Ross' Remarks

There are those today that would teach that man has no soul that lives beyond the grave. They teach and believe
that the soul of man is annihilated at death, it ceases to be. The only thing remaining of man after the cessation of
life in the body is his memory in the mind of God, according to these people.

There are three places in the scriptures that they predominantly go to prove (?) their position:
Ecclessiastes 3:18-
21; 9:5; and Psalm 146.4
. These passages are among those “…which they that are unlearned and unstable
wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction “(2 Peter 3:16).

First, let us look at
Ecclessiastes 3:18-21. They say these verses show that man is nothing more than a beast and
that both have the same outcome, death (which in their interpretation is complete annihilation). All go but to the dust
and no father. No one knows of man’s final outcome. As is truth with many false doctrines, the verses they use are
taken out of context. To get the complete picture of what Solomon is talking about here, we must start back at the
16th verse. Solomon began the chapter discussing there being a time for everything. In verse 16, he continues with
a discussion of the place of judgment of the sons of men. It is the wicked that shall see themselves but as beasts
wishing only to fulfill the lusts of their flesh. Yes, all die, and in that man is no better than the animals, both of their
bodies return to the dust of the earth. It is verse 21 that causes all the commotion. Solomon is saying there is no man
that has seen whether the spirit of man has a different end than that of the beast. The Hebrew word translated here
is yada, “to know (properly: to ascertain by seeing. Strong).” Thus to know in the sense spoken of here one must be
able to see it. It must be a physical sighting of the object. For example, I know (yada) that my house is on Lawrence
Road; but, I do not know (yada) that the Tower of London is there, because I have not seen it. But as surely as I
know that the Tower of London is there because I have the witness of someone who has been privileged to see it; I
know that the spirit of man returns to God who gave it (Ecclessiastes 12:7), because I have the witness of one who
has seen it, God (2 Timothy 3:16).

That which is talked about here in Ecclessiastes is not the soul, it is the spirit. The word here is from the Hebrew
ruach – “that part of the creature that enables its body to live and think” (Strong). The word for soul is nephesh – “a
breathing creature – the whole being or the inner being.” The word soul is used various times for the entire being,
especially in the Psalms, while it is used other times to refer to the inner person, the personality, the thoughts and
the heart, the actual being of man, that which elevates him above the animals and gives him a special place in God’s
creation. While the would is the personality of an individual, the spirit is that which ties the soul to the body and
causes them to function together as a unit. The spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclessiastes 12:7); the soul goes
to Sheol (Psalm 16:10), or Hades (Acts 2:27,31). In the King James translation both Sheol and Hades are translated
“hell.” Webster defines hell: “(1) a nether world in which the dead continue to exist: HADES (2) the nether realm of
the devil and the demons in which the damned suffer everlasting punishment.” Hell can either be the place of
punishment eternal, or the world of the souls of those that are dead. Sheol, Hades, are defined as “the unseen world
or abode of the soul after death.”
It is because of the separation of the soul and spirit that they go to the other verses sighted above. Again, in
Ecclesiastes 9:5 they try to point out that man’s soul ceases to be after death. The preacher says, “the dead know
not anything.” Thus, if the soul is the personality, or the thoughts of the mind and the heart, the inner being; it
ceases to be.  But, again read the entire context. Solomon is speaking about the emptiness of man’s possessions
and ways; he can take nothing with him when he dies (Job 1:21). When man has died he no longer has “any more a
portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun” (Ecclessiastes 9:6). After death man has no more
consciousness of this world, as the rich man and Lazarus know nothing of the activities on the face of the earth after
they arrived in Hades (Luke 16:19f).

The last place they misunderstand is in Psalm 146:4, “his thoughts perish.” Again, apparently showing men’s soul
ceases to be at the death of the body. Again, read the context. The Psalmist is talking about the futility of following
after “princes” and the “son of man.” The plans and purpose of the Almighty have just begun at the grave, but the
plans and purposes of man cease there. Man can help himself no further than the grave; only God can help us after
the grave.
If the soul died along with the body, why did Jesus make the statement: “And fear not them which kill the body, but
are not able to kill the soul” (Matthew 10:28)? If the soul dies with the body, then to kill one is to kell the other; but,
Jesus said the soul does not die with the body. Are we to believe Jesus, or those who would tell us otherwise?