Introduction: Body, soul and spirit are distinct.

-1Thes. 5:23 Man has a “body, soul and spirit” 

-Heb. 4:12. The word of God is able to divide the soul and spirit.

-Luke 1:46, 47. Mary's soul was magnified and her spirit rejoiced.

-Isa. 10:18. There is both a “soul and body

-Mat. 10:28. “[Men]...kill the body but are not able to kill the soul


I.                   BODY


The Body is the external shell in which we dwell that dies and is left behind.

-James 2:26.  “The body apart for the spirit is dead.”

-Ecc. 12:7.  The flesh returns to the dust and spirit returns to God.

-2Cor. 4:16. The outward man decays. The inward man is renewed.

-2Cor. 4:7.  Bodies are “earthen vessels.” that contain the “treasure

-Phil. 1:22-24. Paul was in a strait between abiding “in the body” or to depart to be with Christ, which was “far better.”  Certainly this is not annihilation.

-2Cor. 5:1-4. The body is an earthly tabernacle in which we dwell.

-2Cor. 5:10.  We must give account for things done in the body – indicating that we will not always be in it.

-2Tim. 4:6.  At death Paul was going to “depart.”  Departing suggests leaving rather than annihilation.

-2Pet. 1:13-15. Peter was “in” this tabernacle and at death it would be “put off .”

-Rom. 7:22.   There is an “inward man

-Eph. 3:16.   There is an “inward man

-Isa. 26:9.   Man’s souldesires” and his spirit withinseeks.” (The soul and spirit are mentally active)

-Gen. 35:18.  The soul departed.

-1Kings 17:21, 22.  His soul came into him.

-Heb. 13:3. We are “in the body

-Heb. 10:5. Jesus had a body prepared for him.  This indicates he and the body were distinct.

-2Cor. 12:2-4.  A man might be in or out of the body and hear things in the third heaven.



1.      2Cor. 12:2-4 appears to refer to Paul’s stoning at Lystra, leaving him for dead (Ac. 14:19, 20). 

2.      If it were impossible for any mental function apart from the body, he could not have been out of the body, hearing things in paradise. This clearly shows that Paul did not hold the concept that out of the body the spirit had no mental perception.

3.      The body apart from the spirit is dead -James 2:26.


OBJECTION: This is called a “vision” (12:1)


Vision” (#3701 “optasia) does not indicate he could not have been out of the body. 

“Visions” can be actual events.

-Ac. 26:13-19. The appearance of Jesus to Saul on road to Damascus was called a “vision” (26:16).  Acts 9:3-7. Luke says Jesus appeared to Paul. -Acts 9:17; 22:14.  Ananias said Jesus appeared. -1Cor. 9:1; 15:8.  Paul said he had seen Jesus.

-Acts 9:12.  In a vision, Paul saw Ananias coming to him.






 #5315 “nephesh” (751 times) from 5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental):

      KJV-- any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), de­sire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thyself-), them (your)- selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.



-Job 14:22. There is a soul “in man”.

-Psalms 42:4, 6. His soul was within him.     

-Psalms 107:5.  Souls were in them.    



#5590 “psuche”  [105 times]; from 5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sen­tient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from 4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; and on the other from 2222, which is mere vitality, even of plants: these terms thus exactly correspond respectively to the Hebrew 5315, 7307 and 2416):

KJV-- heart (+-ily), life, mind, soul, + us, + you.



Matt.  10:28. Man can kill the body but “can not kill the soul.”        


OBJECTION:  Souls are said to die and be killed.

Ezek. 18:4The soul that sinneth, it shall die


The whole man is sometimes called a “soul.” “Soul” is often used as a part for the whole. This is a figure of speech called a “synecdoche.” However, as the Scriptures overwhelmingly show, man has a soul within him (Job 14:22).  The body can be killed (Matt. 10:28; James 2:26). That does not mean that the inner man, which returns to God, ceases to exist. Ezek. 18:4 and similar scripture teach that the person (“soul”) who does the sinning is to be put to death.


OBJECTION:  When Jesus “laid down his soul” it must be speaking of the death of his inner person.

