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The soul, Immortal Soul, heaven and Hell and Eternal conscious punishment (Part 1 of 2) The soul and the Immortal Soul
by lee thriepland
7/24/2018 / Bible Studies
The soul, Immortal Soul, heaven and Hell and Eternal conscious punishment (Part 1 of 2)
The soul and the Immortal Soul
It is most commonly believed by the Christian world today that the soul is immortal. After a person dies in the flesh, the body is dead but the soul of a person is separated from the body and lives on. This plays a pivotal role in the in the doctrines of heaven and hell and eternal conscious punishment.
If the soul is immortal then it must go somewhere after a person dies. Most of Christianity believes the good or saved soul goes to heaven and the bad or unsaved soul goes to Hell. There are those like the catholic church who also believe in an in between place called purgatory or “limbo” as some call it.
I will not be dealing with Heaven, Hell and Eternal conscious punishment, all of which are covered in a separate writing.
The first thing we need to do is find out what is a soul.
In the catechism of the catholic church it states the soul is a “form” of the body, it is created by God and is immortal.
catechism of the catholic church 364 The human body shares in the dignity of "the image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 233
365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.
366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.235
Gotquestions.org states “Simply stated, the human soul is the part of a person that is not physical. It is the part of every human being that lasts eternally after the body experiences death.”
Carm.org states “The soul is the immaterial part of a person from which flow the actions, thoughts, desires, reasoning, etc. It is separate from the physical body. It is the part of the person that makes a person what he is, alive, aware, able, etc. It is the essence of personhood. Biblical theology teaches that the soul is separate from the body and can exist independently of it”
So as we see it is taught the “soul” is separate from the Body, it exists independently from the body and continues on after the Body dies.
If this is correct then this should be found in the Bible. But what does the Bible say the soul is.
The best place to start is the OT or the hebrew Tanakh
The Hebrew word translated as soul is ×ÖÖ×Ö×× nephesh.
The very first use of the word in connection to a human is found in Genesis 2-7 Just after God had formed the first man (Adam) he breathed the breath of life and the man became a living soul (nephesh).
Genesis 2-7 And 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.
However this is not the first use of the word in the Bible. It is actually found 4 times in the first chapter of Genesis it just isn’t translated as soul.
Genesis 1-20 20And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl[that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven
Genesis 1-21 21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Genesis 1-24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so
And 1 Genesis 1-30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.
The words translated from the Hebrew nephesh are creature(s) and life in Genesis 1-30
The word translated as soul to describe what Adam became is the same word that describes animal life. Unlike what most christian denominations teach, animals it would seem according to the Bible do have a soul or more accurately they are a living soul.
The Bible states a Soul is a living being, a person or creature or more simply A life.
Nephesh is used 754 times in the Old Testament and never once refers to something that is separate from the body. Something that exists independent of the human body. Or something that continues on after death. It is the life of that body.
It is used to show the LIFE that is in an animal
Genesis 9-4 4But flesh with the (life) thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
It is also used for Persons or people
Genesis 14-21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the (persons), and take the goods to thyself.
Literally a person's life
19-19 19 Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my (life); and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die:
Soul in reference to people
Exodus 12-4 4And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the (souls;) every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb
A person's heart (not literally a heart but in the same way you would say he has a kind heart or the way we say God knows a person’s heart
Exodus 23-9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Yourselves as in literally YOU, who you are
Leviticus 11- 43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.
Deuteronomy states life for life
Deuteronomy 19- 21 And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
Both times life is translated from the Hebrew nephesh
This is a far cry from the connotations associated with the English word Soul.
The New testament word for soul is the Greek ψυχÎ psuché
It is used for life as in the life of Jesus that King Herod sought
Matthew 2-20 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's (life)
Jesus uses it to refer to a person's life
Matthew 10- 39 He that findeth his (life) shall lose it: and he that loseth his (life) for my sake shall find it.
