Bible Answers: What is the Human Soul? Is the Soul the Same as the Spirit?

theSoulMan_final_logo#8DB3F2(Ver 1.1)  This Bible lesson is a response to a good question that I received from a reader.   This is a very easily misunderstood topic in the Bible and I have addressed it at least in part in several other Bible lessons but this is a more direct topic discussion on the subject.   When I first started writing this response I thought it would be a quick and easy Bible lesson to do.  I very soon realized the broad scope of information on this subject in the Bible and it quickly grew way beyond what I could feasibly address in one lesson. This question is also potentially complex because of the very common misunderstanding that surrounds it.  I am going to have to overcome all of the false teachings that have already gone out on this topic and that is going to be challenging.  The subject of the human soul is mentioned directly or indirectly in literally thousands of different verses.  The Bible is covered with parts of this subject throughout and there are so many verses that I cannot even begin to list them all.   I will attempt to list the verses that I feel are important to help introduce the subject and focus on those.  I will learn based upon the follow-up questions and comments that I receive, if there are other lessons that need to be added.   Please feel free to leave your questions and comments and I will address them as I am led.  I’ll start by giving you a dictionary definition of the word soul.  I do not agree with this definition but it is at least a starting point:

soul  –  Noun

  1. The spiritual or immaterial part of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.
  2. A person’s moral or emotional nature or sense of identity.

This definition of the soul is a result of the confusion behind the word’s popular usage.  It is literally a muddled attempt to define something that they know nothing about.   Let me start by saying that I agree with parts of the definition but certainly not the entire wording or the connection of the stated phrases.  The soul is definitely an immaterial part of a human; however it is not the spirit of a human as it is commonly assumed.  Both people and animals have souls but animals do not have spirits as we will observe from the Bible shortly.  The soul of the human is not the immortal spirit of the human and we will see scriptures that will confirm that also.  The soul of a man or a woman is related to their identity from a non-physical aspect or perspective.  We could call the human soul their personality and that becomes a much closer definition to what God reveals of the soul in His Word.  This dictionary definition also leaves out many other parts of the soul that are not mentioned, unknown or just ignored.   We will soon see some of these as I continue to go through the Bible lesson.

Even Bible translators struggled to know and understand how to accurately translate many of the original language words on this subject in the Bible.  For example the Hebrew word H5315 which is commonly translated into “soul” is found in 682 verses of the Old Testament.  If you study the original language translation closely you will find this same Hebrew word H5315 is translated into several different English words because of the pre-established confusion.  Here is a list of some of the popular ways that this Hebrew word was translated in the O.T. 1) soul, 2) souls, 3) creature, 4) life, 5) one 6) yourself, 7) body, 8) beast, 9) person, 10) mind, 11) heart, 12) breath, 13) will, 14) ghost, 15) appetite, 16) pleasure, and 17) desire to name some of the basic words used by translators.  That was not a complete list but we should be able to see from this diverse set of definitions this Hebrew word could be potentially all over the board.  We need to learn which words being used to describe the soul are correct and apply to the subject and which words do not?  Technically I will tell you that each English word in this list has a linked association to the subject and thus the reason for the wide misunderstanding.   I personally believe that many of the translated verses use very inadequate choices of English words to describe what is being communicated by God and perhaps I will attempt to go through a few of these examples to demonstrate what I mean.  This subject is a Bible basic truth that is essential to correctly know and understand.  You may already think that you know everything about this subject but I would challenge you to read the whole lesson to ensure that what you think you know agrees with what the Bible actually says.  In this Bible lesson I will attempt to answer the following reader questions on the subject of souls:

  1. WILL YOU DO A MESSAGE ON THE MEANING OF SOULS?
  2. WHAT THEY ARE?
  3. WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM AFTER DEATH?
  4. AND CAN A SOUL BE EATEN UP AND DESTROYED WHILE ALIVE?

In addition to these questions I will also address what the soul of man is not.  I will begin this lesson by stating the subject of the soul of man is popularly confused with the subject of the spirit of man and we saw this in man’s dictionary definition of the word.  People want to take a dictionary definition for a word that God defines to be something else and that is a foolish approach to trying to understand the God of the Bible.   Often in churches and on the internet the term soul of man is used in error interchangeably for the term spirit of man causing a general misunderstanding for the body of Christ.  What I have observed is that many people because of this confusion believe that they are the exact same things just called by two different names.  Every time the soul is used instead of the correct term spirit or vice versa, it just makes it that much harder to understand which is which.  For example, have you ever heard anyone speak of God saving 6 souls in church last Sunday?  I will guess that you have.  Do you know exactly what they were talking about?  Did you also know that Jesus did not come to die to save your soul?  Uh oh, I think I just put some people into shock.   But that is the problem because people do not know what a soul really is.  This will become much clearer after you know what a soul is defined by God to be.  Let me give you a New Testament verse to help prove my introductory point:

    • Jas 1:21  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

What does God say in this verse?  Does God say your soul is already saved?  If you can read you will find that is not what is stated.  God tells the church to receive the engrafted word which is ABLE to save your soul.  That is a future tense conditional promise.  If you receive the Word meekly the Word is able to make your soul whole again.   Once you begin to learn what a soul is verses like this will make so much more sense.  Knowing the basics of truths just opens the door for knowing the more complex truths of God’s Word.  I hope you can see my point from this verse.  God states your soul is not saved yet, but it can be if you continue in the Word.

GOD”S CREATION OF THE TRIUNE MAN

I never switch these two terms soul and spirit casually since I try to be a very detailed oriented person that likes to call things by their specific correct titles for clarification to what I am saying.  If I speak of the soul then I am speaking of only a soul and if I speak of a spirit then I am only talking about a spirit and they are definitely not the same thing.  Also I would like to say that my reader asking a specific question about “souls” may have intended the question to be about spirits but did not know the difference.   I run into this frequently and I will touch on both subjects in this lesson to help everyone learn the differences between spirit and soul.  In order to understand the human soul we need to understand the full created human composition and structure in the correct order of importance.  In order to understand this original human composition we need to back up to the account given by God concerning creation and see what He has to say on the subjects.   I do this to establish the foundation for the pattern transition that took place between the triune Creator God creating the triune man in His own image and likeness.  I pray that you already know what a triune being is.  If you do not understand that God is a triune being go to my Bible study on that subject and read it, I’m not going to prove the trinity of God fully in this lesson.  We will start with Genesis 1 and read concerning the revealed creation of man at the end of day 6:

  • Gen 1:26  Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

Notice this verse begins with the title of God and this is the Hebrew word H430 that is used in over 2000 verses in the Old Testament as His divine name.  From the frequency of usage you can tell that it is a very common Hebrew name for God but what you need to know about this name is that it is also a plural name for God.  Hebrew words can either be singular or plural and this name is definitely a plural form of the Hebrew word H433.   Next, notice what the plural God says “Let US”.  God speaks of Himself in another plural pronoun form through the word “US”.  These are just two clues to the trinity of God.  But I said I wasn’t going to fully teach that part of the subject, but I just did an introduction to challenge you to think.   God then says “let us make man”.   So God is speaking of man as being a new part of creation that did not previously exist.  The next part of the verse is the main part that I wanted you to see.

