Nearly all religions believe that there is a separation of the temporary and eternal at our death. This is the concept of the immortal soul as it called in much of modern Christianity.
The term “immortal soul” is not found in the bible
Its roots are in Greek philosophy
It’s what man has concocted
But as we will see later, it goes back much farther than that
The concept briefly stated, is that there is a part of us that is called the soul that is immortal and will not die.
Two words for soul
We can equate psuche and nephesh
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL [psuche], AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
Deuteronomy 6:5 You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul [nephesh], and with all your strength.
Man is a Soul
As compared to has a soul
KJV Genesis 2:7 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.
NKJV Genesis 2:7 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 being.
1 Corinthians 15:45 And so it is written, “THE FIRST MAN ADAM BECAME A LIVING BEING [psuche].” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
Man became alive, before that time he was lifeless.
A soul is a person
Genesis 12:5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan.
In the Greek
1 Peter 3:20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
Most peoples idea of a soul is that it is intangible and separate and distinct from the body, but notice what a soul can do:
A soul can:
- give a literal offering (Leviticus 2:1)
- break a commandment (Leviticus 4:2)
- touch (Leviticus 5:2)
- swear (Leviticus 5:4)
- lies (Leviticus 6:2)
- eat (Leviticus 7:18)
- bathe (Leviticus 17:15)
- abhor bread (Job 33:20)
- struck / smitten (Joshua 11:11)
Animals are too….
Now here is something interesting that has to be taken into account
God gave animals life as well. He gave them nephesh.
KJV Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature [nephesh] that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1:24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature [nephesh] according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.
So when we come to a conclusion on whether the soul is immortal or not we have to apply it to animals as well because we are both considered souls.
Most do not believe that the fate and man and animals is the same. There is a distinguishing between the two. They do not believe that every living soul [speaking of the animals] is subject to the same beliefs about what is going to happen to humans. So we need to keep this in mind when we are talking about the concept of immortal soul and the belief of going to heaven or hell.
Where Does the Idea of an Immortal Soul Come From?
Genesis 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat;
Genesis 2:17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Genesis 3:4 Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die.
Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Adam and eve fell for the lie and what happened?
Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”
Could have lived forever
Genesis 3:22 Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, to know good and evil. And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—
Genesis 3:23 therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.
Genesis 3:24 So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.
Did not have eternal life inherent
therefore… Put him out of the garden so that he did not get it
Guarded it so that he could not get back in
Souls Can Die
Revelation 16:3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature [soul: G5590] in the sea died.
Now let’s notice that a soul can be eradicated – by another human
KJV Ezekiel 22:27 Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
If we are or have immortal souls, then this goes against the definition of immortal which means not subject to death; not liable to perish or decay; everlasting and perpetual;
Not only do we see that someone can destroy souls but that we in a sense can destroy our own souls.
Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.
Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins shall die.
God is saying here that the penalty for sin is the death of the soul.
Romans 6:23 Our wages for sin is death
All have sinned Romans 3:23
So therefore all souls will die and none are immortal
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Numbers 6:6 All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead bodyH5315.
What Happens at Death Then?
Ecclesiastes 3:19 For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity.
Ecclesiastes 3:20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.
Both die and return to the ground and break down and decay and become a part of the dirt – WHY? Because we are corruptible and perishable.
We do not have the power to avoid this
Psalms 89:48 What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life [nephesh; soul] from the power of the grave? Selah
Our soul can not stave off death. It will die. We will die.
Once we are there, there is a cessation to life.
Psalms 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?
We do not think; we do not dream;
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing,
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.
Can Be Used Figuratively
In the same way that we use the word life
- life of the party
- he has no social life
- a little caffeine made him come to life
- his personality was larger than life
- get a life
In no way does this mean or does any one take it to mean literally that we can get life; or that caffeine can reanimate the dead; etc
Genesis 34:8 But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter. Please give her to him as a wife.
Sounds like he was hanging on for “dear life”
The word “heart” is used a dozen times in the place of nephesh
just the fact that they do this shows that it can be used figuratively
in most instances “life” could be substituted any way
Ezekiel 27:31 They will shave themselves completely bald because of you, Gird themselves with sackcloth, And weep for you With bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.
So using nephesh in this way does not take away from its literal meaning
1 Thessalonians 5:23: Spirit, soul and body?
1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first thing we must note is that Paul never said any thing here about immortality
Spirit (pneuma) is what combines with our brain to give us intellect and differentiate us from animals.
Soul is the psuche, our life, that we have been talking about
Body (soma) is our physical fleshly body
be preserved blameless…. tereo
Jude 1:21 keep [tereo] yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Paul was simply qualifying his initial statement about the completeness of the sanctification. His hope for us is that our life would be totally in line with God’s ways – similar to
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said to him, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’
Revelation 6:9-10: Souls of slain crying out?
Revelation 6:9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
Revelation 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
This is a vision of the end time
True Christians who were martyred during the great tribulation
Figuratively cry out showing God will not let their deaths be in vain
Genesis 4:10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.
Most symbolic book in the Bible
We already know what happens to a soul when it dies
Has to be interpreted figuratively
These souls cannot be in heaven where this altar is or alive
No one but Christ has ascended to heaven
The resurrection won’t happen until the 7th trump which comes much later
Everyone still “sleeping” in the grave until that time (like David)
1 Peter 4:6
1 Peter 4:6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are [now] dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
The gospel is not now being preached to those that are dead.
Matthew 10:28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Jesus Christ is actually saying that the soul can be destroyed
This immediately dismantles the argument for an immortal soul
Parallel verse expands on this a bit
Luke 12:4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
Luke 12:5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell [gehenna; a symbol of the lake of fire]; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
God has the ability to give and instill life (ie Lazarus)
He also has the ability to take it away permanently – He is the only one that has that authority
Malachi 4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch.
Revelation 20:14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
Revelation 20:15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
Don’t worry or be concerned with those that can only do temporary damage
The problem with believing this is:
This deceitful and erroneous concept has lead to many other fraudulent doctrines and misunderstandings that hide the true plan of God.
It started and was propagated by Satan, when he said “you will surely not die” lead to Adam and Eve committing another sin – partaking of the fruit of the tree they were not supposed to eat of; and then it lead to their death.
This is why we are to study; hold fast what is good – because God has set before us choices and He wants us to choose the right way.
This is the way that leads to life and having it more abundantly