John 10:17, 18.  I lay down my life [#5590 “psuche”] that I may take it again.

Mark 10:45.   For the Son of man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life [#5590 “psuche”] a ransom for many. (ASV)


Neither of these scriptures teach that Jesus ceased to exist.  HE took back his soul. The soul is so connected between the body and the spirit that in some cases it seems to be used of the life of the body and in others of the personality of the spirit.  That is why it sometimes refers to the difficulty of distinguishing between the three (Heb. 4:12).



Gen. 2:7 God breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living soul.  Man is a soul, he does not have a soul.


a.       Because it says that man became a soul does not prove that when the soul or spirit departs from the body the soul ceases to exist.  


b.       Man is called a soul, as when a rancher says that he just “hired a hand.”  This is a figure of speech known as a “synecdoche” wherein a part is spoken of for the whole.


c.       Man is also said to have a soul. The possessive relationship is used repeatedly in scripture.

-Gen. 35:18. “her soul was departing

-1Kings 17:21, 22.the child's soul came into him again.”

-2Kings 4:27. “her soul was vexed within her.”

-Job. 14:22.  “his soul within him shall mourn.”

-Psalms 42:4, 6  “my soul within me

 (cf. Zech. 12:1. God forms the spirit of man within him)


d.       Lev. 26:11, 30; Isa. 1:14.  The living God, who is “Spirit” (John 4:24), also speaks of himself possessing a soul.  Does that mean that He can only live in a bodily form? 


OBJECTION: “Animals have souls”


Yes, they are conscious beings.  However, since God also has a soul (see above), having a soul does not indicate the soul is dependent upon a physical body to exist.

However, being created in the image of God, man does not only have a soul but he also has characteristics of God that animals do not have.  One of those is that his soul (or spirit) can exist without the body.


OBJECTION: “The immortal soul concept came from Plato.”


This is an unproven assumption.  It is a contrived explanation to escape the difficulty of why the early Christians did not agree with modern annihilationists.


This falsehood was answered by Justin Martyr and others of the Patristics. They said that what truth Plato had was bor­rowed from Old Testament sources.  They also corrected Plato’s errors. 


The same sort of reasoning would make early Christians followers of Plato in other areas on which they agreed.  It would also make those who deny the soul's conscious function apart from the body as being borrowed from Aristotle or some other pagan, or humanistic philosopher. 


Does the fact that Paul quoted a heathen philosopher in Acts. 17:23 prove he got his view of God from them?  Does his saying, “I am a Pharisee” (Ac. 23:6), in any way discredit his conviction concerning the resurrection?


OBJECTION: Immortality is given only to the righteous at the resurrection.


1.      Immortality has to do with not dying.  The question then is, what is meant by “death”?  If death has to do with the soul separating from the body (James 2:26), it does not necessarily effect the consciousness of the soul.  Jesus indicated man can kill the body but not the soul (Matt. 10:28).  The body is what is said to “die.”  Perhaps that is what receives immor­tality at the resurrection.


2.      In any case, since souls can exist without physical bodies, the issue of immortality of the soul is irrelevant.






 #7307 ruwach  [361 times]; from #7306; wind; by resem­blance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figura­tively, life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension, a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): KJV Trans:-- air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).




  #4151  pneuma; from #4154 [385 times]; a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit: KJV--Translated: ghost, life, spirit (-ual, -ually). Compare 5590.


The word, spirit, is derived from the fact that it is “wind-like” because it cannot be seen going or coming.  It is clear that “spirit,” especially in the New Testament, commonly indicated personality.



-Job 32:8There is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty giveth them understanding.”

-Job 32:18. “The spirit within me constraineth me.”

-Zech 12:1 God formed the spirit of man within him

-Ps. 77:6.  David said his spirit made diligent search. (Did his breath search?)

-Is. 26:9.With my soul have I desired thee in the night, yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee earnestly.”


