I have written before about how Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in an immortal soul. They believe that once you die, you are dead, and unconscious until the resurrection.
I have been speaking with a couple of JW's since January to give a little background; and I have spoken with them before on this topic and they claimed that in Genesis 3:4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not die." That it was the devil himself here teaching Eve the lie that the soul was immortal.
It is a bit of a stretch to say the least, but I assured them that the doctrine didn't come from the devil but did in fact come from God and was taught in the New Testament.
In Luke chapter 16 verse 19 to the end in the story of Lazarus and the rich man. In brief the story is about two men who die, Lazarus and a rich man. The rich man is in a fiery place for not treating the poor well during his life and Lazarus is now in comfort with Abraham. The rich man asks Abraham to send someone back from the dead to warn his brothers, but Abraham says that they should listen to Moses and the prophets.
Now when I pointed out this story the JW's immediately answered by pointing out that this story was a parable (or as their Bible says an illustration), and that this story was not teaching the immortality of the soul. Instead they told me that the parable was against the rich Pharisees.
I responded by saying that if the story is a parable then it supports my position all the more and here is how:
Every parable is based on reality. Look at any parable; Luke 15 the lost coin, a lady had 10 coins and she looses one, but on finding it, she rejoices. Does that really happen?
In Matthew 13: The sower who throws seed and some gets eaten by birds, some falls on rocky ground, some on thorny ground, and some on good soil. Didn't this happen in Jesus' day?
After this the JW's again repeated the MEANING of the parable to me.
I said look your missing my point. A parable has two parts. They story that is based on reality, that is the first part. Then the second part is the meaning.
I said that they there denying the first part, the part based on reality and that they were just giving me the meaning.
The Catechism says that first interpretation that is to be given is the literal and that all other interpretations are based on it. If you ignore what Jesus says because it doesn't match with your theology then we must conform our heart to his in humility.
So I tried a different approach with them. I said - Now you all believe that this idea of the immortality of the soul is from the devil correct? They said yes. So I said, then we can call it a Satanic teaching. They said yes.
Then I asked, then why would Jesus base the parable of Lazarus and the rich man off of a Satanic teaching? Then they accused me of using worldly philosophy.
If I didn't believe that God's grace could conquer all, I would just feel helpless with these folks.
What are some other verses that show that the soul survives death?
Matthew 17:1-3 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
1 Samuel 28 - The raising of Samuel from a divining witch.
Philippians 1:21-23 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
Revelation 6:9-10 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?"