The distinction between soul and spirit of man

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Dr. Walter, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Dr. Walter

    Dr. Walter
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    Heb. 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
    13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

    The point of verses 12-13 is that nothing about us is "not manifest in his sight" because the deepest and most hidden aspects of human nature are "opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."

    The deepest point of the physical nature of man is the bones of man and the deepest point of the bone is the morrow. The deepest point of man as a being is his immateral unseen spiritual nature and the deepest point in that nature is the "spirit" in contrast to the "soul" of man. The deepest point of the soul of man is the "thoughts and intents" of the heart. Bottom line, God's Word is able to distinguish between the human "spirit" and "soul" as much as God's Word distinguishes between "bone" and "morrow" and "thoughts and intents" in the heart.

    If one accepted this distinction they would have much less difficultes with the Biblical doctrine of salvation. They would see that salvation is found in three tenses and three major applications that match each aspect of human nature. The past completed aspect has to do with new birth/gospel conversion/justification (Jn. 3:6). The present tense of salvation has to do with the "soul" or "life". The future tense of salvation has to do with the glorification of the body or the removal of corruption (death principle) from the body.

    The new birth/justification is a completed irreversable perfect tense "saved" action that obtains entrance into heaven. The salvation of the soul/life is progressive incompleted action - being saved - wherein the soul is DAILY being either lost or saved as we walk either "after" the flesh or the Spirit, whether we "put off" the flesh or "put on" the Spirit. Here is where eternal life is EXPERIENCED or LOST and ones daily life is either LOST or made to count for the glory of God. Here is where the conflict rages that determines present EXPERIENCE of eternal life or peace, joy, assurance, growth, usefulness, or EXPERIENCE death - loss of peace, joy, assurance, usefulness, fruits of the flesh.

    The goal is that the "whole" spirit, soul and body be preserved without blame unto the coming of the Lord (1 Thes. 5:23).

    The issue is properly understanding the nature of the human "soul." God has made us three dimensional so that we have three different levels of consciousness.

    1. The body gives us this world consciousness through five senses
    2. The soul gives us self consciousness (volition, intellect, emotions) that provides expression through the body as our manifest "life."
    3. The spirit gives us spiritual consciousness - spirit world

    Among all creatures that are made of "flesh and blood" only man has been made in the "image" of God and since all physical life has a physical body and blood, the image of God cannot be limited to the physical material aspects of human nature. There is more to the "soul" than physical life and more to the spirit of man than mere physical breath as both terms "soul" and "spirit" are directly applied to beings who have no physical material substance.
     
  2. SpiritualMadMan

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    Great topic!

    That's pretty much the delineation I've come to accept.

    1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    I have a very good book by David E. Dean, "The Way of The Christ Life". I am pretty sure it if out of print.

    But, I "borrowed his circles imagery for my own sharing, http://www.houseofmyrrh.com/StirUpTheGift.htm

    I further sub-divide the Soul as Mind, Will and Emotions

    Mind - Providing the control and feedback circuitry for the Body

    Will - Reasoning as for as "Reckoning". While the mind collects and collates data the Will (hopefully) decides what to do with it. see:
    2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Emotions - The "primary" link between the Spirit of Man and his Soul. This is not as easy to support past Hypothesis. Because many people interact on a Spiritual Level from differing and often multiple sub-parts of their soul.

    Please don't let my Charismatic Semantics blow this conversation out of the Water. :D
     
  3. webdog

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    As a dichotomist, I believe the passage in the OP supports my position and not trichotomhy. Since there are no abbreviations in the greek, I believe it should read more like soul / spirit, and joints / marrow ("For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.")
    The purpose of the text is to show God's Word cuts us deep, not to prove trichotomy. It is showing that the Word separates the flesh from the spirit. Since soul and spirit are used quite interchangeably in Scripture, I believe man is material and immaterial. If anything, soul could be looked at as the life force of mankind (which is still immaterial). Adam's creation is proof of this.
     
  4. SpiritualMadMan

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    As David says,
    Psa 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

    I am not dogmatic about this because, welll... It's simply not worth it. :D

    It is a "device" to make an attempt to explain human behavior in a Spiritual Venue.

