The Bible teaches that you don’t have an immortal soul. But when you die it’s not the end. Tune in to learn what’s next.
Imagine defeating death. It's been a subject of fascination since the beginning of history. Some say within 30 years, you could be immune to disease, unaffected by aging, and able live to 150 or perhaps 1,000 years old. Is it possible that medicine and biotechnology may soon give you unending life?
Now you may already feel that life doesn't really end. Do you believe that you have an immortal soul that lives on in either heaven or hell? How can you know? Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we explore the: Quest for Immortality.
An epitaph is an inscription on a tombstone in memory of the one buried there. They can be serious, but can also be amusing. One in a London, England cemetery states: “Here lies Ann Mann, Who lived an old maid, But died an old Mann.”
Another remembered Anna Wallace: The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna. Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.
Epitaphs can be humorous like this one: “I Told You I was sick”
Or this one from Boot Hill cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona where a wooden grave marker bears the inscription: Here Lies Lester Moore, Four Slugs from a .44 – No Les, No More
Most often, epitaphs are not humorous but try to express hope. Like this one: “For though his body's under hatches, His soul has gone aloft.”
This type of memorial seems to be the most common sentiment. Indicating that the soul of the deceased has gone to heaven. But is that really the case? Does your soul go to heaven or hell when you die? Do you even have a soul?
To most, death is a mystery. Losing a loved one is often a fearful, traumatic event. As a minister I am often called upon to conduct funerals. Friends and family come together to remember the life of the deceased. This is often a time when the living look for understanding. They wonder about life's meaning and why death is such a tragic part of life and of course, what happens at death.
Most people believe, or want to believe, that there is some part of us that lives on when we die. It's hard to accept that this physical life is all there is. Religion offers a variety of explanations but have you noticed how they often contradict one another?
Are we immortal souls?
Are we conscious after death?
Is our soul destined to go somewhere for reward or punishment?
Have you ever wondered where these ideas came from? Because they are in fact unbiblical.
Practically every civilization has held the belief that something from this life goes beyond death – usually it's the belief of the immortality of the soul: the idea that you have a spiritual soul that's contained by your physical body and at death it's released.
This idea of an immortal soul can be documented among the ancient Egyptians and the elaborate customs they created to provide for the soul in its journey into the afterlife. The pyramids of Egypt are oldest surviving testimony to this idea. (Show example photos)
Elaborate drawings in the tombs depict this belief. They show that the soul would depart from this life and go the life beyond. They mummified the body to preserve the physical but buried food, clothing, weapons and perhaps even a pet with them to assist the departed soul on its journey to the after life.
But it wasn't just the Egyptians. Cultures from China to North America buried their dead in ways that showed they believed that a soul departs the body at death and continues to live on in another world. You could say this universal idea was taken from the ancient world and without much thought, accepted right into our modern era.
Do you believe it? Have you ever deeply considered the concept of the soul? There is no doubt that death eventually captures all of us. Eventually our physical existence will end. Beyond the grave can be a great mystery but you don't have to live in uncertainty.
If you knew with absolute and total certainty what will happen to you after death, how it would change the way you're living your life today?
It's better to know the truth than to remain uncertain and do nothing.
It's possible to know the truth in your quest for immortality.
Ask yourself: Do your beliefs come from tradition, philosophy or from a divinely revealed source? Here on Beyond Today, the Holy Bible is the source of understanding. We are not afraid to tackle the questions that surround this issue. But we look to the Bible as the standard for understanding. When it comes to questions about life after death, We must look to the Word of God for answers.
God is the Creator and sustainer of life.
Only the Creator of life can reveal the truth about the state of the dead.
The fact is that the Bible tells you that you do not have a soul.
Science can't tell us when, where or how life began. Only one source tells us how life began and for what purpose. Shouldn't you go to that source to understand the mystery of death? The Bible tells us exactly what happens after death. It tells us what happens to those who have done right or wrong and reveals the fate of the billions of people who have never known God and His way of life.
You need to discover the answers yourself. You may be shocked when you find out what the Bible really teaches!
We have special offer for you, our FREE booklet: “What Happens After Death?” It will help you understand the incredible truth about this great mystery. It is absolutely free and written to help you understand your bible and the truth about the soul. Request your FREE copy today!
Click or Call. Go online right now to beyondtoday.tv to download, read or order your free copy of “What Happens After Death”. Click or Call - toll free 1-triple-eight-886-8632. That's, 1-triple-eight-886-8632, or go online to beyondtoday.tv. Get your free booklet now.
Most people accept the belief that man has or is an immortal soul without question. Scripture explains where that idea began.
