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Soul and spirit

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posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 05:00 PM
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“May your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians ch5 v23).
“For the word of the Lord is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews ch4 v12).

On the authority of these verses in particular (supplemented by any other references using either of the two words “soul” or “spirit”), speculators have developed the theory known as “trichotomy”. That is, “body”, “soul” and “spirit” are to be understood as three distinct entitles which constitute the completeness of human nature. The Trinity is an obvious parallel.

The choice of three is a little arbitrary, given that “joints” and “marrow” are as clearly distinguished in the Hebrews verse as “soul” and “spirit”. We could just as easily say there are five constituent parts. The weak point in the “trichotomy” case is the assumption that separate words must refer to separate entities, ignoring the human habit of using words with overlapping meanings. My family archives include an old property deed. When the deed refers (repeatedly) to the transfer of “messuages, tenements, or dwelling-houses” on the property, the lawyer does not necessarily mean there’s a clear distinction between those terms- he’s just making sure the point is covered from all angles.

We must try to define what Paul means by the distinction between soul and spirit. This can’t be done on the basis of the English words, because there are translation issues. The English words have developed overtones which pre-empt our efforts to understand the relevant passages. It will be necessary to focus on the original Biblical words.

Soul

The word normally translated as “soul” in the Old Testament is NEPHESH. The key passage here is the moment when God breathed life into Adam and Adam became a living NEPHESH (Genesis ch2 v7). The NEPHESH is the whole person. In effect, NEPHESH means the fact that the body is living and not lifeless, though the NEPHESH is distinct enough to find a place in Sheol (Psalm 16 v10).

This is not the “detachable and immortal soul” concept, which became dominant in theology during the Middle Ages. This concept is the product of classical philosophy rather than Biblical thinking, which is why I’m beginning to think that the word “soul” is undesirable in Bible translations. Thanks to the acquired overtones, it plants a misleading impression on the mind.

The word normally translated as “soul” in the New Testament is PSYCHE. PSYCHE is at the root of “psychology”, and other words coined by the modern mind-sciences.

In most of the New Testament references, it is reasonable to understand PSYCHE as the equivalent of NEPHESH, meaning the living human person; “Fear came upon every soul” (Acts ch2 v43); “Let every person [PYSCHE] be subject to the governing authorities” (Romans ch13 v1); “We were ready to share with you… our own selves [PSYCHE]” (1 Thessalonians ch2 v8). But the human enemies who can kill the body cannot kill the PSYCHE (Matthew ch10 v28), so there’s a distinction in that respect.

The real clue to Paul’s understanding of PSYCHE is to observe the way that he uses the adjective PSYCHIKOS (“related to the PSYCHE”), as the opposite of “spiritual”. The “natural” or “unspiritual” [PSYCHIKOS] man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, and he is contrasted with “the spiritual man” (1 Corinthians ch2 vv14-15). In the very next verse, the equivalent contrast is between spiritual men and “men of the flesh”. This rather blurs the distinction between soul and body, or at least reflects the influence of the body on the way that we conduct ourselves.

But that is changed by death, because our body is sown as a “natural” [PSYCHIKOS] body and may be raised as a “spiritual” body (1 Corinthians ch15 v44, v46). For the first expression, the RSV offers the mistranslation “physical body”, which is liable to lead people astray about what Paul means by “spiritual body”. The real point is that the old body is guided by the PSYCHE and the new body is guided by the Spirit.

So we can think of the PSYCHE as the natural human mind, not guided by God.




posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 05:01 PM
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Spirit of God

In Genesis, God breathed life into Adam. Life is about movement of air. Perhaps for this reason, “wind” and “Spirit” are the same word, both in Hebrew and in Greek.

The ambiguity causes problems for English translators, as when Ezekiel calls upon the “wind” or the “Spirit” to come down on the valley of dry bones and repeat the miracle which gave life to Adam. Even more so in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus (John ch3). When Jesus explains that the wind blows mysteriously and so does the Spirit, it’s impossible without footnotes to express the point that he’s using the same word [PNEUMA]
in both cases. The word-play is lost on the English reader.

All through the Bible, the Spirit is God’s power in action, whether sending people into battle or sending them words of prophecy.

For Paul, it is the power of the Spirit that helps him to communicate; “I was with you in weakness and in much fear… and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians ch2 vvv3-4). The most important “gifts of the Spirit” are the verbal gifts, especially prophecy (1 Corinthians ch12).

