Salvation 2.0: Part 2.4: Spirit and soul

grace5

Let’s talk “spirit” and “soul” first.

Now “spirit” can refer to the Holy Spirit, an attitude (“a spirit of anger”), and in either Greek or Hebrew, the wind and the breath.

It’s easy to see how both languages might use the same word for wind and breath. In fact, in English, we do the same thing when we say, “I’m winded” or “I got my second wind.” “Wind” means breath in that context.

But in the Bible, when used of a human, “spirit” means something like “spark of life” in Hebrew and biblical Greek. To die is to “give up the spirit,” not meaning that our soul floats up heaven, but life leaves the body.

For example,

(Gen 2:7 ESV) then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath [spirit = nephach] of life, and the man became a living creature [soul = nephesh].

Regarding the meaning of “spirit” —

From the standpoint of theology, the Bible is slow to isolate the spirit aspect of man’s makeup. In Genesis spirit occurs only twice with reference to humans: the pharaoh’s spirit was troubled after his dreams (Gn 41:8) and Jacob’s spirit revived when he saw the carts Joseph sent from Egypt (45:27). Exodus adds little, speaking only of the Israelites’ anguish of spirit (6:9), of a spirit of wisdom imparted by God for designing the priests’ garments (28:3), and of persons with a willing spirit supplying gold for the tabernacle (35:21). 

… But it is in the poetic books, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, that we begin to get the more metaphysical and psychological uses of spirit. Here life, personhood, and immortality come into focus.

A clear case of the parallel (synonymous) use of soul and spirit (as in Jb 7:11; Is 26:9, etc.) is in Mary’s Magnificat. She says, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Lk 1:46, 47, NKJV). Rather than divide the two as “parts,” some have suggested man has a spirit, he is a soul. (First Jn 4:1, however, unless referring to external influences, seems to employ spirit as synonymous with person.) Usually spirit indicates the vitalizing, energizing, empowering agent. In John 3:5–8; Romans 8:3–16, Galatians 4:21–5:26, etc., the flesh versus spirit distinction is between man’s will and power, doing what he chooses apart from God, as against the life, will, and power given by God’s Spirit, enabling us to do his will. Similarly, in 2 Kings 2:9–15, the spirit of Elijah is said to rest upon Elisha.

Loss of the spirit spells death (Lk 23:46; Jas 2:26), while eternal spiritual life is generated through Christ’s spirit-word (Jn 6:63). 

Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Spirit,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1988, 1991–1992.

Just so, “soul” can refer to a person (five souls died yesterday) or a person’s inner nature (I love you from the depths of my soul).

The Greek philosopher Plato (4th century B.C.) perceived the soul as the eternal element in man: whereas the body perishes at death, the soul is indestructible. At death the soul enters another body; if it has been wicked in this life, it may be sent into an inferior human being, or even an animal or bird. By means of transmigration from one body to another, the soul is eventually purged of evil. In the early centuries of the Christian era, Gnosticism also taught that the body was the prison house of the soul. Redemption comes to those initiated into the Gnostic secrets, leading to the release of the soul from the body.

Biblical thought about the soul is different. In the OT the soul signifies that which is vital to man in the broadest sense. The Hebrew and Greek words for soul often can be translated as “life”; occasionally they can be used for the life of creatures (Gen 1:20; Lv 11:10). “Soul for soul” means “life for life” (Ex 21:23). Blood is said to be the seat of life, for when blood is shed death ensues (Gn 9:4–6; Lv 17:11, 14; Dt 12:23). In legal writings a soul means the person concerned in a particular law (e.g., Lv 4:2; 5:1, 2, 4, 15). When people were counted, they were counted as souls, that is, persons (Ex 1:5; Dt 10:22).

In a narrower sense the soul denotes man in his varied emotions and inner powers. Man is called to love God with all his heart and soul (Dt 13:3). Within the soul lies the desire for food (12:20, 21), the lust of the flesh (Jer 2:24), and the thirst for murder and revenge (Ps 27:12). The soul is said to weep (Jb 30:16; Ps 119:28), and to be exercised in patience (Jb 6:11). Knowledge and understanding (Ps 139:14), thought (1 Sm 20:3), love (1 Sm 18:1), and memory (Lam 3:20) all originate in the soul. Here the soul comes close to what today would be called the self, one’s person, personality, or ego.

