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When do we get our soul?

Submitted: 11/2/2005
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Question: My teacher says that if the soul is eternal, it must have existed before in some other form. He says that this is the reason for the belief of reincarnation. When do we get our soul?

Answer: We do not 'get' a soul, we become a soul when we take our first breath. The Bible says, '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 AV). The Hebrew word translated 'soul' is nephesh and means generally a breathing creature. It can also refer to the inward dimension of man. We do not have a precisely equivalent word in the English language.

The Bible never states that man has an eternal or immortal soul. This was a belief held by the Egyptians and brought into Christian teaching by the Greek philosophers. The Bible says, 'He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality' (1 Timothy 6:15-16). In contrast, the Bible says that we must 'by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality' (Romans 2:7). No human being is born with any kind of immortal nature but all must seek for it from the eternal God.