Soul vs Spirit – Difference and Comparison

What is Soul?

Different religions and cultures conceptualize the soul in their own way. Generally, the soul can be defined as the immaterial part of a human’s body. Nearly in all religions, it is believed that the soul is immortal. The strike of death cannot make the soul perish. It is the only part of human existence that does not die.

Some religion presupposes the soul to be never created and imperishable. While, Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam say that the soul was created by God, it cannot be dead. All such religions hold the soul to be the essence of human life. Death, to them, is the removal of the soul from the body.

The concept of the soul is either linked to the day of judgment or transmigration. The Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe that the souls will be held accountable for their deeds in the hereafter, whereas the followers of immanent religions, like Hinduism, believe that the soul is sent repeatedly to this world until it is purified and returned to its origin – in simple words God himself.

What is Spirit?

The spirit is a broader term that is used in religious contexts as well as in psychic connotations. To put it simply, the word “spirit” can be used for any supernatural entity. It is also used in a psychic sense with the meaning that it is the life force that pervades living organisms, especially human beings. Spirit is unlike the soul in its meaning and conceptualization.

Spirits can be angels, demons, nymphs, or other supernatural creatures. The specialty of the word “spirit” is that it can occur in non-religious senses as well. It can be applied to virtually anything unexplainable in the frame of reason. Anything that transcends the boundaries of time and space can be termed a spirit. Different cultures have varying entities, which they refer to as spirits.

Although the titles and functions of spirits differ on the basis of cultural and religious variations, nevertheless, it cannot be doubted that the nature of the spirit is the same because it is immaterial, supernatural, and inexplicable. This word is also used in parapsychology, psychics, and astrology. It is compulsory for a religious person to have faith in their existence.

Difference Between Soul and Spirit

  1. The soul is a narrower term, whereas spirit is a broader term.
  2. The soul is used in a strictly religious sense, whereas spirits can occur in non-religious contexts.
  3. The soul is peculiar to human beings, whereas the spirit implies supernatural beings. 
  4. The soul is collocated with the body, whereas the spirit cannot exist in relation to something physical.
  5. Soul has to pass through the trials of the hereafter, whereas spirits are not trialed or punished.

Comparison Between Soul and Spirit

Parameter of ComparisonSoulSpirit
Semantic ScopeThis is a term with a narrower scope of meaningThis term has a broader scope of meaning
ConnotationExclusively ReligiousReligious & Non-Religious
Nature of ExistenceSpecific to human beings in a religious senseUsed for supernatural beings in all contexts
Relation with BodyHas a relationship with the human body in lifeHas no relationship with any bodily form
Role in the HereafterWill be trialed, rewarded, and punishedNot to be trialed for good and bad deeds like humans