Remember the story of Adam and Eve? They were created and instructed not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - and that if they did, they were told: “in that day you shall die.” In Genesis 3:2-4 2 And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. 4 And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die: ×The serpent (the devil) told Eve that if she were to eat of that tree she would not die. The essence of Satan's lie is, “Go ahead and live as you like. There are no fatal consequences to your actions because you are already immortal.”
Why would Satan tell this lie? Why not something else? Because He wanted to hide the truth about what God is doing with human life. God didn't tell Adam & Eve that their soul would live on, but instead that they would cease to exist.
The first place we find the word soul mentioned is in Genesis 2:7 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.×“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” .
The bible was not originally written in English. This portion was written in the Hebrew language.
The word translated “soul” in this verse is the Hebrew word nephesh.
It literally means “a breathing creature.”
In fact, other translations of the Bible (NKJ, NRSV, NIV) state that man became a living “being” or “person.”
Throughout the Bible you'll find this same word, nephesh, translated as “living creature” Whether it refers to sea animals or land animals (Genesis 1:21And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.×; v. 24).
Remember when Adam was asked to name the animals? In Genesis 2:19And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.×, Adam was asked to name every “living creature”— that's the same word, nephesh.
The Bible does not say that Adam had an immortal soul; rather it says that God breathed into Adam the “breath of life,” and Adam became a living soul. So - you don't have a soul, you are a soul – a living being.
It's clear in 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 sins, it shall die.×as God himself says: “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die… 20The soul who sins shall die…
“Soul” = Hebrew word nephesh and it can die. It is mortal.
You see the idea of an immortal soul is not a biblical teaching. The concept grew from ancient civilizations to the Greek philosopher Plato. He taught that the body and the “immortal soul” separate at death.
Notice this amazing quote (from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:) “We are influenced always more or less by the Greek, Platonic idea that the body dies, yet the soul is immortal. Such an idea is utterly contrary to the Israelite consciousness and is nowhere found in the Old Testament” (1960, Vol. 2, p. 812, “Death”).
It's even more remarkable to realize that Christianity itself has been corrupted by Greek philosophy too. An early and influential Catholic theologian, Origen, was influenced by Greek thinkers: “Speculation about the soul in the subapostolic church was heavily influenced by Greek philosophy. This is seen in Origen's acceptance of Plato's doctrine of the preexistence of the soul…”(The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 1992, “Soul,” p. 1037).
Does that surprise you? The truth is that the false idea of an immortal soul entered the church and was welcomed into Christianity – even though it is not a bible teaching.
So what actually happens to the dead?
Ecclesiastes 3:19 For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.×Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.
Ecclesiastes 9:5For 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.×: “For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing . . .”
The bible teaches that at death, you wait in the grave. You don't go anywhere. Now here's an eye opener:
John 3:13 And no man has ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.×No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.
That may be shocking to you – no one has ever gone to heaven! The person who has died is unconscious and unaware of the passing of time. The bible describes our death like an unconscious sleep. Contrary to what most believe, the Bible clearly teaches that man does not have an immortal soul.
That idea may seem harsh to some. Morbid perhaps. But wait! Is that all there is?
An epitaph posed that very point. Mel Blanc, the voice of such well-known characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird, Porky Pig, and hundreds of others has his own famous saying on his tombstone. (Show photo) “That's all folks.”
Now, Is that true? Since there is no immortal soul, since the dead know nothing - is there any hope of life beyond death? What does the Bible say? Yes, there is hope.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.×“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” So how do we get from the grave where our thoughts have perished to the everlasting life God promises?
1 Corinthians 15:53-54 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 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. ×“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory”. We're given eternal life – we don't already have it.
That change takes place at the time of judgment, rather than at the moment of death (Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:×).
At the end of our physical lives - comes death. After that comes a resurrection.
The short epitaph of actress Joan Hackett, who appeared on stage, in films, and on TV is an interesting one. It simply says “Go Away, I'm asleep”. And she was right.
Death is like an unconscious sleep.
Yet Jesus said in John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,×that “the time is coming when all who are in the grave will hear God's voice and come forth from their graves.”
We must be changed because “flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.”
Those who are “in Christ” - who have been called, repented, been baptized and led by God - will be transformed in the resurrection to eternal, spirit life, glorified like the resurrected Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-1716 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. ×).
What an amazing truth.
Don't be a victim believing a lie. You don't have an immortal soul. But you can receive immortality. Not immediately upon death but later. And like this epitaph says. “The best is yet to come”. And it will come. God promises to fulfill your quest for immortality through a resurrection to everlasting life in the family of God.
There's much more to discuss on this topic. Up next we'll be talking with the Beyond Today panel. But first, I have a special offer for you today. It's the Good News magazine. The goal of The Good News is to provide understanding.
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