The Hebrew term in this verse translated as the English word image means “a figure of”.   Michelangelos-Statue-of-DavidA figure of something else would be like a created statue or a sculpture that represents something else which is greater.  For example, the artist Michelangelo created a sculpture of David and while the sculpture was great it was not as great as the original David.  I personally believe that what God was saying is that the original man was a precise representation of the greater God.   I believe the angels in heaven could look at the created man and see a lesser view of the Supreme God.  This clearly states that Adam was not God but yet had the image of his Creator upon him.  Now take the Hebrew word translated as “likeness” and know that this word means Adam was a similar instance, example, illustration, pattern, design or a model of the Supreme God who created him.   In other words what God was, the man must also be in a lesser form.   You see man is definitely not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent as God clearly is, however what was present in Adam had to resemble the pattern of God or he was definitely not made in His image or His likeness.   I believe that God was a triune being and that this means man would also have to be a triune being.  I believe that whatever qualities that God possessed the  man must also have a lesser version of that feature.  Therefore we need to understand who and what this Creator God is, what qualities He has revealed to us, in order to know who and what the created man is and what he centrally consists of.

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

We know from reading scriptures that God is a Spirit first and foremost.  At least 31 times in the Bible God is referred to as the “Spirit of the Lord”.  At least 22 times in the Bible God is called “Spirit of God”.  At least 7 times in the KJV Bible God is called “Holy Spirit”.  At least 89 times in the KJV Bible God is called “Holy Ghost” and that is just a common mistranslated way to say “Holy Spirit”.  God is conclusively revealed to be a Spirit by the overwhelming evidence of scripture.  Therefore man must also be a spirit being or man was not made in the similar image or likeness of God.  This is where most people begin to struggle to understand the basic human composition.  You see I previously stated that Michelangelo created an image of David and we all know that the created image was stone and the other was flesh.  So clearly a created image does not have to be made from the exact same materials to be a good representation.  That is true, but we just need to learn some more facts instead of isolating one truth in the Bible thinking that is everything that we need to know.   It is also clear from simple observation that humans are outwardly flesh based carbon creatures because this is what we can see and touch.  However, God also called man a likeness of God and that additional word changed man to be a pattern of God.   Since we cannot verify the existence of the human spirit with our senses there is no evidence from a natural perspective in this world to support its existence.  But, we should also know from reading the Bible that God is not a man (Num 23:19).  Therefore, God is not a flesh based carbon unit.  How then can man be made in the likeness and the image of God if God is a Spirit and man is only a created human body?  Those are excellent question to consider and to find the answers in the Bible.

Here is another interesting point about God.  God is described to be invisible in Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17, and Hebrews 11:27.  If God a Spirit is invisible are there any components of the human man which are also hidden and invisible?  I believe that there is and we will find out why very soon.  People in the world seek to know the external temporary body and neglect to seek to find the truth about the more real eternal internal invisible spirit.  The majority of the unsaved world believes a human is only a physical body, a soul and nothing else.  In thinking in these terms they believe man does not differ from all of the created animals of our planet in any way.  In fact they have been deceived to believe that man simply evolved from these lower forms of animal species and that is not supported scientifically, by DNA evidence, any missing fossil linkage, the Bible or any other evidence but people still believe a fool’s theory.  There is no evidence supporting this deception of evolution.   Creative fiction taught with authority causes the majority of the acceptance of lies.

  • Gen 1:20  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Here is where I think it might be good to introduce you to a concept that is important to know about humans and animals.  You see if you do a deep study of the original Hebrew word (H5315) that was translated into “soul” and the many other various words, you will find that this word has application to both man and animals equally.  Why is that?  For example here in the first chapter of Genesis is the first mention of the Hebrew word but it was translated as “life” instead of soul in this verse.   God is definitely teaching us that created animals have life or AKA souls.  I believe that this is an example where the translators would have been more accurate if they used the word soul instead of the word “life” but they both do apply.  Since created animals breathe air and have a similar form of life as men on the earth they both must possess the same type of “soul life”.  However, there is another truth in the Bible that is also very important to know about the difference between human souls and animal souls.   In several verses in the O.T. the term soul is joined together with another Hebrew word that means “dumb”.   In these verses a “dumb soul” or “dumb life” is referring to animals as being non-speaking living beings on the earth.   This fact distinguishes created man to be a completely separate class of being and a different type of soul than the created animals simply because of the existence of “speech”.   This significance or dissimilarity will become more evident as we continue to dig deeper into the truth.  Men speak words, words have power and authority and this feature reveals man to be like God where the created animals are not.  We may get into this more later, but if not just remember what I said.   Let me take you to a very important verse to study about this subject of the soul of man:

  • 1Th 5:23  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.

This Bible verse clearly identifies all of the key parts of the basic created human composition.  The three main components are listed in their proper order of sequenced priority.  This order is from the greatest or most important human feature descending to the least important part of every human.   Not very many Christians put humans into this order but that is what God says, learn it.    This verse declares every human is to be first, a spirit that second has a soul and third lives in a physical body.  Spirit, soul and body represent three different realms of human existence that require our attention and God’s attention according to this statement.   Consider the declaration being made by God closely.  God says He desires that your whole being be made holy and then He lists three separate areas for this act to take place.  Did you see what God just said?  God just told you that you were designed to be a triune being and that you definitely have a spirit using the exact same Greek word that was proclaimed as God’s Holy Spirit in many other verses.  The fact that God chooses to use the same word for spirit to describe Himself and man makes man the likeness of God.   Do you understand that point?

Right here in this single verse we have just confirmed the existence of two unseen features for the created man being made in the image and likeness of God.   Using this foundational information we understand that the human spirit is not the human soul, the human soul is not the human body, the human spirit is not the physical body and all of these in the vice versa.   To emphasize this point again I’ll restate it using basic math terms.  The human spirit is not equal to the human soul, the human spirit is not equal to the human body, and the human soul is not equal to the human body.  These are very simple truths and this is very profound information for us all to learn.  Each component is a separate and distinct part of the whole man and that is why I never use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably.  This triune pattern revealed as a whole man is the repeated design from the trinity nature of God.  Like I said before I’m not going to teach the subject of the trinity of God in this lesson; I have other lessons on that subject.  Therefore, if you still do not understand that God declares Himself as One God in the form of three unique titled personalities then you are in need of knowing the truth.

Perhaps this will be a good time to introduce confirmation for the location of the human soul.  I just stated that the soul and spirit are the unseen parts of humans and we will need to find Bible verses to help establish this or we should change to believe what the Bible does say.   Even though we do not yet fully know what the soul is, we can still learn where it is located to help us understand the subject.   I’ll give you a verse that helps to point us to the location of the human soul.

  • 1Pe 3:4  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

Here we have the Apostle Peter writing about a part of the human that is reported to be of greater importance than the outward human body mentioned in the preceding context verse.   God through Peter says that this internal part of the human composition is hidden from natural view.   This simply means it is not perceivable with the five physical human senses.   Clearly there is a part of humans that is invisible which is very similar to the Spirit of God.    What part of man do you believe this is speaking?  I believe it is speaking literally of the human soul and the human spirit.   In this verse it points us to the core of a man called his heart.  But we will need additional verses to confirm this belief.   Let’s go back to the Old Testament and review a verse that might help clarify this location for the soul.  Please read this next verse and if you would like, look up the Hebrew word definitions to expand your knowledge and understanding of what is being communicated:

  • Psa 103:1  A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.

