Articles – World Views




Monism is the philosophical teaching that reality consists of only one thing. On the other hand, metaphysics is concerned about ultimate reality beyond the physical. A metaphysical question might be: Does God exist? If so, how, where, etc? Is God real? Or, is anything real? Monism points to the existence of only one thing, but allows for many things within that one, main thing. Confusing? Probably! Think of it like this: Monism makes no distinction between God and His created universe. They are the same; they are one. Yet, the Bible teaches that God is above His creation; He has placed it before mankind for the right and proper use of what He made (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

Have you ever heard someone say: Nature is my God! They mean that they find a god of some kind (their own personal god) in the material world; they commune with nature; nature is god, and vice versa. Human beings are not soul, spirit, and body—they are simply self. We now begin to understand how the teaching of monism destroys the spiritual identity of man.

If man is simply ONE thing, then the idea of dying and the return of the soul/spirit to God is not possible. “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 immortality of the soul is negated,by the teaching of monism. There can be no existence of man in a disembodied state. There can be no future bodily resurrection, no intermediate state, no possibility of any kind of future life.

What does the Bible teach? “And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). Does this passage indicate some kind of intermediate state between death and the resurrection? Was Christ going to be alive in Paradise even though He was being crucified and His spirit would leave Him? What about the thief? What about Luke 16 and the rich man and Lazarus? Both men died. Both men had a conscious existence “on the other side.” What about 2 Corinthians 5:8? “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” Paul said that he could be with the Lord even though his fleshly, physical body was no longer alive. What about Matthew 10:28? “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The body can be killed; physical life can (and will) come to an end. Yet, the soul cannot be killed; it can be lost and cast into hell.

What does this mean? It means that man is composed of a fleshly nature and a spiritual nature. We live in the flesh and use this life to be faithful to the Lord. We want to save our soul or spirit, the part of each us that is made in God’s image. Philosophical teachings notwithstanding, man is a soul—a human, living being, and man has a soul—the part of man that is made in God’s image. The outward man decays; the inward man can be renewed. That is where our emphasis must be. – Randy Harshbarger – January 20, 2008