Question #1: Dear Dr. L., Thank you for providing your material on line and free. I have found it very interesting. I do have a problem however with Part 3 of the Satanic Rebellion. It sounds like you are making an argument for abortion when you suggest that the child in the womb of Mary is only a "thing". I wonder why you took this small detour in your work about the Satanic Rebellion in order to forward some pro abortion type argument?
Response #1: I am glad you found these materials of some use. I also appreciate your concern, and wish to assure you that it is certainly not my intention to diminish the importance of the unborn body of our Lord in any way. I am more than confident that as you continue to read these studies, you will be left in no doubt about my commitment to Jesus Christ, and that I value Him as my divine and human Savior, and teach Him to be what the Bible proclaims Him to be: the unique Person of undiminished deity and true humanity (the second element of which would of course have been impossible without the divine conception of a human body for Him in Mary's womb). As to the substance of your further comments, let me put your mind to rest that it is not my intention to justify, support, or defend abortion in any way. I have very little to say on that subject for the same reason, I believe, that scripture has almost nothing to say on the subject, namely, actions that are so clearly out of the will of God need no elaborate commentary. I can understand how you might think that because some have made the argument that life begins in the womb in order to advocate against abortion that therefore all who take a different point of view about what the scripture says about the point of life's commencement must therefore be arguing for abortion. That does not follow logically, however. There are plenty of so-called Christians who feel that if one teaches that a fish really did swallow Jonah or that the Red Sea really was parted by the Lord or that the sun really did stand still at Gibeon, that this is somehow harmful to the Christian cause because advocating positions which are "clearly contrary to science" undermines the validity of the whole. However, I have no problem believing in God's ability to do anything and everything, no matter how miraculous – like creating life at the point of birth. Science tells us that this too is ridiculous, but that is because science believes that life is entirely material (while all Christians should understand and appreciate that the most important part of human life is spiritual). So I will continue to believe and to teach the Bible, even if that is scientifically uncomfortable, and even if it is found to be unhelpful to certain political agendas.
There are a lot of things in scripture which are difficult to understand at first. Sometimes it is a question of things which rub us the wrong way for whatever reason; sometimes it is just a question of a piece of information for which we see no point. But in my experience, every bit of scripture and every principle of doctrine eventually turns out to be important, so that any mis-reading or mis-interpretation of scripture on any point is harmful to some degree. If asked to defend scripture on the "life begins at birth" teaching, I suppose I might observe that, in addition to being miraculous in a way that scientific observation could never accept, the opposite belief tends to put human beings in control – i.e., we would seem to be the life-givers through an essentially biological process, and even if that life is to be traced back to God thousands of years ago, it really doesn't do much to mediate this impression. But the fact that God gives life at birth (with the simultaneous sign of breath) makes the event of human life 1) clearly miraculous; 2) clearly and completely in the hands of God; 3) more spiritual than biological. This is exactly the point with the new birth as well, is it not?
Finally, out of abundance of caution, I include here a part small part of the Satanic Rebellion part 3: The Purpose Creation and Fall of Man where I speak about this matter in the context of explaining how the gift of the human spirit by God at birth is what produces human life:
This is not at all to imply that for this reason [i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life] the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; Lev.20:20-21; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).
As I say, it is not my purpose to offend or to support the clearly sinful (and abhorrent) practice of abortion. But this study to which you refer (SR #3) is dealing with the origin of human life, so that the issue of when and how life is given by God is no detour (especially since there are so many non-scriptural assumptions about it abroad in Christian circles today).
You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit.
Job 10:12 NIV
I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Job 10:19 KJV
In Him who has given us life and breath and all things (Acts 17:25; cf. Neh.9:6; 1Tim.6:13), our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Please also see: "Procreation versus God's Immediate Creation" and "When life begins".
I am writing you late this evening, as I was just reading your Satanic Rebellion Part 3, The purpose, creation, and fall of Man, and was compelled to write with regard to one of your sections. Particularly, part II,3,b "the human spirit is implanted by god at birth" (I apologize if my outline reference is not accurate, but it is difficult for someone not regularly using outlines to remember their high school grammar! forgive me). I was struck by your tenant that the human spirit is given at the actual time of birth. While this is truly a miraculous event, life with a human spirit must begin much earlier. There is Biblical reference to suggest that consciousness and emotion, both part of our human "spirit", are present before the actual birth process. I would offer for your consideration Luke 1:41, where John leaps to hear the voice of a pregnant Mary (and she has only just conceived at this point) during the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy. The inclusion of this seemingly insignificant verse in my mind clearly places the conference of spirit much earlier than delivery. In fact, John was responding to the humanity of the deity being carried by Mary, at that point only a few thousand cells old. From the time of conception Jesus was able to affect those around him. It was not the birth process which made him God-Man, but the very conception. So it also with us I believe.
I work as a pediatrician/Internal Medicine physician, and have had many opportunities to see life come into the world, as well as leave it. I have seen babies who cannot take a breath because they were born so prematurely respond to touch before they died. I have also had the blessing to feel my unborn children respond to my voice as I spoke to them while they were still in the womb, many months from taking their first breath.
I fear that based on your teaching of spirit being embodied only at birth, some could feel empowered to condone abortion. If the presence of God is only imbued during the birth process, would it not be ok to terminate before this occurs? Thus partial birth abortions at term might also be seen as acceptable to those wishing to misinterpret your words. While I would hope that this is not a practice you are wishing to espouse with your study, I fear those weak in the faith may be led astray by its treatment of this matter.
I certainly do not wish to offend you, and write this lovingly as your brother in Christ. I make no claim to be as educated in theology, classics, language, etc as you, and feel somewhat strange questioning someone as learned as yourself. Despite these anxieties/inadequacies, I do feel compelled to share my concerns with you, and ask that you prayerfully consider the above passage from Luke in regard to your teachings presented in the above referenced study.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
No offense taken – I am glad to respond. This is, of course, a very sensitive topic. I have always been extremely troubled by abortion, and in no way would ever wish to suggest that I condone it personally, or give the impression that in my view the Bible condones it (which it most certainly does not). I say this at the outset so that you may have a clear view of precisely where I am coming from in teaching spiritual life at birth. The easy course would be to do as so many do and assume that since at least in some sense physical life begins at conception, so then must also spiritual life begin at conception. But the foundational principle of this ministry is to follow the scriptures, no matter where they lead, and on that score the principle of spiritual life beginning at birth is, in my view, much more easily established than many other doctrinal principles with which few would take issue. This point is, I believe, reinforced by the nature of your e-mail, for, while you do offer some scriptural basis for your position, it seems fair to say that your objections are overwhelmingly experiential rather than scriptural. That is to say, you are troubled by the teaching because of what you believe based upon life-experience, and have looked to scripture to support that experience, rather than finding the teaching objectionable primarily based upon your prior understanding of the Bible. That is not to say that such an approach is without value – we are all guided by the Spirit in different ways, and are all responsible to vet the teaching to which we choose to expose ourselves. This is merely to point out that, based purely upon personal feelings about the matter, I would be inclined to adopt a similar position to yours – and would certainly avoid offense in the eyes of many of our fellow Christians by doing so. But the Bible led me in another direction. And if it is true that there may be some tendency for some to use such teachings to support anti-biblical practices, it is also true that there is nothing more dangerous than willfully misinterpreting the Word of God "in order to do good". That is the slipperiest of slopes, and I think that in this particular case about which you ask it is possible to see how the Bible has been mis-used to support political action of various stripes (and in my view where politics of any sort are involved, the devil is not far off). Just to make my own feelings clear, I offer here a quotation from the study you are reading to set the record straight:
This is not at all to imply that for this reason [i.e., the gift of the human spirit at birth being the cause of human life] the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of vindication (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38).
