What Exactly Is a Soul?

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Hi D____,
It is good to hear from you. You ask:

Here is God’s answer to your question:

Psa 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.
Psa 104:25  So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
Psa 104:26  There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
Psa 104:27  These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.
Psa 104:28  That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.
Psa 104:29  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
Psa 104:30  Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

I think you probably already know that the word ‘breath,’ in verse 29, and the word ‘spirit,’ in verse 30, both are translated from the one Hebrew word ‘ruach.’ So all the beasts, “both small and great,” are “created” when God “sends forth His spirit.” But Christ did not empty Himself of His divinity and come to this earth to die so just any “beast wherein is the breath [ spirit] of life,” can be saved. Christ came only “to save sinners… in Adam:”

1Ti 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1Co 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

Horses, lambs, rams, lions, oxes and eagles, etc., are all Biblical symbols and signs of Christ, His elect, or Satan, but they are all concerned with those who are “sinners… in Adam,” and who are in the process of being saved. As hard as it is to believe, God is not in the process of saving animals, and in the scriptures animals represent that within us which must be subdued and, in the end of the age, destroyed.
All flesh, man and the rest of the beasts, fall far short of the glory of the spiritual body to which we are to attain. Since animals are not “in Adam” and cannot be conformed to the image of Christ, it follows that they are not in the process of being saved.
That may or may not be relevant to your question, but there are two scriptures which demonstrate what exactly is a ‘soul.’ I will point out those scriptures and the holy spirit will give you the understanding on this subject.
It is taught by many that the soul is simply the flesh with the spirit giving it life. The fact that souls can and do die is used to prove this point:

Eze 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Rev 16:3  And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead [ man]: and every living soul died in the sea.

Since all souls are corruptible dust, animals included, all souls must die.

1Co 15:50  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Scripturally speaking “flesh and blood” equate with “corruption”, and for that reason can never, under any circumstance, “inherit the kingdom of God.”  But Christ adds to our understanding of the meaning of this word ‘soul’ when He makes this statement:

Mat 10:28  And 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.

The Greek word for ‘soul’ here is ‘psuche’, and Christ is telling us that man “cannot destroy the psuche by simply destroying the body. Does Christ’s comment here in Mat 10:28 contradict  Eze 18:4 or Rev 16:3? No, it complements those  verses and adds to them a deeper understanding. We now understand that the soul is more than just a living body of flesh and blood, and mankind cannot destroy the ‘soul.’ But does this mean that the soul is an immortal spirit? No, it means only that mankind is not capable of destroying the soul, and it means that God can and will destroy our souls in symbolic fire which he calls in Mat 10:28 “Gehenna fire.”
How do we know that the soul is not alive after death? Here is how we know that while mankind is incapable of destroying the soul, it still has to be resurrected in order to be destroyed, and through that destruction, be saved and receive salvation.

1Co 15:16  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
1Co 15:17  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1Co 15:18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.
1Co 15:19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

Just as life comes only through death to the old man, so the salvation of our souls comes only through the destruction of the old soul in a fiery judgment and the creation of a new soul through resurrection and the destruction of the old soul in ‘fire.’
If the dead rise not, then they that are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, but if the dead rise, then all souls will be raised to destruction and through that destruction to salvation. What then is the soul more that a mere living body of flesh and blood? Our souls are also God’s record of who and where we all are in the process of “all being made alive in Christ.”
The masses of humanity along with the masses of Christianity will die in their sins. Many will die at the hands of their fellow man. But their fellow man has no capability to change the hearts and minds of mankind. Consequently they will be resurrected with the same heart and mind with which they perished, and just like Joseph’s brothers, they will be just as carnal after they realize that their brother, who they hated, now has their fate in his hands. Just like Joseph’s brothers, their own resurrected, “terrestrial glory”, carnal mind will torment them until the time appointed by the Father to destroy that old soul and replace that old soul with a new heart and mind; the heart and mind of Christ.

You asked:

We are all given life by the spirit within us, just as are all animals. But that ‘spirit’ is not at this point, in scriptural terms, a ‘spiritual body.’ Spiritual bodies are given to those who were in Adam, only after a resurrection.

1Co 15:44  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

That is why it “returns to God who gave it.” It was His life- giving spirit, without a spiritual body before He gave it us, and it is His spirit to take back to Himself when we relinquish these vessels of clay, and “sleep in Christ”.

You ask:

Are the people in the great white throne resurrected with souls?

The answer is, yes, they are. They are resurrected with the same carnal- minded souls with which they died. That is why Paul says that the “glory” with which some men are resurrected will be “terrestrial glory.”

1Co 15:40  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.

Satan himself is a spirit being whose heart must be destroyed and changed. So too, must all men’s souls be destroyed and changed. The masses of humanity will be resurrected as immortal beings in need of purging in the fire that is God’s Word, which “keeps the way of the tree of life.” If that Word is in us, then we are that little lake called “the lake of fire”, and we become the cherubim through which all men must pass before they can become at one with God.

Gen 3:24  So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Isa 33:14  The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
Isa 33:15  He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

I hope this helps to answer all of your questions. If not, please let me know.
Your brother in Christ,

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