Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. Why do you teach that man does not have a soul when Genesis 2:7 states that man became a living soul?
A. This verse says exactly what we teach. It does not say man has a “soul” which resides in the body. It states that man became a living soul. Man is a soul; he does not have an immortal soul. There is a vast difference.

The Hebrew word for “soul” used in the above verse is nephesh. Nephesh can mean “a breathing creature, i.e., animal or vitality” and is also rendered in the English as “appetite, beast, body, breath, creature…man, mind, mortality.” This same Hebrew word is translated “creature” in Genesis 1:245; 2:19; 9:10, 12, 15 and 16.

Nephesh is used in many places where the translators supplied our English word “body.” Notice Leviticus 21:11. “Neither shall he go in to any dead body (nephesh), nor defile himself…” A nephesh is called a “body” in this scripture! In Numbers 6:6; 9:6, 7, 10 and 19:13 the word nephesh is translated into English as “dead body.”

When God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life, He started the process of the combining of oxygen with blood, which then carried the oxygen to all parts of the body, thereby imparting physical life. The life of a human being is in his bloodstream (Lev. 17:11). God told Noah that the life of every animal, or nephesh, was in the blood. “But flesh with the life (Hebrew, nephesh) thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat” (Gen. 9:4). Here the word “life” comes from the same Hebrew word, nephesh, which is elsewhere rendered “soul” or “body.” In verse 5 of Genesis, chapter 9, this same word nephesh is used for our English word “life.” This time the reference is to Noah and every man. Thus, the life of man and the life of animals is the same. Mortal life! The Bible nowhere substantiates the belief that man has an “immortal soul” residing in his body. The soul is mortal. It can die (Ezek. 18:4).
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