There is no suggestion in the OT of the transmigration of the soul as an immaterial, immortal entity. Man is a unity of body and soul—terms which describe not so much two separate entities in man as the one man from different standpoints. Hence, in the description of man’s creation in Genesis 2:7, the phrase “a living soul” (KJV) is better translated as “a living being.” The thought is not that man became a “soul,” for clearly he had a body. The use of the word in the original draws attention to the vital aspect of man as “a living being.” The Hebrew view of the unity of man may help to explain why man in the OT had only a shadowy view of life after death, for it would be difficult to conceive how man could exist without a body (Pss 16:10; 49:15; 88:3–12). Where hope of an after-life exists, it is not because of the intrinsic character of the soul itself (as in Plato). It is grounded in confidence in the God who has power over death and the belief that communion with him cannot be broken even by death (Ex 3:6; 32:39; 1 Sm 2:6; Jb 19:25, 26; Pss 16:10, 11; 73:24, 25; Is 25:8; 26:19; Dn 12:2; Hos 6:1–3; 13:14).

In the NT the word for soul (psychē) has a range of meanings similar to that of the OT. Often it is synonymous with life itself. Followers of Jesus are said to have risked their lives for his sake (Acts 15:26; cf. Jn 13:37; Rom 16:4; Phil 2:30). As the Son of Man, Jesus came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45). As the Good Shepherd, he lays down his life for the sheep (Jn 10:14, 17, 18). In Luke 14:26 the condition of discipleship is to hate one’s soul, that is, to be willing to deny oneself to the point of losing one’s life for Christ’s sake (cf. Lk 9:23; Rv 12:11). In Luke 12:19 the rich man addresses his soul, that is, himself. But the soul can indicate the essential self of a man with its desire for life and well-being.

Frequently “soul” can mean “person” (Acts 2:43; 3:23; 7:14; 27:22; Rom 2:9; 13:1; 1 Pt 3:20). The expression “every living soul” (Rv 16:3 KJV; cf. 8:9) reflects the vital aspect of living beings (cf. Gn 2:7). In his teaching on the resurrection Paul contrasts the merely physical aspect of the soul with the resurrection body. “Thus it is written, ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam [Christ] became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). In the following verses Paul goes on to contrast the resurrection body with the natural body. It is clear that Paul is talking neither about the immortality of the soul nor of the resuscitation of corpses to the state in which they were at death. The resurrection body will be a new kind of body. “Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven” (v 49).

As in the OT the soul can denote not only the vital aspect of the person on the physical level, but it can also connote one’s emotional energies. It denotes man himself, the seat of his emotions, man in his inmost being. Jesus could speak of his soul being crushed (Mt 26:38; Mk 14:34; cf. Ps 42:6). In Matthew 11:29 Jesus promises rest to the souls of those who come to him. Here as elsewhere “soul” denotes the essential person (cf. Lk 2:35; 2 Cor 1:23; 2 Thes 2:8; 3 Jn 2).

Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Soul,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1988, 1987–1988.

So a fertilized ovum doesn’t become a human when it receives a soul — ensoulment, as some say. It’s a soul when it becomes human. God doesn’t give souls to babies, born or unborn. Humans are souls.

(I’m really not entirely sure what the implications of this truth are for the abortion debate. I just know that we’d do better to debate in scriptural terms rather than pagan Platonic terms.)

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About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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23 Responses to Salvation 2.0: Part 2.4: Spirit and soul

  1. laymond says:

    Jhn 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth

    Luk 24:36 And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
    Luk 24:37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
    Luk 24:38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
    Luk 24:39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.

    (yes there is a difference in this life and the one to come)
    Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
    NIV
    But it is the spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty, that gives them understanding.