Begin by understanding the Hebrew word (H5315) translated as “soul” is the same word that we previously defined to be at the least 16 different English words.   We should be able to then look at the next most important Hebrew word and find H7130 which is translated as “within” means the center of something.  In other words the center of an apple is the core.  The center of something means something else surrounds it.  In my apple example, the skin of the apple surrounds or covers the internal parts.  That is the concept being communicated by the Spirit of God in this verse in Psalms.   Therefore the soul of man is an internal component and not an external quantity.  This again points us to the center heart.  Do you understand that?  Perhaps you do and perhaps you don’t.   Using the list of 1 Thessalonians 5:23 human components we can see that the human soul was mentioned second.   I also said that this list was given to us in the order of importance.   Either way the soul being in the middle of the other two words means it is surrounded by something else.   However that is not exactly the best description of the three components of man.

spirit_soul_bodyDo you understand what a bull’s-eye target is?  This target is a series of concentric circles with a center circle usually given the highest point achievement to hit.  This type of target is popular in shooting sports, darts, archery and other types of recreational activities.   Don’t let the word concentric cause you difficulty.  Concentric only means every circle has the same center point.   I personally believe the human composition of man is like this target design.   For example, in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 God lists the center circle of man first called his spirit, I believe this represents the bull’s-eye.   The bulls-eye is the ultimate goal that God and Satan are after.  The spirit center circle is followed by the next circle called the soul and finally the outermost circle would be last, called the human body.   You will find this concept throughout the Bible and it is important for us to understand.  Let’s go back to Genesis again and see another reference commentary to the creation of man:

  • Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

In this single verse is found all of the three stated created triune components of man revealed for us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.  Every part of the specified composition of a man is mentioned here in this verse but they are easily confused or missed.  By contrast, in this verse God shifts the order of the mentioned priority to reveal more essential information concerning creation.  Understand that God’s order of mention always teaches something, reveals something, or states the sequence of importance, precedence, priority or authority.   You see in many secular schools there has always been the classic debate held about which came first the chicken or the egg?  The debate begins with a conclusion that a chicken always comes from an egg therefore the egg must have existed before the chicken.  However, the opposing side of the debates begins with this counter argument and states where did the egg come from?  Since the egg comes from a chicken the chicken must have existed first in order to produce the egg.  Thus we have a classic circular reasoning debate without end and without any clear winner.  However, God reveals by His phrasing exactly which came first here in His Word and ends the debate.  I guess people want to debate because they do not desire to believe in the Bible or the existence of a great creator God and thus they produce man made logic to explain away the truth.

This verse in Genesis starts with the revealed fact that God first created the complete mature body of the man from the dust of the earth.  What was the first created part of the man?  By definition it is the body.  Without a physical body there are no humans, man or woman.   When the body of a human baby is formed from the union of the female egg and the male sperm cells that action produces the body for the human spirit and before this occurs there is no human spirit and if you can read you will see that is what this verse in Genesis is teaching.   After the man’s formed body was produced by the work of God’s hand, what happened next?   The Bible says God “breathed” into his nostrils (body).  Let’s stop there and interpret this verse based upon what we have previously learned about God.  In John 4:24 we learned that God is an invisible Spirit and therefore God does not breathe air like a natural human being takes in the oxygen based atmosphere into the lungs and then exhales the carbon dioxide mixture back out.  In fact, have you ever read any verse that says air exists in heaven?  I personally believe air is a created substance and therefore the creator existed before air.   Therefore God did not need air to exist.   Surely you can see that spirits do not need air to be a spirit or to have life.  If God does not breathe air what then is God saying to us here to us in Genesis 2:7 that he breathed into Adam?

This is the introduction to the potentially complex part of the discussion on the human composition.   We learned from reading in the New Testament in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 that man is definitely a spirit first and foremost.  But here in Genesis 2:7 God creates the man’s body first and so far there is no mention of any direct spirit either God’s or man’s.  Where then did this spirit mentioned in 1Thessalonians 5:3 come from?  Are spirits created by God from nothing or do spirits originate from another spiritual being?   Did you ever ask yourself why God a Spirit is called by the direct title of “Father” repeatedly in the Bible?   In fact over 200 times in the Bible God is revealed by this title.  In order for any being natural or spiritual to be labeled a father they must procreate to produce a child.  What is the basis of procreation?  Naturally speaking it is sex, but how is that related to a spirit like God?  How does God procreate?   According to Genesis 2:7, God breathed and man became.  Analyze what natural human breath is.  Breathing is a process of inhaling or the intake of air followed by exhaling, outtake or exit of the air?  That process of breathing represents air flow or more specifically air movement.  So if God created natural things to give us pictures into spiritual things what does God breathing into the nostrils of the man represent symbolically and spiritually?  I believe that God breathing out from His Spirit and into the body of the man was God’s Spirit moving from God into the body of His creation to become Adam’s spirit.  What else can it be?   This would answer the question where the spirit of man came from.  Let’s look at a verse that Jesus spoke when teaching His disciples to pray:

  • Mat 6:9  After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Here Jesus says to pray “Our Father”.  This does not say “My Father”.  The term “Our” is a statement of inclusion not leaving the disciples out.  If God was their Father as well as the Father of the Lord Jesus then this is important information to remember.   This verse in Genesis 2:7 that I have been using to teach specifically says that God blows something out from His Spirit that enters into the body through the nasal air passage of the man to cause life to be first observed.   The nasal air passage is just one human gate to the body of man.  Gates can be two ways or one way.   In the case of the nose and mouth these are two way gates that allow air in and out.   Please allow me tell you briefly about a testimony of a man that I knew.  This man died as a teenager and went to hell.  This man was about to enter into hell when a voice spoke from heaven and he ascended back to the earth.  When his spirit came back into the room where his body had died, he remembers his spirit entering back into his body through his mouth.   It seems that there is a direct connection between the air passages and the internal invisible spirit of the human that resides in the body.   I haven’t proved that yet, but maybe I will get to that part later.  If not and you want to know where this is in the Bible you can ask a question.

Here is a basic simple question, was the body of the man Adam living or alive before God breathed?  If you are smart you must agree that Adam’s body had no life before God breathed.   If it was not alive then it was technically dead.   Isn’t dead the antithesis to being alive?  I am simply using the term dead to mean there was no life present until God breathed.  Here is another very interesting point to observe from the creation account in Genesis; ask yourself, why didn’t God breathe into any of the nostrils of any of the other created animals to cause them to become alive?  Have you ever thought about that?  Actually I should ask did you notice that God did not breathe into the animals.   What this proves is a basic fact that man was not created as an animal and did not originate from the animal class of species.   It conclusively proves that man’s life came directly from God’s Spirit and that makes man a very unique and a very special created being.

What does the Bible say is the reason for the life of the flesh or the body of a man?   Realistically there is more than one answer to that question but I’m going to focus in on only one part of the answer for now.   We are going to interpret the Bible using the Bible so that we can understand what God is saying in Genesis 2.  Read this verse and tell me what it says and why it applies to what we just read about in Genesis 2:7:

  • Jas 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

This verse clearly says that when the human body dies, the spirit of that man departs, exits, or leaves the body.   To be more precise this verse says if there is no human spirit, then there is no human life!  This verse is the stated antithesis of what occurred in Genesis 2:7 and it teaches us what happened to the man in that verse to cause life to enter his body.   The man’s spirit had to have come from the Spirit of God in order for the man’s body to become a living being.   Are you getting the connection?   Where did the spirit of man come from?  The spirit of man could only come from the Spirit of God and this is not that complicated and it must be this way for every human.  Spirits come from the Father of Spirits and this is told to us by the verse in Hebrews 12:9.  Go read it and see what it says.  I’m spending a lot of time on the spirit of man component because this is the most important part of every human being.  The spirit of man is the eternal part that never dies, never ceases to exist and will be judged someday standing before the throne of God.   The human spirit is the part of the man that was made in the direct image and likeness of the Creator.

