IS GOD A GOD OF THE DEAD?

T. PIERCE BROWN

Matthew, Mark and Luke all report Jesus as saying that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living (Matthew22:32, Mark12:27, Luke20:38). However, Paul says in Romans 14:8-9, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.” Some atheist or agnostic may have already discovered this, and claimed that it is another glaring contradiction, but I do not recall having read such claims.

However, any Bible teacher needs to know how to deal with this and all other apparent contradictions. This is probably one of the easiest ones with which we may need to deal. When Christ is talking, the context shows that he is talking about persons who are dead as far as we are concerned, or as viewed from human temporal relationships, but alive as far as God is concerned. We know this, for he said, “For all live unto him” (Luke20:38). He is talking about the fact that there will be a resurrection, for as far as God is concerned, Abraham was not dead.

So Paul, instead of contradicting Jesus, actually means the same thing, but when he uses the term “dead” in this place, he is referring to those who are dead from our viewpoint. God is the God of those whom we call living, and those whom we call dead, for whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s (Romans 14:8).

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