Risen from the Dust
A commonly held belief among Christians is the existence of a human soul. That dwelling within us, and forming the core of our entity, is an immaterial and invisible spirit. This spirit or ghost enters our flesh in the womb, exits our flesh at death, and acts as the hub of our consciousness and thought process. It is the fundamental constituent and essence of who we are, making us ourselves, and not someone else.
As widespread as the belief in human souls is among both Christians and non-Christians, it has not gone unchallenged on scriptural grounds. In fact, some of the truly misinformed argue that the idea of a soul is a peculiarly New Testament invention, borrowed from Greek thinking, and lacking any foundation in the Old Testament. We should not ignore these criticisms, nor should we take our own ideas for granted, but rather we should confront the challenges being posed by looking deeper into the Word, trusting that the truth will prevail.
The critics have one thing going for them, and that is that there are no Hebrew or even Greek words that perfectly equate with the traditional concept of a soul. So then where does the idea of a human soul come from? Instead there are various words that are similar to soul, and it is through the study of these words in their different contexts and usages that evidence for the existence of a human soul is brought forth.
Starting in the Old Testament, we have the Hebrew word nephesh, which is generally translated as soul or life. Although nephesh is often translated as soul, it doesn't mean soul in the way we think of it. Nephesh only means soul in the sense of self, individual, person, a life, or being. While nephesh is not spiritual soul, it is significant because it can give us insight into what according to the scriptures constitutes an individual or human being. If nephesh is used to refer exclusively to a person's flesh body, then that would imply that a human being is only flesh. However, if it is sometimes used to refer to an individual apart from their flesh, then that would imply that an individual doesn't subsist in flesh alone.
Probably the most common usage of nephesh is to refer to an individual or being in the physical sense, "save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me: Lest he tear my soul [nephesh] like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver" (Psalm 7.1-2 KJV bible), "And they smote all the souls [nephesh] that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them" (Joshua 11.11 KJV bible). Another common usage of nephesh is to refer to the internal thought process, and emotional center of an individual, "Let her alone; for her soul [nephesh] is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me" (2nd Kings 4.27 KJV bible), "Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul [nephesh] lothed them, and their soul [nephesh] also abhorred me" (Zechariah 11.8 KJV bible). So nephesh can be used to refer to an individual in either the physical or emotional sense.
We normally perceive a person's heart and mind as being internal to them, because we can't see their thoughts and feelings. However, even if thoughts and emotions are internal or private, they aren't necessarily spiritual. One could argue that they are produced in the flesh brain without any spiritual input. Therefore, we need to look deeper into the scriptures to establish that there is more to nephesh than simply a flesh body.
In several verses, nephesh is used in such a way that it is implicitly different from flesh, For example, "And shall consume the glory of his forest (the king of Assyria), and of his fruitful field, both soul [nephesh] and body: and they shall be as when a standardbearer fainteth" (Isaiah 10.18 KJV bible), "shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul [nephesh]?" (Micah 6.7 KJV bible). If we assume that the entire individual is flesh, both mind and body, then it wouldn't be consistent to speak of nephesh as being distinct or different from flesh, as these verses do.
There are also many passages that use nephesh in a fully spiritual context. Isaiah, for example, describes the truth as being necessary for the sustenance of the soul, "hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul [nephesh] delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul [nephesh] shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David" (Isaiah 55.2-3 KJV bible). Generally speaking, a person's physical self does not derive sustenance from what they think, but Isaiah is speaking of one's spiritual self being sustained by the truth. Another spiritual usage is in the book of Jeremiah, where the prophet describes a dying woman as giving up her nephesh, "She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost [nephesh]; her sun is gone down while it was yet day" (Jeremiah 15.9 KJV bible). It would be impossible for her to give up her soul or nephesh, if the word is only referring to her physical body.
Job 27.8 uses nephesh in a spiritual context, because it says that God takes away (or draws out) the souls of the wicked, "For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away [Hebrew: shalah, to remove or draw out] his soul [nephesh]?" (Job 27.8 KJV bible). Another example is in the Psalms, when David speaks of his soul being redeemed from Sheol, in an unique act of grace, "and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. But God will redeem my soul [nephesh] from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me" (Psalm 49.14-15 KJV bible). Now if we know that David died in the flesh and was buried as everyone else (see Acts 2.29), then we can conclude that he was speaking about his spiritual soul or ghost being received by God (see also ch.4 Souls in Heaven).
