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Man is a complex being. Bible teaches that man is a Trinity consisting of spirit, soul and body. Thus
1 Thess:5:23 says, "May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit, soul and body be kept sound and blameless."
Very often the spirit and the soul are confused because of their close affinity and characteristics.
However Hebrews 4:12 says, "for the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword piercing to the division of soul and spirit; of joints and marrow; discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Thus soul and spirit are distinct entities as the joint and marrow are or thought and the intentions of the heart are.

BODY offers no confusion and exists in the three dimensional material world as well as in time. Though we refer to body as one unit it itself is a complex system.  Medical science describes the complexity of the body function.  Essentially we can divide it into three parts.  Flesh, bones and blood each with its own complex systems. The Body  has an additional capacity for life-function that includes behavioral capabilities.    Both these together produce the life the Body of man separates him as a distinct entity from the material world.  It provides five senses thorough which man get all his information about the external world.  These are really not information as received but are simply sensations which are logically analyzed by the brain – mind and then becomes meaningful information. These are five windows of man to the outside world.  These are specialized animal function or mechanism such as sight, hearing, smell, taste, and  touch which basically involve a stimulus and a sense organ.  These are the inputs and one-way valves. Tertullian,  (150-220 A.D) explained that the body was the area of "world-consciousness," the soul was the area of "personal-consciousness," and the spirit was the area of "God-consciousness."  


The other parts of the body helps in the input and acts as the output.  The greatest and most powerful output organ is the tongue. 

Mat 15:18  But the things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the heart; and they defile the man.

Luk 6:45  The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

SOUL is associated with the personality of man, his intellect, mind, wisdom, emotions etc. Soul is the field of ideas where experiences are analyzed, stored and interpreted on the basis of previous experiences. Without it events becomes meaningless. Relationships are perceived by the soul. Laws of nature (material and spiritual) are derived in the soul. The observed facts of physical world are simply matter and its motion. The laws of the physical world are perceived out of the mental modeling into velocity, acceleration, force , fields, etc. Soul therefore is the real person as we think of a person’s personality. It is the soul that sin and is held responsible for man’s behavior. Both the Chaldean word ‘nephes’ and the Greek word ‘psucho’ means animal soul. Thus the soul is generated, inherits the generic experiences and then goes on to grow as the person grows.

Just as body is complex, the soul is also complex.  Christian Psychologists divide it in three parts: mind ,will and emotions.  Others divide it as conscious mind, Subconscious mind and super-conscious mind. The following chart will explain these parts and their functions.  The gate way into soul from the body is the brain.  The stimuli are directed to the brain where they are decoded or translated and the information is directed to the  conscious mind. Thus the brain appears to be the gate – the dividing assunder of Body and Soul 


SPIRIT is very similar to the soul. It is the life principle. It is the spirit that gives the body its life. Spirit is the life giving go-between between soul and body. It is the spirit that act as a cohesive force, the glue or communicator between the other two dimensions. Without the life giving spirit body and soul cannot coexist. When the spirit leaves the body (i.e. life goes out) the soul separates from the body.

If however the spirit , the soul and the body existed in entirely different dimensions, they could not have interacted as it really does. It should therefore be assumed that they share at least some dimensions with each other. Just as any two perpendicular lines share one common point, or two perpendicular planes share one common line, the three fields of spirit, soul and body must be sharing some points together, either together or pair wise. As the body (which is material - corporal) exists in space-time, soul and spirit must be having their own dimensions of existence. Time is one dimension is common to all the three - or at least by soul and body. But in order to explain the power of the spirit over the body, mind over matter, some other contacts must be present. Except for the sweeping statement,

"the world was created by the Word of God, so that which is seen was made out of things that do not appear." (Heb. 11:3), we do not have any analysis in depth over these matters in the Bible.


