THE BIBLE MEANING OF “SOUL”

“Whosoever toucheth the dead body (nephesh) of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself… shall be cut off’”—Num. 19:13closeNumbers 19:13 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him. (ESV) closeNumbers 19:13closeNumbers 19:13 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him. (ESV) 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him. (ESV)

TO THE average person, the word “soul” carries the meaning of an undying, immaterial essence that continues in conscious existence after death. This conception is accepted without thought or examination.

BIBLE SOUL COMPLETELY DIFFERENT FROM CHURCH “SOUL”

As soon as we start to look into the question, however, we begin to make very interesting discoveries. We find, first of all, that the BIBLE meaning of soul is ALTOGETHER DIFFERENT from this, and immediately the question arises:

How can the commonly accepted religious conception of soul be entirely different from the soul of the Bible, seeing that the beliefs of Christendom are supposed to be based upon the Bible?

The Scriptures themselves give the answer. They tell us that the Truth is hidden from all except those few whose minds and hearts please God. Divine truth is not a common thing to be probed by every curious scholar. Unless a man sets his heart to seek God and sets his life to conform to God’s will, he can no more find the truth of the Scriptures than the men of Sodom could find the door of Lot’s house.

God has said that He will send a strong delusion upon all those who receive not the LOVE of the Truth, that they should believe a lie (2 Thess. 2:10-11close2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (ESV) close2 Thessalonians 2:10-11close2 Thessalonians 2:10-11 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (ESV) 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, (ESV) ).

CHURCH SOUL ADMITTEDLY NOT SCRIPTURAL, BUT BASED ON PAGAN GREEK PHILOSOPHY

When we turn to works of reference by the learned expositors of the immortal soul theory, we see how this “believing a lie” works out quite naturally. Most of them make no attempt to conceal the fact that scriptural teaching and popular theology are very different regarding the meaning of “soul.” They are in fact, proud that they have developed many “improvements” upon what they consider the partial and hazy conceptions voiced by the—

“Holy men of God who spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21close2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) close2 Peter 1:21close2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) ).

We soon find that we are forced to choose between Scripture teaching and orthodox Christianity. It is very fortunate for us that the issue is so clear cut, and that the leading exponents of the immortal soul theory are so frank in admission of its non-Biblical origin.

WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY says—”The Christian conception of the soul DERIVES FROM THE GREEK, especially as modified by the MYSTERY CULTS, as well as from the Bible…

“The more exact determination of the Christian conception was reserved for the Church Fathers especially Saint Augustine, who taught that it is simple, immaterial and spiritual, devoid of quality and spatial extension. He argued its immortality from the fact that it is the repository of imperishable truth.”

FUNK & WAGNALL DICTIONARY is even more to the point—”Among the ancient Hebrews ‘soul’ was the equivalent of the principle of life as embodied in living creatures, and this meaning is continued throughout the Bible…

“It was Augustine especially who, in part on religious grounds and in part as the disciple of the later GREEK PHILOSOPHY, taught the simple, immaterial and spiritual nature of the human soul—a view which has remained that of the scholastic philosophy and of Christian theologians down to the present time.”

HASTING’S well-known Bible Dictionary freely admits—”Soul is throughout a great part of the Bible simply the equivalent of ‘life’ embodied in living creatures. In the earlier usage of the Old Testament it has no reference to the later philosophical meaning—the animating principle—still less to the idea of an ‘immaterial nature’ which will survive the body.”

The INTERNATIONAL STANDARD BIBLE ENCYCLOPEDIA says—”Soul has various shades of meaning in the Old Testament, which may be summarized as follows: Soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, appetite, emotion and passion.

“Nephesh, or soul, can only denote the individual life WITH A MATERIAL ORGANIZATION OR BODY.”

“In the New Testament ‘psuche’ appears under more or less similar conditions as in the Old Testament.”

YOUNG’S CONCORDANCE defines both nephesh and psuche as “animal soul.”

STRONG’S CONCORDANCE defines nephesh as, “A breathing creature, an animal; or, abstractly, vitality.” Psuche it likewise defines as “the animal sentient principle.”

The noted lexicographer PARKHURST (himself a believer in immortal soulism) says—”As a noun nephesh hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul. I must for myself confess that I

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can find no passages where it hath undoubtedly this meaning.

