Immortality of the Soul

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Mon Jul 15 2002 - 14:50:57 EDT

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    Hello Allan,

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Allen Roy []
    > Sent: Sunday, July 14, 2002 2:53 PM
    > To: george murphy; Dr. Blake Nelson
    > Cc: Walter Hicks; Sondra Brasile;
    > Subject:

    [stuff deleted]

    > PS 146:4
    > "When their spirit [breath of life] departs, they return to
    > the ground;
    > on that very day their plans come to nothing." NIV
    > ECC 12:7
    > "and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
    > and the spirit [breath of life] returns to God who gave it." NIV
    > The Soul ceases to exist. Souls are not immortal.

    The difficulty here is that the OT uses the word nephesh ina variety
    of ways. It occurs 754 times in the OT, and most often applies to
    humans, although, sometimes it applies to animals (e.g. Gen 1:20),
    and interestingly, to God himself (Judg 10:16 and Is 1:14).
    If we were to draw your conclusion, then we would also have to say
    that God is not immortal.

    > > > Here is a link to a talk by Malcolm Jeeves that deals
    > > > with the concept of the soul in light of
    > > > neuropsychology:
    > > >
    > > >

    I am very well familiar with Jeeves position and other scholars like
    Nancy Murphy, who calls their view nonreductivwe physicalism. It is
    essentially a monistic view of the person as opposed to the dualistic
    view. I think that one of the reasons why people have been able to
    use the bible to justify monism or deny the immortality of the soul
    is because the OT is not consistent in its usage of the words nephesh
    and ruach. Thus, anyone can simply choose the verses that supports
    their conclusion to argue their case.



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