Another considerable passage in the usage of nephesh is in 1st Kings. When a boy dies, Elijah prays for his soul or nephesh to return to him, "O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child's soul [nephesh] come into him again [or return to his midst]. And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul [nephesh] of the child came into him again [or returned to his midst], and he revived" (1st Kings 17.21-22 KJV bible). A similar verse refers to Rachel's departing, "And it came to pass, as her soul [nephesh] was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni" (Genesis 35.18 KJV bible). How can someone depart from and then return to themselves, unless they have both a spiritual and physical self?
The New Testament equivalent of nephesh is the Greek word psuche (pronounced psoo-khay). The linguistic connection between these two words is locked in by the New Testament. Whenever quoting passages from the Old Testament that contain the word "nephesh", the New Testament always translates it as "psuche". For example, when Genesis 2.7 is quoted in 1st Corinthians 15.45, nephesh is translated as psuche, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul [psuche]; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit" (1st Corinthians 15.45 KJV bible), (see also Mark 12.30, Acts 2.27, and Romans 11.3). This assures us that the New Testament writers both understood and intended for psuche to have the same meaning as nephesh.
The New Testament uses psuche in a broad range of contexts and usages that perfectly parallel its Old Testament equivalent. Psuche can mean a soul, an individual, a life, or a being, in either a physical sense, emotional sense, or fully spiritual sense.
There are many instances where psuche is used in a physical context, "But he knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life [psuche], or to destroy it? And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other" (Luke 6.8-10 KJV bible), (see also Mark 3.4, Matthew 6.25, Luke 12.22, Romans 16.4, and 1st Peter 3.20). By restoring the man's hand, Jesus heals his life or psuche in a physical sense.
Psuche can also be used in reference to ones mind or emotional center, "And saith unto them, My soul [psuche] is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him" (Mark 14.34-35 KJV bible), (see also Matthew 10.18, 12.18 and Luke 12.19). This passage uses psuche as the place where one might feel sorrow, referring to a person's mind or emotional center.
Lastly, there are many instances where psuche is used in a clearly spiritual context, "and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls [psuche]" (James 1.21 KJV bible), "Trouble not yourselves; for his life [psuche] is in him" (Acts 20.10 KJV bible), (see also Acts 2.31, James 5.20, 1st Peter 1.9, and 1st Peter 2.11). In Revelation, psuche is even used to describe the dead in heaven, "I saw under the altar the souls [psuche] of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held" (Revelation 6.9 KJV bible), "and I saw the souls [psuche] of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus" (Revelation 20.4 KJV bible). This particular usage of psuche is analogous to our modern concept of soul or ghost.
One of the most common ways to translate both nephesh and psuche is "life", but an important distinction needs to be made regarding this translation, to avoid confusion. Nephesh and psuche both mean "life" in the sense of an individual, or the life experiences of an individual. However, they do not refer to "life", in the sense of the vitality or life force within someone or something.
First, we need to consider that our word "life" can be used in different ways, and mean many different things. For example, life can refer to an individual, person, or being in a non-specific way, as in "save a life" or "the war cost many lives". Both nephesh and psuche can certainly mean life in this context. Life can also mean the collection or summation of ones experiences in the world, either looking backwards into the past, or forward into the future, as in "he led a wild life", or "have a nice life". Both nephesh and psuche can also mean life in this way as well. Another important meaning of the word "life" is to refer to strength, vitality, or vigor of something, in either a physical or spiritual sense. For example, you could say that something "came to life", or is "full of life", or that "Jesus is the bread of life". Nephesh and psuche are never used in this way, but rather the Hebrew chaya and the Greek zoe are generally the only words used to refer to life in this context.
So when the scripture speaks of a person giving up or releasing their nephesh or psuche, it cannot be properly understood to be saying that they gave up or released their strength, vitality, or life force, because nephesh and psuche have no such meaning. It can only be understood to mean that they gave up or released themselves, in the sense of their centers of consciousness or souls. A careful analysis of the different biblical usages of nephesh and psuche bears this out.
Another critical and interesting word is the Hebrew word ruach. Ruach literally refers to wind or a current of air, but in scripture we understand it to mean something much more. Namely, ruach refers to spirits, or things of a spiritual nature.