An essential feature of Paul’s teaching is the close relationship between the believer and the Spirit of God, as the presence of God, and the presence of Christ, within him; “You are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans ch8 v9). In fact the presence of the Spirit of God is the binding-force of the entire Christian community; “Do you not know that you [plural] are God’s Temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you [plural]?” (1 Corinthians ch3 v16).

This close relationship is what makes possible the direct intercession of the Spirit; “We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words” (Romans ch8 v26). That is, we are not conscious that the prayer is taking place.

This close relationship is what makes it possible for us to understand what God is teaching us, for “no-one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians ch2 v11). We have received this Spirit, as individuals, “that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God”. The servants of God are able to teach their fellow-believers only because the Spirit is present at both ends of the transaction. That is, the Spirit in the believer hears and understands what the Spirit speaks in the words of the teacher; “We impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit” (v13).

The final eight words of that last quotation are translating two very ambiguous Greek words. They could be, and sometimes are, translated as “spiritual things by spiritual things”, but the RSV is obviously taking them as “spiritual things to spiritual people”, which suits the context much better. Over the next few verses, Paul continues to talk about “spiritual men”, meaning those who have received the Spirit.

Spirit of man

“The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of a man which is in him? So also no-one understands the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians ch2 vv10-11).

The above is an important verse for demonstrating the closeness of the Holy Spirit and the Father, but that’s not my present concern. It’s also one of Paul’s very few allusions to the existence of a human spirit [PNEUMA].

Looking over the other references, it seems to me that the analogy between them can be carried a stage further. To wit;
The Spirit of God is that aspect of God which communicates with man.
The spirit of man is that aspect of a man which communicates with God.

So the spirit of man concerns itself with what the Spirit is doing, and they work together very closely; “When we cry Abba! Father! It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans ch8 vv15-16). Paul says “I serve God with my spirit” (Romans ch1 v9). He welcomes the arrival of his companions in God’s work because “they refreshed my spirit” (1 Corinthians ch16 v18). The purpose of dealing firmly with an offender within the church is that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus (! Corinthians ch5 v8).

We are told that “the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets” (! Corinthians ch14 v32). That is, they are under their own control. The implication is that the Spirit of God does not speak directly through the mouths of individuals. The Spirit of God speaks instead to the spirit of the prophet, and the message is passed on from there. That would explain how it’s possible for a prophet’s message to be slightly inaccurate in detail, as was the case when Agabus gave his warning to Paul.

The bond is much more than simple co-operation, for “he who is united with the Lord becomes one spirit with him” (1 Corinthians ch6 v17). That is what it means to be “in Christ”, when the two spirits are closely conjoined, and the sum total of those who are in this condition forms “the body of Christ”.

This would explain Paul’s mysterious promise to be present, in his absence, at a disciplinary hearing in Corinth; “When you are assembled, and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus …”(1 Corinthians ch5 v4). The point is that the Spirit will be there, which carries the presence of the Lord Jesus, and also the spiritual presence of Paul and of every other Christian.

So the human spirit is best defined by this attachment to the Spirit of God. We might call it the port connecting us into the Holy Spirit internet (I’ve only just thought of this image, and claim copyright).

Spirit and soul

Perhaps the relationship between PNEUMA and PSYCHE may be understood on the analogy of the relationship between heart and mind. Not the modern distinction between feeling heart and thinking mind, but the Biblical sense in which the “heart” is that aspect of the self that makes choices and decisions and determines whether to be with God or against him.

Thus the PSYCHE is the natural self and mind, acting in self-will consciously and unconsciously.
Whereas the PNEUMA is that part of the self which, below the conscious level of the mind, is in direct contact with the Spirit of God.




edit on 14-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 05:04 PM
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I showed in an older thread how the Biblical call to "the heart" is not an appeal to the emotions;
Believe in your heart



posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 07:21 PM
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You just took Heb 4:12 and made it far more complicated than God intended. This is called ADDING to the words of God.

I have learned anyone who cannot understand it in the English always go to Greek to change the word of God. This is called DIMINISHING the words of God.

Then changing Gods words to mean something else is TAKING away from the words of God.

There is a curse with this found in Duet 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18


edit on 8/14/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 09:42 PM
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a reply to: ChesterJohn

The same God also said to not judge, that you be not judged yourself. Further, with what measure you measure, it will be measured to you.

There is much to be said for balance, and there is much to be said for the Greek, for it is closer to the original than the King's English of 1611.



posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 09:50 PM
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The Spirit of God is that aspect of God which communicates with man.
The spirit of man is that aspect of a man which communicates with God.

