Are you a dichotomist or a trichotomist?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by 12strings, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. 12strings

    12strings
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    Which of the following do you believe about the nature of Man:

    1. Dichotomy = Man is essentially 2 parts: spiritual & physical. The soul and spirit mentioned in the bible are 2 words for the same thing.

    2. Trichotomy = Man is essentially 3 parts: Body, Soul, & Spirit. Spirit and soul are 2 separate things.

    Also, with your answers, try to give any resulting consequences that your view may have on other areas of life or study. (either a good consequence that results from your view, or something bad that would come up if one accepted the other view). So we'll try to take the discussion beyond the point of: "Oh, that's interesting that we have two, three, four parts to us...oh well!" Say why it matters :thumbsup:
     
  2. Paul3144

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    I'm a dichotomist.
     
  3. Ruiz

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    ditto to Paul...
     
  4. webdog

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    Dichotomous as well. I think the trichotomist puts too many eggs in the basket of a couple borderline passages that I feel actually prove man is composed of material and immaterial, not to mention taking figurative language as literal. Also, I believe how one believes concerning this subject "can" influence other aspects of their soteriology, as I have witnessed firsthand. For instance, my pastor (a tri) is also reformed and shapes his understanding partially around this view. He teaches the body is there to enjoy life, the soul is there to make decisions, and the spirit is there to fellowship with God. Of course this is one area we disagree.

    Fact is, spirit and soul are used interchangeably in Scripture.
     
    #4 webdog, Oct 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2011
  5. Jim1999

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    I am a solid Calvinist and also a dichotomite. Always refer to body, soul/spirit, with the soul/spirit entering the person somewhere between 7th month and actual birth, or the actual time when the person is self-supporting.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  6. revmwc

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    As a Believer I am trichotomous. We are spiritually dead in trespasses and sins. Upon salvation the Spirit is regenerated and we became Trichotomy, Spiritually alive in Christ. Gensis says God stated let us make man in our image, God is one God in Trichotomy, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With man created in God's image that would mean that man was created in Trichotomy but when sin came man is born in Dichotomy and at Salvation every human becomes a Trichotomy being complete in the Lord back as man was created in the image of God.
     
  7. 12strings

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    From Jim:
    I'm sorry, I'm not sure what you are saying here. Could you elaborate? Are you saying a baby that is only 6 months along in pregnancy has no soul/spirit? And what do you mean by "self-supporting?" Do middle-schoolers not have souls?
    (a fair question, if you've ever been around middle schoolers!!:smilewinkgrin:
     
  8. JesusFan

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    Believe that man was created by God as a Tri parted being...

    Modeled as 3 parts, as God is also truine being, yet 1 being..

    Apostle paul does refer to all 3 parts in unison relating to God..

    Think the Body is the physical aspect of man, soul the mind/brain, while the spirit is that inate part that communes with God, that needs to get born again by Him in order to have a relationship with our Creator again!
     
  9. 12strings

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    To all: Is it not possible that a triune God could have made us a dichotomy, simply choosing not to make that one of the ways we are in his image?

    From JesusFan:
    Would this mean that...
    1. The soul does not need to be born again and does not commune with God?
    2. The mind of a person does not commune with God?
    3. The mind is not involved in conversion?


    Disclosure: I am a dichotomist. I believe the terms Spirit and Soul are used interchangeably in scripture to refer to the same thing.
     
  10. JesusFan

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    believe that we are 3 parts, BUT also do not see this as being 'essential" doctrine, as the Cross would be!
     
  11. Greektim

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    Not just a non-essential, but is there anything significant gained or lost holding to one or the other???

    My biggest issue with this theological debate is that the Bible never set out to answer this question. Yet again, this is another flaw of systematic theology. The Bible presents diachronically and thematically that man at the very least is composed of material and immaterial. That should be sufficient w/o having to make grandiose leaps into philosophical inferences that the Bible never really claims explicitly. Too much of these systematic concepts are nothing more than an implicit inference made from a host of other inferences. This western mode of theology does not do justice to the text in my opinion.
     
