Before discussing the title topic, it is necessary to define it. What does immortal mean? According to Webster’s dictionary immortal is: exempt from death, lasting forever. What about the bible definition for immortal: Strong’s concordance article #110 Greek, deathlessness.
There are other words that are synonyms with immortal:
Webster’s- everlasting, lasting or existing forever
Strong’s article #166 Greek- everlasting, lasting forever
Immortality and everlasting life are the same thing according to man’s dictionary and God’s word. The immortal soul could be referred to as the everlasting soul, living forever soul or deathless soul. The soul of a human being is believed by many to live on forever having everlasting life either in heaven or hell.
The greatest question of all time must be what happens when we die?
Job asked this question.
KJV Job 14:13-15
13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!
14. If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.
15. Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.
Job said he would wait in the grave for a change to come at a set
time. Job was referring to the resurrection of the dead when the saints are changed at an appointed time.
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:51-52
51. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
One of the major doctrines of the churches today is that all human beings have an immortal soul. The bible tells us how God made human beings.
KJV Genesis 2:7
7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
There are two ingredients, if you will, that compose a human being, the dust of the ground and the breath of life. These two ingredients are what make a soul, a human being. A soul then is not something you have it is what you are. You are a living breathing creature, which is what the original Hebrew word for soul means. It means the same for animals as well as humans. Below is the Hebrew meaning of the word soul.
From HSN5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental):
KJV Ecclesiastes 3:18-19
18. I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.
19. 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; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
Our human spirit is the breath of life from God and is what gives us our intelligence, mind and inspiration.
ASV Job 32:8
8. But there is a spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.
The breath of life breathed into us is our conscience and is what we really are, the dust, or body, is what houses the mind or spirit of man.
ASV 1 Corinthians 2:11
11. For who among men knows the things of a man, save the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the things of God none knows save the Spirit of God.
Our human intelligence comes by the spirit of man, the breath of God from creation, that is what a man can know, but only the Spirit of God knows the things of God. Your human spirit, or spirit of man, is no more immortal than your body is. Your thoughts perish upon death and your thoughts are the function of your spirit. King David knew that death is death and that he was not immortal.
KJV Psalms 146:2-4
2. While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being.
3. Put not your trust in princes, or in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
4. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
David could only praise the Lord while he was alive and had being as a soul and says that the breath of life goes and we return to the Earth, or dust, and our thoughts perish.
King David had God's Holy Spirit.
KJV Psalms 51:11
11. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Many would think that David went to heaven after death but scripture says no.
KJV Acts 2:29
29. Men and brethren let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day.
KJV Acts 2:34
34. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Isaiah the prophet knew the dead cannot even praise God or learn His truth.
KJV Isaiah 38:18-19
18. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
19. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth.
David did not have an immortal soul and did not go to heaven when he died but David is awaiting the resurrection at the return of Jesus Christ. Enoch and Elijah, who were prophets, were both translated but did they go to God in heaven?
KJV Hebrews 11:5
5. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Enoch is one of those referred to as "these all" that died, therefore Enoch died just as all people do. It is appointed to all once to die. Enoch did not receive the promise, which is immortality.
KJV Hebrews 11:13
13. These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
KJV Hebrews 11:39-40
39. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40. God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
KJV Hebrews 11:35
35. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
Neither Enoch nor Elijah realized the promise of immortality but hoped for a better resurrection at the return of Jesus. All the saints will at that time receive immortality together.
Notice that there is nothing said about the soul being immortal. This is because you, a soul, are mortal and can die. Sin can kill a soul.
KJV Ezekiel 18:4
4. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
If a soul was immortal it could not die therefore if a soul can die it is not immortal.
KJV Matthew 10:28
28. And fear not them, which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Here Jesus says that both body and soul can be destroyed. The word soul in this verse is the old King James English word for spirit but the actual Greek word is psuche, which means breath or spirit. Just as in Genesis there are only two parts of man that Jesus mentions, dust and breath.
When God made a human being He breathed our spirit into our body which is the dust of the ground so that the breath of God is our spirit and the dust is our body. Jesus says plainly that both our spirit and our body can be destroyed. This is how a soul can die. Sin is what can kill a soul.
According to Jesus our body, or dust, and our spirit, or breath, can both be destroyed.