1.      Spirit” is used of the human spirit 49 times in K.J.V.


2.      Translated, “Ghost” 2 times in K.J.V.

      -Mat. 27:50  Jesus “...gave up the ghost (pneuma)

      -John. 19:30.   Jesus “...gave up the ghost (pneuma)


3.      A spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) but obviously it had personality.


4.      God is a Spirit (John. 4:24).  God is without a physical body but has personality.


5.      The Holy Spirit has personality.

-Mat. 28:19. “Baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” --three personalities.

-John 16:7-15. He comforts, comes, guides, speaks, hears, declares, glorifies, receives and teaches.

-1Cor. 12:11. He has a will.

-Rom.  8:26-27. He has a mind.

-Eph.  4:30. He can be grieved.

-Acts 15:28. Things can “seem good” to Him.

-Acts 13:2.  He “said” things.

-Acts  5:3.  He can be lied to.


6.      Angels are spirits

The Sadducees and Pharisees disputed about the existence of angels and spirits. This  certainly indicates personality.  On this basis, Paul declared himself a Pharisee.  (Acts 23:6-8)


-Psalms 104:4. “He makes spirits his messengers (angels)

-Heb. 1:7.  “He makes his angels spirits.” (quotation from Ps. 104:4)

      -Heb. 1:13-14.  Angels are “ministering spirits” (“pneuma”) from Psalms 104:4.


7.      The devil is a spirit.

-Eph. 2:2. He is “the prince of the power of the air of the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience

-Job. 1:6, 7; 2:1-2. He came and spoke to God.

-Rev. 12:7-12. He and his angels fought against Michael and his angels.

-2Cor. 11:13. He fashions himself into an angel of light.

-Mat. 4:1-11. He tempted Jesus.

-Mat. 25:41. Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels.

-Jude 9. Michael contended with the devil.

-Eph. 6:11, 12, 16. “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.... Stand,...withal taking up the shield of faith wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one....”


8.      Demons are intelligent spirits. (47 times in K.J.V.)

-Luke 9:39-42.  A demon is called a “spirit.”


-Luke 11:24-26. The evil spirit that went out of a man passed through the waterless places seeking rest; and finding none, he returned to the house from which he came.  Finding it swept and garnished he took to himself seven other spirits more evil than himself and the last state of the man was worse than the beginning.


-Mark 3:11. Unclean spirits fell down before Jesus and confessed that he was the son of God.


-Luke 8:2.  Mary had seven demons.


-Luke 8:26-38.  A man had a spirit called a demon.  It besought Jesus not to torment it before its time.  Then it confessed that the man was filled with a legion of demons.  They entreated that they not be required to depart into the abyss.  They then entered bodies of swine. (Mat. 8:29; Mark 5:7)  




-1Pet. 3:19-20.  Those who were disobedient in days of Noah were, “spirits in prison.” when Peter wrote. “In prison” suggests continued existence, not annihilation.


-Heb. 12:22-23. At the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews, some were “spirits of just men made perfect.”


“…ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable hosts of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the  spirits of just men made perfect...” (cf. 11:16 “a heavenly”; 11:40 “made perfect”).


OBJECTION: “Spirit” means, “wind” or “breath.”


1.      Spirit” and “breath” are not identical.  Man has both spirit and breath. 

-Job 34:14. God gathers to himself “his spirit (#7307 ruwach) and his breath” (#5397 neshamah)

-Isaiah 42:5  “...he that gives breath (#5397 neshamah) unto the people upon it, and  spirit (#7307 ruwach) to them that walk therein:..”


2.      Spirits can be conscious without physical bodies.

a.       John 4:24.  God is a spirit.  He created us in His image.

b.      Unlike a breath or, wind, our Spirits are intelligent.

-Gen. 26:35. They can have “grief.”

-Gen. 41:8.  They can be “troubled.”

-Ex.   6:9.  They can have “anguish.”

-Ex.  28:3.  They can have “wisdom.”

-Ex.  35:21.  They can be “made willing.”

-John 11:33. Jesus groaned in the spirit. (breath?)

-John 13:21. Jesus was troubled in the spirit.

-2Cor. 7:1. “let us cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (Is this saying we should cleanse ourselves both in body and breath?). Cleansing the spirit is a mental action.

