Skip to comments.The Third Element
Posted on 12/23/2012 6:27:37 AM PST by GiovannaNicoletta
The body is only one third of what God created in the Garden of Eden. God created the body out of the dust of the earth. The body is the first element of man. It is a physical shell.
Then God breathed into his nostrils, and man became a living soul. The soul is the second element of man. That's the part that makes you 'you'.
The Third Element is mentioned in Genesis 1:26 when God says,
"Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. . . "
What does God look like?
"No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him." (John 1:18)
"God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
"And He said, Thou canst not see My face: for there shall no man see Me, and live. . . And it shall come to pass, while My glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by: And I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen." (Exodus 33:20,22-23)
But we are in His likeness. His likeness is the third element -- the spirit. That is the component of man to which God was referring in the Garden when He said, "for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:17) On that day, Adam's spirit 'died'.
What does it mean to say an immortal, eternal spirit 'dies'? If it is eternal, how can it die? We use the phrase, 'a fate worse than death' as a modifier for something so horrible as to be humanly unimaginable.
Because truth be known, it is impossible for the human mind to conceive of a fate worse than death.
Death is unknown, so it is impossible to measure something known against it. That's why we use it to describe something unimaginably horrible. That is the sense in which spiritual death is understood. It is a fate worse than death. Death is an ending.
Spiritual death is eternal torment, eternal separation from God, eternal nothingness. . . you are written off as dead by God. You wrote Him off as dead in this life. You aren't separated from God at death -- you were never joined to Him in the first place.
You had your chance. You made your choice. You will never hear from Him again. There is no reprieve, no appeal. But you continue to exist. Eternally.
I've always loved Larkin's charts. Larkin was a man truly gifted with both a double measure of understanding and double measure of the gift of teaching.
Larkin beautifully illustrates the three parts of man.
The Threefold Nature of Man
The outer ring is the body. This is the physical part, the part that dies. But while we are here, the body serves as the sensory input to the soul. Larkin labels the senses as the "Eyegate" "Eargate" "Nosegate" etc because those are the gateways to the soul -- for both good and evil.
Because that is our only sensory input, that is all we have to work with.
In Larkin's center ring is our soul, wherein dwells the natural man. The soul consists of the mind, will and emotions. It is the 'ghost' in the machine.
It is the part of you that makes all the other parts yours. It is uniquely yours. It is God-breathed. It will continue to exist after your body dies, whether you are saved or not.
Now, look at the inner circle. This is the Third Element. This is your spirit. Notice that Larkin's drawing is of a new creature -- indwelling Larkin's spirit-man is the Holy Spirit of God.
Let me summarize this all before going on. I want you to really see this.
The body is in the outer ring and it is the sensory gate that feeds the soul. The spirit is in the center and it is the sensory gate through which the Holy Spirit communicates with us.
"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:" (Romans 8:16)
When we die, the soul and spirit separate from the body and the body's sensory input. The Bible tells us that our soul doesn't sleep, but remains conscious; Paul tells us that;
"Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (for we walk by faith and not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." (2nd Corinthians 5:6-8)
I want you to see all that this teaches. The first is the most obvious since it is most often-quoted; 'absent from the body, present with the Lord' but see the Bigger Picture as well. When in the body, we are absent from the Lord. Our sensory inputs are limited to the five gates of the carnal body.
Most of us are spiritually blind. We hear the phrase often enough. Think of what it means. It refers to the sensory input we get from the center of our being, from the center of Larkin's inner circle, where our spirit is.
At the center of the natural man's the spirit is dark. It is totally blind to the things of God. The natural man can be spiritual; the world is filled with spiritual people who are in communication with the spirit world. But they are not in communication with the Spirit of God.
"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." (1st Corinthians 2:14)
The natural man can thrash about trying make a spiritual connection, but he is just thrashing about blindly hoping to latch on to any spiritual passersby.
Understand the function of your spirit. It is your sensory input to the things of the spirit. The quickened, or regenerated spirit is in contact and communion with the Spirit of God. Absent the body, the spirit becomes the eyes and ears of the soul.
