Are the Accepted Paradigms for Soul and Spirit Hindering our Understanding?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by skypair, Mar 30, 2008.

  1. skypair

    skypair
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    This thread was specifically for John of Japan when he got back from his teen weekend ----- but y'all can join in. :1_grouphug:

    I know I'm "backwards." Even Dr. Rogers wouldn't agree with me (reversing the commonly held meanings of soul and spirit). BUT which aspect of God does communicate with us? Which one convicts? Which was sent to dwell in us? Which is our "Guide?" Which one groans in unutterable words that we cannot pray? These are all the work of the SPIRIT, right? So why doesn't our "communicative" spirit correspond to God's "communicative" Spirit and communicate back? Why does the common paradigm have our soul communing with God's Spirit and vice versa, God's "soul" with our spirit.

    I have this theory, John, that most people associate them as you do and that leads to confusion, not clarity.

    Consider: God is Father/Head -- IMO, Conscience/Soul of the trinity. Does not the "orientation" of the conscience normally determine what thoughts of the heart/spirit and thereby actions of the flesh/body? God communes with and through His own Spirit to our spirit which, in turn, is our "spiritual man" that quickens the body.

    In the "carnal man," the human flesh influences the human spirit to think incorrectly which, in the "old man," used to orient the soul that much more away from God in a "hardening" process. And mainly, John, I don't find anything in scripture that denies this paradigm.

    Think about this -- "The soul that sinneth, it shall surely die." Does our mind, emotions, and will die because we sin? NO! This is Reform Theology to say that we have no mind (and especially will toward God) until we are regenerated!

    But I think you would agree that in sin our conscience has taken a step away from God and toward self. Our "moral compass" is pointing away from God! But our mind/spirit -- "the verdict is still out" on God. And it is PRECISELY by the Spirit (mind, emotions, will) that God reaches our still living spirit!!! There is no argument that the soul is dead. So God's Spirit convicts our spirit -- our spirit is NOT dead! We aren't "brain dead" as they say! We are "soul" dead according to scripture, right (Ezek 18:20)?

    John, the logic is "pristine!" We must be "justified" by God in our soul (OT) or we can't be sanctified -- we must be sanctified in our spirit by the Holy Spirit (church age and MK) or we can't be glorified -- we must be glorified bodily by Christ (pretrib rapture and postMK rapture)!!

    Should we start another thread on this? I've tried before but I suppose I'm not as good a communicator as the Spirit though I "strive mightily!"

    skypair
     
    #1 skypair, Mar 30, 2008
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  2. exscentric

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    Maybe to assist:

    Define very briefly man's soul:
    Define very brefly man's spirit:

    Establish Biblically that God and Spirit must/does relate to man's soul and spirit.
     
  3. John of Japan

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    I'm back, and can post some today. :wavey:

    I have to stop you right here before we go any further and object in two ways:

    (1) I find no place in Scripture to equate the trinity with trichotomy. So please tell me Scripturally where you get this.

    (2) Even if you can establish that the trinity represents trichotomy, it is a mistake to equate the Father with conscience. Our conscience tells us what we've done wrong, and the Father is of course perfectly sinless.

    Back to you.
     
  4. skypair

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    We're created in God's image, right? What way were you thinking that we "image" God? BTW, I'm just modifying slightly - reversing soul and spirit - what Dr. Rogers taught.

    Perhaps you can give my some reasons why this would not be so and whereat you object.

    The Father is the Standard of perfection. And, yes, that standard is His own standard.

    Our conscience has the standard of God and the standard of self imbued in it by which it judges all issues (which is also why when David says, "If I go to sheol, behold, Thou art there" Awareness of God would still be still there in David's conscience.). The soul actually begins to exercise the standard of self when it sins (thereby dying to God, Ezek 18:20). The soul abandons the standard of self and cleaves to the standard of God in salvation (thereby dying to self).

    The conscience remains "pure" by thinking and doing things in a way that is acceptable to God. I have often made the point that the coscience is the "book of life" and that our spirit is the "book of works." They will both be opened at the judgment --- the soul "book" will be opened at the "resurrection" to determine one's eternal destiny (Mt 25, Dan 12:2, etc.); the spirit "book" will be opened at the Bema to reveal "gold, silver, precious stones, wood,..." or at the GWT to be "judged out of."

    BTW, that was an awesome report mid-weekend. Any new details?

    skypair
     
    #4 skypair, Mar 31, 2008
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  5. skypair

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    In my "model" or "thesis," the soul is our conscience. As that idea suggests, the soul has self-awareness and God-awareness with which we compare "the thoughts and intents of the heart [spirit]" as well as the behavior that results therefrom. Furthermore, dispensationalists believe that the conscience is the seat of our either favorable or unfavorable disposition towards God.

    Man's spirit is his mind, emotions, and will. The spirit "processes" inputs from the flesh/body and originates its own "wisdom" largely influenced by the soul's orientation (of course, it the soul is oriented toward self, then the "influence" is of the flesh with that "still small voice" objecting somewhere in the background.).

