1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.
This verse cites three elements:
Body: physical - it’s easy for us to see/touch/feel/taste/smell the physical things
Soul: mind, will, emotions –
• This encompasses the emergent aspects that seem to happen in our brain, the things that make each of us unique beings beyond the physical.
• For the most part, we have some level of control over the things that make up our soul.
Spirit: connection with God’s spiritual existence
• It is taught that there is a spiritual existence to God’s Universe that goes beyond the physical things we can sense, and beyond the things that we can understand with our mind/will/emotions.
• That spiritual existence is evident in the seeming “coincidences” of life, the connections between and among us that frequently happen and cause changes in us and in our world.
• It was this spiritual world that Yeshua was trying to teach us all that becoming part of the Kingdom of God is so we can be more aware of it and more effective in it.
• Many of His teachings only make sense when they are viewed through the lens of spiritual existence.
In the Beginning
Genesis 1:26-27 reads, "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them."
“in our image”
– God had prepared the mode in which He would shape man
“after our likeness”
– With the power of understanding and intellect
This is what elevates a human above animal life
- It gives the ability, therefore the responsibility, to use his intelligence in God’s service
- Man alone is endowed – like his creator- with morality, reason, and free will
He can know and love God and can hold spiritual communion with Him.
• Man alone can guide his actions through reason
This is what the Torah means as describing the man as having been created in God’s image and likeness
Genesis 2:7 reads, "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." (KJ)
The Tanakh (OT) consistently translates as “Holy Spirit” the word רוח, (Ruach Ha-Kodesh), referring to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the universe or over God’s creatures.
• It also means wind or breath
The Brit Hadashah (NT) consistently translates as “spirit” the word "pneuma", also meaning wind, breath, or spirit
"Spirit of God"
Variations of a similar term, "spirit of God", also appear in various places in the Hebrew Bible.
The Hebrew noun ruacḥ (רוח) can refer to "breath", "wind", or some invisible moving force (‘spirit’).
The following are some examples of the word ruacḥ (in reference to God's "spirit") in the Hebrew scriptures:
• Genesis 1:2 "a wind from God sweeping over the water"
• 1 Samuel 16:13 "and the spirit of the LORD gripped David from that day on."
• Psalm 143:10 "Let Your gracious Spirit lead me on level ground."
• Isaiah 44:3 "So will I pour My Spirit on your offspring, My blessing upon your posterity."
• Joel 2:28 "I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and daughters shall prophesy."
Other verses help to understand the “soul” as part of this triad:
Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."
Job 33:27-28 "He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit and I will live to enjoy the light.’
Psalm 103:2 "Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."
Matthew 11:29-30 "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Some verses, particularly in the Tanakh (OT), seem to indicate that people “have a spirit” as part of our normal existence:
Genesis 41:8 "So in the morning his spirit was troubled, and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was none who could interpret them to Pharaoh."
1 Samuel 1:15 "But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the LORD."
Other verses seem to indicate that various “spirits” can come onto a person, and sometimes those are the “Spirit of the LORD (YHVH)":
Numbers 5:14 "and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself,"
Judges 6:34 Gideon against Abiezrites
"But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, and Abiezer was gathered after him."
Judges 11:29 Jephthah against Ammonites
"Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon."
I Samuel 11:6 Saul against the Ammonites
"And the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and his anger was greatly kindled."
In the Brit Hadashah (NT) The Holy Spirit is introduced as something that is given to Believers at baptism (or at Pentecost, or in the laying on of hands).
John 16:7 (ESV)
"Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you."
Acts 1:8 (ESV)
"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Five Stages of Soul Growth (Time and Space)
1. Beginning (Genesis) - the earliest years lessons learned in family/close-knit groups
2. Finding Your Name (Exodus) -Young Adult
• Experience questions about who we are/ want to be.
• At the end, a house is built, and peace of God dwells in us
3. God Calls (Leviticus) - Mastered many of the rituals and routines of Adult life.
• Learn how to support others (Love you neighbor as ourselves)
4. Wandering in the Wilderness (Numbers) - Everything is good but suddenly you may have dramatic change of health, family, or work.
• You need courage, leadership, and calm.
5. Revelatory Words (Deuteronomy) - A life Review.
• You affirm some of the principles you live by and revisit your memories.
• You pass on your wisdom.
• You have grown.
The soul is the self, the "I" that inhabits the body and acts through it.
Without the soul, the body is like a light bulb without electricity, a computer without the software, a spacesuit with no astronaut inside.
With the introduction of the soul, the body acquires life, sight. and hearing, thought and speech, intelligence, and emotions, will and desire, personality, and identity.
Life requires a soul to sustain it--a "spark of Godliness" that perpetually imbues its object with being and significance.
A soul is not just the engine of life;
• It also embodies the why of a thing's existence, its meaning and purpose.
• It is a thing's "inner identity”.
Just like the 'soul' of a musical composition is the composer's vision that energizes and gives life to the notes played in a musical composition--the actual notes are like the body expressing the vision and feeling of the soul within them.
Each soul is the expression of God's intent and vision in creating that particular being.