Mary said her Soul magnifies the Lord
Luke 1-46 46And Mary said, My (soul) doth magnify the Lord,
Again it refers to persons
Acts 2-41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand (souls.)
The Biblical soul can simply be summed up as being life. It is to be alive. It is to be who we are. The life that animates the body. Very different from what is taught and what the majority of Christendom adheres to.
Now the next important part is to find out what does the Bible says will happen to the soul, the life of a person after death. Does the Bible teach that the soul the life is immortal, that it will continue on after the body is dead.
As we already saw in Genesis God breathed on the man and he BECAME a living soul. The soul of the man didn't already exist except with God. He wasn't given the soul that existed before him. He simply became a living soul. No mention of an immortal soul.
The Bible says God is immortal
1 Timothy 1-17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen
The Bible also clearly states that only God has immortality.
1 Timothy 6-15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords 16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom behonour and power everlasting. Amen
Humans are mortal and the mortal must put ON immortality. Not only is God alone immortal, we must be given that immortality by God.
1 corinthians 15- 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Paul clearly believed that we are not immortal and in fact need to be given immortality.
One argument against this is that God is the only being with underived immortality. Humans are imparted with immortality at creation.
Now i’m not going to disagree with the part that says humans are imparted with immortality as it basically says the same as the Bible. The part I will disagree with is WHEN humans are imparted with that immortality and which ones will receive it. If humans are imparted with immortality at creation then they do not need Jesus in order to obtain eternal life, they already have it. What they would need Jesus for was eternal good life and that is not what the Bible says.The Bible also clearly states Adam became a living soul, not an immortal one.We have to apply circle reasoning, already believing that the soul is immortal to make this living soul an immortal one.
When we reevaluate the previous passage it clearly states at the last trump we shall put on immortality. Unless someone wishes to argue that we get a second dose of immortality or that the last trump was at creation this argument fails right here.
Another argument is that Paul taught of an inward and an outward man, this is interpreted to be the body and the soul. However the inward man was never taught in the OT. The inward man can easily be attributed to the holy spirit, the spirit of Jesus given to him by the father and then given to us. (please read my writing who is the comforter)
Immortality is brought forth because of Jesus
2 Timothy 1-10 but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
God GIVES eternal life to those that seek glory and IMMORTALITY
Romans 2-6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:7To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Also in that verse in Romans we are told that immortality is eternal life
We do not already possess immortality. To say that we have immortality is to deny that only God has it. If we already possess immortality then we do not need God to give it to us. As God would have already given it.
We are never told that there is an eternal Good life and an eternal bad life. If a person is alive in Hell for eternity then they are alive. It may not be a good life but it would have to be life for the person to consciously experience being tortured. To say that a person will obtain eternal (bad) life is to completely disregard the Bible.
Eternal life is dependant on belief in Jesus.
Romans 6-23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The wages of sin are death, not a physical death and a separation from the soul.
Romans 5-21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 John 5:11
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3-16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Perish being the Greek áπÏλλυμι apollumi to die or destroy.
If a person has eternal life in any other way than through belief in Jesus then this would mean those that don't believe in Jesus will also have eternal life and this would then be contrary to the Bible and therefore make the Bible (God’s word) a liar.
Now it can be asked what about those that died before Jesus? How could they be saved as they couldn’t have believed in Jesus? Well If they believed that the promised Messiah would come then they did in fact believe in Jesus. They simply looked forward to Jesus rather than back at him.
Hebrews 11-13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
Abraham “saw” the day of Jesus , not literally but through faith and it was counted for him as righteousness.
John 8-56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad
Ezekiel states that the soul that sins will die.
Ezekiel 18-4 4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Ezekiel 18-20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. and
If we take this with the understanding that the soul is life, a person, the life of a person then this means that the person who sins will die. As God declared in Genesis to Adam.
This does not say that the person's body will die but the soul will continue on living after. Its very clear. The soul that sins will die. The life will die.
According to the Bible when a person dies they know nothing.
