Are We a Soul, or Do We Have a Soul?

C. S. Lewis is often quoted as having said, "You don't have a soul. You are a soul; you have a body," however, this saying is not found in any of his published writings. The phrase can be traced back to a 1960 novel, titled A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. The actual phrase is, "You don't have a soul, Doctor. You are a soul. You have a body, temporarily." Many pastors and Bible teachers have used the abridged version of this phrase (omitting, "doctor" and "temporarily") to emphasize the importance of man's soul and the eternality of the soul.

As Christians we understand the soul to be the essence of our being. The souls of man will never die. All souls will live eternally, either by the grace of God in Heaven or under the penalty for sins in Hell. The intention of this phrase is to focus on our identity as an eternal being, not a perishable body.

The phrase in its entirety must be properly defined, to determine the truth in the statement. We know that our fleshly, earthly bodies are perishable and therefore it is true that we "have a body, temporarily." However, some have considered the word "body" in a different context and consider this statement to be false. Although our earthly body is temporal, in eternity we will have a body.

1 Corinthians 15 tells of the bodily resurrection of all who have been given victory over death, through the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This passage speaks of both those who are alive at the time and those who have died in Christ (their souls are in Heaven and their bodies lay in the grave).

[Read the rest of the article at Reasons for Hope* Jesus. Click here.]