What is hell and is the soul immortal?

I always thought the Church teaches the immortality of the soul. Peter Kreeft in his book “Heaven” (very recommended) however says that the soul is not immortal according to the Bible. Jesus says that we must fear the one who can kill both body and soul in hell. Scripture also says that only God is immortal. That is why we have to be born again to eternal life and that the grace of God gives the soul immortality. Hell is precisely the death of the soul.
What does this mean? What is hell, what exists there, does the soul die, if so, how come, if not, how come, and what suffers in hell? Also Kreeft says heaven is a concrete though spiritual place but that hell is a state of mind. Father Amorth in his book “an exorcist tells his story” says the same, that hell is a state of mind. But doesn’t the Church teach that on judgment day everyone gets their bodies back? If the damned suffer in their bodies, how can hell be a state of mind?
Emil

[quote=fineca]I always thought the Church teaches the immortality of the soul. Peter Kreeft in his book “Heaven” (very recommended) however says that the soul is not immortal according to the Bible. Jesus says that we must fear the one who can kill both body and soul in hell. Scripture also says that only God is immortal. That is why we have to be born again to eternal life and that the grace of God gives the soul immortality. Hell is precisely the death of the soul.
What does this mean? What is hell, what exists there, does the soul die, if so, how come, if not, how come, and what suffers in hell? Also Kreeft says heaven is a concrete though spiritual place but that hell is a state of mind. Father Amorth in his book “an exorcist tells his story” says the same, that hell is a state of mind. But doesn’t the Church teach that on judgment day everyone gets their bodies back? If the damned suffer in their bodies, how can hell be a state of mind?
Emil
[/quote]

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1051 Every man receives his eternal recompense in his **immortal soul ** from the moment of his death in a particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.

1052 “We believe that the souls of all who die in Christ’s grace . . . are the People of God beyond death. On the day of resurrection, death will be definitively conquered, when these souls will be reunited with their bodies” (Paul VI, CPG § 28).

1053 “We believe that the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where they are also, to various degrees, associated with the holy angels in the divine governance exercised by Christ in glory, by interceding for us and helping our weakness by their fraternal concern” (Paul VI, CPG § 29).

1054 Those who die in God’s grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.

1055 By virtue of the “communion of saints,” the Church commends the dead to God’s mercy and offers her prayers, especially the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, on their behalf.

1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the “sad and lamentable reality of eternal death” (GCD 69), also called “hell.”

1057 Hell’s principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” (Mt 19:26).

1059 “The holy Roman Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will appear in their own bodies before Christ’s tribunal to render an account of their own deeds” (Council of Lyons II [1274]:DS 859; cf. DS 1549).

1060 At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be transformed. God will then be “all in all” (1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.

thistle << however says that the soul is not immortal according to the Bible. Jesus says that we must fear the one who can kill both body and soul in hell. >>

Finally a non-evolution thread I can post in. :thumbsup:

I did a study of “conditional immortality” or soul sleep a while back. Here is a little copy/paste on that verse (Matt 10:28) and why it teaches the soul (or spirit) is immortal. What the text says is that the “body” can be “killed” but that both “body and soul” can be “destroyed” (not killed) in hell (or Gehenna). Different Greek words there.

“And do not fear those who kill [Gr apokteino] the body but CANNOT kill [apokteino] the SOUL [psuche]; rather fear those who can destroy [apollumi] both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].” (Matthew 10:28 RSV)

(1) The Greek word for kill is -apokteino- = “to kill” physically. See also Mt 14:5; Jn 18:31; Rev 2:13; 9:15; 11:13; 19:21.

(2) According to Mt 10:28 the person’s SOUL -psuche- CANNOT be killed. Why? The soul is not physical but spiritual and immortal.

(3) The “soul and body” together can be “destroyed” in hell (Gehenna). The Greek word here is -apollumi- meaning “to destroy utterly” or “to perish.” See also Lk 13:3,5; Jn 3:16; 10:28; 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1 Cor 15:18; 2 Cor 2:15; 4:3; 2 Thes 2:10; James 4:12; 2 Pet 3:9.

(4) This word -apollumi- does not mean “annihilation” as some SdA people argue. According to W.E. Vine the “idea is not extinction but ruin, loss, not of being, but of well-being” (under “destroy”).

(5) In fact we know it does NOT refer to total extinction of being because the same word is used of DEMONS as in Lk 4:34; Mk 1:24. “Have you come to DESTROY us?” EQUALS “Have you come here to TORMENT us before the time?” See Mt 8:29; Mk 5:7; Lk 8:28 (the NIV uses the stronger word “torture” in these texts); and Revelation 9:5; 11:10; 14:10-11; 20:10; cf. Matt 25:41,46.

The fate of demons is eternal torment. Hence, “destroy” cannot mean annihilation or total extinction in this context.

(6) As Dr. Robert Morey points out also in his exhaustive book on the subject DEATH AND THE AFTERLIFE (Bethany House, 1984) the Bible uses the word “cast” -ballw- as the synonym for “destroy” -apollumi- in the parallel text Luke 12:4-5 – “CAST into hell” (Lk 12:5) EQUALS “DESTROY…in hell” (Mt 10:28).

The wicked are “cast” or “destroyed” (delivered up unto eternal misery). Hence, -apollumi- cannot mean extinction or annihilation. Matthew 10:28 clinches it. The soul cannot be “killed” but is immortal.

From Examination of Conditional Immortality, Soul Sleep, and Annihilationism

I wrote this a while back (1996) when I still into evangelical Reformed apologists like Robert Morey. His book on the afterlife may be the only good book he ever wrote since his views on Catholicism, Islam, and other subjects are a bit strange. :rolleyes:

Phil P

THANK YOU for a great explanation Phil!
Emil

HELL
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