The Myth of the Immortal Soul: Can a Soul Be Destroyed?

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

~ Mt 10:28

The argument says that this verse proves the immortality of the soul. It’s an odd argument, certainly as “destroy” hardly conveys the meaning of living onwards. However, it is a common enough argument to warrant at least a short article about it. Let’s look at the words “kill”, “body”, “destroy” and finally “soul” (leaving it for last, as that is what is in dispute).

Kill – apokteino

This word means “to kill in any way whatever, to destroy, to allow to perish” per Strong’s. It is variously translated “kill” (55x), “slay” (14x) and “put to death” (6x). The subject is “them” and the object is “the body”. Therefore, we are not to fear those who can kill us physically. So far, so good. However, notice that we are not to fear those who “are not able to kill the soul”. The implication thus far, then, is that there is One Who can kill the soul!

Body – soma

This word means “the body of men or animals, a dead body or corpse”. It can be used figuratively for “body of planets and of stars” or as we would say “heavenly bodies”. Paul uses this metaphorically to refer to the Church. However, in conjunction with “apokteino”, it is obvious that it is referring to a living body (def. 1a of Strong’s).

Destroy – apollymi

This word means “to destroy, to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin; to kill; to declare that one must be put to death”. It is a broader term, then, than apokteino. Notice, however, that it is being applied to both “body” and “soul”. It is referring to the same end for both body and soul in “hell”.

Soul – psyche

This word means “breath, the breath of life, the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing”. It applies to both men and animals! This is nothing more and nothing less than the equivalent of the idea of “ruach” or “breath” or “spirit” that is represented in the OT. The OT makes it quite clear that upon death, the “breath” of life, the spirit in man, leaves. It is gone, it is unconscious, and it returns to God to wait for the resurrection (see “Myth of the Immortal Soul: Do Souls ‘Depart’ Upon Death?“).

Using this spirit, which contains the memories and character of a person, God raises up this person from the dead at the appropriate time. If that person is rebellious and rejects God’s mercy and grace, that person is thrown into the Lake of Fire, “hell” or more properly “Gehenna”. That person is a physical human being, and when thrown into the Lake of Fire, he or she is burned up with no hope of a future resurrection.

If “psyche” must mean an immortal soul, then that causes other problems as well. That word applies to animals as well as people. So, therefore, it is illogical to state that humans will live on forever and animals will not. Yet, the Bible shows that the spirit of animals “goeth downward” while the “spirit of man … goeth upward” (Ecc 3:21) so that it is saved off for the resurrection.

The Good News

No, the good news, the Gospel, is that Jesus is going to return to this earth to straighten out this mess we have created! He will raise up His saints, who will rule with Him for 1,000 years. Afterward, a general physical resurrection where people will have “the books”, the “biblios”, the Bible opened to them for the first time. They will be offered their first chance at salvation! Those that reject His offer will die forever, and those who accept will live forever.

This is not the only day of salvation, as some would preach. Otherwise, the unthinkable alternative is that God is too powerless, too sadistic or too egotistical to keep over 2/3rds of human beings from going to an ever burning ever tormenting hellfire.

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  1. Please explain further about what you think the Good News actually refers to.

  2. Please explain further about what you think the Good News actually refers to.

  3. No problem. The word "gospel" is used 98 times in the NT. However, it often is used without any modifier and the context is vague. 5 times, however, it does have a context and it isn't vague. 4 x Jesus Himself said it was the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mk 1:14). Mk 1:15 reinforces Mk 1:15 by saying:

    And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    At the end of the Book of Acts, we see that after all of this time, Paul preached about the Kingdom of God as well:

    And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

    Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

    ~ Ac 28:30-31

    In short, that is the Gospel. Everything else is the journey there. Preaching about Christ and Him crucified is a good thing. Preaching about Him being resurrected is a great thing. Preaching about repentance, baptism and conversion is a good thing. However, stopping there is only telling half of the story. We need to focus on God and what He is preparing for, not only on what is happening to us humans right now.

    Christ will return one day to begin to establish His Father's Kingdom. Even that is not the end of the story, but only the beginning. He and His saints will put away suffering and evil. Everyone will have a chance at salvation. That's good news also. Everyone will have a chance at eternal life. That's good news also. Those who accept will become immortal. That's great news because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God". Those who are left as flesh and blood will be burned up when the earth is purified with fire. Then, we see the new earth, and we see New Jerusalem coming down to the earth. God the Father will then dwell with us! That, my friend, isn't just good news, that is Awesome News!!!!

  4. No problem. The word "gospel" is used 98 times in the NT. However, it often is used without any modifier and the context is vague. 5 times, however, it does have a context and it isn't vague. 4 x Jesus Himself said it was the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mk 1:14). Mk 1:15 reinforces Mk 1:15 by saying:

    And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    At the end of the Book of Acts, we see that after all of this time, Paul preached about the Kingdom of God as well:

    And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

    Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

    ~ Ac 28:30-31

    In short, that is the Gospel. Everything else is the journey there. Preaching about Christ and Him crucified is a good thing. Preaching about Him being resurrected is a great thing. Preaching about repentance, baptism and conversion is a good thing. However, stopping there is only telling half of the story. We need to focus on God and what He is preparing for, not only on what is happening to us humans right now.