Ecclesiastes 9-5For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
The Old testament is full of verses that clearly state that when a person dies that the person is dead. They literally are not alive.
Ecclesiastes 9-10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
The dead do not remember
Psalm 6-5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Psalm 146-4 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
Psalm 88-12 Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
They are not in heaven praising God.
Psalm 115-17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
They see no wonders or offer praise
Psalm 88-10 Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.
The old testament makes no distinction between the righteous and unrighteous, all go to the grave.
When talking about death and the grave Job states
Job 3- 19The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
Job 3-22Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?
The wicked souls are not being tortured.
Job 3-17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.
The dead return to the ground, to the dust that we were.
Ecclesiastes 3-20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
God told this to Adam
Genesis 3-19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
We are told the dead riseth no more …...but that they will.
Job 14-12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.
Daniel 12-2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
Those that are in the grave shall arise
John 5-28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
But this isn’t immediately. This is at the return of Jesus
1 Corinthians 15-52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Jesus believed in a resurrection of the dead
John 6-40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
The resurrection is not where the body is reconnected with the soul. The body is not resurrected. This is the resurrection of the life, the soul itself. The saved will receive new spiritual bodies not the old corruptible ones.
1 corinthians 15-42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
If the saved are already in Heaven for them the return of Jesus would make no difference whatsoever. They are already where they are going to be. The return of Jesus would matter only matter to the ones that are alive at the time. But even then it’s all a bit of an anti climax as the saved were going to heaven if they died anyway.
In matthew we are told to fear God who can destroy the soul. If the soul is immortal then it cannot be destroyed that is the definition of immortal.
Matthew 10:28 - And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Destroy being áπολÎσαι apolesai means to kill, destroy, perish.
It also must be pointed out that the immortal soul causes a logical problem. if a soul goes to heaven or hell immediately after death then what is the point of judgement day? How can you have a reward or punishment come before the actual judgement? If the judgement has already happened then there can be no judgement day or last day and this is contrary to what the Bible teaches. It is not logical to say that a person has already gone to heaven or hell and then also teach that there will be a final judgement and a resurrection where the wicked will be cast into hell and the saved will go into heaven(as they would already be there) making Judgement day null and void.
So where did the idea that the soul was immortal come from?
God made a very clear statement at the very beginning of humanity to Adam.
Genesis 2-17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
The hebrew for surely die is actually ×Ö×Ö× ×ÖÖ×Ö×Ö×× mÅ-wá tÄ-mÅá. Which could just as well be translated die a death. God making it very clear that Adam would die. He did not say you would die and then live a very bad life in the afterlife. Adam was only told he would die. No separation from a soul. No soul that would live on. This wasn’t your body will die. Just a simple straight forward statement.
Satan however challenged that teaching from God
Genesis 3-4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
The Hebrew is ×Ö×Ö× ×ÖÖ×Ö×Ö×Ö×× mÅ-wá tÉ-mu-áÅn. Or not die the death. Satan told Eve that she would not die.
This is the very first lie ever told. That man would not die. It has to be understood that God meant die as in physical death, the body only but the soul Adam wouldn’t die it would live on. Adam would in fact not have died. Only his body would have died. Again this isn’t what the Bible actually says, this is not what Adam was told. This is the belief in an immortal soul being read into the text and is again circle reasoning.
Adam while in the Image of God may well never have actually physically died had he never sinned. This would not make him immortal though because someone or something that is immortal cannot die. Adam was told he could die and indeed that he would die and ultimately he did die thus he could not be nor ever have been immortal.
Adam sinned and so he died as the Bible says the soul that sins will die. The soul Adam died.
We are told all have sinned
Romans 3-23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Therefore all will die.
Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden so they could not then eat from the tree of life and live forever.
Genesis 3-22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
So once a person has sinned they will die and in order to live forever that person then has to eat from the tree of Life. Which is exactly what believers will do after the resurrection.
