IDENTIFYING THE SOUL, HEART, AND MIND
BY: DAVE and SHEILA GARNER
You might ask what is the relevance of a study on the soul, and its importance to us, and what does it add to our Christian experience? Our understanding of whom and what we are, as a whole, determines our actions and reactions towards God and man and the depth of our salvation as Christians. The basis of most Christianity is established on the premise that we are hopeless sinners ever reaching for that unattainable condition of a sinless nature in Christ. Our soul is forever bound up in the death throes of that man of sin nature and our only hope is that some day we can destroy his influence over our lives so we can some day stand in the heavenly presence of God Himself.
Over the years I have heard many definitions, explanations and sermons concerning the soul, heart and the mind. Stanford University (Ancient Theories of Soul First published Oct, 2003) presents a thorough history on the Philosophy of the Soul, which identifies the origin of many of the traditional views held by Christian theologians, both past and present. In my research I discovered that the source of most of the modern day concepts of what the soul is and how it functions… did not originate from the Bible, but rather were birthed from the philosophical discussions of the sixth and fifth century B.C. Greek philosophers or linked to other ancient non–Christian sources.
It is again being taught that the soul is made up of only the mind, will, and emotions and nothing else and that we have to stifle or set aside all of our emotions and we cannot have a will or personal desire because it has to be put upon the cross and crucified. Others also take it even further teaching that there are two different realms; the soul realm which is the carnal man and then the spiritual realm, or spirit man, which is the realm man is reaching to ascend into. Many teach that we have to crucify our old soul man because he is our carnal nature and by doing so, destroy the man of sin. With this kind of understanding the soul becomes the hindrance to our entrance into a growing personal relationship with God. On the opposite side of this thought, there are those who are teaching just leave the soul alone and let him do what he wants because he is already dead and there is nothing we can do to fix him. He will act up every now and then, but it is the spirit man that is important and He is the real you. It has been suggested that the heart, soul, and mind represent three different dispensations or realms of heaven. I am sure that there are other teachings that are being shared throughout the church community, but these are the ones that I wish to examine scripturally.
Excerpt Taken from the Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy: Ancient Theories of the soul. “From comparatively humble Homeric beginnings, the word ‘soul’ undergoes quite remarkable semantic expansion in sixth and fifth century usage. By the end of the fifth century — the time of Socrates’ death — soul is standardly thought and spoken of, for instance, as the distinguishing mark of living things, as something that is the subject of emotional states and that is responsible for planning and practical thinking, and also as the bearer of such virtues as courage and justice. Coming to philosophical theory, we first trace a development towards comprehensive articulation of a very broad conception of soul, according to which the soul is not only responsible for mental or psychological functions like thought, perception and desire, and is the bearer of moral qualities, but in some way or other accounts for all the vital functions that any living organism performs. This broad conception, which is clearly in close contact with ordinary Greek usage by that time, finds its fullest articulation in Aristotle’s theory. The theories of the Hellenistic period, by contrast, are interested more narrowly in the soul as something that is responsible specifically for mental or psychological functions. They either de-emphasize or sever the ordinary language connection between soul and life in all its functions and aspects.”
It has been said that “the soul never dies,” thereby giving it a spiritual dimension. It was the Greek philosopher Socrates that began to teach that just like we have a heart, we have a soul somewhere within our inner being that never dies. (See excerpt at the end of study for more details concerning Socrates and other Greek teachings on the soul.) There are modern Bible teachers who are teaching that the soul is only feminine and is spiritually represented by Eve in the Garden of Eden. This thought seems to have originated from the pre-Christian era and was accepted into the Koran; source being the Qabbalistic Keys (Muslim Philosophical Teachings) to the Creation of Man.
The Internet Sacred Text Archive: Excerpt from the Koran: “Of this fuller nature the mortal man has little comprehension. Just as spirit contains matter within itself and is both the source and ultimate of the state denominated matter, so Eve represents the lower, or mortal, portion that is taken out of, or has temporal existence in the greater and fuller spiritual creation. Being representative of the inferior part of the individual, Eve is the temptress who, conspiring with the serpent of mortal knowledge, caused Adam to sink into a trancelike condition in which he was unconscious of his own higher Self. When Adam seemingly awoke, he actually sank into sleep, for he no longer was in the spirit but in the body; division having taken place within him, the true Adam rested in Paradise while his lesser part incarnated in a material organism (Eve) and wandered in the darkness of mortal existence.”
