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The Moment of Truth - Lesson 14

Body, Soul, and Spirit

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Let us pray together:

Our Father,

We thank You for having guided us during our previous searches in Your Word, leading us on the path of the truth.

We also want to thank You for helping us to put into practice what You teach us in Your Holy Book.

Today, we would like to study the nature of Man. Do we have an immortal soul? What is the difference between soul and spirit?

Please accompany us by the presence of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ we pray.


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Psalm 144:3

Lord, what is man, that You take knowledge of him?


What is man?

What is he made of?

Is there a part of him that is immortal?

These are questions that have mystified men for many centuries. However, the Bible can answer them in a precise and satisfying way.

This first lesson is essential in order to understand the next one which will speak about the state of the dead.

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1 Thessalonians 5:23

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Let’s first note that we are made up of three essential elements:

- The body (in Hebrew: «basar»; in Greek: «soma»).
- The spirit (in Hebrew: «ruach»; in Greek: «pneuma»).
- The soul (in Hebrew: «nephesh»; in Greek: «psuche»).

Now, let’s see what each one of these three distinct elements consists of.

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1 Corinthians 15:47

The first man is of the earth, earthy.


Psalm 10:18

(...) that the man of the earth may no more oppress.


First of all, let’s talk about the body.

The Bible often describes it as taken from the earth. Indeed, our body is made up of the very same materials that we find in the earth: oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, iron, phosphorus, etc.

This amazing combination, endowed with the capacity of loving and reasoning, is definitely the masterpiece of Creation!

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Genesis 3:19

For dust you are, and to dust shall you return.


Psalm 103:14

For [the Lord] knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.


Genesis 18:27

I have taken on me to speak to the Lord, which am but dust and ashes.


«Dust» and «ashes» are others terms used by the Bible to describe the body, reminding us that, at the beginning, it has been taken from the earth.

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Numbers 16:22

O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh (...).


The second element of our being is the spirit, also called the breath (in fact, the Greek term for spirit is «pneuma», a root which means «breath», as in the word «pneumatic» for example).

The spirit is the breath of life given by God. When the inanimate body receives this breath, it comes to life; conversely, at the time of death, the spirit leaves the body and returns to God.

So the spirit is the source of life and energy of all living beings.

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Genesis 7:15

And they went in to Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.


Ecclesiastes 3:19

For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath.


The spirit, that is, the breath of life, animates all living creatures. It is the same source of life for men and for animals.

We could compare the spirit with an electric current feeding a whole city.

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Job 33:4

The spirit of God has made me, the breath of the Almighty has given me life.


Revelation 11:11

And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered [the two witnesses], and they stood on their feet.


Ezekiel 37:5

Thus said the Lord God to these bones,

«Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.»


When an inanimate body receives God’s breath (or spirit), it comes to life.

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Genesis 2:7

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


1 Corinthians 15:45

And so it is written,

«The first man Adam was made a living soul.»


The combination of body and spirit gives a living soul.

Therefore, the soul is not an entity separate from the body. The soul is the living being itself.

A living soul is created when God’s breath of life enters a body.

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Psalm 130:5

I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait.


Psalm 124:7

Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.


As we can see, the word «soul» is used to describe a living being.

The verses above show how the word «I» can be replaced by «my soul», and how the word «we» can be replaced by «our soul».

Now, if it is true that body plus spirit gives a living soul, let us see the reverse process...

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Job 34:14,15

If [God] gather to Himself His spirit and His breath, all flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again to dust.


Psalm 104:29,30

You take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.

You send forth Your spirit, they are created; and You renew the face of the earth.


So when the living soul loses the breath of life, the body alone remains, deprived of life, and returns to dust.

Now, where does God’s breath, the spirit of life, go?

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Ecclesiastes 12:7

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return to God who gave it.


Ecclesiastes 8:8

There is no man that has power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither has he power in the day of death.


Luke 23:46

When Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, «Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.»

