The Mortality of the Soul of Man according to JW:
JW believe that man is a soul and not that man posses a soul. In order to accommodate their belief that there is no eternal torment, JWs had to adapt the belief that the soul is mortal
Here is their argument and the answer to it:
In Gen. 2:7 as in Gen. 1:20, 30 the Hebrew describe man in the same words that are used to describe the fish, and animal “nephesh” “a soul” which confirms that beasts as well as man are equal “souls.” Therefore the soul of man is mortal. That is also confirmed by Numbers 31:28 “From the soldiers who fought in the battle, set apart as tribute for the LORD one out of every five hundred, whether persons, cattle, donkeys, sheep or goats.” So man and beast are both equal “souls.” Man has dominion over beast because man is a higher form of creation. In Ecc. 3:18-21 we read “I also thought, "As for men, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. Man's fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal. Everything is meaningless. All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?" Adam was created a living soul and no where we read that he was given an immortal soul (“Let God be true” then quote 1 Cor. 15:45 but I am not sure how is this scripture is related to this point?)
A. it is true that the Hebrew word “nephesh” used in Gen. 1:20. 30 to describe fish and animals. The same word also used in Gen. 2:7 to describe man as a living soul (being). However; that doesn’t mean that just like an animal, man is mortal. The same word “nephesh” used 7 times in the Hebrew and 1 time in the Greek to describe God.
Leviticus 26:11 'Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.
Leviticus 26:30 'I then will destroy your high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your remains on the remains of your idols, for My soul shall abhor you.
Judges 10:16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
Job 23:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.
Isaiah 1:14 Your New Moon festivals and your appointed feasts my soul hates. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
Isaiah 42:1 "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.
Hebrews 10:38 But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him."
If the word “nephesh” always refers to mortal being, then God must be mortal. The fact is the word “nephesh” simply mean “life, being” the word has no indication whatsoever whether the “soul” can be mortal or immortal. It is used to describe an animal that is mortal and God “who alone is immortal.”
B. As for Numbers 31:28: the context of that scripture refers to spoils of war. That could have been animals, slaves, or even materials. This scripture has nothing to do with the mortality or immortality of the soul of man. It any thing, the way JW misused this scripture of context reveals either intentional manipulation to the word of God or ultimate ignorance and stupidity.
C. As for Ecc. 3:18-21: The meaning of this scripture is so obvious from the context and it has nothing to do with the mortality of the soul of man but rather with the vanity of man’s toil on this earth. In Ecc. 2:1-10 the preacher said that he labored and got every thing he wanted, then concluded “Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” Ecc. 2:11. and that is the point of Ecc. 3:18-21. it is vain to invest all your life on this earth. If we gonna take his words in Ecc. 3: 18-21 literally, then we also must take his words in Ecc. 2:14-15 literally and agrue that there is no need for wisdom in this life and we all need to be fools.
The word “soul” is Hebrew “nephesh” occur 745 times and in Greek it is “psyche” occurs 102 and we never find one occurrence where the word “soul” is associated with words like “immortal, eternal, everlasting.”
That is simply not true. I have just mentioned 8 scriptures where the word “soul” refers to the immortal God.
The fact that the soul of man is mortal can be found many times in the scriptures. For example Ezekiel 18:4 "Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die.” There are 54 times in the Hebrew bible that shows that the soul can be slain or dead. And there is 243 times where the word “nephesh” is used for a person as being mortal or subject to various types of death for ex. Ps. 22:20, 29. even in Isaiah 53 we see that Jesus poured out his soul to death. And in Matthew 10:28 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.” The destruction here refers to a death of the soul where there is no resurrection. And in Psalm 146:4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish.”
This argument is a prime example of the biased twist that the JW do in their interpretation of the scripture. The load a God-inspired word with a man-made, evil ideas and then ask their deceived followers to believe it.
The word “soul” simply mean “life, being, person” the NIV rightly doesn’t even translate the word from Hebrew in many occasions. Just as a couple of examples:
So the “soul” i.e. the person, being, life…etc. can eat, drink, fast, sleep, live and yes it can also die. However, there is no need to jump in conclusions that when the scriptures say the “the soul die” that means that Souls are mortal especially in the light of the clear teaching of the Bible regarding the immortality of humans both the just and the unjust.
It is funny that JW use Matt. 10:28 to support their belief that once a human die, they vanish. This scripture says quite the opposite. It say that even though you die and your body stop functioning, yet there is another form of death that man can’t do which is the destruction of the inner being that only God can destroy. That is a total contradiction to the JW belief that the moment you close your eyes, your soul vanish and your energy (spirit) get absorbed in God.
