Division between soul and spirit

by M.J. 82 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • VM44

    "And I had no idea where they got the date 1918 from. It seemed to come out of thin air."

    1918 was the year Rutherford was released from Federal prison.

    Russell was just a precursor to The Watchtower, under the direction of Rutherford, being selected to be God's visible organization on earth.

    Rutherford's ego and his sense of being chosen and directed by God himself is the source for the year 1918.


  • Leolaia
    they believe that the docrine of ressurection is something that is in the Bible (underlying) even from page one. It`s all there, as part of Gods plan. However, is the ressurection really a part of the OT?

    Right....it is hard to reconcile these texts with a belief in the resurrection:

    "There is always hope for a tree; when felled it can start its life again; its shoots continue to sprout. Its roots may be decayed in the earth. its stump withering in the soil, but let it scent the water, and it buds, and puts out branches like a new plant. But man? He dies, and lifeless he remains; man breathes his last, and then where is he? The waters of the seas may disappear, and all the rivers may run dry or drain away; but man, once in his resting place, will never rise again....Soon or later the mountain falls, the rock moves from its place, water wears away the stones, the cloudburst erodes the soil. Just so do you destroy man's hope" (Job 14:7-12, 18-19).

    "The living know at least that they will die, the dead know nothing; no more reward for them, their memory has passed out of mind. Their loves, their hates, their jealousies, these all have perished, nor will they ever again take part in whatever is done under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).

    How can the Society quote Ecclesiastes 9:5 in support of their doctrine of annihilationism, yet ignore the very next verse which denies a hope of a future resurrection. In fact, Ecclesiastes is generally regarded as a proto-Sadducee work, representing the conservative eschatology of this post-exilic group. The eschatology of the early Christian church is Pharisaic, and Jesus in the synoptic gospels directly refutes the kind of philosophy espoused in Ecclesiastes. The Sadducees, of course, rejected any belief of the resurrection, which was a newer development in early Judaism.

    However, is the ressurection really a part of the OT?

    It just barely made it into the OT; it appears in its explicit form only in Daniel (cf. 12:2-3), one of the latest books admitted into the Hebrew canon (in fact, the canon of the Prophets was already closed, so it was one of the last books admitted into the Writings). The Greek LXX, meanwhile, inserted the belief of the resurrection elsewhere into the OT, most conspicuously in Job. The Greek Bible used by the early Christians thus had a more robust belief of the resurrection than the original Hebrew scriptures.

  • peacefulpete

    Nothing terribly deep but I posted these two threads a while back: feeding the dead ...............burial bonfires

  • Hellrider


    14 I have not eaten any of the sacred portion while I was in mourning, nor have I removed any of it while I was unclean, nor have I offered any of it to the dead

    That`s pretty fascinating! Ok, which other "hints" at the surviving "something" (after the death of the individual) can be found in the OT? I was wondering about something JWs would probably look at like a ressurection (not in the Jesus-kind, but in the Lazarus-kind) in the OT, in

    1Kings 17:21 He stretched out over the boy three times and called out to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, please let this boy’s breath return to him.” 17:22 The Lord answered Elijah’s prayer; the boy’s breath returned to him and he lived.

    This looks like a ressurection, but is it really? On the one hand, it has to be, because it has to be meant that way from the authors side. It couldn`t just be a rescusitation, because then what Elijah did would not have been miracolous, and that`s the whole point of the story, that Elijah had Yahwehs blessing, and was "Gods man", and had been given certain powers. But on the other hand, I think this ressurection is something else too! - or should I rather say, a ressurection in its proper form, not just a "re-creation". The word for "breath" in this passage is "soul" (psuche), isn`t it? So to me it looks like the word "soul" doesn`t just mean "person" here. I mean, it can mean "person", "life force"...but in this passage it would have to mean something more. There is "something" that has left the boy, and it has`nt become annihilated, obviously, because then it couldn`t have returned, could it!?!?! So now I`m thinking that, hm...the soul (but not in the "greek sense") is just as much part of the OT as the ressurection, if not more.

