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What is the soul?

The Bible says the soul is made up of two parts. To create the first man Adam, Genesis 2:7 tells us God took dust from the ground to make a body and breathed into man what is called the breath of life. And...man became a living soul.” 

This word “soul” from the original Hebrew can also be translated in English as “living being.” Human life can only exist if these two parts – body and breath of life – are working together. 

So, a person does not “have” a soul…they ARE a soul! The soul is not something separate that lives on after a person dies.

Ezekiel 18:4 says, “The soul who sins will die.” (NASB)

Since all humans are imperfect, all humans sin. This Scripture is saying that all humans eventually die and go into the grave.

A person can do nothing in the grave. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever you do, do well. For when you go to the grave, there will be no work or planning or knowledge or wisdom.” (NLT)

In other words, death is likened to a deep sleep until the resurrection. But once a person is dead, how will they be resurrected in God’s kingdom? 

We might imagine a person’s character and personality as files on a computer. Many people currently backup or copy their files to something called “the cloud,” a powerful memory system that keeps files safe. But there is an even MORE powerful cloud that exists, with UNLIMITED storage, and that’s God’s perfect mind, allowing Him to recreate and resurrect the identical character and personality of everyone who has ever died in His future kingdom. 

Whether a person is resurrected to live on a perfect earth or in heaven depends on how they live their life now. Faithful Christians who give their lives to God, do their best to serve Him and try to copy the life of His son, Jesus, are promised a heavenly body. Everyone else will receive a new earthly body.

So, what is the soul? A living being made up of two parts that can’t work without the other: a body and the breath of life. A person does not HAVE a soul – they ARE a soul. The soul is not something separate that lives on after a person dies. God remembers everything about every soul who has ever died, so that in His future kingdom, they can be brought back to life with their same personalities, either on a perfect earth or in heaven.

To learn more about the soul listen to our series, “Where Does Your Soul Go When You Die?”