2021-02-10
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Souls are referenced throughout scripture. The first time the word is mentioned in the Bible is in the book of Genesis when addressing Adam's creation. The Bible says, “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Adam and Eve were created uniquely when comparing them to the rest of God’s creation. God created humanity as “a living soul.”

Some of the other places the word "soul" is mentioned include Psalm 62:5, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.” It is also referenced in Psalm 104:1, which says, “Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty…” Luke 1:46 also mentions the word soul, “And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the LORD…” We know from the Bible that we are created in God’s image, and because of this, it makes sense to wonder if this means that God has a soul. There are a few passages in the Bible that may reveal the answer.

Some readers believe two of the passages that indicate that God has a soul is Leviticus 26:11 and Judges 10:16. In both passages, the word nephesh is used in connection to God, which has come to imply “vital spirit” in Latin. Then, in Jeremiah 32:41, God makes a promise regarding Israel: “I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.” It’s important to note that the Bible also refers to God having human qualities like a hand and a face. This may mean that biblical explanations of God’s soul are an anthropomorphism, an attribution of God's human characteristics or behavior. This is comparable to biblical descriptions of God’s “hands.” We do know from scripture that God is Spirit. John 4:24 says, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” However, there isn’t a place in the Bible that says that God is a soul or possesses a soul.

It’s also important to look at how a soul is being defined. While it is common to think that humans possess souls, it is better to say we are souls. If a soul is being referred to as personhood or as a being that has emotions, mind, and will, then the answer is yes. God can express emotions and feelings. He is not soulless. Yet, the word soul is often used when addressing humanity. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the soul is “the spiritual part of a person that some people believe continues to exist in some form after their body has died or part of a person that is not physical.” The soul is generally defined as the part of us that links the body with the spirit. Our Heavenly Father is not human. He is Spirit.

Many people struggle with the concept of the Trinity. This is the belief that God exists in three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. One of the reasons it is so difficult to understand is because of how we understand who a person is. People can indeed look, sound, or act like a person but still can’t be another person. If this is the case, how can God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit be the same? Jesus, who is the Son of God, can be different from our Heavenly Father, but also the same. This also goes for the Holy Spirit.

In the very beginning, in Genesis, we see the Trinity mentioned: “Then God said, 'Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (Genesis 1:26-29). John 1:1 reminds us that the Father is God from the beginning. In John 10:30, Jesus reveals Himself as equal to the Father. Together, they sent the Holy Spirit to us. First John 5:7-11 says, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God which He has testified to His Son.” God doesn’t have a soul because He is a soul, a single soul, in the spirit of being three persons.

When Jesus became human, he was body and soul, like us. He had to live out the fully human experience, which included suffering. If Jesus had a human body, that means He had a soul, just like us. The soul could be the person of the Son in the Trinity. It is very difficult to completely understand God as three persons and also as one being. The wonderful thing about the Trinity is that it reminds us of God’s greatness and complexity. Many aspects of God are difficult to understand.

Ultimately, God is Spirit, like the Person of the Holy Spirit. This person is immaterial. Only Jesus took on human form, which means He also possessed a human soul. This is what it means to be truly human. Our Heavenly Father, on the other hand, is not a human being. While He has emotions, and cares for us deeply, He does not have a created soul like we do. However, He is still a whole Person, as He is the first person of the Trinity. If we are talking about God’s soul, it is likely about His complete essence and being.

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