Paul seems to think we can go to Paradise in this body or that we can exist as a spirit apart from a body, "out of the body" and experience functions wrongly assumed to be limited to the body, like hearing or seeing.
2 Corinthians 12:1-4 (CLV) . . .
1 If boasting must be, though it is not expedient, indeed, yet I shall also be coming to apparitions (visions-KJV) and revelations of the Lord.
2 I am acquainted with a man in Christ, fourteen years before this, (whether in a body I am not aware, or outside of the body, I am not aware -- God is aware) such a one was snatched away to the third heaven.
3 And I am acquainted with such a man (whether in a body or outside of the body I am not aware -- God is aware)
4 that he was snatched away into paradise and hears ineffable declarations, which it is not allowed a man to speak.
There's more Scripture for understanding it this way than there's time for here. When Ecclesiates says, "The dead know nothing. They go down in silence." it is enough to fulfill it by going up to a corpse in a casket and yelling at him, slapping him even and you'll find he doesn't know it and remains silent. Yet the Word speaks of the spirit of man going up, whereas the spirit of a beast goes down. (Please don't ask me to get references at this late moment.)
I don't have time to detail that doctrine here; but, I've also experienced various things that make it more according to how I understand Scripture than the so-called "soul sleep" doctrine. This is not "The Immortality of the Soul" doctrine. "The soul that sins it shall die" is the word of God. However, I believe it is possible the spirit may experience times of sleep when apart from the body that's dead.
1 Peter 3:17-22 (CLV) . . .
17 For it is better to be suffering for doing good, if the will of God may be willing, than for doing evil,
18 seeing that Christ also, for our sakes, once died concerning sins, the just for the sake of the unjust, that He may be leading us to God; being put to death, indeed, in flesh, yet vivified in spirit,
19 in which, being gone to the spirits in jail also,
20 He heralds to those once stubborn, when the patience of God awaited in the days of Noah while the ark was being constructed, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were brought safely through water,
21 the representation of which, baptism, is now saving you also (not the putting off of the filth of the flesh, but the inquiry of a good conscience to God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
22 Who is at God's right hand, being gone into heaven, messengers and authorities and powers being subjected to Him.
1 Peter 4:5-6 (CLV) . . .
5 who shall be rendering an account to Him Who is holding Himself in readiness to judge the living and the dead.
6 For for this an evangel is brought to the dead also, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in flesh, yet should be living according to God, in spirit.
How could God judge the dead if they are not. If you say he will raise them to judgment then they are alive and he wouldn't be judging the dead. Jesus is Lord of the living and the dead according to Scripture.
What I think is an important point is that in order to believe in the salvation of all the only change a person needs to make, regardless of other possible variations in theology, is to understand that your destiny is not sealed by death. God continues to work with the spirit. How bad off would many who have followed Him in life if they were raised immortal in no better spiritual condition than what they were when they died?
Nevertheless, I don't care much if people who love God think differently on this, as many do. What I agree with from their perspective is that if being a spirit apart from the body means we experience everything just as if we were alive then it would be very hard to provide a reason for the resurrection. That is exactly what many have concluded. When you die you are spirit immediately, which is the resurrection body. That is getting too far from what I understand happened to Jesus and the expectation that He, "...will transfigure the body of our humiliation, to conform it to the body of His glory, in accord with the operation which enables Him even to subject all to Himself." (Php 3:20, CLV)
I think it has to do with manifesting in the physical, psychical and spiritual dimensions. We are our bodies and we are our spirits, both of which have substance. It doesn't seem that the soul has substance, but it is in the mid heaven. We exist in 3 dimensions, hence the mention of the 3rd heaven in 2 Cor 12. I think it is the influence of Greek mysticism that caused the Institutional Church to take up the idea that we are spirits that have bodies, that the body isn't the real man. Seeing ourselves as multi-dimensional wholes is more Biblical.
All of this could be elaborated upon in book length discussions.
Your friend, James Rohde
P.S. Too many think they know what happens when we die based on nothing they've experienced, only what they heard others say. I know for a fact that God will bring the seeking soul a lot more light than that.