    This should be fairly transparent, exscentric. God has indeed given us all a conscience - an awareness of God. Even before we hear from God, we set about comparing our thoughts, emotions, and desires against His standard WITHIN US of fairness, goodness, etc. C.S. Lewis makes a great argumentation in Mere Christianity that without even hearing about God, man knows what is fair and thereby knows that there is an Authority above man -- a Sovereign, a Creator, etc. -- to be sought out. And this is just from the soul/conscience we are talking about here.

    The next "level" of communication is intellectually -- the spirit. Recall, it is the Spirit, not the Father, that "leads us into all truth" -- that "translates" our groaning prayers into heavenly petitions. It is the Spirit that "fills" us mind. emotions, and WILL to "quicken" us to DO God's will.

    And then there is our body which corresponds to Christ's incarnate body.

    skypair
     
  6. John of Japan

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    Interestingly enough, I just preached about "the image of God" at youth camp, of which the theme was, "You are special."

    My message was based first of all on the fact that the phrase in Gen. 1 contrasts God's human creation with the rest of creation, over which humankind is set to rule. In particular, the contrast is set between men and animals. (Exegete vv. 24-27 for this.) So the conclusion must be made theologically that we are made in the image of God to the extent that we is a superior creation to the animals: we can reason, create (art and music), communicate, etc.

    Other than Genesis 1, I only find three places in the whole Bible where the phrase "image of God" occurs. I based the three points of my message on those three instances: Gen. 9:6 (life is precious), 1 Cor. 11:7 (we must take responsibility) and Col. 1:15 (Christ is the ultimately perfect image of God, and we are to pattern our lives after Him).

    I see no Biblical reason, no possible exegesis that can take us beyond these facts. To equate the "image of God" in the Bible with trichotomy and the trinity just has no basis in the Bible, and thus no basis in theology. I have to admit that your theory is attractive, and I've played around with it in my mind more than once, but it just is not good theology.
    I'm sorry, this still does not take me to equate God the Father to the human conscience. Such an interpretation is just not there in the Biblical data.

    Note that "conscience" occurs 30 times in the KJV, all in the NT, the Greek word invariably being suneidesis. The Analytical Lexicon says about this word: συνείδησις , εως , ἡ (1) as a perceptive awareness within oneself, consciousness (HE 10.2; 1P 2.19); (2) as the faculty of moral consciousness or awareness by which moral judgments relating to right and wrong are made conscience (AC 23.1).

    The conscience can be pure, good, seared, defiled, etc. Never once, though, is it used to refer to God, always to us. Therefore any teaching or theology that God has or is equivalent to conscience is pure speculation.
    I'm afraid I'm a literalist here. I believe that there are actual books in Heaven, and I see no Scriptural connection with soul or spirit in the Scripture passages mentioning the book of life (8 verses with "book of life"), and I find no "book of works" in Matt. 25 or Dan. 12:2.
     
    #6 John of Japan, Mar 31, 2008
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  7. John of Japan

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    I'm sure exscentric will hold his own answering the rest of this post, but I just want to point out that at the time of creation Jesus had not yet taken on a physical body. Thus it is impossible to equate the human body of Christ with man's body in the image of God concept.
     
  8. exscentric

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    I don't know that I want in on the discussion, just thought I'd see if we could get some common ground or uncommon as the case may be by

    Define BIBLICALLY very briefly man's soul:
    Define BIBLICALLY very brefly man's spirit:

    Establish Biblically that God and Spirit must/does relate to man's soul and spirit.

    I was remiss on the first two requests the first time and await the third :smilewinkgrin:

    I think this is an area that many have never touched and am interested in the results of you two's discussion!

    In general terms I've always been taught that

    Body is world consciousness
    Soul is self consciousness
    Spirit is God consciousness

    Realizing the soul and spirit are so closely related that many feel they are one.



    [​IMG]
     
  9. skypair

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    Wow! How much do I owe you for your time? :tonofbricks:

    skypair
     
  10. John of Japan

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    The bill is in the mail. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Being a linguist (practical, not scholarly), I usually go by lexical definitions. However, in this case, the words for soul and spirit both have a wide range of meanings, and on occasion these two words are even synonyms. It's not easy to pin down a single biblical definition, but based on much study on this issue and on the Biblical usage of these words, I define them thusly (hopefully I can give Scripture enough to satisfy as the thread continues):

    Spirit: that part of the human creation which communicates with God in prayer, and through which God communicates with us through the Bible and the leading of the Holy Spirit.

    Soul: that part of the human creation which consists of the very essense of the person, meaning his personality and all of his capabilities as a special human creation of God.
    skypair's task.


    This is Watchman Nee's view in his big book on trichotomy (The Spiritual Man, p. 26). It is also taught by Charles Solomon in his Christian counseling method which depends on trichotomy (I have it in his book, Handbook to Happiness). I can't find exactly this explanation in my systematic theologies, but there are similar ones.