-Rom. 1:9.  Paul served God with his spirit (breath?).

-Rom. 8:16.  God's Spirit bears witness with our spirit.  Both are intelligent.

-1Cor. 2:11. Man's spirit “knows.”


In the New Testament, except for one passage, it is questionable whether the word, “spirit,” is ever properly translated “breath” or “wind.”  Only two scriptures have been so translated. 


-John 3:8.  “The wind blows where it listeth.” This may better be translated, “The Spirit breaths where it wills.”

-Heb. 1:7. “Who maketh his angels winds,” may better be,

                 “Who makes his messengers spirits”. (see 1:14)


The one exception is John 6:63, where “spirit is used in a figurative, non-personal sense.

It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I have spoken unto you are spirit, and they are life. (ASV) 


Pneuma is also translated “life” in Rev. 13:15 (K.J.V.).  It says that the two-horned beast had “power to give life (pneuma) to the image of the beast that it should speak...”  This suggests intel­ligence.



When Jesus spoke of John coming in the “spirit and power” of Elijah it was not speaking of a personality.  John himself denied he was Elijah.


No exception whatever.  In fact, this shows that “spirit” did not mean “power.”  If the spirit did not mean his power then what--his breath?  Was this a “wind” like Elijah?  No, it was a person like Elijah, or having the attitude expressed by Elijah--fulfilling the predictions and purposes revealed by him.  He would think or teach like Elijah. This indicates mental activity.


OBJECTION:  Animals also have “spirits” (Gen. 7:15)


As we have shown above, God (Gen. 1:1; 6:3, etc.) and many intelligent beings had spirits.  The spirit is the intellectual function.  Animals have mental function, though not on the level with man.  That does not prove man's spirit cannot be conscious when the body dies. 


OBJECTION:  Man has no preeminence above the beast. 

Ecc. 3:19-21. “I said in my heart, It is because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they them­selves are but as beasts.  For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath (spirit); and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity.  All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth?  Wherefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?



The problem here is the annihilationist’s disregard of the context.  Solomon is speaking of things “under the sun” --from the view of our world, Ecclesiastes expresses man's struggle to understand the seeming conflicts of life “under the sun” (nearly 40 times).  What Solomon said in his heart (Ecc. 1:12, 14, 16, 17; 2:1-3, 15, 16; 3:18) were his thoughts. From the human perspective, man cannot know whether the spirit of a man goes upward and the spirit of the beast downward. We see no difference in their deaths.  However, at the end of the letter, Solomon clearly states the difference --man’s body returns to the dust and his spirit returns to God (Ecc. 23:9). 


To insist that this reveals God's view of things would require that we also deny the resurrection (“Who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?”There is no more a reward for ever in anything that is done under the sun” (3:22; cf. 9:5-6).  The statement that there is nothing better than to enjoy one's self  (2:24) is obviously speaking from human perspective.  God said that people who endorse that as their way of life are fools (Lk. 12:20).


Angels and other beings are spirits without physical bodies.  They have intelligence.  Why cannot our spirits exist without physical bodies?  We are created in the image of God.  Animals are not.  We have the same source and our bodies are the same as animals but we have higher thought processes and at death, our spirit returns to God (Ecc. 12:7).  No place does it say that the spirit of the beast re­turns to God.


OBJECTION: “The scholars, or Fathers say...”


Paul did not have much confidence in the opinions of “scholars.” (1Cor. 1:20-31; 2:8; 1Tim. 6:20).  Nor did Jesus show much regard for “wisdom” of the scribes, elders and lawyers (Mat. 15:2-9; Mark 7:1-8).  They often made void the word of God. 


            Just because a man has spent a lot of time learning what others have said does not mean he knows the truth (2Tim. 3:7).  He may simply know a lot of what “ain't so.”  Sometimes it takes a clever man to get around the obvious.  In fact, that which requires so much effort to get around the obvious is probably not the “simplicity which is in Christ”. (2Cor. 11:3; 3:15-18; 4:3)


Rom. 3:4. “Yea, let God be true and every man a liar!”