Death and Hell


Eons and Ages


Word of God



   The Apocalypse





Statement of Faith






  Right Division    Jesus Christ       The Walk         The Key



   New Audio Room


   New Forum


   New Blogger



   Test Your 



   View Guestbook

   Sign Guestbook


new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

The Pleroma



   Plainer Words


   Tom Ballinger


Library of Articles

new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

Theme of The Bible  The Kingdom of God


The Times of Refreshing


S. Van Mierlo


Summary of the Divine Plan 


The Message of the Kingdom


Three Spheres



new_tiny.gif (143 bytes)

The Works of Flavius Josephus



Quick Search

Bible Studies

 Alphabetical Analysis



  Also -





   "Practical Truth in Ephesians"


A Study in Pentecost


Heavenly Places

by Charles H. Welch PDF

The One Great Subject of

 The Word



By Charles H. Welch



 by E.W. Bullinger



 by Tom Ballinger


Present Truth


The Foundations of Dispensational Truth


Introduction To Acts 28


 Dispensational Expositions


ACTS 28. The Dispensational Boundary


None Other Things




Tested Truth


Things That Differ 


Before and After Acts 28:28


The Hope of Paul's

Acts Epistles


Who is YOUR Apostle


The Ministry of Paul 




The Structure

of Ephesians


A Study in Pentecost


The Elect Remnant 


Time and Eternity

Death, Soul and Hell

Do YOU have an Immortal Soul?

The Resurrection

of the body


Visible Hell

The Gift, Hope and the Prize

The Fullness

Three Spheres of Blessing

The Bride and The Body

Structures or Parallel Lines


Children vs. Sons

Earthly Things




Dispensational Outline Of The Books Of The N.T.


Gementria in Christ's Geneaolgy
















Part 4         

The heart-kardia in the New Testament is used with the same wide range of meaning that we have found in the Old Testament (leb and lebab). We do not need to be detained long in the study of the meaning and usages of the heart in the New Testament. Essentially, the heart-kardia stands for the whole inner life of a person in its various aspects. It denotes, like the spirit, the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual center of a person. The fact that the "heart" and the "spirit" are used in a similar way shows again the wholistic Biblical view of human nature, where a part of human nature can be used to refer to the person as a whole.

The Heart Is the Seat of Emotions. Both good and bad emotions spring from the heart. The heart feels joy (John 16:22; Acts 2:26; 14:17), fear (John 14:1), sorrow (John 16:6; 2 Cor 2:4), love (2 Cor 7:3; 6:11; Phil 1:7), lust (Rom 1:24), longing (Rom 10:1; Luke 24:32), and desire (Rom 1:24; Matt 5:28; James 3:14). Paul expressed his heart's desire for the conversion of his fellow Jews (Rom 10:1). He wrote to the Corinthians in "anguish of heart" (2 Cor 2:4). He urged the Corinthians to open their hearts by receiving him and his companions in love (2 Cor 7:2).

The Heart Is the Seat of Intellectual Activity. Jesus said that "out of the heart of man come evil thoughts" (Mark 7:21) and "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matt 12:34). Paul exhorts every man to give liberally "as he purposeth in his heart" (2 Cor 9:7). The "eyes of the heart" must be enlightened (Eph 1:18) to understand the Christian hope. Decisions have their origin in the heart (Luke 21:14; Acts 11:23).

Sometimes it is God who influences the decision of human hearts: "For God has put into their hearts to carry out his purpose" (Rev 17:17). Sometimes it is the devil who does so: "The devil had already put into the heart of Judah Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him" (John 13:2). Sometimes the heart is synonymous with conscience: "Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God" (1 John 3:21). The Gentiles possess a law, written in their hearts that enables them to distinguish between good and evil (Rom 2:14-15).

The Heart Is the Seat of Religious Experience. God approaches a person in the heart. He searches the human heart and puts it to the test (Luke 16:15; Rom 8:27; 1 Thess 2:4). God writes His law in the human heart (Rom 2:15; 2 Cor 3:2; Heb 8:10). He opens the human heart (Luke 24:45; Acts 16:14). He shines in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Cor 4:6). The peace of God keeps our hearts and minds in Christ (Phil 4:7). The Spirit of God is poured into our hearts (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 1:22; Gal 4:6).

