Question: In Luke we read about the little girl who was “asleep,” as Jesus said. Some say she was dead. But in Luke:8:55 it says “that her spirit returned to her,” signifying that she had been dead. If she was only asleep, as Jesus said, why did her spirit “return” to her? Yet, we cannot disbelieve Jesus when He said she was “asleep.”
Response: “Sleep” in Scripture is often used of those who are “dead” (Dn 12:12; 1 Thes:4:15).
From the perspective of man, she was dead. But to the Lord of life, she was only “asleep,” and He would awaken her.
The disciples “knew” that she was dead and laughed when Jesus said she was “sleeping” (8:52-53). They were limited to what they saw. No breath, she’s dead.
With a superior perspective, the Creator said she was “asleep” and that He would awaken her, even from the “sleep” of death. No one else could do this, for only He calls those “things which be not as though they were” (Rom:4:17). The Bible doesn’t tell us whether her spirit went to paradise, but from wherever it was, the Lord called it back to her body.