1. The Bible describes the soul as “immortal.” _____
2. One’s soul originates as an immortal entity that exists within man. _____
3. Souls can sin and die. _____
4. Animal souls and human souls are the same. _____
5. Souls are immaterial. _____
6. A soul is separate from the body. _____
7. “Soul” means “life” and “creature.” _____
8. “Soul” and “Spirit” are the same. _____
9. Jesus’ soul died and went to hell. _____
10. Souls will come from the grave. _____
Let’s check the Bible to see how you did:
1. False. There is no verse in either the Old or New Testaments that states the “soul” is “immortal,” “never dying,” and “eternal.” Rather, the soul is described with mortal traits. Souls get hungry, thirsty, satisfied, weary, and sad (Psalm 107:5, 9; Jeremiah 31:12; Job 14:22). Souls are also described as mortal, capable of death and destruction, just the opposite of immortal (Joshua 10:35; Psalm 78:50; Ezekiel 22:27; Revelation 16:3).
2. False. There are three theories on the origin of the soul as an immortal entity within man. There is the Pre-existence Theory. It was advocated by the philosopher Plato (427-347 B.C.), as well as Philo the Jew (20 B.C.-54 A.D.) and Origen (185-254 A.D.). Pre-existence of souls is not supported in the Bible. Even though there is a belief in the soul’s natural immortality, there is division on when the soul originates. Some believe it begins at conception, others at birth, and still others between those times. Among those who adhered to this Creation Theory were Jerome, Aquinas, Calvin, Hodge, and Berkhoff. Another view is that the soul along with the body was received through Adam and passed on from generation to generation. This is known as the Traducian Theory. It’s advocates were Tertullian, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards, and A.H. Strong. None of these theories can be found in the Bible. There is no scripture that describes souls originating as separate entities within mortal human bodies. Dr. Alva Huffer wrote, “There is no such immortal entity within man. To speak of the origin of the ‘soul,’ therefore, is to speak of the origin of something that does not exist. It is like speaking of the origin of non-existent fantasies such as pixies and ghosts. That which does not exist cannot have an origin.” (See Systematic Theology, Alva G. Huffer, Atlanta Bible College, McDonough, Georgia, 1960.)
3. True. Souls can sin and they do die since they are mortal, according to the Bible (Leviticus 23:30; Psalm 22:29; 89:48; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Revelation 16:3). A part of the soul’s human nature is that it can be embittered (1 Samuel 1:10); distressed (2 Kings 4:27); unsettled (Acts 15:24), and commit a trespass and sin in ignorance (Leviticus 5:15; Ezekiel 18:4, 20). The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
4. True. The scriptures show that animal souls are no different than human souls. There is no distinction in the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) between the souls of animals and humans in the fact that both are living creatures created by God: Genesis 1:20, 21, 24; 2:19; 9:10, 16; Leviticus 11:46; Numbers 31:28; Proverbs 12:10; Ezekiel 47:9; Revelation 8:9; 16:3. Even though humans are superior to animals, both groups are designated as souls according to these verses.
5. False. Souls are, in reality, material since they are visible, can suffer, and die as seen from the previous passages. Genesis 2:7 says “…man became a living soul,” not man received a soul. The Bible does not say a person has a soul but that a person is a soul. The living body is a living soul (Genesis 1:20, 21, 30; 1 Samuel 1:26; Job 12:9-10). The false idea that the soul is immaterial did not originate in the Bible but was formulated by the Greek philosopher Plato who also believed in the soul’s pre-existence. (See #2.)
