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Spirit, soul and body - explain

What are the distinctions between spirit, soul and body?

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Spirit

There is only one spirit with supernatural power and that is the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is the Mind and Character of God and the Power by which God created and sustains all things. God is everywhere present by his Spirit. Whatever God thinks he is able to do simply by willing it to be so. God speaks and it is done; in this sense the word of God and the Spirit of God become synonymous.

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

When God made man, he made him with an independent spirit, inasmuch as man is not pre-programmed but has free choice. This is known in scripture as the spirit of a man. The spirit of a man is that which motivates his mind and character and the way he thinks.

Genesis 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his (Pharaoh’s) spirit was troubled...

Genesis 45:27... and when he saw the wagons which Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of Jacob their father revived:

Numbers 5:30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife...

1 Samuel 1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit...

Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

John 13:21 When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.

Scripture tells us that there is a difference in the way man thinks and the way God thinks.

Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.

When the twelve spies returned from Canaan, 10 of them were of one mind and 2 were of another. The 2 were Joshua and Caleb. God says of Caleb:

Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went...

This simply means that Caleb thought differently to the 10 and the way he thought was acceptable to God.

When we believe the Gospel and are baptised into Christ, we have to change the way we think naturally, to the way that God thinks.

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

The scriptures were written by inspiration for this purpose.

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

This is what Christ means by being born of the spirit.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

In this way we form within us a character or spirit acceptable to God.

When a man dies he returns to dust and his spirit returns to God. The spirit is not the man. It is only the power which gave him independence. It may be said figuratively to return with a record of the man’s character. In this sense it determines whether he will be raised from the dead or remain in the grave.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Luke 23:46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost (Greek expired).

Acts 7:59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

A man’s thoughts perish with him in the grave.

Psalms 146:4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.

God can put of his Spirit upon men to give them certain abilities as he chooses.

Exodus 31:3 And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,

1 Samuel 11:6 And the Spirit of God came upon Saul when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.

1 Samuel 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Luke 3:22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.

Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Evil spirits and angels

Evil spirits are not living beings. Angels are living beings who cannot sin and cannot die. Those who are raised from the dead and accounted worthy will be made equal to the angels.

Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

The fact that they cannot sin and cannot die rules out the idea that there is a rebel angel called Satan with an army of evil angels (or spirits) in opposition to God; who have supposedly sinned and will supposedly die.

When God put an evil spirit upon Saul he caused him to become disaffected or depressed in mind.

1 Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

His state of mind could be improved by music.

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

The evil spirit was not a separate supernatural entity; it was an alteration in the way Saul thought which was soothed by the sound of David’s harp. ‘The evil spirit departed from him’ is not to be understood as the departure of a malevolent being. In context it means that Saul ‘cheered up’.

Angels as ministering spirits

God makes angels to be ministering spirits to minister to those who will be heirs of salvation.

Hebrews 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

Their ministry is for the most part unseen and the way they work is impossible for us to understand. Angels can access the minds of men with visions and dreams. This is how the prophets spoke the word of God and the scriptures were written.

Genesis 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here am I.

Numbers 12:6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Evil spirit possession

Evil spirits in the New Testament are a personification of mental illness. Those who possess them or are possessed by them are just mentally ill. We treat mental illness today with drugs and therapy.

It is not reasonable for example to suppose that Legion was possessed by 2000 separate malevolent beings who chose to each enter a separate pig and commit suicide by jumping in the lake. It is nonsense. If Legion was mentally ill and his mental illness was transferred to every pig then the account becomes reasonable.

Mark 5:9 And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many. 10 And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

The result of the cure was that Legion was restored to his right mind indicating that when he had the evil spirits he wasn’t in his right mind.

Mark 5:15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind...

Soul

In genesis we are told that a body formed from the elements of the earth and energised by breath became a living soul.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Body = dust formed into a physical frame of flesh and bones.

Breath (Hebrew ‘neshamah’) = breath.

Soul (Hebrew ‘Nephesh’) = creature or being.

The same word is used of animals.

Genesis 1:24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature (‘Nephesh’) after his kind...

Soul can be alive or dead.

Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body (‘Nephesh’) of any man shall be unclean seven days.

Ezekiel 18:4... the soul (‘Nephesh’) that sinneth, it shall die.

In general usage the soul is understood to be alive.

Genesis 12:5 And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls (‘Nephesh’) that they had gotten in Haran...

The word is sometimes used as a synonym of life.

Genesis 19:17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life (‘Nephesh’)...

It is used in the same way in the New Testament.

1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls (Greek ‘psuche’) were saved by water.

Matthew 2:20... for they are dead which sought the young child’s life (‘psuche’).

Matthew 22:37 is readily understood to mean with ‘every part of your being’

Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (‘psuche’), and with all thy mind.

Mark 10:45 is readily understood to mean his ‘life’.

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life (‘psuche’) a ransom for many.

‘Nephesh’ and ‘psuche’ come together as equivalents when Peter quotes David.

Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul (‘Nephesh’) in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul (‘psuche’) in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Peter explains what it means

Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

Hell (Hebrew ‘sheol’ – Greek ‘hades’) is the grave; the tomb in which Christ was laid after his crucifixion.

His body was not allowed to corrupt and his soul was restored to life.

The soul in the Bible is not immortal. The soul is our whole being; when we die our whole being dies; we have no conscious existence after death.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing...

Death is spoken of as sleep; resurrection is the awaking out of the sleep of death.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

The hope of the gospel is resurrection from the dead.

Body

The body is constructed from ‘dust’ - the elements found in the earth.

The body is kept alive by the oxygen and nutrients circulating in the blood.

Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood:

Flesh with life in the blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God...

When we die our body decomposes back into the elements from which it is formed.

At the return of Christ we will be raised from the dead reconstituted as ourselves and those accepted will have their natural body changed into a spiritual body. Those rejected will die again (the second death - Revelation 2:11; 20:6,14; 21:8)

Paul explains:

1 Corinthians 15:44... There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

1 Corinthians 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

A spiritual body is one that lives, not by the circulation of the blood, by the spirit power of God.

2 Corinthians 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God.

Those who are saved become partakers of the divine nature.

2 Peter 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

I hope you have found this helpful.

May God bless you,
Glenn,
www.thisisyourbible.com

 
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