The Essence of Man

posted Dec 11, 2020, 11:45 AM by Basic Bible Doctrine

Regenerate man is comprised of body (sōma), soul (psychē), and spirit (pneuma). The human spirit is the highest and distinctive part of regenerate man (Romans 8:16). It is the vessel by which man can make contact (Proverbs 20:27Ephesians 2:22), worship and pray (Romans 1:9John 4:24), have fellowship with (1 Corinthians 14:15Philippians 2:1), and know God (Job 32:8, ESV; Ephesians 1:17-183:4-51 Corinthians 2:11-12). It is a simple essence devoid of all grosser matter, possessing the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting. It is the disposition or influence that fills and governs the soul and is the efficient source of intuition (1 Corinthians 2:11Mark 2:8) and any power, affection, emotion, or desire (Proverbs 20:27). It is the vital agent by which the sin nature is restrained (Job 32:8), the vital instrument by which the soul is empowered (Job 33:4), and the vital principal by which the body is sanctified (1 Corinthians 6:11). Although existing eternally, it is imparted [bestowed] at the moment of faith alone in Christ alone by God the Holy Spirit (Job 33:4), upon which point the believer becomes born again (John 3:5-7), a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is distinctive from the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16), is returned to God at physical death (Ecclesiastes 12:7), only to be reunited with body and soul once again at the First Resurrection event (Matthew 27:52-531 Thessalonians 4:13-171 Corinthians 15:51-53Daniel 12:1-213Hebrews 11:35Revelation 20:45).

The human soul is the lower part of man [compared to his human spirit]. It is created immediately and directly by God and is imparted to the body of the newborn at physical birth—i.e., as the fetus emerges from the mother’s womb. The soul is separate and distinguished from the spirit and the body. Although created in a moment of time, the human soul is designed for everlasting life and will eventually separate from the body [and spirit of the regenerate believer] at the point of physical death to go to either heaven or hell (Daniel 12:2Matthew 25:46Psalms 22:2623:6). For the Rapture generation believer, his human soul will detach from his present fallen body to immediately attach to his glorified body at the Rapture.

The human soul is the ignited version of the format soul (Genesis 7:22Ecclesiastes 3:18-21). The format soul is a facsimile of the animal soul possessed by the brutes (Proverbs 30:2Psalms 73:22). The format soul contains the source of man’s behavioral and character traits genetically received from his parents (Jude 1:10). The format soul is created at the moment of conception and is a part of the body (Psalms 139:13). It is activated by God when He adds the breath of life to it at the moment of birth (Job 33:4). Upon activation, the format soul is transformed into the human soul, or simply called, “the soul,” at which point it may exist independent from the body (Job 10:18). In addition to the behavioral and character traits the human soul gets from the format soul, God's breath of life brings to the human soul man's innate moral standard and intellect, along with those intrinsic qualities that bear the image of God (Genesis 1:26). Every soul is unique and distinct from every other soul; i.e., no two souls are the same, reflecting the unique combination of behavioral and character traits of the format soul melded with the homogeneous qualities from the breath of life. Being the inner, immaterial part of man that may exist apart from spiritual life and biological life, the soul connects with the world through the five senses of the physical body—i.e., sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell—and connects with God through the “sense” of the spirit—i.e., faith. The soul is the seat of feelings, desires, affections, and aversions. It is the vital force by which the body is animated—the “breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), and is the vital principal by which the spirit ennobles. The essence of the soul includes four attributes: self-consciousness [self-awareness], mentality [thinking], volition [free-will], and conscience [norms and standards]. The essence of the soul is identical from person to person, but each person may have a different personality reflecting the different combination of facets of each attribute of the soul. Furthermore, the soul is everlasting—created in a moment of time but will persist for all eternity; both the soul and the spirit are immortal (Matthew 10:28Ecclesiastes 12:7).

The division of the soul and spirit, which is divided by the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12), must be clearly understood in order to distinguish between spirituality and soulish excitement. Spirituality is dictated exclusively by the filling of God the Holy Spirit who bears witness to the human spirit (Romans 8:16) and, thus, does not require an emotional experience. Although there is nothing wrong with soulish excitement, Christians cannot be built up spiritually through it; thus, Christians may go from one exciting experience to another but never really grow spiritually because the ministry they receive is soulish and does not involve the spirit.

The human body is the lowest part of man—his physical nature. It is formed in sin by means of genetic propagation [conception and biological processes] (Psalms 51:5), yet through the care and superintendence of God (Job 10:8-12), and, since the fall of Adam, is associated with the sin nature—i.e., the flesh (John 3:6). The body is the agent of biological life. Although inherently associated with sin (Romans 6:6), the body is sanctified by the human spirit through the mediating ministry of God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:161 Corinthians 6:112 Thessalonians 2:131 Peter 1:2). The body of the regenerate man is the temple of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit and, thus, is the property of God (1 Corinthians 3:166:192 Corinthians 6:16Romans 8:9John 17:20-23). The body makes contact with the physical world through its five sense organs—i.e., the eyes [sight], ears [hearing], skin [touch], tongue [taste], and nose [smell]. It is the object by which the soul animates and is the recipient for sanctification by God at the resurrection. At physical death, the natural body returns to dust from whence it came (Genesis 3:19Ecclesiastes 3:20). For the believer in Jesus Christ, the natural body will be replaced with an incorruptible, glorified resurrection body at the Rapture for deceased and living Church Age believers [i.e., the Body of Christ] (1 Corinthians 15:42-4451-53), at the Second Advent of Christ for deceased Jewish and Gentile Old Testament and Tribulation believers (Daniel 12:1-213Hebrews 11:35Revelation 20:4), and at the end of the thousand years for deceased Millennium believers (Revelation 20:5). For the unbeliever in Jesus Christ, the natural body will be replaced with a corrupt, unglorified resurrection body at the Final [Great White Throne] Judgment (John 5:29Revelation 20:11-13).