What Is The Guff?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Have you ever heard of “guff?” What is guff? Why should Christians know about it?

What is Guff?

A secular definition of guff is something that is said that is nonsense, as being ridiculous talk or even insolent talk, much like back talk. It has also been defined as foolish talk, empty of meaning, if someone had the ability to listen to all the guff being spoken they wouldn’t listen to it as it would be nonsensical and foolishness to them, hence the phrase, “Don’t take any guff from them!”

What is the Guff

The Guf

The word “guff” or sometimes spelled “guf” is not what this article is about. It’s not about language but about mythological beliefs. The word “guf” is transliterated from the Hebrew word “guph” or “gup” and literally means “body.” In Jewish mysticism or mythology there is a “Chamber of Guf” called the “Otzar” which is Hebrew for “treasury” or the “Treasury of Souls” which was believed to be in the “seventh heaven,” wherever that is. For Jews, the Guff is a term the Talmud uses to refer to the repository of all unborn souls where near the Tree of Life was the Tree of Souls that was supposed to blossom, producing new souls which would then fall into the Guf or the “Treasury of Souls” and allegedly fell upward, into the believed, “seventh heaven.” This Tree of Souls was thought to be the source of all human souls that have ever lived or will ever live, but how Adam and Eve came apart from the Tree of Souls was never explained. They believe that when the Tree of Souls is emptied, then the Messiah would come and by their belief system, even a baby that’s born brings us that much closer to the Messiah’s return.

Is Guf Biblical?

In short, the “Guf” or the “Chamber of Guf” is not at all biblical and in fact, is contrary to the biblical doctrine of being saved by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. The Bible doesn’t teach a “seventh heaven” but that a person can either go to hell or to heaven. There are no other options. We either have been brought to repentance and faith in Christ or we reject believing in Him but at our own peril (John 3:36b). The Talmud insists that there are a specific number of souls that are in heaven that are waiting to be born and in this heavenly repository and until they are born, the Messiah cannot return but the truth is, the Messiah has come and the Jews rejected Him. Even though the Scriptures testified of Him (John 5:39), they refused to believe that Jesus was the true Messiah and by doing so, they had rejected the One whom they had been waiting for and the only One Who could save them. We are not saved when the Guf empties but when we empty ourselves and trust in Christ. We have no other means by which we can be saved (Acts 4:12; Eph 2:8-9).

The Origin of the Soul

The origin of the soul is not in heaven or in the Guf but in the Creator Himself. To believe that the soul is waiting to be attached to a body is contrary to the creation account of Adam and Eve. God gave them a choice; obey and live in the Garden of Eden or disobey and leave the Garden for all time. The soul didn’t originate by any other means than by the Creator God Who made man in His own image (Gen 1:27) complete with a body…not waiting for one. We are born into sin and our sins have separated us from a Holy God (Isaiah 59:2) so something had to be done. We needed a new birth…a second birth and that’s called being born again. Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3) so not only can’t you enter the kingdom of God unless you are born again, you can’t even see it! This new birth is not of the origin of man as the Apostle John wrote, “to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,  who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13). This new birth of the soul is from above as the Greek indicates that a person is “born again” is literally “born from above” by the sovereign act and will of God. We can’t cause our new birth any more than we caused our own natural birth. It is all from God and all by God. All we must do is to be brought to repentance by God and then place our trust in Him.


The “Guff” or “Guf” is about as unbiblical as it gets because it robs God of glory and ascribing to a tree (the Tree of Souls) to the creation of man and their bodies doesn’t come from Scriptures but from the human imagination. Bodies and souls all come from God. Besides, none of us can save ourselves and our being born does not make the Messiah’s return draw closer. Jesus as the Messiah has already come to save and to seek those who are lost and most rejected Him. Today, there is a gulf, not a Guf that separates us from God but that partition has been broken by the broken body and life of Jesus Christ. Now we can have peace with God through Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1-2) because our condemnation has been lifted (Rom 8:1) by the Son of God Who took upon Himself the wrath of God so we wouldn’t have to receive it ourselves. That’s why the gospel is called the “good news,” and in fact, it is the greatest of news for us all.

More reading for you: How to Have Confidence in Your Salvation

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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