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Thread: Body, Soul and Spirit?

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    Body, Soul and Spirit?

    I think we can all agree that we have a physical body. I have also heard people say that we have both a soul and spirit. I am a bit perplexed by this. What is the difference between the Soul and Spirit? Is his some New Age cult teaching? Is this Biblical?

    Can someone clear this up for me.

    Thanks,
    Anthony

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    Re: Body, Soul and Spirit?

    Here's something by Rev. Ron Hanko on the subject:


    Body and Soul--or Body, Soul and Spirit?

    One of our readers has asked: Is a man bi- or tri-partite being? Are soul and spirit synonyms?"



    We trust that those who read this will not be frightened away by the strange words. Bi-partite simply means "two-part" and tri-partite, "three-part." The question, therefore, is whether we are created with two parts, body and soul, or with three parts, body, soul and spirit. Thus, too, we have the question whether soul and spirit are the same thing or two different things. (Note: the words, dichotomy and trichotomy, are sometimes used - dichotomy having the same significance as by-partite and trichotomy as tri-partite).

    To some all of this may seem very unimportant. In the history of the church, however, it has not been unimportant. The view that man has "three parts" has been used both in the early church and by some modern theologians in defense of various heresies, and for that reason Christian theology has always leaned to the view that man is only "two parts" and that soul and spirit are more or less the same.

    For example: the teaching that man is a tri-partite being has been used (by the earlier Semi-Pelagians and by some more recent German theologians) to defend the idea that there is something in man that is not affected by the fall or by original sin. In other words, though soul and body are corrupted, man's spirit, including his reason, his will, and his moral sense were not affected. So, they said, fallen man is able to respond to and cooperate with grace.

    Earlier in the history of the church the same teaching was used to deny the full humanity of Christ. He had, so it was said, a human body and soul, but not a human spirit or mind. That was replaced by the divine Word or Mind.

    There are many Scripture passages that teach that our spirits are essentially the same as our souls (Eccl. 12:7; I Cor. 5:5; 7:34; II Cor. 7:1) and that we are bi-partite. Man's creation, however, is the clearest proof. There is no indication in the creation story (Gen. 2:7) that man is a tri-partite being.

    The only passages in Scripture that could possibly be brought forward as proof of "three parts" are Hebrews 4:12 and I Thessalonians 5:23. The fact, though, that body, soul, and spirit are all mentioned does not necessarily mean that they are three separate things, and in light of Genesis 2:7 they cannot be. Why does Scripture speak of both soul and spirit? The answer seems to be that these two words look at the same thing from two different viewpoints. The word "soul" emphasizes the truth that man is a rational, moral being, a thinking and willing creature who knows the difference between good and evil, while the word "spirit" emphasizes the truth that these things once made it possible for him to stand in a relationship with God, to know God and to love Him, and do again make it possible through grace.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Body, Soul and Spirit?

    Thank you WB, certainly an interesting study ahead of me on this one.

    Now that I think about this, the argumetn has been made by people I would charecterize as Arminian or semi-Palagian.

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    Re: Body, Soul and Spirit?

    I would hesitate to make such a general statement about who does and does not believe dichotomy vs trichotomy.

    I have not studied this topic indepth, but here is a link to a series of sermons my pastor, W. E. Best, preached on "The Sourced of Man's Inner Life" which included the trichotomous nature of man. He is as far from Arminian as anyone on this earth.

    http://www.kaoc.org/Sermons%20By%20S...ner%20Life.htm

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    Re: Body, Soul and Spirit?

    See this discussion on the subject...

    http://www.predestinarian.net/showthread.php?t=1924
    This is my signature.

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    Re: Body, Soul and Spirit?

    If man is a unitary being with different functions, then in some contexts scripture might indicate two aspects of man's being and in other contexts three.

    For those of us who reject traducianism in favor of creationalism, there is an aspect of man's being that is created solely and directly by God without any human genetics involved. The animals, of course, receive their 'soul' strictly due to genetics.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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