Revelation 2-7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
If Satan is correct and Eve would not actually die only her physical body would while the soul lived on then this makes God the liar or at best someone that only tells part truths. It also makes Satan at least partly correct Eve didn’t die, only her physical body did. We have some very serious consequences to deal with if God is a liar . It will throw the whole Bible into turmoil.
Numbers 23-19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
We are told though that the Devil is a liar
John 8-44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Could this be the conception of the immortal soul belief?
The belief that the soul is immortal has indeed been around for a very very long time. It most certainly was around long before Jesus came and any christian church was formed.
Socrates 470-399 BC , a Greek philosopher argued for the immortal soul with friends on his deathbed while trying to convince them that there was nothing to fear in Death. The conversation is recorded in Plato's Phaedo. This being some 400 years before Jesus would walk the earth.
His first argument
“Let us see whether in general everything that admits of generation is generated in this way and no other — opposites from opposites, wherever there is an opposite ...Let us consider whether it is a necessary law that everything which has an opposite is generated from that opposite and no other source. For example, when a thing becomes bigger, it must, I suppose, have been smaller first before it became bigger?” “the living have come from the dead no less than the dead from the living. But I think we decided that if this was so, it was a sufficient proof that the souls of the dead must exist in some place from which they are reborn.” Phaedo page 117
He offers a second argument based on recollection
For any question, either you know the answer or you don’t. If you know the answer, then inquiry is unnecessary. If you don’t know the answer, you’ll have no way of recognizing the correct answer when it presents itself — for if you don’t know what the correct answer is, how will you distinguish it from false answers? So if you don’t know the answer, inquiry is impossible.
“what we call learning is really just recollection. If that is true, then surely what we recollect now we must have learned at some time before; which is impossible unless our souls existed somewhere before they entered this human shape. So in that way too it seems likely that the soul is immortal.” page 120
A third argument is presented
“It seems that we have got the proof of one half of what we wanted — that the soul existed before birth — but now we need also to prove that it will exist after our death no less than before our birth, if our proof is to be complete.”
“We ought, I think, to ask ourselves this: What sort of thing is it that would naturally suffer the fate of being dispersed? For what sort of thing should we fear this fate, and for what should we not? When we have answered this, we should next consider to which class the soul belongs; and then we shall know whether to feel confidence or fear about the fate of our souls. Page 124
Plato 428-348 bc , himself a Greek philosopher and a student of Socrates wrote
Moreover, things in which a certain idea forever abides, will never admit the opposite of that idea. For example, no odd number will ever admit the idea of the even, because the ideas of the odd and the even are essentially opposed. So the soul, whose inseparable attribute is life, will never admit life's opposite, death. Thus the soul is shown to be immortal, and since immortal, indestructible
Phaedo page 448
Plato, Phaedo Plato claimed, “The soul, whose inseparable attribute is life, will never admit life’s opposite, death. Thus the soul is shown to be immortal, and since immortal, indestructible”
Is this [death] anything but the separation of soul and body? ... Being dead is the attainment of this separation when the soul exists in [it]self, and is parted from the body”
So we see that the immortal soul was being taught by Greek philosophers long before the time of Jesus and christianity. Socrates along with Pythagoras were among the first of the Greeks to adopt this Egyptian belief.
Greek historian Herodotus 484–425 BC wrote regarding the conception of the doctrine
“The Egyptians were the first who maintained the following doctrine, too, that the human soul is immortal, and at the death of the body [the soul] enters into some other living thing, then coming to birth; and after passing through all creatures of land, sea, and air, it enters once more into a human body at birth, a cycle which it completes in three thousand years. There are Greeks who have used this doctrine, some earlier and some later, as if it were their own.”
Herodotus, The Histories
The Egyptians may not have actually been the first to devise this belief but they certainly did hold to the immortal soul doctrine.
Although this teaching is slightly different than the immortal human soul that goes to eternal punishment or eternal heaven the idea of the immortal soul is an age old tradition.
