Do you have a soul or are you a soul? How can you be sure?
[Steve Myers] One of our viewers sent a question in the other day when we were talking about death on the program . Bob wrote this question, he said, “I watched your show the other day and you explained when we die, we are basically asleep in the grave. Why does the Bible talk about the soul then?” Now that is a basic question when it comes to what God’s plan is and what is man.
[Darris McNeely] Absolutely, one of the most important questions that we need to answer in life, one of those big questions is what is man, what is his nature? The Bible gives us that answer and it’s the most important starting point to understand our purpose in life, what God is doing with human life, what we can become ultimately as part of the family of God. To understand the nature of man is very, very important and understanding what the word soul means in scripture probably is one of the most key things as it relates to the idea of death and sleep.
[Steve Myers] So we have to go to the beginning of the Bible to find out what is that word soul. Now we can’t explain it all, it’s a big subject. But we can touch on a couple of things that hopefully will generate some interest in your mind that you’ll really dig out your Bible. Study what it has to say. So if you go all the way back to the beginning of creation Genesis 1:20 Genesis 1:20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
American King James Version×says something interesting. In the New King James it says this, “God said, ‘Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures.’” Now that word for living creatures in Genesis 1:20 Genesis 1:20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
American King James Version×is the word nephesh . It’s the Hebrew word that is often translated soul . If you look up the King James in many passages, that’s what the word nephesh is recorded as - soul . But here it’s referring to animals. It’s referring to those that are in the waters and they are nephesh . Now if we skip down just a little bit further to Genesis 2:7 Genesis 2:7And 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.
American King James Version×, here’s another point that it says the Lord God formed, not fish, not animals, but in 2:7, guess what God formed? Man. God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul is what the King James says. New King James says man became a living being.
[Darris McNeely] The same word, nephesh .
[Steve Myers] The same word - so the same word for animal, the same word that was used for those in the waters, the same for mankind himself. Man himself is a nephesh . So that begins to point something that it is very important. Is there a difference then when there’s a soul, you know, when some people understand that we have some immortal soul. We don’t find that in the scripture. We don’t find - we find a living being. Man is a living being. So, we see a connection there between animals and man. They are living. And so, do we have a soul or are we a soul? I think that’s the point.
[Darris McNeely] The real truth is we are a living creature, a living soul, and that soul, that being, that physical, flesh and blood existence can expire, can die. That’s what the scripture says. The soul that sins, it shall die were told in the book of Ezekiel chapter 18. And that’s exactly what it means, just as every other living creature will ultimately die. The difference is man is not an animal and there’s another component to human life that goes beyond that and makes man what he is far higher than the animal realm - beyond what we want to cover today. But it’s important to realize that this word soul is really just talking about a living, breathing flesh and blood being, which we are rather than have.
[Steve Myers] And I think that one in Ezekiel chapter 18’s probably an important one to write down because in verse 4 in Ezekiel 18 it says, “Behold, all souls are Mine. The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine” (Ezekiel 18:4 Ezekiel 18:4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die.
American King James Version×). That’s what God is saying. Then you know what He says? “The soul who sins shall die.” Now if you were to take that as we have a soul, an immortal soul that goes to heaven when we die or goes to hell - the problem with that is God says that soul dies. And that doesn’t make sense so we don’t have an immortal soul. We are a living being. And so living beings shall die is what God says. And so it begins to show pretty clearly that we’re not a soul, or we don’t have a soul, but we are a soul - we are a living being.
[Darris McNeely] This is a most critical bit of information in understanding to have about human life because this is really where theologians have jumped the track in not understanding what man is. Because if you believe that man has a soul, an immortal, eternal, spiritual soul within him that lives beyond death, beyond the cessation of this living, fleshly nephesh existence, then when - if that’s true, then you have to do something with that. You either have to put them into a heaven or into a hell and that leads to other false ideas that have to be fabricated in order to do something with that living, spiritual existence if that’s what it is. But that’s not what the scripture reveals. Heaven and hell are not the reward of the saved. Man is a living, breathing flesh and blood being who can die. And yet, there is more to the story as many, many other scriptures bring out in regard to man’s purpose and life beyond what we can do here today.
[Steve Myers] And we’ll talk more about those things as we go along. If you’ve got other questions, please send them in. Just remember that in the New Testament, it says that God gives us eternal life. We don’t have it already. So, remember that concept and we’ll talk about more of it later.
[Darris McNeely] That’s BT Daily . Join us next time.