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Updated: Jul 30, 2022

There is this idea in the religious and non-religious community that when a person dies his or her SOUL goes to heaven. Somehow those of the Christian faith think that this teaching is in the Bible, that the SOUL is IMMORTAL and cannot die. It continues to live as a conscious, thinking individual even though the physical body has died and has been buried or cremated.


  1. Man is said to be "a LIVING SOUL."

  2. Believers in the immortality of the soul doctrine use (1) as evidence.

  3. But it is no evidence to those not brainwashed by the doctrine.

  4. It never suggested the idea to any one who had not the idea already.

  5. That man is called a living soul does not declare he is ever-living, or immortal.

  6. Fact is every animated being that breathes is called a living soul (animals too)

  7. If the term, living soul proves man immortal, then animals are immortal too.

  8. But this is proving altogether too much, and hence it proves nothing at all.

It should never be urged in proof of man's immortality by those who know the fact that the same Hebrew terms translated living soul in Genesis 2:7, are applied to all creatures to which God gave life, in other places in scripture. A person's honesty might well be suspected, who, being acquainted with this fact, still urges this expression as a proof of the immortality of the soul. { Paraphrase of article of November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.3}

  1. Those who do not know that this is the truth, may easily ascertain that it is, and this without being able to read the Hebrew; for our translators have given, in the margin of Gen. 1:20,30, the literal rendering of the original language. {November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.4}

  2. This, then, proves no distinction between man and beast. We admit that there is a wide distinction, but it is not because one has a soul, or is a living soul, and the other not. All that live are living souls, that is, living persons or beings; and if we read the Hebrew scriptures in the original, we shall read of dead souls as well as living. This simply means dead persons, not dead immortal souls. {November 3, 1863 JWe, ARSH 181.5}

So let us take a look at the Scriptures to find out the truth about THE SOUL. And let us commence at the beginning.


  • Man was made in the image of God

  • God sculptured a physical form from the dust of the ground

  • That physical form had no life in it while it lay there

  • God then breathed into that physical form's nostrils the breadth of life




Breath and Spirit are used interchangeably in scripture.

Job said: "All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;"

Job 27:3. The breath and the spirit of God is one and the same. What God breathed into that inanimate physical form of Adam was the the spirit of God which resulted in Adam becoming a living soul, a living, thinking human being able to communicate etc.


The reverse occurs.

In Ecclesiastes 12:7 we read, "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it."

The word "quickeneth" means to be made alive. So the breath of life or the spirit of God is what made the body of Adam come alive as a living soul.

Hence the word SOUL simply refers to a living person, one with a physical form and intellectual and moral powers. At death the reverse occurs, the body turns to dust and the spirit of God returns to Him who gave it in the first place as the scripture declares. In death, man / woman ceases to exist.

There is nothing so far to suggest that the SOUL continues to live on after death with a consciousness as many folk believe. The word SOUL actually refers to a living individual or person. There is no such thing according to scripture as a conscious immortal soul after death.


If we allow Scripture to interpret for us the meaning of the word soul as a living person, then of course a soul can die as testified to in the following:

The Bible teaches that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Ezekiel 18:4 "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."

The soul that dies is referring to a person who commits sin and is unrepentant of it (1John 3:4, 1John 1:9)

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 therighteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."

Even living creatures asides from man are referred to as a SOUL.

Revelation 16:3 "And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea."


The Bible teaches the following about the dead:

  • The dead know not anything. Eccl 9:5

  • Their love has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • Their hatred has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • Their envy has ceased to exist. Eccl 9:6

  • They have no remembrance Ps 6:5

  • The dead cannot give thanks. Ps 6:5

  • The dead are not conscious. Ps 146.4

  • The dead cannot hear you. Ps 146.4

  • They have nothing more to do with that is done under the sun. Eccl 9:5

  • In the very day they die, their thoughts perish with them. Ps 146.4

  • The dead cannot praise God. Isaiah 38:18

  • The dead cannot celebrate God. Isaiah 38:18

  • They are not in heaven. Ps 89:48, 1Cor 15:55, Rev 20:13, Ps 16, cf Acts 2:27

  • They return to the earth; - dust to dust.

