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NM06 Body - Soul - Immortality

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NM 6 Body, Soul, Spirit, and Immortality

Immortal Soul?

NM6 Abstract

In this paper we look at what scripture says about the body, soul, and spirit. There is a difference between all three. The scriptures indicate that the soul is not the spirit of man, but tradition mixes these two different things. When some today speak of the soul, what they mean is the spirit. This causes confusion since the soul can die (it is mortal), but the spiritual element cannot die (it is immortal).


nm79» What does the soul have to do with the body or with the spirit? What is the body? What is the soul? What is the spirit? And is the soul immortal? There is much confusion about what a soul is and if it is immortal. The view of Catholics and many Protestants is that the soul is immortal. From This is the Faith, written by the former Archbishop of Liverpool, Dr. Richard Downey, we see the Catholic view on the soul:

Man ... has a body and a soul ... it is a spirit, immortal, and endowed with intelligence and free will. Soul is not just another word for spirit. Animals have souls, but their souls are not spirits. Only man's soul is a spirit; in man is the only kind of spirit that is a soul.... There is an obvious difference between a living human body and a corpse. That difference is the soul." (pp. 21-22)

As we will see from scripture there are several assertions here that are wrong. First the soul is not a spirit, second it is not immortal, and third its free will is limited under the absolute free will of God. You will not find immortality connected to the soul in scripture, but you will find Satan telling Eve that she is immortal (Gen 3:4; serpent = Satan, Rev 12:9). So how do the Catholics "prove" that the soul is immortal? 

"Scripture is full of proof that the soul of man is spiritual and immortal. 'The Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth and breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul' (Gen 2:7)

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and torment of death shall not touch them. In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die .... but they are in peace .... their hope is full of immortality." (Wis 3:1-4)

These two quotes are under the heading, "What Does Scripture Say?," and are the two main verses used by the author to prove his assertion. The first quote of Gen 2:7 says nothing about the soul being immortal. The second, even though it is not from the Bible, does not say the soul is immortal, but that man has hope of immortality. Of course they have hope of immortality because of the resurrection. The other scriptures quoted by the author speak of the hope of immortality because of the resurrection or the immortality given through the Spirit. The author substitutes the hope of immortality for mankind with its real mortality, and mixes the soul with the spirit. The hope of immortality is not the same as immortality; soul and spirit are not one and the same. Let's see what the scripture actually says about the body, soul, spirit, and immortality.

Man is a Living Soul

nm80» In the Bible the word soul is translated from the Hebrew word nephesh (vpn) and from the Greek word psuche (yuch/j). From Genesis we see what a soul is:

  • "And Jehovah God formed the man, dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils breath of life; and man became a living soul." [Gen 2:7]

With the help of God man became a living soul. Man was formed from the dirt of the ground. Man is earthly. Then Jehovah [YHWH] breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul. In context with the other scriptures in Genesis, chapters l and 2, we see that Jehovah first made man's body, and second he made man a living soul when and because Jehovah breathed into him. It took the breath of Jehovah to make man a living soul. The living soul is not just a body: it is a body with God's breath in it.

God has a Soul

nm81» Although theologians call it anthropopathy even God has a soul according to God's own words:

  • DBY Lev 26:11 And I will set my habitation among you; and my soul shall not abhor you;
  • DBY Lev 26:30 And I will lay waste your high places, and cut down your sun-pillars, and cast your carcases upon the carcases of your idols; and my soul shall abhor you.
  • DBY Isa 42:1 Behold my servant whom I uphold, mine elect {in whom} my soul delighteth! I will put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the nations. [Compare with Matt 12:18.]
  • DBY Jer 5:9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith Jehovah, and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
  • DBY Jer 6:8 Be thou instructed, Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from thee; lest I make thee a desolation, a land not inhabited.
  • DBY Ezek 23:18 And she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness; and my soul was alienated from her, like as my soul was alienated from her sister.
  • DBY Zech 11:8 And I destroyed three shepherds in one month; and my soul was vexed with them, and their soul also loathed me.
  • DBY Matt 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, in whom my soul has found its delight. I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall shew forth judgment to the nations. [Compare with Isa 42:1.]
  • DBY Heb 10:38 But the just shall live by faith; and, if he draw back, my soul does not take pleasure in him.