Earlier I told you that the human soul is not saved yet and that God has given us His Word to save our souls.  Therefore, the human spirit is the only  component of God’s salvation that was reconciled back into relationship with God’s plan of salvation.  You see at the point of salvation your physical body does not change one bit.  You have the exact same body before receiving salvation as you do after salvation.   Remember the order of priority given to us by God?   God thinks about you internally to externally in that precise order.   When God offered you salvation He did it through a preacher proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This Gospel message should have included the message of the identity of Jesus as being God in the flesh and His voluntary sacrifice to die for our sins.  But it did not end there, Jesus was then raised from the dead and that act was the key difference between every other human death and when we believe on all of this that Jesus accomplished that saved our spirit and God’s Spirit enters into our body to witness that we are now again His children.

  • 1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

To be joined with the Lord is a marriage covenant phrase first given to us by God in Genesis 2:24.   After receiving the Lord Jesus as savior the Spirit of God becomes one spirit with your spirit and you are conclusively saved by His Grace through your faith (Eph 2:8).  Therefore, God’s Spirit joined with your spirit is the result of salvation.  The rest of you still needs to be saved and I’ll show you why next when I begin to describe the human soul.

INTRODUCTION TO THE SOUL OF MAN

I needed to spend considerable time upfront emphasizing the spirit of man because that is not the soul part of the human composition.   The spirit of man comes from the Spirit of God, but the soul of man does not.   Ok, I probably just confused most of you with that statement.  Let’s spend time analyzing what the soul of man represents.   I do not currently know of one verse that accurately describes all of the parts of the human soul.  If you know of one, share it.  I will go through and give you some verses that list specific parts of the human soul and then we will need to put the pieces together to define the whole

  • Pro 2:10  When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;

Here we have two references to two different parts of the human composition.  The heart of man can normally be viewed as the spirit of the man and the soul is the Hebrew word H5315 that I have been focusing upon in this lesson.   Wisdom goes into the spirit (heart) of man.  Let’s define wisdom as being, knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do.  I believe we could also define wisdom as being, saying the right thing when you think you don’t know what to say.  Wisdom directs good words and good actions to come forth from a man, but the lack of wisdom causes a man’s acts and words to appear foolish.  According to God wisdom is what we all should be trying to obtain.  But, God also says knowledge is a positive ingredient for our soul.  Therefore, ask yourself how do you get knowledge and where do you retain this knowledge?  Do you believe that knowledge is tied to your mind and your memory?  If you agree with me that getting knowledge is a part of your mind’s function, then the soul of man contains your mind.   Let’s consider another verse that brings in a new aspect of the soul:

  • Pro 14:10  The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.

This verse is easily missed because of the translation error.  The term “own” here is the Hebrew word H5315 that should have been made “soul”.   This is one of those poor examples of Bible translations that I referred to earlier.   Change the word to soul and reread it.  The heart (spirit) knows his soul’s bitterness”.   What is bitterness?   If you look at the entire verse you will hopefully see bitterness is being defined as the antithesis of joy.  What is joy?  Joy is a human emotional state.  It represents a very happy moment in life.  Therefore, bitterness could be the opposite the sad, discouraged, disappointed times of life.  What we are observing is the inclusion of the human emotions into the soul realm.  So far we have found the mind and the emotions to be two parts of the soul.

  • Pro 15:32  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Here is another interesting verse about your soul.  What is the main subject of this verse?  If you did not know God is focused on the human soul in this verse.   We can see from the last word in the verse that God is talking about us getting understanding?  How do you understand anything?   Isn’t that with your mind again?  People get knowledge and then they can grow to understand what they know with their minds and that is an intricate part of the human soul.  However, God introduces us to a new aspect of the human soul called choice.  The right of human choice that we all possess is called our human freewill.   If we refuse to take instructions we have made a negative choice and God says we despise our souls.   This is an act of a vile person, an ignorant person and it is not a positive description to be associated.  What we have learned from this verse is that the human soul is comprised of their will or right to choose.    We could go through many more confirming verses but that was a quick introduction to the three main human soul sub-components.

WHERE DOES MAN GET HIS SOUL?

The human soul is one sub-realm in the triune whole design of man (spirit, soul & body).  We previously looked at God as being the source for man’s spirit, but where did man get his soul?  The soul of man is comprised of three main specific entities called 1) the mind, 2) the will and 3) the emotions.  These soul items were created patterns, models and qualities that God possessed but they were not God’s personal mind, God’s personal will, or God’ personal emotions present in man.  In other words man was an independent spirit possessing an independent soul, an independent mind, an independent will and an independent set of emotions all being separated from God’s soul.  Did you know that God had a soul?  Ask yourself does God have a mind?  If yes, then ask does God have a will?  If yes, then ask yourself has God ever displayed any emotions?  If yes, then God has a soul and man’s soul was modeled after God’s.  However, the created man did not come preloaded with all of the knowledge of God, the understanding or the wisdom of God after creation.  The created man was not fully packed with all of the memories of God.   The created man was not told anything specifically about the will of God except “do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or you will surely die”.  This was one of the only details of knowledge revealing the will of God that the man possessed.  Therefore the man was not pre-conditioned or pre-programmed to do the will of God.  How would the man even know what death was?  There is no way that he had ever seen death or experienced death because God created everything very good.  Adam did not find out what death was until after he sinned and his son Cain killed his other son Abel and that was the first recorded natural death that occurred in the Bible.

Soul_Empty_containe2rWhat I am attempting to teach is that the created man did not auto-magically possess the full knowledge of God, the thoughts of God, the ways of God or the emotions of God.  He could learn these from walking with and listening to God but they were certainly not automatically transferred to his soul when he was given God’s spirit life.   I view the human soul to be an empty large container in need of filling.  A human learning something is their empty mind being filled with knowledge.   Consider a new born natural child.  Does this new born baby possess all of the knowledge of their parents directly from birth?   Can they speak intelligently about the facts of life or the experiences of their parents?  Obviously a child is an empty container in need of an education and individual and personal experiences of their own in order to grow up and mature.   Why would you think that Adam and Eve were different than any new born babies in need of the same?   Let me let you in on another Bible pattern.   The Bible teaches us that Adam was made in the image and likeness of God in Genesis 1:24 but these two same exact words were used to describe Adam’s new born son named “Seth” in Genesis 5:3.  What I am attempting to say is if one pattern is not identical to the other pattern then God just must be confused to use the same words.  No what God is teaching us is that the same image and likeness that Adam was created with was also transferred down the life chain to every human descendent that came from Adam.  Let’s move on and talk more about the soul.

Consider the human mind to continue our soul analysis.  The human mind is comprised of both mental reasoning facilities for thought processing and knowledge retention capabilities also called our memory.  Memory is used for human learning and for experience and information storage, which demands there is also recall capabilities later for these memories to be reused for other decision making or expression.  Perhaps I need to stop and verify the existence of God’s soul using scriptures.  Start by looking at Jeremiah 5:9 and Jeremiah 9:9 to see the Lord speaking directly of His personal soul.  This is the same Hebrew word used for man’s soul an animal’s soul, etc.  I think verses like these confirm that God is in possession of a soul.  Let’s consider what God says about the “mind of Christ” in 1 Corinthians 2:16 and we will certainly verify from this verse that the Lord God also has a mind.  Now consider the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:10.  Jesus said to pray “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven”.  Therefore, God definitely has a will.  We really haven’t fully defined what a will is, but this is the inward desire part of the spirit being.   I also said that the will was the part of a being that possessed “the right of choice”.  The inner desires usually help to determine the choices that a person makes.  Therefore, the will is another factor for decisions.  We are just going through a few of the key components of the soul to verify their existence in God.   Now consider the mind’s thought process for thinking and read Isaiah 55:8 and you will see a direct connection being made by God where He says “My thoughts are not your thoughts”.   God basically declares we both have minds that think but you are not thinking like I think.  If you continue to read in Isaiah God says “Your ways are not my ways”.  This again states the will of God to be separate from the will of man.   God was clearly saying the choices that you make are not the same as the choices that I would have made.   Are you learning anything about the related and connected parts of man’s soul to be like God’s soul?  Let’s move on to the emotional part of the soul of God.  Does God have emotions?  What are emotions?   Sadness, anger, joy, disgust, fear and surprise are all common emotional qualities found in normal humans and I did not attempt to give the complete list.  Does God ever display any of these qualities?   Read Exodus 4:14 to begin and you should quickly see that “the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses”.   It appears that God does possess emotions.  Nehemiah 8:10 states the “joy of the Lord is our strength”.   Clearly God displays joy and anger to name two emotions.   I could give you other verses but that is enough to confirm that God has a soul and that man’s soul was modeled after it.