When we die, the body's sensory gates close, but the spirit's sensory gates swing wide-open. We (that is, the soul, the part that makes you 'you') remain aware of what is going on. (Absent from the body, etc. . .)
So when you die, the spirit functions much as the body did, as the primary sensory gateway into the soul.
Look at Larkin's chart again. First, your middle ring was being fed from the outer ring. Now it is being supplied with sensory input from the inner, spiritual ring where the Holy Spirit sits.
Or not. If the spirit is dark, then the soul has no source of sensory input. The spiritual, but lost person who was thrashing about blindly in this life? We'll come back to him momentarily.
We are half blind in this world. Our souls only know what they can learn from the sensory input of our carnal, physical bodies. Our spirits are capable of just enough faith to invite the Holy Spirit in, which then quickens us and opens up our spiritual 'eyes'.
When we get our resurrection bodies, we will receive sensory input from both sides. Both the physical and the spiritual. The reason that at the Rapture, the dead in Christ rise first, is that they've been waiting half-blind for theirs.
Right now, Paul says, "we see through a glass darkly. . but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1st Corinthians 13:12)
Imagine at the Rapture, when we who are alive and remain suddenly start getting unrestricted sensory input from both our resurrection bodies and our eyes-wide open quickened spirits! It is a spectacular thought.
Back to the less-spectacular thought of the soul who dies without the quickening of the Spirit. His soul has lost its physical sensory input. His spirit is dark, dead, and incapable of getting any spiritual input. But at the Great White Throne, that soul will also receive a resurrection body.
Remember the function of the body and spirit. They are the gateways to the soul.
That lost soul will have his physical sensory input restored to him just before being cast alive into the Lake of Fire. There, he will be deprived of spiritual comfort, since his spirit is dead, but his resurrection body will be eternally alive.
And his soul, the part that makes him who he is, will spend eternity thinking about how he blew his chance to escape his fate while his spirit aches to see the God he rejected.
The body is not what its cracked up to be. It's really only a temporary life support system and communications center that connects the soul to this physical world. The part that makes you 'you' is the part that makes the body work.
The body isn't life to the soul. The soul is life to the body.
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope." (1st Thessalonians 4:13)
"I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well" (Psalms 139:14)
bump for later
Clive Staple Lewis responding to a student’s inquiry relative to the body-soul dichotomy: “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body”
Thank you for the post - may the Ruakh ha Kodesh bless you and yours this Christmas season!
Doing a quick review of the material on the net I was able to find both Catholic and Protestant discussions finding material for their respective ecclesiastical structures in the exact same statements by St. Paul.
This seems to be a very ancient sort of analysis ~ to find out what God created in man.
Thank you. May God bless and keep you and yours.
I’m sorry, but to me it isn’t nearly that complicated.
In Genesis Chapter 5 we learn all we need to about Who and What God is and Who and what man is to Him:
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image;
We are like God just as Seth is like Adam. I don’t know how it could be more clear.
The "likeness" is the spiritual aspect. None of us have seen God and none of us know what He looks like so none of us can say that we are the physical "likeness" of God. However, we do know that God is a spirit and we were created with a spirit.
Our "likeness" to God is our spiritual aspect, not the physical aspect.
There is a flaw in your logic.
1) We are from Seth/Cain (actually Noah). Therefore we are like Adam-not God.
2) Adam sinned. God does not. Therefore Adam is not like God.
3) Since we are from Adam, and Adam is not like God, we are not like God.
Our “likeness” to God is our spiritual aspect, not the physical aspect. . . .
I realize that is what everybody says, but, the scripture in Genesis makes no such differentiation.
I think that God sets up in the very first scriptures He give us of just what He is and what we are.
