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A Soulful Question...

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posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 08:32 AM

A soulful Question..

I am doing some writing and I am having problems finding the answer to one simple question. It is not that the question hasn't been answered, for I have found some answers for it. The answers seem to oppose one another though (at least in my head) and I can't seem to settle on which answer is the most complete, honest and factual one. As I said, I do believe it is a simple question ...or I thought it was. But apparently it becomes quite complex depending on what you read and how you interpret it. Here is the question:

What is the difference between the words soul and spirit?

I know the words are intermingled within our language, often each listed as a synonym of the other. Many times, when someone is talking about spirit, they will interchange the word soul within the same sentence or paragraph, leading me to assume they are thought to mean/be the same thing.

Yet in a few different places in the bible, they are treated as separate things. One explanation I read was that the soul is what we are when we're in human form and the spirit is what we are when we leave this world. So, once we "serve our time" or "learn our lessons" we will leave our physical bodies and become spirit.. transitioning into a higher self or back to our original form(?)

Also, in other explanations I've read it says the soul is us...human beings and that the spirit is the part of us that connects humans to God. The spirit being our way to communicate directly with the lord. But it isn't really merged with the soul. They both are still presented as two separate things. In this scenario, We can talk to the Lord but we can't become spirit...but spirit is part of our make up. (this one seems to suggest that soul/spirit are separate within us)

Another explanation is that we are not spirits, we can be only souls. The Lord/creator is the only spirit and he resides within us. Again, the idea is that his spirit allows us to connect to him on a higher level. But in this scenario, we can never become or be spirits. It is the lords spirit that is put inside each and every one of us. (this one seems to suggest that the soul/spirit is merged or combined within us)

(The last two being a bit more complex when you read in detail..but I tried to simplify for the purpose of this thread.)

Also, I find it confusing that the words soul and spirit have two different spellings within the old testament and new testament:

The word for "soul" in the Old Testament is nephesh, In the New Testament the word for "soul" is psuche . The word for "spirit" in the Old Testament is either ruach or neshamah, In the New Testament the word for "spirit" is pneuma... more

I am unsure if that is strictly because of etymology (changing of a words meaning and spelling over time), different translations/translators, because of the way they are being used in relation to subject matter, or if there is some other significance to it.

Here are the versus that lead me to believe that the spirit and soul are two separate things.

1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Hebrews 4:12 makes an even finer distinction, saying, “For the word of God is living and operative and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow, and able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Taken from here

As I said, websites tend to have different explanations, which is what is causing me to wonder what is the true interpretation, if there is a true interpretation, and what the defining line is between the words spirit and soul. Even in the Oxford online dictionary Spirit is defined as a soul and soul is defined as a spirit:

The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.

The non-physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; the soul:


so...I was hoping to get some input from fellow ATSers with more knowledge. What is the difference between soul and spirit (if there is one) either from your own POV or from what you've learned through teachings...or both.

And why are different words used for them in the old testament versus the new testament?

These are honest and true questions that I am seeking the answers to which many may already know, but as of yet I have not found. Thanks for any input you choose to give.


edit on 20-11-2016 by blend57 because: To try and further clarify a couple thoughts...

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 08:51 AM
a reply to: blend57
There is a real difference in the New Testament, because they are two different Greek words.

There is PSYCHE. This is the word that normally gets translated as "soul". What it really means is the human consciousness. That is why it is the origin of words like "psychology". The philosophers of the time had a "proof" that the soul occupies every part of the body (I read it years ago, in Cicero, I think). The proof was that we can both feel and move every part of the body. In other words, the PSYCHE is given all the functions that modern science gives to the brain and the nervous system.

The other is PNEUMA, or spirit. This means primarily the Spirit of God. Sometimes it gets used for a spirit within man (1 Corinthians ch2 v11), and I think it refers to something within man capable of being contacted by God.
Paul says that we now have bodies which are PSYCHIKOS (governed by the interests of the human PSYCHE), but our resurrection bodies will be PNEUMATIKOS (governed by the Spirit of God).

The whole question has got into confusion because of the concept of a detachable soul, which is a mediaeval invention, and nothing to do with the Biblical meaning of the words.
The OED definition of "soul" is based on popular usage, because that's what dictionaries do, and popular usage has been taken over by the "detachable soul" concept.
If you want to know what a reference means within the New Testament, look to the Greek.

