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Do men have immortal souls? What do the Scriptures say?
“He Who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Who alone has immortality, Who dwells in unapproachable light, Whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15-16 ESV).
God alone has immortality, which means no man is immortal in his own right or power. The Scriptures confirm this by saying eternal life only happens through the Lord Jesus Christ:
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life! He who believes in Me, though he die, yet he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die’” (John 11:25-26 MKJV).
“But when this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and when this mortal shall put on immortality, then will take place the word that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?’” (1 Corinthians 15:54-55 MKJV)
Without Him Who is life, there is no life or immortality. With and in Him, there is no death.
Obviously the Lord’s and the Scripture’s definitions of “life” and “death” are different from man’s. In one place the Lord says, “Let the dead bury the dead” (Matthew 8:22). By this we know being sentient and having consciousness doesn’t qualify as being alive to God. To be alive, one must be connected to, and in harmony with, Him.
Adam and Eve died the very day they ate of the Tree of Knowledge:
“But you shall not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17 MKJV).
They were cut off from the spiritual life and consciousness of God right then and there. When He came looking for them, they were fearful, ashamed, hiding, conscious of nudity, blaming others, and giving excuses; pain and sorrow were suddenly upon them. They were cast out of the Garden of Eden, forbidden to partake of the Tree of Life, and where they went and toiled by the sweat of their brow, the ground was cursed. These were all the consequences of their disobedience, all marks of the state of death.
They died the day they ate, not centuries later when they ended their physical presence on earth and were buried.
While on earth, they were still conscious, even as were the dead to whom Jesus referred – “Let the dead bury the dead.” But they were cut off from God’s life – they were dead to God and His Kingdom.
Concerning immortality, existence has been confused with life. Just because unbelievers who physically die go on existing in the next realm doesn’t mean they are immortal. Both those with and without bodies are dead when separated from God by sin. They have no immortality because they lack eternal life.
Unbelievers who physically die aren’t forgotten by God or left in their death state forever. Otherwise, why did Jesus Christ die to be their Lord and Savior?
“And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He Who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42 MKJV).
“Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming in which all those in the tombs will hear His voice. And they will come out, the ones having done good into a resurrection of life; and the ones having practiced evil into a resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29 LITV).
All will be judged, in this world or the next, until God has put away the last enemy for good.
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Corinthians 15:26 ESV).
What remains after Jesus Christ has put away death in all? Life in Him for all!
Consider the alternative to believing the doctrine of the unconditional immortality of the soul: Rather than arguing about whether men have immortal souls or not, look to Him Who Alone is Immortal, Who has the victory and has the keys to Hell and death. Without Him there is no life or immortality, whether in this realm or the next.
Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
Those who aren’t the Lord’s haven’t heard the voice of the Lord, for He says, “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27). Throughout the Scriptures, in both Old and New Testaments, believers heard the voice of God directly and personally. But unbelievers today, many of whom think themselves to be born-again Christians, say, “Now that Christ is in us, He doesn’t have to speak to us any longer, as God did in the past, because we now have the completed Bible.”
We can be very secure in the Lord Jesus Christ, but faith in this doctrine, rather than in Him, can be a license to sin. This is a doctrine that’s false in the way it’s used, being carried on the back of a lie and compounding the error and confusion that comes from the lie. The sequence goes like this: “Once a person has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, he/she is forever saved.”