This question, as it is posed, recognizes two things. First, it acknowledges an eternal God and secondly it indicates that the questioner also understands that the soul is an entity distinct from the physical body. We are all too aware that our bodies are not eternal. Which one of us has not been to a grave side and observed the body of a departed loved one being placed into the ground to decay and become part of the earth again from which it was formed. Genesis 2:7 tells us:
"The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being."
The life was not in the body formed from the ground, but in the eternal breath of God. Man literally became “a living soul”.
C. S. Lewis an English professor at Oxford University in England a couple of generations ago said this: “You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” The soul is that which gives us life, allows us to feel emotions and gives us the ability to relate to one another and to respond to God. The body is the home God gave each of us to dwell in during our physical lifetime.
Intuitively we know that our soul is eternal. We may not think of it in those terms, but how many of us are truly satisfied with the experiences of life. Some things give us temporary satisfaction but it is not long before we require more of the same or something different and more exciting to satisfy us. Real happiness and lasting satisfaction seem to always be just out of our reach. Why is that?
C. S. Lewis has also done some thinking about that and this was his conclusion.
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
The Bible makes a statement that gives credibility to what Mr. Lewis suggests. In Ecclesiastes 3: 11 we read:
God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart.
When God breathed life into us it included an eternal longing and nothing this side of eternity will truly satisfy us. Not only did he place an eternal longing within us but He “planted eternity” in every human heart. God made us beautiful for eternity; that is what we were created for!
The quote from Genesis tells us that our soul is our life. Jesus talked about eternal life while He was teaching. John 3:16 says:
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus also told a story of a rich man who had mistreated a very poor man during his lifetime. When he died the poor man went to paradise but, "The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment he saw Lazarus (the poor man) in the far distance…”Luke 16:22&23.
Jesus asked this very sobering question in Matthew 16:26:
What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
This question is only meaningful because the soul is eternal. Jesus says we have a choice. If we believe God and serve Him our soul will live eternally in paradise, but if we reject Him and forfeit (or sell) our soul for something that will not satisfy in this life, or the next, we will have to endure the torment of eternal separation from God. It is a choice that each of us is required to make.