People are Souls, They have a Heart, but are Soul-less
Most of us have likely heard the expression “Bob is an old soul or Sandy is a young soul,” right? We don’t hear people say “John ‘has’ a young soul.” We do hear them say that so and so is young at heart, though.
In the Hebrew Scriptures Strong’s defines Nephesh as a breathing creature, i.e. animal of vitality; Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon as a soul, self, life, a creature, a person, an appetite, a mind, a living being, a desire, an emotion, a passion. As you can see from the definition whatever it is, it is alive and vital.
For the sake of this teaching I am going to be using the Darby Bible since it uses the words “living soul” twelve times. The first usage is:
Gen 1:21 “And God created the great sea monsters, and every living soul that moves with which the waters swarm, after their kind, and every winged fowl after its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Most other popular versions use the word “creature or “thing” instead of soul.
What does every living soul do? They move! Whether they creep, crawl, swim or fly, they are living souls. I never really thought about worms, ants, bees or snails as being living souls, but I guess they are!
The second usage (and so on):
Gen 1:30 “and to every animal of the earth, and to every fowl of the heavens, and to everything that creepeth on the earth, which is a living soul, every green herb for food. And it was so”
Gen 2:7 “And Jehovah Elohim formed Man, dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and Man became a living soul.”
Gen 2:19 “And out of the ground Jehovah Elohim had formed every animal of the field and all fowl of the heavens, and brought [them] to Man, to see what he would call them; and whatever Man called each living soul, that was its name.”
Gen 9:10 “and with every living soul which is with you, fowl as well as cattle, and all the animals of the earth with you, of all that has gone out of the ark — every animal of the earth.”
Gen 9:12 “And God said, This is the sign of the covenant that I set between me and you and every living soul that is with you, for everlasting generations:’
Gen 9:15-16 “and I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living soul of all flesh; and the waters shall not henceforth become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living soul of all flesh that is upon the earth.
Lev 11:10 “but all that have not fins and scales in seas and in rivers, of all that swarm in the waters, and of every living soul which is in the waters — they shall be an abomination unto you.”
Lev 11:46 “This is the law of cattle, and of fowl, and of every living soul that moveth in the waters, and of every soul (creature) that crawleth on the earth;”
1 Cor 15:45 “Thus also it is written, The first man Adam became a living soul; the last Adam a quickening spirit.”
Rev 16:3 “And the second poured out his bowl on the sea; and it became blood, as of a dead man; and every living soul died in the sea.”
The following verses are from a Bible called The Message. Some of you OG’s may remember seeing it but it is one of the seventeen Bibles in my PC Bible Program.
1 Kings 15:29 “As soon as he was king he killed everyone in Jeroboam’s family. There wasn’t a living soul left to the name of Jeroboam; Baasha wiped them out totally,”
2 Chron 20:24 “As Judah came up over the rise, looking into the wilderness for the horde of barbarians, they looked on a killing field of dead bodies — not a living soul among them.”
Job 12:10 “Every living soul, yes, every breathing creature?”
Acts 3:22-23 “Moses, for instance, said, ‘Your God will raise up for you a prophet just like me from your family. Listen to every word he speaks to you. Every last living soul who refuses to listen to that prophet will be wiped out from the people.’ “
At the risk of becoming exhaustive I am compelled to give you every usage I could find on the 2 words. These verse are from the good old Catholic Bible, The Douay-Rheims. The first one we have already covered but I had to include it because someone mentioned something about adding water to dust to from the body of man. The Monks already took care of that!
Gen 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth: and breathed into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
Gen 8:21 “And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and said: I will no more curse the earth for the sake of man: for the imagination and thought of man’s heart are prone to evil from his youth: therefore I will no more destroy every living soul as I have done.”
Now for some of you younger souls, there are 400 more usages of soul in the Hebrew Scriptures. Feel free to have at ‘em. I’m just going to show a few that pop out at me.
Lev 5:1-4 “And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity. 2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing…………3 Or if he touch the uncleanness of man…………4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these. KJV
Deut 12:20-21 “When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh, because thy soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. 21 ………whatsoever thy soul lusteth after. KJV
To be honest and fair, there are many verses that would incline one to believe that the soul is something distinctly independent of the person. Here is just one:
Isa 29:8 “It shall even be as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion. KJV
Here is what one Commentary says about it: “[It shall even be …] This is a most striking figure representing the earnest desire of the Assyrian to possess the city of Jerusalem, and his utter disappointment.
(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Who would have thought that?
BTW, I looked up dead soul and couldn’t find anything. But, nothing is more convincing than looking at the 78 times soul(s) plural was used in the KJV! Then you will become further convinced that souls are living “things” that take breath, including fish, worms and bugs! You could even say, “If it shits, it’s a living soul!”
Gen 46:15 These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padan-aram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three. KJV
Gen 46:18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter, and these she bare unto Jacob, even sixteen souls. KJV
Gen 46:22 These are the sons of Rachel, which were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.
Gen 46:25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.
26 All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob’s sons’ wives, all the souls were threescore and six;
27 And the sons of Joseph, which were born him in Egypt, were two souls: all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten.
Acts 7:14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls. KJV
Acts 27:37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. KJV
1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. KJV
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Acts 7:14 Then sent Joseph, and called his father Jacob to him, and all his kindred, threescore and fifteen souls.
Since Bob mentioned the Apocraphal and extra Canonical Books I thought it would be cool to look at a few of those as well.
Judith 7:26-27 Now therefore call them unto you, and deliver the whole city for a spoil to the people of Holofernes, and to all his army. For it is better for us to be made a spoil unto them, than to die for thirst: for we will be his servants, that our souls may live, and not see the death of our infants before our eyes, nor our wives nor our children to die. KJV
Judith seems to be a pretty smart lady. I’ve always said that no one is any good to God dead! Here she would rather be someone’s spoil than starve to death!
Wisdom 2:22-3:1 As for the mysteries of God, they knew them not: neither hoped they for the wages of righteousness, nor discerned a reward for blameless souls. For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it. But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and there shall no torment touch them. KJV
Being a soul as opposed to having one eliminates a whole bunch of things which we know are not true, like soul sleep, transmigration of the soul, or soul travel.