    I personally have trouble doing so without breaking it down to three basic parts.

    Then we have trouble understanding the Trinity, too...

    So, I think, we are *all* in good company.
     
  5. Dr. Walter

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    The Greek text does not read that way. The two nouns are not set in apposition to each other as you are suggesting. They are divided by the particle and conjunction "te kai" nor is joint and morrow in the same construction as spirit and soul. Neither is there a definite article before the first and lacking before the second so as to indicate the latter is merely repeat of the former. Nothing in the Greek text supports your theory. Indeed the construction supports distinction from each other not apposition with each other.

    Why not accept the explanation given by the very next verse? The point is that nothing in the human nature is hidden from God's view and God can distinguish every aspect of our human nature.

    Joints are not snynonmous with marrow and neither are "intents" or motives synonymous with "thoughts." In each case there is a close relationship but clearly distinct from each other. The same is true of "spirit and soul" they are not any more synomyms then the other pairs but have a close relationship.

    Furthermore, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 speaks directly to the "whole" of man in regard to his final salvation in the day of the Lord. It makes no sense to simply repeat "soul" by "spirit" in such a text.

    I believe you are letting a theory deprive you of honest exegesis and benefit of understanding salvation in a much clearer way. Paul is not repeating synononyms but clear distinctions in all three contrasts. Indeed, the very point of the verse is that God's Word DISTINGUISHES between things that differ that are not readily apparent to the human eye.

    You certainly have the right to differ with me and a right to believe what you want. However, the text does not provide anything to support your position but everything about the text denies your position.
     
    #5 Dr. Walter, Jan 20, 2011
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  6. Jedi Knight

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    Matthew 10:28 Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell "2 parts". 1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul "2 parts". 1 Corinthians 2:11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.....again describing "2 parts".
    Soul and spirit is use to discribe the same thing at times and are very interchangeable. Man without God is just body and soul or "spirit".... only two parts. However a born again believer is body soul and holy spirit.....3 parts. :type:
     
    #6 Jedi Knight, Jan 20, 2011
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  7. Dr. Walter

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    Here is the problem with your response. Hebrews 4:12 and 1 Thessalonians directly addresses the nature of man in regard to distinguishing different aspects of man as a "whole."

    Matthew 10:28; 1 Pet. 2:11 and 1 Corinthians 2:11 have different designs in view. The reason many times man kills the body is an attempt to kill the personality within that body ("soul"). Indwelling sin has for its immediate object of attack the "soul" as it is the seat of self-consciousness and control center within man (volition, mind, emotions). The "soul" is "spirit" in substance but it is not the "spirit" of man in regard to the seat of other world consciousness.

    I don't think your line of reasoning stands up to more careful scrutiny.
     
  8. Jedi Knight

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    I think you read to much into the text. :smilewinkgrin:
     
  9. billwald

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    It is probably an example of Hebrew parallelism referring to the same thing using two different words. Anyone who reads the OT should be familiar with this construction.
     
  10. Dr. Walter

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    If that were the case then joints are the same thing as morrow and thoughts are the same thing as motives! However, they are not the same and therefore this is not Hebrew parallelism.
     
  11. Dr. Walter

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    That is the usual response whenever a text does not fit someone's game plan.

    There is no problem believing man is immaterial and material and thus a basic dichotomy. However, the scrptures go further than that. Within the immatieral aspect of man there are aspects deeper than self-consciousness. Man is like the temple of God. The tabernacle and temple has three major parts (outer court, holy place and holy of holies). The outercourt is exposed to the world (body) while the two inner courts are hiddent to the world (soul and spirit). The holy place is where all the activity occurs (soul) but it is within the holy of holies where God dwells (spirit).
    The Holy Spirit has washed and renewed our inner holy of holies as His sanctuary within us and it is with our Spirit that UNION with God exists, not with our bodies and not with our souls.

    What is born of Spirit is spirit (Jn. 3:6) and His Spirit bears witness of our spriit (Rom. 8:16) that we are children of God. We have three seats of consciousness (world consciousness = body; self-consciousness = soul; God consciousness = spirit).

