So far, in this series of “Prophetic Consciousness”, I have been laying some foundational principles which we’ll come back to later as I hope to expound upon something I’ve been saying: that the Bride of Christ has a mandate she must fulfil before her wedding day. For the Bride to complete this assignment, she will blossom into full maturity and stature in the image of her bridegroom. She will grow up! And to assist in her spiritual growth, she must understand how God has made her. If she doesn’t understand her fundamental makeup, how is it that she can function purposefully according to God’s design? There is much to be said in this area of how the Bride is made; her DNA being His DNA; her glory being His glory; her “oneness” being His “oneness”. But in this post, I’ll focus on her individual members, that’s you and I, and our human makeup: spirit, soul and body.
This huge subject has been debated over thousands of years and yet no one common consensus exists. Various philosophical theories have been presented. In particular, it was the rise of Greek Philosophy, in between the Old and New Testament periods, that proposed new ideas on the nature of man which still exist today. Namely, man has a visible and invisible part, a body and a separate spirit/soul. The great volume of debate and theorising indicate man’s hunger and necessity to answer the question: who am I? The main philosophies which have arisen are monism, dualism and tripartism. Monism is the view that the body and spirit/soul are inseparable, so when the body dies the spirit/soul also dies. Monism defines spirit/soul as the life of the person as one with the body, not a separate part. Dualism is the view that man is made of two divisible parts – the physical body and the non-physical spirit/soul. The soul and the spirit are believed to be the same. Tripartism is the view that the soul and the spirit are not the same, and therefore man is made up of three individual parts: the body, spirit and soul.
Now here is the point I’m making: there is danger when the church adopts a particular philosophical view to interpret Biblical truth. This is even more so when trying to understand things of the spirit which can only be spiritually discerned. Even so, I’m not saying we should agree or disagree with Greek Philosophy, but ultimately it must be the Word of God which has the final say on our beliefs and doctrine. Man can speculate and theorise, but God’s Word is the highest authority on truth. One problem with adopting a particular view is that each view is mutually exclusive of the others, in other words, only one view is correct. Let’s say we believe that the spirit, soul and body are three distinct parts, we may be in danger of failing to see the integrated whole person in the way that God sees us (this is the Hebraic mindset). What matters is that our beliefs line up with scripture and not try to fit scripture into our systems of thought or philosophy. We need to see ourselves in terms of a diversified whole. Let me explain a bit further and look at 1 Thess 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely (wholly); and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Whilst this scripture does indicate the diversity of a spirit, soul and body, the context isn’t to support
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 1 Cor 13:12