As to Luke 1:41, it seems unnecessary to point out, especially to an M.D., that John could not actually hear anything in the womb any more than any other fetus could. Even more to the point, John did not yet understand any human language, and John was not yet conscious. In my reading of the Greek of that passage, the "joy" referred to belongs to Elizabeth, not to John (please read the second response at the link: "John "leapt for joy" in the womb - or did he?"). I have little experience of such things, but I believe that I am correct in saying that reflex movements of the fetus in the womb of expectant mothers do sometimes correspond to the emotional and physical experiences of the mothers. In the case of Elizabeth, she had an emotional response to hearing Mary's voice, knowing that Mary was carrying Jesus, and she is the one described in this context as being "filled with the Spirit", not John, who, significantly, would be filled with the Spirit – from birth (i.e., as soon as he left the womb, not while within it).
Against this single passage (which as I say presents an explanation which in my view lines up perfectly with everything else scripture has to say on the subject), there is what I would describe as a mass of evidence for the position that life – spiritual life, the beginning of who we are as individuals – begins at birth. I do not think there is much point in rehearsing all of the evidence here (especially since you have already been reading it in SR #3; a somewhat newer version may be found at the link: Basics 3A: Anthropology), but suffice it to say that in the cases of both the first Adam (into whose nostrils God breathed "the breath of life" and as a result of this he became a "living person") and in the case of the Last Adam, our Lord Jesus Christ (who proclaims "Here I am" at birth: Heb.10:5-7, and whose arrival is heralded at His birth in Lk.2:1ff.), we have birth as the beginning point of true spiritual existence.
As to your experiences in medicine, obviously, I cannot gainsay them or even comment upon them in any sort of comparable professional way. Experience is important; it may act as guide. But in the end, scripture has to trump experience. After all, we walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor.5:7), and without such faith we would not understand that "what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (Heb.11:3) and might believe in evolution and sorts of scientific fantasies. As the world sees things from its purely physical perspective, human beings copulate, and produce life in the form of offspring. But we Christians know better. We know that human life is God's gift. In my view, which I am convinced is also the biblical view, God gives that life directly and at birth (not indirectly through a physical process). As with so many things in the natural world, the scriptural point of view runs counter to what the eye sees and what materialistic science proclaims. As the Bible presents the issue, life only comes about when God gives it, regardless of our human will and actions. And it is well to consider that if it was all merely human biology, then whatever "spirit" we had would be materially conceived as well (a situation which, blessedly, is not the case).
I do appreciate the spirit of your e-mail, and I do hope that you find this one written in a similar spirit of care and concern. Do feel free to write me back about any of this.
In the One who is the life, the truth, and the only way, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your prompt reply. I was anxiously waiting to be done with work today (so I could check my email) in the hopes that you would have responded.
I would first like to address the subject of abortion. I was in no way with my question attempting to advance any sort of political agenda, or personal endeavor. Rather, I used the subject as one which may have been complicated by the topic at hand. I appreciate your candor on the subject.
I also would like to acknowledge the fact that as a human being, I often default to experience in forming opinions. This is done in medicine also, where decisions are based on medical literature, experience, and patient preference. I am ashamed to say that in dealings of the spirit, I may rely less on the "literature" than I do in my professional career. I thank you for your gentle reminder in this.
After reading your reply, as well as your answer from the web site on virtually the same question, I am still left at odds with your position. I agree that with the original Adam, God breathed life into inanimate dust, and a living being (or soul) was created. But the issue of when does a conceptus become human (one of the greatest ethical debates in medicine, and as you aptly reminded me, politics) is not addressed by this passage. Your assumption that an unborn fetus is not conscious of its surroundings is in fact unsupported by science. Research has shown that unborn infants have response to light, music, and voice. In fact, unborn infants are even able to differentiate between "known" voices (i.e. the parents) and unknown ones. I agree that it was Elizabeth who in verse 41 was filled with the spirit, but in my English translations this happens after the response of John. When Elizabeth describes the event, it is true that she hears, and the baby responds. Verse 44 would seem to support your supposition of the leap/jump to be only an example of Elizabeth's emotional reaction to Mary's presence. But again I wonder why the inspiration of Luke by the Holy Spirit to include these two verses. Obviously there is no part of holy scripture that is not God breathed, and thus there for a reason (perhaps no more than to spur on some intellectual debate?!).
Can one be sinful without spirit? Is it only in the flesh where sin resides? The bibles teaches that it was from conception we are sinful (Ps 51:5), and are only made clean by the blood of the Lamb (Isaiah 1:18). I don't know if the Psalm's passage furthers my argument, but it seems to clearly point that it is not at birth where we are first held accountable, but rather from conception. Since a person can be held accountable from the time it was conceived, it must at that time have a spirit, and thus be a soul (or complete being). It would be unlikely for God to pass judgment on an inanimate/unconscious thing. Jeremiah 1:5 also seems to imply that a complete being can be present before the actual birth, with God selecting Jeremiah before he was even born.
That is about the extent of my argument, and I praise God that such a seemingly trivial bit of biblical wisdom/information has led me to read His word more. And while I may still not completely agree with your position (perhaps due to a lack of understanding), I thank you for all of your efforts. Your teachings have for me been an awakening to the Word of God, and I thank God for you and your ministry.
In Him who surpasses all understanding,
I do appreciate that your motivations are entirely spiritual, and not at all political, and apologize if I left any other impression. My point is simply that when scripture is misunderstood and misapplied, regardless of the motivation, it always has unintended consequences, ones which are never good. This is true from the point of view "addition" (i.e., the example given of individuals exploiting common misconceptions for personal political gain), but it is also true from the point of view of "subtraction", by which I mean that every mistranslation and misinterpretation makes the understanding of the whole of the Word of God more difficult. Many times I have found in the case of some principle or other point which is difficult to understand or difficult to accept, often seemingly insignificant in the grand scheme of things, in the end has proved to be very important in ways I never could have anticipated. That is certainly true of the principle of God's gift of spiritual life which has opened up for me many of the details of our interim state after death and the nature of the resurrection (to name but a few areas so illuminated; please see the links: "Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.", and "The Resurrection of the Lamb's Bride").
