Vol.VIII No.IX Pg.7
November 1971

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

I have talked with a man who says that the soul is nothing more than the breath of life; and that there is no consciousness apart from the flesh Will you comment on this? A.B.


There is little profit in speculative arguments about the state of the dead. I believe I would move on to scriptures concerning the living, and how we can live acceptably before the Lord. Of course you may be talking to someone whose concepts regarding the dead are vitally related to other cardinal matters, so I will suggest a few points.

2 Cor. 5:8 Paul says he willing to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him. Now what) apart from Pauls body, would be present and acceptable to the Lord? Did he speak of his breath? See Phil. 1:22-24, where he desired to be with Christ, apart from the flesh.

In 2 Cor. 12:2-4 Paul tells of being caught up to the third heaven and he didnt know if he was in the body, or out of the body. He allows the assumption that he was out of the body, yet he could hear. Does the breath hear?

In Matt. 17: 1-5 Jesus was transfigured before three Apostles, and there appeared with Him Moses and Elias. In Lu. 9:30 they were called men, and they were identifiable. What did the Apostles see? Luke says these men talked with Christ. It seems they must have had some sort of conscious existence, for they knew that Christ was going to die in Jerusalem.

In Matt. 10:28 Jesus told His disciples, Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. This passage treats the soul as something, distinct from the body, that can be lost. (Note, destroy does not mean annihilate. The same Greek word used in Matt. 10:28 is also used in Lu. 15:4, and 8, concerning the lost sheep and coin, neither of which were annihilated.)

In Matt. 22:32 Jesus makes an argument to a group of Sadducees. These people denied the resurrection as well as the conscious existence of spirits (such as angels). Jesus reminded them of a passage of scripture they were unwilling to deny — how God said, I am the God of Abraham — long after Abrahams spirit had departed from his body. Jesus then asserts that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Abraham yet lived, then — and now.

If you are having discussions with a Jehovahs Witness (?) and want good up-to-date material, I suggest you write Maurice Barnett, 1606 W. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, Ariz., and ask for a copy of his latest book on this subject. You will find that the J.W.s concept of the soul is tied in with their denial of the deity of Jesus Christ, and other blasphemous errors of this sect. Even here, however, there is little to be gained by speculation about things unrevealed.