Anglicans/Soul

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Question
Hi, I would like to ask about the Soul in Genesis, where it says that God breathed into Adams nostrils and he became a Soul, he did not have a Soul before that. Why is it that some people say that the soul is immortal and it existed before birth, it does not die.. The Soul that sins, it shall die. How can that be if people say it is immortal?

Answer
There's no consistent understanding of distinctions in the Bible between soul, spirit and life. So the soul in "the soul that sins" can't be distinguished from the person who sins, but something (which sometimes can be called soul, sometimes spirit) may continue beyond physical death. That has not stopped theologians over the centuries trying to pin the ideas down, so that, as one example, the Roman Church may consider the moment of "ensoulment" to be important in debates about abortion or in the doctrine of Mary's immaculate conception.

Most Anglicans would be fairly agnostic about whether there is any entity, the soul, that can be distinguished from the whole person - God breathed into Adam and he came alive would be a satisfactory translation but most modern translators have that Adam became "a living being".

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Rev Steve Parish

Expertise

I hope to answer questions on the theology, history, and constitution (there isn`t one!) of the Church of England (but not necessarily on the wider Anglican Communion)

Experience

A priest in the Church of England for over 30 years, with some specialist knowledge of the 19th century
I hold a Master's degree in Applied Theology
Publications
Church Times; Church of England Newspaper; Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible

Publications
Church Times; Church of England Newspaper; Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible

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