The topic of the difference between the soul and spirit can be understood simply by understanding the word translated "soul" means "living breathing creature" not some immaterial ghost-like thing. Scripture answers these kinds of questions for us. To clarify how easy it is to understand who we are as created beings let’s give our physical bodies a value of 1, the breath of life or spirit of God a value of 2, and the living soul a value of 3.
1 (physical body) + 2 (breath of life) = 3 (living soul)
3 (living soul) – 2 (breath of life) = 1, (a lifeless physical body that will decay and return to the dust.)
In the sweat of your face you will eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:19
3 (living soul) - 1 (physical body) = 2, (the breath of life will return to God who gave it.)
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7
There is nothing in these verses that would lead us to believe in an immaterial immortal part of our being that consciously survives the death of the body. Furthermore I’m not sure how much more clearly it could be stated, it seems that when a person dies, either because their body is destroyed or the spirit is removed, they as a conscious living breathing being, that is as a soul, cease to exist.
A straight forward reading of scripture gives support to this truth, take for example the following scriptures:
For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in Sheol who can give thee praise? Psalm 6:5
What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise thee? Will it tell of thy faithfulness? Psalm 30:9
The dead do not praise the Lord, nor do any that go down into silence. Psalm 115:17
While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being. Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. Psalm 146:2-4
For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5
I fail to see how anyone reading these verses could still argue in favor of conscious existence immediately after death. But, if there is any question concerning whether or not Adam and Eve were created with an immortal soul all one really needs to do is look at the punishment they received for their disobedience. In Genesis 3: God tells Adam,
17 …. Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return…
22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Here we discover that God was so concerned with the idea that the now “sinful” man would eat of the Tree of Life and live forever that he not only decides to drive man out of the garden but sets up an angelic sentry to insure that man on his own accord could never attain what was necessary for eternal life. What this plainly reveals to us is that when man was driven from the garden he was not immortal.
There are three things in Genesis 3:22+24 that couldn’t be made more perfectly clear:
In order for man to have eternal life or immortality he would have to eat of the tree of life.
Prior to the fall man had not put forth his hand and taken from the tree of life and therefore did not possess immortality.
Man was prevented by God from partaking of the tree of life.
The bottom line and the biblical reality is that everything in the Genesis account points not to the natural immortality of man but rather his natural mortality and his utter need and dependence upon The Tree of Life for eternal life. Verse 19 plainly states what man’s “end” will be, he will return to the ground and eventually decay and once again become part of the earth itself.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19
For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. Ecclesiastes 3:19-20
In the final analysis man, who was created from the dust will return to dust. There is simply nothing here to suggest conscious existence after death let alone eternal conscious torment. The wage of sin is death not a conscious state of eternal dying.