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Some teach a “parts is parts” theology concerning the make-up of man. I Thessalonians 5:23 teaches that humans are a body, soul, and spirit. In our body we naturally understand that the hand is not the foot. The hand and foot are different parts of the body. I hope the doctor realizes the difference if I ever have foot surgery! The body has different systems with different functions. The circulation system allows the blood to circulate, while the skeletal systems provides the architectural matrix which allows us to walk upright. Those systems are not the same but do have some overlap. For instance the bone marrow within the bone produces elements of the the blood. Some systems like the endocrine system are difficult to understand. We still study more difficult systems to try to gain an understanding. Yet, somehow when we talk about the Soul and Spirit all of sudden it is all the same, the “parts-is-parts” theology. What are some of the parts of the soul?
The Soul is made up of the basic faculties of mind, will, and emotions. Through the soul we express our unique personalities. We see God’s creativity when we see how many different personalities there are. God is not a cookie-cutter God who wants all His children to be the same. God likes variety as can be observed in creation. It is through these soul faculties (mind, will, and emotions) that God will reveal Himself to the world.
In the spirit there are two basic types of life: the Spirit (Christ’s life) or flesh (Adam’s life) which is expressed through the soul. There is also the spirit of man and the Holy Spirit, but that is a very complicated subject to examine. It is difficult enough for some to admit that spirit and soul are different (because of the parts-is-parts theology). If you believe that there is no differences between soul and spirit, you will not be able to understand the purposes of the various systems.
Each part (spirit, soul, and body) do have similarities. One similarity is that each has a type of life. In the Greek the body life is often called Bios (also Soma) Luke 21:34 which we is the root for the English word biology. The Greek word Psuche (Acts 20:10) is composed of the soul elements of mind, will and emotions from which we get the English work Psychology. The Greek word Zoe (John 10:10) describes the type of Spiritual life which allows us to relate to the spiritual realm.
Is important to understand the differences between our various types of life? It is extremely important because a solution to a problem partially comes from an understanding of the source or origin of the problem. In the next blog I am going to examine how we approach problem-solving in regards to growing and maturing in the Christian life, dealing with problems concerning our beliefs, and the resultant physical stresses that are a result of imbalanced living.