My personal feeling is that Since Christ says if you have seen Him then you have seen the Father and that we will all be one with Him and in Him like He is one with the Father. This has to mean that at some point we will be like the Father. Since the angels that stood by while Jesus ascended into heaven told us not to marvel because Jesus would come back in just the same way He left. Not as a Spirit, He made that perfectly clear several times, but as flesh. Christ is Flesh and we will be resurrected in the flesh as Job says and join Christ and be like Him.
There is so much of plain facts that are ignored in the Bible. If we ignore facts then we can make whatever we want be true. I know it is easy to say that seminarians who have studied this are a lot smarter than me and understand what the Bible writers “really” meant and how I don’t understand the “real” meaning.
I personally believe in the God of Abraham who had a Son who meant as much to Him as Issac did to Abraham and that that same God allowed this favorite Son to be sacrificed to pay for my sins because He loves me and my kind too.
We are the offspring of a heavenly being. God is our Father. We will be like our Father when we grow up.
I Corinthians 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
They sinned, and obviously did not die physically. The death was spiritual.
And, as we know from Scripture
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin (Romans 5:12)
So, Adam and Eve did not die physically but, as God said they would, they did die and, through them death entered the world. Their sin necessitated the death of animals in order to cover them. I don't see anything in Genesis that indicates that the deaths of the animals was anything but a necessary act of God to provide clothes for Adam and Eve.
The 1 Corinthians Scripture actually confirms what the article says.
it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 So also it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.
The physical part was created first, then God breathed the spirit into man. Since God ordained that sin would bring death, Adam sinned, remained alive physically, died spiritually, that condition was passed down to every human who would ever live, and it would take the death of Jesus Christ to eliminate spiritual death.
The article is correct. We don't know if we are the physical likeness of God because we have never seen Him. However, we do know that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, we can be one with Him spiritually. Christ's death was for our spiritual reconciliation, since physical bodies will eventually die and our spiritual part will be what remains.
Physical death is the separation of the soul from the body. Spiritual death, which is of greater significance, is the separation of the soul from God. In Genesis 2:17, God tells Adam that in the day he eats of the forbidden fruit he will surely die. Adam does fall, but his physical death does not occur immediately; God had another type of death in mindspiritual death. This separation from God is exactly what we see in Genesis 3:8. When Adam and Eve heard the voice of the Lord, they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God. The fellowship had been broken. They were spiritually dead.
A man without Christ is spiritually dead. Paul describes it as being alienated from the life of God in Ephesians 4:18. (To be separated from life is the same as being dead.) The natural man, like Adam hiding in the garden, is isolated from God. When we are born again, the spiritual death is reversed. Before salvation, we are dead (spiritually), but Jesus gives us life. And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, (Ephesians 2:1). When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins (Colossians 2:13).
The book of Revelation speaks of a second death, which is a final (and eternal) separation from God. Only those who have never experienced new life in Christ will partake of the second death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8).
So, yes there are two deaths for those who remain in their natural, unredeemed state at physical death.
See post 17.
Actually, they did die physically, just not right then. There's no telling how much time passed from the creation until Adam/Eve ate the fruit. But at that instant, they transformed from immortal to mortal.
The original sin of Adam/Eve was independence from God. With Christ, we can come back into a perfectly aligned state of total right-standing with God again.
The most consistent anthropology of man is the trichotomous man in his body, soul, and spirit.
Death is not a void of existence, but rather a state of existence involving separation. The void of existence is a consequence of existential philosophy, which presupposes a false set of circumstances.
The mind is part of he soul. Soulish perception includes reason and logic.
Physical perception includes our bodily senses.
Spiritual perception extends beyond the physical and rational perception and is only provided in truth through faith in Christ, not by our merit, but by His grace in regeneration of the human spirit.
Our likeness to God is in all three aspects, otherwise there would be no need for the resurrection body. Our soul is also being sanctified through faith in Christ by His work through our human spirit.
Good analysis. IMHO.
Another situation in the Garden documenting our anthropology is manifest by what occurred immediately after man sinned.
