I was at a funeral the other day, and my wife - with reference to the deceased woman in the casket - asked the female funeral directoress: "Will she be staying here overnite?" The directoress's answer was "Yes she will," after which I softly commented: "Should the corpse be called a she or an it?" to which the indignant possibly-feminist-sexist breast-cancer-biased funeral directoress replied: "Of course she's a she and not an it!"
That got me thinking:
Was the body in the coffin a person or merely a shell? Was the entity in the casket more or less identical to some lifeless female-form manniquin in some department-store display window? Had she lain there topless to the mourners gazing down at it and not her, would it and not she have been life-sized porngraphic? Could we legitimately call the deceased lying there by it's and not her first name in contrast to when she was alive and her soul had not departed away from her body by death?
The discussion continued with my wife and mother-in-law on the way home. After thinking about it further during the discourse, I announced that the soul-less spirit-less deceased body in the coffin was NO LONGER a person who we could call by [her] first name as when [she was] alive, but NOW instead a thing, a non-responsive and non-breathing it lying there....a which and a that but no longer a who, though yet associated with a previous name of identification.
Every once in a while I correct my wife to NOT call a human-infant baby an "it" but rather a he or a she. To get a proper mindset about the who-NOT-"it" personage of the human fetus in the womb so as to not be tempted to commit and never "perform" abortion-homicide [murder], the Greek word brephos for babe is used BOTH in Luke 1:41 to describe the pre-born child in Elizabeth's womb AND in Luke 2:16 to describe the already-born child Jesus lying in a manger!
Now, I realize that archaic (and hopefully soon-obsolete) Chaucerian/Elizabethan Old English - typical of the KJV - has the effect of confusing speech. Indeed, if I went up to a typical tough guy in a bad mood on the big-city street now in the 21st century and said to him: "Would you vouchsafe to succor me?" only God knows what he would reply and how he would react. In singing the Lord's Prayer, the phrase "Our Father, WHO is in heaven" is preferred instead of "Our Father, WHICH art in heaven." It is better to say vandalize tombstones and gravesites rather than to say "desecrate" them as if to infer that they were something sacred.
In New-Testament Greek-Text Scripture, the Greek word "it" [Gr. auto and pronounced aw-tah] is applied to the body of Jesus in Luke 23:53....and as you recall, Luke was known as 'the beloved physician' and thus spoke from a medical point of view.
However, Mark 15:46 Greek Text uses the word "him" [Gr. auton and pronounced aw-tahn] relating to the body of Jesus, as does Mark 16:6, John 11:34 referring to the dead body of Lazarus, and Acts 13:30 citing God raising "him" from the dead.
As a semantical preference on my part, I agree with Dr. Luke calling the corpse of Jesus an "it."
Scriptural semantics can be mystifying and perplexing, as when Jesus told His disciples he was going to go and "awaken" Lazarus (John 11:11-14). Fortunately, He clarified such by plainly reinterpreting His strange vocabulary with: "Lazarus is dead" (John 11:14). Helpful re-wording, to say the least. We should apply that sleep-means-death re-wording to other Scripture verses such as "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (I Cor. 15:51-56). And: "...the [12-year-old] girl/child is not dead, but sleeping" (Matthew 9:24, Mark 5:39, Luke 8:52). What Christ meant by dead was known only to Him, and what He meant by sleeping was also only known to Him. Laughter was the expected reaction by those who knew that the girl was INDEED dead as both Dr. Luke and they understood "death" (Luke 8:53).
Speaking of death, there are advantages IF such MUST occur. For example, the "Be still and know that I am God" verse is perfectly obeyed by the 100% silent and stilled body lying in the casket. No human can disturb that absolute obedience of total immobility. Also, the verse ordering the deceased to "Avoid the presence of a fool" and "Do not associate with them" is also completely and perfectly obeyed, being that the dead one is no longer tempted nor harassed by impatient, immodest, lying, stealing, vulgar, polluted, gossiping, blasphemous, slanderous, filthy and diseased fools.
