“And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” – Genesis 1:30
The word translated “life” here is not the typical Hebrew word for life. Instead it is the word normally translated “soul” (nefesh or נפש). It is the same word used in Genesis 2:7 translated “being”, “the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” – Genesis 2:7
The NIV does us somewhat of a disservice here. You would expect these two passages, which both contain the phrase “breath of life” to have the same words in Hebrew. But they don’t. I don’t know if they avoided this to avoid confusion on saying animals have a soul or what.
To give another example of the word used in Genesis 1:30 to describe animals, it is the same word used in Deuteronomy 6:5 – “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”
The basic idea with this word (nefesh) is that we have life within us and the essence of that life is described as a soul. Animals have life and humans have life. Both then have nefesh (the essence of being alive). When we use the word soul we are normally expressing the concept of a “spirit.” We just happen to have those confused in our language today in a way that is not consistent with the Bible.
So what is the difference between mankind and animals? Humans have an eternal spirit while animals do not. We see that in Genesis 2:7 where God breathes (basically same word for spirit) life into Adam. The animals don’t have the same priviledge. While Genesis 1:30 says animals have the “breath of life” in the NIV I am not finding it in the Hebrew texts at my disposal at the moment. The distinction between mankind and animals is not the soul. The distinction is the spirit. So animals do have a soul (the very fact that they have been given life by God) but they do not have an eternal spirit that only mankind is priveledged to have been gifted with. We have just had our terms confused.
To see interlinear Hebrew texts on these see this link.
You’re quite correct that the NIV following 400 years of tradition mistranslated nephesh, creating a dichotomy re animals and man re the soul.
Also correct that the difference is God gave man a spirit capable of communing with God which animals cannot do.
But I question your Platonic insertion/assertion of man’s immortality.
Paul declares in 1 Tim. 6:16 God alone is immortal.
John teaches in 1 John 5:11-12, 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Immortality belongs only to those “in Christ.”
Our Lord himself teaches in the gospel of John 5:24-29, “24“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. ”
Only the Father and the Son (and the Spirit) have life in themselves; all other immortality (ours) is contingent, dependent upon one’s relationship with the son.
I believe upon further study you’ll conclude our Lord and the apostles taught a Hebraic concept of the soul, not a Greek one.
For further study of the Hebrew view contrasted with Greek dualism I recommend “The Body: A Study in Pauline Theology” by John A. T. Robinson which is also an excellent source for a discussion of “sarx” which the NIV translates “sinful nature” thereby doing the Christian community a great dis-service and leading many readers astray re the nature of man.
For further discussion of immortal soulism, or as you have distinguished above “an eternal spirit” I suggest the following link
https://www.zianet.com/maxey/MxThrshr.htm which is a debate between two brothers in the Churches of Christ,
Grace and peace,
See my reply to Zach in this post. Thanks for sharing such great thoughts. You have me thinking and I will have to do a little more digging. Thank you!
You have given me a lot to digest here. I am looking forward to really digesting what I have read in your two comments. Thank you for taking the time to put these together. I am certainly open to changing my mind on this if I can see it in scripture. I will get back with you on this.
Was a long journey for me. First confronted the traditionalist position I was taught while at UF when discussing hell with unbelievers when I was evangelizing. Kept considering it and studying it and then ran across the Robinson book when clarifying my understanding of Paul’s use of “sarx”, “flesh” in KJV (my first bible and whence I formed my theology re Paul’s regular use of this word), “sinful nature” in NIV (bad translators, bad, bad boys, so much so that other scholars forced them to footnote it as “flesh” in subsequent editions) which book discussed the Hebraic understanding of nature of man. Later borrowed the Fudge book “The Fire That Consumes” (“Consumes” and what that means alone really got mre thinking. And how many times had I read that phrase in Hebrews without ever thinking about it? Amazing.) from Jim Shannon the morning he preached a sermon affirming the traditionalist view. Then I ran across Al Maxey’s “Reflections” on the internet and then other sources and now no longer believe the bible, Jesus, or the apostles teach immortal soulism or the perpetual torment of the damned.
BTW, I do not advocate my understandings amongst the body at NW unless asked so as not to sow dissent or contradict our elders but since you bloogged on it and you’re mature I felt it was OK to share my views.
Grace and peace,
PS. Will loan you the Robinson book “The Body” Sunday if you want it.
I would love to have a look at it. I will order it and the Fudge book as it will probably take me a little while to dig into it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. I have a lot to think about and I enjoy doing so. I love to see something clearer in scripture that has been sitting right in front of me for years if only I would just notice it.
