One of the most comforting promises made by ministers and
preachers -- the immortality of the soul -- is the same lie told by the serpent
in the Garden of Eden. God told our ancestors that if they partook of the fruit
of one particular tree, they would "surely die" (Gen 3:3). However, the serpent,
when told of God's firm instruction, rejected that instruction and confidently
told the woman, "You shall NOT surely die" (Gen 3:4). The serpent was wrong and
God was right. But millions of people believe the lie, because it is preached by
respected preachers and philosophers.
The first lie
The first lie was introduced into the world and, because the
woman believed the lie instead of the word of the One who had created her, sin
entered the world. And this sin would have consequences: "In the sweat of thy
face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground... for dust thou
art, and unto dust shalt thou return" (Gen 3:19). That the further promise of
God regarding the certain death of Adam, was fulfilled, we are left in no doubt,
for the chronology of Gen 5 reveals to us that Adam lived for 930 years then
died (vv 3-5). Before Adam and Eve sinned there had NOT been any certainty of
death other than by reason of disobedience, but now that very disobedience
became the cause of their death AND the death of all humans, who are descended
from them. The Apostle Paul assures us this was so, for he wrote, "Death reigned
from Adam to Moses" (Rom 5:14).
What is the form of the lie?
Each day, throughout the world, many people die and are buried
or cremated. At the interment, many officiating ministers or priests solemnly
declare that the 'immortal soul' of the deceased has gone to heaven to 'ever be
with the Lord'. That such language is not to be found in the Bible does not seem
to deter people from using it. The phrase 'immortal soul' does NOT appear in the
Bible, but rather the Scripture tells us in no uncertain language that 'souls'
are NOT IMMORTAL, ie, that they can die. The prophet Ezekiel writes by
inspiration of God, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Eze 18:4). The word
used for 'soul' in this passage is the Hebrew word "nephesh", which means beast,
body, creature, or man. Nowhere in the Bible is the word used in a sense of
How did the idea enter Christianity?
History tells us that the ancient Assyrians and the Egyptians
were among the first to claim that at death there was a part of man that left
the body and journeyed to another realm. Food and drink and slaves were all
buried with the rich dead in Egypt. Thousands of years later, when the tombs
were excavated, the food was still there, uneaten. Greek philosophers such as
Socrates continued to teach the lie of the serpent, claiming there was a part of
man that never died. This lie spread through all nations and people of the
world. The new Church of Rome soon put aside the simple teachings of the Lord
Jesus and the disciples, and embraced the apostate teachings of the pagan people
of the world. The Lateran Council, under Pope Leo X, asserted the immortality of
the soul, on the authority of Pope Clement V. Again the truth of Bible teaching
was giving way to the 'first lie'.
Has there been any protest?
There certainly has! Whilst many leading teachers and
preachers continued and still continue to teach the 'first lie', down through
the ages there has always been the voice of protest against the change of a
simple Bible truth.
What does the Bible say?
- In 1525 William Tyndale wrote of his understanding of salvation, claiming
that such salvation from eternal death depends on resurrection from the dead
when the Lord Jesus returns to the earth. His reward for standing up for truth
was to be strangled and burnt at the instigation of 'the church'.
- In 1901 a
prominent Methodist, JA Beet, wrote a spirited protest against the pagan
doctrine of the 'immortality of the soul', tracing its origins to Greek and
Egyptian philosophy and superstition'. He showed quite plainly that the Bible
contradicts the pagan concepts of the 'immortality of the soul'.
- In 1943 the
Church of England formed a commission to investigate the beliefs of the Church.
This commission published the following statement: "The idea of the inherent
indestructibility of the human soul (or consciousness) owes its origin to Greek,
not Bible sources. The central theme of the New Testament is eternal life, NOT
for everybody and anybody, but for believers in Christ as risen from the dead"
(From "Towards the Conversion of England"). Notwithstanding such a declaration
at the top level, the same Church continues to teach the pagan idea which the
All those who teach the pagan doctrine of the 'immortality of
the soul' claim that the teaching comes from the Bible. But is this true? The
following passages of Scripture prove otherwise:
All of these passages of Scripture show that death results in
man going to the grave and NOT to heaven. Nor are there any references of any
part of the person going to heaven except the breath of life (Heb "ruach" =
breath, air, life), which is given to man at birth. It 'goes back to God who
gave it' (Ecc 12:7).
- Gen 3:19: "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till return to
the ground; for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt
- Ecc 3:19-20: "For that which befalleth the sons of men
befalleth beasts: even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the
other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence over the
beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust and all turn
to dust again.
- Ecc 9:4-6,10: "For to him that is joined to all the living
there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know
that they shall die; but the dead know not anything; also their love, and their
hatred, and their envy, is now perished... Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do
it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom,
in the grave, whither thou goest."
- John 11:11-14: "These things said he
(Jesus): and after that he said unto them (the disciples), Our friend Lazarus
sleepeth; but I go, that I might awaken him out of sleep. Then said his
disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spoke of his
death; but they thought he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. The said Jesus
unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
- Job 3:17: "There (the grave) the wicked
cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest."
- Psa 6:5: "For in
death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee
Can man gain immortality?
The simple answer comes from the Bible:
Surely any reasonable Bible student must accept from this last
definite and positive passage that no man or woman has immortality now, and
cannot gain it until the resurrection, at Christ's return.
- Rom 6:23: "The gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ our
- 1Co 15:52-54. "The dead shall be raised... this corruptible must put
on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality."
The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, in 2Ti 1:10, shows
clearly that the Lord Jesus made immortality available to all mankind, through
the Gospel. "...our Saviour Jesus Christ... hath brought life and immortality to
light through the gospel." Immortality is a promise for the future... the Bible
does NOT teach present immortality.