Gen. 35:18, 1closeGenesis 35:18 18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Genesis 35:1 God Blesses and Renames Jacob 35:1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (ESV) closeGenesis 35:18closeGenesis 35:18 18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. (ESV) 18 And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Genesis 35:1closeGenesis 35:1 God Blesses and Renames Jacob 35:1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (ESV) God Blesses and Renames Jacob 35:1 God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (ESV) Kings 17:21-22close1 Kings 17:21-22 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. (ESV) close1 Kings 17:21-22close1 Kings 17:21-22 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. (ESV) 21 Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the Lord, “O Lord my God, let this child's life come into him again.” 22 And the Lord listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived. (ESV) and Psalm 16:10closePsalm 16:10 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. (ESV)
closePsalm 16:10closePsalm 16:10 10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. (ESV)
10 For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption. (ESV)
seem fairest for this signification. But may not nephesh in the 3 former passages be most properly rendered ‘breath,’ and in the last, ‘a breathing or animal frame’?”

These quotations show clearly that the immortal soul doctrine is generally admitted by its supporters to be entirely different from the BIBLE meaning of soul, and based mainly upon GREEK PHILOSOPHY.

THE BIBLE THE AUTHORITY—OR CHURCH SPECULATION?

The issue then is this: is the Word of God to be our final authority, or is religious truth something to be gradually developed by man’s speculation on the basis of pagan Greek philosophy?

For nearly 2000 years, the bulk of Christendom, beginning with the Church Fathers, have favored the latter, but there have always been a few who have regarded the BIBLE as wholly inspired by God, consistent from beginning to end, and the only possible source of true knowledge of such things as life, death and the nature and destiny of man.

A Bible that is anything less than this is NO BIBLE AT ALL. And the Bible itself leaves no room for compromise. It takes a bold and unequivocal stand throughout as the direct Word of God in every part. We must accept it as that, or else throw it away entirely as the most brazen and blasphemous of falsehoods.

Those who take the middle ground are the Bible’s greatest enemies, and this unfortunately includes the vast majority of professing Christians. They dare not openly deny its divinity, because it is so obviously divine, but they seek to rob it of all power by spinning an endless web of theories around it that confuse the mind and distract the attention, and obscure its plain, clear teaching.

t is impossible in any one consideration to fully examine the Biblical use and meaning of “soul.” But it is possible to lay the foundation by demonstrating that popular theology on the subject is admittedly derived from other sources than the Bible, and is at direct variance with it.

The Bible meaning of “soul” (which modern writers mention briefly in passing), is regarded by them as a rather amusing phase of ancient Hebrew speculation, hardly worthy of serious attention, and which no one laying claim to “modern” learning would dare allow his name to be associated with.

The following brief outline of the BIBLICAL use of the term is for those few to whom the Bible is still the one unique Book among millions—the wholly-inspired divine message to man—one verse of which is worth more than countless volumes of the cloudy, inconclusive speculations of human philosophy and “modern wisdom.”

BIBLE USES OF “NEPHESH” (Hebrew) AND “PSUCHE” (Greek)

IN THE Old Testament Hebrew, the original word for soul is NEPHESH. In the New Testament Greek it is PSUCHE. Both mean the same thing and are used interchangeably. One is used to translate the other.

Nephesh occurs about 750 times. About 500 times it is translated “soul” in the Authorized Version. The other 250 times it is translated by over 40 different English words, as shown on the following chart.

CORRESPONDING WORDS

English—soul Hebrew—Nephesh Greek—psuche Latin—animal

MEANINGS OF NEPHESH

(1) A breathing body, a living creature, an animal (2) Animal life (3) Functions, qualities of human creatures

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soul beast creature body dead fish thing

man me soul
person myself soul appetite page2image31952 page2image32152 page2image32352mortality

WORDS USED IN TRANSLATION

(soul, 472 times – all others together, 282)

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any self breath mind one themselves ghost heart he, her they life will

lust

deadly refresh heartily

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himself yourselves herself own

desire greedv pleasure contented

22 times—Of animals alone (Gen. 1:21-26closeGenesis 1:21-26 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (ESV) closeGenesis 1:21-26closeGenesis 1:21-26 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (ESV) 21 So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day. 24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds—livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so. 25 And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (ESV) )
7 times—Of men and animals together (Num. 31:28closeNumbers 31:28 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV) closeNumbers 31:28closeNumbers 31:28 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV) 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV) )

