By Ron Abbass Tues. Feb.05, 2013
Can a deceased person think, see, hear, feel, plan and do?
Millions of Christians, Muslims, Spiritualists and those of other religious stripes teach and believe that we humans have an immortal soul. It is also believed that this immortal soul leaves the body immediately upon death and goes off to exist in some celestial, other-worldly region. It is also taught that the immortal soul of a deceased person can think, talk, hear, see, feel, plan and do!
Are they right? Do you believe you have an “immortal soul”? What does the Bible say about the “soul”, the “state of the dead”?
MEANING OF IMMORTAL & THE SOUL
The term “immortal soul” is not found in the Bible! According to the Bible, the word “immortal” means deathlessness, un-decaying, unending existence, living forever. It is revealed in the Bible that the Creator-God, “alone has immortality”. That is, He is uncreated, self-existent and has no beginning and no end! He cannot die!
We humans, in contrast to the Creator-God, are mortal, finite and subject to death. Most dictionaries define death as the permanent cessation of all vital functions in a plant, animal or human!
Someone may ask, but doesn’t the Bible reveal that man has a “soul”? The Bible does not reveal that man has a separate entity called the “soul”. What Scripture does declare is that “man became a living soul”.
Here’s how man became “a living soul”!
According to Holy Scripture, God formed man out of the elements of the earth __his brain, heart, lungs, liver, etc were all present but they were lifeless!
Scripture tells us that God breathed into this lifeless matter the “breath of life” and man became a living soul! Notice that man became a living soul __he did not receive a soul!
In other words, the union of “the elements (dust) of the earth + “the breath of life” = a living soul. And as a side note, every creature possesses the “breath of life”.
Here’s the meaning of the term “soul” as used in the Old and New Testament.
In the Older Testament, the term “soul” is the English translation of the Hebrew word “nephesh”. It (nephesh) is defined as “to breathe”, “a breathing creature”, appetite, desire, “breath”, “life” and several other meanings. Nephesh (soul) is not part of a person, it IS the person.
In the New Testament, the term “soul” is the English translation of the Greek word “psyche”. It (psyche) is similar to “nephesh” in the Older Testament and it carries the same meanings. Sometimes the Greek word “psyche”(soul) refers to animal life as well as human life. In other instances, it refers to one’s emotions, mind or heart.
In short, the “soul” (nephesh, psyche) refers to the whole person. It is not immortal! It can die! It can be destroyed (Rev.16:3; Matt.10:28)!
The Meaning of “Spirit” in the Bible
In the Older Testament, the English word “Spirit” is translated from the Hebrew word “ruach”. It stands for the life principle that animates (make alive and move to action) human beings.
Most frequently the word “ruach” (spirit) in the O.T is translated as “spirit”, “wind”, “breath”. Sometimes in scripture, “ruach” (spirit) is used in reference to our intelligence.
In the New Testament, the Greek word for “spirit” is “pneuma” __meaning ‘to breathe’, ‘to blow’, ‘life’, ‘mind’, and several other meanings. “Pneuma”(spirit) can denote “mood”, “attitude”, “feelings” and other aspects of one’s personality.
It is used also for the “Spirit” of God. Like the Hebrew word “ruach” (spirit), “pneuma” does not denote a conscious being capable of existing apart from the body.
At death, the spirit (ruach/pneuma), “the breath of life” of man leaves the body and returns to God! A resurrection is promised in the bible, in which humans will, either/or, be rewarded with eternal life or eternal death (perish forever) depending upon how they lived their earthly lives.
Eternal life will be given to those who lived in accordance with the commands of the Creator, while those who lived wickedly and rejected the Creator and his commands will suffer eternal death.
In sum then, there is nothing in man that survives physical death and is capable of conscious existence in some other celestial realm.
Source for the Hebrew and Greek meaning of the English terms “soul”, “spirit” and “immortal” >>Strongs Exhaustive Concordance of the KJ Bible with Hebrew and Greek Dictionary.