Do we have a soul and is it immortal?

January 5th, 2012 in Doctrine. Tags: , , ,

A friend asked me about this the other day, and I had to research it, so I thought I would post what I learned.

The idea of an immortal soul which lives on after death is part of many people’s understanding of christianity. But it probably isn’t true.

What the Bible says

In both the Old and New Testaments, the words translated as soul (Hebrew: nephesh; Greek: psyche) clearly mean a living person, sometimes even a living creature (e.g. in Genesis 1 & 2). In Jewish thought people are not divisible into parts (soul, body, etc) but are unified beings.

People are mortal, not immortal, and when we die we return to dust. The christian hope is not in the immortality of the soul but in the resurrection of the body, via the grace of God.


  1. The idea of a soul as separate from the body and able to live on after the body has died, appears to come from Greek thought (specifically Plato and his followers), not from the Bible or Jewish thought.
  2. When Jesus talks about God destroying body and soul in hell (Matthew 10:28), he is talking about the destruction of physical bodies and the life or self that is contained within them. I believe he means what he says, that we are not immortal, and those who refuse God’s grace forfeit eternal life (see Hell – what does the Bible say?).
  3. This more biblical view of soul meaning a living person removes some of the difficulties christians have faced of trying to determine when the soul enters the body at birth and leave sit at death. These questions are no longer applicable.

To see the words used in the Bible and their meanings, which lead to these conclusions, see Do we have an immortal soul?

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  1. Hello, Unklee! 🙂
    I know what The Bible says, and I have heard the arguments.
    But for me, experience trumps words when it comes to the truth.
    On my site, I have told the story about when my Grandmother
    passed over in 1998. In short, I know, and what I know is true to me.
    There can be no denying it. My grandmother made it to Heaven,
    and if not The Heaven, then in one of the 7 supposed levels.
    Call it Paradise, or whatever. Doesn’t matter. I was relieved.
    A year ago, an old girlfriend found me on Facebook.
    She’s a medium, and she sure seems to be able to communicate
    with those who used to inhabit this reality along with us.
    Of course, we can’t prove they exist somewhere ‘out there’.
    But if anything exists ‘out there’, I must be open to the possibility.
    Nice to meet you! And I applaud your intentions for your blog.
    Peace to you today, Uncle Tree

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