Psalm 147:4 simply says that when man dies, he leaves earth and he is gone. The mortality or immortality of man is not at all the point of this verse.
God alone is immortal 1 Tim. 1:17. and he bestowed immortality on Christ after his resurrection 1 Tim. 6:16 and he will bestow immortality of the chosen congregation of Christian Rom. 2:7, and 1 cor. 15:53-54, and 2 Tim. 1:10.
The fact that these scriptures teaches the immortality of God and the immortality of the believers doesn’t mean the denial of the immortality of the sinners and their eternal torment.
The wicked shall never be remembered for resurrection: Proverbs 10:7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot. Proverbs 21:16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding Will rest in the assembly of the dead. Obadiah 16. For as you drank on my holy mountain, So shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, And they shall be as though they had never been. Jeremiah 51:57 "I will make her princes and her wise men drunk, Her governors, her prefects and her mighty men, That they may sleep a perpetual sleep and not wake up," Declares the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 26:14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. Psalm 109:15 Let them be before the LORD continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth.
None of theses scriptures teach the immortality of the soul of man.
Proverbs 10:7 and Psalm 109:15 simply says that people will remember the righteous after his death because of his legacy but they won’t remember the wicked.
Pro. 21:16 simply says that those who abandon wisdom will end up ruining their lives. A very common theme in the book of proverbs.
Obadiah 16. God is uttering destruction over Edom. He will cut off Edom forever v 9, 10. ie. Edom will be destroyed from existing as a nation on earth. And that is what God was saying in v16. this verse has nothing to do with the mortality or the immortality of the soul of man.
In Jer. 51:57 and Isaiah 26:14. the wicked “shall sleep and not wake up” or “decease and shall not rise” means that once the wicked die, hw won’t be resurrected again to live on earth and have another life. These scriptures have nothing to say about the fate of the soul of man on the other side of death.
The Immortality of the Soul of man according to the scripture:
1- The Bible teaches that the wicked shall rise again which is in total contradiction with the JW teaching:
Daniel 12:2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Acts 4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 17:31 "because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Hebrews 6:2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
John 5:28-29 : Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice. and come forth -- those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
Revelation 20:11-15 “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.”
1 Peter 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.
Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
2 Timothy 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
Acts 10:42 "And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
It is clear then from all these scriptures that ALL man kind will be judged. ALL the living and ALL the dead. That contradicts the teaching of JW that the soul oh man is mortal and only those who follow Jehovah will be raised again for judgement.
2- if the soul of man is mortal and sinner will cease from existence, then why does the bible teaches different levels of damnation.
Matthew 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
Matthew 23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Romans 2:5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed.
Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
If sinners will equally cease from existence, then Jesus and Paul who uttered these scriptures must be so ignorant about the fate of soul of man.
3- Jesus told the thief “I tell you the truth, Today you will be with me in paradise” luke 23:43. So we see from this verse that the thief’s soul will not cease from existence when he dies but rather will exist in a different place.
It is note worthy to bring up how the New World Translation (the JW translation of the bible) manipulated the text. They translate that verse as follow “And he said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” So what the JW are saying is that Jesus told the thief “ today I tell you the truth that one day you will be with me in paradise”
It is heart-breaking how the JW twist and manipulate the word of God for their own destruction. The phrase “Truly I say to you” was followed by a time only few other times in the Gospels.
Matthew 5:18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.
Matthew 26:34 Jesus said to him, "Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." (cf. Mark 14:30 “Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”)
John 8:58 Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am."
In none of all these scriptures the point in time is included with the phrase “truly I say to you” but rather in each time the point in time is part of the truth that Jesus was declaring. In the same way we must understand Luke 23:43.
4- 1 Peter 3: 18-20. we read. “For Christ…made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.”
According to JW every human being, including Christ himself, cease from of existence the moment they die. But if that is true, then how can the non-existing spirit of Christ proclaim His victory to the non-existing souls of sinners that vanished by the flood?
5- The God of the living: When the Sadducees who don’t believe in the resurrection came to Jesus, He told them “ But that the dead are raised, even Moses showed, in the passage about the burning bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Now He is not the God of the dead but of the living; for all live to Him.” Luke 20:37-38 But according to JW, When God encountered Moses in the burning bush, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all have ceased from existence. They are only “thoughts” in the memory of God…i.e. God is not really the God of the living. JW might argue back that Jesus meant, “They excited as thoughts”…i.e. they excited in the non-existence…yeah…good luck with this one.
