Where does the soul go when a person dies?

Author: BibleAsk Team

A soul is a living being. At Creation, two things combine to make a soul, dust and the breath of life. Until these two things combine, a soul does not exist. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). The term “breath of life” is also used for animals as seen in Genesis 7:21,22).

At death, these two components separate. The body returns to dust, and the breath returns to God. The soul goes nowhere it simply ceases to exist. “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). The spirit that returns to God at death is the breath of life.

  • body (dust) + breath (or spirit) = life (soul)
  • body (dust) – breath (or spirit) = death (no soul)

According to the Bible, the words “spirit” and “breath” are the same: “All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). The spirit is found in the nostrils where the breath is. So, the spirit that returns to God when a person dies is the breath of life, not a disembodied soul. Nowhere in the Scriptures does the “spirit” have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. It is the “breath of life” and nothing more.

After death a soul: returns to dust (Psalms 104:29), knows nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), possesses no mental powers (Psalms 146:4), has nothing to do with anything on earth (Ecclesiastes 9:6), does not live (2 Kings 20:1), waits in the grave (Job 17:13), and continues not (Job 14:1, 2).

There is no reference in all of the scriptures that the “spirit” have any life, wisdom, or feeling after a person dies. The dead sleep unconsciously in their graves (John 11:11-14) till the Lord raise them up at the Resurrection Day at the end of time (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53).

The concept of an undying, immortal soul goes against the Bible, which teaches that souls are subject to death (Ezekiel 18:20). Man is mortal (Job 4:17). Only God is immortal (1 Timothy 6:15, 16). In the Bible, except in allegorical usage, the soul does not go in and out of the body; neither does it have an independent existence outside of the body. The soul is the conscious life which resulted when God added the breath of life (the divine spark of life) to the body.

For a Bible study of the State of the Dead, check:

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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