  12. webdog

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    I believe He has fashioned us after His image, and the dichotomy view does not contradict this. God is Spirit, the Holy Spirit is Spirit and Christ has a body. That is material an immaterial. Its quite a stretch to use the trinity as the reasoning behind being made in Gods image.
     
  13. quantumfaith

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    WebDog

    You have raised an even more interesting question, that being, what is meant by us being created in the image of God, (imago dei) unfortunately, attempting to answer that also leads into "philosophizing", which I don't have an inherent problem with. One of my favorite quotes by Peter Kreeft, "philosophy is the handmaiden of theology".
     
  14. 12strings

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    -While it does not always happen, there are those who will use a trichotomist view to advocate some kinds of gnostic teachings. That is, that our "Spirit" is meant to commune with God in a way that is separate from our mind/soul. It can get very mystical, so that our real relationship with God is not primarily related to our minds and hearts actively relating to God, but rather that our "spirit" somehow bypasses the mind; and that we should aim for this to happen if we truly want to "go deep" with God.

    Again, most trichotomists would reject this, but it is out there, especially in some psychology circles, in which they want you to bypass your brain (soul) and find your inner self (spirit).

    You could say the same about the triune nature of God. But it is there, and it is an important doctrine that we could not know apart from a systematic theology. Systematic theology is nothing more than people "searching the scriptures" (like the bereans were commended for doing) to see what the whole of God's word teaches on any issue.

    It is absolutely necessary and unavoidable if we want to make any statements that begin with: "The bible teaches that..."
     
  15. Greektim

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    That is a deficient definition of systematic theology. And I would dispute your statement about the trinity. Since the Bible is in essence God's revelation of himself, then a biblical theological assessment will arrive at a triune God as well (although it will not seek to define it such as one does in systematic).

    Systematic theology is not "searching the Scriptures" but a way in which one organizes the Scriptures. It is a very western way of making sense out of an ancient eastern documents. I would rather approach the text in an eastern way and make hard and fast conclusions from that. Here I am again sounding the bell of premodernity. Sorry for the hijack.
     
  16. JesusFan

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    Just curious as to why "sound biblical procedures" of analysing the Bible in a systematic fashion, or in biblical theological way. IF done by a "western prespective" are inherently wrong, as you seem to be suggesting?
     
  17. JesusFan

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    Its like we can and must use the scriptures to eliminate what it does NOT mean, in order to get its true meaning!
     
  18. Alive in Christ

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    I go with 3

    Body, soul and spirit
     
  19. Greektim

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    Let's take the category of dichotomy/trichotomy. Does the Bible ever set out to reveal this aspect about man? I would argue no, although it does reveal aspects of man that at times mentions the various parts of him. I would say that at most the perspicuitous part is that man is material and immaterial. After that, you are venturing into philosophical understandings of the Bible. This is a western notion that the Bible never considered. It is an eastern text and should be read and studied in light of that. So to make systematic statements about the various parts of man is to miss the point of the revelation of the Bible. If it never set out to be defined in a system, then why seek to push it into one.

    What we are really talking about is what we confess we believe. And if we do so in systematic concepts, then we are making confessional statements about logical inferences that were likely never intended by the eastern minded authors. I.e. we are taking the text to a definition that was not intended. But again, we are really arguing of a confession (which confession is the best). So this is a minor issue. I would enjoy seeing this answered from a diachronic, thematic, canonical, meta-narrative perspective (i.e. biblical theology). I wonder how the answers would be different.
     
  20. revmwc

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    So when Paul said we were dead in tresspasses and sins how were we dead? Was our Body dead? Was our soul dead? Was our Spirit dead? If man was created in dichotomy there would be no spirit and no spiritual death. But if man was created as trichotomy then man is born dead spiritually and his spirit is regenerated. Keeping in mind death means seperation, we are spiritually seperated from God at birth, covered of course until we come to the knowledge of good and evil, until we realize we are sinners in need of Salvation. When we come to that point and everyone does then we become accountable to trust Christ and be Spiritually regenerated or to stay seperated from God spiritually until we die in unbelief then one would die physically and suffer the second death which is seperation from God for eternity.
     

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