I suspect you will get a lot of replies which are actually just speculating on the basis of the medieval "detached soul" idea. They won't help you understand the New Testament.

Oh yes, and NEPHESH in the Old Testament is a Hebrew word (because the OT is written in that language), and the basic meaning is "living thing". It may as well be taken as the equivalent of PSYCHE.
edit on 20-11-2016 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 08:53 AM
Spirit emcompasses all that is and all that it was....
Soul is "your" portion of the telling of what is or was or will be....

A Flag Of Nationality Is A Spirit And That Which It Encompasses.
A Soul Is You... In Complete Unison With The Greater Portion (Your Time) In This Heaven And/Or Hell....

Spirit Inspires...
Soul Accomplishes...

ETA: I Am Pinocchio.... Of Acacia Wood Was I Fashioned... And With Sh!ttim For My Thoughts... Adorned In Fine Gold (See Hat In Pic).... BUT! I Am Not The Ark Of The Covenant! Humph!
I Shall Tell A Lie!
edit on 20-11-2016 by Pinocchio because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:09 AM
Our soul, our core, is spirit, not this husk of flesh. Our soul resides in the spirit realm.

People say he is a kind soul, displaying acts of kindness while in this physical form.

They say, his spirit has moved on, once the tenure is done.

If we have an OBE, our soul travels in the spirit, in the spirit realm. Same when we die, our soul moves into the spirit realm.

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:10 AM
A Soulful Question....

What Has Papa Done Wrong That We Look To Others And Their Idioms To Learn Nothing Except How And When To Come Home....

Patiently He Waits...


posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 09:12 AM
The best thing you can do is to go to Genesis and see how God made Adam. From my book:

“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.” (Genesis 2:7 KJV II)

First, God took some dirt (in fact, the Miao people refer to Adam as the "Patriarch Dirt"): “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” (Genesis 2:7, KJV II.)

dirt/dust --> [God made it into] --> a lifeless body.

OK, we've got a body, and we can’t even call it dead, as it has not yet lived, but: “…God…breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. And man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7, KJV II)

lifeless body --> [God breathes into it the Breath/Spirit of Life] --> Adam, a living soul, a living person with breath.

Simplified, we have:

body + breath/spirit = soul

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 01:35 PM
Pinocchio , DISRAELI , intrptr , Lazarus Short ,

Thank all of you for sharing your insight and perspectives with me. Each of them were very helpful and led me down new roads to explore.. led me to knew thoughts.

I do have a better understanding of the words now I think. Sometimes it's all about how the explanation is given. For someone who does not read the bible everyday, or rarely, seeing all the different thoughts/ideas/facts and concepts laid out in unique individual ways can often lead to a better awareness of certain subjects.

Do I have my answer.. no. But, I think I am a bit closer. I've been looking through the scientific theories as well as the biblical theories and, coupling that with what you guys have chosen to share with me...and well, hopefully I will find it soon.

I know for most this is a simple thing.. but I tend to see it as very complicated. And I appreciate all of you taking the time to help me work through it.

Thanks so much for your help.


posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 01:52 PM
a reply to: blend57

Biblically speaking:

Your soul is your psyche and is made up of all of your concepts about reality. The way you should think of your soul is that it is a running measurement or interpretation (a living-concept) which produces thoughts or mental images, sounds, etc. It is built up or grows by adding new perceptions or concepts to you. Today, I don't think we have a word that matches it exactly, but it is close to how some people think of minds today: "He is a great mind." But the way we use mind in that sense is not the way that mind is used in the bible, or today when we say, "what's on your mind." The way that we say mind in the expression, "what's on your mind", is how mind was used in the bible... confusing, I know.

Your spirit is your breath and is made up of all of your will or purposed energy (its the structured energy of your body - it gives life to the soul). Biblically, the word spirit is what we are referring to today when we say "ghost". The way we say spirit today, though, is to say what will or spirit you have or are feeling - what mood you're in or what will you have: "I've got spirit, yes I do. I've got spirit, how about you?!" means she has the spirit or will of winning or cheer - she has a high outlook and is feeling it. In a more general sense, a spirit is a being purposed to do a task of God's will. It is God's will purposed as a being. Note: All beings are beings of purposed will, but not all beings are self-aware.

