The dead are conscious of nothing

Does this prove that immortality of the soul is not a christian practice?

I know there are dozens of scriptural proof for soul that is everlasting. but how do we reconcile with such passages? e.g. Genesis: God made Adam “a living soul”.

If God “gave” man a soul, (a living, breathing soul)…then soul therefore is the body itself? not a spirit creature? so that when we die…“The dead are conscious of nothing…”?


A = The dead are conscious of nothing.
B = Immortality of the soul is not a christian practice.

  1. What’s the basis for asserting A?
  2. A ==> B does not follow (illogical).

If B, then not A. If A, B does not necessarily follows.

Is that a Scripture reference? “The dead are conscious of nothing”? What’s it’s context?

I’m not sure I understand the question.

No. The soul is separate from the body. The trouble is too many times we either mis-understand scripture or mis-interpret it. We usually interchange body and soul.

That the soul exists apart from the body is spoken of many times in scripture. One good example is when Jesus descended into hades to speak to the souls in prison ( 1 Peter 3:19 and 1 Peter 4:6 ). Also, since we all pray for the dead, the soul is apart from the physical body.

The Jews of old ( and even some of them today ) believed in a holding place for the souls of those that died. We Catholics believe in purgatory, as taught by the Church. And, yes the dead are aware of their existence and where they are, If they aren’t ( like the Seventh Day Adventists who believe in “soul sleep” and the Jehovahs Witnesses who believe that the soul dies with the body ), then Heaven must be an awfully lonely place and won’t be populated until after the end of the world.

The soul does exist and is separate from the body. It is the force that animates the body. It is the soul that was made in the image and likeness of God. It is the soul’s fulfillment to worship God and to spend eternity with Him in Heaven

PAX DOMINI :signofcross:

Shalom Aleichem

According to Christ, the Christian God is the God of the Living. If He is the God of Isaac, Abraham and many other Patriarchs, then they should be living with God now. Then, they have immortal souls.

If I were you, I would read the Nicene Creed or the Apostles Creed.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being."229 Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person.230 But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him,231 that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:232

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. 233

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:234 i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not “produced” by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection.235

I’m not sure where your idea comes from, but the above gives you the official teaching of the Catholic Church. Hope this helps.


A) derives from the book of Ecclesiastes, in the OT: “The living know that they shall die; but the dead know nothing more” (Ecc 9:5)

Therefore, the burden is on Christians to show that A) does not follow from the reading of Scripture.

And I imagine that the op meant that, given an apparent scripture to the contrary, “immortality of the soul” is not a correct Christian practice. After all, the word of God would seem to say otherwise.

Your soul does not breathe; your body breathes. Your soul is not something; it is a process of mind, sensation and action designed to move around in a body, and live the life held and expressed by your body. Your soul lives life, but your body holds and expresses your life. Your life is physical; and because time also is physical, your life is limited by time.

After you suffer death, you cease to be alive in time. So for times after you die, you are “conscious of nothing.” If your breathing fails in the year 2050, you will not experience 2051. For 2051 you’d be “conscious of nothing.”

But God’s life is eternal, outside time. That’s where your soul will be; that’s where you will awaken to life, in what Saint Paul calls a “Spiritual Body.” Outside of time, unlimited by it, unaffected by death, “absent from the body, and present with the LORD” (2Co 5:8). (You can’t be “present” to anybody if unconscious.)

There will be for you no time in which you are unconscious due to Death, because your being is removed from time.


There may be more than one way to interpret this verse of Ecclesiastes, and admittedly I am no Bible scholar, but I’ll give it a shot.

Those who died before the death and resurrection of Christ may, in fact, have known nothing. That is to say, they may have been without consciousness. I say “may” because I’m not familiar with Church teaching on this matter, only that when Christ died He descended to the dead to “deal with” the souls of those who died before His death and resurrection.

Just my two cents.


I think in simple terms ,that this means that the dead are not conscious of anything concerning earthly life.

At the time of Solomon most Jews did not believe in the afterlife (Solomon’s father, David, professed belief in the afterlife, this was most unusual and no doubt reflects the intensity of his relationship with God). Still at the time of Jesus there was a deep division among the Jewish leadership about whether or not there was to be a resurrection (that was the whole point of the “trick question” put to Jesus by the Sadducees, the one about the woman who was widowed seven times.) So Solomon’s musings in Ecclesiastes grow out of his understanding, which was limited by not having the fullness of the revelation that God would continue, through the times of the prophets and ultimately in the Person of Jesus. Wise though he was, Solomon could not know what had not yet been revealed.