    ( it also gives life and being) I can’t see a fetus as a living creation of God until they recieve “the breath of the almighty ” until then they are a creation of man and woman a work in progress. Even the first human remained dead until the breath of the Allmighty was breathed into him.
    I belive the bible sees a fetus as a work in progress and a posession
    of the parents. (the ways of God are not the ways of man)

    Yes just like Adam, we are given the spirit of life, when we draw our first breath of God’s air.
    And we relinquish that life when we draw our last breath, is the dead body still human, or the remains of a human?

  2. gt says:

    And so the discussion now turns to abortion. Here we go.

  3. JES says:

    Laymond, are you saying that Luke, a physician, didn’t know what he was saying in Luke 1:44? Because if you are correct, a “mass” of “dead human cells”, without life, a mere growth, leap for joy in Elizabeth’s womb that day!!!

  4. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    The idea that life begins with our first breath is not without scriptural support. If so, then we die when we give up the spirit/breath. But, of course, the saved will be resurrected and not really die. For that matter, the damned won’t die just yet. They still have to suffer just punishment.

    Therefore, life extends beyond giving up the spirit/breath — which means it might also begin sooner. It’s hardly an automatic conclusion.

    For that matter, even if I’m dead (as the world counts dead), it would be a crime to mutilate my body or otherwise treat a corpse with disrespect – even though I plan on being in a better place in a much improved body. So the treatment of a breathless body remains an issue of concern. Indeed, God’s decision to fully embody persons means that the body matters and has God-given value — which I would take to be true pre-birth as well.

    That is, I think it’s a category error to assume that either a human body is alive and fully valued or not and so utterly without value. I think the doctrine of the resurrection speaks to the value of the body as body in God’s eyes — which is a factor that matters in the abortion debates.

    While I don’t buy that there’s some secret moment when God gives a soul to a born or unborn infant, I do think that there is no argument that the unborn have no value in God’s eyes. In fact, the doctrine of resurrected bodies would seem to argue that God cares about bodies in the same way that we’ve traditionally thought of God caring about “souls.”

  5. Richard constant says:

    Ok J it wait a minute wait a minute.
    Before what you call the ball the fall.
    What was God’s intent for the creation.
    To me the only answer that you can have.That
    Was it was going to be eternal.
    if I’m not mistaken that’s where death comes into the picture, and the curses on creation or on the world. I would say on creation also.
    I would also say by way of that paper that I sent you.
    The god is not afraid of choice he works inside of choice.
    if God understands all probabilities which that paper says that he does.
    So just in case we have Christ before the foundation of the world.
    forgot understood that it was a possibility.
    Of rebellion happening.
    Because of free will.
    Of the cosmic creatures also, also of humans.
    that’s exactly why you don’t play Texas Holdem with a very good God.
    if were the cat in the box then he becomes the observer.
    he is God and manipulates and exercises his purpose.
    To restore his good work.
    In a righteous just no respecting of anyone’s person through righteous faith.
    Through exercising and expressing himself through the prophets.
    To bring about this restoration that he was resting in with mankind in the garden.
    I don’t think God made this creation to fail I think that shows that in his very being being good.
    so my question becomes again.
    as a compared to what what does God and when does God consider death and Hades
    to be non existent.
    . I still think you’re dealing with a flat Lander theology here.
    the only thing that’s eternal is God.
    And his promise.
    I think that is Romans 4:13.
    Where Paul states that Abraham will be heir of the cosmos.

  6. Richard constant says:

    Also is a PS that’s where I would say Romans 4:13 is where Paul ties it all together in Rome and state chapter in the creation moaning waiting for the redemption of all things.
    Paraphrased

  7. Richard constant says:

    That would be Romans the eighth chapter

  8. Richard constant says:

    Quite honestly if we go back and we look and read with the idea of a cosmic restoration.
    We see it all throughout Scripture and you know that to be true.
    when he says to the unfaithful and disobedient that they will never enter into his rest.
    In Deuteronomy what do those words actually mean when looking from this perspective.
    ????