Everett Fergusson confirms some of what you are saying in Backgrounds of Early Christianity, 554 in his discussion of Judaism’s view of the afterlife. Although he does mention that some Jews believed in eternal punishment by fire in Gehenna (Pesahim 54a)
Checkout the discussion of Gehenna, Sheol in the Maxey-Thrasher debate I referenced.
O course eternal punishment is true qualitatively in that it occurs in the ainos age to come, and quantitatively insofar as once the punising is concluded (some with few lashes, some with many Lk. 12:47-48, which dovetails nicely with my understanding and resolves the nagging question of how the regular Joe six-pack vs. Hitler both receiving perpetual torment in lake of fire is just) then the resultant consumption, death, coming sooner for Joe and later for Hitler, is everlasting in its finality, irreversality (is that a word?) just as Sodom and Gomorrah are gone forever after burning for some duration but not perpetually (Jude 7). (Which is the differenmce between the traditional perpetual punishing vs the biblical punished with death.)
Keep studying bro and if in the end you don’t share my conclusions then we be bros, just not twins.
Last summer, my son and I found a dead bird in our yard. As we were burying it, he asked a similar question: “When Jesus comes back, will he bring the bird back to life?” I explained that I could not answer his question, because the Bible does not say either way. There will be new heavens and a new earth, but I can’t say whether animals will be resurrected since God has not told us. He was satisfied that it was at least a possibility. Just thought I would share my story with you today. Keep up the good work. 🙂
I would agree with the above comment regarding immortality. Paul regards it as a gift given at the resurrection, not an inherent part of being human.
David & Zach,
So what do you do with the lost? They cease to exist as in some type of annihilation theory? I know it is a parable but Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus seems to imply that even the lost continue to exist. At this point, I tend to lean toward a little more fine tuned meaning of what Paul talks about having life through Christ. Maybe I will get into that in a future post. I believe all people from birth will live forever whether in heaven or in hell and I think scripture can pretty clearly back that up. I will have to do a little more homework on that though to lay out a more precise case. The book David mentioned sounds pretty interesting.
My response is a bit long. It is extracts from the debate link I referebnced, statements with which I concur, interspersed with asides from me (DC).
The two destinies of mankind are LIFE and DEATH, not LIFE (in bliss) and LIFE (in misery).”
[ You say all men will live forever yet Paul says God alone is immortal and furthermore that the wages of sin is death, not life in perpetual tormented misery.
If God sustains the damed somehow (after all as Paul declares only God is immortal, 1 Tim. 6:16, and our life is contingent upon his sustenance) so they can experience their damnation, then at even the most tenuous level then they are connected, but death is separation from life. DC]
I believe commitment to the lake of fire is a DEATH sentence, not a LIFE sentence! It is a loss of life, not a life of loss.
[Our Lord says in John 5, “28“Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.
He further warns in Matthew 10, “28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Man can destroy your physical life but the Lord Jesus can destroy those whom he raises to be condemned both body and soul. DC]
The person is a living BEING. “Living soul” is what a person IS, not what a person HAS.
Physical death is a LOSS of the breath of life, and the effect is the return of the body to the earth. A separation takes place. The body is separated from the breath, and a LOSS OF LIFE results. I don’t think anyone would suggest that this separation should be perceived as a physical enhancement of life. When body and breath are separated, the result is a DEAD body, not a LIVING one! Life is not enriched physically, but rather terminated. Life for this person is extinguished. This is an appointment each of us must keep (unless privileged to be alive at the Parousia) — “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
I believe “death” is a SEPARATION. But the result — the effect — of such a separation is not an enhanced life, it is a forfeited life! Whether it is physical, spiritual or eternal, the Bible portrays “death” as a severing of one from life itself, not a preservation or continuation of life. It is a LOSS of life, and in the final reckoning it is a forever loss!!
Even our debate over the nature of “death” is really based on our differing views of the nature of man. If one believes man is inherently immortal, then cessation of existence is not even remotely possible to this way of thinking. Thus, the nature of final punishment, according to this theory, must consist of everlasting, never-ending, conscious punishment of some kind. Death can never be considered a termination of life by such theorists, but rather a preservation and continuation of it. However, if man by nature is wholly mortal, then immortality becomes a GIFT bestowed by a gracious life-Giver (as Scripture teaches), and not something inherently ours which can never be taken from us!
