Chapter Two - Defeating Dualism

I believe that the main reason why Christians today struggle to understand the Bible’s very plain teaching about Heaven and eternity is the fact that many have undergirded their faith with false, anti-Christian assumptions. It can be shown from history and seen in the text of the Bible that certain ancient heresies that existed in Bible times have prevailed until today, and still lurk secretly in the minds and hearts of believers everywhere. Please pay careful attention as you read through the rest of this chapter—your ability to understand the Bible’s true teaching of Heaven (and of many other doctrines) may never be realized if you are not aware of the following belief systems.

For centuries there has been a widespread philosophy and theology called dualism. In essence, dualism is the belief that there are two opposing forces in the universe. These forces are eternally opposite and cannot be united. For example, there is light and darkness; good and bad; spiritual and physical; true and false, etc. Dualism supposes that all things are associated with either of these two forces and maintain their distinction forever. Therefore, good is seen in the true, the spiritual, and the light; and bad (or evil) is seen in the false, the dark, and the physical. The ancient Orientals depicted this philosophy in the image of the yin-yang, which illustrates two opposing forces forever existing distinctly from one another.

It was a common belief that all things that were opposite were necessarily opposed to one another. So, the night opposes the day, light opposes darkness, mind opposes matter, and the spiritual opposes the physical.

This dualism was the foundation of one of the two great heresies that opposed the early, first-century church. Primarily, the doctrine that was seen as abominable to true Christians was the heresy of Gnosticism. It is evident that some who once believed in Jesus had left the faith and had become apostate by adopting the belief of Gnosticism. While Gnosticism had its own branches and differing forms of belief; the core foundation of Gnosticism was the doctrine of dualism:

“The basis of the Gnostic religion and world-philosophy lies in a decided Oriental dualism. In sharp contrast are opposed the two worlds of the good and of the evil, the divine world and the material world, the worlds of light and darkness.”

Essentially, this philosophy and belief system purported that everything that was material or physical was evil, and everything that was spiritual was good. The physical world was darkness and the spiritual world was light. The belief was that anything corporeal was evil and anything incorporeal was good.

“…Gnosticism recognizes…this corporeal and material world [as] the true seat of evil, consistently treating the bodily existence of mankind as essentially evil and the separation of the spiritual from the corporeal being as the object of salvation…”

Unfortunately, a statement like this one sounds good to many Christians. In fact, it sounds “spiritual,” and many Christians would probably agree with it. The problem is that it is completely false. In fact, it is heretical and distinctly anti-Christian!

We must remember that belief systems are not held in a vacuum—they have consequences and repercussions. In other words, we act upon our beliefs and we all live in accordance with our beliefs. Therefore, any doctrine must be taken to its logical conclusion—it doesn’t just stand on its own, in a vacuum, affecting nothing else. In the case of dualistic Gnosticism, we find a great heresy…

Think about it, central and core to the religion of Christianity is the belief in the deity of Jesus Christ. We believe that Jesus Christ is both God and man. We recognize that God was incarnate in the life and body of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not just a prophet, teacher, or social reformer, He was “God manifested in the flesh.” Jesus was the “Word made flesh” and in Him was “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” The Bible explicitly teaches the deity of Jesus Christ.

However, Gnosticism assumes and believes that anything with a body, anything that is physical, anything that can be touched or handled, must inherently be evil. Therefore if Jesus is God, then He could not have come in the flesh and He could not have had a real body. If this is true, then either the man Jesus was not truly human and did not have a genuine physical body, or Jesus was not God at all, rather just another man who was inherently evil and sinful. In either case, the resulting belief is disastrous!

The Apostle John dealt quite specifically with this false teaching in his first epistle. In fact, it is evident that the main purpose of this letter was to defeat the damning doctrine of dualism, which ultimately undermined the faith “once delivered unto the saints.” With the backdrop of dualistic Gnosticism in view, John, under the unction of the Holy Ghost, writes:

1 John 4:1-3 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

The Bible plainly teaches us that any belief system that assumes that physical things are automatically evil is the spirit of antichrist! I know this sounds strong, but the Bible is very plain about this. What this means is that anybody today who even casually assumes that the physical, material universe is inherently evil has unwittingly accepted the doctrine of antichrist. When you believe that the physical world, where God has placed his creation including human beings with human bodies, is evil—you are effectively adopting the spirit of antichrist.