Quoted from the writings of Anna Bonus Kingsford, (1846-88) and Edward Maitland, (1824-97): The Perfect Way, 1890:
1: Physical Nature
“Here, Adam represents the bodily or sensuous nature in man; woman, the psychic and spiritual nature; and an helper, an overseeing guide. Isha, the first name given to woman, is the “generative substance, or feminine principle, of humanity” and Eve, the name of woman after fall, is life which is represented by a serpent. As soul, Eve has 2 aspects: earthly (tempter) and heavenly (Divine Wisdom, Sophia). Eve, the Soul, is taken from the sleeping man’s side because the Soul can only be revealed when it transcends the consciousness of the body. When Adam, physical man, is “asleep, passive, unassertive,” the Soul is “made manifest,” the Soul guides, rules, and commands. In the original “unfallen,” sinless condition, Adam (physical nature) is ruled by Eve (the soul). After the fall, humanity becomes cursed and the order of dominance is inverted: physical nature (Adam) dominates the soul (Eve); man is ruled by his physical nature, not his soul. “And the curse will be removed and paradise regained, and the second Sabbath of the Golden Age achieved, only when this “woman” is again inverted with her rightful supremacy.”
2: Rational / Philosophic Nature
“Once again, Adam represents the body, the physical person and Eve represents the soul. Now, however, the Divine Voice is the Spirit. The serpent represents the “astral element or lower reason,” an “intermediary between soul and body,” and is “concerned with the things of time and matter only,” and interprets physical sensations of the body. Here, the serpent (reason) conquers Eve (the soul) and “every victory of the spiritual man is bought with anguish.” God’s curse, enmity between woman and serpent, is reflected in the continuing antagonism between soul and reason. In one of the many interjections, Kingsford and Maitland maintain that after the fall, man was no longer content with “the tree-fruits and the herb-grains” provided freely by nature and became a flesh-eating predator. And until men stop being “shedders of blood” and “flesh-eaters,” paradise will not be regained. In an alternate explanation, man represents the mind or rational intellect and woman represents affection or heart. The Tree of Knowledge represents illusion, the Tree of Life represents Divine Gnosis or interior knowledge, and the serpent represents the will of the body. The sin which brought ruin on mankind is idolatry. During the fall, affection was seduced by illusion. Man’s curse, intellect’s curse, is to know that in the fall he lost the ability to distinguish “Substance from Reality.”
The soul according to the Bahá’í belief, is allegorical … Adam represents the universal mind and Eve, the universal soul. The Bahá‘í Faith is a religion founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 19th century Persia. Bahá’ís number around 6 million in more than 200 countries around the world.
Quotation from the Lord’s Light Ministry: Linda Keith: “Within each man/woman is the Mind of God, and the mind of the Soul, woman, Eve. The mind of the soul is the ‘earth’ that the serpent, the devil, the dragon walks to and fro in. Death occurs only through the realm of the soul, through listening to, obeying, and living out of the mind of the soul… instead of the Mind of God within us. When Man listened and obeyed the serpent instead of God, man was awakened (or his eyes were opened) to his soul realm, natural mind. Man was fooled by the serpent who appeals to the woman, the soul mind within us. The serpent walks to an fro in our earth (soul) trying to convince man/us into “thinking” that our soul mind is equal to God’s Mind within us. The serpent is constantly trying to convince us that we can use our own minds (soul) to become ‘like God'(or be made in His image), and to convince us that our soul, natural wisdom is equal to the Wisdom of God within us. The serpent being the ruler of the carnal, flesh mind, or as you would put it, the mind of the soul, Eve.”
Our understanding of what happened at the cross begins with our understanding of how we can truly love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul. So what is our soul, what is its importance, and what are we to do with it? If we don’t understand what a soul is, how can we fulfill the two greatest commandments that we have been given? (Matthew 22:37-40 and John 13:34-35). Through this study we have set our course to discover what it means to truly love the Lord with all of our soul, heart, mind, and strength, our whole being and to establish once and for all, at least for us, what was accomplished at the cross and come to a true understanding of what it means for our souls to be saved.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Word Definition for Soul in the Old Testament:
SOUL 5315 nephesh; from 5314; properly, a breathing creature, i.e. animal of (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): 5314 naphash; a primitive root; to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, i.e. (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air).