Your mind is the seat or stage of your consciousness. The dark blank canvas you project mental images into is the mind. The word mind in the bible is used like how we say, "what's on your mind."

Your body can either be your physical structure or your spiritual structure, both of which your soul structures by determining or measuring your will. The way to best understand us is to think of us as spirits with the will of awareness, and with that awareness (soul), we perceive our spirit as thoughts or physicality (with the soul we conceive our physical body). That is, the soul measures out the spirit as the physical body or mental image.

Like so: These words are the image of my awareness of my will - they're the image of my translation of my spirit.

Father = Soul = Awareness = Translator = Measure
Son = Body = Image = Form = Structure
Holy Ghost = Spirit = Will = Energy = Force

Physical bodies are like God's mental-images (Son), souls are like God's living-concepts / living-thought or tulpas he has created (Father), spirits are like his purposed will (Holy Ghost), and spacetime is like his mind (a sort of combination of the three, where energy/spirit is measured or quantized resulting in form).

The heart and the conscience are other words used to describe us but I don't know how to think of them exactly. I think there is a division somewhere between spiritual desire and physical desire, and the conscience and the heart may be the respective voices of each body. (Conscience being spiritual and heart being physical.)

Either way, your heart and conscience are like your core will for the two bodies, I think (your true desires and true morals.) The word heart in the bible is used like how we say "she is my heart, my love, my life." The thinking in the biblical era was that the heart was more of the brain of your body or the emotional center of your will maybe, because emotions seem to originate from the heart, or center of the chest, and thought itself was provoke by it. Problem is, conscience and heart are talked about very similarly so, I'm not entirely sure.

posted on Nov, 20 2016 @ 03:23 PM
I would say the soul and spirit is like an observer/thinker/experiencer in a movie theatre. The soul is the projector that creates everything including the spirit but it is the spirit that experiences what the soul creates. The spirit might believe to be broken, but the soul does not and simply is perfect, it cannot be manipulated like the spirit, that is why it is complete. The spirit is not complete, it grows and expands and realizes what the soul has already created.
edit on 20-11-2016 by johnnyjoe1979 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 05:34 AM

originally posted by: blend57
What is the difference between the words soul and spirit?

We are all unique Conscious Perspectives (Souls) that perceive the One Universal Reality/Truth!
A 'Soul' exists at every point in the One Universe!
It is how the Universal Self becomes 'Self Aware', how All is Known!

As for 'spirit', there are many different vague understandings, and no good definitions.
Makes me think that it is just an 'imaginary' term.

edit on 21-11-2016 by namelesss because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 07:45 AM
Thank you for the additional thoughts. From what I have gathered, the reason I am having trouble understanding these two terms completely is because we use them in so many ways to define not only the spiritual aspects of who we are, but also the emotional/feeling aspects as well (describing characteristics of an individual)

At first it seems as though these two words/forces are separate from one another.

Soul = physical realm
Spirit = divine realm

Two very distinct and individual things.. until they are combined together within the human body. Which then makes them one thing with two words that describe it. But at the point where they are combined, what they really are is a human being.

Soul + Spirit = human being

Once the two have been combined into a human being... that is when the words change meaning and become descriptive words for the character of the human being (or personality). Now we use them to describe the individual.

Soul = how "deep/profound" you are
Spirit = how "up/happy " you are

And then once we leave the body, they separate again and we use them differently once more. But in my head, they kind of change roles. Which in itself is very interesting. The soul becomes what was spiritual, and is what ascends or descends accordingly. The spirit is now defined as a ghostly form or apparition of who you once were when in your physical body.

Soul = Your spirit
Spirit = your physical self in ghostly form.

So, these two words are very complex and change meaning quite a few times. Hopefully I got this right and it makes some sense....

Thanks for reading and adding your thoughts.. all of them were helpful. And I smiled as I read much of the individual comes through when talking about such things. It was very kind of all of you to let me see a bit of who you are...

Thanks again,

edit on 21-11-2016 by blend57 because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 08:00 AM
This comment and the commentary before it in the same thread has some of the details that you're looking for.