[Jude states “ 7In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” DC]
In what sense was this fire “eternal?” Is it still burning? Of course not. It is “eternal” in the qualitative sense that it depicts a fire which had its origin in the realm of the Eternal One, rather than a natural fire with its origin on earth (a temporal fire). “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire FROM THE LORD OUT OF HEAVEN” (Genesis 19:24). The fire itself lasted only for a few hours. When Abraham rose early the next morning and looked toward these cities, all he saw was smoke ascending (vs. 28). God had DESTROYED the cities. The fire had done its work and was no longer needed. It was ETERNAL fire in the sense that it came from GOD, and was sent from OUT OF HEAVEN, but it clearly went out. This is the “qualitative” sense of the word. The RESULT of this fire, however, is certainly “forever” — those cities were destroyed so thoroughly that their exact location is still a matter of speculation. They have CEASED TO EXIST. We are told they “are exhibited as an example” (Jude 7) “…to those who would live ungodly thereafter” (2 Peter 2:6). God reduced them to ashes, just as the wicked will be reduced to ashes in the final fire “on the day which I am preparing,” declares our God (Malachi 4:1-3). The example of Sodom and Gomorrah, and their experience with the “eternal” fire, is an example of what the wicked can expect at the final outpouring of God’s wrath upon the unredeemed. “But the present heavens and earth by His word are being reserved for FIRE, kept for the day of judgment and DESTRUCTION OF UNGODLY MEN” (2 Peter 3:7).
Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi, a world-renowned professor of theology from Andrews University, points out this dual significance of “aionios” in the following statement: “The punishment of the wicked is eternal both in QUALITY and QUANTITY. It is ‘eternal’ in QUALITY because it belongs to the Age to Come. It is ‘eternal’ in QUANTITY because its results will never end” (Immortality or Resurrection? — A Biblical Study on Human Nature and Destiny, page 208).
[Yes Matt, the rich man and Lazarus is a parable. DC]
The late editor of Gospel Minutes, brother Dillard Thurman, devoted an entire issue of his publication (Vol. 34, No. 5, Feb. 1, 1985) to the false notion of the “Intermediate State of the Dead.” A person had asked him to set forth the views of the “churches of Christ” with respect to what occurs after death. Dillard wrote, “I can only state what I have found in over half a century of studying God’s Word, and THAT MAY NOT BE WHAT HE EXPECTED TO RECEIVE!” (emphasis Al Maxey). Brother Thurman stated, “I have heard funeral orations extol the happiness and bliss the departed has instantly with death: but on checking the New Testament assiduously, I have yet to find a single promise where the dead go into heaven on an instant pass, or have immediate conscious happiness!” He pointed out that man “is mortal,” and thus is simply going to die and return to the dust. The hope of the Christian is the resurrection, not some false doctrine of “immortal soulism.” Dillard reflected, “The hope and aspiration of many has been shifted from His coming again to receive His own, to an immediate immortality and heavenly bliss immediately at death! Jesus DID NOT (emphasis his) promise that!”
William Tyndale (1484-1536), an English Bible translator and martyr, wrote, “And ye, in putting them (the departed souls) in heaven, hell and purgatory, destroy the arguments wherewith Christ and Paul prove the resurrection.” Tyndale argued that if souls were already in either bliss or misery, “then what cause is there of the resurrection?” And what cause is there even of judgment? In another part of this same writing, Tyndale said — “The true faith putteth forth the resurrection, which we be warned to look for every hour. The heathen philosophers, denying that, did put that the soul did ever live. And the Pope joineth the spiritual doctrine of Christ and the fleshly doctrine of philosophers together; things so contrary that they cannot agree. And because the fleshly-minded Pope consenteth unto heathen doctrine, therefore he corrupteth the Scripture to stablish it. If the soul be in heaven, tell me what cause is there for the resurrection?”
Justyn Martyr, who wrote around 150 AD, stated — “If you meet some who say that their souls go to Heaven when they die, do not believe that they are Christians!” (Dialogue With Trypho). Martin Luther wrote in his Table Talk — “Now if one should say that Abraham’s soul lives with God but his body is dead, this distinction is rubbish. I will attack it. That would be a silly soul if it were in heaven and desired its body!!” In his Defense, Luther declared that it was the Pope, not the Bible, who taught, “the soul is immortal.” In his exposition of Ecclesiastes he wrote, “Solomon judgeth that the dead are asleep and feel nothing at all. For the dead lie there counting neither days nor years, but when they are awaked they shall seem to have slept scarce one minute.”