FIG. 1


A crude model of man, therefore, can be constructed as in fig.1 Each reality exists in several dimensions of their own and shares one or more dimensions with each other. Intense interactions takes place between these three fields thus constituting man. We can consider these as sheaths in the traditional Vedic approach of Kosa. I am encouraged and justifies by a similar interpretation given by our Early Father Justin Martyr, the second century father of Christian Apologetics. In his essay on "Resurrection" he uses the model. "The body is the house of the soul, and the soul the house of the spirit." (ca A.D 155) So for the sake of modeling we will use it. We could of course interchange the positions of the spirit and soul to indicate the dependence of body and soul on spirit and that they gets separated if the spirit leave the body. However the analysis that follow will not be affected by this change in the model.


When God decided to create man God said, "Let us make man in our image after our likeness." "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God, he created him; male and female he created them." Gen. !:26-28 Thus man should in all respects reflect the Trinitarian God, apart from the male and female aspect. The authoritative exposition of Trinity is given by Jesus in Matthew 28:19 as: "in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

The picture of FATHER is one of a person who does not have a form (Deut. 4:15) Yet he asserts himself as the great "I AM THAT I AM" - the YAHVEH- the Soul of God, the personality of God. (Ex. 3:14). It is the Father who directs the actions and controls as the great supreme person in the Godhead. So the father send the Son into the world. (Jn. 12:19) The Father did sent the Holy Spirit into the world. (Jn. 15:26)

SON is the Word of God out of which all things were created. "He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creations; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. He is created before all things, and in him all things hold together." Col. 1:15-17 "In him we live and move and have our being." (Act. 17:28) "By faith we understand that the world was created by the Word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things that does not appear." Heb.11 :3 The implication is that Jesus is the pre-matter - the body aspect of God. So as in creation the Word became the matter, the later ‘the Word became flesh." Thus the recreation of the world and the redemption of bodies from decay and death, Jesus has the creative role. He provides the resurrected body, but sanctification and acceptance of man’s soul will have to proceed from the Father himself. (Heb. 10:10)

The HOLY SPIRIT is the spirit aspect of God. The spirit is the life giving force - the creative force which acting on matter gives birth to life. Thus in Gen. 1:2 "the spirit of God moved upon the face of the earth" in the creation to bring forth life. "Body apart from spirit is dead." (Ja.. 2:26). "being put to death in flesh, but alive in spirit" (1 Pe. 3:18) "the written word kills, but the spirit gives life to your mortal bodies also through his spirit which dwells in you." (Rom. 8:11). The Holy Spirit which is coeternal and coequal with Father and Son is the cause of the awareness of the Trinity as unity.

Thus man is the image of God as a Trinity, but not in identity as the New Age group, the Hindu Advaitas teach. As the word is different from gross matter, so is the Father Consciousness Self (The Paramatman) different from man’s consciousness (Jeevatman). However as the Word became matter, God to man relation and difference is one of generation difference, whatever that may mean. This is reflected in the Genealogy of Jesus where Luke states that Adam was the son of God. (Luke 3:38)

Fig. 2 


[God exists in multiple dimensions. Dimensions of Word, Spirit and the Soul. In each dimension his personality is distinct but it is the same God in fullness. This teaching is in essence the teaching of Trinity. Three persons in one God. The three aspects are not aspects of a person seen differently by different people at different occasions as the Monarchists would suggest. Nor are they distinct and separate in the sense of disjointed one emanating from the other or created by the other as the Arians suggest. We will not go into the teaching of Trinity. However this is mentioned here, just to avoid the tendency towards these age old heresies. This study is the study on Man.]


Gen. 2:7 describes the act of creation of man thus:, "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." The body of man is created out of matter the essence of which is Jesus., in whose image it is created and by the Word of God (i.e. Jesus - the Logos) Then God gives the spirit, the breath of life, the essence of which is the Spirit of God. And man became a living soul. God did not create the soul - it came into existence as a result of the interaction of the spirit on matter..