In short, "soul", as used in the bible with reference to earthly creatures, refers to that which is material, tangible, visible, and mortal. "Spirit" refers to that which is invisible to human sight and which gives evidence of force in motion. That's the main difference that has been obscured by those teaching and adhering to the myth of the immortal soul discussed in that thread I linked.

Another aspect of this to consider is that you ARE a soul (a living person/being) and HAVE a spirit. Which is discussed in the first comment about the myth of the immortal soul taught by almost every major organized religion (Babylon the Great) in the world. A small excerpt from that comment:


Definition: In the Bible, “soul” is translated from the Hebrew neʹphesh and the Greek psy·kheʹ. Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, “soul” means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.

What does the Bible say that helps us to understand what the soul is?

Gen. 2:7: “Jehovah God proceeded to form the man out of dust from the ground and to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.” (Notice that this does not say that man was given a soul but that he became a soul, a living person.) (The part of the Hebrew word here rendered “soul” is neʹphesh. KJ, AS, and Dy agree with that rendering. RS, JB, NAB read “being.” NE says “creature.” Kx reads “person.”)

1 Cor. 15:45: “It is even so written: ‘The first man Adam became a living soul.’ The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” (So the Christian Greek Scriptures agree with the Hebrew Scriptures as to what the soul is.) (The Greek word here translated “soul” is the accusative case of psy·kheʹ. KJ, AS, Dy, JB, NAB, and Kx also read “soul.” RS, NE, and TEV say “being.”)

From a comment a bit further on:

What is the origin of the teaching that the human soul is invisible and immortal?

The difficulty lies in the fact that the meanings popularly attached to the English word “soul” stem primarily, not from the Hebrew or Christian Greek Scriptures, but from ancient Greek philosophy, actually pagan religious thought. Greek philosopher Plato, for example, quotes Socrates as saying: “The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.”—Phaedo, 80, D, E; 81, A.

In direct contrast with the Greek teaching of the psy·kheʹ (soul) as being immaterial, intangible, invisible, and immortal, the Scriptures show that both psy·kheʹ and neʹphesh, as used with reference to earthly creatures, refer to that which is material, tangible, visible, and mortal.

Plato and Platonic philosophy has been very influential in human thinking about these type of subjects. It's no different with the doctrine of the Trinity or theosophies (theological philosophies) about Triads or Triune Gods.

If you insist on using a mathematical expression for it, I'd go with:

body + spirit (the vital force in living creatures and character+emotions, i.e. one’s spirit*) = soul (a living person/being)

*: which are actually 2 different meanings and usages for the word "spirit" (which is why I'm using colors, details), in the bible the context often makes it clear which one or when both are referrred to; and there are more usages for the word "spirit", such as a spirit person, a person with a spirit(ual) body (invisible to human sight, immaterial; but that latter meaning or usage is not how I'm using the word "spirit" in the equation above, I'm just mentioning it because that's how the word "spirit" is used at 1 Cor. 15:45 that was quoted earlier, with that information in mind though, some people here might be able to realize who this "life-giving spirit" is that is referred to as "The last Adam", but that's another topic. If you can't figure it out and are curious nonetheless, check out John 11:25 or 1 Cor. 15:20-22)
edit on 21-11-2016 by whereislogic because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 21 2016 @ 11:39 AM
From my point of view.

I do define the soul as a information matrix where characteristic change over longer time than one lifetime that can be accessed more or less during a lifetime and influence the current person you are. If the current you become even more aware than your soul you will evolve it further. The soul is not the conscious mind and it's current awareness but the conscious mind can exchange ideas with it. It is more like the player (soul) giving the player character (conscious mind) instructions that the player character can follow or ignore.

It is also thru the unconscious that the spiritual realm can communicate with the conscious mind for instance revealing synchronicity. The spiritual realm can also in some cases influence your body by sending energy, to it resulting in energetic body states and sometimes teach the conscious mind how to draw on that energy to have a better time on this level (prayer/meditation can attract energy).

Some people have a very differently calibrated amygdala in their body that have either changed over time or from a amygdala fear overload.

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 12:09 AM
a reply to: blend57

Reread what I wrote above as many times as you need for it to click and make sense.