    Likewise with salvation. Past tense "saved" has to do with the New birth of the spirit not of our bodies or souls and future tense salvation "shall be saved" has to do with our bodies not our spirit or souls. Present tense salvation "being saved" has to do with our "souls" not our bodies or our spirit.

    The term "psueche" is translated "soul" and "life" because "as a man thinketh in the heart so is he." The external life (daily life = walk = words, actions] is the external expression of the inward seat of self-conscious activity of intellect, will and emotions. Our external life is BEING SAVED as it glorifies God and it only glorifies God when we "THINK ON THESE THINGS" or when our "AFFECTIONS ARE SET ON THINGS ABOVE" or when God works in us BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO things that glorify him = filled with the Spirit = walk after the Spirit = put on the new man and thus REDEEM THE TIME!!

    However, when we do not THINK on the things of God or SET OUR AFFECTIONS ON THINGS ABOVE we walk "after" the flesh, put on the old man and thus WE DO AND SAY things that do not glorify God and that TIME is not redeemed but lost forever for the glory of God. Instead we experience DEATH or PRACTICAL SEPARATION from the blessings and fellowship of salvation.

    Here is the aspect of our salvation that can be saved and lost here and now on a daily basis. This is the aspect of our "daily" battle with sin, Satan, and the world that can be lost and saved but the WAR has been won because entrance into heaven has nothing to do with our DAILY BATTLES of the soul/life as the daily battles determine only PRESENT EXPERIENTIAL blessings and future rewards. The WAR has been won because Greater is He that is IN US, indwelling in our spirit, who will NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US because Christ has won the WAR by His own soul/life righteousness.

    See the following addresses for further defense of the Trichotomy of man:

    http://www.wholeperson-counseling.org/id/trichotomy.html

    http://s2.webstarts.com/victorybaptistchurch/uploads/What_Is_Man.pdf
     
    #11 Dr. Walter, Jan 21, 2011
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  12. Eric B

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    I've seen a suggestion, from a Christian book, that marks the soul and spirit by groups of "primary" emotions associated with them.

    hope/despair, courage/fear, and anger ("utilitarian" emotions), are connected with the soul or "mind" (and shared in common with animals).

    love/hate, desire/aversion, joy/sadness ("humane" emotions) are connected with the spirit or "heart" (and not shared by animals).
     
  13. webdog

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    Why does the Word of God need to divide the joints from the marrow? How are thoughts and intents separate?
     
  14. Dr. Walter

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    The fact that the Word of God DOES distinguish them should be sufficient to acknowledge it does. The point Paul is making is that there is nothing CONCEALED from human observation within our nature that is not revealed to God no matter how fine the distinctions or how concealed those aspects may be to other beings.

    Thought and motives are not the same and must be distinguished if God will be just in his dealings with men. A thought is a concept being entertained in the mind but the intent of the heart is the motive behind what we do or say. We have wrong thoughts entering our minds all the time and God will not judge us for that but motives define why we do what we do and say what we say. Both are concealed and at the very core of our spiritual/immaterial anatomy.

    Any doctor will tell you that bone morrow and joints are not the same. The latter is how bones connect to each other while the former is the interior of the bone and responsible for reproduction of blood cells in the body and many other health factors related to the body. The joints are responsible for the mobility of the body. Both are concealed and at the very core of the physical/material human anataomy.
     
  15. webdog

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    You didn't answer the question. What is the purpose for the Word to divide the joints from the marrow? Scripture says it does...why if it the first part is to be taken literally and not figuratively?

    You cannot separate thoughts from motives as you are trying to do. They are inseparable.

    The entire point of that passage is NOT to prove trichotomy. Other Scripture states man is also heart, mind and strength. I don't see anyone using that to prove man has 5 parts.
     
  16. Dr. Walter

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    You have just denied what God's Word says it can and does. Thought are not motives even though they are included with motives. Motives have to do with not merely THINKING but implementing those thoughts with DESIGN and PURPOSE. I cannot keep evil thoughts from occurring in my mind but I can keep from making those thoughts my MOTIVES for what I do and say.


    The conscious self is composed of intellect, volition and emotions. That is the inner workings. However, the inner workings find expression through the "strength" of our bodies to be manifested in our words and actions which is our LIFE!


