D. B. Moore
Long ago, the Psalmist asked the question: What is man? Ps 8:1-5. Many people still ponder this question. Some even find the answer and refuse to believe it because it is contrary to traditional teaching. Shall we accept the ideas of tradition? No! We will search and see, and believe the Word of God that is forever settled in heaven.
The question concerning man is found in the Genesis section of Psalms (see CB), and we read the Scriptural answer in Ge 2,
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. God formed man of the dust of the ground, but he was not yet a living
soul. He became a living soul, just as Lot's wife became a pillar of salt (Ge 19:26). She was not a pillar of salt until she was disobedient and looked back. Man was not a living soul until he received the breath of life.
Note that Gen. 2:7 does not say that man has a soul, but rather that he is a soul.
The Hebrew word nephesh is used 4 times in Gen. 1 before we read of the forming of the man Adam. See note in CB. It is used of fowl of the air and everything that creepeth upon the earth (v 30). Nephesh is also used of dead persons. When a man dies, he is a dead soul, rather than a living soul. See CB on Le 21:1, 11; 22:4; Num. 6:6; 9:6,7,10. Use Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance to check occurrences .and usage of this word.
Jas 2:26 tells us that ...The body without the spirit is dead. This is the breath of life that was given to Adam in Ge 2:7. When the breath of life leaves the body, man is a dead soul.
Body plus spirit (breath of life) equals a living soul. Body minus spirit equals a dead soul.
When the dead soul is in the grave, it eventually turns to dust. Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen. 3:19. Man was formed of the dust of the ground, and the Scriptures say he will return unto dust.
All go unto one place, all are of the dust, and ail turn to dust again. Ecc. 3:19,20. Also see Ps 104:29.
We know that death is the opposite of life. We have also established from the Word that death is a return to the original state.
The dead know nothing in the grave; neither can they return to speak with their loved ones or to "give messages," etc. Ecc. 9:5-10 tells us that
The living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything. David said of his dead son:
I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 2 Sa 12:23.
Satan's lies in Gen. 3 were established by Plato and St. Augustine. Which shall we believe,
tradition, or the Word of God?
Job asked the question: If a man die, shall he live again? Evidently he did not think that a man kept on living, even in another form, immediately after death. He asks
shall he live again, rather than shall he continue to live? Read Job 14. Job answered his own question in Job 19:26:
Though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.
In the Scriptures, death is spoken of as a sleep for believers.
In John 11, we read of the death of Lazarus, brother of Mary and Martha. The Lord stayed 2 days in the same place where He was after being notified that Lazarus, whom He loved (v 5) was sick. The Lord's disciples tried to keep Him from returning to Bethany of Judaea because the Jews had been seeking to stone Him. However, He told them:
Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is
dead. When they arrived at Bethany, Lazarus had been dead 4 days. Martha was sure that her brother would not have died if the Lord had been there. We have no record of anyone having died in the presence of the Lord.
The Lord then uttered words that many have puzzled over thru the years: I am the resurrection, and the life: he that b el i e v e t h in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and
believeth in Me shall never die. The Lord was the giver of life.
At another time, He said to Thomas: I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by
Me, or literally: I am the true and living way. In John 6:68, we read that Peter said:
Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.
Compare John 11:25,26 with 1Th. 4:13-18 and 1 Co. 15, noting especially 1 Cor. 15:17,18:
..It Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are
perished. And 1Th. 4:13: ..I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no
hope. Those who have believed and have life in Christ are said to have fallen asleep in Christ. Others are said to have perished and they have no hope.
At the coming of the Lord to set up His millennial kingdom, those who have fallen asleep in Christ, shall be raised. The believers that are living at that time, shall all be changed in the twinkling of an eye. All of these will then have immortal, incorruptible bodies.
We are told in Gen. 25 that when Abraham died, he was gathered to his people, and Jos. 24:2 tells us that his people served other gods. They perished and had no hope. Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.
He looked for a city.
The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26). The written Word of God speaks of death as an enemy. Traditional teaching tells us that the souls of the saved or
righteous go directly to be with the Lord at the time of death.
Paul writes in Ph'p. 2:27 that Epaphroditus was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on
him. If Epaphroditus (his soul or spirit) would have gone to be with the Lord immediately after his death, how could it be merciful to keep him in this world with its trials, distress and tribulations? Would it not be far greater to be in
heaven, or with the Lord? If one does go to be with the Lord at death, how can death be termed as an enemy?
John 14:1-3 reads: ..I go to prepare a place for you ...I will come again, and receive you unto
Myself. Note that nothing is said about His hearers dying and going to heaven to be with the Lord. Rather, it plainly states that He will come again, or return, and receive them unto Himself. This will be at His coming to set up the millennial kingdom. See
1 Th. 4:13-18.
Ph'p. 1:20-26 is a controversial passage.
