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Scripture Story: Genesis 3:1-5; Psalm 146:4; Isaiah 38:18, 29; Revelation 16:13, 14.

Commentary: The Great Controversy (or Love Under Fire), chapters 33, 34.

the deadly lie


“When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.”

(Psalm 146:4, NIV)


“Immortality, promised to man on condition of obedience, had been forfeited by transgression. Adam could not transmit to his posterity that which he did not possess; and there could have been no hope for the fallen race had not God, by the sacrifice of His Son, brought immortality within their reach” (The Great Controversy, p. 533).

what do you think?

To have an immortal soul means that even though the body dies, the soul and consciousness of the person lives on and floats up to heaven or hell or somewhere else. The Bible tells us that when sin entered our world, the penalty was death. When we die, our life ceases and even our thoughts end. Find and list five Bible verses that tell us about death and when we will receive an immortal life.

did you know?

he idea of the immortal soul originated with pagan Greek philosophers—or it was at least through them that it eventually made its way into Christian theology.

“The Bible declares that the dead know not anything, that their thoughts have perished; they have no part in anything that is done under the sun; they know nothing of the joys or sorrows of those who were dearest to them on earth” (The Great Controversy, p. 556).

“But death is not the end of the road. The grave is not a dark night without a morning. Christians never say goodbye for the last time, for there will be a glorious reunion on resurrection morning. . . .

“On that day we shall have final closure, ‘when death is swallowed up in victory’ (1 Corinthians 15:54).”—Mark Finley, Solid Ground, pp. 325, 226.


“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

“And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

“When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.”

“For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.”

“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

(Genesis 3:1-5, KJV; Psalm 146:4, ESV; Isaiah 38:18, NASB; Revelation 16:13, 14, KJV)


Why do you think Eve allowed the serpent to tempt her?

The serpent told Eve that were she to eat of the tree she would be like God. What irony exists in those words (see Genesis 1:26)?

Why do you think the serpent deceived Eve with the lie of immortality?

In what ways did the serpent mix truth and error together here? Why do you think he did it that way, instead of just coming out and telling her an obvious lie right from the start?

What do you think the Bible means when it refers to death as a “sleep”?

Can you think of any verses that individuals might use or interpret incorrectly as saying that the soul never dies? If so, what are they?

What do these verses tell us about Satan’s nature?

punch lines

“More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:15-20, NIV).

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, NIV).

“Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay” (Acts 13:36, 37, NIV).

further insight

“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions.”— Ellen G. White, Maranatha, p. 188 “God has given the world sufficient light to enable them to discover the snare.” —Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 556



Read Ecclesiastes 9:5.

Many people believe that death is simply the beginning of another immortal journey for the soul. However the Bible is clear that at death the mind cannot continue to think.

Why do you think the issue of the immortal soul versus the mortal soul is such a heavily debated topic among Christian denominations?


Read Genesis 3:4.

The devil has used the false doctrine of the immortal soul for thousands of years. He used the same deception with Eve in the garden when he told her that she would surely not die. Even in this modern age the media portrays it, pastors preach it, and it has become an almost second-nature belief to many.

Society has a lot to do with ingraining this idea of the soul’s immortality into our minds. What are some examples from media/movies/ television that back up this statement?


Read Psalm 146:4.

The Key Text talks about how when an individual dies, their plans perish. What does this mean?

Once you understand that the dead are “asleep,” unconscious, and cannot be communicated with, what kinds of common deceptions are you protected from? Why, then, is a proper understanding of this topic so important?


Read Romans 6:23.

Humanity suffers death because of Adam and Eve’s sin. They both gave into temptation and because of their actions all of humanity would suffer for thousands of years. Deception, sorrow, murder, adultery, thievery, and many more sinful patterns erupted into the aftermath of the eating of the fruit. Why do you think one “small” act of disobedience resulted in such a way?


Read John 11:1-15.

The idea of soul sleep is a belief held by more people than just Adventists. Martin Luther, a 16th-century Protestant Reformer, said this: “We should learn to view our death in the right light, so that we need not become alarmed on account of it, as unbelief does; because in Christ it is indeed not death, but a fine, sweet and brief sleep, which brings us release from this vale of tears, from sin and from the fear and extremity of real death and from all the misfortunes of this life, and we shall be secure and without care, rest sweetly and gently for a brief moment, as on a sofa, until the time when he shall call and awaken us together with all his dear children to his eternal glory and joy. For since we call it a sleep, we know that we shall not remain in it, but be again awakened and live, and that the time during which we sleep, shall seem no longer than if we had just fallen asleep.—A Compend of Luther’s Theology, edited by Hugh Thomson Ker, Jr., p. 242.


Read 2 Timothy 3:15-17.

Many people who have never read the Bible (and some who have) believe that their dead relatives are looking down on them from heaven. What is the harm in believing this concept? How can the truth about where we go when we die comfort those who have lost loved ones?

How does the concept of what happens when we die impact my relationship with Jesus and others?


Read 1 Corinthians 15:15-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.

Many times we find ourselves thinking about death. It’s a natural fact of life. What is the first thing you imagine when thoughts of death enter your mind? Does the idea frighten you? How did today’s reading encourage you as you thought about death?

Scripture quotations marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are from the New American Standard Bible, copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

this week’s reading*

The Great Controversy (or Love Under Fire), chapters 33, 34.

*Love Under Fire is a special adaptation of The Great Controversy, created for you by the Ellen G. White Estate and Pacific Press. Get more information about it at article/191/about-us/conflict-of-the-ages-companion- books#.URlhF1rBO9s. By following the weekly reading plan, you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.