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.