We can see here why man is the likeness of God. The soul belongs to man alone in that he has the right to be what he wants to be. Why God created man like that is a different problem. That is the sovereign will of God. Who are we to question? It remains that man was created with a free will which God respects. The soul is thus a qualitatively new entity evolved out of the interaction of matter and spirit and has an existence by itself. Once generated it grows, gathering more and more experiences. The mind of man stores up all the experiences and its analysis by the intellect for future reference. It is like an immense computer. Human brain contains some ten to the power ten nerve cells which can act in ten to the power eight hundred ways. Compare this with the total number of atoms in the universe which is estimated as ten to the power one hundred only. Thus each human mind is capable of storing the entire data for recreating the entire universe. But soul is not the brain. Brain is only material - a part of the human body. It is the hardware. The soul never decay or die (2 Cor. 5:1), but is "renewed every day". (2 Cor. 4:16). It is renewed in that it revises its entire material on the basis of experience constantly. It updates itself instantly in time. When a man dies, his soul is separated and maintains its identity. The independent existence of the soul outside the body is corroborated in various places in the Bible. In 1 Ki. 17: 17-24 Elijah recalls the soul of the widow’s child, and ‘ the soul of the child returned unto him’. In all the raising of the dead , Jesus recalled the soul that these people came back with the same personality, except probably of updating due to their death experience. It was not giving back life to a dead body that was once the person. It was the return of the person himself. Even in the resurrection of our Lord we see the same . The resurrected Jesus was the same Jesus that the disciples knew. But he was more because of the resurrection. What happens to the soul on death? At death soul goes to a bounded space in the soul dimension. This place is variously called. Two different spaces could be identified. One is called the Sheol (which means the Unseen State) (Ps. 86:13; 16:10; Jon 2:2) and Hades (means the unseen world) (LK 16:23; Act. 2:27,31; Rev. 20:13) or Pits of the Nether Gloom (2 Pe 2:4; Job 33:18-30). It symbolizes a state of existence not in our material space and is gloomy and undesirable. The second place is Paradise which symbolizes a garden ground (Lk. 23:43) - a place of joy where Jesus’ presence is given to those whom he loves. It was also called Abraham’s Bosom (as in the story of the rich man and Lazarus which Jesus told.). In both these places the souls remain a separate and distinct existence and they cognates mutually. In this sense death is a reincarnation of man into a different dimension with their total personality.

The spirit of man, returns to God who gave it. (Ec. 12:7). So at the cross Jesus committed his spirit to God. (Lk 23:46) The spirit is also the seat of wisdom. While the soul is the total compendium of all experiences and intermediate results of analysis and interpretations in the conscious and unconscious mind, the spirit exhibits the final conclusion derived not only from the external experiences but also from the spirit world experience and inferences. Thus the spirit can be broken (Pro. 15:13; 17:22) vexed (Ec. 2:11), haughty (Pro. 16:18), humble (Pro.16:19), wounded (Pro. 18:4), wise, understanding, judging, counseling and mighty (Is. 4:4; 11:2) Heart is considered as the seat of the spirit (Pro. 15:13) Tongue is related to the heart as its display. Thus, "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks." (Mat. 12:34-35) Speech often discloses what is the state of the heart. This state is in turn decided by what is fed and stored into the mind from the inception. The child starts with a memory module of genetic heredity and builds on it. But then he has the freedom to change, retain, mend, mould or otherwise grow this soul and spirit states according to his will. Circumstances play a vital role in this growth. Social structure, economic circumstances, educational opportunities, friends and relatives, the personalities of the parents etc. all play a vital role in this growth. But along with these external factors there is another space from which the spirit gathers its experience and wisdom - i.e. the spirit world.