  • They are in the grave. Ps 146.4

  • They await the resurrection.

Hence, the so called dead saints cannot hear you. They await either the resurrection of life for the righteous or the resurrection of damnation for the wicked, transgressors of God's law. - John 5:29

All those prayers to dead saints and Mary and Joseph are useless and a fraud perpetrated by Papal Rome's doctrine on of the immortality of the soul. The dead are dead!



(Luke 16:19-21)

There is probably no portion of Scripture that has been the subject of more controversy than this one, and none which has been more the subject of that grossest of all exegetical view-private interpretation; that is, interpretation according to sound, and not according to sense; interpretation according to one's previously-conceived opinions, without any regard to the context or to the testimony of other portions of Scripture, on the same point. Accordingly, the first and chief work of the commentator on this passage is to disabuse the minds of his hearers of erroneous notions, by showing what it does not mean.

That this scripture is of the nature of a parable is evident, because to give all its terms a literal application would make nonsense of it. The characters are spoken of as individuals in the flesh, having all the organs and all the desires of men in the flesh. They have eyes, tongues, bosom, power of speech, thirst, love of brethren, etc. But how could Lazarus be in Abraham's bosom? If Lazarus was taken there, then all the saved must be there, likewise, and that is an impossibility. This, of itself, shows that this is not a literal narrative.

More than this, the general testimony of Scriptures as to the condition of men in death, shows that it is impossible that this should be the story of an actual transaction. In Eccl. 9:5, 6 we read: "For 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. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." And this agrees with the words of Job. 14:21. David also says: "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Hezekiah also said: "For the grave cannot praise thee; death cannot celebrate thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth." Isa. 38:18.

"These are strong, positive statements. They cannot be ignored or explained away, without denying the inspiration of the Scriptures of which they form a part. We must believe that they mean just what they say; and therefore we know that the portion of Scripture that we are studying cannot mean that two persons actually carried on a conversation after death."

Since a man knows nothing in the grave; he is unconscious of the prosperity of the adversity of his sons; and his thoughts have ceased, it is evident that a man could not after death feel any solicitude for the welfare of his brethren.

But someone will cry, "Who have we not as good right to affirm consciousness after death from this passage in Luke, as you have to affirm unconsciousness after death from the texts that you have just quoted?" For this reason: If we should affirm from one text that the dead are conscious, and from another that they are unconscious, then we make the Scripture contradict itself, and thus deny its inspiration. But the statements quoted from Solomon and David and Job and Hezekiah are positive statements of fact, and the verses in Luke are not literal statements, as we have shown. Therefore we must interpret the figurative or inferential in harmony with the positive and literal; or at least we must so interpret them as not to contradict the positive.

Take another thought. David was a good man; beloved of the Lord, as well as Abraham was. But of David, Peter said when he was full of the Holy Spirit, "For David is not ascended into the heavens." Acts 2:34. And Paul said, "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption." Acts 13:36.

"If David has not ascended into the heavens, then neither Abraham nor any other saint has ascended into the heavens."

Let us now note a few points to the parable itself. "And it came to pass, that the beggar died; and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom; the rich man also died; and was buried." What was carried into Abraham's bosom? Was it the same Lazarus that laid at the rich man's gate? Was he carried there in person? It has already been seen that this could not be. Those who interpret the parable as teaching the condition of men in death, uniformly say that only the soul or spirit of Lazarus was taken to Abraham's bosom. But mark, there is no change in the subject. The same one who died was carried. "The beggar died, and was carried." Shall we say that this means, "The beggar died, and his spirit was carried"? Let us see how it would work in another instance. I am telling about a tornado, and I say, "I ran out of the house and was thrown down." Someone asks, "Did it hurt you?" I reply, "How could I be hurt by the falling down of the house, when I was not in it?" And then you say, "Why, you didn't say anything about the house being thrown down; you said that you were thrown down." And this is the fact. My statement was that I fell down; if I meant to say that the house fell down, I should have said so. Likewise, what the text says is that Lazarus died, and that he, the same that died, was carried into Abraham's bosom. If it be claimed that it was simply his body that died, then it was his body that was carried. If we say that it was the soul that was carried, then it was the soul that died.