I often compare our attempts to gain a complete, undivided and perfect grasp of all of God's truth to circling in on a center point. The closer we get to the center as we move rapidly around it, the more the centrifugal force tends to throw us in the opposite direction. It takes effort and an ever growing commitment to reach the center the closer one gets. On the other hand, holding one's ground is easier, and allowing oneself to be pushed farther and farther away is easier still. Every advance inward will be challenged. Every retreat will be easy.
I would certainly not wish to suggest that I have cornered the market on the truth, and hope that I will always remain pliant enough to entertain objections to the things taught here at Ichthys, especially when they come from the sincere and searching hearts of believers trying their best to understand and do God's will, as is clearly the case with you. That said, let me respond to your letter with a few brief points.
1) It is true that Adam's situation is unique, but it is worth asking why body and spirit were not simultaneously created (as many would have it with conception). God could have created Adam's spirit simultaneously with His body, and why would He not have done so if they are so intimately connected as it being assumed that they are in the case of conception? In my view, this is not an accident. In my view, the Lord is making a point here. Life, true and meaningful spiritual life, comes from God. It is completely separate from the physical world, despite what the eye may see or the ear hear or the brain conceive. By dividing the process of giving life so completely in Adam's case, we see very clearly how, without the direct gift of the spirit by God, there is no genuine human life in the sense of someone becoming a discrete, morally accountable person. Without the imparting of "the breath of life", Adam was a mere human body. His heart may have been beating, but he was not "alive" in the sense of being a morally accountable, responsive and responsible human being. Please note as well that it is the commencement of his breathing which is the sign that this life has been given (and, indeed, "breath" and "spirit" are the exact same word in both Hebrew and Greek).
2) Christ's birth is what is heralded and celebrated, not His conception. Even in the Luke passage, the completion of the prophecy of the birth of the Messiah is stressed (Lk.1:45). It is at birth that the Messiah "enters the world" (Heb.10:5; cf. 10:6-7), not conception. This is because it is at birth that the spirit/breath is given, just as it is at death that the spirit/breath leaves (Luke 23:46). This explains why everywhere in scripture it is birth which is the focal point, not conception, for it is at birth that a person becomes a person, when God gives that person a human spirit. Rather than repeat here, for more on this, please see: in BB 3A: "The Human Spirit".
3) This is true of Psalm 51:5 et al. as well, where sinfulness is attributed to the person (David) at birth, but to his mother in regard to conception (i.e., sin is passed down through physical procreation, but responsibility for it begins at birth because that is the time when the person in question comes into existence, after God gives life):
Behold, I was born in sinfulness, and in sin
my mother conceived me.
Both halves of this verse speak of the sin nature, the "sin-in-the-flesh" that is the common heritage of mankind since the fall. This part of your e-mail to my mind makes my point about every piece of the puzzle affecting every other piece rather dramatically. Indeed, the spirit is not affect by sin in the sense of being altered in any way whatsoever, and that is very important in all issues of hamartiology (see BB 3B). That is why in resurrection it is only the body that is changed, not the spirit: once our sins are forgiven, we have need of a new body which has not been corrupted, but the spirit in such a body and no longer subject to the influence of the sin in the flesh has no need of change of alteration. The spirit, who we "are" at our innermost, is not corrupt; rather it is our actions under the influence of the corrupted flesh which needed to be atoned for at the cross and repented of in our daily walk.
As to the point of accountability, that is a moral point not reached until at least a number of years of life on earth have been reached (please see the link: in BB 3B: "The so-called Imputation of Adam's Sin"). The possession of a sin nature guarantees the commission of personal sin, but sin in the womb is impossible because there is as yet no opportunity for independent action (i.e., there is no spirit, no free will, no person as yet). God does value the unborn, and they give sure and certain promise of the person-to-be coming into the world. That is to be celebrated and anticipated, and certainly this fact has much to do with why Luke 1:40-45 is included in scripture. Jeremiah 1:5 actually says that the Lord knew Jeremiah before he was formed in the womb, that is, even before conception. God certainly knows every one of us and knew every one of us before the universe was made, but until He gives us life, we are not alive (in the biblical sense of that word at any rate).
4) As I said in the previous e-mail, I certainly am at a disadvantage about the current state of medical knowledge and opinion about such things. I do think that it is fair to point out that what I in my non-scientific way mean by being "conscious", that is, being able to respond with free will to a given situation, does not apply to a fetus in the womb, regardless of what the proper medical terminology for such things might be. The real question here in regard to our verses in Luke is, "was John a living human being while still in the womb?" I very much understand that there are a variety of reasons why many people would answer with an emphatic "yes!" to this question, and also why they would want to give such an answer. In my reading of scripture, however, there is much evidence which points in the opposite direction, and nothing I find persuasive which supports the alternative claim. The world as God has established it and presented it to our first innocent gaze proclaims birth as the beginning of life. Science looks deeper and offers other evidence, but only from a purely materialistic viewpoint (one which would generally find the idea that a person can't become a person until God personally and individually imparts the breath of life utterly ridiculous). But scripture, as I see it, affirms what "nature itself" has told us from the first, namely, that life, God-given life, begins at birth with the first breath when the spirit is "given".
After all, it is beyond argument that God is the One who gives us the spirit (Eccl.12:7; Is.42:5), and since the "spirit" and the "breath" are virtually indistinguishable, identical vocabulary items with the latter being the sign of the former in biblical description, how could it possibly be that God would really give the spirit, a.k.a. "the breath" at conception rather than birth? And further, and this is really the question that I would need to have answered to change my view on this point, how could it be that we are supposed to get from what the Bible actually has to say on this subject anything else but that the "breath of life" (Gen.2:7) is given that name because "breath" and "life" are simultaneously imparted?
Clearly, the unborn child is extremely important, but it seems to me that even Elizabeth describes her baby as a person-yet-to-be rather than as a person-in-being (even in translations which to my mind wrongly attribute the "joy" to her child instead of to her): "For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy" (NASB). She doesn't call the baby "John" or "he" but "the baby". She doesn't talk to him as if he were a person who was part of this conversation. There is a definite distance here, the same distance that is naturally and inevitably present with all the "yet to be born", precisely because there can be no direct interaction in utero. This is not an accident of divine design, in my view, but a reinforcement of precisely what I have been arguing here, namely, that the unborn are prospective persons (and extremely important as such, worthy of being highly valued and protected), but they do not have independent, spiritual life as true living persons until God gives that gift to them by imparting a human spirit, the "breath of life" which is not given until the point of birth.
