Searching the Scriptures
“Search the Scriptures…they are they, which testify of me.” John 5:39
Author: Bob Moses
Body, Soul, Spirit
We shall see in this article the very essence of man. Body, Soul and Spirit; also referred to by Paul as Carnal, Natural and Spiritual. These have also been called the “Threefold Nature of Man”.
The Body touches the material world through the five senses of “sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch”. These we are taught in grammar school. Yet Paul calls them “Carnal”; we will come back to this shortly. The gates to the Soul are the stimulation of “imagination, conscience, memory, reason and affections”. The Spirit receives impressions of outward and material things through the Soul. The spiritual faculties of the Spirit are “faith, hope reverence, prayer and worship”. Stay with me here. I do not want to lose you. We are ploughing a little deeper into the furrows of Spiritual enlightenment.
Picture a peach, which we shall use as our illustration. A peach is a Trinity. There is the meat of the peach which corresponds to the Body of man. The stone, which we refer to as the seed, corresponds to the Soul, and the kernel (which is inside the seed) corresponds to the Spirit. You can remove the meat of the peach, which for our illustration represents the body, yet the seed or Soul remains, as well as the kernel (Spirit) hidden within the seed. Therefore when the meat or flesh of the peach has been removed the seed and kernel become separate from the body. The Body of man is then placed into the earthly grave. However the Soul and Spirit are yet alive and if planted and nourished will flourish into a new plant.
The Body itself returns unto the dust from which it came. “For dust thou art and unto dust thou shall return”. (Gen: 3:19). However, if the Seed and the Kernel, be nourished and given water (a picture of the Word of God), and Light (the regenerative workings of Jesus the Christ) the new life begins. Which is the Spiritual, heavenly second life, experience. Thus we have a New Life in Christ Jesus.
The Carnal mind does not see this, as he is always in contention with God. How do you explain something to someone who refuses to try to understand? If they are unwilling to “hear you out” they can in no manner begin to understand. The old adage from a dear friend applies: To those who do not understand no explanation is possible, to those who do understand no explanation is necessary.
Let us return to Carnal, which I stated we would come back to. Carnal and Body refer to the outward sphere of man. Sight of the eye, Smell of the nose, Hearing of the ear, Taste of the mouth and Feeling of the touch. Why would Paul consider them Carnal? Simply because they represent the Body, in other words the “flesh”; same as the flesh of the peach, the outer most part. It is the lust of the flesh, the pride of the eye, the hearing of tinkling things, the taste of pleasantness and the touch of untoward feelings that capture the interest of man. Paul says to the Church of Corinth; “I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk and not with meat: for hitherto (up to now) ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife and divisions (or factions), are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 1st Corinthians 3:1—3. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not”. Rom; 7:18. “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be”. Rom; 8:7. Being carnal is governed by mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. The works of the flesh are: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, frankness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before (future), as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God“. Gal; 5: 19—21.
Let us now turn to the Natural or Soul part of man. Exactly what is the “Soul”? The Soul is the living part of man. The Hebrew term (nephesh) may indicate not only the entire inner nature of man, but also his entire personality, i.e., all that pertains to the person of man in the sense of a person. The Greek term (psuche), has the simple meaning of life; a living being. It also has the meaning of the seat of Imagination, conscience, memory, reason, affection, our soul or heart; the human soul, in so far as it is so constituted that, by the right use of aids offered it by God, it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness; the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life. (III John 2; Heb. 13:17: James 1:21; 5:20; I Pet. 1:9). Another meaning is the soul as an essence which differs from the body, and is not dissolved by death (Matt. 10:28); the soul freed from the body, a disembodied soul (Acts 2:27), 31: Rev. 16:3; 20:4). Unger’s Bible Dictionary; pg. 1040. In other words, the natural man or his Soul, is the psyche or intellect of man and is a spirit into and of itself. Not necessarily of the Holy Spirit, but nevertheless a spirit. This is the part of man which is persuadable. It can go either toward evil or toward Godliness.
Paul addresses this In 1st Corinthians 2: 14; “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I wish to offer a perfect example in the story presented by our Lord in Luke Chapter 16: 19—31; .Which traces the life of the “Soul” and the “Spirit” after they have left the “Body”. This is not a parable as many claim, propose and hold dear. But rather a true story. We know this because in a parable we are given examples such as the Parable of the Sower, the Parable of the Tares, the Parable of the Mustard seed, etc. In the case before us, Jesus actually names the personalities, the people involved in the Story.
And the story is this: “There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died and was buried: and in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime received thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou would send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, they have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, if they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16: 19—31.
This “story” was given by Jesus himself and indicates that there is indeed life, extended beyond this physical body, because both the rich man and Lazarus had died. One was placed in “Abrahams Bosom” also known as Paradise, the other in hell. Thus Paul emulates in 1st Corinthians 2: 14—16. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ”.
We now come to the “Spirit” of man. This term generally denotes purely spiritual beings and the spiritual immortal part in man. It seems devoted to that part of man which concerns worship, prayer, reverence, faith, hope and divine communion. The Soul can be lost, but not the Spirit. Theologians offer three distinctions: (1) “Creational” maintaining that soul and spirit are created at birth. (2) Traducian: Soul and spirit are generated the same as the body. (3) The soul is pre-existent, embracing the idea of transmigration of souls. (Unger”s Pg. 1043).
Again we come to our illustration of the peach. The flesh of the peach can be peeled away and discarded (the body). The seed or stone, may be rotted away. Nevertheless the kernel remains to be renewed, as it is at the very heart of the peach. Thus with man, the body may return to dust, the soul may travel either into Paradise or hell, yet the spirit (the kernel) lives on. Paul ends the discussion in 1st Corinthians, 2: 10—13. “But God hath revealed them, unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man, which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit, which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words, which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual”. Thus it appears that the body as we know it, can actually die. The Soul can be either lost or saved (the outer kernel); depending on the condition in which it is in and how it is treated; either nourished or rejected. Meanwhile, it appears that the Spirit lives on forever, whether in paradise or in hell.
I shall therefore conclude this brief exegesis regarding the Body, Soul and Spirit. I am open to comments regarding this article and hope that you will have gleaned a better understanding of the topic. Again, I must acknowledge contributions from Unger’s Bible Dictionary and the writings of Rev. Clarence Larkin in his book “The Spirit World” copyrighted 1921.
May God Bless you and yours!