In like manner we say of the rich man that the same thing that died was buried. But if it be claimed that the statement that "the beggar died and was carried," etc., means that he died and that his soul was carried, then it must also be claimed that the statement that "the rich man also died, and was buried," means that the rich man died and his soul was buried. All this serves simply to show that the passage is not a literal narrative of an actual occurrence, and that therefore it has no bearing whatever on the condition of man in death.

"The fact that dead men are represented as talking, no more proves that it is natural for dead men to talk, than the fact that in Judges 9:8-15 the trees, the vine, and the bramble-bush are represented as talking, proves that it is natural for trees and vines to use spoken language."

It should also be remembered that the angels do not carry the saints to their reward at death. Jesus said that they who served him by doing deeds of kindness to those too poor to recompense them, should be recompensed "at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14:14. The resurrection of the just is when the Lord himself descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God. 1 Thess. 4:16. The voice of the archangel calls them from their graves. John 5:28, 29. It is at this time that "he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." Matt. 24:31. It is then that they see the cutting off of the wicked, and not till then. Although probation ceases at death, the judgment does not decide the destiny of men till after that (Heb. 9:28), even till the coming of Christ. 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10. Therefore we know that the parable of the rich man and Lazarus was not given for the purpose of showing the condition of men in death. The things which it relates could take place only after the coming of Christ, and the resurrection.

What, then, is taught by this portion of Scripture? That is a more difficult thing to tell. Nobody is justified in telling positively what a parable means, when that parable is not explained in the Scripture. "No prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation;" which means that no scripture is an explanation of its own text. If commentators and Bible students had spent as much time studying this scripture as they have in trying to fit it to their own opinions, no doubt there would have been more knowledge of its meaning. We may be sure, however, that incidentally it proves that death ends probation. It also proves that earthly prosperity is not a sign of the favor of God. This was a very necessary lesson for the Jews to learn. They despised the poor, and thought that to be rich was an evidence that God was pleased with them. Of course those who held that idea would very easily get into the habit of employing questionable means to increase their wealth, persuading themselves that the end would justify the means.

Another thing that should not be overlooked is the proof that the Bible is the highest authority. No phenomena can take the place of plain Scripture statements. "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." This is true in a general sense. If one will not be convinced by the Bible, nothing will convince him; and when one comes to believe a thing because of certain phenomena that he has witnessed, as, for instance, of a future life because of the supposed appearance of departed friends, his form of belief is always that which the Bible does not sanction. This was especially applicable to the Jews, however, for since they refused to be convinced of the genuineness of Christ's claims by Moses and the prophets, who testified of him, his wonderful resurrection only hardened them. E. J. W. {August 4, 1890 EJW, SITI 436.4} by E. J. Waggoner


Hence the word "SOUL" refers to a living being whether it be man or animal. It does not refer to an immortal dead person!


The words immortal and immortality in scripture are found in the following instances:

1 Tim 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Tim 6:16 "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

2 Tim 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:"

Rom 2:7 "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:"

1 Cor 15:53 "For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

1 Cor 15:54 "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."

  • God alone is immortal

  • God alone has immortality

  • Jesus, our saviour has brought life and immortality to us through the gospel

  • We are to seek for immortality, eternal life.

  • Our corrupt mortal bodies will become an immortal one at the resurrection.

  • When this happens DEATH is said to be swallowed up in VICTORY.

The first sermon on the immortality of the soul was preached in the Garden of Eden by the great deceiver himself (Rev 12:9) :


The Immortality of the Soul, Is it a Scriptural Doctrine?

The doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul is one of the oldest and one of the most widespread doctrines that has ever been in this world.

"It was preached in the world before ever faith in Christ the Saviour was preached. "The serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die;" and from that day to this that doctrine has been believed more generally by the children of men than has the truth of God."

