Misconceptions

The Immortal Soul?: “Soul” Biblically Defined, Part 2

biblically defined

In the previous article, we observed that the concept of an immortal soul, capable of existing independently from our physical bodies, did not originate from the Bible but rather from Greek philosophers. In this post, we will explore the biblical perspective on the soul. This preliminary study is essential before examining passages often misinterpreted to suggest that the Bible endorses the inherent immortality of the soul and its ability to exist apart from the body.

So, here is our methodology in this, and the following, articles. First, we’ll examine the Bible’s description of the soul. Second, we’ll observe the usage of the term “soul” within the biblical context. Third, we’ll analyze various passages often cited as evidence for the soul’s ability to exist independently from the body. The goal is to allow the Bible to speak for itself without imposing traditional Platonic ideas upon the text.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Immortality, Misconceptions, Word Studies

The Immortal Soul?, Part 1

Immortal Soul

As Paul nears the end of 1 Timothy, he writes

He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (1 Tim. 6:16 BEREAN)

Paul’s point in this passage is “not that God is the only immortal being but that he alone inherently possesses immortality.”1 We know there are other created beings who are immortal (angels, demons, etc.), but God gave them immortality. God, by His very nature, is immortal – no one granted it to Him. 

By extension, most people assume that humans are also immortal by nature. The immortality of the human soul is a widely held belief, often seen as self-evident. This assumption permeates both secular and religious worldviews. It is a foregone conclusion that the human soul is immortal, and this is rarely, if ever, questioned. Nevertheless, the Bible is clear that God did not create humans with immortal souls. 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in 1 Timothy, Immortality, Misconceptions

Will Our Pets Be In Heaven?

Pets

A couple I know recently lost their beloved family dog. Like many of us who have lost pets they grieved the loss. This reminded me of how keenly I felt the loss of our family cat a few years ago. Many of us become as fond of our pets as we are of people. It is difficult to lose anyone or anything that we care deeply about. Because this is true, it is only natural for us to wonder if our pets will be in heaven.

The traditional answer to the question is an absolute “No!” It is reasoned that animals are not like people because they do not have a soul. Therefore, death forever extinguishes our pet’s existence. Thus, the saying, “Rover is dead all over.”

What does the Bible have to say about this? Is it true that animals do not have souls? Does the Bible tell us if we’ll be reunited with our pets in eternity? 

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Afterlife, Misconceptions

Did Peter’s Vision Declare All Foods Clean?

Peter's Vision

Paul’s first letter to Timothy teaches us that we are to reject no foods if they are received with thanksgiving (1 Tim 4:3-5). He goes so far as to say that anyone who forbids either food or marriage are liars (vv. 2-3)! Therefore, we can have assurance from this passage (along with Romans 14:20) that God removed the distinction between clean and unclean foods under the New Covenant. What about Acts 10? Did Peter’s vision declare all foods clean?

People often consider Acts 10 and Mark 7 to be passages which teach that all foods are clean for disciples of Jesus. It is understandable why people draw this conclusion. A casual reading of both passages could leave one with the impression that they teach the removal of the Old Testament dietary laws. People who conclude the kosher food laws do not apply under the New Covenant are correct, but sometimes for the wrong reason.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Misconceptions, Purity

Did Jesus Declare All Foods Clean?

All Foods Clean

The New Testament clearly reveals that the Old Testament dietary laws did not carry over into the New Covenant. However, some of the passages which people think eliminate the dietary laws, in fact, do not. One such verse is Mark 7:19 where many of our English Bibles say that Jesus “declared all foods clean.” 

since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) (Mark 7:19 ESV)

This is a very direct statement, is it not? How could one say that this verse doesn’t teach that Jesus eliminated the Old Testament food laws? The problem is one of translation. As it turns out, translators are not in agreement on the proper way to translate Mark 7:19 into English. In addition, the context does not support the idea that the Old Testament food laws are under consideration in this passage.

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Posted by Eddie Lawrence in Misconceptions, Purity