Most people don't know what the words mean so they use them wrong, or they are using the words to speak about a quality of the things rather than the things themselves.

The simplest explanation is that your spirit is your willpower or energy [field] and your soul is your consciousness or perception.

Think of it like you think about food, water, oxygen, etc. being used to give energy (breath/spirit) to your nervous system (consciousness/soul), which your nervous system then uses to produce thought (mental forms / body) or action (physical forms / body) with.

Calling a soul a spirit is like calling a plant that grew from seed and bore its own fruit just atoms or just particle fields. When you reduce its order you lose the very order that it is: conception.
edit on 11/22/2016 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 12:25 AM
a reply to: Bleeeeep

STAR for you... BUT You Are Painstakingly "WRONG!"

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 12:30 AM
a reply to: Pinocchio

Check the Bible.

Father is the one who speaks, measures, or translates - he is the translator.

What he is translating is his will or spirit into the Word, or body.

Just like your words are the image of your measure of your spirit or will, Jesus is the image of Father, and Father is the translator of the Spirit.

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 12:33 AM
a reply to: Bleeeeep

Another STAR For You... BUT, AGAIN, You Are Painstakingly "WRONG!"

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 12:36 AM
a reply to: Pinocchio

enlighten us

without a code in your text.....please

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 01:16 AM
a reply to: Pinocchio

Translating is exactly what a psyche is and does. (Soul = psyche)

Light > color > distance / space / objects > meaning / conception

If you do not perceive a thing you will not see it accurately, if at all. (Perceptual blindness.)

Think about "illusions" / delusions like the white and gold dress. It was white and gold until you perceived blue and black then it actually changed within your conception. That thing perceiving / conceiving is your soul - it is conception. What is perceived is the spirit and what is conceived is the image / the word.

Sensory perception occurs in organisms capable of performing neurophysiological processing of the stimuli in their environment, and covers the processes commonly called "the senses": hearing, vision, taste, smell and so on.

The soul doesn't actual see physicality until it conceives it. (Yeshua is within Father, we are within Yeshua, and he is within us.)

And that is exactly what this reality is. Quanta (form) are quantizations (measurements) of fields (energy).

"You will know them by their fruit" applies to everyone.

See this post

edit on 11/22/2016 by Bleeeeep because: (no reason given)

posted on Nov, 22 2016 @ 02:22 AM

originally posted by: kibric
a reply to: Pinocchio

enlighten us

without a code in your text.....please

First... let me state that my posts are often cut short. I type the whole thing only to find it doesn't post in entirety. Bad Tablet. I will try to. May be lengthy. If you read only this much. I gave up trying because it wont post. And apologies for codes. I'm not that complex. You should see a doctor about that.... jk

We all have our walks in life. Many things appear to be common. Yet we are not as similar as we may think. Thus I cant let those posts above sway me. Ive fought too much and bled too much and and stared death enough times to know that its not what he thinks.


I like cabbala, tarot, speculative masonry, psalms, numerology, heraldry, the bible (only the bible. No offense to the rest), the 7 arts (not the axioms), God (only god! no offense to the rest), jesus (to a degree, he's pretty damn spooky to me), the three graces, 72 names (not names) of god, women, and my heritage....

Excerpt From: "Conan The Barbarian" (1982):

Father: Fire And Wind Come From The Sky. From The God Of The Sky. But Crom Is Your God. Crom... He Lives In The Earth. Once Giants Lived In The Earth, Conan. And In The Darkness Of Chaos... They Fooled Crom. And They Took From Him The Enigma Of Steel. Crom Was Angered... And The Earth Shook. And Fire And Wind Struck Down These Giants And They Through Their Bodies Into The Waters.
The Secret Of Steel Has Always Carried With It A Mystery. You Must Learn Its Riddle, Conan... You Must Learn Its Discipline. For No One... No One In This World Can You Trust. Not Men... Not Women... Not Beasts. (Shows Conan The Sword And Points To It)... This You Can Trust!

Son: *Silent*

edit on 22-11-2016 by Pinocchio because: (no reason given)

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edit on 22-11-2016 by Pinocchio because: (no reason given)

edit on 22-11-2016 by Pinocchio because: (no reason given)

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