  9. Richard constant says:

    And looking at the Big Bang of the cosmos start,
    It is only a preceived chaotic bang.
    When the number state the numbers of probability state the dish was a fine tuned explosion to bring about this creation so that we might live in God’s rest.
    I do not perceive the creation being chaos.
    Through the things that are made Romans 1 we see God expressed and his power and his truth.
    I do perceive chaos after the fall through the curses and death!
    and learning good from evil and having the choice to do either one!
    ok that’s all I’m going to say today hopefully you’ve got an answer or two somewhere in your bag of tricks J

  10. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Richard,

    Hebrews 3:11 quotes Psalm 95:11 —

    (Psa 95:11 ESV) Therefore I swore in my wrath,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

    The reference in Psalms seems to be the Promised Land, but Hebrews applies it to the afterlife and to God resting on the seventh day of Creation. Interesting …

    (Heb 4:1 ESV) Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

    This actually fits with what I’m saying very well. In the OT, the “inheritance” is Canaan/Palestine/Israel. But the Prophets and the NT expand the inheritance to be the entire earth: “The meek shall inherit the earth.”

    But Hebrews connects this rest with God’s rest —

    (Heb 4:3–6 ESV) 3 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,
    “They shall not enter my rest.”

    6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience,

    Well, that surely means that God’s rest will ultimately be the same as our rest — a renewed earth.

  11. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Richard,

    The key text you reference is —

    (Rom 4:13 ESV) For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world [kosmos] did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

    This is a great example of the promise of Canaan being expanded by God to include the entire world. “Heir of the cosmos” fits well with the interpretation I’m suggesting, whereas it’s senseless if the cosmos is going to be destroyed. But if the cosmos will be purified and redeemed, then Paul’s statement makes perfect sense.

  12. Richard constant says:

    Thanks J now how about the rest of those little questions.
    😉
    in those ones from yesterday too.
    I know it’s a lot J.
    But I also know this ain’t your first rodeo boy.
    😉
    continued big blessings bro

  13. Richard constant says:

    JaY now read Romans chapter 8: 18 through 25.
    when you understand those two principles Romans chapter 4 verse 13 as being cosmo’s
    God’s rest being restored from Genesis.
    Keeping Contex chapter 4-8. which looks in hope to revelation, I think its 20 and 21 I’m not good with that book
    it leads to some interesting conclusions about before the fall. as in how we see Theologically define death/ and Life as compared to eternal life. that has been actualized now through faithfulness

  14. Richard constant says:

    which also brings up another discussion about “imputed righteousness”
    which I can understand fully which I can understand Fully.
    Prior to the atonement of the Messiah

  15. laymond says:

    “In fact, the doctrine of resurrected bodies would seem to argue that God cares about bodies in the same way that we’ve traditionally thought of God caring about “souls.” ”

    Jay is that what Jesus, or Moses said ?
    Mar 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
    Mar 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
    Mar 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

    Num 6:6 All the days that he separateth himself unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body.
    Num 6:7 He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head.

    Num 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
    Num 19:12 He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
    Num 19:13 Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.

  16. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    I’m not following you.

    Moses (on behalf of God) declared Jews unclean if they touched a dead body. But that didn’t mean they had no respect for the body of the dead. In fact, they took great pains in their burial customs to treat the body with great respect.

    The mortician and the women in the family who cared for the body had to go through ritual cleansing afterwards (and likely avoided spreading many diseases by washing after touching a dead body).

    Notice that Jesus’ sayings about plucking out eyes or cutting off hands assume that we’ll have hands and eyes in the afterlife. I’m sure that those blind in this life will not be blind in the next — and so Jesus was being transparently hyperbolic. But he’s not embarrassed to speak of our having bodies in the afterlife.

  17. laymond says:

    “Moses (on behalf of God) declared Jews unclean if they touched a dead body. But that didn’t mean they had no respect for the body of the dead.”

    Jay in reality the bible shows very little, if any respect for the ” living ” natural body. much less the dead.

    Jesus called it weak, and a hendrance to the work of the spirit.
    Paul called it a body of sin. that was buried in weakness, dishoner,and corruption.

    Mat 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

    Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

    1Co 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
    1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
    1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

    I believe Jesus said once “let the dead bury the dead,follow me.

    I know that Jesus has something to compare this body to, like comparing a model T to a Rolls Royce , only one gets you where you are going , in style. as a matter of fact the Model T won’t be let onto the palace grounds.