6. False. Plato advocated that all matter is evil. Since the body is matter, he stated, it is evil. He asserted that the soul, on the other hand, was in the likeness of the immortal and was contaminated by the body and earth. To be purified, it separated from the body at death and was released to dwell apart from the earth. Plato’s writings was eventually absorbed into European civilization. Plato’s idea of the soul’s immortality was accepted into the Roman Church, however, there were many throughout church history who did not accept his idea. Rather, many of the church fathers and other prominent scholars supported the teaching that immorality is conditional—something to be received by believers at a future time of resurrection, not at death. It is also noted that nothing is said in the Bible about one’s immortal soul being reunited back into a body at resurrection. The body of the resurrected believer is spiritual since it will be raised to immortality and incorruption. But nothing is said about an immaterial, immortal soul re-entering the body as some assume (1 Cor. 15:42-44, 51-52; 2 Tim. 4:8).
7. True. In the Hebrew, “soul” comes from the word “nephesh” and is reported to occur 752 times. In the Greek, “soul” comes from the word “psuche” and is reported to occur 105 times. Both words mean the same, namely, “life,” and “creatures that possess life.” In the King James Version where soul is used, other translations put the word “life” or “creature” that possesses life. Other words are also applied, such as “lives,” “mind,” “you,” “heart,” “heartily.” So, where it says “man became a living soul,” some translations have, “man became a living creature,” (Gen. 2:7). In the King James Version, God outlaws the “soul” from eating blood (Leviticus 17:10). Other translations use “man” or “person” in place of “soul.”
8. False. The words “soul” and “spirit” have two different definitions in the Bible. The word “soul” is derived from “nephesh” and “psuche.” The word for “spirit” comes from the Hebrew words, “ruach,” and “neshamah,” and the Greek word, “pneuma.” These words mean “breath,” “wind,” “spirit,” “windy,” “air,” “blast,” “tempest.” At death, man’s breath of life or spirit returns back into the air and to God who gave it (Psalm 146:4; Eccl. 12:7; Job 34:15). The “spirit” or “breath of life” is not a separate entity but gives the “soul” or “living being” the ability to function including his brain and nervous system. At death when a person no longer has the breath of life, his “thoughts perish” and “he returns to the ground.” The deceased becomes a “dead soul,” in essence: Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5.
9. True. A study of Isaiah, chapter 53, which is a prophecy of the sufferings of Christ, reveals that Jesus’ soul was made “an offering for sin” (v. 10) and “he hath poured out his soul unto death” (v. 12). The Apostle Peter stated the fact that Jesus’ soul went to hell, which is another word for the grave where he was buried (Acts 2:27, 31). “Hell” in this instance is from the Hebrew word, “sheol,” and Greek word, “hades,” which apply to the grave. His soul was not left in hell, or the grave, but came back to life when he was resurrected to receive immortality. If Jesus’ soul was immortal there would not have been the need to be raised to immortality. And Jesus would not have fully died for our sins if some part of him had lived on (1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:3-4).
10. True. While it is widely assumed that the souls of Christians separate from the body and live on at death either in heaven or hell or, as some would add purgatory, the Bible says souls are asleep in their graves until Jesus comes to resurrect them from the sleep of death. Jesus is called the “firstfruits of them that slept,” (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is the first soul to be resurrected from death to immortality. No one else before or after him has ever received immortality yet for it says, “…afterward those who are Christ’s at his coming,” v. 23. (See also Hebrews 11:39-40.) Since Jesus has not returned yet, no soul has become immortal. Only at his appearing will souls be raised and changed to receive immortality (v. 52; 1 Thess. 4:16-18). In Revelation, John saw a vision of the future when the beheaded “souls” who die for not worshipping the beast will be raised from their graves and reign with Christ on the earth for a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6). These are not souls that have been in heaven but souls or persons who are raised from the grave to receive immortality when Jesus comes to reign in the kingdom of God.
When we see what the Bible says about the soul, we can find a sense of assurance, joy, and peace of mind (2 Timothy 1:10). For God has a wonderful plan regarding not only this life, but the future life, as well. This life (body, soul, and spirit) is to be lived according to the wholesome, healthy values of God’s Word. As living souls saved by the grace of God, believers can experience the wholeness of an enriched life that provides the incentive for seeking and entering the glorious kingdom of God.
Good News to you!