To recognize this connection, we must look at the basic meaning of the word, which is wind. Wind is not something that can be seen or grasped, but it can definitely be felt. When the wind blows you might feel a chill in your body or see the leaves on the trees rustle, and therefore you know that its there through its effect on you, and the world around you. The same is true of spiritual things. When a certain spirit is present a person with discernment can feel its presence and observe its affect, though it's not physically manifest. So the word "ruach" implies to us something that is ethereal and diffuse, not corporal or material. In this way, ruach is used to refer to the supernatural forces and also beings that operate in the world, both internally and externally of man.
So is there any evidence in the Old Testament of man having an invisible spirit or ruach that is fundamental to him, in other words, a spiritual soul? There are some interesting verses that at least point in that direction.
The book of Numbers refers to God as being ruler over the spirits of all flesh, "Let the LORD, the God of the spirits [ruach] of all flesh, set a man over the congregation" (Numbers 27.16 KJV bible), (see also Numbers 16.22). We learn in Ecclesiastes that these individual spirits or souls continue on after death of the flesh, implying that they are supernatural, "Who knoweth the spirit [ruach] of man that goeth upward, and the spirit [ruach] of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?" (Ecclesiastes 3.21 KJV bible). King David describes commending his spirit into God's hand, in a redemptive sense, "Into thine hand I commit my spirit [ruach]: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth" (Psalm 31.5 KJV bible). Also, Daniel curiously describes his spirit as being grieved in the midst of its sheath or body, "I Daniel was grieved in my spirit [ruach] in the midst of my body [Chaldean: nidneh - sheath], and the visions of my head troubled me" (Daniel 7.15 KJV bible). Another persuasive verse comes from the book of Zechariah, where he describes God as forming or fashioning the spirit of man, "saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit [ruach] of man within him" (Zechariah 12.1 KJV bible). Zechariah describes the Lord forming the spirit within man, as an act of creation.
The New Testament equivalent of the Hebrew word "ruach", is the Greek word pneuma, (see Acts 2.17-18). Like ruach, the word "pneuma" literally means a wind or current of air. Also like ruach, pneuma is understood in the scripture to mean a spirit, either as a spiritual entity or a supernatural force. Several times in the New Testament, man is also described as having a fundamental and personal pneuma, or spirit.
Starting in 1st Corinthians, Paul speaks of the destruction of a certain individual's flesh, in order to bring about the future deliverance of his spirit, "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit [pneuma] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus" (1st Corinthians 5.5 KJV bible). This implies that a person both has a spirit that exists apart from their flesh, and that this spirit continues on after they die, even to the Day of the Lord. Paul further identifies God as the owner and proprietor of this personal spirit, "For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit [pneuma], which are God's" (1st Corinthians 6.20 KJV bible), "Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits [pneuma], and live?" (Hebrews 12.9 KJV bible). The book of Hebrews mentions the spirits of just men made perfect, who are the children of the new covenant, "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits [pneuma] of just men made perfect" (Hebrews 12.23 KJV bible). And lastly, John's first epistle describes false prophets as deceitful spirits, and instructs us to be weary of them, "Beloved, believe not every spirit [pneuma], but try the spirits [pneuma] whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1st John 4.1 KJV bible).
sandra 06 May 2009, 13:47A question was asked in our Bible Study, what happens to our souls (those who die in Christ according to scripture are judged),after being judged where does our souls go?
Doug Buckley 08 May 2009, 04:38Hi Sandra,
David 23 Jul 2011, 23:50I think the scriptures reveal that our body of flesh is not really part of our true self, but rather just a temporary tabernacle in which we dwell in on the earth. Also, the soul simply refers to the being or the self (Matt 12:18, Heb 10:38, Mark 12:29, John 10:17, Gen 2:7), and one's soul simply refers to oneself (Gen 46:27, Acts 7:14, Exo 31:14, Acts 3:23, Lev 5:1-17, Rom 2:9, Num 35:30, Mark 3:4, Psa 6:4, Psa 146:1, Psa 119:129, 139:14). Therefore God did not create us with three parts but, as Gen 2:7 says, "and YHWH Elohim formed Adam’s body from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be [a] living soul [(being)]". Likewise, Eccl 12:7 says that when man dies, the dust [(body)] returns to the earth as it was and the spirit returns to the elohim who gave it. The soul does not remain upon death, but God will raise all the dead in the last day, in which we will again be conscious beings, not with a fleshly body but with a spiritual body.
