Thursday, November 07, 2013

The Immortality of The Soul

There are many who believe in the immortality of the soul. It would seem that the Bible supports this belief. In I Corinthians Paul writes, “When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’”  There are many other places that speak of immortality. In John 11, Jesus assures Martha that we shall not die but live, “Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.'”  In these and many other verses the Bible is pointing toward unending life.  Even in the very beginning, Adam and Eve would have lived forever had they not disobeyed God. Jesus’ coming means that we will live forever, body and soul.   Yet like the body, the soul dies.   Many of our translations of the Bible obscure this fact.  In Judges 16, the great and beloved Samson, now weakened and blind, prays a great prayer to God.  We read, “Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be avenged upon the Philistines for one of my two eyes. “ He grasps the two middle pillars of the temple, and as he bears down on them with all his might says, “let me die with the Philistines.”  Only, this is not what he really says.  The Hebrew is quite clear.  What Samson actually says before his destruction of God’s enemies, is “let my soul die with the Philistines.” 
There are a number of other places in the Bible that speak of the death of the soul.  Taking a quick look, and confining myself for the sake of time to just the books from Genesis to the beginning of Joshua, I counted more than a dozen times that Bible referred to “dead souls” or the death of the soul.    In addition the soul can be in danger, it can be bought and sold (as in Revelation 18:13) and it can be “destroyed.” (Matthew 10, various psalms)  How then will the soul live forever? The answer to this question is simple.  Our souls will live forever, but not because they do not die, rather because God raises us up, body, soul, spirit, every little bit of us.  We will be raised up when Jesus comes again to be sure, but not just in the time to come but in the NOW. How can this be? Anyone can see plainly that the graveyards are not empty.  But remember, we walk by faith not by sight.  How is it that when we take our last breath, our next breath will be in the arms of our Lord and Savior? But so it is. And not just our souls will be with the Lord but our bodies too, our whole selves.  Peter saw by the power of the Holy Spirit how it was with Jesus when Jesus dead in his tomb.  Jesus says, “I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope.”  Jesus continues, God the Father will not leave my soul in the grave, in the underworld or even allow “thine Holy One to see rot.”  “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.” (Acts 2:27ff) As it was with Jesus so it will be with us; again, not just in the hereafter but in the here and now.  In the book of Isaiah, God says, “I will give you the faithful pities of David.”  All the mercies that Jesus is given, we will given as well.  We too will say in our graves, “I saw the Lord ever before me, for he is at my right hand...thou hast made known to me the ways of life.”  Our Father will not let us see corruption in the grave. Death, in the hereafter and in the here and now, is swallowed up in victory.  We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.