    I don't think you are being objective with this text. The point of this text is spelled out for you in verse 13. That point is that there is nothing CONCEALED within human nature that is not exposed, destinguished and recognized by God. To prove this, Paul delineates on those things about our human nature that are not readily observable to the human eye but is observable and distinguished by God.

    The joints and morrow are the most concealed and deepest aspect of our BODY but exposed to God's sight and distinguished by God's Word. In perfect keeping with that the soul and spirit are the most concealed and deepest aspect of HUMAN NATURE but exposed to God's sight and distinguished by God's Word. In perfect keeping with that the thoughts and intents of the heart (soul) are the most concealed and deepest aspect of the SELF-CONSCIOUS NATURE but exposed to God's sight and distinguished by God's Word.
     
  17. Dr. Walter

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    Solomon says "As a man thinketh IN HIS HEART so IS HE"! Your outward life is the manifestation of the inward self-conscious actions of intellect, will and emotions interacting with each other.

    Paul commands us to "set our AFFECTIONS on things above" because He knows the object of our affections will determine the actions in our life.

    Paul commands us to "THINK ON THESE THINGS" because he knows that the objects of our thoughts will dictate the actions in our life.

    In Romans 7:14-25 there is the conscious "I" that is in conflict with the law of indwelling sin in the body and "the inward man" who delights after the law of God. Both compete for control of the conscious "I". When Paul attempts by his own WILL POWER to live the Christian life, the law of indwelling sin overpowers the conscious "I" and he ends up doing what he does not want to do. However, in Romans 8, when the conscious "I" submits to the law of life after the power of the indwelling Spirit, then the law of sin and death indwelling the body is overpowered and the "deeds" of the flesh are mortified.

    My point is there is a clear Trichotomy distinction in Romans 7:14-25 between "my body" the conscious "I" and the "inward man". The conscious "I' is the battle ground for control of the conscious self (mind, heart, will) as whatever "law" governs the conscious "I" governs the manifest life. Hence, the "mind" is the key to the conscious self. If we "mind" the things of the flesh we will "walk after the flesh" but if we "mind" the things of the Spirit we will "walk after the Spirit."

    Paul instructs the conscious "I" to "put on" the new man which is created in true holiness and righteousness and "put off" the old man. The conscious self is the battle ground between the unglorified body which is the home of indwelling sin and the regenerated spirit of man which is the home of The Indwelling Spirit of God.
     
    #17 Dr. Walter, Jan 21, 2011
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  18. webdog

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    How? I merely said they could not be separated, not discerned (what God's Word actually says)
    Too philosophical for me :)
    I am quite objective with the text, I agree with this in fact (how can I not be objective if I agree with the point of the passage?). What I (and many others) don't agree with is the notion man must be tripartite for this understanding to be true.
    I'm not sure you don't see the correlation between God's word dividing the flesh from the spirit...which our thoughts and motives are based on.
     
  19. Dr. Walter

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    No, God's Word says the very opposite. God's Word says they can be distinguished and God's Word distinguishes between them:

    piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.


    Are you serious???? You cannot understand that the "strength" of the body is the modus operandi for making the unseen mind, heart, will manifest in the actions of the mouth and deeds of the body??????? How do you imagine that your thoughts become actions if it is not by the "strength" in your muscles that control your jaws, vocal cords and bodily actions????????? This is not philosophical but just plain common sense application.

    You are disputing the very point of the passage. You have said that such things cannot be distinguished while the passage says they can be distinguished. Your philosophy is clouding your mind to be objective to the text. You are so opposed to a triparte explanation that you won't even be objective to the plain statements of the text.


    Put your philosophical thinking aside and look at the passages and what they are saying clearly and distinctly. Look at the evidence I am giving you in Romans 7 and elsewhere! Try to overthrow it!
     
  20. Dr. Walter

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    This is the key to resolving the argument between those who deny justification by faith is a completed action versus progressive justification as an incompleted action. This is the key to resolving eternal security as opposed to the doctrine of apostasy. This is the key to resolving the problem of lost and saved applications to present tense salvation. If you could grab this truth then it would help you, as well as those, who are fighting eternal security understand the true nature of salvation. The whole problem is grasping the PRESENT TENSE aspect of salvation.
     

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