The Immortal Soul and the Word “Nephesh”
Having been known to flog the occasional expired equine, there’s more about the human “soul,” as people like to claim, that should be explained.
“Soul” isn’t a biblical concept. People start talking about the soul, and the dogmatic religious (Platonic) innovation that the soul is immortal is instantly connected to it.
Genesis 2:7, they say, states that the Lord God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils and he became a “living soul.”
The Hebrew term translated “soul” there, is nephesh.
It is devastating to this notion of immortal soul, that in Genesis 1:20 and 21, God commanded the seas to be filled (teem) with living things. Then Genesis 1:24 says that God said let the land be filled with every kind of living creature. The sea was filled with living “things,” and the land was filled with living “creatures.”
The trouble is that the exact same Hebrew word translated as “soul” for man, nephesh, is translated to “thing” for sea life in Genesis 1:20 and 21, and the word “creatures” for the land animals, in 1:24. Three different English words for the same Hebrew word. Are sea and land animals also a living “soul” as man is? Do animals have a soul, as man is purported to possess?
This is purely misleading, to bring readers and believers to a preconceived doctrinal conclusion: that of a distinct and separate soul living inside of man, but not in animals. Hence, man is a living being, not a “soul.” Unless animals also possess a soul.
The New Testament translates the Greek “psuche” as soul. It is the word, from which we obviously derive “psyche.” Psuche is defined (from the Greek bible concordance) as “the vital breath, breath of life; the seat of affections and will; the self; a human person, an individual.”
The “soul” is the expression of our person, as a living “nephesh,” created thing. That man has a separate “soul” is purely a religious invention, to further the doctrinal inventions which were developed MUCH later. It is certainly not immortal, unless animal “nephesh” are likewise immortal.