53 times—Of individuals, persons (Gen. 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) closeGenesis 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) )
96 times—Of persons doing things (Lev. 5:1, 2, 4closeLeviticus 5:1 5:1 “If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; Leviticus 5:2 or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; Leviticus 5:4 or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; (ESV) closeLeviticus 5:1closeLeviticus 5:1 5:1 “If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; (ESV) 5:1 “If anyone sins in that he hears a public adjuration to testify, and though he is a witness, whether he has seen or come to know the matter, yet does not speak, he shall bear his iniquity; Leviticus 5:2closeLeviticus 5:2 or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; (ESV) or if anyone touches an unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean wild animal or a carcass of unclean livestock or a carcass of unclean swarming things, and it is hidden from him and he has become unclean, and he realizes his guilt; Leviticus 5:4closeLeviticus 5:4 or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; (ESV) or if anyone utters with his lips a rash oath to do evil or to do good, any sort of rash oath that people swear, and it is hidden from him, when he comes to know it, and he realizes his guilt in any of these; (ESV) )
22 times—Of man: appetites and animal desires (Prov. 6:30closeProverbs 6:30 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
closeProverbs 6:30closeProverbs 6:30 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
; Gen. 34:3closeGenesis 34:3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) closeGenesis 34:3closeGenesis 34:3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) )

231 times—Of man: mental faculties, emotions (Gen. 34:3closeGenesis 34:3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) closeGenesis 34:3closeGenesis 34:3 And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) And his soul was drawn to Dinah the daughter of Jacob. He loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her. (ESV) ; Num. 21:4closeNumbers 21:4 The Bronze Serpent From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. (ESV) closeNumbers 21:4closeNumbers 21:4 The Bronze Serpent From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. (ESV) The Bronze Serpent From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. (ESV) )

USES OF NEPHESH

22 times—Souls cut off by God (Psa. 78:50closePsalm 78:50 50 He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague. (ESV)
closePsalm 78:50closePsalm 78:50 50 He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague. (ESV)
50 He made a path for his anger;
he did not spare them from death,
but gave their lives over to the plague. (ESV)
)

32 times—Souls killed by man (Josh. 11:11closeJoshua 11:11 11 And they struck with the sword all who were in it, devoting them to destruction; there was none left that breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. (ESV) closeJoshua 11:11closeJoshua 11:11 11 And they struck with the sword all who were in it, devoting them to destruction; there was none left that breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. (ESV) 11 And they struck with the sword all who were in it, devoting them to destruction; there was none left that breathed. And he burned Hazor with fire. (ESV) )
242 times—Souls subject to DEATH (Eze. 18:4closeEzekiel 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. (ESV) closeEzekiel 18:4closeEzekiel 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. (ESV) 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. (ESV) Psa. 22:29closePsalm 22:29 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
closePsalm 22:29closePsalm 22:29 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
)

13 times—Souls actually DEAD (Isa. 53:12closeIsaiah 53:12 12 Therefore I will spanide him a portion with the many,
and he shall spanide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 53:12closeIsaiah 53:12 12 Therefore I will spanide him a portion with the many,
and he shall spanide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. (ESV)
12 Therefore I will spanide him a portion with the many,
and he shall spanide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors. (ESV)
) 13 times—Souls going to grave (Job 33:22closeJob 33:22 22 His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death. (ESV)
closeJob 33:22closeJob 33:22 22 His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death. (ESV)
22 His soul draws near the pit,
and his life to those who bring death. (ESV)
)

(Note—Last 5, over 320 times souls dead, dying and subject to death)

Psuche occurs about 100 times, and is translated similarly.

It is quite obvious at the outset that a word of such broad application, including all the animal
bodily, physical aspects, CANNOT POSSIBLY indicate some immortal essence in man distinguishing him from the lower creation.

BIBLE SOUL RELATED THROUGHOUT TO ANIMAL BODIES

It is clear from the words used to translate it that it is related throughout to ANIMAL BODIES, including man, and this will become more and more clear as we consider some of the passages in which it is used.

It can be readily seen, too, that with such a range of meaning the translators could do much to color the various passages by their choice of English words—using one set of terms when used of animals and another when of man.

On the other hand, it is evident that in an article of this kind, it is impossible to quote sufficient of the 850 occurrences to fully illustrate the word, and that by choosing obscure, borderline passages, a very distorted picture could be drawn.

Therefore, only a careful, individual investigation, seeking divine guidance, can bring solid, durable conviction and enlightenment. THERE IS NO SHORT CUT TO THE ENLIGHTENED FAITH THAT LEADS TO SALVATION.

