Are we born with an immortal soul?

In Matthew 10:28, Jesus said, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” So it sounds like the soul is immortal. The Greek word for “soul” in that verse also means immortal. According to my Greek Lexicon it means “an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death.” Death dissolves the body, but not the soul. The soul is immortal.

But are humans born with this immortal soul? Because if we are it raises the awkward question of why God would risk giving us an immortal soul when it could easily become evil and continue being evil forever. Is that why Jesus died, then, to save our immortal souls from hell?

No, because salvation is not about saving our souls, it’s about “the redemption of our bodies,” Romans 8:23. It’s our bodies that need saving, not our souls, because without bodies humans don’t exist.

When God created the human body he called it good, and if Adam and Eve had followed God’s instructions – and eaten off the Tree of Life instead – they could have remained in their superbly crafted bodies forever (Genesis 3:22). If they’d eaten off the Tree of Life it would have given Adam and Eve the “essence that is not dissolved by death.” Eating off the Tree of Life would have given them an immortal soul.

Which means, of course, they weren’t born with an immortal soul, because they lost out on their immortality when they ate off the wrong tree. But God didn’t abandon the human race to its extinction. He took on the life of a human being and substituted the death of his human body for ours, to save our bodies from extinction.

He then made it possible for us to receive an immortal soul again, not by eating off a Tree of Life, but by John 3:36 – “Whoever puts his faith in the Son has eternal life.” Believe that God sent his Son to redeem our bodies and God then gives us the essence of eternal life, an immortal soul that no one but he can destroy.

That’s why John wrote, “Dear friends, NOW we are children of God,” 1 John 3:2. We weren’t children of God when we were born, but we are now BECAUSE we believed in what God sent his Son for. Now “we are his offspring” (Acts 17:28), and being God’s offspring he’s given us the essence of immortality that makes us his children forever.

All we need now is an immortal body to go with our immortal soul, and according to Paul that’s exactly what God gives us at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:42).


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