We can read in Genesis 2 that the created man definitely had extreme thought and reasoning capabilities and he must have possessed incredible memory abilities in order to name all of God’s created animals.  Modern scientists still do not know exactly how many species exist on the planet but it is estimated to be between 9,000 and 10,000 different types.  Let’s see how long it takes you to come up with original names for each one of these groups and then remember them all.  Where did Adam get these names?   Notice in this chapter that God brings the animals to Adam and says “whatever the man calls it that is what it will be called” (Gen 2:19).  This statement implies that it was an independent man only naming operation that transpired.  God would direct the animals across Adam’s path and Adam would use his independent reasoning abilities to name them all.  This teaches me that Adam used his own personal mind, thoughts and reasoning abilities to name all of the animals and God did not contribute His abilities or thoughts into Adam’s mental thought process.  There is no stated time for how long this took Adam but the fact that it happened is good enough for me.  I want you to see that it is clear that Adam must have had a desire to name the animals or he would not have done it.  This displays the unique quality of drive, initiative, curiosity and desire; in other words Adam’s human will was a contributing factor in this Animal naming process.  Therefore the second part of the triune soul called the human will was a confirmed factor that Adam had to possess.  The fact that Adam did something without being told to do it demonstrates not only intelligence but also his freewill choice and the right to make a decision.

Consider all of the mentioned components of the soul of man; each component of the human soul has some significance in the story of Adam in Genesis 2.   God says in Genesis 2:6 that he formed the body of the man from the dust of the ground and then breathed a spirit into his body and Adam became a living soul.  This confirms that the soul of man exists only after the spirit is introduced.  This makes man the unique part of God’s creation.  You can see that every animal has a soul but without any spirit.  The fact that Adam shows interest in God’s creatures demonstrates a unique human quality that is unlike any creature that was displayed before Adam.   No other animal looked at Adam to attempt to name him.  What God was teaching Adam by parading His creation before Adam was the fact that there was no one else like him on the planet.  God showed him the whole of his work in this world and nothing that God created on the planet was Adam’s equal.  That is why God created the woman because God says it was not good for the man to be alone.  That statement by God proves Adam was an independent being separate from God.    Adam has demonstrated the three qualities of the human soul in this chapter.  This was just a quick introduction to the topic of where did Adam get his soul.  I tried to show you that Adam’s soul came as a designed pattern for God’s soul but it came void of God’s divine soul fullness.  I hope you understand these quick points, I just don’t have the time to explain them in greater detail right now.

SOUL VS. SPIRIT BEFORE AND AFTER DEATH

I am now going to provide further confirmation that the soul is not the spirit and the spirit is not the soul and give you evidence that they both still exist after death.   You may have heard me say this before but it is always a good practice to find at least 2 verses in the Bible that impart the same truth.  When we locate two verses in two different books of the Bible that demonstrate the same truth, we know this is a truth that God has firmly established by the mouth of 2 witnesses.   I think we have covered this fairly well but there is more to it that needs to be studied.  Previously I believe I stated the soul and the spirit to be hidden unseen qualities of a man.  I linked the soul and spirit to internal parts of the human not connected to the physical body and that is potentially a controversial statement since everyone knows the human brain is the container for the mind.  Or at least that is what people think in error and we will talk more about this soon.   Let’s go to the New Testament and see what God reveals on the subjects of soul and spirit:

  • Heb 4:12  For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

We are going to continue with the mind part of the soul.  In this verse God declares His word to be a sword of division capable of dividing the human soul from the human spirit.  Spirit, soul and body are all technically mentioned in some form in this verse.   Joints and marrow are body sub-components just as thoughts and intents are soul sub-components.   The spirit is directly mentioned in this verse to be separate from the soul.  But why then does God mention the heart at the end of the verse and not the spirit?  What is the difference between heart and spirit?   Here is where we get into more potentially complex discussions.  The Body as you recall is the outer layer component to the inner concentric circles of man.  The body layer is followed by the middle circle layer of the soul ending with the center circle layer of the spirit.  So the heart of a man is that which lies underneath the outer layer.  I believe the heart of a man normally refers to both his spirit and his soul together and I will try to explain this as I go.

Many people confuse the spirit and the soul to be like Siamese twins joined together at the “S”.  This verse appears to imply this relationship but it also clearly says that they can be separated, detached, parted, or divided revealing them to be unique separate human qualities.   Consider what is not directly stated here.  If the word of God says the soul can be separated from the spirit, this would tend to show that they are normally always linked together.  In other words where the spirit goes, the soul will surely follow.  I then want you to consider why it takes the Word of God to separate the soul from the spirit?  Is there anything more powerful than the Word of God?   I do not know of anything that exists that is more powerful than the Word of God.   God spoke the world into existence and that is enough proof for me but I’ll give you Hebrews 1:3 for you to research.  You may not understand that the soul and spirit are normally linked but this is actually a very true statement and I will show you verses that confirm this belief shortly.

Earlier I stated the soul is a triune structure consisting of the “mind”, the “will” and the “emotions”.  This verse in Hebrews lists two of these three parts leaving out the emotions.  The “thoughts” of man are linked to the human mind’s functionality.  You think and therefore you are.   The “intents’ of the soul mentioned in Hebrews 4:12 are the parts of you that produce purpose, drive and ability and these give you choice.   You mind is a very complex designed part of your being.  I could spend a lot of time on this subject but that would be a better separate lesson.   Know the soul is the location for your thoughts, your memories, your reasoning, your desires, your emotions, etc.   Also understand that God says that your thoughts and intents are for your spirit and not for your body.  This brings me to the next part of the lesson question.  What happens to the human soul after the death of the human body?   I’ve already shown you Bible evidence that states the spirit departs when the death of the human body occurs.  Therefore, that leaves us to decide does the human mind just cease to exist after death?  That is what some ignorant Bible teachers claim; they call this belief the doctrine of “Soul Sleep”.   They define the state of soul sleep to be an unconscious state of existence that is experienced by the spirit until the judgment day and suddenly they are all awakened by God and are back to normal.  This belief practically denies the existence of heaven and hell and ignores a lot of the truth in the Bible that counters this belief.   It is a very foolish belief that cannot be fully confirmed with all the scripture.  For example let me give you something that Jesus taught on the subject of the soul and spirit:

  • Luk 16:19  There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
  • Luk 16:20  And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

Read this story told by Jesus very carefully and give it vigilant consideration.  This information is a real literal historical story known by Jesus and not a parable as many fools claim it to be.   If it was a parable Jesus is going to state two obvious lies and one of them is found here in this 20th verse.  Jesus called the beggar directly by the name of Lazarus.  If this was not a real man named Lazarus then the story has become a work of fiction, a make believe account, and a fabrication of unimportant information.   If Lazarus does not literally exist Jesus would not have given us his name to make himself a liar.  What I am doing is countering a false teaching that attempts to explain away this real life story to make it a parable.  These soul sleep teachers have to do this in order to support the rest of their false doctrines.   You see the popular approach to discrediting any conflicting verses in the Bible that disagree with your belief is to explain them away using human reasoning.  This is a very common technique for deception.  They will take the truth and change it into a lie to help support the other lies that they claim are also the truth.   Ok, let’s continue with the information from Jesus.