6- In Rom. 7:22, Eph. 3:16 and 2 Cor. 4:16 Paul spoke of an inner man who delights in the law of God, who can be strengthened and renewed compared to the outer man that is decaying every year. Now this won’t make any sense with JW theology that there is no differentiation between the body/soul/spirit.
7- In 2 Cor.12:2-4 Paul spoke of being in the presence of God possibly outside of his body. But according to JW that is impossible since there is no existence outside the body.
8- In Phil. 1:22-24, and 2 Tim. 4:6 Paul spoke of death as “departure to be with Christ” but if he will cease from existence, then he must be really delusional.
9- In 2 Peter 1:13-15 The Apostle Peter spoke of himself as dwelling for awhile in his earthly tabernacle until the time came for him to lay aside his body and depart. For Peter the cessation of the body is not equal to the cessation of existence.
10- In Isaiah 14:9-11, the Bible teaches that souls exist in Sheol "God said to the King of Babylon: "Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; ... "They will all respond and say to you, 'Even you have been made weak as we, You have become like us. 'Your pomp and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol".
11- In 1 Sam 28: 1-20, we see that Samuel didn’t cease from existence after his death "Now Samuel was dead ... Then Saul said to his servants, "Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her." ... Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice... And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid; but what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see an old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel ... Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" And Saul answered, "I am greatly distressed; for the Philistines are waging war against me ... therefore I have called you, that you may make known to me what I should do." And Samuel said, tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!"
12- In Rev. 6:9-11 Souls excited after their death "I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God ... and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, wilt Thou refrain from judging and avenging our blood ... And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer"
13- In Matthew 17 we read that Moses and Elijah appeared with Christ to the disciples. But wait, according to JW, they ceased from existence for hundreds of years at this point. God must have created them back from His memory and then He killed then again after they appeared with Christ. After all, there is nothing really too hard for God.
14- If man cease from existence when he dies, then why Judas fate is worse than him not being born. Supposedly in both cases he equally in non-existence. Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
15- If man cease from existence when he dies, then what did Jesus mean in Luke 12:5 “But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
After God kills man, God have no more authority since man doesn’t exist anymore?
16- In Rev. 19:20 we read that the false prophet and the beast were cast into the lake of fire. Then in Rev. 20:10 we read “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” if JW argue that the lake of fire is a figure of speech for eternal annihilation, then how can the bible say that the false prophet and the beast were there in the lake of fire when the devil was cast there?
17- If man cease from existence when he dies, then how in the world did paul say Philippians 1:23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better” supposedly he will cease from existence once e dies? Notice: “be with Christ” same promise to the thief on the cross.
18- If angels cease from existence according to the JW teaching, then what in the world was peter talking about 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;
If man cease from existence when he dies, then what does this mean 2 Corinthians 5:8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
19- If souls cease from excistance when they die, then what in the world happened to Enoch and Elijah? They never actually died.
20- Job and solsomen considered the soul/spirirt distinct from the body. Job 4:19 “how much more those who live in houses of clay, whose foundations are in the dust,” Ecc12:7 “and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”
21- In Luke 16:19-31 we read "Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me."
Let us take a look at JW understating of this passage of the Bible:
Jesus used an illustration with the Pharisees to explain how the situations will be reversed. The Pharisees who are so proud of their spiritual riches are about to be put down and the humble are about to be lifted up. Continuing his remarks to the Pharisees, Jesus spoke of 2 men who represent 2 situations/statuses. The rich man who represent the Jewish leaders who are rich in “spiritual privileges and opportunities” while the poor man represent the common people. The religious leaders like the rich denied the common people spiritual nourishment and the common people like Lazarus are seeking the spiritual morsels that drops form the rich man’s table. Jesus continued to describe the dramatic change in these situations by saying that both men died. But since these are not real people since they symbolize 2 classes of people, then we should understand their death is a figurative way. Jesus has just finished pointing to the change of the circumstances when he said “since the days the John the Baptist the kingdom of God suffer violence.” Hence, it is with the teaching of Christ that both the rich man and Lazarus die to their former circumstances or conditions. Those of the Lazarus class died to their former spiritually deprived condition and come to a position of divine favor. Whereas they had earlier looked to the religious leaders for what little dropped from the spiritual table, now this scriptural truth imparted by Jesus are filling their needs. They are thus brought into the bosom or favorite position of the greater Abraham, Jehovah God. On the other hand those who make up the rich man class come under defined disfavored because of persistently refusing to accept the kingdom message taught by Jesus. They thereby die to their former position of seeming favor. In fact they are spoken of as being in figurative torment. The message of Christ and the disciples is tormenting the rich man and the people of his class so they want Jesus and the disciples to water down the message thus giving them some relief. This just condition reversal took place on the day of Pentecost when it was obvious that the disciples not the Pharisees are in the divine favored position. The “great gap” represents God’s righteous judgment. The rich man next requests “father Abraham” to send Lazarus “to the house of my father because I have five brothers.” The rich man thus confesses that he has another closer relationship to another father, who was actually Satan. The rich man requests that Lazarus watered-down God's judgment messages so as not to put his “five brothers,” that is his religious allies, in “this place of torment.” But “father Abraham” told him that the only way to escape this torment is to heed the message of Moses and the prophets and the brothers won’t get any special treatment.
