Immortal Soul

Does man have a soul, a soul that is immortal?

We could look and see what the scholars say, but it's best to see what is written in the bible. Lets first look at the Hebrew word and its meanings.

 [נֶפֶשׁ] is a Hebrew word and translated into English is nephesh and it's meanings are  

soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

  • that which breathes, the breathing substance or being, soul, the inner being of man

  • living being

  • living being (with life in the blood)

  • the man himself, self, person or individual

  • seat of the appetites

  • seat of emotions and passions

  • activity of mind

  • activity of the will

  • activity of the character                                                 Lexicon :: Strong's H5315  

With each word in the bible there are varying meanings and the meanings are chosen based on the context around the word and the bible as a whole or rather they should be. But many times they are translated with the beliefs of the translator in mind. Let's take a look at some verses that use the word nephesh (soul).

From the seven verses above we can see that man became either a living person, came to life, living creature, living being or living soul. All coming from the same word nephesh, but still all mean the same thing, that man came alive, a living soul.  But none of them express that the life or soul created is immortal, not even the Lexicon :: Strong's H5315 eludes to this.

But what else uses the word nephesh?

Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature (nephesh), that was its name.  Genesis 2:19  New King James Version

And God created great whales, and every living creature (nephesh) 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 1:21  King James Version

The animals became living  nephesh. So the animals also became living souls. 

Can the soul die or is it Immortal?

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 being.  Genesis 2:7  New King James Version

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.  Genesis 2:7  King James Version

The Lord God also made the man of the dust of the ground, and breathed in his face breath of life, and the man was a living soul.  Genesis 2:7  1599 Geneva Bible

Then Adonai, God, formed a person from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, so that he became a living being.  Genesis 2:7  Complete Jewish Bible

Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.  Genesis 2:7  English Standard Version

The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life.  Genesis 2:7  Common English Bible

The time came when the Lord God formed a man’s body from the dust of the ground and breathed into it the breath of life. And man became a living person.  Genesis 2:7  Living Bible

Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.  Psalm 40:14  King James Version

Let them be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion, who seek to destroy my life; Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor who wish me evil.  Psalm 40:14  New King James Version

But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth.

Psalm 63:9  King James Version

But as for those who seek to destroy me, they will go down to the depths of the earth.

Psalm 63:9  International Standard Version

From these four verses  we can see that the soul, life can be destroyed and if it can be destroyed it can't be immortal, but let's continue and see what is immortal.

Definition of immortal: not mortal; not liable or subject to death; undying

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are GodPsalm 90:2   New King James Version   also  Psalm 93:2    Habakkuk 1:12

It is our Heavenly Father God who is immortal and has been and will be from everlasting to everlasting.

What happens to man (his soul) when he dies?

In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”  Genesis 3:19  New King James Version

All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.  Ecclesiastes 3:20 New King James Version

For every man must die. His breathing stops, life ends, and in a moment all he planned for himself is ended.  Psalm 146:4  Living Bible

For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.  Ecclesiastes 9:5  New King James Version

From the verses above we can see that after death all return to the ground, when man is dead, he knows nothing, there isn't a conscience afterwards. 

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.  Ecclesiastes 9:10  New King James Version

The dead do not praise the Lord, nor any who go down into silence.  

Psalm 115:17  New King James version

These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”  John 11:11  New King James Version

“Why did I not die at birthWhy did I not perish when I came from the womb12 Why did the knees receive meOr why the breasts, that I should nurse13 For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; Then I would have been at rest.

Job 3:11-13  New King James Version

Job wished he had died at birth, that he had gone down in silence and been asleep, just as Jesus said that Lazarus was asleep in death.  

Does man just sleep in death or do they go to heaven?

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:20-21   New King James Version

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.  John 3:13  New King James Version

Jesus became the firstfruits in all things, the first begotten before all creation, the first to die a sinless man, the first to be resurrected from the dead to immortal life and the first to ascend into heaven. 

“Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.
15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands.   Job 14:13-15

Man sleeps in death as Job says and waits to be called, no one has gone to heaven   except for Jesus, but there will be two different resurrections coming.

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  1 Corinthians 15:21-22  New King James Version​

Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.           4 ... These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.

 Revelation 14:1, 4  New King James Version

 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

 5...This is the first resurrection.  Revelation 20:4, 5  New King James Version

Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.  Revelation 20:6  New King James Version

There will be a first resurrection of the 144,000, the Elect that go to heaven, the firstfruits. So if there are the Elect that go to heaven being the first, then there has to be more receiving life after them.

But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. ...

Revelation 20:5  New King James Version

The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.  

Revelation 20:13  New King James Version

The second resurrection will happen a thousand years after the first resurrection, the dead will rise to judgement and be refined.

This last section will be covered in greater detail in a later chapter.