The Greek philosophers who converted to christianity brought with them the concept of the Immortal soul
Athenagoras (ca. 127-190), Writing after the Apostolic Fathers, he states matter-of-factly that the soul is immortal (The Resurrection of the Dead, chs. 13, 20, 23, 24).
"the soul, then, we define to be sprung from the breath of God, immortal. ..." He adds, "Some things are known even by nature: the immortality of the soul, for instance, is held by many; the knowledge of God is possessed by all. I will use, therefore, the opinion of a Plato when asserting 'Every soul is immortal.'" (On the Resurrection of the Flesh, ch. 3).
Origen 184-253 ad Origin was taught in Hellenistic beliefs. He was Born in Alexandria and was an advocate of the belief in the immortal soul. He was in fact a critic of pagan philosophy but he learned much from it and kept many of its most useful teachings.
Origen was a critic of the pagan philosophy of his time but learned much from it, and adopted much of its most useful teachings. He studied under Ammonius Saccas (the teacher of Plotinus).
Origen lived during a turbulent era of the christian church, with widespread persecution of christians. Christianity had not yet established any true doctrines, there were many different views held. He however held to the beliefs of Plato regarding the soul.
Origen wrote “… have accepted the doctrine of Pythagoras and Plato regarding the soul, that it is its nature to ascend to the vault of heaven, and in the super-celestial space to behold the sights which are seen by the blessed spectators above. According to you, O Celsus, they also who have accepted the doctrine of the duration of the soul (after death), and who lead a life through which they become heroes, and make their abodes with the gods, are won over by vain hopes.
Probably also they who are persuaded that the soul comes (into the body) from without, and that it will be withdrawn from the power of death, … let him meet the arguments, which are not lightly advanced among Greeks and Barbarians, regarding the immortality of the soul, or its duration (after death), or the immortality of the thinking principle; and let him prove that these are words which deceive with empty hopes those who give their assent to them; … [they] give birth to no hope at all, on account of the immediate and complete destruction of the soul (after death).”
Origen, Against Celsus, Book III, chapter 80
The first church father to openly declared a belief in an “immortal soul.” was Athenagoras of Athens 133 – c. 190 AD)
in about 177 C.E.:
“Our belief rests on a most infallible guarantee — the purpose of him who fashioned us, according to which he made man of an immortal soul and a body. …
For if the whole nature of men in general is composed of an immortal soul and a body which was fitted to it in the creation, ...
… men, in respect of the soul, have from their first origin an unchangeable continuance, but in respect of the body obtain immortality by means of change.”
Athenagoras, On the Resurrection
He was a Greek philosopher from Athens who converted to christianity. He was a Platonist before his conversion
However the early church fathers who had not come through the way of Greek philosophy were not teaching the immortal soul,
Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians (early second century):
For this end did the Lord suffer the ointment to be poured upon His head, that He might breathe immortality into His Church (Chapter 17).
Especially [will I do this] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ (Chapter 20).
Irenaeus of Gaul (ca. 130-202).
"in the exercise of His grace, confer immortality on the righteous, and holy" (Against Heresies 10:1)
“Against Heresies”, Book 3, Chapter 19, Paragraph 1, he writes:
“But again, those who assert that He was simply a mere man, begotten by Joseph, remaining in the bondage of the old disobedience, are in a state of death having been not as yet joined to the Word of God the Father, nor receiving liberty through the Son, as He does Himself declare: “If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” But, being ignorant of Him who from the Virgin is Emmanuel, they are deprived of His gift, which is eternal life; and not receiving the incorruptible Word, they remain in mortal flesh, and are debtors to death, not obtaining the antidote of life. To whom the Word says, mentioning His own gift of grace: ‘I said, Ye are all the sons of the Highest, and gods; but ye shall die like men.’ He speaks undoubtedly these words to those who have not received the gift of adoption, but who despise the incarnation of the pure generation of the Word of God, defraud human nature of promotion into God, and prove themselves ungrateful to the Word of God, who became flesh for them. For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality. But how could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptible might be swallowed up by incorruptibility and the mortal by immortality, that we mig“Against Heresies”, Book 2, Chapter 34, he writes:
“It is the Father of all who imparts continuance for ever and ever on those who are saved … [who] shall receive also length of days for ever and ever. But he who shall reject it … deprives himself of [the privilege of] continuance for ever and ever … shall justly not receive from Him length of days for ever and ever.”
ht receive the adoption of sons?”
