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by Wayne Blank
Everyone Is Still Mortal Human, Nothing More
Physically, there is no difference between the most righteous person and the most evil person (although righteous people do tend to live healthier lifestyles). Both are still completely mortal human, all subject to the grave:
"one fate comes to all, to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil" (Ecclesiastes 9:2 RSV)
The difference is what awaits them, whether eternal life for the righteous, or oblivion for the unrepentant wicked. But neither has received their due, yet:
"These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth." (Hebrews 11:13 RSV) (see The Elect)
"And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says The Lord of hosts." (Malachi 4:3 RSV) (see Planet On Fire!)
Conceived, Not Yet Born, As Spirit
There is however a spiritual difference between the righteous and the wicked; the righteous have been "sealed with the Holy Spirit," which has engendered a potential new life within them, a life which may be "born again" if (as in if they don't fall away from the Truth) they are resurrected as spirit, as Jesus Christ explained to Nicodemus:
"Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see The Kingdom of God unless he is born again."
The New Testament was written mostly in Greek, and then translated into the many languages of the world. The Greek word pronounced gen-aw-oh is often translated as "born," but the original Greek word has a much broader literal meaning - it covers the entire process from conception to birth. Unlike (in certain areas of) the modern world, in ancient times there was no absurd debate about "when life begins" - in God's eyes, it begins at conception (see When Does "Life" Begin?).
Gen-aw-oh translated as "born"
"Now when Jesus was born [i.e. the Greek gen-aw-oh] in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king" (Matthew 2:1 RSV)
Gen-aw-oh translated as "conceived"
"Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived [i.e. again, the Greek gen-aw-oh] in her is of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 1:20 RSV)
When "Born" Actually Means "Conceived"
There are a number of verses in English-language Bibles that, although technically correct (keeping in mind that the original Greek word of the Scriptures meant the process from conception to birth) should have specifically been translated as conceived (i.e. growing in knowledge of the Truth and developing righteous character while awaiting birth), rather than born. Some examples:
"But to all who received Him, who believed in His Name, He gave power to become [i.e. in the future] Children Of God; who were born [i.e. gen-aw-oh, conceived], not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13 RSV)
Fact Finder: Why will some be resurrected to spirit, and some as physical again?