The Hebrew word nephesh (5315) is used approximately 749 times in the Old Testament. It was translated into the English word soul only 474 times and it was translated into several other English words 275 times. The English words that it was translated into more then one time are as follows: soul 416, life 100, souls 58, lives 18, persons 16, person 14, heart 12, mind 11, himself 10, body 9, creature 9, dead 8, yourselves 8, desire 5, man 4, minds 4, pleasure 4, will 4, any 3, beast 3, themselves 3, appetite 2, ghost 2, hearts 2, thing 2…… See the complete listing with scripture references at the end of the study.
Moses felt that the preservation of the soul was an important endeavor, as he cautioned the Israelites to keep diligent watch over their soul making sure to keep (protect the memory in their minds) the judgments of God, and teach them to their children lest they forgot what they had seen with their eyes and their heart be drawn away. The preservation of the soul depended upon them keeping their heart focused upon the righteous statutes and judgments of God.
Deuteronomy 4:8-9, “And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest you forget the things which your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;…”
KEEP: 8104 shamar; properly, to hedge about (as with thorns), i.e. guard; generally, to protect, attend to, etc. (This is the same word used in Genesis 2:15 concerning Adam when he was placed in the garden “to dress and to keep” the garden.)
DEPART: 5493 cuwr; or suwr (Hosea 9:12); to turn off (literal or figurative)
All through the writings of King David, he is concerned about the preservation of his soul. In his Psalms on several occasions he asked the Lord to save his soul because it was sorely troubled. (Psalms 6:3-4, 7:2-5, 17:13, 25:20, 35:17, 40:13-14.) David pleaded with the Lord to deliver his soul from those who persecuted him and from the wicked men around him because he feared they would tear his soul in pieces. He pleaded with the Lord to preserve his soul and vehemently believed in lifting up his soul to the Lord (Psalms 25:1, 86:2-5). David also said that his soul would boast in the Lord (Psalms 34:2). He said that the man who feared the Lord, his soul would dwell at ease (Psalms 25:12-13). He boldly asked the Lord to not gather his soul with the sinners (Psalms 26:8-9). He said his enemies took counsel together to take away his life/soul (Psalms 31:13-14). He said that his soul was cast down (very troubled and oppressed) or bowed down to the dust (Psalms 43:5, 44:23-26). He said that his soul trusted in the Lord, even though his soul was among the lions (Psalms 57:1-6). He also said that his soul would wait only upon God as his expectation was from Him (Psalms 62:5).
Jonathan’s soul displayed the emotion of love toward David as if he was his very own soul (1 Samuel 18:1). The soul of David longed after Absalom his son after he had exiled him for killing his brother (1 Samuel 13:38-39). David prayed unto the Lord saying that his enemies had persecuted and afflicted his soul and he asked that the Lord bring his soul out of trouble (Psalms 143:1-12). David said that the Lord redeemed the soul of His servants out of all adversity (2 Samuel 4:9, 34:22, Psalms 35:1-17). He said that the Lord redeemed their soul from deceit and violence (Psalms 71:23, 72:14). David took counsel with himself in his soul (Psalms 13:2). The law of the Lord is perfect and converts the soul (Psalms 19:7). He that has clean hands, a pure heart, and who has not lifted up his soul onto vanity will ascend the hill of the Lord and stand in Holy Place (Psalms 24:3-4). He boasted in the Lord when he said that his soul panted and thirsted after the Lord. His soul followed hard after the Lord (Psalms 42:1-7, 63:1-9). David said that evil doers gathered themselves together against the soul of the righteous (Psalms 94:16-22). The Lord satisfies the longing of the soul and fills the hungry soul with goodness (Psalms 107:1-13). David’s soul breaks from the weight of the longing it had for God’s judgments. His soul cleaved unto the dust and melted for heaviness (Psalms 119:18-34). His soul waited upon the Lord (Psalms 130).
