UNDERSTANDING THE SOUL OF MAN
Already, we have rediscovered the body of man, in terms of its meaning, purpose, power and weaknesses. And we have seen the inevitable role of the grace of God in suppressing the weaknesses of the body and ultimately subduing it.
So, we shall be moving forward from here to understand the soul of man. Man is widely acclaimed as a tripartite being; composing of spirit, soul and body. And the soul of man is equally tripartite, consisting of mind, will and emotion; and together, they form the soul of man, which is an inner part of man –unseen by people around; but seen through the body!
Mind is one of the components of the soul of man, and is said to be the seat of knowledge; and is thus usually preoccupied with knowledge, wisdom and understanding: For just as a man’s body feeds and grows by food (rice, beans, meat, salad, etc.); the mind feeds and grows by knowledge, which comes into it through the various sense organs of the body (eye, ear, skin, tongue, etc.) and processed within it.
Will represents the desire or passion of man; it is preoccupied with what is most desirable per time. And thus, it is the part of man that gives every man’s choices and decision. Thus, no man can possibly act inconsistent to his will. That is, the will of man determines what a man does and he doesn’t do per time.
Emotion as described by some people is an outward expression of the mind and will. And basically, it usually follows the direction of the will of man. Hence, while the mind forms knowledge from what a man sees, hears and experiences; the will of man is rooted in the body of knowledge within the mind, and the emotion is the end product of the two.
Thus, emotion reveals what a man’s will and mind truly is – and no wonder, no matter how secretive a man is, his emotions will ultimately reveal his hidden thoughts and choices.
So, the soul of man is the part of man that stores information from the experiences and lessons of man, and processes them into knowledge, which ultimately guides the course of his life.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course (sequence of events) of your life.
The heart there relates to the soul of man, which must be guarded from corrupt inflows through the body: For whatever a man sows into his soul will be reaped by the direction his life follows.
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 being (soul).
According to the Scriptures above, man was formed from the dust of the ground, and subsequently, a portion of God (the Spirit) was released into the formed man, and the man became a living soul. And really, one might ask, what does it imply by the phrase: “a living soul”? Could there be a man who possesses a dead soul? What makes the soul of man living and what makes it dead?
Towards finding answers to our heart questions, we would be consulting the Word of God from the book of Genesis.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."
Already, we have discovered that the food of the soul is not rice, salad or chicken; rather, the soul feeds on and grows by knowledge, understanding and wisdom. And although, we have been limiting the meaning of the fruit and tree forbidden by God to the food of the body; I perceive that God has a message to challenge our old understanding of that portion of the holy Scriptures.
From that Scripture, God said, “For in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die”. And may I ask you Sir/Ma, “What part of man do you think God was referring to? Was it the entire man; or was it only a constituent of man? Was it the spirit of man or the soul of man or the body?"
Truly, most people, including myself for a very long time, felt that it was the spirit of man that God said it will die; hence, Adam and eve were sent out of Eden with only soul and body – without spirit! However, I eventually discovered a contrary truth: For if man is said to be a spirit creature of God, created in the image and likeness of God; then the spirit of man couldn’t have died after they had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And by the way, spirits don’t die; rather, they could be sent out, thrown away, or neutralized. Thus, it wasn’t the spirit of man that died at Eden!
Remember, the forbidden fruit was from the tree of knowledge of good and evil; hence, the fruit was more of knowledge (which is the food of the soul) than apple or orange (the food of the body). Thus, that punishment of death couldn’t have been designed for the spirit; but for the soul. Hence, after Eve and Adam ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, their souls became dead – so, they were sent out of Eden as spirits with a dead soul inside a body.
Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
With a closer look at those verses above, one would discover some hidden mysteries there.
Since God is not a man that He should lie, neither a son of man that He should repent; hence, the death He proclaimed for the intake of the food of the soul, which is a corrupt food, He meant it.
And now, one might want to know the symptom of deadness of soul – how to identify someone; although, a spirit, but with a dead soul. And really, there are three (3) things that distinguish men (spirit creatures) with dead souls from men with living souls.
