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According to Genesis, humans receive life from God (Gen 2:7). God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (KJV). God did not give Adam a soul - Adam became a soul. God's formula for creating Adam is simple: Dust + breath of life = Soul. At death, the process of creation goes in reverse: Soul - breath of life = dust. “The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the life's breath returns to God who gave it (Eccl 12:7, NET Bible). Humans do not have a “soul” but are a “soul” (1 Cor 15:45) and even animals are “souls” (Gen 1:20; 9:10; Rev 16:3). The “soul” can weep (Jer 13:17), souls can be taken captive (Jer 52:28-30) and be baptized (Acts 2:41). The soul also can die (Eze 18:4; James 5:20; Rev 20:4; Ps 89:48; Job 36:14; Lev 19:8; 21:1, 11). From all the above-mentioned texts we can clearly see that the term “soul” refers to the entire human being. Upon death, the humans goes into a dreamless sleep and awaits the first resurrection of the saints, or the 2nd resurrection of the wicked (John 5:28, 29; Dan 12:2; 12:13; Eccl 9:5, 6, 10).
On the 6th day God used the earth to make man and then He breathed His Spirit of life into man - and man became a living soul (A + B = C, where C is the living soul). At the time of death these two are again separated. The dust returns to the earth and His living Spirit/breath returns to Him. The soul or one’s essence is no longer and the “dead” know nothing more. That is, UNTIL God once again resurrects the living soul (either at the rapture or the Day of Judgment).
The apostle Paul talks about our “spirit, soul and body” in I Thessalonians 5:23-24. “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” Our spirit is the breath of life referred to in Genesis. God is spirit and he created every human being as an eternal spirit. We will all exist forever, either with God in heaven and then the new earth or separated from God in hell. Our soul is the unique creation of God in every human being that comprises our mind (conscious and unconscious), will (freedom of choice), and emotions (feelings). This soul is inseparably linked to the spirit and is eternal. Our body is the unique creation of God for every human being. The body is physical and lives upon this earth for a short time and then suffers death, unless Christ comes back first. Jesus said to the thief on the cross “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). His declaration of faith resulted in his salvation and he joined Jesus in the place of the blessed dead. The teaching of Scripture is clear that when we come to faith in Jesus Christ that we are united with him in spirit. We are in Christ and he is in us by his Spirit. Paul makes this clear in Ephesians 2:4-7 “4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” So, our soul is in two places at the same time, present in our earthly bodies while we are alive, and seated with Jesus in the throne room of heaven. We know it is our soul that is present in heaven from the book of Revelation. In Revelation 6:9-11 we read: “When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers and sisters, were killed just as they had been.” In the passage we discover that people had been martyred for their faith, their bodies were dead, but their souls were in heaven. They were crying out to God so their souls had to include their mind, will and emotions. We also learn that this event took place before the second coming of Christ. Their bodily resurrection had not yet occurred. Other Christians were still going to die for their faith before Jesus would come in judgement.
Luke 16:22 says the good angels of God escort our souls to Heaven immediately after our body gives up the ghost. Jesus said in Luke 23:43 "Today you will be with me in Paradise." Paul said in Philippians 1:23 "For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better." So right after our body dies our spirit & soul returns to God, there is no "soul sleep".
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