I do not expect (nor require) your agreement on this point, but it is my duty to respond in such matters, and I do hope that you will continue to take my heartfelt words as a sincere effort to stand up for the truth as I feel the Bible is proclaiming it. I rejoice that you are being led into ever deeper consideration of the scriptures in all of this. In my experience and observation, that always leads only to good for all who do so in response to God's Spirit. This is the process of spiritual growth, and in that process there is ever great joy and great reward.
Christ Himself appointed some of us apostles, some prophets,
some evangelists, some pastors and teachers in order to prepare
all of His holy people for their own ministry work, that the
entire body of Christ might thus be built up, until we all
reach that unifying goal of believing what is right and of
giving our complete allegiance to the Son of God, that each of
us might be a perfect person, that is, that we might attain to
that standard of maturity whose "attainment" is defined by
Christ; that we may no longer be immature, swept off-course and
carried headlong by every breeze of so-called teaching that
emanates from the trickery of men in their readiness to do
anything to cunningly work their deceit, but rather that we may,
by embracing the truth in love, grow up in all respects with
Christ, who is the head of the Church, as our model. In this
way, the entire body of the Church, fit and joined together by
Him through the sinews He powerfully supplies to each and every
part, works out its own growth for the building up of itself in
My hope and my prayer is for your continued spiritual growth and production for Jesus.
In Him who is the only truth, our dear Savior Jesus Christ.
I hope this does not bruise you. I understand your position on life at birth and I don't have a problem with it; others may not be mature enough to handle your response.
No bruises here. In all that I have written, I have not been jumping at opportunities to address the issue of abortion head-on. I felt that posting the e-mail ("John "leapt for joy" in the womb – or did he?") was appropriate, but it may be too much for some, as you say. Believe me, I understand how divisive this issue is these days. But this was not always the case. For example, not only was abortion commonplace during the time of writing of the New Testament (more by drugs than surgery), but infanticide (usually by exposure) was even more common. Yet the issue is never addressed in any New Testament epistle. Nor is it addressed in the OT. That is food for thought. I have written to others in the past that in my view abortion is so contrary to the natural scheme of things that in the agricultural society of Israel it was never a question of being tempted to commit abortion – the attitude (even in spiritually degenerate and sinful times) was that children were an incredible blessing and a great asset. Killing your own before or immediately after birth made no sense at all. But no societal or cultural or economic conditions have anything whatsoever to do with the fact of when God gives life.
So while I can certainly understand the emotional and visceral reaction people have against abortion – that seems to me to be a natural and understandable reaction – I am still compelled to teach what, in my view, the Bible plainly is saying: human life begins at birth (even if that biblical fact doesn't fit someone's particular political agenda). So natural, and so understandable is the reaction against abortion that the issue is an easy one for the devil to manipulate for other purposes. It is the ideal issue for starting a political movement (nothing particularly Christian about that in my view), or a crusade (now we are dictating to others – I have a whole list of sins, evil practices, and false religions I would like to outlaw, if we are going to head down that slippery slope), or even a revolution (it is worth asking how many people have been soured on evangelical Christianity because of a few maniacs bombing clinics). And when I look at the variety of groups whose true Christianity I sincerely doubt making common cause with good believers who have become incensed about this issue, it really does give me pause. The last thing I would want to do is to try and justify abortion, but surely even those good Christians who are greatly concerned to prohibit the practice cannot in their heart of hearts believe that twisting the truth of the Bible in order to support the political movement bent on doing so is an acceptable thing to do. Just as nature and scripture teach us that abortion is wrong, so nature and scripture teach us that life begins at birth. My responsibility as a teacher of the Word is not to be concerned with whether or not that tandem of truths is uncomfortable for some or for all, only with what the Lord tells us is true through His holy scriptures.
Yours in Jesus Christ our Lord,
Explain Ecclesiastes 12:7 to me please. When a Christian dies does his soul follow his spirit to heaven? Also I don't know off hand where this is at but it says the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous, please this verse.
Thank you my friend
To take your second question first, I believe this is a fairly widespread teaching but it seems to me that Proverbs 13:22 is the most direct statement of it.
As to Ecclesiastes 12:7, here is my translation of that verse:
Then [at death] the dust (i.e., the body) will return to the
earth whence it came, and the spirit will return to God who gave
Indeed it is the human spirit which is the immaterial part of the human nature. The "soul" or "heart" is not a separate entity per se. These are words the Bible uses to describe the inner person, the place where our physical brain and human spirit interact (please see the links: "The Human Spirit" and "The Dichotomy of Man"). This is one major reason why we can never be just "spirits"; even in the interim state we will have a temporary body (see "Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State"). So Ecclesiastes 12:7 is merely stating what scripture everywhere else assumes or states, namely, that upon our death, our earthly body goes into the grave while our human spirit, our immaterial side, goes to be with the Lord (at least for believers since the resurrection). While there, we are "not found naked" (2Cor.5:3), but are clothed with an interim body to await the resurrection body wherein our spirit will dwell for all eternity (this, of course, happens at Christ's second advent). Ecclesiastes 12:7 doesn't mention the "soul" because that is merely an English word of Germanic origin used to translate the Hebrew nephesh and Greek psyche, words which indicate the thinking, feeling part of Man, the place where the spirit immaterial spirit interacts with the material brain, rather than a separate and discrete "organ" or "entity".
Your friend in Jesus,
I have been given to understand that in the bible, the word for 'heart' means 'the will'. Is this true?
God Bless you,
The word "heart" in both the Old and New Testaments is a biblical description of the inner person or self. It does overlap with the idea of "will", but entails the entire person in his/her inner life (emotions, temptations, thoughts, and meditations, etc., etc.). It is not an "organ", per se, nor is it a precise faculty. "Heart" is one of a number of synonyms in the Bible like "soul" (that is, nephesh in Hebrew and psyche in Greek – significantly different from what people often mean when they use the English word "soul" in conversation). The biblical heart is where the intersection of body and spirit is summed up. I have written much about this. Please see the following link for starters: in BB 3A, "The heart: interface between body and spirit".
Thank you for your comments on John 21:25. I am working on biblical notions of empathy, the neural correlates of which have been defined. We know that racial differences elicit lesser or greater brain reactions of empathy. In Luke 10:25-37, the word eleos (or splagnizomai?) seems to refer to empathic response. Is this correct?