As you read the book of 1st John, you will find that John emphasized both the deity of Jesus Christ and the humanity of Jesus Christ. He was both the Son of Man and the Son of God. He was simultaneously human and divine—a thought, belief, and teaching that is perfectly opposed to dualism. Since the Gnostics believed that anything which came in the flesh was evil, they had to teach that Jesus did not truly come in the flesh; or that he did not have a real human body. In either case, their teaching was completely false, and undermined the truth of the incarnation. In direct response to such blasphemous teachings, John wrote:

2 John 7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

Gnostics who believed in Jesus essentially believed that His body was not truly human and could not actually have a physical form. Jesus could neither be handled nor felt; and He only appeared to have a physical body. In direct contrast to this, John writes and assures his audience that Jesus was certainly there at “the beginning” and yet was still so fully human that they saw Him with their eyes and actually touched Him and “handled” Him:

1 John 1:1-2 “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.)”

Likewise, Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church emphasized the reality of a true bodily resurrection. The church in Corinth was highly influenced by the prevailing Greek philosophy established by Plato; which like Gnosticism, was founded on the principle of dualism. Plato’s philosophy permeated Greek thought and culture and caused the Greek people (including the Corinthians) to believe that material things were evil. Additionally, Philo of Alexandria heavily influenced many Jews into accepting this doctrine. So Paul went out of his way to remind the Corinthian believers that our future and eternal state will be with actual bodies:

2 Corinthians 5:2-3 “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long for the day when we will put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. 3 For we will not be spirits without bodies, but we will put on new heavenly bodies.” NLT

In eternity, we will not be “floating spirits,” or spirits without bodies, but we will have actual bodies—what the Bible refers to as: heavenly bodies, incorruptible bodies, spiritual bodies, imperishable bodies, or resurrected bodies. In any case, we must recognize that our spirits will have actual physical bodies that are eternal. The problem of sin will be forever abolished and our bodies will live in Heaven.

In fact, Paul was so serious about eradicating dualism from the minds of the Greek-influenced Corinthian church, that he used the strongest words available to impugn their disbelief in true bodily resurrection. He understood their philosophy and recognized that a dualistic based mind, which assumed that all physical bodies were inherently evil, would not be able to imagine how one could be raised from the dead. Paul blatantly called everyone who believed this way an outright fool:

1 Corinthians 15:35-38 “But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” 36 You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; 37 and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.” NASB

Finally, to forever establish in your heart and mind that our future will not be in a place of disembodied spirits, but rather in genuine physical, real, and material bodies, consider the statements of Jesus after he had resurrected:

Luke 24:39 “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.”

When Jesus was in his resurrected body, he plainly stated that he was not just “a spirit” or a ghost. He was physical; he could be touched and handled. This is the Jesus that we shall see again one day, and this is the same Jesus that is in Heaven right now—a real physical Jesus in a true, physical resurrected body!

With this image of the resurrected Jesus Christ in mind, the Apostle John writes:

1 John 3:2 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

We don’t know what our new spiritual bodies will be like, but we know that we will be like Him. We will have resurrected bodies like Jesus has!

I recognize this is very hard for people to believe, even though the Bible declares it in no uncertain terms. Please ask yourself, why is this hard to grasp? I’ll tell you why, because for your entire life you have casually assumed the teachings of dualism, Gnosticism, and Platonism which is nothing less than the spirit of antichrist! The teachings of the spirit of antichrist are clouding your mind and preventing you from seeing the beauty of God’s eternal redemptive plan in his true, physical creation.

In the beginning, the universe that God created in six days was a physical universe. Everything that God made, including the sun, moon, stars, planets, oceans, earth, sky, plants, trees, fish, birds, land animals, and humans were all physical and material in nature. Dualism, Platonism, Gnosticism and the spirit of antichrist all teach that all of these physical things must be inherently evil. However, God Himself stated that all of these physical creations before sin were “very good.” My question now is simply this—who will you believe?

Read the First Four Chapters

Chapter 1 - Introduction
Chapter 2 - Defeating Dualism
Chapter 3 - Defining Heaven
Chapter 4 - A Peek into Paradise

These are the Titles of the Remaining Chapters:
Chapter 5 - The Flesh and the Fall
Chapter 6 - Paradise for the Meantime
Chapter 7 - A Paradigm Shift
Chapter 8 - Paradise in the Future
Chapter 9 - The Restitution and the Regeneration
Chapter 10 - The Resurrection
Chapter 11 - The Redemption of the Earth
Chapter 12 - God Surrenders Nothing to His Enemies
Chapter 13 - Animals in Heaven
Chapter 14 - Rewards in Heaven
Chapter 15 - What Will the New Earth Be Like?
Chapter 16 - The Conclusion of the Whole Matter



Author:
Diego Rodriguez
Pages: 130
Size: 5.5 x 8.5
Paperback
ISBN: 0-9788829-8-9
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