Don't dismiss, that both, are not one and the same. aka .. the son and the Father are one.



posted on Aug, 14 2020 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: glend
I've already quoted the 1 Corinthians ch6 verse in which Paul says the believer and the Lord Jesus become one spirit. That is, they were not originally.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 12:00 AM
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a reply to: ChesterJohn

For the reasons already given, I have no more dealings with you.
I have wiped your dust from the soles of my feet.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 12:29 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I wonder if you could comment on Matt 5:3.



Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In the wikipedia article Kingdom_of_heaven_(Gospel_of_Matthew)#Comp ared_with_kingdom_of_God there is this:

That Matthew uses the word "heaven" is often seen as a reflection of the sensibilities of the Jewish audience this gospel was directed to, and thus tried to avoid the word "God." Most scholars feel the two phrases are theologically identical.

Robert Foster rejects this view. He finds the standard explanation hard to believe as Matthew uses the word "God" many other times and even uses the phrase "kingdom of God" four times. Foster argues that, to Matthew, the two concepts were different. For Foster, the word "heaven" had an important role in Matthew's theology and links the phrase especially to "Father in heaven," which Matthew frequently uses to refer to God. Foster argues that the "kingdom of God" represents the earthly domain that Jesus' opponents such as Pharisees thought they resided in, while the "kingdom of heaven" represents the truer spiritual domain of Jesus and his disciples.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 02:09 AM
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a reply to: pthena

I have an existing thread on this issue (my ambition was to be able to say that on almost any quesion that might come up)- Kingdom of God/Kingdom of heaven
In that thread, I carefully documented the fact that exactly the same things are written about both labels, in the same contexts.

On the question of Matthew's usage I said this, with perhaps a preference for the final option;


The natural question is; which of these two versions was being used by Jesus himself?
Who introduced the form “kingdom of heaven”?

At first glance, there seem to be two options.
Either Jesus said “kingdom of heaven”, which Mark and Luke modified because their Gentile readers would not see the need for circumlocution.
Or Jesus said “kingdom of God”, which Matthew modified for the sake of his more conservative Jewish readers.
However, neither option quite explains the fact that Matthew uses the word “God”
freely in the rest of the gospel, and sometimes even slips back into “kingdom of God”.
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”- Matthew ch12v28


One alternative possibility is that “kingdom of heaven” was not Matthew’s personal preference, but the choice of one of the sources of information that he was using. He then harmonised most, but not all, of the “kingdom of God” references that he found elsewhere.

[I'd have to double-check, but I think my proposal was that Matthew picked up "kingdom of heaven" from Q and "kingdom of God" from Mark. I try not to push source criticism into the faces of ATS readers)

edit on 15-8-2020 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 02:13 AM
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originally posted by: DISRAELI
a reply to: glend
I've already quoted the 1 Corinthians ch6 verse in which Paul says the believer and the Lord Jesus become one spirit. That is, they were not originally.


This verse also states:
'When' the two become one....the kingdom shall be revealed.

The original sin is simply mistaking the one to be two.

What assumes it is separate will be lifted away....raptured.

Are you really separate from all that is?
Or is there just all that is?

There really isn't any thing that stands apart!

The light is here and all apparent things appear in it......and are made of light.



edit on 15-8-2020 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 02:24 AM
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a reply to: Itisnowagain
Your quotation is from outside the Bible, and this is an exercise in Biblical theology.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 02:57 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI
In the Beginning, There Was Nothing. The Lord Said, ‘Let There Be Light.’ Then There Was Still Nothing, But You Could See It Much Better.
Woody Allen.


edit on 15-8-2020 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 04:23 AM
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I know you are a non-believer but....

DAMN John, excellent post and this comes from a disciple of Christ.

I think you revealed yourself as a child of God and maybe you did not see it.

I saw it. There is hope in you.

I know this means little to you

But God bless you



a reply to: ChesterJohn


edit on 15-8-2020 by DeathSlayer because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 09:08 AM
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If Christ said "me", then he is a child.

If he said "we" then he is at War with himself.

If he said "I", then he is one big happy family.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 09:10 AM
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It is clear what God's words are saying in Hebrews 4:12.


Heb 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.
God's words act fast, strong and decisive. They are able to judge the Spiritual aspects of a being (soul and spirit), the Physical (joints and marrow) aspects of a Being and the Mental aspects of a being.

Contextually Hebrews 4:11 starts the context.

Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.
To take Hebrews 12 out of its context is how most teachers work in order to make the scriptures say something they don't actually say, where they say them, as they say them, where they are found. It is talking to Israel's need to work hard at entering into peace with God (rest) unless any of them fall through unbelief. Unbelief is defined in scriptures (only found in the NT) as not believing what they see and heard from the word of God. Hebrews 4:12 then tells them no matter what the word of God will judge them. It goes on to say in Verse 13 that there is nothing not a thing hidden from God

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.


So what can we learn from them. 1) the person acting on verse 11 is told to Labour, that is work to be saved. Yet in the church age no one has to work to be saved for their salvation is a gift of God not of works (labor)

Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
so obviously it looks like a contradiction but it isn't. When I find my theology is in error to the Bible I bend my theology to match God's word. Not bend God's word to match my theology. So If Hebrews is saying work and Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians and the rest of the church writings say no work. I must search the scriptures and see what has changed. Well the same words are telling us in Hebrews that the person reading must labor, overcome, endure to the end so where do I find that it is in Revelation.

Revelation is the key to the OT, Matthew and Hebrews. If I believe Revelation and what the words of God say, as they are written, where I find them written this tells me Hebrews is in the tribulation. ( this does not mean there is no spiritual nugget for us today) We don't have time but Christ could have came back by Acts 7 and He would have fulfilled all the scriptures concerning his second coming. But Israel did not believe the witness of Stephen and the second coming was postponed until some unknown time period in the future. that leaves over 500 prophecies concerning Christ's second coming unfulfilled.

and Secondly we learn, There is no hiding from God or his Judgements as found in the words of God. In Revelation we find men in the Tribulation will try to hide when they tell the mountains to fall on them and hide them from he who sits on the throne. God and his words will find us out no matter where we go to hide. As David said, " there is nothing hid from thee for darkness is a light unto thee (Ps 139), no one or thing will not be seen by the eyes of him and you notice the strange words "with whom we have to do." It is saying to whom we are accountable to him for the things we have done.

That is a short snippet of the meaning of the text where we find it, as we read it, as it is written. Simple man can see this. It is the educated that have the hardest time with it.

edit on 8/15/2020 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 09:10 AM
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a reply to: DeathSlayer

LOL you are too funny.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

The way that I think of it is like we're tulpas (living-thoughtforms) in the mind of God. The thoughts (forms) are made up of Yeshua (who is the qualia of the mind of God / the Godhead bodily) and when given breath (will of life / spirit ) we become living-thoughts.

It's sort of like a mathematical expression in that the forms are the image of a measurement (the act of measuring something) and the image of the measurements measure (the size, length, or amount of something, as established by measuring). But then take that mathematical expression, and give it a spirit that allows it conceive itself (its own spirit) and which allows it to edify itself in doing so (byway of conceiving its spirit), and then you have a lifeform. That is, the trick to life is the ability to perceive / conceive the spirit of life - the ablity to conceive the will of your function (whether you are aware you are doing it or not / not all life is self-aware).
edit on 8/15/2020 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 05:02 PM
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a reply to: ChesterJohn

You will only see your minds reflections if you try to comprehend revelations literally. The key for unlocking revelations....

This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.



posted on Aug, 15 2020 @ 05:18 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI



The real clue to Paul’s understanding of PSYCHE is to observe the way that he uses the adjective PSYCHIKOS (“related to the PSYCHE”), as the opposite of “spiritual”. The “natural” or “unspiritual” [PSYCHIKOS] man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, and he is contrasted with “the spiritual man” (1 Corinthians ch2 vv14-15). In the very next verse, the equivalent contrast is between spiritual men and “men of the flesh”. This rather blurs the distinction between soul and body, or at least reflects the influence of the body on the way that we conduct ourselves.

But that is changed by death, because our body is sown as a “natural” [PSYCHIKOS] body and may be raised as a “spiritual” body (1 Corinthians ch15 v44, v46). For the first expression, the RSV offers the mistranslation “physical body”, which is liable to lead people astray about what Paul means by “spiritual body”. The real point is that the old body is guided by the PSYCHE and the new body is guided by the Spirit.


"Physical body" is NOT a mistranslation. What Paul is trying to convey in 1 Corinthians (see verse 47) is that "natural" body is the physical body that comes from the "earth". When our natural bodies die, we will literally be given new bodies that are "heavenly" and different from our earthly bodies. We know that our old bodies will be transformed into new ones that won't decay, suffer injury, or pain (see Isaiah 40:31 and Revelation 21:4). This is what Paul is saying.

While our new bodies will be guided by the Spirit, this is not a matter of the old body raising up just to be guided by the Spirit. It is a literal transformation of the body.



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