For instance, soul is used in relation to God. He says— “My servant in whom MY SOUL delighteth” (Isa. 42:1closeIsaiah 42:1 The Lord's Chosen Servant 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 42:1closeIsaiah 42:1 The Lord's Chosen Servant 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations. (ESV)
The Lord's Chosen Servant 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations. (ESV)
).

But examination will show that this is a very exceptional, isolated use, and is a figure of speech that has no bearing on the literal meaning of soul. The expression “my soul” is often used simply as an emphatic term meaning “myself.” Because of its undeniable animal basis, clearly it is in this secondary sense of emphasis only it is used of God.

***

AS IN THE case of most other Biblical subjects, we find ourselves taken back to the opening chapters of Genesis when we begin to examine the meaning of soul. There the foundations for many things are laid, and lost indeed are those poor “modern” thinkers who dismiss these early books of the Bible as folklore and fairy tales.

Here again, let us courageously face the consequences of our convictions. Christ put his seal upon the ancient Hebrew Scriptures as the unbreakable Word of God. He said—

“The SCRIPTURES CANNOT BE BROKEN” (John 10:35closeJohn 10:35 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— (ESV) closeJohn 10:35closeJohn 10:35 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— (ESV) 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— (ESV) ). And again (John 5:47closeJohn 5:47 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (ESV) closeJohn 5:47closeJohn 5:47 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (ESV) 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (ESV) )—

“If ye believe not Moses’ writings, how shall ye believe my words?”

If we reject Moses’ writings, let us at least be consistent and reject Christ too. If we believe in Christ, let us give those Holy Writings he endorses our full assurance of faith.

FIRST FOUR OCCURRENCES REFER TO ANIMALS

THE FIRST FOUR OCCURRENCES OF THE WORD “NEPHESH” RELATE EXCLUSIVELY TO ANIMALS. That is a good fact to start with and to remember. A good foundation. Let us get them firmly in our mind—

Gen. 1:20closeGenesis 1:20 20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” (ESV) closeGenesis 1:20closeGenesis 1:20 20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” (ESV) 20 And God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens.” (ESV) —”And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life” (The word “life” here is nephesh—soul).

Next verse—”And God created great whales, and every living creature (nephesh—soul) that moveth, which the water brought forth abundantly.”

V. 24—”The living creatures (nephesh) after his kind, cattle and creeping things.”

V. 30—”Every beast…every fowl…everything that creepeth, wherein there is life (nephesh).”

Then, having prepared our understanding by applying nephesh four times to every species of living creature on the earth, the Scriptures’ next use of the word is in the record of the creation of man (Gen. 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) closeGenesis 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) )—

“The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground”
—and that in itself is a phrase to be well noted when we consider the nature and composition of man—

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kingdom in all its

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“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 (nephesh.)”

—EXACTLY THE SAME WORD as four times already applied to animals. Man, formed of the dust of the ground, became a living soul (an animal, breathing creature) when God breathed into him the breath of life.

AT THIS POINT, ARGUMENT USUALLY SWITCHES TO “SPIRIT”

Now the usual response at this point from the immortal soulist is to switch over to the word spirit, and abandon the argument based on soul. Our present subject, is however, SOUL, and we hope to thoroughly dispose of that, but in passing it may be mentioned that exactly the same remarks apply to “spirit.” It, too, in these early foundation chapters of Genesis, is used of animals alone, and also of men and animals together, and to the same point Solomon says (Eccl. 3:19closeEcclesiastes 3:19 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. (ESV) closeEcclesiastes 3:19closeEcclesiastes 3:19 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. (ESV) 19 For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. (ESV) )—

“Man and beasts—they have all ONE spirit.”

In applying both these words, soul AND spirit, to animals as well as to men, the Scriptures seem to be taking especial care to protect us from erroneous conceptions, if only we will heed and accept its divine guidance, and not depend upon the Greek philosophers against whose teachings the Apostle Paul so bitterly contended and so vehemently warned.

SIX OF NEXT EIGHT OCCURRENCES REFER TO ANIMALS

We have considered the first five occurrences. Of the next eight, SIX are applied to animals. There are seven places where the word is applied to man and animals together without distinction An interesting example is Num. 31:28closeNumbers 31:28 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV) closeNumbers 31:28closeNumbers 31:28 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV) 28 And levy for the Lord a tribute from the men of war who went out to battle, one out of five hundred, of the people and of the oxen and of the donkeys and of the flocks. (ESV)

“Levy a tribute… one SOUL (nephesh) of 500, both of the persons, of the beeves, of the asses, and of the sheep.”