If you think a certain scripture says that you go to heaven or hell immediately after death then it would be in conflict with other scriptures that say the exact opposite. The bible cannot contradict itself but a biased thought in your mind could be wrong so as to make you think it does. The idea of instantly going to heaven or hell after death makes judgment day for each person at the time of death rather than collectively, for all people, at the great white throne judgment. How many times are we to be judged, if a person dies and goes to heaven or hell you would think that judgment has already been rendered, why have another for all people at the great white throne? Why have a resurrection of the dead if the dead are alive in heaven or hell?
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:53
53. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
In this verse Paul says that humans are mortal and must put on immortality at the resurrection so that would mean that we do not have immortality now but in the future when Jesus returns. Since the body is agreed by all to be mortal and is not to receive immortality then all that is left of man, his spirit, is what must receive or put on immortality. This means that the human spirit is not immortal if it has to put immortality on. Here we see agreement in the scriptures.
Scripture says that humanity is mortal and not immortal.
KJV Job 4:17
17. Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?
KJV Romans 2:7
7. To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, everlasting life:
Here Paul says that we must seek for immortality.
The question needs to be asked, why if we already have an immortal soul? We are not immortal souls but are told by Paul to seek immortality by faith in Jesus. The promise of the gospel is everlasting life, which is immortality. You do not seek for what you already have but you seek for what you hope for and for what is promised.
KJV 1 John 2:25
25. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even everlasting life.
Jesus Christ gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice to forgive our sins and sin is what kills our souls in the first place. The gospel is God's message to us that gives us the hope of receiving immortality in the resurrection at Christ's return.
KJV 2 Timothy 1:10
10. But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
We must believe the gospel and have faith in Christ in order to have the hope of immortality.
Since we are not immortal souls the promise of immortality or everlasting life comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
The reward or promise to us is not a place called heaven but immortal life itself. No unrepentant sinner will ever have immortality or everlasting life.
KJV 1 John 3:15
15. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath everlasting life abiding in him.
If an unrepentant murderer does not have immortality or everlasting life then he cannot be living forever in hell could he? Everlasting life or immortality is a gift that God gives to those who know the gospel and have faith in Jesus.
God withheld immortality from humanity after Adam and Eve committed the original sin.
KJV Genesis 3:22-24
22. And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever:
Adam rejected immortality that God offered him in the tree of life and just as a murderer, adulterer or any other sinner does not have everlasting life in him Adam was motral and did die.
23. Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.
24. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword, which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
As we have seen, God will not give immortality, everlasting life, to unrepentant sinners. God is not making the evil part of humanity into demonic type spirit beings that live forever. God will destroy an evil soul forever and not allow it to live.
KJV Romans 6:23
23. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If immortality is a promised gift from God dependent on faith in Jesus then how can unbelievers have it? Even the saints do not receive immortality until Jesus returns. The wages of sin is not immortality in hell fire, it is death, absolute and complete death.
This means that death is just that, death, no life of any kind, the total absence of life is death. Even a child knows this is true. It is by faith in Christ only that anyone will have immortality when Jesus returns to give it as a gift to the saints.
KJV John 3:36
36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.
We know that both body and spirit can be destroyed in God's wrath against an unrepentant sinner. This causes the sinner's existence to completely end forever and he is not living forever in hell. Scripture is said by Jesus to be unbreakable and will not contradict itself.
KJV John 10:35
35. If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
One scripture cannot be interpreted as saying we have immortal souls when others say plainly that we do not.
The scripture must agree on all points of doctrine, or else the bible would be full of contradictions. The world today has so many different churches with many differing doctrines because they jump to conclusions and do not prove the scripture with the scripture. In the very beginning, when God first made humans, He did not give them immortality because they sinned. The only way we can have immortality is by faith in Jesus and as a gift that we are promised and should seek. What Solomon had to say about death is as true today as when he first wrote these words.
KJV Ecclesiastes 9:10
10. Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
This scripture must agree with all other scripture if the bible is to remain pure and true. People do not have immortal souls; people are souls that die. Jesus gave His life so that, if we in faith believe, even if we do die He can resurrect us at His return. Until Christ returns no one goes to heaven or hell as people have falsely believed.
KJV John 3:12-13
12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, which is in heaven.
