QUESTION: I believe that the Watchtower teaches that man has a physical body that is buried and returns to the dust when the person dies. I also think I have read that the Watchtower teaches that man does not have a soul, but is a soul. Thirdly, man's "spirit" is nothing more than his breath and not something that leaves the persons body when the person that is functioning or knowledgeable. My first question if you would please, am I correct in what I just said?
My last question is this, if I am correct, then can you please explain what Paul meant when he said that he was about to finish the course, that he knew that it was about time for his death and that "to be absent from his physical body would mean he would be present with The Lord". If his body was physically in the ground and he had no "soul", exactly what went to heaven that according to the Watchtower was nothing more than his breath?
Thank you for your answer in advance.
ANSWER: Hello there, Jim.
In answer to your first question, you are basically correct. (See Genesis 2:7; Ezekiel 18:4, 20
Now, as to the words of Paul, they do not contradict the above. Some people will be resurrected to and live on the earth in perfect human bodies of flesh. (Psalm 37:9—11, 29; Isaiah 35:1—10; Daniel 12:2, 13; Matthew 5:5
Others will be resurrected to life in heaven to rule as Kings and Priests. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:4
) Of these, some died years ago and slept until the resurrection. (1 Thessalonians 4:13—17
) These are not “absent from the body and present with the Lord” until they are resurrected. Others who die now are resurrected instantaneously; they do not sleep at all. (1 Corinthians 15:50—53
) In both cases, they are raised up as spirit beings. (1 Corinthians 15:44, 45
) At that time they become “present with the Lord.
When considering Scriptural matters one gets a fuller picture by considering all of the Scriptures that have a bearing on the subject under consideration.
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QUESTION: Thank you for your response. I really only have one question which is, when Paul died his physical body was placed in the ground (buried) and nothing happened to his soul since I believe the WT teaching is, you are a soul, you don't have a soul which exists once the person dies.
My one question is, what does the WT call the thing that went to be with The Lord? What do you call the thing that is absent from the body that is present with The Lord?
Hello again Jim, and you are welcome.
And your understanding is correct: Paul died and was buried. He became a dead soul, or dead person, and that is what was buried. His spirit or life force, the breath of life went out from him. (That is where we get the word “expired;” it “breathed out.”
So to answer your question (I hope): When Paul died, at that time
nothing went to be “with the Lord.” When the last days began and it was time to resurrect the dead who go to heaven, Paul was resurrected in a glorified spirit body, and that was what went to heaven
. As 1 Corinthians 15:44—46
says, “It is sown a physical body, it is raised up a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual one. It is even so written: “The first man Adam became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. Nevertheless, the first is, not that which is spiritual, but that which is physical, afterward that which is spiritual.”