Questions From Readers
When Satan told Eve that she would not die if she ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, was he introducing to her the idea common today of the immortality of the soul?
Apparently not. The Devil did not tell Eve that if she ate of the fruit forbidden by God, she would only appear to die but an invisible part of her (what some refer to today as an immortal soul) would keep living elsewhere. Speaking through the serpent, Satan claimed that if Eve ate of the fruit of that tree, ‘she certainly would not die’ at all. He implied that she would keep on living, enjoying a better life on earth, a life independent from God.—Gen. 2:17; 3:3-5.
If the false doctrine of the immortality of the soul as taught today did not originate in Eden, when was it conceived? We cannot say for sure. We do know that all false worship was wiped out in the Flood of Noah’s day. No erroneous religious ideas survived the Flood because only Noah and his family—true worshippers—survived.
So in its present form, the teaching of the immortality of the human soul must have come about after the Flood. When God confused the languages at Babel and people were scattered “over the entire face of the earth,” no doubt they carried with them the idea that humans have an immortal soul. (Gen. 11:8, 9) Regardless of when the false concept originated, we can be sure that “the father of the lie,” Satan the Devil, was behind it and was pleased to see it spread widely.—John 8:44.