  18. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    First, we have to be careful of our definitions. In Paul, “flesh” normally (sarx) does not mean body. It means the part of a human inclined toward sin — the broken, weak part.

    When Paul says that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50), he means, not that humanness cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but that human fallenness cannot; as the next clause shows, “neither doth corruption inherit incorruption” (KJV). The weak, fallen, corruptible body cannot inherit the kingdom of God; there must be a change; the “corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor 15:52 KJV). This is not the salvation of the soul or spirit, but the exchange of one kind of body for another that is suited to the final glorious kingdom of God. …

    Flesh as Fallen Sinfulness. There remains a group of ethical references that are distinctly Pauline. The most important feature of this usage is that man is seen not only as fallen and weak before God, but as fallen and sinful. Flesh is contrasted with Spirit—the Holy Spirit, not man’s spirit, and without the aid of the Spirit one cannot please God. The most vivid passage is the first part of Romans 8, where Paul sharply contrasts those who are “in the flesh” with those who are “in the Spirit.” To be “in the Spirit” in this sense does not mean to be in a state of ecstasy, but to be living one’s life in that spiritual realm which is controlled by the Spirit of God. Those who are “in the flesh,” that is, unregenerate, cannot please God: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (vv 7, 8 KJV). The translation “carnal mind” is unfortunate, for “carnal” in our idiom means to be surrendered to bodily appetites, especially to the sexual. The Greek is “the mind of the flesh.” Then Paul says, “But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you” (v 9). There are two contrasting and mutually exclusive realms: “in the flesh” and “in the Spirit.” To be “in the Spirit” means to be indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit, that is, to be a regenerate person.
    Those who are unregenerate cannot fulfill the Law of God and thereby please him. The highest demand of the Law was to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” and then “to love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mt 22:37–39 KJV). Paul claims that he had blamelessly kept the formal demands of the Law as a Jew (Phil 3:6) and was therefore blameless so far as legal righteousness was concerned. But the one thing formal commandments could not do was to give him a new heart so that he would love God. Indeed, the flesh boasted in the conformity to the legal demands of the Law and was uplifted in pride. Romans 8:8 means that the unregenerate heart cannot please God by loving and serving him as God requires. Thus the Law was unable to make mankind truly righteous, because the flesh is weak (Rom 8:2). To live after the flesh is death; to live after the Spirit is life (v 6). Elsewhere Paul says, “For I know that in me [i.e., in my flesh] dwelleth no good thing” (v 18 KJV). Flesh here cannot be the physical flesh, for the body of flesh is the temple of the Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and a member of Christ (v 15) and is to be the means of glorifying God (v 20). Paul means that in his unregenerate nature, there dwells none of the goodness that God demands.

    While Paul makes a sharp and absolute contrast between being “in the flesh” (unregenerate) and “in the Spirit” (regenerate); when one becomes regenerate and comes to be “in the Spirit,” that person is no longer in the flesh, the flesh is still in him. In fact, there remains in the believer a struggle between the flesh and the Spirit. Writing to people who are “in the Spirit,” Paul says, “For the flesh lusteth [strives] against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal 5:17 KJV). Because the Christian life is the battleground of these two opposing principles, it is impossible to be the perfect person that one would wish to be.

    The same situation is reflected in 1 Corinthians 2:14–3:3 where Paul describes three classes of people: the “natural” (2:14), the “carnal” that is, fleshly man (3:1, 3), and the “spiritual man” (3:1). The “natural man” is unregenerate. Those who are “in the flesh” (Rom 8:9), have devoted the whole of their life to the human level and hence are unable to know the things of God. “Spiritual man” refers to those whose life is ruled by the Spirit of God so that the fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22, 23) are evident in their life. Between these two there is a third class—those who are “fleshly,” yet who are babes in Christ. Therefore they must be “in the Spirit,” yet they do not walk “according to the Spirit.” Because they are “babes in Christ,” the Spirit of God dwells in them, yet the Holy Spirit is not allowed to have full control over them, and they are still walking “like men” (3:3), manifesting the works of the flesh in jealousy and strife. Those who are “in the Spirit” and no longer “in the flesh” have yet to learn the lesson of walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh.

    Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, 1988, 794–795.

    Maybe the simplest way to see it is that (a) the body and the person are not two different things in the biblical perspective, and (b) our bodies/selves are fallen and broken but we are not completely fallen and broken. There is good in us and evil in us. God gives his children his Spirit to help defeat the fallen part of us (the flesh).

    (Rom 8:12–14 ESV) 12 So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh [the sinful part of our natures], to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    So the passages speaking of the “flesh” as sinful are not really disparaging the body as a whole, just the sinful part of our natures.

    Second, Jesus himself came to live as a human in a real body. Thus, the body is not innately evil. It can choose evil, but the body itself is good enough to contain God the Son

    Regarding Rom 6:6 —

    We may reject without hesitation the view that it means that the body is inherently sinful and that it is the source of sin. This is not a New Testament view, and Paul never gives it countenance. But Murray, Lloyd-Jones, and others argue strongly that Paul means that the body is dominated by sin. The body is sin’s body; it belongs to sin; sin has made it its own (cf. the following “slaves to sin”). Others think that “body” is here used in the fuller sense of the whole man and hold that Paul is saying that man as a totality is a sinner. There is truth in both views, but on the whole it seems that Paul is here referring to the physical body which so easily responds to sinful impulses. As a result of crucifixion with Christ this sinful body is rendered powerless, completely nullified. The sinner’s terrible situation is completely changed by the work of Christ.

    Leon Morris, The Epistle to the Romans (Pillar NTC; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), n.p.

    Now, regardless of the subtleties of the Greek, the point Paul and others make is that the body itself is to be redeemed, not merely left behind. This is certainly the meaning of the 1 Cor 15 passages you quote. The body is so very important to God that he gives us his Spirit to destroy its sinfulness and prepare it for the transformation into a resurrection body described in 1 Cor 15.

    And, yes, our resurrection bodies will be greatly improved compared to our present very imperfect bodies — like trading up from a Model T to a Rolls Royce. Except it’s more like refurbishing an old junker with fresh paint and new parts so that the old junker goes from the garbage pile to the show room — and is repaired so as to be new forever.

  19. laymond says:

    Jay, believe me when I tell you when you restore an inferior car, you still have an inferior car.
    We restored a 32 Ford we installed a high powered engine, (406 ci) the rest of the car was not built to handle the power, had to replace the steering, the brakes the springs, and on and on. When we took it to Hobbs race way, it looked great but it looked great loosing. I would prefer a new body prepared for the task at hand.
    This body has pretty much done what it was meant to do, get me through this world.

  20. laymond says:

    The body is made of what you eat, the soul is made of decisions you make.

  21. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    I believe that what you eat has nothing to do with the making of your body, what you eat is what sustains your body which God created. If then you make bad decisions is your soul’s value changed, I mean a soul that is made with bad decisions could be considered to be useless? But, a soul which was made with good decisions would be of great value? Jesus did not view soul’s with that attitude.
    Jesus’s expression about the soul would consider even a very imperfect one more valuable than all the possessions of this earth. The soul is the most valuable possession of any human, all souls are created (not made) and all are equal, no man can change the value of his soul, God established the value.
    A man can refuse to understand the value of his soul (consider himself as nothing or worthless) or can overrate his soul (believing his soul to be better than another another man’s) but no one can change the value God places upon a soul.

  22. laymond says:

    Larry, I didn’t make up his “saying” I have heard it before I heard someone say it on TV and got to thinking about it and happen to agree, and thought about Jay’s article. I sort off butchered the saying. It goes like this, “your body is defined by what you eat, your soul is defined by decisions you make.”

  23. Dwight says:

    Whether we understand the soul or spirit we must at least acknowledge that we have them and that we as a whole are important to God. The body is valuable in that the things we do with out body is a reflection of our spirit and soul, which is why I cor.6 ” Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
    While we live our bodies are flesh and spirit and we must live with that in mind, even while we strive for the spirit of God in our spirit.

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