[Matt, are you aware how much your belief in a never-ending spirit afterlife is dependent on Greek philososophy, Plato’s dualism, immortal soulism, subsequent philosophers Hades, compartmentalized into one of bliss and one of misery, and corrupted Catholic doctrine? DC]
John Milton (1608-1674), once called the “greatest of the sacred poets,” declared, “Inasmuch as the whole man is uniformly said to consist of body and soul … I will show that in death, first, the whole man, and secondly each component part, suffers privation of life … the grave is the common guardian of all till the day of judgment.”
In short, I must simply reject, as countless giants of faith before me have rejected, the apparent view that “Hades” is some intermediate holding place for disembodied immortal beings. Such a pagan notion is simply NOT the teaching of Scripture. The terms “Hades” and “Sheol” merely denote the GRAVE. The dead “descend into the earth” (the grave), dust returning to dust. “For there is no activity or planning or wisdom in Sheol where you are going” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). “There is one fate for the righteous and for the wicked … There is one fate for all men … They go to the dead … The dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward” (Ecclesiastes 9:2-5). When we die we are DEAD. The whole man, not just the physical part of him, while some immortal spirit being trapped within him flies off to even greater life than before.
[The traditional view of immortal soulism plays havoc with the substitutionary nature of Jesus death. As we teach each other in song, “Jesus paid it ALL. DC]
This poses a problem for those who embrace the traditional view of eternal punishment. If the “wages of sin” is perpetual torture, Jesus did not pay that price. If indeed this is the penalty that must be paid, then He did not pay it. Dr. Basil F.C. Atkinson, of Cambridge University, wrote: “It is sometimes forgotten that we have in history at the center of our faith an open example and illustration of the punishment of sin … the facts of the suffering and death of Christ Jesus prove conclusively that the punishment of sin is death in its natural sense” (Life and Immortality: An Examination of the Nature and Meaning of Life and Death as They Are Revealed in the Scriptures, p. 103). Brother Curtis Dickinson concurred in his book: “If the punishment for our sins is not ACTUAL DEATH, then Christ could not have made atonement for us BY HIS DEATH” (What the Bible Teaches about Immortality and Future Punishment, p. 16).
James A Nichols, an influential 20th century theologian, wrote, “Take also the case of the death of Jesus. This is admittedly a penal death in our place, so it should be considered as a fair example of punishment awaiting the lost sinner. His sufferings obviously took place before his death. They were sufferings both physical and mental. At last came death on the cross. Now, no one supposes that after his death his soul was delivered over to the tormentors” (Christian Doctrines: A Presentation of Biblical Theology, p. 142).
Jesus did NOT suffer (and is not currently suffering) perpetual torture. He did NOT pay that price. Jesus has demonstrated, however, that the penalty for sin is exactly what the Bible declares it to be: DEATH. He DID pay THAT price!! And He would have remained dead had not a very special promise been made to Him: He would not be abandoned to the grave; He would be delivered. That promise has NOT been made to the wicked. Thus, when THEY experience the “wages of sin” (death) there will be no future rescue. Just as in the death of Christ we have a demonstration of the fate of the unredeemed, so also in His resurrection to life do we have a demonstration of the fate of the redeemed. “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless, you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished” (1 Cor. 15:17-18). “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Cor. 15:20).
Traditionalists claim that Jesus PAID IT ALL, that He took the penalty upon Himself for sin IN FULL. This statement is simply not true IF the penalty is perpetual torture in the lake of fire. This statement IS true if the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). If the wages of sin is perpetual torture in fire, then the wicked will be forced to suffer an infinitely greater penalty than Jesus paid for the sins of mankind. Indeed, the suffering and death of Christ would be trivial in comparison. On March 16, 1967, in a letter to brother Jim Bill McInteer, a person who signed the letter “A Very Discouraged Christian” wrote, “I’d much rather have been hanged on a cross, suffered about three days, than to burn forevermore. Forevermore is quite a bit longer than three days or thirty-three years.” This person was feeling the burden of his own sin, and feeling he could not live in such a way as to obtain heaven, and was distressed over the seeming disparity between what men would be forced to suffer and what Christ supposedly suffered as their substitutionary sacrifice. That is a real problem for the traditionalist who proclaims perpetual torture as the penalty for sin — the penalty we have been told Christ Jesus PAID IN FULL.
It seems to me that if one is going to answer the question regarding full substitutionary atonement that traditionalists re immortal soulism must take a long hard look at the view which proclaims perpetual torture as the “wages of sin.”
Grace and peace,
The fact that man is mortal does not by default mean that annihilationism is true, but it certainly does at least make it logically possible. However, given that man is not immortal (seeing that only God is), it would also follow that if man suffers torture forever that it comes about by God’s continually sustainining that person as alive in order that God might punish him forever.