  • Luk 16:22  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;

Notice that both men are stated to die a physical death and that their physical bodies are buried in the earth.   Then notice the wording that is used here to tell what happens to them.  What was carried away by the angels?  Did you happen to notice that the body in the ground was not them?  It was the real man that was being carried away and it was their bodies that were being buried.  Here we have the separation of the spirit from the body.    We have a very clear separation of the internal unseen man from his seen body.  Are you making any connections here?   Since the body of man was separated from the spirit of man at the time of death what happened to the soul?  Does the soul cease to exist?  That is the problem with what is being taught in many ignorant churches, they are ignoring what the Bible says on the subject to believe more untruths.   We are about to find out from words spoken out of the mouth of the creator God what happens to their souls so pay attention to what God says:

  • Luk 16:23  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
  • Luk 16:24  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
  • Luk 16:25  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.

Use basic logic observing what is literally stated for us to learn from.    We can understand easily that everyone mentioned here is dead, right?    Abraham is dead from reading Genesis 25:8.  Lazarus we just read has died and is with Abraham.  Finally the rich man in hell was also a dead man from the same story that Jesus was using as an example warning.  These are three dead individuals that have all departed leaving their bodies on the earth.  Notice that Jesus mentions Abraham another real man and this is the second lie that Jesus told if this story is not a literal account that actually happened to Abraham.  We cannot hear a story of a real named man and conclude it to be anything but a lie if it did not actually happen.  No this is all an actual account given by Jesus stating the literal truth.  Then notice everyone that is mentioned can see, think, feel and talk.  We can easily understand from what is stated the rich man in hell literally feels the torment of the flames.  He sees Abraham and Lazarus a far distance away from the flames and asks for a drop of water to cool his tongue.  The key word that I want you to focus on is found in verse 25.  Abraham looks at the rich man and tells him to “remember”.    A memory is nothing but the recollection of real past events that were personally experienced.  I can’t remember what you did yesterday because I don’t know what you did.  We all have memories either good or bad and these are an intimate part of our mind and our soul.  Therefore, the soul of man is definitely present with the spirits of all of the men after death.    The rich man was still able to remember, to think, to reason, and to see and speak.  Without the soul and the mind none of this would have been possible.  There are many other things to learn from this story but that was the key points that I needed you to see in order to understand the existence and location of the soul after death.   Let’s look into another Bible story that is applicable to learn about the soul of man.

  • Mar 9:2  And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.
  • Mar 9:3  And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
  • Mar 9:4  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus.

Here we have another literal story that happens while Jesus was physically present on the earth.   Jesus takes three disciple witnesses with Him for them to tell us what was about to occur.  These disciples observe Jesus being transfigured and suddenly two men appear with Him.  Notice, who these men are that join Jesus on the mountain.  Elijah did not die and was raptured up but Moses certainly died by reading Deuteronomy 34:7.  Did you know that the O.T. law of God prohibits talking to the dead?  Uh oh!  That is a problem until you realize Jesus was actually speaking to two living men and not dead ones.  The fact that Moses’ body had died does not make Moses a dead man.  The spirit of Moses is alive and present hundreds of years after his physical death.  Then notice the mind of Moses is still intact with his spirit since he is clearly able to hold an intelligent conversation with the Lord.   That is so important to learn what is being taught in the Word of God.  Spirits still have souls and these reside with their spirits after the body has died.  Let’s look at another verse that will assist us with this truth:

  • Rev 21:4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Let’s shift our focus to a prophetical verse about the future.   Here in this verse God declares that He will wipe away every tear.   Who is this that God is wiping away their tears?  Probably a better question would be “Why do they have tears to wipe away”?  If you read the preceding context you will discover that God is wiping the tears from people.  Not just any people, because these are the people of God that God lives in eternity with.  That means two things that are very relevant to answer the soul questions.  First the presence of the soul is confirmed in the future tense because the tears that are flowing represent the presence of their emotions.   Tears normally flow as a result of hurt, pain, sorrow, sadness or other related emotional conditions.  There is also the term “tears of joy” and that might also apply to what is being stated here.  Remember that I told you the soul was comprised of the mind the will and the emotions.   Every one of these subjects is implied to exist in the eternal man.   Why do people cry at funerals?  They cry simply because they can, but not only that they cry because they love and remember their friend, spouse, child, parent or other relative that has departed.   Therefore, memories play an important role in why tears are present.   Emotions play a role in the existence of tears.   Finally the human will plays a role in shedding tears because I have seen many choke them back to keep them from flowing.   What this does is to help confirm that the soul of man will never cease to exist.

I have just given you three great examples of man after death on the earth that still possess their souls with their memories, thoughts, wills and emotions all being implied present with their spirits.   The soul of man is an eternal part of the human composition and it will never cease to exist.  That brings us to the last part of the question; what about the soul here in this life?   You see there is another popular lie from Satan that is taught even in modern medical universities that when a human brain flat lines with no activity that the body is clinically dead and the plug should be pulled.  Is that what Jesus said?  Is that what the Bible teaches?  How does that belief line up with the truth found in God’s Word?  Didn’t the spirit of man still possess the mind even after his spirit left his body?   What I am saying is that your mind and your memory have nothing to do with your physical brain cells.  None of the dead men in Luke 16 had any physical brain cells and every one of them could still see, speak, think and remember like they were in their bodies and probably better.   I didn’t give you the full story in this lesson but you can go back and read it to see that the rich man in hell remembered his brothers that were left behind on the earth and he desired (used his will) that they be warned not to come to the same place of torment with him.  If this man remembered his life here on the earth, then every man after death can still remember his life in the past.  Here is another ending point for the rich man, not only did he remember his brothers on the earth he knew who Abraham was and Abraham had died long before he did.  You are going to know a lot of people after you die that you have never seen before.  This is just very basic knowledge based upon the Bible.  I pray that you will see it.

WHY DOES MENTAL ILLNESS EXIST?

How then do we resolve life’s soul issues?   What are the source causes for mind problems?   The existence of emotional and mental issues in this life is certainly present.  Why are there lapses in memory such as amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease where the recollection is lost?   Why are their mental hospitals and physiatrists to try to help people with unstable normal thought patterns and emotions?  I’m not going to spend a lot of time addressing this subject because it could potentially be very long and very complex.  I will however point you to a few Bible stories that will help begin the understanding process for why these types of things occur in the natural realm even when the soul is not literally tied to the physical brain cells.   Let’s start this part of the lesson with this scripture verse:

  • 2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Did you see who God claims to be the source for mind issues?  The god of this world is a title given by God to the devil and Satan.  He rules the night and the kingdom of darkness of this world.   Darkness is nothing but the absence of light.  Since God is light, the loss of God represents darkness.   Now consider what blindness represents?  Can you see in the dark?  Have you ever been in a cave and they turned the lights off?  The darkness is so thick there that you feel like it engulfs you.   Naturally speaking, blindness is the inability to see illuminated objects clearly or at all.  Since the mind is an internal human component, how does Satan blind a person’s mind?  Did you even know that the human mind had vision?  Perhaps you have heard of the mind’s eye?  This concept is the visualization of concepts, ideas, knowledge so that they are clearly understood.   What God is saying is when a person has been blinded in their minds by Satan, the information enters their ears, but does not pass deeply enough to remain planted.  It is very much like the parable of the sower where Jesus said the birds of the air come quickly to devour the Word of God that was planted in their hearts.   You really need to give this information serious thought.  I’m not going to talk about this in great depth because I am running very long in this lesson already.  Just understand that if Satan can blind your mind then that is an area of the soul that is open for attack by a foreign spiritual being.    Let’s see if we can verify some of these concepts using other verses in the Bible.  I will continue this part of the lesson with the confirmation that the process of thinking within our minds is linked to the spirit of man and not the natural body or brain:

  • Mat 9:4  And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Jesus looking at some people knew their internal unseen thoughts and asked them a question that was very revealing to what we are studying.  Jesus clearly is speaking of the soul thought realm and he leads us to these thoughts being attached to their spirits and never mentions their physical brain activity.  Do you think the creator God knew what He was talking about here?  There is no reference to the body anywhere in the context.   Little clues like this are hidden in the Bible in some of the most unlikely settings.  Truth is concealed so well in the Bible that it is easily overlooked by the casual reader.  Everyone is focusing on what Jesus is doing while ignoring what He just said.

  • Pro 23:7  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Again God connects the location of the thought process to be within the center of the man called his soul and spirit and not within the physical body, the brain or the external natural realm.  The heart of man is not the physical blood pump organ, it is the center or core of the human like the heart of an apple is the center of the piece of fruit.  I’ve said this before but for those that need to hear it again that was for you.   This is the basics of God’s truth found in the scripture and that is what is needed for your understanding of the subject of the soul.  Now let’s observe what the Bible says about the cause of human mental issues:

  • Luk 8:26  And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
  • Luk 8:27  And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.

Let us perceive what is happening in this Bible account of the Lord Jesus.  They are passing through a part of the country to a town called Gadara.    They encounter a man that is far from normal.  Physically speaking he has issues, but mentally speaking he is off the charts and can be labeled crazy or a mad man.   He wore no clothes and lived in tombs.  These are clear signs of a deep mental illness but they are attributed to the presence of devils.  What we are going to discover by study of the Bible is that demons, devils, or unclean spirits cause the majority of the mental issues found in the people that Jesus encountered.

  • Luk 8:28  When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.

You can see from this statement that the man is unaware of the presence of the devils.  He does not ask to be delivered from them and is directed by the demons to ask Jesus not to torment them.  The reference is to the man, but the thought for the spoken words surely originates from the demons.   Clearly this man is possessed of devils.   These devils can manifest vocally and take over the voice of a human speaking through his body.  This is normally not an ordinary human voice and can be easily identified to those that are spiritually aware.

  • Luk 8:29  (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
  • Luk 8:30  And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
  • Luk 8:31  And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

You can see that Jesus understood that the devils were present and He had commanded them to come out of the man, but that was not the end of the conversation.  It is obvious that the demons did not depart on the first command and asked more questions.  Jesus then asked for their name.  The man replied “legion” because there were many devils in his body tormenting his mind.   It would be like having a thousand voices in your head and each one driving you into a state of madness and that is what was happening to this man.  I’m going to skip down to the end of the story since that is the important part to understand about the subject of mental illness.  After Jesus cast the tormenting spirits out of the madman this is what occurred:

  • Luk 8:38  Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
  • Luk 8:39  Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.

Here we can see with the absence of the devil influence being present the man had returned to a sound and stable mental state and wearing clothes.   The new normal man wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus instructed him to go back to his former house and live like a normal man like he did before he went crazy.  We have just witnessed a full circle of mental illness that went through the stages of first being normal, then becoming crazy and finally a full recovery with spiritual deliverance to again being normal.   The fact that the devils were present during the crazy times proves that they were the cause for the mental illness. The man starts out as normal, but does something that allows the devils access to enter him to take over and control his mind, he then goes crazy until Jesus comes by and delivers him.  This deliverance only occurred because of the power and the authority that Jesus used to solve this man’s abnormal situation.   Let’s move to another story found in the Bible that is also related to mental and physical instability:

  • Mar 9:17  And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;

Again we see the presence of a spirit being related as the cause of an abnormal human conditions.  This stated dumb spirit is not the human child’s spirit even though that is also certainly present since the boy is physically alive.   Read the next verse to see what this spirit causes to happen in this boy’s body and mind:

  • Mar 9:18  And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

Is any of this description normal human behavior for a child?  I seriously do not think we can call any of this foaming at the mouth, seizures, gnashing of the teeth, and shriveling or shrinking away normal human behavior.   If you took this description to a physiatrist without explaining where you got the information from the Bible they would probably request an immediate meeting with this person very fast.  I believe it is a clear account of a mentally unstable individual.   I’m not going to go through the entire story because you can do that for yourself.  What you will find is that Jesus casts the devil out and the child returns again to normal human behavior.

What we learn from these two simple stories is that mental issues are largely originated from evil spirits being present in the bodies of the humans.    When the evil spirits depart or more specifically are cast out, normalcy returns and humans can resume their lives.  What we discover is that the human actions of an individual can be controlled by or at least certainly influenced by the existence of evil spirits.  That was a very quick overview of soul issues and deliverance.  Deliverance is possible still today because Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.

CONCLUSION

I believe this has been an incomplete discussion of the full subject of the soul given to us by God in the Bible.  However, in this lesson, I have demonstrated to you from the Bible that the soul is not the spirit and the spirit is not the soul of a human.  A human being is a spirit that has a soul and lives in a body here in the natural realm.  I have also shown you that man was created in the image of God and that God is a Spirit and that He has a soul and these were the patterns for man’s spirit and soul.  I have given you more than adequate evidence from the Bible that states the soul of man does not cease to exist after death and the separation of the human spirit from the body.  We have seen more than enough verses that teach us the soul and the spirit exist separate from the body.   Finally, at the end of this lesson I showed you how the soul realm was within the realm of influence of evil spirits.  I believe I gave sufficient evidences to prove that mental illness is caused by demonic possession.   There are probably another thousand verses in the Bible on this subject.  It would be good for you to go and see if you can find them if you truly desire to know more about this subject from the true authority.   If you run across verses that you do not understand you are welcome to ask me questions and if I know anything I will share it.   I hope and pray that you learned something that you did not know before on the human soul and triune composition of man.  I thank you for your time to study the Bible and may God bless you with the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus (Eph 1:16).

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About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on January 22, 2013, in Answers, Bible Study and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Very informative, good word as the Bible declares it. I have received a lot of information.
    Thank you.

  2. Jean A.N. Kalilani

    Thank you. The whole day today , I was glued to your teachings. I would like to study and read more about :- body , soul and spirit. I have a strong desire to know more. I find your write up very reaveling . Can I get online studies on the topic of human body,soul and spirit ? Kindly guide me. You are a golden opportunity to me.

  3. l am blessed by reading this …its unbelievable.thankyou.where can l find more like this on different subjects.thankyou again

  4. Hi Bro Ron

    I started searching for Biblical Truths using google, but I realized that I was not getting truths that quoted from the Bible, then I decided to search for What the Bible says.

    I wanted to know about the Human soul because a very good friend of mine told me about this sleep unconsciousness.

    I remembered one of your lessons saying that this was not Biblically truthful. as I searched I came upon this lesson and was so happy. You have done it again. You have strengthen my belief. I’ll continue to search.

    I am not asking for your help as yet because I always find where you have done a lesson already on what is not very clear to me, when I cannot find any of your lessons on the topic, only then would I ask for your help.