1) They hid from God. Adam and Eve recognized they had sinned. This manifests a thinking process in the mind, as part of the soul. Their souls didn’t cease to exist, rather they were separated from the true human spirit. Their perspective of God’s Perfect Holiness was no longer from a perspective of Perfect Righteousness, but from an anticipation of Perfect Justice.
2) They were then driven from the Garden and forced to till the soil to grow their food. This manifests they still had their physical bodies.
3) Just as one man, Adam had died spiritually, so all mankind was dead spiritually. This manifests that there is nothing we can do independent of God to obtain salvation from eternal damnation. Even though Christ died on the Cross for the judgment of all sin for us to have the opportunity of forgiveness, forgiveness doesn’t occur until we exercise faith in what He has provided, confessing those sins to God the Father through faith in the work of the Son on the Cross.
Best post in a long time.
A neighbor who worked there knew he was close to the crash site so he ran toward it grabbing a flash light on his way.
He opened a classroom door and shining his light through the smoke told the students to follow him, and they did.
He ran to the fire. He saved many lives. They followed on faith that their rescuer knew what he was doing.
That's pretty much it.
Can you give me the part in Genesis where God says that the animals He killed were for a sacrifice for Adam's sin and not for covering?
Sin brings spiritual death and that is what happened to Adam and Eve.
Excellent post! Thank you!
Merry Christmas, Cvengr!
When God told Adam:
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:17)
Did Adam die immediately after he ate the fruit? And if not, did God lie to Adam when He told him that if he ate the fruit he would die?
Spiritual death is our natural state prior to accepting Christ as our savior (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). It is a lack of spiritual life, an absence of proper spiritual functioning. God is the eternally existent One, the great "I AM" (Exodus 3:14); He is life. So, really, spiritual death is separation from God, who is life.
Spiritual death became a reality for humanity after the Fall of Adam and Eve. God instructed Adam to refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, warning that eating the fruit would result in death (Genesis 2:16-17). After Eve and Adam ate the fruit, however, they did not immediately experience physical death. Rather, their relationship with God was severed. They became aware of their nakedness, created clothes of leaves, and hid themselves from God in shame (Genesis 3:6-9). They were no longer functioning spiritually, but were spiritually dead. Romans 5:12 explains, "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned." The sin of Adam and Eve tainted all of humanity. We all have a sinful nature now. We are born separated from God (see Psalm 51:5).
So we know that at the point that Adam sinned, he became spiritually dead and suffered the result of spiritual death which is separation from God. Sometimes we have to put our own opinions aside and just accept what God has told us. Since Adam was told that he would die if he ate the fruit, and after he ate the fruit he did not die physically, and we are told that he and Eve hid from God and were separated from God, we know that he and Eve suffered spiritual death as a result of their rebellion against God.
We are also told what the second death is and it is completely different from spiritual death.
The second death is mentioned on multiple occasions in the book of Revelation and is synonymous with the lake of fire. It is a death in that it is a separation from God, the Giver of life. It is called the second one because it follows physical death.
Revelation 21:8 explains the second death in the most detail: The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
Three other places in Revelation also mention the second death. The first is Revelation 2:11: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death. In this verse, Jesus promises that believers (overcomers; see 1 John 5:4) will not experience the lake of fire. The second death is exclusively for those who have rejected Christ. It is not a place believers in Christ should fear.
Revelation 20:6 speaks of the second death in relation to a future period called the Millennium: Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years. This verse notes three important facts. First, those who die for their faith in Jesus during the Tribulation will later be resurrected to enter the Millennium and live with Him. Second, these martyrs will escape the lake of fire or second death. Third, they will reign with Christ.
The second death is also mentioned in Revelation 20:14-15: Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. At the end of time, even death and the grave (Hades) will be thrown into the lake of fire. In addition, every person not included in the book of life will be thrown into the lake of fire. This condition will be final; the destination is permanent.
In summary, the second death is a reference to the lake of fire where those who are separated from God by their sin will dwell for eternity. This judgment was recorded in Scripture as a warning to unbelievers to seek the salvation that Jesus Christ provides. The coming judgment should also challenge believers to share their faith. There is a vast difference between the final destination of those who know Christ and those who do not.
