Barry Newman's Blog

December 17, 2009

The Soul (part VIII)

Filed under: psuche,The Soul — barrynewman @ 10:48 pm

The human psuche and its existence after death

Unlike the situation with nephesh, there are a few clear instances where psuche corresponds to some entity having existence after death.  There are four: “You will not leave my psuche in Sheol” (quoting Ps 16:10); “Fear those who are able to kill the body bot not the psuche” (Matt 10:28); “You fool this night I will require of you your psuche” (Lu 12:20); “I saw under the altar the psuche of those that had been slain” (Rev 6:9).  There are two instances that are less clear: “His psuche is still in him” (Acts 20:10) – a possible reference to his breath, and “I pray that your body, psuche and spirit will be preserved spotless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 5:23).  In this latter text the idea of both body and psuche being preserved is in contrast with the Matthew text cited above where the body can be slain but not the psuche. The reference in 1 Cor 15: 44, 45 to “It is sown a psuche type body, it is raised a spiritual type body” and “the first man Adam became a living psuche; the last Adam a life giving spirit” indicates how the body can be preserved and yet not be the same as the body before death. 

Though no tight picture emerges for the usage of psuche in association with death, there is a psuche beyond death which has an identity with the psuche before death.  However, this is not the same as saying that psuche refers to an entity within a being that leaves after death.  A person, a being has an ongoing existence identifiable with the person, the being who existed before death.  This understanding is consistent with the general usage of psuche as indicated in Table 3.

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