We cannot find anywhere in Scripture which says that the nephesh
(usually translated 'soul'), is immortal.
Nephesh is variously translated soul, beast, creature, body,dead, fish, thing, man, person, any, one he, her, himself, herself, me, myself, self, themselves, they, yourselves, own soul, breath, ghost, life, soul, appetite, mind heart, will, desire, pleasure lust, mortality, deadly, refresh, heartily, greedy, contented. Why?
Other uses of nephesh:
- 22 times of animals alone (Genesis 1:21-28)
- 7 times of men and animals together (Numbers 31:28)
- 53 times of individuals, persons (Genesis 2:7)
- 96 times of persons doing things (Leviticus 5:1,2 and 4)
- 22 times of man: appetites and animal desires (Proverbs 6:30; Genesis 34:3)
- 231 times of man: mental faculties, emotions (Genesis 34:3; Numbers 21:4)
times of soul cut off by God
times souls killed by man
times souls subject to death
(Ezekiel 18:4; Psalm 22:29)
times souls actually dead
times souls going to grave
How is this possibly consistent with the understanding of the meaning 'nephesh' as 'immortal soul' or 'immortal spirit being'?
What are we to do with these verses? The soul dies, it is not immortal. Where is the place where the soul is said to be immortal?
'As a noun nephesh hath been supposed to signify the spiritual part of man, or what we commonly call his soul. I must for myself confess that I can find no passages where it hath undoubtedly this meaning.
Gen. 35:18, 1 Kings 17:21-22 and Psalms 16:10 seem fairest for this signification. But may not nephesh in the three former passages be most properly rendered 'breath,' and in the last, 'a breathing or animal frame'?'
Parkhurst's Greek Lexicon, London, 1809
Parkhurst himself, nonetheless, believed in the doctrine of the immortal soul