The concept of an immortal soul originated and developed in the mystery religions of ancient Greece, and then given a philosophical sense in the writings of Plato (427-347 BC). In various writings, especially the Phaedo, Plato developed the concept that the body and soul are two different substances: on the one hand, the rational soul is divine; On the other hand, because it is composed of matter, the body is lower than the soul. Rational soul or nous is part of the human self and the eternal comes from “heaven,” which is actually in a state of bliss. When experiencing the fall, the soul enters the body, and stay in the human brain. When a person dies, his body will be destroyed, but the nous or rational soul would return to heaven, if good deeds during his life and commendable: if not, he will go back into the body of another human being or animal. But in essence, the soul is eternal.
In Plato’s view, the principle of conservation of life rooted in the rationalistic metaphysics: the nature containing everything rational is real, and that is not rational is a reality that is more lower. Hence, the rational soul is the substance that is higher than the body. He is essentially immortal and can not die, while the body is lower substance, mortal, and will be destroyed at all. Not surprisingly, then the body is considered as a soul in prison, for life is actually better without the body. In a system of this kind of thinking, it is clear there is no room for the doctrine of the resurrection of the body.
The question now is whether the Bible was ever used the term “immortal soul”? And if the Bible also teaches that the human soul is eternal?
1 Timothy 6:16 He is the one who is not subject to death, dwelling in light unapproachable. No one had never seen him and indeed humans can not see Him. To whom be honor and power everlasting! Amen
* John 5:26, For as the Father has life in Himself, so also granted the Son to have life in Himself
* 1 Corinthians 15:50-54
15:50 Ladies and gentlemen, this is about to tell you, that flesh and blood can not inherit the kingdom of God and that which perishes not inherit the imperishable.
15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 in the blink of an eye, at the last trumpet. Because the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised in a state that can not be destroyed and we will all be changed.
15:53, For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
15:54, So when this corruptible put on incorruption and this mortal put on that can not die, it will fulfill the word of God which is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.
Here Paul is talking about what will happen to us when Christ comes the second time (see l Corinthians 15:52). And these words applied to the transformation of those who are still alive when Christ returns and the resurrection of the dead. As Paul has said, because that can not possibly perish inherit incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:50), then there must be a change in condition adjustment occurs.
Notice three things about this verse teach eternity:
(1) Eternity here only imposed on people of faith – in this passage Paul did not mention about the people who do not believe.
(2) Immortality here is a gift that we will receive in the future. Immortality is being said by Paul was not something that we have right now, even though by the believers; case it will only be given at the time of Christ’s return (Parousia).
(3) Immortality is described here is not only the characteristics possessed by the soul, but the whole person as a whole. Even if more scrutiny, immortality here more closely related to the body, because the context of Paul’s being discussed is about the resurrection of the body. There is no slightest talk of eternity spirit.
* 1 Peter 1:3-4
1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His mercy has begotten us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to a living hope,
1:4, to receive a part that can not be destroyed, which can not be defiled, and that can not wither, reserved in heaven for you.
Thus, we can conclude that the Bible does not teach the phrase “immortality of the soul.” But this still begs the question, namely: Is it in a certain sense the Bible does teach that the human soul is eternal?
Some theologians have wear and maintain the phrase “immortality of the soul,” a concept that does not conflict with the teachings of the Bible. John Calvin, for example, teaches that Adam had an immortal soul , and argues that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul as that should be accepted. However, he also acknowledged that the soul does not have a naturally eternity, but it was given by God to the soul.
Archibald Alexander Hodge, in his article was first published in 1878, gives a number of arguments to defend the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. William G.T. Shedd, in his book published in 1889, used the concept to explore topics Hodge: “The belief of the immortality of the soul, and the separate existence of the body after death, a truth that is taught in the Old Testament and New Testament”. Similarly, Louis Berkhof says that “the concept of the immortality of the soul sarna no way contrary to what the Bible teaches about human …”, he then went on to a variety of arguments, both general revelation and the Bible, to support the concept.
Unlike the other theologian, Herman Bavinck be more careful in discussing this topic. He called the doctrine of immortality of the soul as articulus mixtus, truth demonstrated more sense than revelation. He added that under the influence of Plato, theology has been talking about the immortality of the soul more than the Bible itself. He further said, “The Bible rarely mentions this [eternal soul]; Bible never explicitly states this concept as the revelation of God, and never did put it as an important doctrine, let alone this concept argue or defend against those who oppose it ”
– How should we assess the views of some theologians above that clearly differ from one another?
– Do we agree with the opinion that the concept of an immortal soul is in line with what the Bible teaches about man?
To answer these questions, there are some observations that we need to do:
(1) As we have seen, the Bible does not use the term “immortal soul”. The Bible uses the word eternity to be worn on: God, human existence as a whole in the resurrection, and the condition is described as an imperishable, or incorruptible word, but never on the human psyche.
(2) The Bible does not teach the immortality of the soul which is based on the nature of the soul itself ketidakbinasaan. Philosophy One opinion that is often used to defend the concept of an immortal soul is the understanding that the soul has an eternal attribute to himself. We need to remember that this kind of opinion is associated with a more metaphysical view of man. In the philosophy of Plato, for example, it is considered the soul or spirit can not die because he was part of a metaphysical reality that is higher than the body, so the soul is often understood as the uncreated, eternal, and is the divine substance. The Bible never teaches the notion of such a kind soul. Because, according to the Bible, man is a creation of God whose existence will continue to depend on God. We can not show a single aspect of a human being whose nature can not die on her own.
(3) The Bible does not teach the continuity of life after death as a most desirable thing, but stressed life in fellowship with God as a blessing especially. Philosophical concept of the immortality of the soul are not talking about quality of life after death, and he merely asserted that the soul will continue to exist after death. But the Bible is not about to confirm. Emphasize that the Bible is that life apart from God is death, but the fellowship and unity with God is real life. This kind of life is enjoyed by those who believe in Christ (John 3:36; 5:24; 17:3). As expressed by Paul in Philippians 1 :21-23 and 2 Corinthians 5: 8, live in fellowship with God will still be enjoyed by people of faith even if they are dead. “Existence of this kind the Bible teaches as the primary goal that is right for us longing. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that those who do not believe in Christ will still be there after death, but not a life full of joy, but torture and pain (2 Peter 2:9; see also Luke 16:23,25).
Thus, the Bible introduces a new dimension in our thinking about life in the future. What is important here is not the fact that the soul will remain there forever, but the quality of existence. The Bible also encourages people to come to Christ so that they have the truth and the life spared from God’s judgment to come. Furthermore Bible warns us against the dangers of the concept of “immortality of the soul” that will only make us forget the seriousness of God’s judgment against sin, or cause us to deny the truth of eternal punishment for sinners who do not repent