ESV - 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
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In my opinion the spirit of man is what keeps his physical body and his soul alive. Every living organism has a corresponding spirit enabling it to exist and function in the physical world. All spirits must originally come from God, who is a divine spirit. The soul is what discriminates human beings from animals. It would include our sense of identity, both the conscious and sub-conscious mind, our emotions, and our conscience. We know that body and soul can die in the first and second death (Rev 21:8). What then becomes of the spirit isn't clear. According to Ecclesiates 12:7, the spirit returns to God, but this verse may be including the soul along with the spirit. As Michael says above, the distinction between soul and spirit can be confusing. For example, those who experience near death and return are able to see and hear what has happened to them during their experience. Are their spiritual eyes and ears part of the soul or part of the spirit?
I believe it is Biblical to suggest that our soul is where we find the uniqueness of our humanity as expressed by our personality, creativity, ability to reason, etc. Our "spirit " however is the fulcrum from which the human "will" is initiated, either actively,or passively. Biblically speaking, because a human being is "spiritually dead" apart from Christ, one does not have the "will " to respond to the good news of the Gospel unless or until God literally breaths the Life of His Spirit into the human soul, and we are hence, "born of the Spirit" of God. At that point, one is free to respond in obedience to God's Word, since it is "spiritually discerned" as expressed in the New Testament by the apostle Paul. I think this distinction between soul and spirit is powerfully important and profound because it illustrates at its' very core why a truly "born-again Christian can continue to struggle against sin. (Corinthians 7).In essence, our "soulish" or "old nature wills to keep us in sin's bondage, however, our "new will" by the power of the Spirit of Christ in us gives us the discernment and ability to overcome sin and understand and execute the perfect will of God.
The human soul is the mind, will, emotions and conscience created in each human being at the moment of conception. This soul is what makes each human being a unique creation of God. The human soul is inexplicably linked to the human spirit. We see souls worshipping God in heaven (Revelation 7:9-10) and crying out to God for justice to avenge their blood (Revelation 6:9-11). The human spirit is the image of God placed inside each human being (Genesis 1:27). This "image of God" reflects the "character" of God in each human being. Tragically, on the day that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and committed sin, their human spirits died (Genesis 2:17). This original sin has infected every human being since then. Every one of us are born spiritually dead and separated from God (Ephesians 2:1;). But thanks be to God who has provided the way of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. The moment any human being puts their faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour and Lord of their life, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of them and He breathes life into their dead spirits so they are "born again" spiritually (Colossians 2:13). The Holy Spirit's work inside each Christian includes restoring the "image of God" in each one of us that God intended at creation (2 Corinthians 3:18). We won't experience the full revelation of this image until we receive our glorified new bodies at Jesus second coming. Once we have been set free and saved from the penalty, power and presence of sin, then the human spirit will fully reflect the image of God and radiate his glory.
I inherently do not disagree with any of the above statements. However, it depends on one's thought on anthropological aspects and the make up of man. There are many adamant dichotomists who believe that man is made up of only two parts immaterial and material. Predominately, this thought is stronger in the Reformed camp of theology. Many such as Calvin, Hodges, and others firmly believe that the soul and spirit are just the immaterial part of man but are not divided. Some would even go as far to say that the trichotomous view is blasphemy. They view that there is no such division between the soul and spirit of man. Personally, I am more of a trichotomous position in how I look at mankind. Precisely, as one of the key Biblical teachings on this positions comes from Hebrews 4:12. The point is that there are different views on this topic. I believe that the spirit is what keeps us alive and is the direct connection to God. It is the truest center of our being. The soul I believe houses our conscious, emotions, self awareness, thought, logic, the person hood of man. During the fall of man the spirit died within us and we became disconnected from God. Also, our soul fell and our logic, judgement, emotions, and our ability to relate to God cognitively was also damaged. The day we are truly saved through Jesus and accept Him as our Savior we are reborn of the spirit and we are sealed by the Holy Spirit until our redemption is fulfilled according to Ephesians 1:12-14. Additionally, our mind/soul is renewed by hearing the Word of God. Paul admonishes us to renew our minds in Romans 12:2. Therefore, I believe that becoming a new creation in Christ is not just a spiritual aspect but also a soul aspect of renewal. However, one has to admit to neatly package the difference between the soul and spirit is not an easy task and we should be humble enough to admit we truly do not understand on this side of heaven how they are different or the same.
There is a standard found in the merriam-webster dictionary for the term "soul" and the term "spirit". It is clear to me when I remember the phrase " Not a soul could be seen.". We would not say "Not a spirit could be seen.". Of course spirits aren't going to be seen unless they are wearing a sheet, just like 'Casper'! https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/souls https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spirit
We are born with a dead spirit. When we trust Jesus as our savior our Spirit is born of God, and we are dead. Colossians 3:3 For Ye are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. That is why First John 3:9 says. Whosoever is born of God doeth not commit sin, for His seed, (the Holy Spirit) remaineth in him, and He (the Holy Spirit) Cannot sin, becuase he is born of God. A dead man cannot sin. But we still do. First John 1:8. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the TRUTH is not in us. But Christ died for our sins so we can never be condemned again. John 3:18. Jesus told Nicodemus, ye must be born again. We find out how in Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, (First Corinthians 15:3-4) In whom also AFTER ye believed were sealed by that Holy Spirit of promise. Our guarantee of eternal life. Colossians 2:13 And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He made alive together with Him having for given you all trespasses. We are made in the image of God with a body a soul and a dead spirit from the fall. But now we have been reconciled back to God by the new birth. We still have our old sinful nature that still sins, But we also have a new nature that is born of God. It cannot sin. So now we have to natures. One born of the flesh, and the other born of the Spirit of God. That is why we all have to die. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. John 3:18. Believers can no longer be condemned because we have been born of the Spirit of God and that part can not die. Our flesh birth has to die so our spiritual birth can live. It is our soul/spirit that is saved. The real you. When Satan deceived Eve he lied and told Eve if you eat the fruit you will not surly die. God had already told Adam and Eve not to eat of the fruit of that tree or they would die. So men have died ever since. Sin entered the human race and now all have become sinners. But Jesus overcame death on the cross and came back from the dead.
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