And having said thus, He gave up the ghost.


At the moment of death, the spirit, the breath, simply returns to God who had given it in the beginning to grant us life.

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Luke 8:55

And [the girl’s] spirit came again, and she arose straightway.


Psalm 146:4

[Man’s] breath goes forth, he returns to his earth.


To illustrate, let us compare the body to a light bulb being out, the spirit to electricity, and the soul to the light bulb turned on by electricity.

When we cut off the power, the lighted bulb (the soul) ceases to exist, because electricity (the spirit) has left it. Only a light bulb switched off remains, that is, the body without life.

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The Nature of Man: Two Essential Equations

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Hebrews 7:8

And here men that die receive tithes.


Isaiah 51:12

Who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die?


At the moment of death, the living soul ceases to exist, the body returns to dust, and the spirit, the energy of life, returns to God.

But is there a part of man that is immortal?

For a long time it has been taught that the soul was immortal, that it was surviving after death and going to heaven, to hell, or elsewhere...

Does the Bible agree with that teaching?

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Ezekiel 18:20

The soul that sins, it shall die.


Matthew 10:28

Fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.


James 5:20

He which converts the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death.


The Bible is clear on this point: the soul is mortal.

No man bears in himself, by birth, a seed of immortality.

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Psalm 78:50

[God] spared not their soul from death.


Ezekiel 13:19

And will you pollute Me (...) to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live?


Let us note, in the second verse, how the soul’s mortality is applied to all men, good or wicked.

But then, where does this great lie, teaching that the soul is immortal, come from?

The answer given by the Bible could surprise you...

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Genesis 3:1-4

[The serpent] said to the woman, «Yes, has God said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?»

And the woman said to the serpent, «We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”»

And the serpent said to the woman, «You shall not surely die.»


God had warned Adam and Eve that disobeying would make them subject to mortality.

But the serpent deceived them, making them believe that they were immortal!

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2 Corinthians 11:3

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.


Revelation 12:9

(...) that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world.


From the beginning until today, Satan has managed to deceive men, making them believe that they bear immortality in themselves.

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1 Timothy 6:15,16

(...) the King of kings and Lord of lords, who only has immortality.


Let’s always remember: God alone has immortality.

Therefore man is not immortal by birth.

But the greatest desire of God is to share His immortality with us!

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Genesis 2:17

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.


Romans 5:12

By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed on all men, for that all have sinned.


God had created man as a candidate for immortality.

But by his disobedience, man broke his connection with God, the unique Source of life, and lost his access to immortality.

He thus became a mortal being.

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Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


By giving His life for us, Jesus Christ offers us the possibility to grab immortality by faith.

Therefore, immortality is conditional to salvation in Jesus Christ.

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1 John 5:11-13

And this is the record, that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

He that has the Son has life; and he that has not the Son of God has not life.

These things have I written to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that you may know that you have eternal life.


Immortality is therefore God’s gift to those who repent of their sins, and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord of their life.

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2 Timothy 1:10

Our Savior Jesus Christ has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.


Romans 2:6,7

[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life.


Let us remember: immortality dwells only in Jesus Christ.

Without Him, we remain subject to mortality, and thus to eternal extinction.

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Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.

Therefore choose life.


This is God’s invitation to each one of us.

We are not immortal by nature. But it depends entirely upon us whether we will inherit immortality.

We can seize by faith eternal life that is in Jesus Christ.

Why not do it right now, as we pray?

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Let us ask God to grant us this eternal life:

Our Lord and our God,

Satan would like so much to deceive us, to make us believe that we are already immortal, so that we may not feel our need to be saved by Jesus Christ.

Fortunately, You have given us Your Word to guide us and teach us that only You have immortality.

This is why we turn to You, Father, to ask You to grant us eternal life, which is in Jesus Christ, for we accept Him from now on as our personal Savior and Lord of our life.

We ask this in His name.


The test of Lesson 14 is waiting for you!

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