R0853-4 Soul, Life, Being

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SOUL, LIFE, BEING

The Greek word psuche is translated soul in some places, and sometimes life in the various translations. For instance, it is translated life in John 12:25, „He that loveth his life shall lose it” and it is translated soul in Acts 2:27 „Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell,” [hades—the state of death, or the grave].

This word psuche has rather puzzled scholars for a definition, and the learned translators of the common revision of the New Testament, have translated it four different ways, viz.: heart, mind, life, soul; the last two generally. Prof. Young author of Young’s Concordance, defines psuche and the corresponding Hebrew word nephesh to mean „animal soul,” thus limiting the word to earthly existence; but we cannot agree to this definition, nor to any definition which would limit these words to earthly existence exclusively, for the word is applied to God who is not an animal or earthly being, but a spirit being. Hence in defining these words we have sought such a definition as could be applied to these words in every instance of their use in the Bible, and that definition we conceive to be being, or existence, without regard to whether heavenly or earthly, animal or spiritual being is meant.

Being, or existence, is not life though there could be no existence without life; neither is it body or organism, though there can be no existence without a body. Heat is an illustration of this principle; coal is not heat, nor is oxygen heat; but when coal and oxygen are properly and favorably united heat is produced; when they are separated heat ceases. So it is with being; when life principle and organism are properly favorably united, being or existence is produced; when they are separated existence or being ceases.

Those who recognize being, as the correct definition of psuche will see that the existence, the being, terminated by Adamic death, may be restored or resurrected either as it was, or in connection with any form or organism God may choose. In resurrecting it God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him—to every kind of seed his own appropriate body.

The original seed was human, „of the earth earthy,” and „very good,” an image of God in clay. But during the Christian Age under the „high calling,” the „heavenly calling” to „become partakers of the divine nature,” a little flock has already changed nature and become „new creatures”—new beings. In the resurrection, therefore, God will give to these two classes bodies according to their nature. The human seed will be restored to perfect manhood; and the new seed, the „new beings,” will be raised in appropriate bodies—”as it hath pleased him” to give to each seed his own appropriate form or organism. It doth appear to a great degree what form, etc., the earthly race will have, though it is difficult to appreciate the grandeur of the perfect man Adam now. As was the earthy head, so will they be also that are earthy, when fully resurrected.

On the contrary, the change for the others, we cannot so fully grasp; for „It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but … we shall be like him”—Christ Jesus, the head of the new creation. As the heavenly one, such shall they also be that are of the heavenly seed, or new nature. We have borne the earthly image, but by reason of „change” shall bear the heavenly image in our resurrection. See 1 Cor. 15:38,48,49.

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— May, 1886 —