One more typical passage of the use of soul for animals before we go on, Prov. 12:10closeProverbs 12:10 10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. (ESV)
closeProverbs 12:10closeProverbs 12:10 10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. (ESV)
10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. (ESV)

“A righteous man regardeth the life (nephesh—SOUL) of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are

cruel.”

Surely we can consider it definitely established, therefore, that there is no difference between men and animals in the matter of being or having souls. This IS VERY IMPORTANT. It is one of the first principles of Scripture. If we have not definitely fixed this in our minds, let us keep going back over these facts and passages and stick with them. They are worth more than all the volumes ever written of Greek or modern philosophy.

GOD SAID TO ‘LIVING SOUL’: “DUST THOU ART”

The sentence passed an Adam is in full accord with the record of his creation from the dust (Gen. 3:19closeGenesis 3:19 19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (ESV)
closeGenesis 3:19closeGenesis 3:19 19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (ESV)
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.” (ESV)
)—

“Dust THOU art, and unto dust shalt THOU return.”

The sentence was passed upon the conscious, thinking, sinning individual—the LIVING SOUL, created from dust, and animated by breath from God. This is in harmony with the general expression of the dispensation of God’s justice, as expressed through Ezekiel—

“The soul that sinneth, IT SHALL DIE” (Eze. 18:4closeEzekiel 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. (ESV) closeEzekiel 18:4closeEzekiel 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. (ESV) 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. (ESV) ).
Any attempt to transfer this sentence from the thinking, responsible Adam to his mere body is such an obviously

weak subterfuge as not to be worthy of serious consideration.

And finally, we note, in passing, very distinctly that in this first pronouncement of the wages of sin, THERE IS NO MENTION OF ETERNAL TORTURE—but on the contrary, the sentence is dissolution into original dust.

PART TWO

“He that killeth the soul of a beast shall make it good…soul for soul”—Lev. 24:18closeLeviticus 24:18 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV) closeLeviticus 24:18closeLeviticus 24:18 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV) 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV)

SOUL IS NATURAL, ORDINARY FUNCTIONS OF ANIMAL BODIES

NOW A few passages to show that “soul” (Hebrew: nephesh) is not some immaterial essence, but is applied to the ordinary natural functions of fleshly creatures—

Prov. 6:30closeProverbs 6:30 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
closeProverbs 6:30closeProverbs 6:30 30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his appetite when he is hungry, (ESV)
—”Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul (nephesh) when he is hungry.”

Isa. 29:8closeIsaiah 29:8 As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 29:8closeIsaiah 29:8 As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion. (ESV)
As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion. (ESV)
—”A hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul (nephesh) is empty— a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh, but he awaketh, and his soul (nephesh) hath appetite.”

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Lev. 17:10closeLeviticus 17:10 Laws Against Eating Blood 10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. (ESV) closeLeviticus 17:10closeLeviticus 17:10 Laws Against Eating Blood 10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. (ESV) Laws Against Eating Blood 10 “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people. (ESV) —“I will set my face against the soul (nephesh) that eateth blood, for the life (nephesh-soul) of the flesh is in the blood.”

Deut. 12:20-23closeDeuteronomy 12:20-23 20 “When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you crave meat, you may eat meat whenever you desire. 21 If the place that the Lord your God will choose to put his name there is too far from you, then you may kill any of your herd or your flock, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your towns whenever you desire. 22 Just as the gazelle or the deer is eaten, so you may eat of it. The unclean and the clean alike may eat of it. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. (ESV) closeDeuteronomy 12:20-23closeDeuteronomy 12:20-23 20 “When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you crave meat, you may eat meat whenever you desire. 21 If the place that the Lord your God will choose to put his name there is too far from you, then you may kill any of your herd or your flock, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your towns whenever you desire. 22 Just as the gazelle or the deer is eaten, so you may eat of it. The unclean and the clean alike may eat of it. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. (ESV) 20 “When the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you crave meat, you may eat meat whenever you desire. 21 If the place that the Lord your God will choose to put his name there is too far from you, then you may kill any of your herd or your flock, which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your towns whenever you desire. 22 Just as the gazelle or the deer is eaten, so you may eat of it. The unclean and the clean alike may eat of it. 23 Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh. (ESV) —”Thy soul (nephesh) longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul (nephesh) lusteth after…The blood is the life (nephesh—soul); and thou mayest not eat the life (nephesh—soul).”