(Lev 26:11,30; Isa 42:1; Jer 5:9, 6:8; Ezek 23:18; Zech 11:8; Matt 12:18; Heb 10:38)

Jesus became or was the soul of God (Matt 12:18; see God Papers).

Animals also have Souls

nm82» Not only does mankind, and God, have souls, so do animals. The following verses in Hebrew show that animals have a soul (nephesh or psuche) also:

  • DBY Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters swarm with swarms of living souls, and let fowl fly above the earth in the expanse of the heavens.
  • DBY Gen 1:21 And God created the great sea monsters, and every living soul that moves with which the waters swarm, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind. And God saw that it was good.
  • DBY Gen 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth living souls after their kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth, after their kind. And it was so.
  • DBY Gen 1:30 and to every animal of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth on the earth, in which is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so.
  • DBY Gen 2:19 And out of the ground Jehovah Elohim had formed every animal of the field and all fowl of the heavens, and brought {them} to Man, to see what he would call them; and whatever Man called each living soul, that was its name.
  • DBY Gen 9:10 and with every living soul which is with you, fowl as well as cattle, and all the animals of the earth with you, of all that has gone out of the ark -- every animal of the earth.
  • DBY Gen 9:12 And God said, This is the sign of the covenant that I set between me and you and every living soul that is with you, for everlasting generations:
  • DBY Gen 9:15 and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living soul of all flesh; and the waters shall not henceforth become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living soul of all flesh that is upon the earth.
  • DBY Lev 11:10 but all that have not fins and scales in seas and in rivers, of all that swarm in the waters, and of every living soul which is in the waters -- they shall be an abomination unto you.
  • DBY Rev 8:9 and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea which had life [soul] died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.

(Gen 1:20-21,24,30, 2:19, 9:10,12,15-16; Lev 11:10; Rev 8:9; etc.)

Many English Bibles have translated "creature" or "life" for soul or nephesh or psuche. In the BeComingOne Bible we have translated nephesh or psuche into soul consistently.]

Souls Can Die

nm83» According to the official Catholic view the soul is immortal:

Lateran Council of 1513

"Whereas some have dared to assert concerning the nature of the reasonable soul that it is mortal, we, with the approbation of the sacred council do condemn and reprobate all those who assert that the intellectual soul is mortal, seeing, according to the canon of Pope Clement V, that the soul is [...] immortal [...] and we decree that all who adhere to like erroneous assertions shall be shunned and punished as heretics."

But contrary to the Catholic view, scripture indicates that souls can die. The following verses indicate that souls are destructible:

  • DBY Gen 17:14 And the uncircumcised male who hath not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that soul shall be cut off from his peoples: he hath broken my covenant.
  • DBY Gen 37:21 And Reuben heard {it}, and delivered him out of their hand, and said, Let us not take his life [soul].
  • DBY Exod 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread: on the very first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day -- that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
  • DBY Lev 7:20 But the soul that eateth the flesh of the sacrifice of peace-offering which is for Jehovah, having his uncleanness upon him, that soul shall be cut off from his peoples.
  • DBY Lev 24:17 And if any one smiteth any man mortally [kills any soul], he shall certainly be put to death.
  • DBY Num 23:10 Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let my soul die the death of the righteous, and let my end be like his!
  • DBY Num 31:19 And encamp outside the camp seven days; whoever hath killed a person [soul], and whoever hath touched any slain; ye shall purify yourselves on the third day, and on the seventh day, you and your captives.
  • DBY Num 35:30 Whoever shall smite a person mortally, at the mouth of witnesses shall the murderer be put to death; but one witness shall not testify against a person [soul] to cause him to die.
  • DBY Deut 19:6 lest the avenger of blood pursue the manslayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and smite him mortally [slay his soul]; whereas he was not worthy of death, since he hated him not previously.
  • DBY Josh 2:13 that ye will let my father live, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that belong to them, and deliver our souls from death.
  • DBY Judg 5:18 Zebulun is a people {that} jeoparded their lives [souls] unto death, Naphtali also, on the high places of the field.
  • DBY 1Kgs 19:4 And he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a certain broom-bush, and requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough: now, Jehovah, take my life [soul]; for I am not better than my fathers.
  • BY Job 36:14 Their soul dieth in youth, and their life is among the unclean.
  • DBY Pss 22:29 All the fat ones of the earth shall eat and worship; all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him, and he that cannot keep alive his own soul.
  • DBY Pss 78:50; Heb made a way for his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence;
  • DBY Isa 55:3 Incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, the sure mercies of David.
  • DBY Jer 4:10 And I said, Alas, Lord Jehovah! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.
  • DBY Ezek 13:19 And will ye profane me among my people for handfuls of barley and for morsels of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that listen to lying?
  • DBY Ezek 22:27 Her princes in the midst of her are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain.
  • DBY Matt 2:20 Arise, take to {thee} the little child and its mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they who sought the life [soul] of the little child are dead.
  • DBY Matt 10:28 And be not afraid of those who kill the body, but cannot kill the soul; but fear rather him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
  • DBY Matt 26:38 Then he says to them, My soul is very sorrowful even unto death; remain here and watch with me.
  • DBY Mark 3:4 And he says to them, Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life [soul] or to kill? But they were silent.
  • DBY Mark 14:34 And he says to them, My soul is full of grief even unto death; abide here and watch.
  • DBY Luke 6:9 Jesus therefore said to them, I will ask you if it is lawful on the Sabbath to do good, or to do evil? to save life [a soul], or to destroy {it}?
  • DBY Luke 17:33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life [soul] shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose it shall preserve it.
  • DBY John 10:15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life [soul] for the sheep.
  • DBY John 12:25; Heb that loves his life [soul] shall lose it, and he that hates his life [soul] in this world shall keep it to life eternal [aeonian].
  • DBY Acts 3:23 And it shall be that whatsoever soul shall not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the people.
  • DBY Rom 11:3 Lord, they have killed thy prophets, they have dug down thine altars; and I have been left alone, and they seek my life [soul].
  • DBY Heb 10:39 But we are not drawers back to perdition, but of faith to saving {the} soul.
  • DBY Jas 5:20 let him know that he that brings back a sinner from {the} error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall cover a multitude of sins.
  • DBY Rev 8:9 and the third part of the creatures which were in the sea which had life [soul] died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
  • DBY Rev 12:11 and they have overcome him by reason of the blood of the Lamb, and by reason of the word of their testimony, and have not loved their life [souls] even unto death.
  • DBY Rev 16:3 And the second poured out his bowl on the sea; and it became blood, as of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.

(Gen 17:14, 37:21; Exod 12:15; Lev 7:20, 24:17; Num 23:10, 31:19, 35:30; Deut 19:6; Josh 2:13; Jud 5:18) (1Kgs 19:4; Job 36:14; Pss 22:29, 78:50; Isa 55:3; Jer 4:10; Ezek 13:19, 22:27; Matt 2:20, 10:28, 26:38; Mark 3:4, 14:34; Luke 6:9, 17:33; John 10:15, 12:25; Acts 3:23; Rom 11:3; Heb 10:39; Jas 5:20; Rev 8:9, 12:11, 16:3; etc.)

nm84» That souls can die is absolutely clear in the Hebrew or Greek as well as the BeComingOne Bible and other more literal Bibles. Sometimes English translations leave out soul from the translation as in Judg 16:30 where it should read: "And Samson said, Let my soul die...." Sometimes English translations have life instead of soul as in John 10:15.

