Shared April 16th, 2015
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise, Luke 23:43. Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Hebrews 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.
As you recall, we have been looking at the soul and spirit issue and what the Bible teaches about it. We stopped where we said the Bible has verses, which use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably.
Now, you may not believe it but there is another view that holds that man is two (body, soul) until he gets saved. What happens then? This view holds that that is when man gets the third, the Spirit, which is the Holy Spirit. But the closer you look at this view, the more outlandish it is; it is so foreign to the Bible that it does not have any feet to stand.
So then, why am I persuaded by the soul-spirit view? First, I do not see the soul as an animalistic part of man after all, God created man in His image (Genesis 1:26-27) nor do I see the spirit as a God-ward focused part of man. Second, the body, which is the physical part of man will die and land in the grave. In His parable Jesus said the poor man died, and was buried. The rich man also died and was buried. And after being crucified Christ died, and was buried (so where does this “buried” act leave cremation? Well, that is another topic for another time). Back to the topic at hand, this is my point: while the material part (body) is buried, the immaterial part goes to God in its totality. I do not believe it is just your spirit without your soul or vice versa. Based on this perspective of mine, what I am saying is that I am persuaded that an artificial separation between spirit and soul is being created.
Maybe you are wondering now, “But, brother, what about the text/verse which makes reference to the whole body, soul and spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:23)?” Well, my beloved, when I take into consideration the whole context of my study and understanding as well as the teachings of reputable men of God, I do not see a problem at all with this verse because a text like this is simply bringing together (summarizing) all the familiar terms that are used; it is not necessarily dividing nor is it separating or splitting soul and spirit up.
What about those who say God is a tripartite Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so man is three parts: body, soul and spirit? Such people quote 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Well, my answer is the same. And by the way, The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not parts of God; each is God.
Now let us go back to Hebrews 4:12, which says, “The Word of God is alive and powerful ,,, dividing asunder the soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” What is being communicated here to us? The verse is saying that the Word of God “divides” the soul, even the spirit. It even goes on to say that the Word is the judge of thoughts and of intents of the heart I believe the Bible is saying that the Word of God penetrates the joints, the marrow and also discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. As clear as can be, intents are simply one kind of thought. Thus, the verse is actually saying that the Word of God is able to penetrate into the deepest recesses of a man’s spirit, even judging his very thoughts, even the most secret intentions of his heart.
So let me ask, “Are there any differences between the thoughts and intents of the heart?” Can you say, “Well that’s an intent, not a thought?” How can you divide the two? How can you say “Well, that’s a thought not an intent?” Can the two be divided? No. I do not think so. Why? Because it is the use of terminology that is not technically different! So I believe that man is body and soul/spirit, as evidenced throughout the Bible (Old and New Testaments).
Now, do you know that in the Old Testament, soul sometimes refers to the entirety, the whole person so that it even says “and man became a living soul” Genesis 2:7? Also, ask yourself, “Where did Enoch and Elijah go when they were translated?” TBC.
Proposed prayer: “Dear Father, once more, Your Word is not about subtle philosophical and theological debates and arguments about the spirit and soul. I am thus satisfied with the knowledge that whether I believe in a dichotomy or trichotomy, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, the key thing for me is that I need to offer my “body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is my reasonable service,” until I see You face to face. Thank You, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”