misuse, and translation have greatly beclouded the
concept of "soul." Among other things, most religions
teach that man, unlike other animals, has an "immortal
soul." The fact that "immortal soul" never occurs in
the Bible doesn’t seem to dissuade the teachers of this
commonly held error. (See
Man became a "living soul."
Bible reference to man and soul is in Genesis 2:7. This
text gives a wonderfully clear formula for understanding
the nature of man. It teaches that man has a physical
body formed from the "dust of the ground." It teaches
that this body was animated, or brought to life, by the
"breath of life." (It would be a mistake to think that
this is merely respiration. The term "breath of life"
encompasses the idea of that mysterious life-force which
makes something "alive" instead of "dead." For
clarity’s sake, "breath of life" would be better
expressed "spark of life.")
Note now the
conclusion of the verse. Body plus "breath of life"
made man "a living soul." Man was not GIVEN a soul; he
BECAME a soul. The distinction is enormous! We must
remember this formula as the basis for all other
Scripture on the subject. Body plus "breath" makes a
living soul. If we take away either the body or the
breath, we have a dead soul.
This is the
Biblical point. Souls die! The Lord, through the
prophet Ezekiel (18:4) states the point so clearly that
no doubt is left: "The soul that sinneth, it shall
die." This, of course, leaves us all in a bit of a
predicament since no one is righteous. (Romans 3:10)
The Lord, however, provided a way out. It is called the
RESURRECTIONS.) Understanding this most
basic concept does away with all of the invented
theories and lies which have been promoted over the
centuries. If we do not have immortal souls, if we just
"die," there is no need to have places for "departed
souls" to go! There is no hell of eternal torment; nor
is there any limbo, purgatory, reincarnation, or
ANYTHING where souls "go." They DON’T "go." They die!
In death they unconsciously await one of the
resurrections. We ARE souls; we don’t "have" them.
ARE SOULS, TOO
definition of "soul" is SENTIENT BEING (a being with
senses—sense perception.) Thus the Bible uses the word
"soul" when referring to ALL sentient beings—animals.
This is, unfortunately, almost always HIDDEN by the
translators. Animals are called souls in Genesis 1, 2,
and 9 as well as in later accounts and books. But the
translators do not WANT us to see this. ONLY in Numbers
31:21 do they translate correctly where it says:
"And levy a
tribute unto the LORD
of the men
of war which went out
ONE SOUL of five hundred,
both of the
persons, and of the beeves,
the asses, and of the sheep."
Now see how
the translators have hidden this in the nine texts in
Genesis which refer to animals as SOULS. In the listing
below, the word in parentheses ( ) is the word which
is translated from the Hebrew word for "soul"
(neh-phesh) which is used in Genesis 2:7 for man.
1. Genesis 1:20 (that hath life)
2. Genesis 1:21 (creature)
3. Genesis 1:24 (creature)
4. Genesis 1:30 (life)
5. Genesis 2:19 (creature)
6. Genesis 9: 3, 4 (life)
7. Genesis 9:9, 10 (creature)
8. Genesis 9:12 (creature)
9. Genesis 9:15 (creature)
understanding is so difficult! It is hidden from us
from the very opening chapters of the Bible.
course, are not promised resurrection. In this we
differ from them. But understanding that "soul" is
sense-perceptive being, virtually life itself, is so
helpful in understanding what we are and how we will be
dealt with in eternity. "Hell" in the Bible (see
HELL) is where ALL SOULS "GO." It is not a place.
It is not a state of consciousness or torment. It is a
state of OBLIVION. All souls go into a state of
oblivion when they die. From this state of oblivion,
death, or non-existence, they will be awakened to enjoy
the benefits of resurrection for an eternity. Hell will
"deliver up the dead" that are in it. (Revelation
"soul" is such a common word in both Old and New
Testament Scripture (regardless of how it is
translated), there are any number of texts which might
raise questions regarding the true definition of soul.
All of these are treated in The Atonement Between God
and Man (Volume 5 of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES)
available through this website. (See
one of these to see its marvelous consistency with the
true definition as well as with God’s plan for mankind.
10:28 is a text in which Jesus speaks:
not them which kill the body,
but are not able to kill the soul;
but rather fear Him which is able to destroy
both soul and body in hell."
of this text when combined with the understanding of
words like "soul" and "hell" reveals that Jesus was
saying the following:
You do not
have to have a paralyzing
fear of man. He may be able to kill you.
But your death is only a temporary thing.
Man is not able to kill your BEING
eternally, because he does not have
that power or authority. By killing
your body he IS temporarily
consigning you to oblivion; but more
than that he cannot do.
reverential fear, rather, be of
God. He has both the power and
authority not only to send you to your
grave now, but to refuse you any
future resurrection. He can, like man,
kill your body and, thus, take away the
rest of this life; but He also can kill
your being for all eternity in oblivion.
* * * * *
understanding of "Soul" is basic to the understanding of
God’s plans and purposes. Without knowing the truth
about "soul," it is impossible to understand punishment,
atonement, resurrection, and the future life.
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