I certainly know from scripture that there is an active spirit within us that dwells beyond death.

As the Pharisees and Saul were stoning Stephen, he exclaims “Lord Christ recieve my spirit” and he died. -

Same with the girl whom Christ revived where it mentions, “her spirit returned and she got up at once”

These passages clearly identify the soul as something to be handed over or returned- not anhiliated as the JW’s believe.

Souls clearly have conscience er else why would the spirits be “imprisoned” if they are conscious of nothing? as i recall, imprisonment is a psychological treatment to isolate criminals. so why imprison spirits if the aren’t even conscious of their punishment?

Im just actually asking for help on how to refute JW claims, for i have regular bible studies with them. I can counter their verse (the dead are conscious of nothing) with a lot of others, but scripture cant contradict itself cant it? im asking, how does these isolated verses fit into CC doctrine that soul is conscious?

I’d be happy if you can give me scripture that Solomon’s father- David did believe in an afterlife. That would be proof that Solomon did lean on his own understanding- much needed for my witness witnessing:)

D-R Bible, Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 5. Know nothing more, viz., As to the transactions of this world, in which they have now no part, unless it be revealed to them; neither have they any knowledge or power now of doing any thing to secure their eternal state, (if they have not taken care of it in their lifetime) nor can they now procure themselves any good, as the living always may do, by the grace of God. (Challoner)

If i would be allowed to read Ecc 9:5 as quoted above, it would mean that the dead is already dead and has no more concept of another death… This could mean a lot of things about being dead. One could be not dying again…

If Christians would say that the soul is not immortal, then how come Jesus “descended unto the dead” before on the third day, rose from the dead?

As i can see here, it is most likely that we need to interpret the verse above in the correct context as it were written and to whom it was written.

Nailed it right on the head!! Thanks Gertie!

  1. Scripture INTERPRETATION should not contradict itself.
  2. Why ask how these isolated verses fit into CC doctrine, why not follow their own INTERPRETATION and have them fit them into contradicting verses? Notice how many assumptions will come out every time they “reinterpret” the verses.

Notice on the other hand, that the Catholic interpretation of the OT based on the NT’s verses as well as the CCC makes the OT interpretation deeper and the NT verses making sense in the Jewish light.

Our language concerning the body, mind, soul and spirit can be very, very confusing. It has been rightly said, for example, that our body does not have a spirit. What this means is that we are an embodied spirit. One is not a part or sub-part of the other, rather, we are a unity of body and spirit.

Our best example of this is Jesus the Christ, who is at once fully God and fully human. He lives in complete communion with the Holy Spirit of God the Father. It is this very Communion with God the Father and of the Holy Spirit of God that we are all Baptized into as Catholic Christians.

Of course, Mormans and Jehova’s Witnesses have no such understanding of God and Jesus, nor of mankind as their teachings proceed from a belief in many Gods and from false and only human ideas of scriptural interpretation.

When we rightly understand God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, as a communion of persons, and when we rightly understand our Baptism into the one and same Body of Christ, then we can rightly see our own communion with Christ, and thus with the Holy Spirit of God. And this one and same Holy Spirit of God which we receive at our baptism is the One and same Holy Spirit of God which lives in the eternal Communion of God.

We might recall that not all of the early Christians had a full experience of Baptism, having only been baptized with water. Later, Peter came to them and they were then Baptized with the Holy Spirit. So it is with Mormans and Jehovahs Witnesses today. They, having an only an erroneous and merely human idea of God, and having only experienced a baptism of human invention, and having a wrong idea of God in the first place, must then be baptized into the true understanding of the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

This One and true understanding being a partaking in the One and same Holy Spirit of God, and a participation in the One and same Body of Christ. And thus, a share in the eternal life of God.


Ref. the quote from Eccl., the writer may have in a common sense way, understood the consequences of no longer having the body’s senses with which to gain knoweledge of our environment, so that it is a qualified truth that after death we cannot know as we do now. But that does not exclude us from gaining intuitive knowledge as in the manner of the angels, whereby God infuses knowledge directly into our consciousness. I know! I’m tardy with this answer, but I have only recently registered.

Right on !
It’s all in the creed. What do we believe ? It’s all there
Talk abou getting back to basics—great :slight_smile:

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