Immortality of the Soul

On Bible Studies
The above chart shows the possible views on the soul after death. The Bible teaches that salvation is eternal life, meaning with God in eternal bliss never ceasing to exist. Those who are not saved inherit the "second death." (Revelation 20:6) Physical death is separation of the soul from the body. The second death is eternal separation of the soul from God throughout all of eternity.

Scriptural teaching on ghosts and the lake of fire:
  1. Luke 16:19-31 - Rich man and Lazarus - Jesus was teaching about a real Hades where unsaved people are conscious. This was not a parable that, while teaching a truth, was misleading people who take the story literally. Jesus would not deceive, lie, or allow anyone to continue to believe falsehood.
  2. 1 Samuel 28:1- Saul contacts the ghost of Samuel the prophet. Samuel asked why his sleep was disturbed (sleeping is a term often used to mean physical death - Daniel 12:2) but Samuel explained about Saul's present situation and prophesied about the future. The ghost of Samuel obviously was aware of the things happening on earth.
  3. Revelation 20:10 - Devil thrown into lake of fire where the beast and false prophet have been for 1000 years. All three are there and will continue to be there forever. (The devil is a fallen angel but the false prophet is human, so one can't argue that only angels have an immortal soul)
  4. Revelation 20:14 - All other humans that are not saved will be thrown into the lake of fire.
Early Church Fathers teaching on the Soul:
  1. The soul/spirit is created at birth and does not pre-exist.
    • Irenaeus Frag. 49 - 177 AD; Tertullian Treatise of the Soul 1.27.
  2. The soul continues to exist after death and is immortal
    • Hippolytus RH 9.24 - 200AD; Clement of Alexandria Stromata 5.14 - 190 AD; Tertullian Marcion 2.8 - 200AD; Origen Against Celsus 3:22 - 240AD.
The Sadducees taught that at physical death you cease to exist, much like atheists today. (Acts 23:8) The Seventh Day Adventists and a few other cults try to focus on Scriptures about hell or whether the lake of fire is eternal or not. This is an argument designed to confuse Christians. Here are some Scriptures misinterpreted by cults:
  1. Matthew 10:28- God destroys body and soul in hell.
    Opposed to a king who only destroys your body (separates the soul from body) God destroys body and soul (2nd death or separation of the soul from God).
  2. 1 Timothy 6:16 - God only has immortality
    God is the only being that has always existed and will always continue to exist. There was a point in time where we did not exist, so in the truest sense of the word God alone has immortality.
  3. Ecclesiastes - Dead men know nothing and the soul goes back to God who gave it.
    Ecclesiastes talks a bout the vanity of living a sinful life. The dead loose everything, know nothing, and can't talk to loved ones normally, but as we see in 1 Samuel 28 they do know what is going on.
  4. Matthew 25:46 - depart into eternal punishment
    Cults try to argue that eternal punishment is annihilation but everlasting punishment would be not ceasing to exist. The verse contrasts eternal punishment with eternal life so both have to be everlasting.
  5. 2 Thessalonians 1:9 - The "penalty of eternal punishment" is defined as being "away from the presence of the Lord," not annihilation. Verses that use phrases like "perishing" or going to "destruction" refer to the second death which is eternal punishment.

We have seen that the Bible and the early church teach the soul continues after death in a conscious state awaiting the resurrection. Those condemned will then be thrown in to the lake of fire for eternity. Souls will not cease to exist and there will be no form of universalism. Date: 5-2005