I don’t have a firm conviction regarding the topic, at least not since reading Edward Fudge’s The Fire That Consumes (with forward by F.F. Bruce). F. LaGard Smith and Homer Hailey would be two others within our faith heritage advocating total destruction of the wicked.
From my web page.
THE GREAT CONFUSION: Soul or spirit or both?
Two terms that comes from different words
And are not used interchangeable in the Bible
Yet both are said to be an “immaterial, invisible part of man”
Does a person have an immortal soul or an immortal spirit that is not subject to death and that has eternal life without the resurrection? How many immortal parts does a person have? If two, a soul and a spirit, will both of the immortal parts of a person always exist as two independent and separate beings? If one, which is the immortal part of a person, the soul or the spirit? Vine says they are different, “Generally speaking the spirit is the higher, the soul the lower element” (Page 589), yet he says both are “the immaterial, invisible part of man” (page 588 and page 593).
Those who believe all mankind have an immortal inter part do not seem to know whether it is the “soul” or the “spirit” that is the “immaterial, invisible part of man” that will live without the earthly body. When preachers preach on the soul being immortal, they use passages that speak of the spirit but say nothing of the soul. THERE MAY BE MORE CONFUSION ON WHAT PART OF A PERSON SOME BELIEVE TO BE IMMORTAL NOW THAN ANY OTHER BIBLE TEACHING.
MANY USE SOUL AND SPIRIT INTERCHANGEABLY: For their belief, soul and spirit must be the same. If they were not, they would be forced to say one or the other is the immortal part of a person or that a person has two immortal beings in him or her. When I believed in Hell, I could not see there being a separate IMMORTAL SOUL and IMMORTAL SPIRIT. I used them interchangeably just as most do now without realizing it. When some read the SPIRIT GOES BACK TO GOD, in their mind they see the immortal SOUL GOING BACK TO GOD. Those who believe the SOUL will take up permanent residence in Heaven at the moment of death, and many who believe the SOUL is in Abraham’s bosom and will not be in Heaven unto the judgment day both use Ecclesiastes 12:7 to prove the SPIRIT goes back to God in Heaven at death. How could the SPIRIT (the “immaterial, invisible part of man” that is immortal part of a person) return unto God at death if it goes to Abraham’s bosom or to Hell? I have continually been told for years that lost souls go to Hell at the moment of death. Then how could the soul return to God if it goes to Hell and only the few souls that are saved go to Heaven at the moment of death? How can they not see that they are saying the soul goes to one place and at the same time they are saying the soul goes to another place? After Christ had been dead for three days and after His resurrection He said, “Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my father” [John 20:17]. Many say Christ went to an intermediate place where souls go before the resurrection but not to Heaven. If there were such an intermediate place, then the soul or the spirit does not return to God at death. One position is taken on one passage, and then the same persons shifts to another position on another passage and are continually shifting their position.
SOUL OR SPIRIT, WHICH ONE IS IMMORTAL?
Any time 1 Thessalonians 5:23, Hebrews 4:12, etc., comes up in a Bible class, the teacher has the same problem, the same confusion. What is the difference in soul and spirit? Which one is immortal? Many never seem to be quite sure which of the two, the soul or the spirit they believe to be immortal and not sure if they are the same or two entirely different parts of a person. They use passages, which have “spirit” in them to prove a person has an immortal soul, and passages, which have “soul” in them to prove a person has an immortal spirit. As long as anyone holds the view that a person is a two-part being with one part being the earthly body and one part is immortal, can there be an answer? If a person is a two-part being and not a three-part being, “soul” and “spirit” could only be the same thing; for if they were not, then a person would be a three-part being with two of the parts being immortal. Then which one is loss and which one will go to Heaven or Hell, the soul or the spirit? Body, soul-life, and spirit all are a person as he is now in the image of Adam. All three terms, body, soul, and spirit are used referring to a person at the same time. They are not three parts that can exist without each other. If they were, a person would have two separate immortal beings in Heaven simultaneously. They are not three separate beings with opposite natures, with two living within the other one.
• BODY: The body the Lord formed from the dust of the ground [Genesis 2:7].
• SOUL: “The life…is in the blood” Leviticus 17:10-14. The living nature of a person that he has in common with all animals.
• SPIRIT: The breath of life breathed in the earthy body. All life is from God, and returns to God at death [Ecclesiastes 12:7, Job 34:14-15]. All life is a gift from God to both man and animals, and it goes back to God at death. The spirit is not an immortal part of a person that preexisted as a living being with God before the birth of the person.