  • peacefulpete

    shades of meaning (pun intended). Just like the English word life has many nuances, so the Hebrew rough equivalent. The Elisha/Elijah story about raising the dead child(s) must first be understood as not specifically addressing the question of the nature of life after death. The narrative dialogue suggest that theyw ere written as response to charges about the harsh arbitrariness of Yahweh. But even so they do betray at the minimum a belief that a dead persons 'soul' could be recovered from elsewhere, whether it was still present in the room or in Sheol is not important. The prevailing conception of death in the ancient middle east was not that of the later Greek philosophers. The average man did not entertain the notion of reward or punishment after death, this was true of Akkadians, Summerians and Hebrews alike. They asumed something was animating the body because the body existed after a person died. The idea of a better life after death wasn't part of the picture. The something that animated the body continued as a impotent whisp in an underground realm as a shade. Think about the big picture that that OT offers. The dead are said to be "gathered to their fathers" or joining those that died before to a place called Sheol rather than just said to be dead. To dismiss these expressions as metaphor each of the dozens if not hundreds of times is straining to erase the obvious.

    An interesting verse that demonstrates the prevailing idea of impotent existance in Sheol is Isaiah 14:

    9 " ( L ) Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come;

    " ( M ) They will all respond and say to you,

    Remember that even Ecclesiates speaks of a something going off at death, it also denied the idea of a reward or punishment after death (or the reversability of death). The Elisha/Elijah story then really can't be pressed into the idea of a Christian styled afterlife but as you said it does reflect the prevailing idea that something left the body at death.

  • M.J.

    1Ki 17:22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

    Good find. Here the word used is nephesh, the Hebrew term translated as soul:


    This doesn't jive with the WTS strict definition for soul, which is "a living being" in itself. "Spirit" (Hebrew ruwach) is the word the WTS strictly defines as "breath" animating a creature.

    This just goes to show the same point that Pete already made. The biblical usage of these terms varies considerably. Here are some other uses that don't go along with the WTS definition:

    2Ki 4:27 When she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught hold of his feet. And Gehazi came near to push her away; but the man of God said, "Let her alone, for her soul is troubled within her; and the LORD has hidden it from me and has not told me."

    Psa 42:6 O my God, my soul is in despair within me; Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.

    Job 30:25 "Have I not wept for the one whose life is hard? Was not my soul grieved for the needy?

    Here nephesh refers not to the person as a whole, but to the inner person "within" a human being. The seat of a person's emotions/experiences.

  • Hellrider

    One more thing: The idea that the souls (or "something") goes to heaven, is rejected by JWs partly because of passages saying that Christ was the "firstfruit, the first one raised from the dead", etc (I don`t remember which passages, probably in Paul).Part of this idea of the JWs, is that this is the new covenant! Right? That the hope of a future ressurection was given to all mankind, instead of just the jews, because of the coming of Christ. So, according to the JWs, Christ would have to be the first person ressurected to perfect, immortal form (unlike Lazarus, the kid Elijah woke up, etc, which were raised from the dead, but back to mortal, imperfect form). But this is not correct, according to 2 Kings chapter 2, Elijah was "taken up to heaven in a windstorm". And there`s a similar story about Enoch and Moses, right? (I don`t know the OT very well...). And Elijah would have had to be "changed" in some way, either his body must have been left behind, or he would have had to be changed like Jesus was (but that, of course, would mean that Jesus wasn`t the first person raised from the dead to perfect immortal form, so this option is unacceptable to JWs). Also, the NT clearly shows that Abraham is in heaven (no, Lazarus and the dead rich guy is not "just a parable" - Jesus wouldn`t use a "heretical belief" as the basis of one of his own parables, besides Abraham in heaven is mentioned other places in the NT too, plus that infamous episode in John were Jesus meets up with some patriarchs). Anyway: That fact that Elijah (and possibly Enoch and Moses) was "taken up" to heaven, how do the JWs view this? How do they explain it, if they believe that Christ was the "firstfruit", the first one raised from the dead (to perfect, immortal form). They can`t just ignore these passages, can they?

