The Berean Expositor
Volume 19 - Page 130 of 154
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Little more was done in the article referred to in Volume I than to show that the
Scriptures do not teach that the soul is immortal. We must now acquaint ourselves with
what the Scriptures do teach.
Nephesh in Gen. 1:
"The moving creature that hath life (margin soul)" (Gen. 1: 20).
"Every living creature (lit. living soul) that moveth" (Gen. 1: 21).
"The earth bring forth the living creature" (Gen. 1: 24).
"Everything . . . . . wherein (there is) life (margin living soul)" (Gen. 1: 30).
Here are the four occurrences of nephesh in Gen. 1:, and these demand our attention.
First let us note that the LXX consistently renders this word in each case by the Greek
psuche. There is need here, as at all times, to verify references. If we accept the
marginal reference in Gen. 1: 20, A.V., we shall be certain that the word "life" there is
nephesh. This we can confirm by the margin of The Companion Bible where the note
reads: "life=soul. Heb. nephesh." Nevertheless we have to declare that neither authority
is strictly true. "Life" in Gen. 1: 20 is the Hebrew word chaiyah, and the exact note to
Gen. 1: 20 should state that the word "life" stands for two Hebrews words--chaiyah
nephesh. It is also well to remember that, whereas in verse 21 the word "creature" is the
translation of nephesh ("soul"), in verse 20 "creature" is the translation in a different
Hebrew word. In the last reference, the A.V. translated nephesh chaiyah by one word,
"life", which is liable to be misleading. In this chapter "life" is already the rendering of
chaiyah. That it is not a suitable rendering of nephesh chaiyah is made evident by
translating Gen. 1: 30 similarly, "Wherein there is living life" or "life of life". If one
objects that the translation, "wherein there is soul of life" or "soul life" is not much
better, it will nevertheless have the merit of presenting the facts of the case, before
formulating a theory, and also be in harmony with the LXX which reads:--
"Ho echei en heauto psuche zoes"--
"Which has in itself soul of life."
"Soul" is predicated in this chapter of "creeping creatures" brought forth by the waters
(verse 20), "great whales" (verse 21)--elsewhere called "serpents" (Exod. 7: 9),
"dragons" (Deut. 32: 33), and "sea-monsters" (Lam. 4: 3)--"cattle", "creeping thing",
"beast of the earth" (verse 25) and finally,
"Every beast of the earth, and every fowl of the air, and everything that creepeth upon the
earth, wherein there is soul life, or living soul" (verse 30).
We must not fail to observe another fact. Scripture does use the expression, "wherein
there is living soul or soul life"; and if Scripture sees no contradiction in saying that
these creatures are living souls and that they have living soul in them, neither must we.
Some translations, like Spurrell's, read in verse 30: "breath of life", because, we
suppose, nephesh (soul) is cognate with naphach (to breathe). As this phrase, "the breath