Here clearly Irenaeus is saying that immortality is only for those that it is given to by the father.
Justin Martyr stated, "For I choose to follow not men or men's doctrines, but God and the doctrines [delivered] by Him. For if you have fallen in with some who are called Christians, but who do not admit this [truth], and venture to blaspheme the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; who say there is no resurrection of the dead, and that their souls, when they die, are taken to heaven; do not imagine that they are Christians" (Dialogue. Chapter 80).
His statement here is very strong, even saying those that have a belief in an immortal soul should not be classed as Christians
So the church was divided in its understanding of the soul and its mortality or immortality. However it is actually possible for us to see historically when the teaching of the Immortal soul took over the early church and became the official belief.
Tertullian 155 -240ad converted to christianity in around 185 ad. Born in Carthage he studied in Rome both rhetoric and philosophy.
He not only taught of the immortal soul but took things one step further. He declared that the unsaved soul would be tormented forever. If the soul is immortal it has to go somewhere after it leaves the body…if it doesn’t get heaven and reward then…….
“We, however, so understand the soul’s immortality as to believe it lost, not in the sense of destruction, but of punishment, that is, in hell. And if this is the case, then it is not the soul which salvation will affect, since it is ‘safe’ already in its own nature by reason of its immortality; but rather the flesh, which, as all readily allow, is subject to destruction.”
Then will the entire race of men be restored to receive its just deserts according to what it has merited in this period of good and evil, and thereafter to have these paid out in an immeasurable and unending eternity. Then there will be neither death again nor resurrection again, but we shall be always the same as we are now, without changing. The worshipers of God shall always be with God, clothed in the proper substance of eternity. But the godless and those who have not turned wholly to God will be punished in fire equally unending, and they shall have from the very nature of this fire, divine as it were, a supply of incorruptibility (“Apology” 44:12–13)
Therefore after this there is neither death nor repeated resurrections, but we shall be the same that we are now, and still unchanged–the servants of God, ever with God, clothed upon with the proper substance of eternity; but the profane, and all who are not true worshippers of God, in like manner shall be consigned to the punishment of everlasting fire–that fire which, from its very nature indeed, directly ministers to their incorruptibility. (“Apology” 48:12)
However it was Augustine (354-430), bishop of Hippo and the most illustrious of the Latin Fathers, that finally set the doctrine in stone. He not only followed Tertullian with the belief of the punished soul ,
"But because the soul from its very nature, being created immortal, cannot be without some kind of life, its utmost death is alienation from the life of God in an eternity of punishment. So, then, He only who gives true happiness gives eternal life, that is, an endlessly happy life."
Augustine,City of God,6:12(A.D. 427),NPNF1,II:121
he was the first Christian philosopher in the West to write a formal treatise on the immortality of the soul in A.D 387 - "De immortalitate animae"
Greek philosophy had integrated itself into the fabric of the christian religion and the concept of the immortal soul and eternal conscious punishment in hell along with it.
So We have seen what the Bible states is a soul and we have seen that the Bible does not support the teaching of an immortal soul and how the concept was integrated into the early church.
If the soul is not immortal then it needs nowhere to go once it is dead and needs nothing to do but wait peacefully unawares for the resurrection.
(please read my writing on Heaven, hell and eternal conscious punishment)
The soul, the life of a person will be resurrected by God at Judgement day.
In that day some will be raised to everlasting punishment and some to ETERNAL life
Matthew 25-46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
This will happen on the last day and not before.
John 6-40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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