David asked for his soul to be healed (Psalms 41:4). He asked the question “what man is he that lives, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave?” (Psalms 89:48) According to David there is no one but God, who can keep alive his own soul (Psalms 22:29). David believed that God would redeem his soul from death in Psalms 49:14-19, and in Psalms 56:13, David said that the Lord had delivered him from death. Psalms 30:3, 33:18-21, 56:13, 86:13-14, 116:6-9, all declares the Lord delivers the soul from death and David said that it was the Lord that restored his soul (Psalms 23:3).
King Solomon also felt the necessity to warn people to protect their soul. In his proverb he declared that he who controls his mouth keeps his soul from trouble; the opposite being he who does not control his mouth gets his soul into trouble (Proverbs 21:23). If you correct a child by beating him you deliver his soul from hell, as if saving the soul is a good thing. The word beating is a strong word and is not a term we would use today in connection with correcting our children. However, it does represent physical correction (Proverbs 23:13-14). Solomon said that it was the soul of the wicked that desire evil; the opposite of this is the soul of the righteous desire righteousness (Proverbs 21:10). Scripture, over and over, says that the soul has the option to choose between doing good and doing evil.
The soul is not evil in and of it self if it can be preserved by the words of our mouth and make its own choices to either do good or to do evil. Knowledge is agreeable to the soul as if it is good for it (Proverbs 2:10). A merciful man does good to his own soul (Proverbs 11:17). A giving soul shall prosper abundantly (Proverbs 11:25). He that keeps (guards) his walk preserves his soul (Proverbs 16:17, 22:5). “Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24) A soul can experience physical hunger and steal to satisfy his hunger (Proverbs 6:30, 10:3, 13:25). A soul can be destroyed by committing adultery (Proverbs 6:32). A man shall eat goodness by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the transgressor shall eat violence. He that watches his mouth keeps his soul/life (Proverbs 13:2-3). A fool’s mouth is a snare to his soul (Proverbs 18:6-7).
As you can see the Hebrew word for soul, nephesh is used in many different ways throughout the Old Testament. It is always used in relationship to a person, be it a man, woman, child or any living being. There is not any scriptural support for identifying the soul as being naturally evil, however, there is ample Scripture to support the teaching that the soul was given the power of choice, to choose between good and evil. Man was not given a soul, he was made a living soul when God breathed into him the breath of life.
Genesis 2:7, “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.”
BECAME 1961 hayah; to exist, i.e. be or become, come to pass.
Yahweh Elohiym (God) formed the body of adam/man (Strong’s number 120) and breathed into adam/man the breath of life and he became a living soul. The first man Adam was made a living soul therefore, all who came after him, his descendants, were souls as well. His being a soul never changed; he did not stop being a soul when Eve was taken from him, nor did he become a soul only after he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. He was a soul while he was in the Garden of Eden and he was still a soul when he was put out of the garden. The word soul was used to describe the whole man not just what was in man. The Hebrew word nephesh (soul) was translated into the English word persons (people) in Numbers 31:35, Deuteronomy 10:22, Joshua 20:3, Jeremiah 43:5-6, and Jeremiah 52:29. Throughout the Old Testament a soul is described as being an uncircumcised man child (Genesis 17:13-14). A person who eats leavened bread during the feast of unleavened bread is called a soul (Exodus 12:5). A person who ate of the peace offering was called a soul (Leviticus 19:8). The soul has blood (Proverbs 28:17). When Abraham was returning from the slaughter of the kings, the king of Sodom referred to the prisoners (persons) that Abraham had taken as souls (Genesis 14:20-21). Esau’s wives, children and servants, (the persons of his house) were called souls (Genesis 36:6).
According to Genesis 9:3-4, Leviticus 17:11-16, and Deuteronomy 12:21-25, the blood is the life of the soul. God gave the children of Israel the commandment that they could not eat the blood for the life of the flesh or soul was in the blood. Any person who touched a dead body or soul, that person was defiled and was in a sinful condition until he received redemption, whether touching the dead soul was intentional or unintentional (Leviticus 5:1-4). If a person could physically touch the soul when it was dead or without the breath of life, then the soul had a physical aspect even after the breath of life was gone. The law said that the people could not come near to a dead body/soul (nephesh) translated in King James Version as the word body. The word body in Leviticus 21:10-12 and Haggai 2:13, is the same Hebrew word as soul. The soul could be dead having no conscious mind, will, or emotions and still be called a soul. Scripture also does not differentiate from either the male or the female gender concerning a dead soul.