Indeed, in our day the doctrine of the immortality of the soul has gained such favor among even those who profess the word of God as their standard of belief, that to deny it is considered by the majority of them as equivalent to a denial of the Bible itself. But, instead of such denial being in any way a denial of the truth of revelation, the fact is that the truth of revelation can be logically and consistently held only by the total and unequivocal denial of the doctrine of the natural immortality of the soul. This, the Scriptures plainly show.


There is no truth more plainly taught nor more diligently insisted upon in the Bible than this: That the future existence of men depends absolutely upon either a resurrection of the dead or a translation without seeing death at all. Paul's hope for future existence was in the resurrection of the dead. In speaking of his efforts to "win Christ," he says: "That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." Phil 3:10, 11. It was of "the hope and resurrection of the dead" that he was called in question by the council (Acts 23:6); and when he had afterward to make his defense before Felix, he declared that the resurrection of the dead was the end of his hope, saying: "And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Acts 24: Time and again Paul thus expresses his hope of future life.

Nor is Paul the only one of the writers of the Bible who teaches the same thing. The resurrection of the dead is that to which Job looked for the consummation of his hope. Job 14:14, 15; 17:13-15; 19:23-27. David says: "Thou which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken [give life to] me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth." Ps. 71:20. And, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." Ps. 17: And what shall we more say? For the time would fail us to tell of Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and Daniel, and Hosea, and Micah, and all the prophets and apostles, and of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for Jesus himself declared that it was the resurrection of the dead of which God spake when he said, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." More than this, Jesus pointed his disciples always to the resurrection of the dead, through which alone they could obtain the reward which he promised. In John 6:39-54 we find that no less than four times the Saviour, in giving promise to those who believe in him, sets it forth as the consummation of that belief that "I will raise him up at the last day." And in Luke 14:13, 14 we read: "When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind; and . . . thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just."

Paul, however, gives us, upon this subject, a straight-forward, logical argument, which leaves the doctrine of the immortality of the soul not a particle of ground to rest upon. The fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians is devoted entirely to an argument in proof of the resurrection of the dead. The apostle first proves, by hundreds of living witnesses who had seen him after he was risen, that Christ arose from the dead. Still there were some who said, "There is no resurrection of the dead," and in refutation of that idea, he introduces three points of argument, any one of which utterly excludes the doctrine of the immortality of the soul from any place whatever in Christian doctrine.

1. In verse 16, his premise is, "If the dead rise not." The first conclusion from that is, "Then is not Christ raised;" then upon this conclusion follows the logical sequence, "Your faith is vain," and upon that another, "Ye are yet in your sins." From his premise, -"If the dead rise not,"-the second conclusion is, verse 18, "Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." Nothing can be plainer than that this statement and the doctrine of the immortality of the soul cannot both be true. For if the soul be immortal, as is held, it cannot perish, and, therefore, so far as its existence is concerned, it is utterly independent of the resurrection of the dead. Is it not supposed by all those who believe the soul to be immortal that all who have passed from this world in the faith of Christ, have gone to heaven, and are now enjoying its bliss? - Assuredly it is. Then, if that be the truth, upon what imaginable principle can it be conceived that they "are perished," if there be no resurrection? What need have they of a resurrection? Have they not, without a resurrection, all that heaven can afford?-Upon that theory they certainly have. Then it just as certainly appears that not one of them has perished, even though there never be a resurrection.

"Over against this theory stands the word of God, that "if the dead rise not, then they which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." That word is the truth. Therefore it follows that if there be no resurrection of the dead, there is no hereafter for any who have ever died, or who shall ever die."

But God has given assurance to all men that there shall be a hereafter, and that assurance lies in the fact "that he hath raised him [Christ] from the dead" (Heb. 9:27; Acts 17:31). The resurrection of Christ is the God-given pledge that there shall be a resurrection of all the dead: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive," and, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." Therefore it is by virtue of the resurrection of the dead, and not by the immortality of the soul, that there will be any hereafter for the dead, whether just or unjust.