Doug Buckley 24 Jul 2011, 18:51Hi David, yes its true that the word soul does not mean spiritual soul like we think of it. However the bible still tells us that we have spiritual souls that continue on after we die (see ch.10, and also 11,12,13 relate somewhat). I believe that the flesh body is a dwelling place of this soul. However there is also a spirit of life from God that we have in addition to a spritual soul. I don't see spiitual souls and a spirit of life as being mutually exclusive. Looking at your other comments I know where you're coming from; one resurrection, hades = grave, and so on.
Shibu George 10 Aug 2011, 17:15this should answer it- Malachi 4:5 - Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the comming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
David 11 Aug 2011, 06:25Dear Shibu George,
Doug Buckley 12 Aug 2011, 17:13Hi David, You'll notice that Moses appears with Elijah on the Mt and yet he did die in the flesh, which indicates they both went to heaven as spirits or souls. Also it seems that Abraham's spirit is in heaven, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8.56 KJV bible). Also we have Samuel appearing as a spirit or even ghost to Saul in 1st Samuel 28. So I take the sleep of the dead in a more figurative way, however, I do think they are degraded and less aware than we are.
David 14 Aug 2011, 07:55Dear Doug,
Doug Buckley 14 Aug 2011, 13:18Hi David, we might not be that far apart, and I can certainly see the other side with this one. Some of the later chapters that have to do with the resurrection and millennium help explain where I am coming from. - God bless.
natalee loney 10 Sep 2011, 19:59ok confused does it mean we are 3 parts rather than 2 and and is zoe God's breath and when Jesus breathes upon the disciples what did he breathe zoe ? and what can be saved spirit or the soul?
Doug Buckley 12 Sep 2011, 05:04Hi Natalee, there's disagreement about what the bible teaches about whether or not we have souls. A good way to help figure out what the bible teaches on this is to look at the Greek and Hebrew words that are translated as soul and spirit and also life.
Doug Buckley 12 Sep 2011, 14:57btw, this is probably the hardest chapter of the book, so try not to get hung up on it.
vinny 11 Feb 2012, 15:55I was a bit confused on your overall belief, are you a dichotomous or trichotomous? or do you see soul and spirit used interchangeably?
Doug Buckley 11 Feb 2012, 23:28Hi Vinny, good question. The biblical words used for soul and spirit do mean different things. Spirit is similar to our word spirit, but soul doesn't mean the same thing as our concept of a soul. It means more like a person. However, sometimes the way the word is used suggests that a person does have a spiritual soul (if you can follow that).
Dr. Bill Hixon 18 Feb 2012, 04:42thought this might be interesting to you. I'm over due for coffee and some hugs.
Josh 11 Mar 2012, 05:09So...does this mean animals too have a soul (nephesh), breath of God (zoe), and a spirit (ruach)?
Doug Buckley 12 Mar 2012, 01:46Hi Josh, we all have a soul, which is like a spirit (ruach) that is unique and personal to us. We also have the spirit of life (zoe) that is from God. The bible says that animals have the spirit of life (Psalm 104.29), and I believe they have souls as well (as explained in the bible question on whether animals go to heaven).
Josh 12 Mar 2012, 04:43Thanks Doug!
Doug Buckley 13 Mar 2012, 17:49Hi Josh, yes, imo animals have bodies, souls, and the spirit of life. Zoe means life not soul, but yer basic point is right imo. Good to hear from you.
Josh 16 Mar 2012, 01:26Ok. Thank you Doug.
Doug Buckley 17 Mar 2012, 19:52Hi Josh, its a bit confusing, but nephesh and psuche just mean a person or life, in a vague sense. The words ruach and pneuma mean an invisible spirit, such as a soul or an evil spirit, or the spirit of life. I also believe that humans and animals have spirits that continue on after they die.
Josh 18 Mar 2012, 23:11Ah ok. Thank you Doug!
Doug Buckley 21 Mar 2012, 03:56Hey Josh, I didn't know that. Christians should be open to animals having souls. The bible certainly doesn't say they don't have souls.
Josh 21 Mar 2012, 16:02Yep. Also, I would give you the link to the website to where it says they questioned about animals having souls during the humanist enlightentment era, but, according to the rules, I can't give you the link. Sorry!