Christ dwells in our hearts and is active in them by means of faith (Eph 4:17-18). The Christian heart is purified and sanctified through faith and baptism (Acts 15:9; Heb 10:22). The heart is made clean (Matt 5:8) and strengthened by God (1 Thess 3:13). The peace of Christ can reign in the heart (Col 3:15). The heart receives the down payment of the Spirit (2 Cor 1:22).

Christian virtues are ascribed to the heart. Love is associated with the heart (2 Thess 3:5; 1 Pet 1:22). Obedience is linked to the heart (Rom 6:17; Col 3:22). Forgiveness comes from the heart (Matt 18:35). Thankfulness resides in the heart (Col 3:16). The peace of God dwells in the heart (Phil 4:7). Above all, love for God and for one's neighbor comes from the heart (Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; Matt 22:37-39).

The sampling of texts just cited clearly indicates that the word "heart" is used to describe the inner life of the whole person. This leads Karl Barth to conclude that "the heart is not merely a part but the reality of man, both wholly of soul and wholly of body."44 The fact that the heart stands for the whole inner life of a person very much in the same way as the spirit does, reveals again the Biblical wholistic view of human nature.

The dualistic view which attributes the spiritual and moral functions of human nature to the soul is discredited by the fact that such functions are equally ascribed to the heart and to the spirit. This is possible because, as we have seen, in the Bible human nature is an indissoluble unity and not a composite of different "parts." The Biblical wholistic view of human nature negates the possibility for the soul to exist and function as a distinct, immaterial entity apart from the body.

Scholarly Support for Wholistic View. As a brief appendix to our survey of the Biblical view of human nature, I cite by way of example, a few of the numerous scholars of different persuasions who support the Biblical wholistic view of human nature, which negates the belief in the immortality of the soul.45

In several of his books, William Temple, Archibishop of Canterbury, affirms the Biblical wholistic view of human nature and declares "unbiblical the notion of the natural indestruction of the individual soul."46 He wrote: "Man is not immortal by nature or of right; but he is capable of immortality and there is offered to him resurrection from the dead and life eternal if he will receive it from God and on God's terms."47

At the 1955 "Ingersoll Lecture on the Immortality of Man," delivered at the Andover Chapel of Harvard University, Swiss theologian Oscar Cullmann stressed the fundamental difference between the Christian doctrine of the resurrection and the Greek concept of the immortality of the soul. He said: "The soul is not immortal. There must be a resurrection for both [body and soul]; for since the Fall the whole man is 'sown corruptible.'"48 This famous lecture, which was later published in book form Immortality of the Soul or Resurrection of the Dead?, provoked violent hostility on the part of some who accused Cullmanm of being a "monster who delights in causing spiritual distress."49 One writer said: "The French people, dying for lack of the Bread of life, have been offered instead of bread, stones, if not serpents."50 Such violent reactions exemplify how difficult it is for people to reexamine their long-cherished beliefs.

In his book Basic Christian Teachings, Lutheran theologian Martin Heinechen rejects as "false dualism" the notion that at creation "God made a soul, which is the real person, and that He then gave this soul a temporary home in a body, made of dust of the earth. . . . Man must be considered a unity. . . . The Christian dualism is not that of soul and body, eternal mind and passing things, but the dualism of Creator and creature. Man is a person, a unified being, a center of responsibility, standing over against his Creator and Judge. He has no life or immortality within himself."51

In The Pocket Commentary of the Bible, Basil F. C. Atkinson, Cambridge University librarian, writes in relation to Genesis 2:7: "It has sometimes been thought that the impartation of the life principle, as it is brought before us in this verse, entailed immortality of the spirit or soul. It has been said that to be made in the image of God involves immortality. The Bible never says so. If it involves immortality, why does it not also involve omniscience or omnipresence, or any other quality or attribute of the Infinite? . . . Throughout the Bible man, apart from Christ, is conceived of as made of dust and ashes, a physical creature, to whom is lent by God a principle of life. The Greek thinkers tended to think of man as an immortal soul imprisoned in a body. The emphasis is the opposite to that of the Bible, but, has found a wide place in Christian thought."52