The relationship between the spirit of man and the spirit of God is a complex problem. Most Christian thinkers consider it as basic that they are two different entities - Paramatma and Jeevatman dual.. Christian philosophy is Dvaitic. In the figure 2, we have depicted it as sealed or housed (in Justin’s terminology) inner most sheath of man (Job. 27:3; 32:8). These sheaths in the Hindu thought are divided into seven Kosas and the atma is identified as the combination of spirit and soul. If we assume that the spirit of man is the same as the spirit of God as in the sense of water of the sea can be separated off into pools and lake, we have the advaitic approach justified. Here man doesn’t become God as Hindu philosophy argues. The presence of the spirit of God in man does not make him God. It only gives man the experience of God through the spirit. This spirit simply returns to God while the soul of man remain an entity apart from his body. "It is the Spirit himself that bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." (Rom. 8:16)

It is interesting here to compare the creative process between man and the rest of the living beings on earth. The living creatures actually were created by an evolutionary process. Notice the process as described in Genesis. "God said, "let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth’" And it was so." (Gen. 1:11) Similarly in the creation of water creatures it says, "And God said, " Let the water bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens" So God created..." (Gen. 1:20-21) Then the bible goes on to describe the creatures of the land using similar words, "And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kind....." (Gen. 1:24-25) The General formula seems to be: And God said, "Let ...... bring forth ......after its kind....." So we have the creative word which brings forth life, evolves life from the created world. We see no direct intervention of the spirit of God except that of the brooding over (moving over the face of the waters) the matter . Man was also created out of the existing material. But in this case we have the following description. ""Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Here is the direct intervention of breathing which makes man distinct from animals. There is that special direct touch of God in the creation of man. Otherwise man and the rest of the creatures on the earth are identical. In fact God expected man to find a helper from among the creatures. "But for the man there was not found a helper fit for him." because he was distinctly different.

Ecclesiastes declares the great similarity thus: "For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same; one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth? " (Ecc. 3: 19-21) Ecclesiastes therefore perceives that the difference between man and beast is to be found in the spirit that is in man and beast. It is somehow different but still similar. One thing is sure, " ...man goes to his eternal home.....the dust returns to earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." (Ecc.11:5-7) In the creation story we saw that the spirits of creatures were derived from the spirit that created and conglomerated the cosmos. We do not have any correct idea about the spirit of animals. It is certainly different from that of man. Whereas the spirit of man was given directly by God into his nostrils the spirit of beasts were derived from the cosmic creative spirit inherent in the created world..

As in the Genesis creation of the man, Jesus was also taken out of the flesh of man, which was originally taken out of the dust, through Mary, in whom the enveloping (overshadowing) of the Holy Spirit created a living soul. The differences here are first the material was not plain dust, but flesh; second that the spirit within Jesus was Holy Spirit,

he Paramatma and not the spirit of man, Jeevatma. The resultant soul generated, developed in this world and is therefore a perfect man. Thus the model of Jesus in our modeling system will look as in figure 3.


DIVINE  PLANE                               HUMAN  PLANE


DIVINE PLANE                           HUMAN PLANE



We have seen that man can be thought of as a being, which came into existence as a result of the coming in together of the Spirit and  Matter – the two components used in the creation of man.


The material man – the body – reflects as in a mirror, the spiritual man.  Body is made out of matter and the spirit body (astral body as some calls it) is made of spiritual material.
1Co 15:44  … If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Joh 3:6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Joh 6:63  It is the spirit that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing:

Rom 8:4  that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Rom 8:5  For they that are after the flesh mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
Rom 8:6  For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace:
Rom 8:7  because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:
Rom 8:8  and they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

If we live according to the flesh,  i.e. when we are not being led by the Spirit of God, we are being led by: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste.   

Rom 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you. But if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Rom 8:10  And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the spirit is life because of righteousness.
Rom 8:11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you, he that raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall give life also to your mortal bodies through his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12  So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh:
Rom 8:13  for if ye live after the flesh, ye must die; but if by the Spirit ye put to death the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14  For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
Rom 8:15  For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Rom 8:16  The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
Rom 8:17  and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

When man was created, Adam had the freedom in both spiritual and material dimensions.  However as he received the sense stimuli from the spirit world from Satan, God closed the gates from spirit world into the soul in order to protect man.  Today no spirit can enter the soul without the expressed permission from the soul.  This also meant that even the Holy Spirit cannot enter a human heart except when he willfully accept the Holy Spirit.