Jesus is the only one who ever ascended to heaven. People are of this Earth, of dust, and return to dust at death. A soul is what we are and is composed of two things, breath and dust. These two things must be joined together in order to have a soul. If breath and dust separate, we die and all life ends. Death came to humanity because of sin and the hope of the gospel is that through faith in Jesus we can live again at the last day by a resurrection at His return to Earth.
KJV John 11:24
24. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Lazarus was resurrected to physical life again by Jesus and was not a spirit being of the resurrection that happens at the Second Advent. The "last day" that Martha refers to is when Jesus returns and the first resurrection happens. No human being has ever experienced the first resurrection and will not until Jesus returns. This means that all people, saint or sinner, when they die are as dead as a stone. If Lazarus was in heaven or hell when he died then he would have been brought back from heaven or hell. If from hell why would he escape the judgment and if heaven why would he be denied his reward?
To believe that we are immortal and already have everlasting life denies the entire reason of why Jesus died for us.
In the beginning God said that human beings would surely die if they ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Satan lied when he said; Thou shall not surely die. God said sin will kill a soul, which is what we are, Satan said it would not. This is the source of the false doctrine of immortality of the soul, Satan's lie. A soul is not immortal and will surely die because of sin but Satan wants us to believe that we will not die because of sin.
You see then how believing you are an immortal soul destroys the gospel of Jesus Christ. Upon death saint and sinner alike cease to exist and have no life of any kind.
Solomon was called the wisest man who ever lived and his words about death are very true today just as then. These words are scripture and are the truth because God's word is truth. Please read all the following verses.
KJV Ecclesiastes 9:2-10
2. All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not: as is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth, as he that feareth an oath.
3. This is an evil among all things that are done under the sun, that there is one event unto all: yea, also the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live, and after that they go to the dead.
4. For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5. For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy is now perished; neither have they any more a portion forever in any thing that is done under the sun.
7. Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
8. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
9. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labor which thou takest under the sun.
10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
No one at death goes to heaven or hell you simply die and cease to exist.
King David says,
KJV Psalms 115:17
17. The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.
KJV Luke 20:35-36
35. But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
36. Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
The resurrection from the dead is the hope the saints have.
KJV Acts 24:15
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.
KJV 1 Corinthians 15:21-23
21. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.
KJV 2 Timothy 4:8
8. Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day:
9. and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
KJV Romans 6:22
22. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
KJV Galatians 6:8
8. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
KJV Titus 1:2
2. In hope of everlasting life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
KJV Titus 3:7
7. That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of everlasting life.
KJV James 1:12
12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
KJV Revelation 2:7
7. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Remember the tree of life contained immortality that Adam rejected and if we overcome and endure to the end God will give us this immortality as a free gift.
KJV 1 John 5:11-12
11. And this is the record, that God hath given to us everlasting life, and this life is in his Son.
12. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
KJV Daniel 12:2
2. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
KJV John 4:14
14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
KJV John 5:24
24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
KJV John 6:27
27. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
KJV John 6:40
40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
KJV John 6:47
47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
KJV Acts 13:46
46. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Another important issue is the Jesus event. Jesus is described as, the first born among many brethren. What does this mean? Jesus was the very first human being to be changed from flesh to spirit. Jesus is the example that we must follow and God through Jesus demonstrated the entire process of salvation to us. Jesus has become God’s proof to us that He is able to do for us what He has said. Jesus ascended to the Father forty days after his resurrection.
Jesus was the only human being to ever do this. Jesus said that no man ascends to heaven except the son of man. If Enoch or Elijah ascended before Jesus did then Jesus could not be the first born among many brethren.
The thief on the cross with Jesus did not ascend to paradise.
KJV Luke 23:43
43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The comma in the above verse was put in the wrong place and should be as follows.
KJV Luke 23:43
43. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise.
The thief will be with Jesus in paradise at the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns to Earth. Jesus did not ascend until forty days after his resurrection so the promise to the thief could not have been that very day.
In summary immortality is a gift from God through faith in the gospel of Jesus and we must seek immortality through Jesus. There is no life of any kind beyond death except by faith in Christ. If we die with this faith and hope contained in the gospel we will remain dead until Christ returns to Earth. Then at the return of Jesus the dead in Christ, those who believe the gospel will put on or be resurrected to immortality. Human beings are mortal just as God made us and are souls that die because of sin just as God said. Repent and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ and you can have the hope of immortality in the resurrection at the return of Jesus to the Earth.