So as we see from Scripture, spiritual death is not the same thing as the second death, and since we are born into this world spiritually dead, spiritual death can indeed precede physical death.
As for Old Testament saints, The requirement for salvation has always been faith. The object of one's faith for salvation has always been God. The psalmist wrote, Blessed are all who take refuge in him (Psalm 2:12). Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham believed God and that was enough for God to credit it to him for righteousness (see also Romans 4:3-8). The Old Testament sacrificial system did not take away sin, as Hebrews 10:1-10 clearly teaches. It did, however, point to the day when the Son of God would shed His blood for the sinful human race.
What has changed through the ages is the content of a believer's faith. God's requirement of what must be believed is based on the amount of revelation He has given mankind up to that time. This is called progressive revelation. Adam believed the promise God gave in Genesis 3:15 that the Seed of the woman would conquer Satan. Adam believed Him, and the Lord indicated His acceptance immediately by covering them with coats of skin (v. 21). At that point that is all Adam knew, but he believed it.
Abraham believed God according to the promises and new revelation God gave him in Genesis 12 and 15. Prior to Moses, no Scripture was written, but mankind was responsible for what God had revealed. Throughout the Old Testament, believers came to salvation because they believed that God would someday take care of their sin problem.
John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Are people born into the world already saved?
Interesting question. Some years back I began to look at the numerical structure of scripture. The patterns we see in scripture are amazing, and can be used as tools for interpreting many passages.
I was taught that Adam died spiritually when he ate the fruit in the garden, but I noticed that I Corinthians 15:46 says the order should be first natural then spiritual. This to me did not fit.
I knew I was going against the grain but I decided to pursue the subject anyway. I basically said that there are just two deaths and physical death was first. Like a Proof by Induction, I figured that some contradiction would come along and I would drop the whole issue. All the objections I have come across, change the order or the number as if they are not important.
Sometimes there are just two categories such as natural and spiritual. What happens if one tries to add a third category? Will we recognize it? Can we use the structure of scripture to strengthen out position? Suppose someone came along and tried to say that we need a third testament like the Book of Mormon or the Koran. We know that the Old Testament gives us the natural man and the New Testament gives us the spiritual man. How can they justify a third category? The consistent use of the number 2 in scripture comes into play here.
I will say that I have not come to a conclusion on this subject. If you keep it in the back of your mind and consider it here and there, you will find some interesting things especially when considering the two resurrections.
To answer your question, I dont believe that people are saved when they are born. Salvation is associated with the second birth, which cannot come until after the first birth. However, Revelation 17:8 makes me suspect that the book of life has already been written.
Thank you for the discussion, I looked up every verse you gave me. Definitely good reading material.
What about our Resurrection.
The reality is that it is our spiritual bodies that we will say good-bye to after our spirit and body are re-united never to be seperated again. Adam brought death into the world, Christ releases us from that death. When we die our spirits continue to live. When we are Resurrected our spirits and bodies reunite.
Christ made it very clear that he was NOT a spirit. He made the Apostles handle him to prove the point. The New Testament tells us that right after Christs resurrection that many of those who where Christians and followed Christ but had died before Christ was on the cross, had their graves opened and that they were resurrected, people saw them walking around town and spoke with them. After Christs Resurrection he stayed and taught the Apostles for 40 days, ate, walked and did all that people do and then rose into heaven, He rose in his physical body and the two angels that stood there as he ascended told us He would return in the same way he left.
It is true that we will be spirits for a time. It is also true that as Job says, we will see The Lord with our own eyes even after the worms have eaten us up. Even then not a hair of our head will be lost.
That used to be a difficult concept to believe. Now with an understanding of DNA it is easy to see how a body could be replicated from a blueprint of DNA.
I will see Christ with my physical eyes but hope to be near Him with my spiritual self while awaiting the Resurrection.
Perhaps while awaiting the Resurrection I will have a chance to learn much and learn to be more like Christ.