It is clear that the immortal soulists’ only solution is to do what they have done, and regard the Bible as merely the speculations of partially enlightened men. They could not possibly agree with Peter’s statement (2 Peter 1:21close2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) close2 Peter 1:21close2 Peter 1:21 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (ESV) ), that—

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

SOUL IS MORTAL, SUBJECT TO DEATH: 300 REFERENCES

NOW WE reach what perhaps may be termed the climax of the subject—the soul’s relation to death. The term “immortal soul” expresses one side of the argument. “Immortal” means “not subject to death.” That is the stand of Plato and orthodox Christendom.

Let us look at what GOD says. Now it would have been quite possible for the Scriptures never to have mentioned soul in connection with death. Many other terms and expressions could have been used. So that when we find that in nearly 300 places (one-third of the total uses of the word) souls are described as being mortal, subject to death, from which they can be saved and delivered, it is quite clear that God is taking special pains to give us correct ideas on this subject, and remove all excuse for believing in “immortal souls” after the manner of the unenlightened heathen. Examples of this are—

Psa. 22:20closePsalm 22:20 20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog! (ESV)
closePsalm 22:20closePsalm 22:20 20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog! (ESV)
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog! (ESV)
—”Deliver my soul (nephesh) from the sword.”
Jer. 38:17closeJeremiah 38:17 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. (ESV) closeJeremiah 38:17closeJeremiah 38:17 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. (ESV) 17 Then Jeremiah said to Zedekiah, “Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the God of Israel: If you will surrender to the officials of the king of Babylon, then your life shall be spared, and this city shall not be burned with fire, and you and your house shall live. (ESV) —”If thou wilt go forth unto the King of Babylon, then thy soul (nephesh) shall live.”
1 Sam. 19:11close1 Samuel 19:11 11 Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” (ESV) close1 Samuel 19:11close1 Samuel 19:11 11 Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” (ESV) 11 Saul sent messengers to David's house to watch him, that he might kill him in the morning. But Michal, David's wife, told him, “If you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.” (ESV) —”If thou save not thy life (nephesh—soul) tonight, tomorrow thou shalt be slain.” 1 Kings 19:10close1 Kings 19:10 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (ESV) close1 Kings 19:10close1 Kings 19:10 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (ESV) 10 He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (ESV) —”They seek my life (nephesh) to take it.”
Es. 7:7—“He stood to make request for his life (nephesh).”

Psa. 22:29closePsalm 22:29 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
closePsalm 22:29closePsalm 22:29 29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
29 All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;
before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,
even the one who could not keep himself alive. (ESV)
—”None can keep alive his own soul (nephesh).”

One out of every three occurrences of the word is of this character—referring to its mortality and liability to death. How could the immortal soul theory be more strikingly disproved? The most prominent fact regarding the soul that is forced upon our attention throughout is its frailty and danger of destruction. Upon this is based the one great lesson of Scripture—

“Hear, and your soul (nephesh) shall live” (Isa. 55:3closeIsaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David. (ESV)
closeIsaiah 55:3closeIsaiah 55:3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David. (ESV)
Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live;
and I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David. (ESV)
).

SOULS KILLED BY MAN: 32 REFERENCES

LET US go further. In 32 passages, souls (nephesh) are spoken of as being KILLED BY MAN. Examples are:
Josh. 10:28closeJoshua 10:28 28 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho. (ESV) closeJoshua 10:28closeJoshua 10:28 28 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho. (ESV) 28 As for Makkedah, Joshua captured it on that day and struck it, and its king, with the edge of the sword. He devoted to destruction every person in it; he left none remaining. And he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho. (ESV) —”Joshua took Makkedah, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and the king thereof he utterly

destroyed, and all the souls (nephesh) that were therein.” This is repeated in vs. 30, 32, 35, 37, and 39.

Deut. 27:25closeDeuteronomy 27:25 25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ (ESV) closeDeuteronomy 27:25closeDeuteronomy 27:25 25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ (ESV) 25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ (ESV) —”Cursed be he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person (nephesh-soul).” Let us look particularly at Lev. 24:17-18closeLeviticus 24:17-18 An Eye for an Eye 17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV) closeLeviticus 24:17-18closeLeviticus 24:17-18 An Eye for an Eye 17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV) An Eye for an Eye 17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death. 18 Whoever takes an animal's life shall make it good, life for life. (ESV) . The A.V. reads—

“He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death, and he that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast.”

In the original, nephesh occurs here 4 times, as follows—
“He that smiteth the nephesh (soul) of a man, shall be put to death. And he that smiteth the nephesh (soul) of a

beast shall make it good, nephesh for nephesh”

Here again the translators have, by inconsistent and biased translation, obscured another clear divine lesson in the meaning of nephesh, or “soul.”