Joseph’s soul expressed the emotion of anguish, but the soul was not the emotion, only that which expressed the emotion (Genesis 42:21). It is the heart of man that is his emotional center and from where his desires come (his will/emotional condition). In the biggest proportion of the verses concerning the soul, mind and the heart, the soul expresses the physical aspects of man, be it internal or external. The Israelites were instructed to return unto the Lord and obey all of His statutes and judgments and love the Lord their God with all of their soul, outward actions, and with all of their heart; feelings and emotions. The same Hebrew word nephesh (Strong’s No. 5315) used for the word soul is translated into the English word life. In Exodus 21:22-23, a baby is a soul. The Danites told Micah that he would lose his life (soul) and the lives (souls) of members of his family (Judges 18:25). The soul or the breath of life (the soul) left the child, but when Elijah prayed for him his soul (breath of life) came into him again (1 Kings 17:21-22). Rachel’s soul (breath of life) departed (left her) or Rachel died, indicating that the soul and the breath of life could be the same thing (Genesis 35:17-19).
A soul could commit a trespass and sin through ignorance and then offer up a trespass offering to receive atonement for his/her sin, which shows that the soul can exercise the power of choice to sin or not to sin (Leviticus 5:15-17). Also a soul could purposely sin and lie to a neighbor (Leviticus 6:2). Every man could purchase his redemption by giving a ransom for his soul so the plague would not come upon him, showing that a soul could be redeemed and was not inherently sinful (Exodus 30:12). If a soul sinned it could receive redemption, and if it can be redeemed then the soul cannot be inherently evil in itself just because it was called a soul.
Mankind was not the only being called a soul. All living animals or beings were described as being “souls.” They did not have a soul, they were a soul. The animals were created on the sixth day and they were called living creatures (the same Hebrew word for soul). The animals that Noah was to take on the ark were also called living souls. They are also called living souls in reference to the law of the beast. (Genesis 1:21, 24-25, 2:19, 9:10-16, Leviticus 11:46-47.)
In Genesis 19:18-20, Lot desired safety for his soul because he feared that his soul. “My soul shall live” indicating that the soul can die. Lot identified himself as being or possessing a soul. David rebuked Saul for hunting and desiring to kill his soul (1 Samuel 24:11, 25:29). Saul’s soul was precious in David’s sight because he had the opportunity to kill him but did not (1 Samuel 26:21). The soul of Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite desired or lusted after Dinah the daughter of Jacob (Genesis 34:2-3). Samson’s soul was vexed (to trouble seriously, tormented, wearied) almost to death by Delilah (Judges 16:6). The soul of Hannah and Job were full of bitterness (1 Samuel 1:9-10, Job 7:11-15, 10:1). Job said that terrors were pursuing his soul and that his soul was being poured (expended) out (Job 30:15-16). A soul can also waste away from hunger (Numbers 11:5-6). In Deuteronomy 12:20, the soul of Israel lusted after meat or flesh. God caused the souls of the rebellious Israelites to experience thinness (Psalms 106:14-15).
Deuteronomy 6:4-6, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shall love the LORD thy God with all your heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:….” Deuteronomy 13:3, 30:2, 26:16, 1 Kings 2:4.
2 Kings 23:25, “And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.”
MIGHT: 3966 me` od; properly, vehemence, i.e. (with or without preposition) vehemently; by imp., wholly, speedily, etc. (with all thy will: strong purpose or desire, very willingly)
HEART: 3824 lebab; the heart (as the most interior organ); used also like 3820: leb (labe); a form of 3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything: The Hebrew word lebab is used in the King James Version 249 times and is translated into the English words; heart 211, hearts 22, mind 4, understanding 3, fainthearted 2, unawares 2, breasts 1, comfortably 1, courage 1 midst 1, tenderhearted 1.
Scriptures verify that it is from the heart that the desires of the flesh, emotions of anger, hatred, unbelief, and pride are birthed, but it is also where love, peace, joy and goodness are expressed. Abimelech claimed innocence and integrity of heart concerning Sarah. He did not claim integrity of soul (Genesis 20:46). He knew he was innocent in his desires. The people were told not to hate their brother in their heart which shows that the emotion of hatred comes out of the heart and not from the soul (Leviticus 19:17). The Israelites were instructed to sew fringes on the bottom of their garments for a remembrance of God’s commandments not to go lusting after other gods or fulfill the desires of their own heart showing that the feelings of lust come from the heart, not the soul. It also makes it clear that any person with their heart can choose good over evil. If the heart has the option to choose to serve God or lust after idols, then it too, is not inherently evil and unredeemable (Numbers 15:38).
