Different people and different religions have different ideas and explanations of what exactly is the soul. Still: is there any way to know for sure how to understand what a soul is?
Let me give my understanding and my explanation of what my own research reveals as to the answer of what exactly is the soul. My answer will be based on how I understand what the soul is according to the Holy Bible.
Why should we look at the Bible to understand what exactly is the soul? Well, because the word soul appears many times in the Holy bible. The wordsoul is translated from the Hebrew word “nephesh” and is found some 850 times in the Old Testament and translated from the Greek word psyche about 100 times in the New Testament. Have you found another book where the word soul appears more times than that?
In the Bible, the word soul basically can refer to: a human, an animal, a life or the life that an entity enjoys. (Genesis 2:7; 1 Corinthians 15:45; James 5:20; Revelation 16:3) The concept of the soul being separate from the body, invisible or immaterial and immortal is not found in the Bible but actually comes from Greek philosophy.
Let’s take a few verses to show that is a good understanding:
Genesis 2:7 tells us that God made man from the dust (elements) of the earth. When the man was formed, the body did not come to life until God breathed life into the formed body and then it came to life. It can be compared to a radio that will not function until it is plugged into and electrical outlet. Without life from God we do not function. Did God breathe an immaterial soul into Adam? No, He breathed the breath of life into him. This breath of life is also called a spirit, which
So, man is a soul and not man has a soul, so that at death there is nothing alive anywhere. At death, man stops breathing and the total man, the soul dies.
In the Garden of Eden there was another tree called the tree of life. This tree of life represented God’s willingness to allow man to keep living. Since Adam and Eve became rebellious, God evicted them from the Garden of Eden and eventually died, much like when you unplug a fan, it goes for a while and then stops.
1 Peter 3:20 tells us, that in the days of Noah God brought about a flood that destroyed many lives but it says that eight souls were saved. What was saved? Eight people were saved!
Joshua 11:11 tells us that they smote all the souls, they killed all the people. That is because a soul is a person and therefore it can be killed, it can die.
So when a person dies, it is the soul that dies because the person is a soul. Is death the end? No, the personality of the person is stored in God’s perfect memory. If God wants to bring that person back to life, He can do so my giving it a spiritual body to inherit heaven or a human body to come back to life on earth in the future when God’s kingdom or government rules the earth.