The students will be able to tell how God gave man a living soul, and will recognize that our soul will live on eternally.
Introduction: Bring an egg to class, and use this as your opener. Ask your students when they talk about having an egg for breakfast, which part do they eat? They eat the inside, although the outside is what they see. Compare the egg and its interior to our body and our soul. We see the body—the shell—but the "real" us is our soul, which will live forever.
Climax: When a person is born again, the soul is made ready to spend eternity in Heaven.
Conclusion: Man is unique among all of God's creations in that he alone has a living soul. Because that soul will live eternally, it is vital that it be made ready for Heaven.
Response: Your students will be able to explain what the soul is and how man received this. They will be able to tell why a person needs to be born again.
SOUL (Hebrew nephesh, Greek psyche) is the word commonly used in the Bible to designate the non-material ego of man in its ordinary relationship to earthly and physical things. It is one of a number of words relating to the non-material self. We can see our body but we can't see our soul—the visible and the invisible parts of us.
When God created man He breathed life into him and he became a living soul. The physical body will die and go back to dust but the soul lives eternally, and man himself, having been given his own will, makes the choice for his soul's eternal destiny. Both soul and spirit refer to man's non-material self but the word "soul" is used most often when thought of in relation to one's earthly existence. "Spirit" is the self when thought of apart from earthly connections, where the direct relationship of the individual to God is the point of emphasis.
How thankful we can be that God made us living souls that not only may have fellowship with Christ while in this life but may also spend eternity with Him. Man does not die like an animal. That is not all there is to it. On the primary level, soul may be explained as the "part of me that loves God."
Using an overhead transparency, show the students a large, empty heart (see Patterns). Remind them that the soul is the part of us that will live forever. It is the part of us that makes us different from everything else because the soul can love God (overlay the word LOVE in the heart). One at a time, overlay the love-verses given. Have the students read them aloud with you. Reserve the verses 1 John 4:7 and 8 until last. Just before you overlay this verse, remind the students that this is a lesson on being thankful for the soul. One way of telling God "Thank You" is to obey. Tell them the next verse you put onto the screen is also a song. Some of the children may already know the song. It is a catchy tune, fun to sing, and most importantly, a good reminder of one way to thank God. (The song, "Beloved, Let Us Love One Another," can be found on the Bible Sing-Along cassette tape or record by Maranatha For Kids.)
God gave man a soul when He said, "Let us make man in our image." The soul is what makes us different from all the rest of God's creation. Our soul makes us able to talk with God, to love God, and to obey God. Our soul will live forever and is the most valuable part of us. Teach the children the song called, MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD (see Patterns). It will help to impress on the children the great value of a soul, and, in particular, that their own soul is precious to God.
Enlarge the simple puzzle which is in the shape of a person (see Patterns), making the head, arms, and legs all separate pieces. Leave an empty space in the middle, shaped like a heart. Assemble the whole form, piece by piece, with your group, allowing volunteers to tell how we use each part. When the puzzle is completed, point out the blank space. Explain that Jesus created each of us with a soul. He gave us that soul so we could love and worship Him. Fill the blank space with a heart-shaped piece containing a picture of Jesus.
Bring a dying plant, broken toy, etc. How long will these last? Relate them to how our soul lives forever.