SOULS ACTUALLY DEAD: 13 REFERENCES

ONE MORE step, and then we are as far away from the immortal soul theory as it is possible to be—in 13 places souls (nephesh) are said to be actually DEAD. Examples are—

Num. 6:6closeNumbers 6:6 “All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. (ESV) closeNumbers 6:6closeNumbers 6:6 “All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. (ESV) “All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he shall not go near a dead body. (ESV) —”He shall come at no dead body (nephesh).”

Lev. 21:11closeLeviticus 21:11 11 He shall not go in to any dead bodies nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother. (ESV) closeLeviticus 21:11closeLeviticus 21:11 11 He shall not go in to any dead bodies nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother. (ESV) 11 He shall not go in to any dead bodies nor make himself unclean, even for his father or for his mother. (ESV) —”Neither go in to any dead body (nephesh).”
These are parts of the Mosaic regulations concerning uncleanness and defilement by contact with corpses

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“SOUL” IN N.T. CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM “SOUL” IN O.T.

ALL REFERENCES quoted so far have been from the Old Testament. That is the foundation of the New, and the word “soul” occurs in the Old seven times as often as in the New. It is ignoring the foundation work of the Old Testament that has prevented so many from understanding the New.

The Bible is one single, indivisible unit. It cannot be broken up and a part cast aside. Only when it is regarded as one equally inspired and equally divine book can it be properly understood. God has varied His commands at different times to different people, but statements of FACT and TRUTH never change from beginning to end.

“Soul” in the N.T. cannot be considered apart from soul in the Old. Considering them together, we find them in complete harmony. As in the Old, so in the New, “soul” is used of animals; it is spoken of as dying; it is used for the mind, the heart, the appetite and the emotions.

“PSUCHE” IS SAME AS “NEPHESH”: BIBLE PROOF

Whenever speakers in the N.T. quote from passages in the Old containing the Hebrew word nephesh they use the Greek word psuche. One outstanding example will illustrate this. In 1 Cor. 15close1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection of Christ 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. The Resurrection of the Dead 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. The Resurrection Body 35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Mystery and Victory 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)
close1 Corinthians 15close1 Corinthians 15 The Resurrection of Christ 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. The Resurrection of the Dead 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. The Resurrection Body 35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Mystery and Victory 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)
The Resurrection of Christ 15:1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. The Resurrection of the Dead 12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. 28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour? 31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! 32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” 33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. The Resurrection Body 35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. Mystery and Victory 50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (ESV)
, beginning at v. 42, Paul makes a contrast between corruption and incorruption, weakness and power, mortality and immortality. Then (v. 44) he says—

“There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.”

The word “natural” here is psuchikos—soulish, from psuche—soul. He continues, v. 45— “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul (psuche).”

He is quoting Gen. 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) closeGenesis 2:7closeGenesis 2:7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. (ESV) that we have considered. In v. 45 he calls this living soul, “that which is natural.” In v. 47 he calls it “of the earth, earthy.” In v. 50 he calls it “flesh and blood” and “corruption.” Paul’s conception of “soul” fits perfectly with what we have already discovered.

Similarly souls are applied to animals, and souls die, in the N.T. just as in the Old. In Rev. 8:9closeRevelation 8:9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (ESV) closeRevelation 8:9closeRevelation 8:9 A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (ESV) A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. (ESV) we read— “And the third part of the creatures that were in the sea, and had life (psuche—soul) died.”
Rev. 16:3closeRevelation 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (ESV) closeRevelation 16:3closeRevelation 16:3 The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (ESV) The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became like the blood of a corpse, and every living thing died that was in the sea. (ESV) —”Every living soul (psuche) died in the sea.”

And “soul” is used for natural life and functions, as in the Old. In Matt. 6:25, Jesus says— “Take NO THOUGHT for your life (psuche—soul), what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink.”

The soul here is clearly that which is supported by eating and drinking. Acts 15:25closeActs 15:25 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (ESV) closeActs 15:25closeActs 15:25 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (ESV) 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, (ESV) we read—
“Our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men that hazarded their lives (psuche) for the Name of our Lord Jesus

Christ.”

In faithfully serving Christ they certainly could not have been hazarding immortal souls, but they WERE hazarding their scriptural souls—their natural lives and bodies.