May the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace,
You're very welcome. On the "good Samaritan" passage, the reaction the Samaritan has upon seeing the man in trouble is expressed by a verb based on the word splanchna, "guts". The way both the Hebrews and the Greeks expressed psychology is much more visceral than is the case with us in the modern world. They associated emotions, thoughts and feelings with the parts of the body where they "felt" these actions and reactions occurring. For example, you are certainly aware of many English terms based on the Greek phron/phren root (e.g., schizophrenia), but the phrenes are actually the lungs, and the idea of cogitative activity is thus associated with the breath moving in and out of the chest. The heart is used metaphorically for emotional and even rational activity in English, but very literally so in the case of Greek and Hebrew. In Hebrew, for example, God tests "the heart and the kidneys" (Ps.7:9), but is never said to test the brain. The splanchna are the emotions, generally speaking, but their source is felt to be the bodily organs of the lower torso. The higher torso produces thinking, consideration, and it is the literal, physical heart, midway between the two, where the (higher)spiritual(mental) and (lower)emotional(motive) impulses are reconciled. The head is not necessarily felt to be the seat of cognitive or deliberative activity, far less anything emotive.
Of we course we know so much "better" today, and we are focused entirely on the head. In fact, however, human beings are highly emotional creatures, and our modern self-centered mythology to the effect that we are above them has only made us the more vulnerable to them (which is why advertising and political propaganda work so well on us: assuming you can't be manipulated is the best way to open yourself up to manipulation). The main realization of the Greeks and Hebrews in this regard is one I believe we have largely lost, namely, that there is conflict between the purely spiritual aspect of man's inner dichotomy and his biological one, so that the heart – the place of interaction between the two whatever name one chooses to give it – is as much emotional as rational. By reducing both the spiritual and emotional parts of human nature to a single, physical consistency with a common seat (the brain), modern "scientific" attempts to explain and investigate human behavior have vitiated their efforts and the outset, and thus have a correspondingly diminished chance at approaching the truth. Until it is understood and accepted that Man is as much a spiritual as a physical being, and that it is the spiritual side that accounts for everything that makes him exceptional among God's physical creatures, there can be no helpful resolution to these matters. Of course, the Bible tells us what we really need to know in any case.
To return to your question, it is his "guts / emotions" which motivate the Samaritan, and produce mercy (eleos) when this impulse wins in the deliberations of his heart (whereas these motives lost out in the case of those who passed the wounded man by). "Mercy" is the result of empathetic emotion when its prompting is accepted by the arbiter, the heart. This is not to say that the process is devoid of what we call "mental" calculation; merely that in the Greek and Hebrew appreciation of these matters, the prompt comes from the emotional/physical part of the anatomy, and the crucible wherein non-emotional and emotional claims are reconciled is the heart. The "head" was never felt to be an important part of the process. In purely scientific terms, the brain no doubt is the true "heart" where physical and emotional conflicts are processed and deliberated upon; but the ancient perspective is very important as a palliative against the very misguided implicit assumption that because the brain is the real seat of this resolution that there is therefore somehow no spiritual aspect to human decision making.
In Jesus our Lord,
Thank you for your comments about dualism and cetera. I am quite ignorant about the translations of Greek and Hebrew words and the theological arguments arising from the translations. My understanding is as follows. I welcome any remarks you wish to make about this.
Calvin's dualism was Platonic – spirit (pneuma?, ruach?) and soul (nephesh?, psyche?)
Descartes' dualism was of emotion (body) and reason (distinct from the body).
Norden's point is that modern neurophysiology (not Cartesian dualism) sees emotion as informing reason and as intricately bound up in it. This is not the same monism referred to by some in "modern" Christian writing as Hebrew monism: body and soul as different aspects of the same thing.
In my book, I will argue that the mind/body is distinct from the eternal soul and that it interacts with the body through neural microtubules [quantum mechanical functions]. My argument is "na ve"; but meant to pose an issue for the materialist/physicalist crowd. I agree that the mechanisms for mental and spiritual "entities" are irrelevant, in the perspective of eternity. However, the atheist's arguments should, I think, be addressed.
I agree with you that science cannot ever come close to describing Reality. In a part of my book concerning a Christian Anthropology, I write that "Most scientists start with the assumption that all of reality is material – a strange notion, in that those material objects are mostly empty space, and are governed, in their constituent parts, by laws of 'indeterminacy'. For such scientists the beginning point of their study of reality is limited to what they can directly experience. Christians have a very different approach. We believe that what is most supremely real is what is not seen – God, the Holy Spirit, our spirit, and consciousness. The Christian understanding is more robust, both in its everyday implications (love) and in the provision of hypotheses to be tested. It requires us to take off the 'physicalist' blinders that are imposed by the assertion that only what is physical exists. Christians contend that much of what exists remains to be 'seen'. The difficulty with accepting such a non-physical reality is that it presses us to find ways to 'get our hands on it'. That will indeed be very hard work, limited as we are by the reality that we cannot define all of what God is and has created." Further "For Christians what is most real cannot be seen or touched. The closer we come to sensate and 'concrete' reality, the less we are dealing with what is real. This true statement confounds the limited comprehension of those who neither believe in nor experience the Divine. But even the physicalists serve God. He has also given them and us general revelation – what we all can see in the world around us. Christians know that God is the ground of all being – all reality. The physical world is an experience that is given by God. It is orderly, as is God, and He has provided us with the means to learn about our world for His own purposes. It does not follow, however, that our tiny pieces of experiences of His Kingdom result in any sort of comprehension of all that there is. One wishes that logical thinking were a subject of more thorough study in our schools. Think about this. There is a universe that is created by God. This universe includes the limited and limiting experiences of our imperfect minds. You cannot correctly argue that since you are not God and cannot experience His reality, therefore His Kingdom does not exist. The part cannot logically claim to encompass the whole."
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
Yours in Christ Jesus,
This is a very nice piece of apologia, I must say. Calvin and Descartes have in common that they had it wrong, so I'll leave these go. I am happy to see that in your text you refer to the "spirit" rather than the soul. That is the correct, biblical teaching. As I have said, the "soul" (nephesh, psyche) is the mind/heart/consciousness/inner-person "interface" between spirit and body.
So if I have a quibble, it is that the "mind", where we think, consider, feel, experience pangs of conscience, etc., can no more be separated from our spirit than the spirit can be presently be separated from our body (or "the joints from the marrow" . . . without the Word of God: Hebrews 4:12). The body and in particular the "brain" and senses are the "mirror" through which all is now darkly reflected; it is only the body to come that will present no such limitations to our spirit on that wonderful future day, when both parts of our dual nature function in perfect harmony in the absence of sinful flesh.
Best wishes on this project – looking forward to its fruition!
In our dear Lord Jesus,
How are you? I hope the Lord is doing well for you. We continue to be blessed by your teaching and we pray your inspiration never deserts you. We are a bible study group and recently have been discussing contraception. We cant really find any biblical support for our positions like is the sperm/ova life and exactly when does life begin, biblically. What does the bible say about abortion and other issues related to contraception. We believe you can shed light on this with scripture.