The Lord desired that the people had it in their heart to fear (honor, be in awe of, and respect) Him (Deuteronomy 5:29). Moses told the people that the reason they were in the wilderness for forty years was because the Lord God wanted to humble them and prove what was in their heart (Deuteronomy 8:1-5). Moses instructed the people to be careful not to let their heart (not the soul) be deceived into worshiping other gods (Deuteronomy 11:16). Moses admonished the Israelites not to harden their heart when they saw a poor person in need, but through the act of compassion from the heart give to his need. Any person who did not feed the needy when they had abundance had a wicked, self-centered, or deceptive heart (Deuteronomy15:7-10).
It was the people’s heart, by their trust or lack of trust in God which determined the outcome of possessing their inheritance. If they determined in their heart that the nations were greater than themselves, then God was unable to remove the enemy from the land before them because of the fear that was in their hearts (Deuteronomy 7:17). God was going to use the Israelites to chase the inhabitants of the land out before them, but He could not use them successfully if they doubted in their hearts. It was the condition of their hearts, not the heart itself; fear, doubt, pride, arrogance, self exaltation, self righteousness, and forgetfulness, (not their soul) that determined the final outcome of success or failure. Moses warned the Israelites not to get prideful in thinking that it was by their own strength and power or by their own righteousness that they had gotten their wealth (Deuteronomy 8:13-17, 9:4-7). It was with their heart that they believed unto righteousness, or did not believe but kept their prideful spirit (Isaiah 10:5-8 and 12).
God desired them to turn their hearts over to Him and He would circumcise the foreskin of their heart so they would not be a stubborn and rebellious people (Deuteronomy 10:15-17). If the Israelites submitted to His commandments, the Lord would circumcise their heart and the hearts of their children so they would love the Lord with all of their heart and with all of their soul and live (Deuteronomy 30:5-6). Both the soul and the heart can be circumcised of all unrighteousness and cleansed through the choices a person makes; either to yield in obedience or walk in rebellion in the imagination of their own hearts. Before they went into battle the army officers were instructed to ask if there were any who wanted to stay behind because they were fearful in their heart. They did not want men who were fearful of heart to affect men who were strong of heart when they went to battle, so they weeded them out (Deuteronomy 20:8). The Lord told the people that His word was near (within their reach) unto them, in their mouth and in their heart so that they could do it (Deuteronomy 30:14).
Elkanah recognized that Hannah’s heart was grieved because she had been unable to bear him any children (1 Samuel 1:8). The Lord told Samuel when he went to anoint David as king that He was not to look upon the outward appearance but recognize the contents of the heart. He did not say anything about looking at the condition of his soul (1 Samuel 16:7). David put to memory (held them in his heart) the words of Achish, a king of Palestine (1 Samuel 21:12). Nathan told David to go and do all that was in his heart, for the Lord was with him (2 Samuel 7:3). It was in the heart (desire, thoughts) of David to build a house for the Ark of the Covenant to dwell in (1 Chronicles 17:2). Solomon said that Shemei had wickedness in his heart (1 Kings 2:44). The people went away from Solomon with a glad and joyful heart (1 Kings 8:66). Ezra prepared his heart to seek the Lord (Ezra 7:10). In Psalms 4:4 and 77:6, David said to commune with your own heart upon the bed. How do you commune with something unless you communicate with it? In Psalms 73:26, David said that God was the strength of his heart.
Moses warned the people of Israel that if they did not listen to the word of God to do his commandments, that all of the curses of Egypt would come upon them and the Lord would smite them with madness, blindness, and astonishment of heart (Deuteronomy 28:15-28). He also said in Deuteronomy 28:45-47, that the curses would follow them and overtake them because they did not serve the Lord with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things. As long as they did not follow the commandments of God with all of the desires of their heart they would not find any comfort nor would their foot have rest, but instead they would have a trembling (unsure, fearful) heart, failing eyes (as not being able to see clear), and pine away (waste away) in their soul and perish (Deuteronomy 28:65-67 and 30:17-18).
