, these are just a fraction of the verses in the Bible about what happens when we die. I implore you to do your own study. All you need is an exaustive concordance (e.g. Strong's concordance, available at any Christian bookstore) and a Bible. Study the words "death", "dead", and especially "sleep". Praise God for your decision to follow God's Word instead of man's traditions.

I hope my sore hands after typing these long studies is worth it, and it certainly is if even one person learns what the Bible says about death.

God bless you and keep you!


  1. Some time ago you posted a comment on my blog asking me to check out your site and see what I thought. I did not forget your request, I simply found myself otherwise occupied with some personal family matters.
    I believe the last time I checked in on your blog you had requested that I read your piece on whether the dead "sleep" or are conscious of the present world. And you hoped that I would make a few comments or perhaps spark a discussion.
    I read the post to which you referred. It was very interesting. I would love to discuss this topic further, but I'm not sure to what end.
    I respect your faith, I am sure you are a sincere believer, but I have been in this sort of conversation before. As a Catholic, I have been confronted numerous times by "Bible Only" Christians such as yourself, who think they can point out the errors of the Church and prove that the Catholic Church is corrupt or in apostasy or even demon-possessed. These conversations usually wind up as a waste of time. So you see, I am reluctant.
    Aside from that, I do wonder what criteria you have used to come to your view of Scripture. It seems you just stumbled onto certain preachers and Bible teachers on TV or through people you have met. You sort of became an "accidental" Christian. I am sure it has pulled you out of sin and given new meaning to your life, but where do you go from here?
    Have you explored the history of Christianity to see what the EARLIEST Christians believed? What did the First and Second Century Christians say about the dead? or about Jesus' presence in the bread and wine of Communion? or about the authority of the Church? When you post your blog entries are they consistent with AUTHENTIC Christianity of the kind that was preached in the Second or Third Centuries A.D.? When you stumbled onto that preacher on TV, was he preaching correct doctrine or was it something that was only recently concocted?
    Do you really have the same beliefs that the first Christians held?
    In the end, whether you or I win a "debate" isn't really important. What is important is whether you or I hold the TRUTH of Scriptural interpretation.
    Would you like to explore some Christian history?

  2. Thomas - I hope everything worked out well with your personal family matters.

    Thank you for remembering my invitation. It's ok with me that we not debate. Recently I've had such a conviction that simply knowing the truth does no saving good when Christ desires our hearts.

    Either of us could easily be 100% correct and know all truth, yet still find ourselves in opposition to God, and headed for destruction.

    Instead, I propose we concentrate our discussions on Christian love. Such as, how do you share Christ with those at work or school who are not Christians? I personally find it very hard for a few reasons I will go into further if you'd like.

    In regard to your questions, it seems as though you've read my first post which (I think) has a quick summary of how I became more than just a nominal Christian. Yes I believe God's providence opened the doors for me to start doing in-depth study of the Scriptures and find His will for my life. Similar to the Ethiopian Eunich who Philip found reading the Scriptures without understanding, at which time he was given help from God, using Philip, to understand the Scriptures and be baptized. This wonderful providence of God is how I view my finding help and motivation to open the Scriptures in such a clear a beautiful manner.

    I was actually raised in the Catholic church and went through catechism and my first communion and such, which you may find interesting.

    Where do I go from here...that is an interesting question, and kind of the ultimate question in the Christian life. Once you've found Christ and chosen to submit to Him, making Him Lord and Saviour, what next? I leave that in His hands. One thing I know I must do: Go to all the world and preach the Gospel. Before the Last Day comes, the Bible says the Gospel will go to the whole world.

    In regard to your questions about the early Church, I can only say that my one faithful and true witness about the early church is the book of Acts and the Epistles. In 1 John 2:18-19, Scriptures say that even at that time many antichrists had come, and that they went out from among the church. So I cannot hold something as truth just because members of the early church believed it. Also, I read constantly in the Pauline Epistles his rebukes against the sins of the church and their misunderstandings. So my only rule of faith must be the Bible only, and not the beliefs of the people who make up the church.

    About the preacher on tv (and more importantly the subsequent studies I've done in the Scriptures), from my study, it appears that the doctrines were held and taught by the Apostles to the early churches, as well as Christ Himself.

    But, I do enjoy learning about the early church and Christian history, so in answer to your last question, I would very much like to explore some early Christian history. I would appreciate your insights very much.