For unto me - living is Christ, and dying gain. But if living In flesh is Christ - this unto
me is a fruit of work, - and what I shall choose I make not known: i am held in constraint,
however, by reason of the two, - having the coveting to be released, and to be with Christ.
In the English Hexapla, I find that the 5 earlier translations render the word that is translated
depart in the AV, by the words dissolved or loosed. This is the only place the Greek word is translated depart in the AV. It is a word that carries the meaning or thought of dissolving, or to resolve into its elements as melting ice, or a return to its original state.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth (Ps 146:4). Dust thou art, and unto dust shaft thou return (Gen. 3:19).
In Ph'p 1, Paul was writing to those who knew his doctrine and hope. He makes clear in other places his belief regarding the state of the dead. See 2 Co 5:1-8.
Paul was not expecting to go directly to be with the Lord at his death. Neither was he making reference to the return of the Lord. When he wrote Ph'p, Paul's hope was to be made manifest with Christ in glory. He was
looking for that blessed hope, and-our Saviour Jesus Christ (Tit 2:13). He would sleep the sleep of death and be with the Lord in resurrection.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them;...and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death
(Re 20:13,14; 21:4).
God put Adam in the garden of Eden, to dress it and keep it. He was told that he could eat freely of every tree of the garden (including the tree of life) with one exception. He was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The penalty for eating of this tree was death,
For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shall surely die, or dying, thou shaft die.
But - The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die. This was in direct contradiction to the Word of God, and was the first lie of Satan. Eve listened to Satan's lie, and mankind has been believing it down thru the ages, in spite of God's Word.
When Adam and Eve were disobedient and ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree, mankind was placed under the curse or bondage of death. They were barred from the tree of life and the death process began. Adam lived 930 years, and he died. Adam did not have inherent immortality. When he could no longer eat of the tree of life, his days were numbered. Neither did he die spiritually when he ate of the forbidden tree. He was not a spiritual being. He was of the earth, earthy (1Co 15:47). From Ge to Re, the issue is life or death. See De 30:15-20.
By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men (Ro 5:12).
The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord
God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life
Again, the issue is life or death. He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and ...is passed from death unto life
God was manifest in flesh. When Christ was born, it was said that He was to be called
Emmanuel...GOD with us. He came in the likeness of sinful flesh, that thru death He might destroy him (the devil) that had the power of death, and deliver them who thru fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
John 8:51 reads, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death. The Greek word translated never is the same word that is translated for ever numerous times in the NT. See pages 19,20 of Englishman's Greek Concordance. The literal rendering of this verse, according to Englishman's Greek NT, is:
in no wise shall he see death forever. Resurrection will intervene for the believer and he will not remain in the sleep of death for ever. The Lord saves us out of (ek) death, rather than from death.
The word immortal is not found in the Bible in connection with the soul. The term
immortal soul is unscriptural.
What, then, is the source and basis of the traditional teaching and belief in the immortality of the soul? The reasonings and writings of the early Greek philosophers are responsible for the propagation of the lie that Satan told in the garden of Eden. Read Plato's
Plato lived from about 427 to 347 BC. He was a disciple of Socrates, with whom he spent the 10 years from 409 to 399 BC. He founded the first university known to history, and it flourished for about 900 years. His writings exercised an inestimable influence on many leaders in his own time, and in the years following. This influence is still found in the higher literature and scholarship of our own time; it is, in fact, increasing rather than diminishing.
During His earthly ministry, the Lord condemned the traditions of men. He said to the scribes and Pharisees,
Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition (M't. 15:6).
In Col 2, Paul warns, among other things, of the tradition of men. We read in v 8, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The Scriptures tell us in 17i 6:14-16 that the Lord Jesus Christ ...only hath
immortality. 2 Tim. 1:10 says that He abolished death and brot immortal life to light, while Rom. 2:7 speaks of those who seek for immortality. Man does not have inherent immortality.
The Scriptural answer is found in 1Co 15. V 6 speaks of some who have fallen asleep. These were believers who died in Christ. Vs 17,18 say that if Christ be not raised, then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. This implies that there are some who have died and have perished because they did not fall asleep in Christ. V 26 refers to death as an enemy and tells us that the last enemy to be destroyed is death. We find the fulfilment of this in Re 20:13,14 and 21:4.
1 Cor. 15:50 says that flesh and blood, which is subject to death and corruption, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. There must first be a change. Read vs 50-68.. Note vs 53,54,
This mortal must put on immortality-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. Immortality is put on at the resurrection of those who have life in Christ, or by the change of the living believers at the time of His coming (parousia), and not before.
O death, where is thy sting? O grave (hades-hell) where is thy victory? Pr 15:24 says there arc some that may depart from hell beneath.