Paul does not say may your soul be preserved blameless without your body or spirit. He puts the three together as being inseparable, the whole person, not three separate parts of a person.
Mark 12:30 “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART, and with all your SOUL (psukee – life), and with all your MIND, and with all your STRENGTH.”
1. With all your HEART
2. With all your SOUL (psukee – life)
3. With all your MIND
4. With all your STRENGTH. What Jesus is saying is that we are to love God with all our being, not some immaterial invisible no substance something that we would have no control over and no way to know whether it loved God or not. I can know I love God with all my heart and with all my mind, but if there were an immaterial invisible no substance being in me that will live after my death, I would have no way to know whether it loved God or not. The psukee is no more a part of a person that lives after the death of the person than the heart, mind or strength are. All four are a person looked at from different points of view, not four parts of a person.
Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
1. Dividing of soul and spirit
2. Dividing of both joints and marrow
3. Dividing of the thoughts and intents of the heart
This passage shows that the soul and spirit are different things and can be divided, but there is nothing in it that says the soul, or the spirit is an immortal part of a person that will exist without the person
Some believe the soul, and the spirit are different; but if a person has only one inter immortal being in him, which one is it, soul (psukee or spirit (pnuma)?
• Those who say the “soul” is the “immaterial, invisible part of man” that is immortal must stop using passages, which speaks of the “spirit” to prove the soul is immortal. “The spirit returns to God” cannot be used to prove the soul is immortal if they are not the same; however, many do use this passage to prove a person has an immortal soul.
• Those who say the “spirit” is the “immaterial, invisible part of man” that is immortal must stop using passages speak of the “soul” to prove the spirit is immortal. “Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna” cannot be used to prove the spirit is immortal if they are not both the same the “immaterial, invisible part of man” that is immortal, but many do use one to prove the other, then will use the other to prove the one. Is this what is called “reasoning in a circle”?
• 1 Thessalonians 5:23 does not say what the functions of the body, soul, or spirit is and what becomes of them at death. It does not say one is mortal and two of them are immortal and will forever live somewhere. This must be read into it. THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT ANY PART OF A PERSON NOW BEING IMMORTAL IN IT. THERE IS NOTHING ABOUT HELL AFTER THE JUDGMENT IN IT. This also must be read into it.
Unlike animals, God made man in His image with the potential of living forever. The spirit [life] of both man and animals returns to God, but one of the differences in persons and animals is that animals will not be raised from the dead. They are forever dead, just as a person would be if there were not going to be a resurrection. After death animals will never again have life just as the loss will never again have life after the second death. Death is death for both men and animals. Death is not death for animals and another kind of life for men; it is death for both. The second death will be death, not another kind of life that will go on forever.
• SPIRIT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS FROM RUACH [Strong’s word number 7307]. It is translated spirit, breath, and wind, in the King James Version, but it is NEVER TRANSLATED SOUL.
• SPIRIT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS FROM PNUMA [Strong’s word number 4151]. It is translated spirit, ghost and wind in the King James Version, but it is NEVER TRANSLATED SOUL.
o Pneuma is translated both WIND and SPIRIT in the same passage. “The WIND [pneuma] blows wherever it pleases. You may hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the SPIRIT [pneuma] [John 3:8].
• SOUL IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS FROM NEHPHESH [Strong’s word number 5315]. It is translated life, creature, soul, person, mind, etc. in the King James Version, but it is NEVER TRANSLATED SPIRIT.
• SOUL IN THE NEW TESTAMENT IS FROM PSUKEE [Strong’s word number 5590. Psukee-Wigran, Page 807]. In the King James Version it is translated life, soul, heart, heartily, mind, he, strength, and us, but it is NEVER TRANSLATED SPIRIT.
o There are more than 1,600 references to soul and spirit in the Bible but not a one of them says anything about the soul or spirit living without the body yet many who say they teach only the Bible teach it all the time.
THE PROBLEM FOR UNCONDITIONAL IMMORTALITY is which one is immortal? The soul or the spirit? Which one will be in Heaven or Hell? “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, [may the whole person, not just an invisible no substance part of a person] without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Blessed are the poor in spirit [pneuma]” [Matthew 5:3]. Are they poor in a no substance immortal spirit? Spirit and soul are not used interchangeably, and a passage that has one in it cannot be used to prove anything about the other one as many do today. BODY, SOUL, SPIRIT: The whole man of Genesis 2:7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:23 “And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground [BODY], and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [SPIRIT]; and man became a living soul [SOUL].” Body + the breath of life (spirit) = soul-a living being.