For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Sir\ma, despite the attractiveness of the knowledge of good and evil to Eve; it was a wrong desire – For the presence of knowledge of good and evil at the same time in the mind of man, made Eve and Adam to become double-minded spirit creature of God on the earth. That is, from then, they began to have the mind that could do good and that could do evil. They became creatures that devil can use and God can also use. They became creatures that have the mind of God and the mind of Satan – that is, they could serve God and at a later time, serve the devil. Now read a story in New Testament that shows how a spirit creature with a dead soul behaves.
Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Jesus answered and said to him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!"
But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
Did you see something there! That being religious or even “spiritual” or being called an elder in the Church of Christ does not imply that the same man, with a mind for Christ can also have a mind for Satan! For deadness of soul is not exclusive to unbelievers; even a believer, who has not contacted the portion of God that makes the soul of men to come alive, can be carrying around in his body, a dead soul.
In the same chapter of the Bible, Peter (a prominent disciple of Jesus Christ) was used by God and by Satan – what a double-minded outflow of man! No wonder James lamented that any double-minded will never receive from the Lord. (James 1:6-8). And really, a double-minded man (having both a mind for god and a mind for Satan) is irrelevant and unreliable in the hand of God on the earth. Hence, double-mindedness is the first symptom of deadness of soul.
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate…
In addition to double-mindedness (which implies that the man has the mind for God and for Satan); anyone with a dead soul will always be preoccupied with his own will; For Eve didn’t want or desire the knowledge because of God’s will; but her will. Thus, second symptom of deadness of soul is that the man will always be committed to his will; instead of the will of God. So, unlike Jesus (although a man) who was completely sold out to the will of God on the earth; any man with dead soul will be continually sold out to his personal will (or ambition) on the earth.
And lastly, deadness of soul is often seen through the exaltation of self than God. That is, beyond being sold out to his or her personal will, a man with a dead soul will only be concerned about exalting himself – rather than God. And very prominently, such people are usually consumed by pride. And according to Isaiah 14, Lucifer fell from heaven because of self-exaltation and anyone with a dead soul will usually be preoccupied with exalting themselves above God on the earth.
Thus, anyone whose life is characterized by double-mindedness, self-will and self-glorification is a man with a dead soul; irrespective of his position in the Church or his attainment in life. No wonder Apostle John by the Holy Spirit wrote in 1 John 2:15-17 about the danger of having a dead soul as believers:
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
As we have seen earlier; double-mindedness, self-will and self-glorification are symptoms of deadness of soul and they are closely related to the three that Apostle John wrote as all that are in the world – the lust (passion) of the flesh, lust of the eyes and pride of life!
- Lust of the flesh – Self-Will
- Lust of the eyes – Double-mindedness
- Pride of life – Self-glorification
And to be very clear about these three, let us learn from the account of Jesus – For being a man, He was also subject to the same passion like us; but without fault.
According to Matthew 4;1-11, the devil tempted Jesus in three major areas:
I. Devil tempted Him with self-will; but He chose to do God’s will only – living on His word for guidance and counsel. (Matthew 4:3-4)
II. Devil tempted Him with double-mindedness; but He chose not to tempt God by doubting His word and power. (Matthew 4:5-7)
III.Devil tempted Him self-glorification; but He chose to worship and glorify God only while He is one the earth. (Matthew 4:8-10)
Sir and Ma, Jesus didn’t obtain victory over Satan in those three areas by accident or because He is sent by God: For Adam was also sent to the earth by God; rather, because His soul was living, and he kept it living.
According to genesis 2:7, what made man a living soul was basically the breath of life, which proceeded out of God into him. And lo, whenever that part of God leaves any man, such a man (although, a spirit inside a body) is carrying a dead soul around.
So Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
That part of God that every man require to become a living soul on the earth – ready to do the will of God as a representative of God is the Holy Spirit: For just as God breathed into the nostril of man in Genesis 2:7; even Jesus Christ breathed into the nostrils of his disciples for them to become men with living souls – and remember that Jesus did that after resurrection.