Some Catholic scholars also recognize that the traditional concept of the natural immortality of the soul is not a Biblical concept. Claude Tresmontant, a French Catholic Dominican scholar, contrasts the Biblical "resurrection" of the whole person with the traditional dualistic view. He writes: "But the Judeo-Christian teaching on the resurrection is quite a different matter. It does not mean that a part of man-his soul-will be freed by discarding the other part-his material body; biblical teaching implies that the whole man will be saved."53

In The Biblical Meaning of Man, Dom Wulstan Mork, who is also a Catholic Dominican scholar, challenges the traditional dualistic view of human nature and encourages the reader to recover the Biblical wholistic view. He writes: "Biblical man, hence man as he is revealed in the Bible, is a unity of flesh, soul, and spirit, not a trichotomy, nor a dichotomy of body and soul." He goes on to note that the Bible sees "man as a whole, a healthy viewpoint for balanced, integral living, and radically related both to God, mankind, and all of creation. We need this viewpoint today, to counteract a still-lurking Platonic attitude, and to correct a too natural, secularized, acceptance of the human situation."54 Mork believes that a recovery of the Biblical wholistic view of human nature will contribute to "a healthier attitude toward the human person, and, indeed, toward matter in general."55

Reinhold Niebuhr, a renowned American theologian and long-time professor at Union Theological Seminary, contrasts the Biblical wholistic view of human nature with the classical dualistic view. He concludes: "All the plausible and implausible proofs for the immortality of the soul are efforts on the part of the human mind to master and control the consummation of life. They all try to prove in one way or another that an eternal element in the nature of man is worthy and capable of survival beyond death. But every mystic or rational technique which seeks to extricate the eternal element tends to deny the meaningfulness of the historical unity of body and soul; and with it the meaningfulness of the whole historical process with its infinite elaborations of that unity."56

In his book The Christian Hope, Lutheran theologian T. A. Kantonen notes that "it has been characteristic of Western thought ever since Plato to distinguish sharply between the soul and the body. The body is supposed to be composed of matter, and the soul of spirit. The body is a prison from which the soul is liberated at death to carry on its own proper nonphysical existence. Hence the question of life after death has been the question of demonstrating the immortality, the death-defying capacity, of the soul. The body is of little consequence. This way of thinking is entirely foreign to the Bible. True to the Scripture and definitely rejecting the Greek view, the Christian creed says, not 'I believe in the immortality of the soul,' but 'I believe in the resurrection of the body.'"57

In his impressive study on the Biblical view of human nature titled Body and Soul, R. G. Owen, former provost of Trinity College, University of Toronto, offers a penetrating analysis of the contrast between the Greek dualistic view and the Biblical wholistic view of human nature. Owens finds that man in the Bible is a "unified psychosomatic whole" and that "there can be no detachable part of man that survives physical death."58 "The Bible," he writes, "assumes that human nature is a unity; in the New Testament it teaches that man's ultimate destiny involves the 'resurrection of the body."59 Owens proposes that "the old doctrine of the immortality of the separated soul must now itself be gently ushered into the place of departed spirits."60

Emil Brunner, a well-known Swiss theologian, finds the dualistic view of human nature irreconcilable with the Biblical wholistic view. He writes: "Somewhere in the Christian faith there must have been some opening through which this foreign doctrine could penetrate. Assuredly, from the Biblical standpoint, it is God alone who possesses immortality. The opinion that we men are immortal because our soul is of an indestructible, because divine, essence is, once for all, irreconcilable with the Biblical view of God and man."61

Brunner discusses several negative implications of the dualistic conception of human nature. First, he points out that the effect of dualism "is not merely to make death innocuous but also to rob evil of its sting. Just as death affects only the lower part of man, so also does evil. The latter consists only in the sensual and impulsive. I myself am not truly responsible for evil, only my baser part, which is as it were fastened on to my better higher and true being. Evil is thus no act of the spirit, no rebellious revolt of the ego against the Creator, but merely a sensual or impulsive nature which has not been tamed by mind. In brief, evil is the absence of mind, not sin."62