  3. Yes, I did read your original post, which told the story of your conversion. And I praise God that you have found Christ and allowed Him to come into your life.
    I do find it interesting that you were raised Catholic. But I promise I will not “beat you over the head” about leaving the Truth or abandoning your faith. Apparently your journey to Jesus has led you to where you are now and I will not question God’s hand in that journey – inside or outside the Church. I believe your faith is genuine and your quest for truth is sincere.
    I would very much like to discuss Christian history with you. Especially what the early Christians believed and taught. I admire the fact that you turned to the verse in Acts about the Ethiopian eunuch. When asked whether he understood the Scriptures, which he was reading, the eunuch replied, “How can I, unless someone teaches me?”
    Now, I believe that Scripture is the Word of God, and should be respected as such, yet even here in this verse from Scripture we see that other people can help us to understand God’s Word more clearly. The Scriptures do not explain themselves on their own. In fact the Scriptures tell us that it is good and right to seek council from the more learned.
    You said: “I cannot hold something as truth just because members of the early church believed only rule of faith must be the Bible only, and not the beliefs of the people who make up the church.” It would seem that the eunuch did not follow your advice. He sought answers outside the written Word. He sought an explanation of the Scripture from someone who had authority to teach. Paul tells us that not all of us are called to be teachers. We do well to seek out those who rightly hold the title of “teacher” in the Church, and learn from them. The Bible tells us to do this.
    You yourself have sought guidance from such teachers: from television evangelists, from books you have read, videos you have watched, professors, educators at the school you attended. Did these “teachers” get it right? Did you learn the true meaning of Scripture (as I am sure the eunuch did from Phillip)? Or are they among the false prophets in the world? You say that you use the “Bible only” as your guide. Do you really? Or have you used other sources too...just as the eunuch did in Acts?
    It would seem to me that early Christians are a great source to which to least as good as any televangelist or modern Christian author. At least the early Christians were closer in time to the actual events of Jesus’ life. Some of them were students of the Apostles themselves. They were leaders of the Church in the early centuries and paid for their faith with their very lives. They had a better chance of getting it RIGHT than do we here in our comfortable twenty-first century lives – their very lives were hanging on whether their doctrines were true. They could be killed for believing. You can bet they weighed the consequences heavily and stayed true to what had come before.
    You also said: “I can only say that my one faithful and true witness about the early church is the book of Acts and the Epistles.” If that is true, then your history stops in the middle of the First Century. What happened then? Time did not stand still after the ink dried on the last Epistle. At the close of the First Century, after the Biblical text was written, Christians began to die for their faith in large numbers. What was that faith? As Christians marched off to face the lions or to be put to death in any number of gruesome ways, how did these Second or Third Century martyrs explain the Scripture to those they left behind? What were the teachers teaching? In the words of the eunuch: “How can I know, unless someone explains?"

  4. To begin our discussion I have a proposal …
    I will choose one early Christian. I will describe who he was, his basic biographical information, some details of his life, and then give a few quotes from his writings. These will be quotes that encapsulate a particular belief or doctrine he held dear, which will hopefully spark a dialogue between us. I will elaborate a little in my own words and try to give it some context (Biblical as well as historical). Also I can give a source where you can go to read the full text online. You may then join in, and we can discuss that particular Christian and his beliefs for as long as you like…then we can move on to another. We will do the same with that Christian, and so on.
    This may get us nowhere, but then again, it may be interesting.
    Now I further propose that I should post these things on my own blog so that your readers are not distracted by “catholic” chatter. I am not interested in disrupting any good vibes you have here with your followers and friends. If they wish, they can check out our discussion on my blog or they can opt out entirely.
    You may post the entire discussion on your blog, if you like, by simply copying and pasting, or you may direct people to my blog to save yourself some time, or you can even keep it entirely confined to my pages.
    Another way we may proceed is via email. In that case I will not post to my blog and we can keep it private.
    The choice is yours. Let me know either here or on my blog.
    God bless.

  5. Sounds like a good plan, I'd enjoy learning about some of these guys. I'll start checking your blog for when you choose an early Christian to discuss.

    About the Bible being my only rule of faith, the trick is that I am open to learning from teachers, but I must check everything they teach against the entirety of the Scriptures. So I don't see any person as being an authority or rule of faith, simply someone who can help open the Scriptures. But, like the Bereans, I always "search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so."


