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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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The ancients supposed the soul, or rather the animating principle of life, to reside in the breath, that it departed from the body with the breath. Hence the Hebrew and Greek words which, when they refer to man, in our Bibles are translated "soul," are usually rendered "life" or "breath" when they refer to animals, Genesis 2:7 7:15 Numbers 16:22 Job 12:10 34:14,15 Psalm 104:29 Ecclesiastes 12:7 Acts 17:25 .

But together with this principle of life, which is common to men and brutes, and which in brutes perishes with the body, there is in man a spiritual, reasonable, and immortal soul, the seat of our thoughts, affections, and reasonings, which distinguishes us from the brute creation, and in which chiefly consists our resemblance to God, Genesis 1:26 . This must be spiritual, because it thinks; it must be immortal, because it is spiritual. Scripture ascribes to man alone understanding, conscience, the knowledge of God, wisdom, immortality, and the hope of future everlasting happiness. It threatens men only with punishment in another life, and with the pains of hell. In some places the Bible seems to distinguish soul from spirit, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Hebrews 4:12 : the organ of our sensations, appetites, and passions, allied to the body, form the nobler portion of our nature which most allies man to God. Yet we are to conceive of them as one indivisible and spiritual being, called also the mind and the heart, spoken of variously as living, feeling, understanding, reasoning, willing, etc. Its usual designation is the soul.

The immortality of the soul is a fundamental doctrine of revealed religion. The ancient patriarchs lived and died persuaded of this truth; and it was in the hope of another life that they received the promises. Compare Genesis 50:22 Numbers 23:10 1 Samuel 28:13-15 2 Samuel 12:23 Job 19:25,26 Ecclesiastes 12:7 Hebrews 11:13-16 . In the gospel "life and immortality," and the worth of immortal souls, are fully brought to light, Matthew 16:26 1 Corinthians 15:45-57 2 Timothy 1:10 . To save the souls of men, Christ freely devoted himself to death; and how does it become us to labor and toil and strive, in our respective spheres, to promote the great work for which He bled and died!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Soul'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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