A second implication is that "man in his spiritual and higher being is divine, not creaturely. God is not his creator, God is the all of which the human spirit is but a part. Man is a participator in the divine in the most direct and literal sense. Hence, since this mode of robbing evil of its sting runs necessarily parallel with the rendering innocuous of death through the teaching about immortality, this solution of the problem of death stands in irreconcilable opposition to Christian thought."63

In his book I Believe in the Second Advent, Stephen H. Travis, a respected British theologian, acknowledges that if he were pressed to choose between "eternal punishment" and "conditional immortality," he would opt for the latter. The first reason he gives is that the "immortality of the soul is a non-biblical doctrine derived from Greek philosophy. In Biblical teaching man is 'conditionally immortal'-that is, he has the possibility of becoming immortal if he receives resurrection or immortality as a gift from God. This would imply that God grants resurrection to those who love him, but those who resist him go out of existence."64

Travis notes that "The old concept of the soul, which used to safeguard the continuity of the person from this life to the next, has been largely abandoned in modern thought. Man's nature is thought of as a unity; he does not consist of two parts, a physical body which dies and a soul which lives on for ever. His 'soul' or 'self' or 'personality' is simply a function of the brain. So when the brain dies, the person dies, and there is nothing left to enter upon another life."65

Bruce Reichenbach, an American philosopher, probes into human nature in his book Is Man the Phoenix? He concludes that "the doctrine that man as a person [soul] does not die poses particular difficulties for the Christian dualist. For one thing, it is apparently contrary to the teachings of Scripture. . . .[He cites several texts] Each of these and numerous other passages indicate that each of us, as a person, must die. There is no hint that the only thing spoken about is the destruction of the physical organism, and that the real person, the soul, does not die but lives on."66

Donald Bloesch, a leading evangelical scholar, underscores the same conclusion, saying: "There is no inherent immortality of the soul. The person who dies, even the one who dies in Christ, undergoes the death of both body and soul."67 Anthony Hoekema, a Calvinistic theologian, agrees: "We cannot point to any inherent quality in man or in any aspect of man which makes him indestructible."68 F. F. Bruce, a respected British New Testament scholar, warns that "our traditional thinking about the 'never-dying soul,' which owes so much to our Graeco-Roman heritage, makes it difficult for us to appreciate Paul's [wholistic] point of view."69

Murray Harris, an American Biblical scholar, concludes his article on "Resurrection and Immortality" saying: "Man is not immortal because he posseses or is a soul. He becomes immortal because God transforms him by raising him from the dead."70 He explains that while Platonic thought made immortality "an inalienable attribute of the soul, . . . the Bible contains no definition of the soul's constitution that implies its indestructibility."71

In his doctoral dissertation on "Sheol in the Old Testament," Ralph Walter Doermann concludes his analysis of the Old Testament view of human nature by saying: "It is evident from the Hebrew view of the psychosomatic unity of man that there was little room for the belief in the 'immortality of the soul.' Either the whole person lived or the whole person went down to death . . . There was no independent existence for the ruach [spirit] or the nephesh [soul] apart from the body. With the death of the body the impersonal ruach [spirit] 'returned to God who gave it' (Eccl 12:7) and the nephesh [soul] was destroyed, though it was still present, in a very weak sense, in the bones and the blood."72

H. Dooyeweerd, a Dutch Calvinistic philosopher, sharply criticises the dualistic view of human nature. He rejects such a view not only because "the idea of a substance centered in human reason (i.e., the soul) is in conflict with the confession of the radical corruption of human nature, but also because the separability of the soul from the body raises various problems." One of the problems he mentions is the impossibility for the "soul" to carry out activities once it is separated from the body, because psychic functions are indissolubly connected with the total temporal relationship and functions of the body.73

Conclusion. We have come to the end of our survey of four prominent words used in the New Testament to describe human nature, namely, soul, spirit, body, and heart. We have found that the New Testament expands the Old Testament meaning of these terms in the light of the teachings and redemptive ministry of Christ.