Doug Buckley 22 Mar 2012, 14:24The comment box doesn't activate links, but you can still post it if you want.
Don Long 23 Mar 2012, 11:56Hi Doug,
Doug Buckley 27 Mar 2012, 05:13Hi Don, I saw your comment earlier. Hebrews 4.12 is a difficult passage because both psuche and pneuma can mean different things depending on context. Your explanation that he means that the Word can divide between ourselves of the flesh, and our spiritual selves, seems right to me.
Elden 21 Apr 2012, 23:42We humans must be of three parts, just like the triune Godhead (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit). We are made in God's image, hence the scripture:
Josh 23 Apr 2012, 00:37Hey Doug, Sorry if I'm late, but here's the link I was talking about:
Michael Meszaros 16 May 2012, 13:47Sorry, after more thought, I would like to refine questions.
Josh 16 May 2012, 14:50Hey Elden, animals have souls too!
Doug Buckley 18 May 2012, 02:43Hi Michael. Good to hear from you. Some of the confusion about this comes from the fact that these words, especially "nephesh/psuche" don't directly translate into english. Nephesh simply means a person or being or soul in a non-descript way. It is the person whether body and/or soul. They don't have a nephesh/psuche per se. Chaya/zoe means "life" particularly in a spiritual sense, and people do have a spirit of life. Ruach and pneuma is a bit easier because it simply means spirit, and it can mean spiritual soul, but can also mean spirit in other ways.
Bernice Swann 13 Sep 2012, 13:49A nephesh is simply the body of an animal either human or beast. Ruach (a.k.a. pneuma) is the breath of life. A (nephesh) must possess ruach (pneuma) to be a living soul. When a nephesh no longer has ruach (pneuma), the nephesh is a dead soul. Therefore nephesh refers to soul whether alive or dead.
Bernice Swann 13 Sep 2012, 14:01A nephesh is simply the body of an animal either human or beast. Ruach (a.k.a. pneuma) is the breath of life. A (nephesh) breathing ruach (pneuma) is a living soul. A nephesh that is no longer breathing
Doug Buckley 16 Sep 2012, 05:49Nephesh is a Hebrew word that means a person, being, a life, soul, creature, in a wide variety of contexts. Alot of people have a hard time understanding this because nephesh doesn't translate well into english. Nephesh doesn't mean body, but the body can be part of the nephesh. Adam becomes a soul or nephesh only after God breathes into him, not before it.
diane beloncik 10 Oct 2012, 22:45Great article, interesting comments.
Lemuel Togonon 18 Oct 2012, 22:21HI Shibu George and David regarding to your topic, right David, Elijah did not die but he resurrect. concerning to your question about Malachi 4:5, 1st of all there are five Elijah in the Bible, 1st Elijah is the Elijah the prophet in the days of mount carmel showdown, 2nd elijah is Elisha, when Elijah is resurrect he pass his anointing through Elisha the anointing of Elijah, 3rd Elijah was John the baptist in Luke 1:17 the forerunner of Christ, 4th Elijah was in the prophet of this last age the Laodicea Church Age read and search the life of Bro. William Marrion Branham the last forerunner like John the Baptist in Malachi 4:6 he will turn the hearts of the children to their fathers the "B" part of malachi 4:6 which means the apostolic faith, back to the apostolic faith. in Malachi 4:6 there are 2 Elijah, the first 1 is John the baptist the first forerunner of Jesus Christ at Luke 1 and the second is William Marrion Branham Revelation 10:7. and the last Elijah is at the time of tribulation the 2 olives which is the anointing of Elijah and Moises. God Bless all.
Lemuel Togonon 18 Oct 2012, 22:26Hi Bro. Doug Buckley, if the animal has the spirit what kind of the spirit they have? it's almost the same with a man?
Lemuel Togonon 18 Oct 2012, 23:03HI, did you know about the truine man being? there 3 being in a man, in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole SPIRIT, SOUL, and BODY be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Doug Buckley 21 Oct 2012, 14:44hi Lemuel, regarding you first question about the spirit of animals, see the question about animals in the bible question section.