We hope to hear from you and do stay blest
Good to hear from you, and thank you so much for your prayers!
This is a subject about which I have written quite a bit, and I will direct you to the pertinent links below. However, I do wish to say at the outside that like any decent person I am appalled by the very idea of abortion. One of the reasons the Lord repeatedly gives for thrusting out of the land of promise those who inhabited it before Israel is their "sacrificing of their sons and daughters in the fire" (Deut.12:31; 18:9-10; cf. Lev.18:21; Deut.9:1-6). It is true that this is not abortion, rather something even worse, the destroying of one's children after they are alive and have been given the breath of life. However it certainly gives insight into our Lord's attitude to the subject of abortion. As I have written in this context before:
This is not at all to imply that for this reason the fetus has no worth in God's eyes. Quite to the contrary, the unborn are highly valued in scripture (Ex.21:22; Job 10:8-12; Ps.139:13-16; Is.44:24; 49:4-5). Further we may note that in the Bible children are considered a great blessing (cf. 1Sam.2:1-11 and Lk.1:46-55), with infertility seen as a curse (Hos.9:14; cf. Gen.38; 1Sam.1:11), and pregnancy as a blessing and occasionally even a means of justification (cf. Num.5:11-31 and Lk.1:25). Whereas, on the other hand, the sacrifice of children is an abomination (Lev.18:21; Deut.12:31; 18:10; Ps.106:37-38). [fn. #2 in BB 3A: Anthropology]
That said, it is also very clear that every Christian must resist adding to or subtracting from scripture. And it is an equal abomination to twist scripture (which results in one's own destruction: 2Pet.3:16), for whatever purpose, even if a person assumes they are "doing good" in doing so. Truth is truth, and only by diligently seeking the absolute truth of scripture, learning it, believing it, proclaiming it, and applying it do we as Christians grow and help others to do likewise. It is inevitable that in the enormous "breath and length and height and depth" (Eph.3:18) of the Word of God there will always be some things that are hard to understand and other things that are hard to accept. What is hard for me to accept may be different from what has the potential for a being a stumbling block for you, but part of the process of Christian spiritual growth for each and every one of us is the simple fact that we are going to be tested by our preconceptions of what is right and wrong, good and bad in God's eyes, and we have to learn both in terms of principles taught in the Bible and in terms of specifics of what we face in our daily lives, that it is not what we want to be true but what God says is true that counts, just as it is not what we want to have happen but what God causes to happen which we must accept. In short, we have to learn to trust Him absolutely in absolutely all things.
Life begins at birth, not at conception. If life began at conception, then Mary really would be as the Roman Catholic church teaches, the "mother of God", since she would in at least some sense be half party to giving Jesus' fetus spiritual life. Perhaps this is a partial explanation for why the Catholics, generally very little concerned with the true doctrines of scripture, are so vehement on the abortion issue from the political side of things. Human beings do not and could never "give human life" or "create human life". God is the author of all life. All life comes from Him. When He created Adam, He breathed the "breath of life" into the man's body which was perfectly formed and yet not "alive". Only after the breath of life, that is, the human spirit, enters Adam's body, is he animated, does he become "alive" (Gen.2:7).
This is not to say that conception isn't important. Indeed, it is. Jesus' conception was incredibly important and significant for a whole variety of reasons. And God, who superintends every aspect of our lives, is most certainly concerned with the development of all His children, even before the point of their birth. Psalm 139:13-16, for example, attests to the marvelous process of God forming us, our bodies, in the womb – but it does not state that we were spiritually "alive" before birth. Indeed, the miraculous part of this process is what causes the Psalmist to marvel, namely, the fact that God had done all of this for him while he was still "in darkness" and before the days written in God's book had even begun: "The days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them" (v.16 NASB). It seems a bit pedantic to point out that if while still in the womb there "was at yet not one" of the Psalmist's days, that he was not yet alive in God's definition of the term – because he had not yet been born.
Scripture is replete with examples of the point of birth being the truly significant event in every person's life since that is the point when life begins. Human life (as opposed to mere biological functioning) begins when God creates the human spirit within us, just as life ends when He causes the human spirit to exit the body (cf. Lk.23:46). The body cannot live without the human spirit, for we are made by God to be a combination of the two: material and spiritual. And if the human spirit were passed down biologically, we would be completely material and the materialists would be right. But in fact there is more to life than the eye can see. We are immaterial as well, possessing a human spirit which will never die but which will live forever in the incorruptible body with which it will be clothed on that great day of resurrection, that "spiritual body", so named in 1st Corinthians 15:44 because it will be completely compatible with our human spirit rather than the present one which is of the earth and which hinders our relationship with God, the influence of the sin nature being the source of that hindrance. But if the human spirit were not created by God at the point of birth and placed within us as we drew our first breath thus producing human life, then it would have to come biologically the same way as this present body does – and how then would it not be fatally tainted with the sin nature? For this body is dust and will be replace by a better one which will be eternal and without taint. But if our human spirit be tainted, how can that taint be expunged?
In short, the biblical truth that life begins at birth, while offensive to some because it complicates their political agendas and political apologetics, is very important, both explaining many other things that would otherwise be hard to understand (as in the case of God being the immediate source of our life), even as it avoids many dangerous heresies which can sour and pervert our entire understanding of scripture (making biblical anthropology essentially materialistic and no different from Platonic-Marxist-atheistic materialism). You can find much more about the abbreviated discussion above at the following links:
"The Creation of Adam" and "The Human Spirit" (in Basics 3A: Anthropology)
Is the Soul a tertium quid?
My prayers are for your continued success in seeking out and teaching the truth of the Word of God.
In Jesus our Lord who is the Truth.
Dear brother Bob,
My Christian friends and I are divided concerning the inner man (or spirit man). One argument as stated in Ecclesiastes 12:7 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." is that some of us believe that when one dies, a man's flesh returns to dust. His soul will go wherever it is destines to go (eternal life or eternal fire). The question is what happens to the spirit man? Ecc 12:7 may suggest that irrespective of the destination for the soul, the spirit man of each person returns to GOD. The other theory is that the spirit man follows the soul to its final destination. We are troubled as we think the spirit man is the only pure entity in the composition of man (spirit, soul and flesh) that GOD uses to convict the soul to do good and a channel of communication for GOD as HE is spirit as is the spirit man. Please help enlighten us.
GOD bless you and thanks much,
This is a topic on which I have written quite a bit, so while I will give you a very quick overview here, please see the links provided below for the details.
