Do we have to return our souls?

Did you know…


. . .that there is a word in this week's gospel that is only used one other time in the bible. In the story this week Jesus tells a parable about a man who stored up enormous amount of food and tells his soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry." But that very night God says to him, "You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" This word "demanded" is a translation of the Greek word ἀπαιτέω (apaiteo). While it's clear that the phrase, "your life is being demanded of you," means that the man is going to die, there is something more significant hidden in this word. The only other time that the word ἀπαιτέω (apaiteo) is in the bible is earlier in the Gospel of Luke:


Luke 6:30 (NRSV)

Give to everyone who asks of you, and if anyone takes away what is yours, do not ask for it back again.


The phrase "ask for it back again" is a translation of this same word, ἀπαιτέω (apaiteo). Which means that it doesn't just mean to demand something from someone, but to demand something back from someone that you gave them. It implies a requirement to return something you have been given. So in this parable, God is not just saying that that very night the man will die. God is literally saying, "This very night your soul must be returned, which seems to imply that Jesus thought about the soul as something that comes forth from God and then is returned to God. Does this idea about the soul change anything about how you read the story?

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