The Origins of the Human Soul
There are many theories about the human soul and depending on your source, e.g. secular, religious, etc.; you will no doubt have an opinion on this subject. Because we are Bible believers we use the Bible as the final authority concerning ultimate truth. We are not interested in humanistic philosophy but rather embrace the following truth,
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. II Tim. 3:16-17
For this reason we look to the Word of God to find out what is trustworthy and what is not. We also ascribe to the Golden Rule of Biblical Interpretation holding to the truth that Scripture explains Scripture. This premise of biblical study has been promoted by David Cooper, Ph.D. an expert in biblical and Semitic languages and the founder of the Biblical Research Society.
‘When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word as its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, clearly indicate otherwise.'
The first mention of the word soul is found in Genesis 2:7, And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. So the interaction between the Holy Spirit (Ruach or breath of God) and the substance of the earth created a living soul (Nephesh). Although the word nephesh is used of higher life forms such as mammals, nowhere else is the term accompanied with God’s Spirit specifically interacting and giving life to any of His other creatures.
Secondly, only man is made in the image and likeness of God. That is confirming that man is a tri-partite being as God Himself is a tri-une Being. God is immortal and to be created in His image is to ascribe immortality to those He has created in His own image. This fact is illustrated in the presentation of the Gospel. The Good News that tells us that we have a choice to make, e.g. where will we spend eternity? God offers everyone the free gift of forgiveness and right standing in His sight. Whosoever will may come and experience the amazing grace of God, God’s Righteousness At Christ’s Expense – GRACE.
And finally, the combination of our body and our spirit/soul complex is noted in Heb. 4:12, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Only the Word of God can perform this spiritual surgery without causing the death of the one being pierced and divided. Once again the tri-unity of man is noted. Other verses such as Pro. 20:27, The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly gives us the understanding that man has a spirit as well as being a living soul. The spirit of man is the part of man that can have spiritual communion with God. The fact that we are accustomed to human spirit to Holy Spirit interactions prior to being born again, means that we will be growing in grace and knowledge of the Lord as we continue to abide in Him and have His Word abide in us, John 15:7.
The fact that every single newborn child is specifically understood to a living soul is found in the writings of the prophet Ezekiel.
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sins, it shall die. Ez. 18:4
Every human being is born as a living soul We do not obtain our souls from our parents. The unique quality that characterizes human life is imparted by God supernaturally when we are born, but we are not the life-givers, we are not the progenitors of life, God alone is the life-giver and the life-sustainer, Col. 1:15-17.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:1-4
Rather than listen to the teachings of men, choose to stand firm on the Word of God. Man is a unique creature in God’s creation and God loves him so much that He sent His Son, the Messiah, to be our Passover, I Cor. 5:7. The blood of the Lamb of God exempts all who place their faith in Him from God’s judgment against sin. Every human soul is endowed with life by his or her Creator and God desires to adopt everyone into His family. Just as humans are born endowed with souls by their Creator, God desires to have them “born again” by grace through faith in the risen Savior, Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy One of God.
Pastor Steve Rowitt, Th.M., Ph.D. (c)
Chief Technical Advisor
Creation Studies Institute