    Christ will return one day to begin to establish His Father's Kingdom. Even that is not the end of the story, but only the beginning. He and His saints will put away suffering and evil. Everyone will have a chance at salvation. That's good news also. Everyone will have a chance at eternal life. That's good news also. Those who accept will become immortal. That's great news because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God". Those who are left as flesh and blood will be burned up when the earth is purified with fire. Then, we see the new earth, and we see New Jerusalem coming down to the earth. God the Father will then dwell with us! That, my friend, isn't just good news, that is Awesome News!!!!

  5. No problem. The word "gospel" is used 98 times in the NT. However, it often is used without any modifier and the context is vague. 5 times, however, it does have a context and it isn't vague. 4 x Jesus Himself said it was the "Gospel of the Kingdom" (Mt 4:23; 9:35; 24:14; Mk 1:14). Mk 1:15 reinforces Mk 1:15 by saying:

    And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

    At the end of the Book of Acts, we see that after all of this time, Paul preached about the Kingdom of God as well:

    And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,

    Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

    ~ Ac 28:30-31

    In short, that is the Gospel. Everything else is the journey there. Preaching about Christ and Him crucified is a good thing. Preaching about Him being resurrected is a great thing. Preaching about repentance, baptism and conversion is a good thing. However, stopping there is only telling half of the story. We need to focus on God and what He is preparing for, not only on what is happening to us humans right now.

    Christ will return one day to begin to establish His Father's Kingdom. Even that is not the end of the story, but only the beginning. He and His saints will put away suffering and evil. Everyone will have a chance at salvation. That's good news also. Everyone will have a chance at eternal life. That's good news also. Those who accept will become immortal. That's great news because "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God". Those who are left as flesh and blood will be burned up when the earth is purified with fire. Then, we see the new earth, and we see New Jerusalem coming down to the earth. God the Father will then dwell with us! That, my friend, isn't just good news, that is Awesome News!!!!

  6. Luke 23:43
    Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

    This was Jesus respone to the thief on the cross. He didn't say today you shall be with me in the grave.

    John 3:13 does not teach that no one has ever seen or entered heaven. It
    teaches that no man ever climbed up into heaven by his own power. The
    only one who has ever ascended to heaven in His own strength is the One
    who originated in heaven and came down to earth before He ascended.

    The Good News is that Christ died for our sins. Everyone does have a chance at salvation but that time is now. If you die without Christ it is to late.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  7. Matthew 5:3
    Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5:10
    Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 5:12
    Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

    March, you can't pick and choose your verses. To do that is to throw away the Truth of the Bible. The verse you are so depending on is showing you that Jesus was on earth and in Heaven at the same time ! How is this possible? It's simple He is part of the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You are taking the verse out of context.

    thanks,
    Mark

  8. Mark, you are ignoring all of the places where the Kingdom of God is being preached. Jesus dying for our sins is only half the story. We need to center on what God is doing. He is building His Kingdom.

    I do not see anywhere in Jn 3:13 where it says "by his own power". There is no need to read into the text. Even after Jesus' resurrection, we see in Ac 2:34 that King David, who was a righteous and Godly man, had not ascended into heaven either!

    Finally, I am reminded of a conversation I had with my daughter. I said, "I tell you right now, you will go to college!" I was telling her "right now", not expecting her to go to college "right now". If I had said, "I tell you, right now you will go to college", then there would be the little problem of her not having yet graduated high school. No, the "right now" was emphasis on what I was saying. I could just as easily have said "verily, verily" or "truly" or even "today". In fact, "I'm telling you today, you will go to college" would be perfectly acceptable. However, if I said "I'm telling you, today you will go to college" would have been incorrect.

    Greek had no punctuation. Jesus' remark was that He was affirming the truth of the statement through an idiom very similar to what we would use today. The correct translation would be "Verily I say unto thee today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." To render it any other way contradicts the clear Scriptures that no one has ascended into Heaven (except Jesus) and the clear Scriptures that we will live on the earth.

    I recommend you check out "Is Heaven the Reward of the Saved?" and "Is Hell the Punishment for Sinners?"

  9. Sorry, but, no the context of the entire Bible is that God will bring His Kingdom to the earth. Read the last 2 chapters of Revelation as see for yourself. The Kingdom of God belongs to God, and it isn't in God. Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to Heaven, where God's throne currently is, and it isn't in Heaven.

    However, I want to thank you for bringing this up, for "What Is the Kingdom of Heaven?" is a good topic for an entire blog post.

    The "Trinity" makes a mockery of God and is just another example of pagan concepts that have infiltrated Christianity. Please see my article "Some Questions for Trinitarians".

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