    You have published a lot and I know that God would keep on revealing His Truths to you so that you can keep on blessing us and in turn HE is GLORIFIED.

    Your method of using the Bible to interpret the Bible is so sound. There is no other teacher doing it quite like you. You are truly BLESSED. God Bless. My AGAPE LOVE. PLEASE DO NOT STOP

    Sis Brenda

  5. Mr. Debajyoti Sarkar

    Thank you very much for replying to my questions. The more I study your in-depth teachings,the more I am illuminated and feel how less I know about the Bible.May God continue to enrich us through your teachings.

  6. Debajyoti Sarkar

    You have stated that animals do not have spirit.But Ecclesiastes 3:21 says that spirit of the beast goes down to the earth.Would you kindly clarify this verse?

    • First off there is more than one truth in the Bible and we must balance them all together before we take one verse to mean this is all of the truth above the rest. The Hebrew word translated as “spirit” in ECC 3:21 is a word that means “breath” and certainly animals and humans have breathing lungs that take in oxygen and exhale it back into the atmosphere. So reread the verse with this meaning and see if that helps or changes anything. It is clear to me that ECC 3:21 is saying man goes up and beasts (animals) go down to the ground. No where in the Bible does it declare that animals are made in the image and likeness of God. God is a Spirit John 4:24. If man is made in His image and likeness then man is also a spirit. Therefore animals cannot be a spirit for many reasons. First off the Bible does not permit man to kill man and eat him like a cannibal. However, God does permit man to kill animals and eat them repeatedly in the Bible. Further the sacrifices in the O.T. were clearly animals and never humans. Therefore animals are not like men and men are not like animals. I hope you can see this more clearly now. In conclusion just because an animal has breath does not mean it has a spirit. Just because the same Hebrew word is used both for “breath” and for “spirit” does not mean an animal has them both and man does not have them both. For example read this verse carefully:

      Psa 18:15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

      The Hebrew word translated as “Breath” is the same one translated as “spirit” in ECC 3:21. Here it is used to describe the Spirit of God breathing through His nostrils. Clearly God has both breath and is a Spirit and man is made in the same image and likeness.

      Thank you for your questions and may God bless you as we continue to learn about His Word.

  7. hi, i just read your email in response to my asking about michael the arcc angel being jesus or what your view on it was. I am led by the holy spirit it is just that I have a friend that is jehova witness and I was looking for a way to help her understand that her beliefs are not GODs truth and I thought you would be the perfect one to ask because I believe that you are the best bible teacher I have ever run acrossed and I thought I could basically use your explanation, anyway, she is not easy to study with she always wants to go back to her religious beliefs and not really seek the truth. I am thinking of not having bible study with her because I dont think I can help her, she is closed minded to alot of bible truth. she actually believes that when we die we are like our dogs and our soul dies with us and that only 144,000. people or saints will be allowed in heaven. i just wanted to thank you for you help and bible studies. I will continue to read your site every chance I get. GOD BLESS

  8. I really appreciate your deep commitment to the deeper knowledge of the word of God. I do check your views on any complex biblical subject before I spend days exploring and praying about it. However I found you sometimes to be very defensive ,like calling the not so-called very spiritually savvy ignorant and a few other names. Could be your teaching style,just wanted to point this out. I am a daily reader and God bless your work for His kingdom. Thank you

  9. Michele Struzzieri

    Very thorough discussion on the soul. Could you comment on the scripture Matt 22:37, that distinguishes the sould and mind?Thanks.

    • Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

      That is an interesting verse that at first glance appears to contradict with what I have said. I guess it depends upon your perspective. I believe I pointed out that I can see how the “heart” in the N.T. can be used as an all-inclusive description for both the spirit and the soul. I call the heart of man the unseen man of the heart and this would certainly include both. I gave you Hebrews 4:12 in the lesson where God says His power is able to divide these two but this seems to imply that they are inseparable otherwise. So your concern is simply because God mentions soul and mind in one single verse that they are now two different things. I do not see it that way. If you search the N.T. you will find that in many cases the Greek Word translated here as soul is also very commonly translated as “life”. Change the word soul in the verse to life and reread it. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your life, and with your entire mind. I see the verse as being a list of the same item using a downward progression in the level of detail. I believe that the heart is being labeled as the general overall internal part of a man where our love for someone resides. I then believe the soul/life is being focused in on as the more narrow specific location for this emotion of love. I then believe that it is with the mind that God says we choose to express this love with our thoughts. Let me give you an example. If I say that I love my wife but while we are having sex I am thinking about another woman is that a good representation of my love? I mean outwardly she might not know but inwardly I have a problem. I think you can see my point. Let me give you another verse that might help to clarify:

      Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

      Here God says these men are doing good things externally but internally they are failing me. I think God is simply emphasizing how we need to love Him from the inside out and that inward parts must be in agreement with our outward expressions. Your thoughts of love in your mind must agree with your emotions of love in your life and this must agree with the expression of your love coming from your heart. Because I love my wife I think of only her constantly and how that I might please her. So I believe God desires the same combined expression from us towards Him. Let’s change the verse that you questioned and reread it:

      Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy inward parts (heart), and with all thy life (soul), and with all thy thoughts (mind).

      Do you still think they are talking about different things? Isn’t that verse just talking about what real love is?

  10. Thanks again for this awesome study. Could you please elaborate more on this :
    ” It seems that there is a direct connection between the air passages and the internal invisible spirit of the human that resides in the body. I haven’t proved that yet, but maybe I will get to that part later. If not and you want to know where this is in the Bible you can ask a question.”
    Blessings

    • There is a direct connection in the Bible between the human air passages and more specifically the mouth and the spirit of man. We find this originally in Genesis 2:7 where God’s Spirit breathes into the nostrils of Adam and Adam becomes a living soul. Since God is a Spirit and God used the human air passage to get Adam’s spirit inside his body then there is a stated association that needs to be observed. Go look up the original Hebrew and Greek word definitions that is translated as “Spirit”. The Greek word G4151 is a word that means a current of air as in a breath blast. Clearly God is connecting the human spirit with the human air passages. Then think with me about how you speak words? Isn’t speaking words dependent upon the exhale of the air from your lungs? Therefore, words are the outward expression from what was previously internal. To answer your question using other verses in the Bible let me start with this one where Jesus is teaching a lesson:

      Mat 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.

      Jesus connects our spoken words to originate from our internal components. God says whatever is abundantly in your heart (spirit, soul, mind, thoughts, etc.) is what will come out your mouth. We have a major external air passage being connected to your internal spirit. Let’s take this to next level with these words:

      Joh 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

      Take these words and analyze what Jesus has just revealed. Jesus essentially says “My spoken words are my Spirit”. I believe that we cannot separate God’s spoken Words from being God’s Spirit. According to John 1:1 they are the equivalent same. Man being created in the image and likeness of God I believe would be no different. I believe our spoken words are also connected to our spirits. There are many verses that we could talk about in this discussion but I’ll give you two that I find very interesting found in Revelation:

      Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.

      This verse is talking about the two witnesses sent to the great city of Jerusalem. They prophecy for 1260 days and fire comes out of their mouth. I do not see this to be literal fire but rather symbolism for power. This power is able to consume those that try to attack them. It is clear to me that it is spiritual and it is connected to the mouth. One more verse that I think is also important:

      Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

      Unclean spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon. Does that fit the pattern to what I have been saying? I think these are both literal and symbolic simultaneously. The words that the prophet speaks are spirit based and they can enter into the hearts of the people to deceive them. I see many verses like these in the Bible where words are spirit, spirits are words and the mouth is the main expression point for them both.

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