“Spiritual death”

The post at the Feast blog about the fall has got me thinking about Spiritual death.

Alma uses this idea in Alma 42. From what I can tell, the idea is that without the redemption, we are spiritual dead, which means we go live with Satan rather than God. To be spiritually dead does mean to be cast out of God’s presence, but it seems like we have to be careful. Right now we are not in His presence because we are mortals on earth – but I don’t think that means we are spiritually dead. Even little kids are not “in his presence” in this sense, and yet I can’t imagine the scriptures calling them “spiritually dead.”

So when Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden, did that constitute a spiritual death?

I don’t know how to answer that. I suppose it set up the possibility for spiritual death. There was now the choice of spiritual death. But I don’t know that it was their “state” just by leaving the garden.

The only verse I’ve found so far that might suggest it is D&C 29:41:

Wherefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the firstdeath, even that same death which is the last death, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced upon the wicked when I shall say: Depart, ye cursed.

The Book of Mormon seems to deal only with this last instance of spiritual death – when it is pronounced upon the wicked at the last day. So what does this verse mean by the first death?


Other things to ponder on:

When we leave this life, our body stays here!

If  we don’t have a body, we can’t live in heaven. Yet, we lived there before got a body, right?

Our spirits were never actually created or “born” since we are co-eternal with God. Christ begets us spiritually, though, when we make a covenant to be obedient to Him. Why call that a birth?

If that is a birth, what do we call resurrection? Is that a rebirth with a new father as well?

If we are “reborn,” to what is the “re” referring? Is this a second spiritual birth, or was the first birth our bodily birth?

I’m obviously not being careful and mixing language of various scriptures, without any context! 🙂

What about a “second death”? That seems to be something that can only happen after “calling and election” made sure (or whatever name you want to use for it). Is that referred to as a second life ever?

The Book of Mormon seems to use the phrase spiritual death for what I’m used to calling the second death (from which there is no return, etc. etc. Is this a valid understanding?

Interesting themes, of life and death. Much to explore.


One response to ““Spiritual death”

  • Roberta Gruber

    Great thoughts! To me, I think spiritual death is the more permanent and final state (ultimate end) of a spirit’s existence…maybe not in annhiliation of its matter but in total and complete separation from God. Right now we are mortal and physically separated from God but we are not spiritually separated in a permanent sense since because he has given us the gift of His Holy Spirit to speak to us and guide us. Therefore, we have His presence, in one sense.

    I’ve often thought about the need for us to have a body to live in heaven again and how to reconcile that with the fact that we didn’t need one before we came to earth. I wonder if I understand that correctly because the requirement to have a body to exist in heaven isn’t true…many spirits still have no body and exist in heaven, I guess quite happily. It must ultimately have to do with progression.

    I think this is a long way of saying that I agree with you. 🙂

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