In the New Testament, the "soul-psyche" is not an immaterial and immortal entity that survives the death of the body, but the whole person as a living body, with its personality, appetities, emotions, and thinking abilities. The soul-psyche denotes the physical, emotional, and spiritual life.

Christ expanded the meaning of soul-psyche to include the gift of eternal life received by those who are willing to sacrifice their earthly life for Him, but He never suggested that the soul is an immaterial, immortal entity. On the contrary, Jesus taught that God can destroy the soul as well as the body (Matt 10:28) of impenitent sinners.

Paul never uses the term "soul-psyche" to denote the life that survives death. Instead, he identified the soul with our physical nature (psychikon), which is subject to the law of sin and death (1 Cor 15:44). To ensure that his Gentile converts understood that there is nothing immortal in human nature per se, Paul used the term "spirit-pneuma" to describe the new life in Christ, which the believer receives wholly as a gift of God's Spirit both now and at the resurrection.

The "spirit-pneuma," like the soul, is not an independent, spiritual component of human nature that operates apart from the body, but the life principle that animates the physical body and regenerates the whole person. We have found that the meaning and function of the Spirit are expanded with the coming of Christ, who is identified with the Spirit in the work of salvation. The meaning of the spirit-pneuma as life principle is expanded to include the new-life principle of moral regeneration made possible through Christ's redemption.

The Spirit sustains both the physical and the moral-spiritual aspects of life. The moral transformation accomplished by the Holy Spirit is described more fully in the New Testament than in the Old Testament. John and Paul describe this process with the two different, yet complementary metaphors of rebirth and new creation.

The Spirit-pneuma is the most important word in Paul's vocabulary of this topic, because it serves to show that salvation is exclusively a divine gift of grace mediated by "the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:2) and not a natural possession of an immortal soul. Nowhere does the New Testament identify the life-giving Spirit with an immaterial, immortal soul capable of detaching itself from the body.

The function of the Spirit is not to sustain a spiritual, immortal soul, but to support both our physical and spiritual life. Both creation and recreation, birth and rebirth, are acts of the Spirit because Jesus explained, "It is the Spirit that gives life" (John 6:63). The spirit, like the soul, describes not a separate entity of human nature, but the whole person as sustained and transformed by God's Spirit.

The body in the New Testament denotes the whole person, both literally, in the concrete reality of human existence, and figuratively, in the submission of oneself to the influence of sin or to the power of the Holy Spirit. The meaning of the human body in the New Testament is enhanced by Christ's incarnation in a human body and by His resurrection in a glorified body (John 20:27).

The body has eternal significance in God's creative and redemptive purpose. Redemption means not the removal of the soul from the body, but the renewal of the body as the whole person in this present life and the resurrection of the body as the whole person in the world to come. "The body is not a tomb for the soul, but a temple of the Holy Spirit; man is not complete apart from the body." 74 Thus, even on the new earth, the body will be an essential part of human existence because the redeemed will exist not as disembodied souls but as resurrected corporeal persons.

The heart, in the New Testament, stands for the whole inner life of a person. It denotes, like the Spirit, the emotional, intellectual, and spiritual functions of a person. The fact that such functions are equally ascribed to the heart and to the spirit shows that the New Testament, like the Old Testament, views human nature as an indissoluble unity and not as a composite of different "parts."

Summing up our survey of the Old and New Testament view of human nature, we can say that the Bible is consistent in teaching that human nature is an indissoluble unity, where the body, soul, and spirit represent different aspects of the same person, and not different substances or entities functioning independently. This wholistic view of human nature removes the basis for the belief in the survival of the soul at the death of the body.

The wholistic view of human nature that we have found in the Bible poses some important questions: What happens when a person dies? Does the whole person, body, soul, and spirit perish at death so that nothing survives? If so, why does the Bible speak of the resurrection of the dead? What is the state of the dead between death and resurrection, a period generally known as the intermediate state? What is the nature of the resurrected body? Will it be similar or different from the present body? These are some of the questions we must address in the following chapters.