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Lesson 18

So far, the Old Testament has described humans as mortal, created in the image of God, with the promise of a future resurrection to mortality. 

“Now hold on!” I can imagine some people exclaiming. “If that’s true, why did some Jews hold to an immortal soul doctrine? They followed the Tanakh.”

That is a valid point. Many Jewish scholars from the second temple, around 516 BC onward, believe mankind has an immortal soul. The lack of support from earlier Jewish scholars makes me wonder why, what happened to change Jewish thought? 

I believe Jewish national history can provide those answers. The Israelites were taken into captivity by the Babylonians’ after abandoning God’s ways for generations. The Babylon those Jewish scholars found themselves serving, was the leading world power of the day. Babylon was the seat of the world’s collective wisdom for every endeavour. Those Jewish leaders would have been exposed to Greek philosophy that promoted an immortal soul doctrine.

Other than the Jews from the times of Moses and the first temple, virtually every other world culture believed they possessed an immortal soul. Believing each soul would receive reward or punishment depending on how virtuously each one lived their earthly lives.

The belief that humans don’t die does have its roots in the Bible, although the source cannot be trusted. It was the original lie, recorded along with the original sin.

Genesis 3:2-3 Evangelical Heritage Version

2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees of the garden, 3 but not from the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden. God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it. You shall not touch it, or else you will die.’”

6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was appealing to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate. She gave some also to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

4But the snake said to the woman, “You will [most certainly] not die.

Eve knew the truth of God. She knew what she should do, but enticed by the tree’s fruit, Eve was ensnared by her own desires, leading her into Satan’s trap.

Satan’s lie of immortality in verse 4, was wrapped in the truth that eating from the tree of knowledge would open the eyes of Eve, leaving humans to determine good and evil for themselves. His lie about immortality has been believed by mankind ever since. Can you see a different understanding for these verses? If so, record them.

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