The same applies to Paul’s words in Acts 20:24closeActs 20:24 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV) closeActs 20:24closeActs 20:24 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV) 24 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (ESV)
“Neither count I my life (psuche) dear to myself, so that I might finish my course with joy.”

And Jesus’ words (John 10:17closeJohn 10:17 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. (ESV) closeJohn 10:17closeJohn 10:17 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. (ESV) 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. (ESV) )—
“I lay down my life (psuche) for the sheep.”

And Phil. 2:30closePhilippians 2:30 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV) closePhilippians 2:30closePhilippians 2:30 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV) 30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (ESV)
“For the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, NOT REGARDING his life (psuche).”

In all these, psuche is used in the common sense of natural life, and cannot be harmonized with the immortal soul idea.

FEW PLACES (OF100s) CAN BE TWISTED TO FIT IMMORTAL SOUL

NOW, AS in the Old, so in the New, there are a few passages where the use of the word could possibly be made to fit with the immortal soul idea. There are none, of course, that prove or even support this idea—that would be impossible as we can see from the basic meaning and general use of the word—but there are some where it could be read in if the rest is ignored.

The passage most frequently quoted is Matt. 10:28—

“Fear 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 Gehenna.”

Now it is rather peculiar at the outset that the one passage most quoted to support the indestructible soul theory is the very one that speaks of the soul being DESTROYED, but, we find that these people do not regard “destroyed” as

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meaning destroyed, but the opposite—eternally preserved.

And we find further that they do not regard “death” as meaning death, but “eternal LIFE in misery.” We can see that with definitions such as this we could make anything prove anything.

MAN CAN AND DOES KILL THE SOUL

We have seen that according to the Scriptures elsewhere, a man can and DOES kill the soul. We have looked at several passages to this effect, and there are many others. The first use of the word in the New Testament (Matt. 2:20) speaks of Herod “seeking the young child’s life” (psuche—soul). The first appearance in the gospel of Mark is similar. Jesus says (Mark 3:4closeMark 3:4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. (ESV) closeMark 3:4closeMark 3:4 And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. (ESV) And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. (ESV) )—

“Is it lawful on the sabbath to save life (psuche) or to kill?” Paul in Rom. 11:3closeRomans 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (ESV) closeRomans 11:3closeRomans 11:3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (ESV) “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” (ESV) quotes Elijah as saying—

“I am left alone and they seek my life (psuche).”

What is meant here by saying that man cannot kill the soul? Are the Scriptures contradictory? Of course they are not. We must use wisdom to discern them properly. There is no difficulty in understanding what Christ means, if we sincerely seek a scriptural solution. Man can kill the body, but this has no permanent effect on our ultimate existence. To the faithful, this is but a brief sleep. In this sense, the ultimate, eternal sense, man can not kill the soul, or life. But God on the other hand is able to blot us out of existence forever and make all our memory to perish.

SUMMARY

NOW, TO sum up the points that have been covered:

1. We have seen that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is admittedly traced to heathen Greek philosophers, and its followers are quite willing to concede that the Bible meaning of soul is something very different.

2. The issue is clear and there is no middle ground—we must choose between Bible teaching and human speculation.

3. The words nephesh and psuche, translated “soul,” occur 850 times in the Bible and in not one case is there any suggestion of immortality.

4. The translators have used over 40 words in translation and a glance at this list shows how far different the Bible soul is from the orthodox one.

  1. The word is first used of ANIMALS.
  2. One-third of all its occurrences speak of it in terms indicating its mortality and subjection to death.
  3. It is often spoken of as being killed by man, and it is several times spoken of as actually being dead, and being

handled and touched in a dead state.

Anything more different from the immortal soul theory it would be difficult to imagine. ***

IN CONCLUSION, let us urge two points of action—

FIRST, make a thorough, scriptural examination of the soul. The word occurs 850 times. Make the effort to trace them through. Compare them with the general, hazy ideas on the subject. It takes time, but there is no other way God requires us to work and search.

And SECOND, having determined the facts of what we are—perishing creatures of dust—investigate God’s great offer of what we may become—

“There is a natural (soul) body, and there is a spiritual body.”

“As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.”

“This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory.”

These glorious words of the Apostle Paul will be fulfilled someday in the great joyful host of the redeemed, as they stand assembled before the judge of all the earth.

For all others it will be—

“As the beasts that perish.”

“Like sheep are they laid in the grave, death shall feed upon them, and their beauty shall consume in the grave.”

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Let US choose the path of wisdom and life.

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G.V.Growcott, The Berean Christadelphian, March & April 1972 (originally December 1960 & January 1961)