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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

27 March 2006

The Soul after Death

Q: Can you please tell me how soon does the soul leave the body after death? I have heard immediately and I have also heard three days later.

A: While “soul” is an often-used word in Scripture and religious writing, we don’t have a clear word from God as to what it is, let alone details about its interim state between death and resurrection. However, the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and Jesus’ conversation with the repentant felon on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) imply a near-immediate separation.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.

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Anonymous Beth said...

Pastor Snyder, can you also comment on how we might correlate this with Jesus raising his friend Lazarus (brother of Mary and Martha) from the dead? The Bible account clearly says Lazarus was dead, so presumably his soul had already left his body. Do you think the soul of Lazarus might have already been in God's presence in Heaven before his body was raised from the dead? I have wondered if Jesus would call a soul out of Heaven to return to earth, and how that person would feel about leaving Heaven--and in what ways would that person have changed between his death and resurrection.

29 March, 2006 12:33  

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