Basic Truth #18 - The Soul Not Immortal, But Dies

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Basic Truth #18 - The Soul Not Immortal, But Dies

Post by bejay » Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:08 pm

Basic Truth #18 – The Soul Not Immortal, But Dies

It has been taught for thousands of years that humans have an immortal soul that separates from his body upon his death and continues to live on, whether in heaven or in hell. This teaching although it has no biblical backing has managed to survive and is widely taught by most religions today, christian or otherwise.

When the first human was created the Bible tells us that he was not given a soul but that he himself was the soul. Genesis 2:7 states explicitly this: “And God formed the man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” (LXX) Adam became a ‘living soul’ when Jehovah put the ‘breath of life into his body. He was not given a soul as some would prefer to believe.

The Hebrew word that has been translated as ‘soul’ is ‘nephesh,’ and the Greek word is ‘psykhe.’ The word ‘nephesh’ appears a total of 755 times in the Hebrew Scriptures and psykhe appears some 57 times. Most bible translators do not consistently render these words as ‘soul,’ but translates them variously as ‘life,’ ‘being,’ ‘soul,’ ‘creature,’ ‘person,’ ‘mind,’ ‘self,’ ‘appetite,’ etc. But, in general, these words, ‘nephesh’ and ‘psykhe,’ refer to the entire person and not to some invisible part of the human body that separates from it at death.

At Ezekiel 18:4 where nephesh occurs, this verse specifically shows that the soul dies. It reads: “Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.” (NAS) When a person dies, all of his activity ceases. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us that “Whatever your hand finds to do, do so with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.” (NRSV) Psalms 146:4 adds: “His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” (NAS)

At John 11:11-14, Jesus likened death to someone sleeping. He said: “And after that he said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, that I may awaken him out of sleep.’ The disciples therefore said to him, ‘Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.’ Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he was speaking of literal sleep. Then Jesus therefore said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead.’” Someone who is asleep is not conscious of what is going on around him nor is someone who has died, so Jesus could very well compare the two conditions. Ecclesiastes 9:5 reminds us that “The living know that they shall die but the dead do not know anything.” The Bible teaches that the soul is the person himself and that it dies when the person dies. It does not teach that the soul is immortal.

NOTE: NAS (New American Standard Bible), NRSV (New Revised Standard Version), LXX (Greek Septuagint)

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