PASSAGES IN WHICH “SPIRIT” [pneuma] IS USED BY MANY AS IF IT IS THE SAME AS “SOUL” [psukee]. Not one time is any part of a person said to have an existence after death or to be able to function without the body.
. THE SPIRITS IN PRISON 1 Peter 3:18-20. Most who uses this to prove the “spirit” is immortal believe the Protestant version that lost souls go to Hell instantaneous at death; therefore, to them these disobedient spirits that were destroyed in the time of Noah for being disobedient were not destroyed but are now being tormented in Hell. If they were in Hell why did Christ go to these disobedient spirits? (1) For what purpose would Christ go into Hell and preach to only some that were there? To save them? Can those in Hell ever be saved? The very ones who believe there is a Hell and use this passage to prove the souls of the lost are alive in Hell before they are raised from the dead and before they are judged also says no that once a person is in Hell he or she can never get out. (2) What message would He take them that can never get out of Hell; the time when they could be saved was past therefore, the Gospel would do them no good? Would He go to raise a hope of release that could never be, or to taunt them? It would mean:
1. That Christ was alive in the three days from His death unto His resurrection, therefore, He was never dead and could not have been raised from the dead.
2. That Christ did not die for our sins, therefore, we are still in our sins. If the soul is immortal and cannot die, Christ gave only His earthly body for our sins. He was as much alive in the three days His earthly body was in the grave as He was before He came to earth and as He was after the resurrection of His earthly body. THEREFORE, CHRIST COULD NOT HAVE DIED FOR OUR SINS IF HE WERE NEVER DEAD. If only His earthly body were dead, then He was the same “spiritual being” with all the power and glory in the three days His body was in the grave that He is now, or had before He came to earth. There would have been no difference in Christ when only His earthly body was in the grave than there is now when He is in Heaven, or in the time before He came to earth. If His death were not a real death, than what did God gave when He gives His only Son? Just one human body for three days. Nothing more. According to today’s teaching there was no real sacrifice by God or Christ, no real death or resurrection as He was not really and in truth dead. Nevertheless, He said, “I am he that lives, and was dead” [Revelation 1:18].
3. That those who were disobedient in the days of Noah were more important than all others who were disobedient, and that Christ went into Hell to preach unto them for those that say the soul is immortal and does not die, say the lost go directly to “Hell” at death; therefore, Christ had to go into “Hell” to preach to them. That these may have been given a second chance after death but all others will not be. That God is a respecter of persons giving some a second chance, but not to all.
“Put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit” [1 Peter 3:18]. Notice carefully what is said. This passage is used to prove there is an immoral spirit in all that can never die. If it were speaking of an immoral spirit, this immortal spirit was “made alive,” therefore it had to be dead. Made alive in the spirit AFTER He was put to death in the flesh. If “made alive in the spirit” was not His resurrection, then the very thing they are trying to prove is that the spirit cannot die, nevertheless, the spirit was dead and was “made alive.” IF HE WERE ALIVE AND NEVER DEAD, HE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN “MADE ALIVE,” BUT WOULD HAVE BEEN “KEPT ALIVE” OR “PRESERVED ALIVE” AND THERE COULD HAVE BEEN NO RESURRECTION. Made alive: “Quickened by the spirit” King James Version. “Made alive by the spirit” New King James Version. Strong’s word #2227 “made alive, give life, quicken.”
If this preaching were by Christ in person, not by Christ through Noah, then the order was:
1. Put to death
2. Quickened or made alive-His resurrection
3. Preached to the spirits in prison after His resurrection. Therefore, the preaching would have been done after His resurrection, not before and would not prove that His “soul” was alive in the three days before He was quickened or made alive.
To fit with today’s theology Peter’s order must be changed to:
1. Put to death
2. Preached to the spirits in prison in the three days before His resurrection
3. Quickened or made alive-His resurrection AFTER He had preached to the spirits in prison. THE REASON THIS PASSAGE IS USED IS TO PROVE HIS SOUL WAS ALIVE BEFORE HIS RESURRECTION, THAT IT WAS NEVER DEAD, BUT THEY MUST CHANGE IT AND MAKE IT SAY CHRIST DID THE PREACHING BEFORE HIS RESURRECTION. IF THEY DO NOT CHANGE IT, IT DOES NOT PROVE WHAT THEY WANT IT TO. IF THEY DO NOT CHANGE IT, IT DOES NOT PROVE WHAT THEY WANT IT TO. If this preaching were by Christ during the three days He was in the grave, and if the prison were somewhere other than Hell it would prove that there is somewhere like the Catholic Purgatory but only for a few, and that most are not in it.