nm85» The following verses indicate that there can be dead souls:

  • DBY Lev 21:11 Neither shall he come near any person [soul] dead, nor make himself unclean for his father and for his mother;
  • DBY Lev 22:4 Whatsoever man of the seed of Aaron is a leper, or hath a flux, he shall not eat of the holy things, until he is clean. And he that toucheth any one that is unclean by a dead person [soul], or a man whose seed of copulation hath passed from him;
  • DBY Num 5:2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by a dead person [soul]:
  • DBY Num 6:11 And the priest shall offer one for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead person [soul]; and he shall hallow his head that same day.

(Lev 21:11, 22:4; Num 5:2, 6:11; etc.)

In some translations "body" or "dead" = soul; see Hebrew text.]

Two Meanings of Soul

Because there is a type and antitype to the Bible, there are two meanings to dead souls, the physical and the spiritual:

  • Those who lose the breath of life become dead
  • Those with the breath (or spirit) of Satan are dead

Immortal Soul: Satan's Lie

nm86» Even though mankind will in the future become immortal, the above scripture indicates that the soul is not now immortal. The idea that the soul is now immortal did not come from the Bible. The false idea that humans in this age have immortal souls came from Satan's first lie. Satan's lie occurred right after God said that man would die if they ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16-17):

  • And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. [Gen 3:4]

This idea of the immortality of the soul continued through the Greeks, Babylonians, Egyptians, Romans, and so forth. Of course these cultures got this idea of the immortality of the soul from the power of Satan which feeds mankind false and destructive inforMattion (NM 21). From this theologians down through the years have interjected this false idea into the doctrines of Christianity and other religions.

Salvation of the Soul

nm87» From Gen 2:7 we know that a body can be a soul, if it has breath in it. From other scripture mentioned above we see that any living and breathing body, even an animal's body, is called a soul. Also we know that a soul can be destroyed and can die and so can be called a dead soul. Thus in this age mankind's soul is not immortal. This is why the Bible talks about the salvation of the soul (Luke 21:19) (1Thess 5:23; Heb 10:39; Jas 5:20) (1Pet 1:9) and talks about going from mortality to immortality (Rom 8:11) (1Cor 15:53-54) (2Cor 5:4). The idea of the immortal soul came from the influence of Satan, the Greeks, and other ancient peoples. But although the soul is not immortal, there is one aspect of man that is immortal. That immortal aspect is the spirit.


nm88» As shown in the New Mind Papers and in the God Papers spirits are immortal, and there is a particular spirit for each and every person. For clarification you must read the New Mind Papers and the God Papers. For now let it be said that there is an immortal aspect to mankind, and it has to do with man's own spirit. Spirits are immortal; souls can and do die. What most religions do is mix-up the nature of the spirit with the nature of the soul. Our soul is not our spirit; our spirit is not our soul. This mix-up began at the time of Adam and Eve (Gen 3:4) and still causes confusion today. If the translators had only consistently translated the Hebrew nephesh and the Greek psuche into soul we would not have as much confusion. Of course the reason they didn't translate these words consistently is because of their mindset which made them twist the scriptures to force their incorrect ideas into the text of the Bible.

Note: Remember that in Gen 2:7 Jehovah "breathed" into man the "breath" of life. In the English version of the Old Testament the word "breath" is translated from either the Hebrew word neshamah or ruah. These words differ slightly in meaning, both signifying sometimes "wind" or sometimes "breath." The word translated into "breath" in Gen 2:7 is the Hebrew word neshamah. Both Hebrew words, neshamah and ruah are translated as "spirit" in various places in the English translations of the Bible. This means that the book of Genesis could just as well have been translated showing God breathing into man a spirit. This is just another example of duality (type and antitype) of the Bible. As it turned out both senses are true: God breathed a breath of air into man; God also breathed a spirit into man. See New Mind 22 for more inforMattion on this.

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