Unless one is truly called by God to go to the local morgue or funeral home and resurrect the dead body on the slab or in the coffin back to life, the question arises as to what condition the resurrector would like that body be restored back to life. Would the wrinkles still show? The severed body parts? The handicaps? The again-to-be-fatal disease in a re-established point of detriment in whatever stage? Would the diseased-caused soon-to-be-lethal pain re-commence? And who would want to pay for another funeral expense the next time around? One doubts whether a Christian, having experienced even a bit of Paradise, would want to return (by non-solicited resurrection) to the miserable life and people he or she (thankfully) left behind.
Some things are weird in the Bible. II Corinthians 12:1-11 tells the tale of Saint Paul bragging about some vision or revelation he had of some guy being "caught up to the third heaven...to Paradise...and heard things that cannot and may not be uttered." Thanks a lot, Paul, for that apparently ridiculous little insertion. Thanks for causing us to perpetually wonder exactly what may not be uttered. Isn't your mysterious little secret spe.....cial to all of us? What did that accomplish for US? What do WE gain by your little story there in II Cor. 12:1-11? Why not keep your visionary hallucinations(?) to yourself? It does shows that you're a big shot, and by that little story you got the attention you apparently craved. YOU'RE now The Man. If the Holy Spirit had not seen fit to include your little fable(?) of II Cor. 12:1-11, it would obviously be useless, meaningless, of no value, and rather obnoxious to us....and we would have understood the need for you to have that "thorn in the flesh" to prevent you from becoming a complete egocentric goof to the rest of us Bible-believers. Thank God that if you did write the book of Hebrews, the author was never acknowledged. Had it been you, and that was revealed, it would have been too much for both us and you.
Remember the story of Peter's vision of the lowered bedsheet full of lifeforms of all kinds and The Voice telling him to kill and eat? I wonder if bat was part of the potential menu. Bat is not sold in my local superette nor grocery store. Oh well.
Speaking of diversity, why did Jesus heal only certain people? I realize that the Bible "only told the half of it" (according to John 21:25). But so many people left non-healed! Jesus had only so much time and energy, and His chief intention was to prove that He was the Lord.
Now, a brief comment on the ridiculous phrase: "a couragous battle with cancer."
One does not "battle" nor "fight" against cancer any more successfully than one godlessly battles and fights against Satan or even being taken down by the common cold or flu. An appropriate way to think about it instead is to be sensitive and immediately responsive to one's own bodily needs and thus by default supplement the body's own God-given immune system....by promptly resting enough when tired all of a sudden instead of pushing the limits of one's body with pride-driven over-scheduling, getting to bed on time and getting enough sleep, avoiding self-abusive vices, eating enough nourishing foods (without destroying one's body trying to fast 40 days and 40 nights eating and drinking nothing hospice-style and please review Mark 5:43), urinating and defecating immediately when needed, trusting in God and living with sensible moderation and consistency, actually fearing God with reverent awe and respect, etc.
One more thing.
Matthew 15:20 records that Jesus declared that "to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man." ["Defile?" Oh, the inadequacies of our English language in Bible translation!]. As with several other things Jesus uttered which must both be understood rightly and taken with a grain of salt so to speak, it is assumed and not presumed that Jesus did not intend for us to knowlingly ingest nor inhale tumors-inciting radioactive fallout from the atmospheric nuclear weapons testing of the 50s and 60s, willingly allow our bodies to be constantly saturated with intense radio waves of all severities and frequencies, nor want our hands deliberately full of radioactive cancer-causing plutonium, feces, urine, and vomit when we eat from our hands, which defiling things would of course defile us - contrary to anti-Biblical misinterpreters. "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me" would NOT include jumping down from the pinnacle of the temple expecting to sensationally impress everyone with a presumed TV-news-headlined soft landing, nor drinking lethal poison or presumptuously grabbing high-voltage power lines.
Be that as it is and not "anyway" nor "whatever," it is true that if we ALWAYS believe in Jesus, we will never die: physically nor spiritually. But which one of us always and perfectly believes in and consistently trusts in Jesus? "No one born of God [EVER] commits sin." The crowded cemeteries are full of those who even slightly failed once in a while, even though the two witnesses Enoch and Elijah never saw death. Yet.