BODY - SOUL - SPIRIT
This study will help you to understand that there is a difference between body, soul, and spirit and also that there is an important distinction between FORMED, MADE, and CREATED. We must draw this distinction from God's Word if we are ever to rightly divide the Word concerning these topics. We need to understand the meaning of certain phrases or terms used in the Bible that are relevant to our topic. When God speaks of the "natural man" as in I Corinthians 2: 14, we must understand that this is a person who is of body and soul, NO SPIRIT. This person is not a born-again Christian. The only way this person can learn anything is by the five senses -- there is no spiritual connection with God.
I Corinthians 2: 14 -- 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.
This man can BELIEVE to be born again and then will have the spirit of God within. Faith (believing) bridges the chasm between natural man and God. This was made available by what Jesus Christ accomplished -- our redemption.
We draw conclusions and make decisions based on information that we gather from a source or sources outside of ourselves. This makes us believe what we believe. We have endless, and often conflicting, opinions from men that we can believe, which results in confusion, or we can believe the Word of God. We can accept the Word of God as our center of reference for truth or we can accept a variety of men's conflicting opinions. God gives us this choice.
To begin with, we must understand a Scripture in Isaiah which speaks of the origin of man.
Isaiah 43: 7 – Even [For] every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
God clearly states that He has formed man; He has made man; He has created man. Are these three words synonymous? No, they are not. God means what He says and says what He means. If He meant to say created all the way through, it would have said created in all three places. Now let's look at a similar and related example in Thessalonians.
I Thessalonians 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 [at] the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Are the three words spirit, soul, and body synonymous? They are no more synonymous than the three words created, formed, and made in Isaiah 43: 7. Body means body, soul means soul, and spirit means spirit. We must now let the Word speak as to what is formed, made and created and what is body, soul, and spirit. We must never allow private interpretation [see I Peter 1: 20] to enter when studying God's Word -- the Word of God interprets itself. It was in the beginning that man was formed, made and created. Let's look at the first part of Genesis 2: 7.
FORMED THE BODY:
Genesis 2: 7a -- And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground ...
The Hebrew word for "formed" is yatsar which means "to fashion out of something that is already in existence." God formed man out of a substance which already existed, which was dust. The word "man" is adam which means "red earth". Our bodies are composed of the same elements that are in the dust of the earth.
Genesis 3: 19 -- In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
The human body was formed (yatsar) by God of the dust of the ground. There is a natural law that states that everything must ultimately return to its original state. Therefore, the body must return to dust. This refers to man and also to animals.
Ecclesiastes 3: 20 -- All go unto one place; all are of dust, and all turn to dust again.
MADE THE SOUL:
Now let's examine the word "soul" which is the Hebrew word "nepesh". The soul in a man is that which gives the body its life, its vitality. Now let's look at Genesis 2: 7 again with particular attention to the second part of the verse.
Genesis 2: 7 -- And the Lord God formed man [man's body] of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
The phrase "breathed into his nostrils" is the figure of speech condescension where God attributes human characteristics to Himself. When God put life into Adam, He MADE man a living SOUL. The word "made" in Hebrew is asah and means "a substance required of which the thing made consists." The soul is simply that which gives life to a person's body. The soul has nothing to do with whether you are a born again Christian or not. As long as a person breathes, he has a soul.
I 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 were saved by water.
During the great flood, these eight souls were spared. Were they Christians? They couldn't be since Christ had not yet come. Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives were eight alive souls.
Acts 27: 37 -- And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
Paul and Luke were sailing to Rome on this ship and they were the only believers. But the record says there were 276 souls on board. There were 276 "alive people" on that ship including Paul and Luke. Remember, soul is that part which gives life to the body. When people confuse soul and spirit, it results in a great deal of difficulty. Some Eastern religions talk about the immortality of the soul or the transmigration of the soul. These are erroneous usages of words regarding subjects which are explained clearly in the Word of God.
Not only do men have a soul, but every beast also has a living soul. This remains true while a man or an animal is alive. Note that the word "life" in the following verses is the same word as "soul".
Genesis 1: 30a -- And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life (soul), . . . . .
Genesis 1: 20a -- And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life (soul), . . .
When an animal has soul life, it has movement -- there is breath-life. In the following verses, the word "creature" is the same word used for "soul".
Genesis 1: 21a -- And God created great whales, and every living creature (soul) . . . .
Genesis 1: 24a -- And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature (soul) . . .
The Church today is not logical on this issue because they usually teach that the soul and spirit go back to God. The soul simply perishes when a person takes their last breath. The soul exists only when you are alive. The soul is that which gives you breath-life. Your soul-life ceases to exist when you take your last breath and this is, of course, true for animals as well.
Now we must delve into this a little farther and ask the question: Where is the soul- life of man? We must go to the Word.
Leviticus 17: 11a -- For the life of the flesh is in the blood: . . . . .
Soul-life is in the blood and it is passed on from generation to generation during the time of fertilization, when the sperm impregnates the egg. A person can pass his soul-life on to his progeny. But if a person has no offspring, his soul is simply gone when he dies. There is nothing immortal about the soul just as there isn't anything immortal about dust. We get our soul-life from our predecessors and when we take our last breath, our soul-life is simply no more.
Now that we've studied "formed" and "made", we must now study the Biblical usage of the word "created". What part of man was created? The first usage of "create" is in the following verse of Scripture.
CREATED THE SPIRIT:
Genesis 1: 1 -- In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
The literal meaning of "to create" is "to bring something out of nothing" or "to bring into existence something which never existed before." Many teachers say that on the first day God created this and on the second day God created something else, and so on. But this is not what the Word of God says. In Genesis 1: 3, God said, "Let there be light:". Why didn't He have to create it? Because He created whatever was needed for light in the beginning when He created the heaven and the earth. All that was ever needed was already created in Genesis 1: 1. That is why all God needed to do was to "speak" other things into existence. [See verses 6, 9, 11 and 14]
After God formed, made, and created the earth and it's inhabitants (animals, fish, etc.), He came to His culminating work -- man.
Genesis 1: 27 -- So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
God had already formed and made man -- he already had a body and soul. So what was God doing here when He created man in His own image? What is the image of God?
John 4: 24a -- God is a Spirit: . . . .
God created within man spirit, His image. Man now became body, soul, and spirit. Now God had a companion. The spirit part of man makes it possible for God to talk to man and for man to communicate with God. This gave them fellowship. So now we know from Isaiah and Thessalonians, that man was formed, made, and created and that he was body, soul, and spirit. Whenever scientists talk about creating life, this is a misnomer. Man may rediscover, revamp, reorganize, etc., but man cannot create. He cannot bring something into existence which did not previously exist. Man must always start with some substance so he is NOT creating. Only God can create.
Keep in mind that when Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their spiritual connection with God. They received the spirit upon a condition -- that they would not disobey God, but they did. They became body and soul and everyone born into this world today is a body and soul person. Jesus Christ made it available for us to be born again of God's spirit by confessing Romans 10: 9, 10. Because of Adam, we lost our spiritual connection with God, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we are able to reclaim that connection.
Man, as he was originally put together, surpasses the animal realm because he not only has body and soul, but also spirit. It is the spirit which sets man apart from the rest of creation. Because it is available for man to have spirit, God can communicate with His masterpiece.
Ephesians 2: 22 -- In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through [in] the Spirit.
What a tremendous subject this is from God's perfect Word. There is no confusion once we research the Word of God for truth, only clearness of understanding and peace of mind. Only the truth of God's Word sets a man or a woman free.
In The Beginning:
God formed the body of man.
God made the soul of man.
God created the spirit in man.