So far in this blog series (Part 1, Part 2), we have highlighted the importance of understanding — understanding the nature of our Creator, and our nature as human beings created in His image. We have discussed that God is a triune being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Likewise, today we dive into our own tripartite makeup as people.
The forms of a human are identified throughout the Great Book of Learning as the spirit, the soul (mind) and the body. We will now identify and define the operation and function of each.
The word most often used for spirit is pneuma. This is not the same word used when referring to the Spirit of our Creator, or as referred to most of the time the Holy Spirit. This refers to or designates the spirit of humans. It is described as the essence of a person, the core, the heart, the forever (eternal) part of the person, ever-living, never dying. The breath of man.
Our spirits are eternal and address all things from the vantage point of eternity. It is the real person, the real you. Out of our spirits flow the issues of our life. We are told to guard it and to protect it. We are told not to allow it to become mixed with our emotions. To keep it pure. It is the part of humans that experience new birth and new life. It is where the Holy Spirit God comes to live and empower humans. It is where the Kingdom of God resides. It is where the Creator God mixes and mingles with humans. It is where light is created and darkness is destroyed. It is where Jesus Christ told the woman at the well a person must worship God from or out of, and that God would not accept worship that did not come from our spirits. True worshippers worship God from/out of their spirits. He will not accept worship that comes from our minds or our bodies. Our spirit is the throne of God inside of humans. It is either alive in us through Christ Jesus, or it is dead because of our sins. We will never have the opportunity to choose or select anything in this world that is more important than our spirit and its well being.
Our spirit is our most important form. Our spirit must receive the most attention and our greatest effort. Our spirit must be more developed than the other forms of our being. Our spirit is to be the strongest, most powerful, dominating form of our being. Our spirit is to direct and instruct our souls (minds) and body. We are to guard and protect our spirit at all times, at all costs.
The word used for soul (mind) is psuche. The literal translation is the mind. Psychology is a derivative of this root word and is correctly labeled the study of the mind. The mind is important because it functions as the gatekeeper between spirit, mind and body. The mind chooses which will be listened to and obeyed. The mind is the location of our intellect or all the learning we obtain in our educational endeavors. The mind is the seat of our emotions – joy, happiness, fear, sadness, love, hatred, anger, bitterness, and many others. All of these together form our personalities.
We are told that the mind is tricky and can be deceitful. We are told we must change our minds even after the rebirth of our spirits, because it is not changed completely as are our spirits. We are told to allow our minds to be a reflection of our Creator, and He will change the way we think. We are told the result will be that we will clearly know and understand what we are to do in all situations. Our Creator will not receive or communicate with our minds. He speaks to us only through our spirits, and will only receive worship from us that is from our spirits, and not from our minds.
The word used for the human body is soma. It is often described as tabernacle, house, or dwelling place. Our bodies are where our spirits live on the earth. That is important because our Creator has chosen on earth to express Himself through spirits with a body. It is clear our bodies are temporary and will die. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. This is described as being mortal. While we are on earth our bodies are the home of our spirits. When our spirit leaves our bodies, our bodies die. The purpose of the human body is to house our spirits and our minds. It is to allow the Spirit of our Creator to be expressed through our spirits in tangible, visible form. We are told the Holy Spirit lives in our body and we should provide our bodies as a servant or sacrifice for that habitation and expression.
In next week’s blog, we will conclude this series by looking at the impact this understanding of ourselves and our God can have in our lives.