2. The second point that the apostle makes in this connection is in verse 32: "If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die." On this nothing can be better than to present Dr. Adam Clarke's comment upon this same passage. He says (and the italics are his): - "I believe the common method of pointing this verse is erroneous; I propose to read it thus: 'If, after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what doth it advantage me? If the dead rise not, let us eat and drink; for to-morrow we die.' What the apostle says here is a regular and legitimate conclusion from the doctrine that there is no resurrection; for if there be no resurrection, then there can be no judgment-no future state of rewards and punishments; why, therefore, should we bear crosses, and keep ourselves under continual discipline? Let us eat and drink, take all the pleasure we can; for tomorrow we die, and there is an end of us forever."

That is sound exegesis, and a just comment upon the words of the apostle. As we have shown, that is the point of Paul's argument throughout, and it is the thought of the whole Bible upon this subject. But if the soul be immortal, neither Dr. Clarke's comment nor Paul's argument is sound. For if the soul be immortal,

when-soever it may be that we die, that is not the "end of us forever," resurrection or no resurrection. By this it is plain that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul nullifies the plainest propositions of Scripture, and is therefore false.

This view fully explains the query which Dr. Clarke propounds in his remarks at the close of his comments on 1 Corinthians He says:- "One remark I cannot help making: the doctrine of the resurrection appears to have been thought of much more consequence among the primitive Christians than it is now! How is this? The apostles were continually insisting on it, and exciting the followers of God to diligence, obedience, and cheerfulness through it. And their successors in the present day seldom mention it! . . . There is not a doctrine in the gospel on which more stress is laid; and there is not a doctrine in the present system of preaching which is treated with more neglect!"

From the doctor's insertion of exclamation points and his query, "How is this?" it would appear that he was surprised that it should be so. It is indeed surprising that it should be so. But it is easily enough explained. The fact is that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul has become so all-pervading "in the present system of preaching" that there is no room for the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead.

"If the doctrine of the immortality of the soul be true, then the doctrine of the resurrection is indeed of no consequence. If that doctrine be true, then all need of laying stress upon the gospel doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is destroyed."

And although "the apostles were continually insisting on" the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and although there is "not a doctrine of the gospel upon which more stress is laid," yet it is through the insidious deceptive influence of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul that the preachers of the present day "seldom mention it," and that in the present system of preaching there is indeed "not a doctrine that is treated with more neglect," and nothing is needed to show more plainly than does this the irreconcilable antagonism between the truth of God and the doctrine of the immortality of the soul.

3. The third point is in verse 36: "That which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die." To quicken is "to make alive. "What Paul says therefore is, "That which thou sowest is not made alive except it die." That this is spoken directly of man and his resurrection, is evident from verses 42-44, "It is sown a natural body," etc. Now the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is that the body properly has no life, that it is not the real man, but that the soul is the real, living, sentient man, that it is that about man which alone possesses real life. In other words, the body is only the house in which the real man lives. The real "I," the soul, dwells within the body, and death is simply the separation of the soul from the body. Death breaks down the house, and lets the occupant free. According to this doctrine, there is no such thing as death, because the body properly has no life, consequently it does not die, and the soul-the real man-is immortal, and it cannot die; therefore, there is in reality no such thing as death. If this be true, there is not only no such thing as death, but there is, likewise, no such thing as a resurrection of the dead; for upon the apostle's premise that "that which thou sowest is not quickened [made alive] except it die," it follows that, as the body, having no life, does not die, it cannot be quickened (raised from the dead); and as the soul does not die, it cannot be raised from the dead; consequently, there is no such thing as a resurrection of the dead.

"Therefore it stands proved to a demonstration that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is utterly subversive of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead."

But the resurrection of the dead is a Bible doctrine; it is the very truth of God. So then it is plain that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul is subversive of the truth of God, and is therefore false, deceptive, and destructive. {1890 ATJ, IOS 8.1} by AT Jones

May God bless you as you study into these things. - 2Tim 2:15


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