  • M.J.

    Whew. Lots of cans of worms you keep opening!

    I'll take a stab. I think the WTS says Elijah just got swept up into the sky (not literal heaven) and his life was taken away (killed) by God until the resurrection. I guess no one else was resurrected to perfection after Christ until the dead portion of the 144,000 were resurrected with spiritual bodies in 1918. Members of the GC and earthly mankind in general won't be resurrected to perfection though. This includes Elijah. They'll have to work toward that for 1000 years.

    The parable of the rich man and Lazarus is explained away as symbolism. Pretty wild symbolism. But when it gets down to it, all you have to do is point out that Jesus was making a point using the very beliefs of the Jews of his time. We know this because of Jewish writings like The Testament of Abraham, which talks about the "bosom of Abraham" where the righteous dead go, the gulf between that and the place where the unrighteous go, etc. The Jews knew exactly what Jesus was talking about when he gave this parable. Why would Christ elaborate on an erroneous belief rather than condemn it?

  • Hellrider
    Why would Christ elaborate on an erroneous belief rather than condemn it?

    Exactly my thoughts. In other instances where Jesus come across erroneous beliefs, he corrects them, such as when he encounters the sadducees who try to trap him with some dumb questions about the ressurection.

    I guess no one else was resurrected to perfection after Christ until the dead portion of the 144,000 were resurrected with spiritual bodies in 1918.

    ??? I did not know that. Actually, I had never heard of, or at least not into any depth, about all that 1918-stuff, "inspection of the religions", the "two witnesses" persecuted, from Revelation (ha ha, God, how can the swallow that crap). Also:

    Members of the GC and earthly mankind in general won't be resurrected to perfection though.This includes Elijah. They'll have to work toward that for 1000 years.

    Are you sure about this? I thought they had changed all of this now, and that they all believe that the departed annointed won`t be resurected until the second coming (when the trumpet blows etc) - and that the rest of the GC won`t be ressurected until after the 1000 years have passed (which would be a much better interpretation when reading Revelation). Maybe I`m wrong, I don`t know.

    I think the WTS says Elijah just got swept up into the sky (not literal heaven) and his life was taken away (killed) by God until the resurrection

    Well, I think that`s pretty sick. Not atypical of the JW-god, but still (I sure hope he doesn`t do that to me ). Also, where is the scriptural backing for this? It`s pure speculation. At least I can`t remember any passage that would indicate that God took him up just to kill him off, I assumed that God "took him up" to prevent him from dying (but then again, I don`t know the OT very well). I assume God "disposed of" his earthly body too then, like he did with Jesus` body. I wonder where the scriptural backig is for all of this. Like upside/down once wrote: "Scriptures? We don`t need no stiiiiinkin scriptures..." But anyway:

    You said I opened up some serious cans of worms, lol, and yes, I think that`s both right and also very important. This view that the JWs have on the "new covenant", is this view pretty similar to that of the rest of christianity? Or is it completely different? If it is similar, why do the JWs see such huge problems with Elijah, Enoch and Moses being "taken up" (and possibly even changed to perfection, although it doesn`t say anything about that), if the rest of christianity don`t see this as a problem? Hm, I guess what I`m trying to say, is: Is it absolutely certain that this whole ressurection-thing is such a huge part of the new covenant after all? Perhaps the nc is really about something else? (some spiritual crap, you know, "life in christ" etc blah blah hallelujah amen)

  • Star Moore
    Star Moore

    So you 2, would you summarize what you think for me about the definition of the soul and spirit..?

    soul = the entire being. including the spirit, body and imperfections, tendency toward

    sin and all...

    spirit = The personalized life force with our feelings desires and also the perfect part

    of being that is connected to God...like the CHI

    What do you think of my idea?

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