  6. I'll post something on my blog in the next few days...maybe the first of next week.
    Just for a heads-up - I'll start with Clement of Rome. He was a First Century Christian, who has at least one letter that historians are certain is authentic and another letter that may not be genuine. I'll stick with the one that is certainly his. Feel free to do your own research on the matter, or you can wait for me to kick it off.

    I see your point on checking Scripture to validate what a teacher says about doctrine. I agree that any authentic teaching must never contradict Scripture.
    I guess I would add to that another test...When faced with a variety of doctrines from many different teachers I must also ask: Which view of Scripture shows itself to be the most ancient? Which teacher is presenting material that is consistent with Church teaching back to the time of the Apostles? Which doctrines are the ones for which Christians died as martyrs in the first centuries of the Church? Those are the Christians with whom I wish to be in Communion. What did they teach that was so worth dying for, and where is it taught today?

    Otherwise I am faced with many competing doctrines and only "me and my Bible" to sort it all out. With the "Bible alone" each Christian becomes his own little "pope" issuing decrees for himself alone - deciding which teacher is a heretic and which teacher is true. Each man becomes his own private interpreter and theologian, and each comes to his own conclusions - believing within himself that he is right. Where is the "Church"? Where is Christian unity?

    Anyway...all of this can be discussed when we start our exploration of these early witnesses. I am interested to hear your input...and anyone else who wishes to tag along.

    God Bless,

  7. "With the "Bible alone" each Christian becomes his own little "pope" issuing decrees for himself alone - deciding which teacher is a heretic and which teacher is true. Each man becomes his own private interpreter and theologian, and each comes to his own conclusions - believing within himself that he is right."

    Not himself, but the Holy Spirit. I believe God does not intend us to place our trust in our fellow human beings who are so fallible. But He promised that when He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide us into all righteousness.

    God can use people as tools to help spread and explain His word, but it is up to the hearer to check those explanations against Scripture to see if they are correct, like the Bereans.

  8. "God can use people as tools to help spread and explain His word, but it is up to the hearer to check those explanations against Scripture to see if they are correct, like the Bereans."

    WARNING: Sarcasm Alert! Please do not take what I am about to say too seriously...

    I could answer by saying: I have checked the Scriptures and have found that the Bible fully supports the Catholic view. The Spirit led me to this conclusion, and the Spirit cannot be wrong. As you said, the Spirit will "guide us into all righteousness," and the Spirit guided me straight to the Catholic Church. I see it plainly in Scripture. So there! ...I am right, and you are wrong. The Spirit led me to a true understanding of the Bible. You need to listen to the Spirit and get right with God.

    Sorry. That was a little tongue-in-cheek, but my point is that we get nowhere with such arguments. The "Bible Alone" theory doesn't work, because everyone brings his or her own thoughts into the mix. And then we expect the other person to swallow what we say based on our own personal testimony. You cannot disprove me anymore than I can disprove you. Just survey the landscape of Christian churches out there...each proving their doctrine by using the "Bible Alone," and yet none agree. Who is the Spirit guiding? YOU, the Adventists...because you say so? Why not Methodists or Baptists...or Catholics?

    It all depends on how you interpret certain passages. You trust your interpretations, I trust mine, and we both claim to be "Spirit-guided." So who has the Spirit? Who is right?

    Also...If it is true that "God can use people as tools to help spread and explain His word," then why can't God use popes and bishops? I have searched the Scriptures and I have found it to be true. The Spirit guided me to this conclusion. God wants his Church to contain certain teachers, and I trust God on that matter. If He can use people, then He uses the pope.

    Again, I would say that it is important to go back through history and see what the early Church believed. Did they see in Scripture a mandate for teaching authority within the Church? Were there bishops who taught with authority in those early centuries? If the Apostles instituted these guidelines for Church teaching authority, should we not also follow them today?

    The problem I have with "Scripture Alone" theology is that Scripture can be twisted to a wrong end. And the person doing the twisting can believe in his own mind, and with all his heart, very sincerely, that the Spirit is guiding him - even if it is not the Spirit at all. That's why there are so many competing denominations today...ever since the concept of Sola Scriptura came into being during the "Reformation.'

    I believe the purpose of the CHURCH is to give proper instruction, to maintain authentic teaching, so that we are not all out there alone trying to re-invent the wheel on Biblical interpretation. We shouldn't have to comb through every doctrine on our own...God gave us a CHURCH. We should see what that Church believed since the beginning and try to follow the same pattern.