The Human Soul, Mortal or Immortal?
MOST religious people believe the soul to be immortal. A Catholic question and answer book replies to the question, “Is it revealed doctrine that the soul of man is immortal?” the following: “The account in Genesis of man’s formation proves it. . . . Both Old and New Testaments insist upon the immortality of the soul.” In the Roman Catholic “Old Testament” the words immortal(ity) and incorruption occur in only two apocryphal books, the Wisdom of Solomon and Ecclesiasticus. Even so, these references do not once mention such a thing as an immortal soul, nor do they say that any man has immortality or ever had it.
Turn to the inspired Scriptures and scan them minutely with the help of an exhaustive concordance of the Holy Bible. Then you will demonstrate to yourself that not once in all the Holy Scriptures does the expression “immortal soul” occur, neither any other expression to say that the human soul is immortal. To the contrary, all the Scriptural expressions from Moses onward pointedly declare that the human soul is mortal and dies, ceasing to exist.
However, our religious critics speak of the human soul as immortal and say “the body is naturally mortal; the soul by its very nature immortal”. But in answer to the question, “What indications have you that the soul is immortal?” our priestly critics write six paragraphs of a total of thirty-two lengthy lines but do not produce a single inspired scripture from God’s Word. It ought to be enough, then, if we produce just one scripture to prove that the human soul is subject to death and destruction. First, we quote Ezechiel 18:4, 20 from the Catholic Douay Version:
“Behold all souls are mine: as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, the same shall die. The soul that sinneth the same shall die.” Notice that repeated statement, “the soul that sinneth the same shall die.” Showing that the soul is not the same as the spirit, the inspired Scriptures nowhere say that the spirit dies, but they repeatedly say that the soul dies.
When confronted with this plain scripture, our priestly critics say: “The word soul here does not refer exclusively to the immortal part of man’s nature.” To what part, then, does it refer? Where do the inspired Hebrew Scriptures from Moses to Ezekiel say anything about an immortal part of man’s nature? Ezekiel wrote the words, “the soul that sinneth the same shall die,” before ever Pythagoras the pagan philosopher began to write and teach immortality, and before the deuterocanonical or apocryphal books were written. If Ezekiel did not mean what he wrote, then why did he not say: ‘The man that sinneth, his body shall die’?
BIBLE TRUTH ABOUT SOUL SIMPLE
When we accept the Bible and what God says in it, then the truth becomes simple. Adam became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his human form. Consequently when the sinner Adam died, the human soul died. It ceased to exist. God nowhere threatened to torture Adam’s soul in fire and brimstone after his death. God did not thus threaten Adam, because God knew that the human soul Adam was not immortal and indestructible. Instead of eternal torment of the soul, the apostle Paul says: “For the wages sin pays is death.” (Rom. 6:23, NW) There is no life everlasting for the wicked: “The Lord keepth all them that love him: but all the wicked he will destroy.” (Ps. 144:20, Dy) Ps 145:20 To observe that the soul is not immortal but mortal, note the following inspired scriptures in the Catholic Douay Version Bible (Murphy edition).
“Let my soul die the death of the just.” (Num. 23:10) “His soul fainted away, and was wearied even until death. He said: Let my soul die with the Philistines.” (Judg. 16:16, 30, marginal reading) “Deliver our souls from death.” (Josh. 2:13) “Their soul shall die in a storm.” (Job 36:14) “He spared not their souls from death.” (Ps. 77:50) Ps 78:50 “To deliver their souls from death; and feed them in famine. Our soul waiteth for the Lord.” (Ps. 32:19, 20) Ps 33:19, 20 “My soul is sorrowful even unto death.” (Matt. 26:38) “He who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way shall save his soul from death.”—Jas. 5:20.
It is a dodging of the facts to say that death means everlasting life in misery and torment. The Scriptures nowhere teach that the difference between death and everlasting life is happiness, and that death means life without happiness. God’s Word of truth does not present such a contradiction of terms. The combining of the human body with the breath of life by God’s power produces the human soul. Man thus becomes a living soul. But if the spirit or breath of life is separated from the human body, the living soul ceases to be. The soul ceases to live; it dies, just as God’s Word everywhere says. The breath of life does not retain the properties of the living human soul. Neither does the dead human body, for it cannot see, hear, feel, taste, smell, think, love, hate or work. It is nonsensical, hence unscriptural, to say that a soul inside man’s body operates by man’s organs and sense faculties while in his body, but, when it is separated from those organs and faculties at death, such independent soul can still carry out those same operations.
We have by no means exhausted all the Bible proof, but enough has been produced in the above paragraph to prove that Pythagoras, Socrates and Plato did not bring life and immortality to the light of men, for their teachings about immortality of the human soul are false. Satan the Devil did not bring light upon the subject when he lyingly said in Eden: “No, you shall not die the death.”—Gen. 3:4, Dy.
Not before Christ Jesus died as a human sacrifice and was resurrected and ascended to God’s presence to present the value of his sacrifice for us was there any basis for eternal life for any of Adam’s offspring. By accepting the benefits of his sacrifice “men of good will” may gain eternal life on this earth perfected under God’s kingdom; and even the human dead will be resurrected to this gracious opportunity. Christ’s ministry was a ministry of everlasting life for mankind in general, to be gained under his kingdom for blessing all the families of the earth.