Nowhere does the bible speak of “incarnation,” and thus a “literal pre-existing spirit being.” A lot of heresies have crept into the faith that is not the “faith that was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
The whole idea of preexistence and incarnation is built on the premise of an “immortal soul.” The teaching of an immortal soul is heresy. The pagan doctrine is that the “soul” is a part of a person, an entity, that never dies. Of course Satan started this lie back in the Garden where he tells Eve, “You shall not surely die” (Genesis 3:4).
This pagan concept that the soul never dies means that the “real you” cannot die, it is only your “flesh” that dies! They do this with Jesus; he didn’t really die, it was his flesh that died and he continued to live a conscious life. In the same way, this same false teaching is applied to us, that we really don’t die. Paganism surely has its foothold in pseudo-Christendom besides the world at large. They confuse the concept of “soul” and “spirit.” It is taught that man’s “soul” is his “spirit” and this “spirit” continues to live. This is not true.
(Lifeless Body) + (Breath from God) = (Living Soul)
‘And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man BECAME a living soul. ` Gen 2:7
On that ground is a corpse. Nothing is functioning. It isn’t until God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (air: ruach/spirit) that Adam BECAME a living soul. He IS a soul, not that he has a soul. Animals are souls as well.
Conversely, when that breath leaves us, the living soul ends up a dead soul. There is nothing about that person living in a disembodied state after he dies. If a soul or spirit is eternal then it can only mean that it existed before it dwelt in a body of flesh and must continue to live after the body dies. No matter how we slice or dice this concept, if our body which is temporal, and the spirit is eternal, as we are taught, it all boils down to “pre-existence.” The supposed immortal spirit, the real you, returns to God who gave it.
The spirit [ruach-breath] of man returns to the LORD God who gave it and the same fate concerns the beasts as well. This has nothing to do with an “immortal soul” or the “spirit” being a separate entity within a person no matter what the commentaries say.
Now people will say that when a person dies, that his spirit goes back to God as though this ‘spirit’ is a separate entity that is still conscious and the actual person themselves continues to live outside the body in eternal bliss with Jesus in heaven based on Ecc. 12:7:
“and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.”
One commentary (JFB) says: “spirit — surviving the body; implying its immortality.”
Barnes says: “The Spirit – The doctrine of life after death is implied here…”
The only reason why they say it is “implied” is because they have been influenced by Greek Platonic concepts which is simply philosophy that Paul warned us about (Col. 2:8). It was Plato who lived about 300-400 years before Jesus who gave his philosophical false belief that man is innately immortal.
Concerning Ecc. 12:7, I believe the CEV translation has it correctly translated:
“So our bodies return to the earth, and the life-giving breath returns to God.”
Let’s also think about this for a moment. If people want to teach that a person’s “spirit” has returned to God and continues to live a conscious life after death, then they would have to admit that the crimes of the most vile EVIL DOERS (such as Hitler) are with God this very moment. Of course this is preposterous.
The other problem with this false preexistence pagan program is that it fits well with the belief of incarnation. The pagan teaching of “incarnation” is a spirit being possessing a body of flesh. What we have is not only incarnation, but reincarnation – a repeat process where a spirit being possesses one body until that body dies and moves on to another body until it dies and so on. No one slipped into a body of flesh, including Jesus.
Jesus was never alive, living a conscious life as a “spirit being” nor as the “son of God,” immortal, who had to leave his abode in the heavens to inhabit a body of flesh on this earth. This is preaching “another christ.” Nor are we immortal inhabiting a body of flesh, and yet this teaching persists to this day in many churches and in Hollywood (the movie “Ghost” for example and other numerous movies).
The bible says God alone has immortality (1 Tim. 6:16), which means He is never subject to death, and we seek immortality (Rom. 2:7), and like Jesus, one day we will put on immortality, never subject to death again (1Cor. 15:54).
If Jesus came into this world immortal, then Jesus never really died! If we come into this world immortal, we never die, and this is clearly wrong according to scripture. It is simply a lie of the devil that has so many convinced it is true.
There are many who insist that it was just Jesus’ flesh – his body- that died on the cross, and the real Jesus (the spirit) kept on living. Folks, this is embracing the teachings of Gnosticism. If one does not die, he does not need to be resurrected and therefore Jesus never really resurrected from the dead. People are hung up on the “body.” If we do a little digging, we will not find one phrase that says “the resurrection of the body!” We have such phrases as “the resurrection,” “the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” “the resurrection of or from the dead,” or “resurrection of the just,” but never the “resurrection of the body.” (Matt. 22:23; 28, 30, 31; Matthew 27:53; Mark 12:18, 23; Luke 14:14, 20:27, 33, 35, 36; John 5:29, 11:24, 25; Acts 1:22, 2:31, 4:2, 33, 17:18, 32, 23:6, 8, 24:15, 21; Romans 1:4, 6:5; 1 Cor. 15:12, 13, 21, 42; Phil. 3:10, 11, 2 Tim. 2:18; Heb. 6:2, 11:35; 1 Peter 1:3, 3:21; Rev. 20:5, 6). The resurrection concerns the whole individual.
The spirit (peneuma /breath) is a vital principle or animating force within living beings. Jesus said,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”
this means that Jesus breathed his last life-breath. Jesus called out with a loud voice,
“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit [pneuma].”
When he had said this, he breathed his last. -Luke 23:46 When Jesus said, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” he was not talking about giving up a separate entity of himself to leave his body that continues to consciously exist outside the body. He simply gave up his “breath,” his life, into the hands of his Father. It is the breath that returns to God, not a personal, conscious entity. James says in 2:26 “…the body without the spirit (pneuma/breath) is dead.”
People assume a literal preexistence and the incarnation of Jesus. This is a premise with no foundation in scripture. We build on sinking sand when we base things on a premise. No matter how logical something may sound, if the premise is wrong, everything else will be also.
The idea that Jesus was really alive and conscious before his birth in Bethlehem is ludicrous. Jesus is and has always been authentically a human being like us, not an “angel” who became man, or some “spirit being” who became a man, nor an “eternal Son of God” who became a man. There was no preexistence and incarnation. In the incarnation, Mary would have “received” a spirit being rather than “conceive a baby.” Rather, the Messiah was always in the mind and plan of God. The Messiah was promised. The Messiah came into existence at the begetting in Mary’s womb.
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. -Luke 1:30-31
“Literal preexistence” and “Incarnation” is not a biblical concept, it is simply pagan.