Exegetical Psychology

Can Your Soul Be Killed?

Can your soul be killed? No, but body and soul can be destroyed by God alone in Gehenna. Consider Matthew 10:28.

and you do not  be afraid of the ones killing the body, but not being able to destroy soul. You should fear rather the One being able both soul and body to destroy in Gehenna.

Jesus made three points about your soul in this verse.

1. Do not be afraid of the body killers

Jesus commanded His disciples not to fear the body killers. 1Matthew provided: Καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε (present middle/passive imperative, second plural) ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων (present active participle, genitive masculine plural) τὸ σῶμα τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ.  Matthew used a very common word for kill the body, but used a present participle to emphasize the immediate action of bodily death. We could translate it as a substantive, the killers. They act on earth in the here and now and kill your physical body. Notice the distinction between killing the body, but unable to destroy body and soul, which remain after the death of the body. Jesus dealt with the fear of the disciples by using a simple, direct command not to fear. Jesus always provided all the spiritual power necessary to keep His commands. He never commanded us to do things we lack the power to do. Therefore, we know that body killers may kill people, but Jesus commanded us not to fear them. Please keep in mind the difference between killing the body and destroying both body and soul in Gehenna. 

2. The body killers have no power to destroy the soul.

Jesus explained the the body killers have no power to the destroy body and soul after death of the physical body. 2Matthew provided: τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι (aorist active infinitive). The μὴ δυναμένων (present passive/middle participle, genitive masculine plural)  describes the lack of power now or ever to destroy the soul. The aorist infinitive ἀποκτεῖνα describes the use of the power.  We must not fear the body killers, because they cannot destroy the body and soul. The soul departs the body at death and goes to either Paradise (believers) or to Hades (unbelievers) at death (see Afterlife). The body killers under no circumstances have the power to destroy the body and soul. In other words, after your body dies on earth, the soul departs the body. The body killers have no ability to destroy the soul, because it is separate from the body composed of flesh. Please recall that both Lazarus and the Rich Man had bodies after death. The Rich Man had a body and soul in  Hades after the death of his physical body. Lazarus had a body and soul in Abraham’s bosom after the death of physical body. Likewise, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).

3. Fear the One With Power to destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.

Jesus commanded His disciples to fear the One with Power to destroy body and soul in Gehenna. 3Matthew provided: φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον (present middle/passive participle genitive masculine plural) καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. God alone has the power to destroy both body and soul in Gehenna (see Afterlife). Therefore, we know that bodies go to Gehenna along with souls. The bodies in Gehenna do not have flesh, but afterlife bodies that endure flames without being burned up. At the resurrection of the foul, 4Jesus used the term “foul” (“φαῦλα”) to describe the wicked. they will be raised bodily to judgment (John 5:29). They continue suffering the flames of  Gehenna indefinitely.