…to reject the “Immortal Soul” doctrine
Here are briefly the main reasons why the teaching of an “immortal soul” that cannot die, is against the Scriptures, and against the Gospel and the Law:
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” destroys the law of God.
Proof: In the beginning, God told Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed His law, by eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, they would die. The laws of nature (both physical and moral) were designed to promote and safeguard life. Transgression of their principles leads to the destruction of life.
Satan denied this, and his first lie was “you shall not surely die.” Satan denied that breaking the law would lead to death, but instead declared that they “would not die,” or in other words, that their soul would not be affected by indulgence in sin.
The “immortal soul” teaching claims that the soul cannot die. If that is so, then it’s nature is not affected by sin, and therefore is above the law of God. Therefore, the “immortal soul” teaching denies the authority of the law of God, in spite of the plain teaching of the Bible that “the wages of sin is death” and “the soul that sins, it shall die.”
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” destroys the Gospel.
Proof: The Gospel offers us everlasting life by joining us to a new Father, even Christ. In Him, we pass from death to life. “He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son of God has not life” (see also 1 John 3:14,15). If we had an immortal soul already, then we would not need this “everlasting life.”
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” leads to spiritualism, or listening to the voices of the dead.
Proof: God gave Israel plenty of warnings about not consulting with those who spoke with the dead. The Bible has many plain statements saying that the “dead know not any thing“, “their thoughts perish“.
Then who would imitate the dead people when the medium consults them? Satan and his angels, who have a complete knowledge about the dead person and everything that happened in their life and can easily pretend to be that person and give all sorts of details about their life and relatives. Satan and his angels, imitating the dead person, pretend that these dead relatives are living in heaven, and imitating their voices go on to teach all sorts of errors contrary to the Scriptures. These are received by the people as truth “fresh from heaven.”
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” destroys God’s beautiful character.
Proof: Since an “immortal soul” cannot die, then when it is punished it must be punished forever and ever, without end. Since the Bible speaks about sin and sinners being burned up, this is then misinterpreted to be an eternally burning hell-fire. Many people have become Atheists because they could not reconcile this kind of injustice with a divine character.
How can a man be tortured forever and ever (and burning alive is the worst kind of torture), simply for a few years of sin in this present life? It is contrary to justice, and makes God into a cruel, merciless tyrant. Torturing the sinner in hell-fire cannot change him, so it is pointless.
It also makes God’s kingdom into a kingdom of fear, for then the faithful in heaven would serve God out of fear of being tortured, rather than out of a pure conviction that God’s ways are the only ways of life, and those who depart from Him choose death.
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” destroys a proper understanding of Bible prophecy.
Proof: People who believe in an “immortal soul” also believe that the soul goes to hell or heaven at death. This is contrary to the Bible, which teaches that first there must be a judgment to determine the reward.
For the wicked, the judgment takes place during the thousand years, and after this period is over, they are resurrected from their graves, to come to the great white throne, and receive their sentence, and reward.
These plain doctrines make it clear that the message for our time is that there is a “judgment of believers,” which is now going on in heaven, and that there is a need to be prepared for Christ’s soon coming kingdom by departing from all sin and living a pure, holy life. Teachers of the “immortal soul” see no reason for such judgment or message, and so do not understand prophecy, but develop many other theories that lead away from the truth for this time.
- The teaching of a natural “immortal soul” wars against the great hope of the faithful: the resurrection.
Proof: From the beginning, the saints on earth have always looked forward to the resurrection day as the culmination of their hopes.
Abraham looked forward to the day when he would receive the land of inheritance promised to him…which would happen at the resurrection.
Job looked forward to seeing his Redeemer at the resurrection.
Paul held it up as the great end of the gospel, when “death would be swallowed up in victory.”
But for believers in the “immortal soul”, the resurrection is rather meaningless. If you can live consciously and freely in heaven without a body, then why should you be joined to a body again?
- In the Bible, the term “immortal” is only ever applied to the resurrection, or the nature of God.
1 Timothy 1
17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
1 Timothy 6
16 Who only has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.
2 Timothy 1
10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
If Christ “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” then man did not have natural immortality.
1 Corinthians 15
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.”
5 But after your hardness and impenitent heart treasure up unto yourself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;
6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life.
Here again, “immortality” is said to be bestowed after the day of judgment. This does not negate that the human spirit can be renewed with an eternal life from Christ, but this is not called “immortality” until the whole man, including the body, is freed from the traces of sin.
Note: There are Bible reasons for not taking the word “everlasting” to always mean “as long as God exists”. Sometimes the words “everlasting,” or “eternal,” are used to signify much shorter periods of time. In those cases, they indicate a time period that is as long as the object exists. For example, Aaron was to be a high priest “for ever“, yet his priesthood passed away at his death, and the whole earthly system of priests passed away at the cross.
For a more in-depth treatment of this subject, I recommend reading the small book by A. T. Jones, The Immortality of the Soul:
Other articles by Frank Zimmerman:
- Am I a Seventh-day Adventist?
- Good Works
- The Thieves on the Cross
- Christian Persecution in Iran
- Temperance and Romans 14
- God is in Control
- The Gospel in Revelation
- Psalm 75 and God’s Character
- Good and Bad Marriages
- The Wheat and Tares
- Talking Snakes and the Inspiration of the Bible
- What the Battle is About
- Real and Counterfeit Love
- Jesus and Child Abuse