Does God Have a Soul?

Does God Have a Soul

The initial mention of a soul in the Bible unfolds within the creation of the first man, Adam, as chronicled in Genesis 2:7: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (or “a living soul” in the KJV). In a departure from previous creations, God bestowed upon humanity the privilege of being made in His image (Genesis 1:26–27), with His own breath animating them. This ethereal aspect of a person is commonly referred to as a soul (Hebrew nephesh).

The Scriptures consistently portray individuals as possessing a soul (Psalm 62:5; 104:1; Luke 1:46). Given our creation in God’s image, a natural query arises: does God, too, possess a soul?

Certain passages suggest that God does have a soul. Leviticus 26:11 and Judges 10:16 employ a form of the word nephesh in relation to God. In Jeremiah 32:41, God makes a promise concerning Israel, expressing His joy with all His heart and soul. Nevertheless, Scripture also employs anthropomorphic language when ascribing human qualities such as hands or face to God. It is plausible that descriptions of God’s “soul” are anthropomorphisms akin to descriptions of God’s “hands.” Hence, caution is warranted when asserting that God has a soul. Scripture affirms that God is Spirit (John 4:24), yet it does not explicitly state that God is Soul or that He possesses a soul in a literal sense.

Turning our attention to God the Son provides greater certainty. Jesus, fully God and fully man, assumed a sinless human nature, complete with a genuinely human soul, when He became incarnate. In the throes of agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus expressed, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Matthew 26:38). His human nature, encompassing His soul, recoiled at the prospect of the impending crucifixion.

Much hinges on how one defines the term soul in this discourse. If we equate soul with personhood, then indeed, God possesses a soul, being a being with a mind, emotions, and will. If we understand soul as the capacity to express emotions, then yes, God has a soul—devoid of being “soulless” in the sense of lacking feeling. However, the usual human context of the term soul prompts a nuanced perspective. Some define the soul as the immaterial part linking the spirit and body. The Father, being spirit, is not human; the Holy Spirit is likewise immaterial; the Son, being a true human being, possesses a human body and a human soul/spirit, embodying the God-Man who intercedes for us (Hebrews 7:25).

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