If any one belief could be considered “universal” it is the belief in an immortal soul. Virtually every religion holds that belief in some form or another. However, the ancient Hebrews did not believe that humans were endowed with a soul that survived the death of the body. Neither does the Bible support such a notion.
Instead, the Bible teaches that God man does not possess a soul. He is a soul. That’s what it states in the 2nd chapter of Genesis: God blew into his nostrils the breath of live and the man became a living soul. Furthermore, God intended for Adam and Eve and all their offspring to live forever on earth, more specifically, in paradise. The only requirement was that they obey their Creator. Sadly, they did not. And as a result, they were sentenced to death and genetically passed on sin and death to their children. When sentencing Adam to death God stated: ‘Back to the ground you will go, for dust you are and to dust you will return.’ That was it. It is that simple. At death humans cease to exist.
The only hope of a future life is the resurrection. The Jews of Jesus’ day believed in an earthly resurrection. They believed that the dead were unconscious. But they believed that God would bring the dead back to life. That is also what Jesus and the apostles taught. Jesus actually resurrected four persons. His friend Lazarus had been dead for fours days, and had in fact been wrapped in burial clothes and entombed. But Jesus commanded men to roll the stone away and he ordered Lazarus to ‘come out,’ and the dead man responded and came out of the tomb still wrapped in burial clothe.
LIFE AFTER DEATH?
Jesus performed these few resurrections in order to demonstrate the powers he had been given and they serve as a guarantee that a return from the dead is possible. It helps believers put faith in what Jesus said as regards the dead; namely, that all of those in the memorial tombs will hear the voice of the Son of God and come out. That is God’s intention: To bring mankind back from death and restore the earth to the condition that once existed in the Garden of Eden.
However, Jesus also promised that some people will never die at all. How is that possible? It is not because of having a supposed immortal soul. The Bible actually holds out the hope that a great multitude of people will survive the end of this world – just as Noah and his family survived the end of that ancient world – and they will repopulate and begin a thousand year project to rehabilitate themselves and restore the earth and welcome back the dead.
Jehovah’s Witnesses wish to share their hope of being the meek who will inherit the earth.