    Here is Strong's explanation: "The pneuma (Gr. for sprit--JOJ), then, is man's nature looking Godward, and capable of receiving and manifesting the Pneuma agion (Holy Spirit--JOJ); the psuxe (soul--JOJ) is man's nature looking earthward, and touching the world of sense" (Strong, Systematic Theology, p. 486).
    This view is called dichotomy. :type:
     
  12. John of Japan

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    Here are Scriptures that prove that the human spirit is the conduit of communication between God and man.

    According to 1 Cor. 14:14-15 we pray with the spirit.

    In Rom. 8:26, it is the Holy Spirit who makes groanings for us which cannot be uttered when we don't know how to pray. This to me says that the exercise of prayer in man's spirit is accomplished with the aid of the Holy Spirit in the trinity.

    According to 1 Cor. 2:14-16, we discern the things of the Spirit "spiritually"--that is, with our spirit.

    In the OT we have Prov. 20:27--"The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly." So again, God reaches us through our spirit. :type:
     
  13. exscentric

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    Well done John, not that you need my approval :smilewinkgrin:
     
  14. Outsider

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    Brother John,

    I have been working on some things that maybe you can help me with.
    You gave brief descriptions on the soul and spirit, maybe you can give me your thoughts on this also.

    Mark 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength:

    Without going too deep with my thoughts, I believe each of these to be different parts with different functions. We must also consider our spirit and conscience, but with respect to this verse, what is your thoughts on the "heart, soul, mind and strength"?
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Hi, Outsider.

    This is a difficult passage, but my thoughts are close to yours. However, I would put the emphasis on the function rather than the part.

    "Heart" in this usage is generally agreed to be the seat of the emotions, and I put that in the soul. "Soul" here I would prefer to translate in this passage as "life" (another meaning of the Greek word), meaning the total of who you are (activities, assets, talents, etc.). See Matt. 6:25 for a similar meaning for this Greek word. "Mind" is of course the seat of reason, your thinking. Strength can mean any strength you have, mental or physical, and thus would not be a part so much as a function.

    I hope this helps.
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Thank you kindly! :wavey:
     
  17. skypair

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    OK, so you haven't given it much independent thought and you are willing to accept what has already been written about soul and spirit, nebulous though those definitions may be (I see that, for instance, you still haven't identified where conscience and will reside).

    That's probably all you need to know. I thought my system was much easier and clearer and more biblical. But I certainly would not try to teach you a new golf swing at this point ---- much less a "new trick." :laugh:

    So you were familiar with trichotomy but, I guess, reject it and any comparison of that and the trinity. Kinda in accordance with the "KISS principle," eh?

    skypair
     
    #17 skypair, Apr 1, 2008
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  18. John of Japan

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    In my model, when I teach counseling in our Bible institute, I have a pie chart with spirit, soul and body sections, and the will in the center in a little circle of its own. The reason for that is because we can decide to walk in the flesh or the spirit. As for the conscience, I put it as part of the spirit.
    I'm getting to be an "old dog." :laugh:
    No, actually I'm a trichotomist. As for the comparison with the trinity, it is a very attractive explanation to me, and as I said I've considered it several times but just can't find a Biblical basis for it. It may possibly be true, but it remains speculation.
     
  19. skypair

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    So this is a "counseling" issue (the book you mention, too)? So let me ask why mind, emotions, and will are not in the next "layer" beneath the flesh?

    I ask this remembering that Dr Rogers used to say "God is not going to do His deepest work in our shallowest part [our emotions]." I take it that he would have further delineated "layers" with emotions being on right next to the flesh. You? Christianity has to "see far off," right (2Pet 1:9)? That tells us about the mind -- perhaps the next "layer?" And wouldn't the next "layer," will, change forever the soul/conscience, the "inner man?"

    How are you going to stay "young and relevant" ... er, "vibrant?"

    John, maybe I'm amiss here but what harm if you "went with it" and "investigate it out" in the meantime?

    And what is so wrong with "let us create man in our own image??" What is wrong with the tripartite salvation -- soul, spirit, and body?? I mean, tripartite salvation works even in the plan of God that we know --- justification, sanctification, glorification. John, you're getting behind in the "program." :laugh:

    skypair
     
  20. John of Japan

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    I consider the heart (seat of the emotions in the Bible) and mind to be part of the soul. I consider the term flesh (in the sense of the old sinful nature) to be a part of the soul which will be excised when we reach Heaven. In the meantime, we are to walk in the spirit, meaning to me that we are to let spiritual things rule in our lives and not fleshly things.
    Sorry, I don't find the soul or spirit described in layers in the Bible.
    I keep trying! :praying:
    Years ago in Yokohama I had a schizophrenic, drug addict, depressed man and other problem people in our church. In order to be able to help them, at that time I investigated all of this thoroughly, both in the Word of God and through many good books, and came to the position I now hold.

    As for the trinity and trichotomy, I'm perfectly willing to change, but you have to show me from the Bible, not simply as an exercise in logic. So, I'm waiting for you on that!
    Well, nothing is wrong with man in the image of God. I've already said what I believe about that. So please interact with what I've said. And if there is more to the image of God than I've said, please show it to me in the Word of God.
     

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