And the award for the master manipulator of the word of God goes to…Jehovah witnesses.
All what I can say is WOW. The twist the JW did of this passage of the Bible makes me not sure if I should laugh because it is so unreal or cry because of how deceived and deceiving they are.
There are so many deceptions in this exegesis:
Let us assume this is a parable (or an illustration if that makes JW happier), the parables/illustrations of Jesus are simple truth of everyday life that the Jews can relate to which Jesus used to explain deeper truths of the things of God. The Parables has to be factually correct to make sense to the hearers. It is just SIMPLE facts that Jesus used to convey DEEP truth. For example Jesus used a sower and lands to explain people’s response to the word of God. Jesus started his parable “The sower went out to sow…” Matt 13:3. Now Jesus didn’t say “the fisherman went out to sow…” That will be factually incorrect and will not help the hearers to understand the truth needing to be conveyed. Let us apply that to JW understanding of the “illustration” of the rich man and Lazarus. Jesus mentioned things like:
A. The dead will exist after they die.
B. There is torment to the souls that reject God after their death.
Now, according to JW, these are lies. So here we have Jesus using factually incorrect statements to convey the truth of God.
Even worse, these are, once again according to JW, paganistic and anti-biblical theology that souls exist after they die and that sinners will be conscious in torment. One must ask, why would Jesus borrow false demonic doctrine to illustrate the truth of God?
And to make things absolutely worse, the concept of the immortal soul of man was common among the Jews in that time. So instead of Jesus confronting his hearers of their paganistic beliefs, here he is using their anti-biblical theology to convey a metaphoric message.
JW exegesis of this “illustration” describes the Pharisees as rich in “spiritual privileges and opportunities” what does that mean?? if that means that they were rich in “spiritual TRUTH,” then the Pharisees should be the poor man before their death and the rich man after their death because they missed the truth before and after Christ preaching. If their riches refers to “spiritual RESOURCES…you know, info, commentaries…etc”, then that didn’t change either after the preaching of Christ. If their riches refers to “a place of favor with God,” then guess what? God didn’t favor the Pharisees before nor after the preaching of Christ. The bottom line is this, JW explanation is an utter non sense in its very foundation.
Now as for using “death” metaphorically to explain the change in their situations, I understand that the gospel can be an “aroma of death” to those who are perishing... people like the rich man class in this “illustration.” But according to JW exegesis….The preaching of the Gospel transformed the “poor Lazarus-like class of people” from their utter deprivation and hunger for God to God’s very own bosom. Yet what word did Jesus use “metaphorically” to describe that???? DEATH. Really now?????
The “greater Abraham…Jehovah God” where is that coming from???? Abraham was never a type of Christ or God in the Bible.
In the JW exegesis, torment and hell is “the message of Christ and his disciples.” But when Lazarus asked for his tongue to be cooled, Abraham said that neither Lazarus nor the rich man is ABLE to cross that gap even if they WANT to. However, if we are speaking metaphorically, we have people in the bible who crossed this gap all the time. For example, Saul, a Pharisee transformed from “hades” to “the bosom of Abraham.” The biblical truth is that any one is ABLE to come into the kingdom of God if they WANT to, a total contraction to the JW exegesis.
According to JW exegesis, the preaching of the Christ didn’t torment the brothers of the rich man i.e. “his religious allies” since they weren’t in hades. So how does that work exactly? The preaching of Christ torments only a certain group of the rich man class while the rest of the rich man class get to still enjoy life? I thought that the whole purpose of this “illustration” is that circumstances of the WHOLE class of the rich man have changed by the preaching of Christ.
So when the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to his brothers, JW concluded that the rich man confesses that “he has a closer father that is Satan.” The problem is that earlier in the story, the rich man called Abraham “Father Abraham” and Father Abraham called him back “Son.” So what now? Are the unrepentant Pharisees “children of God”???? Unless to JW Satan was a “closer” father and God is a “not a very close” father to the rich man…kinda a step-dad…you know.