WHAT IS LIFE?
"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (KJV).
And Jehovah God formeth the man--dust from the ground, and breatheth into his nostrils breath of life, and the man becometh a living creature. (YLT)
Man is the union of the dust of the ground (the body) and the breath of life (the spirit), creating a living soul. Thus, the two (the body and the spirit) join together created a third (the soul). Body + spirit = soul. This principle can be seen in the example of water (H2O). The clear teaching of Scripture is that man consists of two parts: body and spirit; and that the union of these two makes a third thing, which is called soul, living soul, or 'living creature.' Hence the word soul is used of the whole personality; the living organism." Robert Young defines both the Hebrew word "nephesh" and the Greek word "psuche," both translated as our English word "soul," as "animal soul." The idea being "animated, alive." That is why the word soul is used to speak of living man, as well as lower animal life (Numbers 31:28). Strong also defines "nephesh" in the same way as Young, as "a breathing creature, i.e., animal or vitality." This definition matches the way that "soul" is used in Genesis 2:7. When God breathed "the breath of life" THEN man became a "living soul." But when that "breath of life" leaves he will no longer be a "soul" (i.e., a breathing creature)!
The Hebrew word "nephesh" and the Greek word "psuche" have the exact same meaning, which can be seen by comparing Psalm 16:10 and Peters quotation of it in Acts 2:27.
"For thou wilt not leave my soul (nephesh) in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm 16:10). (KJV)
"Because thou wilt not leave my soul (psuche) in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Acts 2:27). (KJV)
Here are a few simple examples from Scripture where we can see the usage of the word "soul" as a reference to living man.
"And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came" (Genesis 12:5). (KJV)
In Genesis 36:6 the Hebrew word translated "soul" is also translated "persons."
"And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons [nephesh - souls] of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob" (Genesis 36:6) (KJV)
"These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three. ... All the souls that came with Jacob into Egypt, which came out of his loins, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were threescore and six" (Genesis 46:15, 26). (KJV)
Answer is taken from www.hellfactor.com by Clyde L. Pilkington Jr.