Lemuel Togonon 21 Oct 2012, 22:46Good morning,
Carlos Leon 31 Oct 2012, 22:11Would it be right to consider that the word ruach which means wind or spirit might refer to the energy that moves our body and gives life and motion to ourselves and that it is just a tiny fraction of the energy of Our God who is the owner of all the energy of the Universe since he created everything with this energy?
robert the levi teacher 30 Dec 2012, 16:01Hi it seams u all are so confused and dont understand this subject i see and read alot of ranting about nothing .
robert the levi teacher 30 Dec 2012, 16:06one last thing to consider
Hollis 08 Jul 2013, 00:30I just got into a argument over this with my mother.
Hollis 08 Jul 2013, 00:55The problem with what happens when we die is people forget that when you die you are not limited to time anymore, the second you die, you resurrect (wake up) for judgment and that is not a pretty sight. Humans can only understand things in time, that's why when we go to funerals the people are still in the ground, they are not in heaven, they are not in Hell in our moments of time. When Christ comes back time ceases to exist because only a God can break time and space.
Lemuel Togonon 08 Jul 2013, 19:54Good Morning Brethren,
Doug Buckley 09 Jul 2013, 16:31Hi Hollis. It's true in the bible that the word usually translated as soul is nephesh, and it doesn't literally mean spiritual soul. But there are some contexts where it refers to a soul, such as when Elijah prays and the dead boy's nephesh returns to him. The complete boy didn't return to the complete boy, but the soul or person returned to the body. There are even examples of souls existing without bodies in the bible (see chapter 10 on the right for more on this). Now there certainly is a spirit of life that we have from God, but this shouldn't rule out that we have souls (see ch.11).
Tim Serebryanskiy 16 Jul 2013, 22:49Grace to you all. Amazing topic, so wonderful to see people thinking and talking important things.
stephen, Stephen 29 Jul 2013, 11:48In my own view, this article is all about the body and spiritual soul are we now saying that man is made of only body and spiritaul soul?(according to the writer) What about the biblical teaching that man is made up of body soul and spirit? For instance 1 thesolonians 5:23 paul says, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly, and i pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" KJV. Hebrew 4:12 says,"For the word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing assunder of soul and spirit.........KJV, this spirit that seems to be the third part of man is not mentioned in this article, pls i need some explanations. Thanks.
Tim Serebrtanskiy 29 Jul 2013, 12:29It seems that some people trully believe that soul and the spirit are one and the same thing. In my opinion there is no support to that theory in the Bible. They are never used interchangably in it. They both invisable they both iternal they both leave the body at the moment of death and that confuses many theologists. Our life itself, that very energy that science can not explain, that which began to pump our hearts in mothers womb, then formed our bones and all, thats the spirit, ruach in Hebrew. Our soul is our mind basicly, or spiritual things that are under our control. They way body, spirit and soul function within one human being is very different in saved and unsaved.
Doug Buckley 30 Jul 2013, 02:13Hi Stephen, I believe that we do have a soul, a body, and a spirit of life. But its not as straightforward as every time the bible says "soul" it means spiritual soul and every time it says "spirit" it means a spirit of life. These words are used in a great variety of contexts and applications.
Josiah 03 Nov 2013, 23:24soul can be used in different ways. Nephesh means life of animals, living-breathing creatures, and can refer to humans, fish and other creatures. Is may also refer to emotion, the mind etc.
LAURENCIA DELEON 06 Feb 2014, 16:14soul and spirit/nephesh........psuche
Juan Valdez 21 Jun 2014, 10:55What about the etymology or interpretation of ruach in Genesis 1:2? Where the spirit (nuach) moves across the primeval waters to create life from the void?
Doug Buckley 22 Jun 2014, 12:39Hi Juan, I'm not sure if you're asking me a question about ruach and psuche. I believe that Hebrew is part of the same family of semitic languages as the language of ancient Babylon (Akkadian?) and the New Testament was intentionally written in Greek. So there's going to be overlap in the use of certain words between various works and writings of the same language. Words by themselves don't imply an ideological connection.
Josiah 23 Jun 2014, 02:33Subject study is good, and you must also read it in context :)
Juan Valdez 23 Jun 2014, 08:34Hi Doug, thank you for your prompt response. I guess the question I am asking is regarding the derivation, linguistic and cosmological, of the Hebrew "ruach". Is this a term unique to the Semitic language family and Jewish tradition or is it found in any of the neighboring cultures - for example Akkadian/Babylonia - cosmologies and languages.
Doug Buckley 23 Jun 2014, 12:20Hi Juan, ya I don't know the answer to that, some Hebrew dictionaries might go into this.
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