When was this preaching done? In the days of Noah, or in the three days Christ was in the grave? This is the whole question. Was it:  AFTER THEY WERE DEAD AND IN HELL WHEN THEY COULD NOT BE SAVED? Those who believe the soul of the lost is transported instantly into Hell at death do not believe any that are in Hell can be saved. According to their belief, all go to Heaven or Hell at the moment of death, therefore, if Christ went and preached to them in the three days He was in the grave, He would have had to preach to them either in Heaven or Hell. Why would He go to Hell and preach to those who could not be saved? Why do they use this verve? Is it not because they are desperate for any verse that will prove their immortal soul that they will give a few a second chance after death to be taken out of Hell if it would prove a part of a person is now immortal?  OR WAS IT WHEN THEY WERE ALIVE AND COULD BE BENEFITED BY THE PREACHING? Adam Clarke says He went and preached by Noah for one hundred and twenty years. The preaching was done in the days of Noah through Noah, a preacher of righteousness [2 Peter 2:5], not after the death of Christ. Noah warned them of the destruction to come if they did not repent. How were they in prison? “His servants you are whom you obey” [Romans 6:16]. “For of whom a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved” [2 Peter 19]. “To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those who dwell in darkness from the prison” [Isaiah 42:7; also Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 142:7; Luke 4:18; John 8:34-45]. Those who obey Satan are in prison to him. Those who would not hear Christ preaching through Noah were in prison to Satan. “For we also once were…enslaved to various lusts and pleasures” [Titus 3:3]. “For of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he also brought into bondage” [2 Peter 2:19].
• “Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from you. But he answered and said unto them, an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and shall no sign be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” [Matthew 12:38-40]. If Jesus were in the earth, the grave, from His death to His resurrection, how could He have gone to “Hell” and preached to those in it? I do not think anyone believes “Hell” is in the grave, but the grave is where He was at onto His resurrection.
Adam Clarke: “‘He went and preached’ By the ministry of Noah, one hundred and twenty years. Unto the spirits in prison] The inhabitants of the antediluvian world, who, having been disobedient, and convicted of the most flagrant transgressions against God, were sentenced by his just law to destruction. But their punishment was delayed to see if they would repent; and the long-suffering of God waited one hundred and twenty years, which were granted to them for this purpose; during which time, as criminals tried and convicted, they are represented as being in prison – detained under the arrest of Divine justice, which waited either for their repentance or the expiration of the respite, that the punishment pronounced might be inflicted” Clarke’s Commentary on 1 Peter 3:18-20.
Dillard Thurman: Gospel Minutes April 2, 1990, West Freeway church of Christ “Notice carefully what is said. Jesus was put to death in the flesh, and died like any mortal man. But He was quickened, or made alive by the Spirit. By what Spirit? By the same Spirit by which He once preached to spirits imprisoned by sin and Satan in the days of Noah! When did this happen? The passage plainly states it: ‘When once the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah.’ The word ‘when’ is an adverb of time that tells when the action took place: in the days of Noah! The idea of the Son of God being off on a preaching junket for the three days and nights that His body was in the tomb is utterly foreign to any Bible teaching! If false doctrines had not first brought forth this fanciful idea, this passage would not have been twisted to support the error.”
. “FOR THE BODY APART FROM THE SPIRIT IS DEAD” James 2:26. WHAT DOES THIS PASSAGE TEACH US ABOUT THE SPIRIT? Only that the body is dead without it. Nothing more. To teach anything more than this from this passage it must be read into it.
WHAT THIS PASSAGE DOES NOT SAY.
• It does not say the spirit is alive without the body, BUT THIS IS WHAT THEY THINK IS PROVED BY IT.
• It does not say the spirit is an “immaterial, invisible part of man” that will live without the body after the body is dead.
• It does not say the spirit, and the soul are both the same thing, but this passage is used repeatedly to prove the “soul” is immortal. There could not be a better example of adding to God’s word then this passage when it is used to teach mankind has an immortal soul, for it says nothing about a soul, Hell, torment, Heaven, or eternal life but all these are read into it.
• HOW IS THIS PASSAGE USED? IT IS CHANGED FROM SAYING “THE BODY APART FROM THE SPIRIT IS DEAD” TO “THE SPIRIT APART FROM GOD IS SEPARATED FROM GOD BUT NOT DEAD.” DEATH IS REMOVED FROM THIS PASSAGE AND REPLACED WITH LIFE SEPARATED FROM GOD. It is changed to teach something that is not even close to what it says.