Do we have an immortal soul in each of us? Do we live on as spirits or ghosts after death?

Before I learned what the Bible really taught, I incorrectly believed that we all have souls that lived on after our physical death, and that these souls are conscious of everything. I believed more so in this soul notion when I heard and read of near-death experiences, of how people died for a little while and when they were revived, they told about where they had gone to and whom they met. The story we often hear is people walking down a very long hallway after death; some entered a blissful place where they saw their friends and family, and some entered a terrible place.

While I cannot explain these phenomenon, in situations and cases like this, we must ask ourselves one crucial question: should we trust the words of men instead of the Word of God? If anything that people tell us contradicts what the Bible teaches, we will have to question it, even though some things appear to be true--and some people's experiences may be actual, but they cannot be understood as they are or be taken at face value without taking into account what the Bible says. We must keep in mind that the Bible contains the absolute truths because it is written by our very Creator and Life-Giver, Jehovah God Almighty, who is the Author of truths. Anything we believe as "true" cannot be true if it contradicts with what the Bible tells us.

Regarding the state of death, the Bible is very clear on this topic. When Jehovah created Adam, He "formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7, WEB) Note that Adam became a "living soul." He was a soul, not that he had a soul. "Soul" is often synonymous with "living creature" in the Bible.

After Adam sinned, Jehovah said to him, "You are dust, and to dust you shall return." (Genesis 3:19) Death was the penalty of sin that God has set. God's words to Adam are very clear; they indicated that Adam would return to the state before he became a living soul: as dust. God never implied that the man would live on as a spiritual being. Death was a penalty. If people lived on as spirits, what purpose would the death penalty serve? Adam had nothing in him that was a separate spiritual individual with the ability for conscious thoughts apart from the physical body; all that he was made of were dust and the life force that God breathed into him, and the life force is just that: a force that enables us to live, not something that has a mind, etc.

After sentencing Adam and Eve, God drove them out of the Garden of Eden. Why? He drove them out because He did not want them to eat from the tree of life lest they "live forever" (Genesis 3:22). Without eating from that tree, they could not obtain immortality--they did not have immortal souls.

The Bible also says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." (Ezekiel 18:20) So whatever those near-death experiences is all about, it cannot be experiences of immortal souls since we don't have any; they would have to be explained some other way. I seldom like to speculate because such speculations do not profit us. What will profit us is staying rooted and grounded in what the Bible says. The Bible is the absolute truths--it often disproves what we believe to be truths. For example, whenever a new science theory or "evidence" seems to discredit the Bible, it is always a matter of time when the Bible proves itself authentic and reliable.

But what about those supernatural experiences of our dead loved ones? Many of us have heard about or personally experienced supernatural visions, sounds, and contacts from those who have passed away. Does this mean that people really do live on as spirits after death?

Regarding the visitations of our "loved ones" from the dead, that can be easily explained. Whom many people believe to be their dead loved ones are actually demons in disguise. The Bible warns us that we are not fighting against "flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world's rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

Satan "masquerades as an angel of light" and his demon forces "masquerade as servants of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:14-15) The devil and the demons pretend to be the spirits of the dead; they contact us, appear to us, move objects, and make noises so that we may believe in falsehoods. Satan does anything and everything in his power to go against God in every way possible.

Satan and his demonic spirits also give fortune-tellers and mediums their supernatural powers and ability to tell the future, give readings, and contact the "dead." This is why Jehovah repeatedly warned His people to stay away from mediums and fortune-tellers and the like:

"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, or who uses divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, Or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and it is because of these abominable practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless [and absolutely true] to the Lord your God. For these nations whom you shall dispossess listen to soothsayers and diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so." (Deuteronomy 18.10-14, AMP)

"You shall not eat anything with the blood; neither shall you use magic, omens, or witchcraft [or predict events by horoscope or signs and lucky days]." (Leviticus 19.26)

The Bible indicates that mediums have and are possessed by "familiar spirits" (Leviticus 19:31; 20:27). These "familiar spirits" are demons. The book of Acts gives the account of the apostle Paul driving out a demon out of a fortune-teller; when the demon left the girl, she no longer could give fortune-readings (Acts 16:16-19).

From these passages, we learn that we must stay away from mediums and all those who have familiar spirits. We cannot be friends with God and Satan at the same time. Jehovah told His people to be holy as He is holy. Apostle Paul asked, "What fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What agreement has Christ with Belial?" (2 Corinthians 14-15, WEB)

In conclusion, when we die, we seize to exist and "don't know anything." (Ecclesiastes 9:5) However, that is not the end of our future! Everyone will be resurrected (raised from the dead) by Jehovah on His appointed day in the future. Some will live with Him forever in His heavenly Kingdom of sheer bliss, love, and peace. Learn how you can be a part of His Kingdom:

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author with twenty-seven book awards, proclaimer of Jehovah God's good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, Summa Cum Laude (Highest Honor) graduate with Doctor of Divinity, motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet; author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah?"), contributor to twenty-two, and an editor of one; and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.