Human beings are dichotomous. That is to say, we all have a human body (developed through human procreation and physical birth), and we all have a human spirit (given by God at the point of birth in the same way He breathed life into Adam after fashioning his body: Gen.2:7). The word "soul" is not in the Bible. "Soul" is a word of Germanic origin used (though not exclusively) by many versions to translate the word nephesh in the Hebrew Old Testament and the word psyche in the Greek New Testament. Either of these two words may also be (and often are, depending on the version) translated as "person", "inner-person", "heart", "self", etc. In other words, the "soul" is not a tertium quid or separate, distinct part or organ of the human person. Rather the spirit is "who we are", and the "soul" or "heart" is "us inside" at the conjunction of body and spirit, the place where we think, and will and decide as the spirit exerts itself, often opposed by the flesh.
When we die, this temporary body goes into the grave, but our spirit goes into the presence our Lord Jesus Christ (who promised us that where He was, we should be also: Jn.14:3). And we will "not be found naked" at that time (n.b., all of the versions mis-translate the first half of verse 3 below, wrongly "correcting" the Greek original reflected here below):
(1) For we know that if our earthly tent-dwelling (i.e., our
physical body) be struck, we have an abode [that comes] from
God, a dwelling made without human agency, eternal in the
heavens (i.e., the resurrection body). (2) For indeed we do
groan in this one, desiring to put on our habitation which comes
from heaven. (3) And
if we do put off this present one, at any
rate, we (i.e., our spirits) will not be found naked (i.e.,
"body-less"; for we will enjoy an interim body in the meantime:
cf. Lk.16:19-31; Rev.6:9-10; Rev.7:9-17).
2nd Corinthians 5:1-3
From the moment we leave this body of corruption, both in the interim state and interim body which believers are currently enjoying in heaven with Jesus, and also at the resurrection when we shall all receive permanent, eternal bodies, there will no longer be any conflict between body and spirit, for it is only in this temporary world in these corrupt and impermanent bodies that there is any struggle or conflict between the two; only here do we need a "heart/soul" to make decisions as to which way to go, after the Spirit, or after the flesh. This is the role of the conscience and the deliberative faculty of our "heart"/"soul". Only here in time is this needful, for only here are we called upon to choose, first and foremost for following Jesus, and ever thereafter to make decisions pleasing to Him (see the link: in BB 3B, "the Conscience").
You can find out much more about all of this at the following links:
"The Creation of Adam" and "The Human Spirit" (in Basics 3A: Anthropology)
Is the Soul a tertium quid?
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
The Nature of Life after Death.
Is the Nature of Man Trichotomous?
Please do also feel free to write me back about any of this.
In our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
Here is an attempt to ask born-again Bible believers to discuss a human's body, soul and spirit.
Jesus emphatically told Nicodemus (John 3:3) "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Born again?, Nicodemus had trouble with what that meant and I believe most Christians do also. It seems many pastors have a problem explaining it. I have heard different attempts at an explanation but none have applied the biblical truth that "something" every human once had "died" and needs to be reborn, or "born again".
The following is quoted from Dr. Terry Mortenson's article dated May 2, 2007 which is posted in www.answersingenesis.org, "The Hebrew wording of Genesis 2:17 allows for a time lapse between the instantaneous spiritual death on that sad day of disobedience and the later physical death (which certainly did happen, just as God said, but for Adam it was 930 years later). As Scripture consistently teaches, both kinds of death (spiritual and physical) are the consequence of Adam's rebellion." Also I quote from Rich Deem, on his web site www.godandscience.org, "The Bible is very clear that death is not restricted to merely the physical death of the body, but the death of the spirit. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they died that very day spiritually and lost their personal relationship with God."
Dr. M. R. DeHaan wrote in his book "The Chemistry of the Blood" page 142- "As we all know, the Godhead consists in Three Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. These Three are but one God, yet eternally exist in Three Persons --- Father, Son, and Holy Ghost --- who are equal in all Their attributes of holiness, justice, eternity, infinity, truth and love. We read in Genesis 1:26,27 that God created man in His own image, that is, He created man also a trinity in unity consisting of a body, soul and a spirit. Yet man was but one person and consisted of these three distinct parts."
I think it's important here to clarify that the human body is not the image of God. Philippians 2:5-8, Christ Jesus "took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men;" see also Hebrews 2:16,17. "For verily He took not on Him the nature of angels, but He took on Him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore, in all things it behooved Him to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people."
Again look carefully at Genesis 1:26,27; & 2:7. "Let us make man--- God created man---&(2:7) God formed man", all three verbs were used. Also look at Isaiah 43:7 "Even every one that is called by My name: for I have created him for My glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."
Creation: There are three main Hebrew verbs used to describe God's work in Genesis. These are (bara) "create", (asah) "make", and (yatsar) "form". The Genesis chapter 1 use of "bara" - " created". It is used only concerning 3 separate actions in all of chapter 1. The first use of "bara" is in Genesis 1:1 "God created (bara) the heaven and the earth," which is, all of space and all the matter that fills space. The things that we touch. I quote from Rich Deem, on his web site www.godandsceince.org - "The Hebrew term 'the heavens and the earth' in Genesis 1:1 refers to the entire created universe. So, the Sun, stars, and earth were all created at the beginning of day 1---It is also important to remember that the Hebrew phrase 'the heavens and the earth' (hashamayim we ha 'erets) in Genesis 1:1 encompasses everything in the physical universe. As previously discussed, this interpretation is supported by the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Vine and Grudem. Bruce Waltke also confirms that hashamayim we ha 'erets refers to the totality of the physical universe, all matter and energy and whatever else it contains. Thus, the Hebrew text clearly states the Sun, Moon and stars were created 'in the beginning' and not on the fourth day".
I've wondered what the phrase "let there be", could really stand for? It is used so many times in Genesis 1. I have not yet found the Hebrew meaning for that phrase but I did find this by Rich Deem "However, the Hebrew verb for 'be' (hayah) means 'to be' or 'to exist.' As Collins notes, the verbs in Genesis 1:3 (Let there be... and there was) do not imply the creation of light, or a sense of coming into existence. This supports the view that the illumination came from pre-existing light– the sun." --- And I also found that Dr. C.I. Scofield's notes connected with that phrase, states, "The sense is 'made to appear', 'made visible'". Could it be another form of asah? --- But, let's continue to concentrate on "bara".
The second use of the word "bara" was in Genesis 1:21 "And God created (bara) great whales, and every living creature that moveth,". Another godandscience quote "The first task of biblical exegesis is to discover the original, intended meaning of the words of the Bible. The Hebrew term 'living creature' (nephesh khayyâ) means 'living animated being' or 'air-breathing creature.' According to MacArthur, nephesh literally means that which breathes, and speaks of soulish life (i.e., mind, will and emotion) as opposed to merely organic life. These sea creatures and nephesh khayyâ may be air-breathing mammals such as dolphins, porpoises, and the like. 'Great sea creatures' (tannîn) is translated 'great whales' in some English Bibles but has a broader meaning, referring to enormous creatures. These are most likely creatures the Israelites were familiar with– possibly whales or sharks or large crocodiles, which were common in Moses' day. The text does not indicate when fish (dagâ) were created, nor does it discuss other types of marine organisms." ---- In Genesis 1:20 we read "let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life." My bible references that "life" to mean "soul". Souls are a "something" but they are not a material part of the first creative act (bara). "Souls" are/were the second creative act of God. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance lists the same Hebrew word was translated living creature in Genesis 1:21 about animals 'that moveth" and again was translated soul in Genesis 2:7 about MAN.
Thirdly "bara" is used in Genesis 1:27 "So God created (bara) man in His own image, in the image of God created He him". Most people see only the material form of man but the material form was part of the first creative act. Gen 3:19 "dust thou art". As shown above, man was also given "Life", a soul, a personality, an individuality, as part of the second creative act. But Dr. M. R. DeHaan pointed out that man was thirdly given a "SPIRIT", (the third creative act of God) which "made man in God's image," "a trinity in unity." Zechariah 12:1 "the Lord, who stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him." A spirit is another "something" but it is not part of the first or the second creative act's (bara) of God. I will again quote "G&S" "according to the Bible, only certain higher animals (nephesh), posses souls, and other than God Himself and angels, only human beings posses a spirit."
Genesis 3 pointed out that the disobedient act of Adam and Eve "immediately" severed their relationship, their tri-unity to God. Most sermons that I have heard point out that our sins condemn us to hell but do not point out that our "Adamic" sin (the getting of the knowledge of good and evil) is what kills our SPIRIT, and "that" is what severs our relationship with God. (man is no longer in His image.) Remember, Adam & Eve had to be sent out of the garden of Eden so that they could not eat of the Tree of Life and live forever. (Gen. 3:22, 23, 24) Their "Spiritual death" was immediate but their "physical death" was not. Their physical death came about as a part of their banishment from their elevated position in the Garden of Eden. (See Dr. Terry Mortenson's article back on page one.)
The condition of "Little Children". Look in Matthew 19:13-15, Mark 10:13-16, and Luke 18:15-17, notice in all three cases Jesus used the phrase little children. He then told His disciples that "they", the disciples, MUST receive the kingdom of God "as one of these little ones" or they could not enter into the kingdom. Also please look at Deuteronomy 1:39, you will see "little ones-who in that day had no knowledge between good and evil". Clearly a time before the age of accountability, or should we call it the time of the "Adamic" SIN. Could Christ have meant that they, all the very little children were still in the "image of God" and were ready to go to Heaven should they die before getting the knowledge between good and evil? He said the disciples, had to again become just like a little Human Child is before they obtain the knowledge of good and evil. When a human obtains the knowledge of Good and Evil, just like Adam & Eve, that human's spirit dies. (Note: I believe this shows that every abortion, miscarriage, crib death, or death before the age of accountability is a child in Heaven. "God is LOVE")
Christians and the Holy Spirit: The sending of The Holy Spirit (John 14:25,26. 15:26. 16:7-15, John 3:5, 6.) to rebirth those whose names are written in the "Book of Life" (Rev. 20:15) did not happen until after Christ gave up His Spirit, yes, The Spirit of God, on the cross. (Matt 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).
Acts chapter 2 is shown as the time that the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament and up to the time of Pentecost, the Spirit would come upon a person only for a specific period of time and possibly only for a specific purpose. Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit comes into every person who "believes" (John 3:18) and although He can be, and is often, grieved, He will never leave the believer. Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit, that dwelleth in you."
The Word of God states that a born again Christian has spirit, soul and body.-- read I Thessalonians 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Notice, this could only be said to born again Christians.) Remember the name of Christian was not applied to believers until Antioch. (See Acts 16:26)
"In God's kingdom, there is a spiritual Helper who produces new life. But His role is to bring about 'second birth' (John 3:5-8). The Holy Spirit uses a variety of ways to accomplish this. He convicts the world of sin (John 16:8), empowers the gospel (1 Thess. 1:5), regenerates us from within (Titus 3:5), and places believers into eternal union with Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-13). Though He is invisible, His life-changing activity can be clearly seen." By Dennis Fisher Copied from Aug 1st 2007 Our Daily Bread
More to come. Pray it over and tell me what the Holy Spirit has led you to believe, PLEASE. We all need HIS truth!!
This is an addition to the write-up of the "body, soul and spirit"
I know that in the bible we are taught that the things we see in nature are there to show us the hand of God. (I Cor. 11:14 – Rom. 1:19,20) In my asking God to help me see deeper into the rebirth of man's dead spirit, I have been led to compare the spiritual rebirth to the human birth. When a human is led by the Holy Spirit to desire to become a Christian, I think that time can be compared to the "sperm joining the egg". It normally happens in the Church, (the Church is the bride of Christ), the new "Life" must be "protected" and fed directly by connection to the "Blood" for some time. At conception, could that be the time of the baptizing of the Holy Spirit? The new life floats in water. Some time later, when the new life has grown properly, it is berthed and at first release it must take a full breath of cleansing air. "The Filling of the Holy Spirit." Slowly the ears are cleansed, the eyes begin to see and learn, the hands begin to grasp and finally the feet begin to support and go forth to follow the Lord. Walking with Him our spirits slowly mature.
I know this concept still needs work, I can and will use anyone's help.
I teach what I believe the Bible to teach, namely, that human beings are dichotomous, possessed of a physical body and a human spirit given at birth. Understanding the "soul", a Germanic word, as a separate and discrete part of the human makeup, is a Roman Catholic invention. It is true we all "have" a nephesh or psyche, but this Hebrew/Greek pair of words is a synonym for the heart, the spirit-body interface. Thus, 1st Thessalonians 5:23 does not dogmatically teach trichotomy (anymore than Mark 12:30 / Luke 10:27 is an example of "tetrachotomy"); it is merely an expression of the totality of the person. The Lord made Adam's body, then breathed into it a human spirit, with the result that Adam became "a living being" (nephesh), which could just as well be translated "living soul". The "soul" or "heart" or "being" or "person" (all terms used to translate nephesh-psyche in virtually every version at one place or another) is "who we are" as a result of having a human spirit placed by God into our physical bodies. That is what produces life, not a biological process. There is so much more to say about all of this, and you will find detailed explanations posted at my site, ichthys.com, at the following links (in the study, Bible Basics 3A: "Anthropology"):
II. The Creation of Man
1. The Image and the Likeness of God
2. The Creation of Adam
3. The Human Spirit
4. The Dichotomy of Man
5. The Creation of Eve
Yours in service to the truth of the Word of God and in the Name of our dear Lord Jesus,