When the kings of the land of Canaan heard how the Lord dried up the waters of Jordan so that the Israelites could cross over, their heart melted and they had no more spirit in them (Joshua 5:1). It is obvious that they became fearful when they heard about what God did for the Israelites and they gave up hope, losing the strength of their will, they faced the reality that they were not strong enough to fight against the God of the Israelites.
The seat of man’s emotions is in his heart. It is with the heart that man believes or does not believe. He either turns his heart over to serve God or he turns his heart away from God. Man cannot have peace as long as he walks in the imagination of his own heart and serves other gods (Deuteronomy 29:18-20).. The Bible never implies that the source of the imagination is connected to the soul, but repeatedly identifies the heart as the source. If the people despised (ignored) the statutes of God and their soul abhorred His judgments and broke His commandments, He would bring terror, consumption, blinding of the eyes, and sorrow of heart/soul. God will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind (purpose) is stayed upon Him: because he trusts in God (Isaiah 26:3). David said that he would praise the Lord with his whole heart which figuratively described his feelings, will and even intellect (Psalms 138:1).
It is clear from a very careful study and search of the Old Testament scriptures that the men and women of God during that time period did not believe that the soul was inherently evil. Nor is there any scriptural support in the Old Testament for anyone to make the assumption that the soul is the part of us that must be crucified because of its unredeemable nature. No where in scriptures identifies the soul as being specifically male or female in gender or nature or as just being the mind, will, and emotions. The soul has choice; he or she does have the power to exercise their will to choose to do good or evil. If a person turns to the Lord with all of their soul, heart, mind, and will, then the blessings of the Lord will come upon them. It is also clear that it is the contents of the heart that determines the actions of a person. If a person has an evil heart he will allow his imagination and lust to control his actions, but if he has a good heart, he will search out to do good things. A person who seeks to serve the Lord with a whole heart will be blessed, but a person who does not, will inherit the plagues of Egypt. As far as I can determine, the Old Testament scriptures describe the soul as the whole being or person of man or woman, whether alive or dead.
IDENTIFYING THE SOUL, HEART, AND MIND FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES
If it is the soul realm that separates us from the life of God, I find it hard to understand why Jesus Himself gave us the commandment to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Was Jesus confused about the true make up and unredeemable condition of the soul? If the soul is inherently carnal and must be crucified, man will never be able to fulfill this mandate which Jesus gave. If we do not have a clear understanding of the souls condition when we are in Jesus Christ, we can never truly understand the total commitment we must have for loving our heavenly Father with all of our heart, soul, and mind that Jesus said was required.
Mark 12:30, “And you shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,2588 and with all thy soul,5590 and with all thy mind,1271 and with all thy strength:2479 this is the first commandment.”
Mark 12:33, “And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Luke 10:27, “And he answering said, You shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,2588 and with all thy soul,5590 and with all thy strength,2479 and with all thy mind;1271 and thy neighbor as thyself.”
Strongs Exhaustive Concordance Greek Word Definitions from the New Testament:
SOUL 5590 psuche; from 5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient: able to perceive or feel things) principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from 4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; 5594 psucho; a primary verb; to breathe (voluntarily but gently, thus differing 4154, which denotes properly a forcible respiration; and 109, which refers properly to an inanimate breeze).
HEART: 2588 kardia; the heart, i.e. (figuratively) the thoughts or feelings (mind); also (by analogy) the middle.
MIND: 1271 dianoia; deep thought, properly, the faculty (mind or its disposition), by implication, its exercise.
STRENGTH: 2479 ischus; (Will power) Energy: n. [Greek; work.] Internal or inherent power; Power exerted; vigorous operation; force; vigor. forcefulness (literally or figuratively).
UNDERSTANDING: 4907 sunesis; a mental putting together, i.e. intelligence or (concretely) the intellect.
Not understanding the meaning of the soul leaves us vulnerable to misunderstanding His intentions and purpose for us as part of His creation. As we studied the scriptures to understand what was meant by the word soul, it became very clear that the disciples still felt that the soul was to be watched over, protected and preserved blameless. Scripture does not tell us that the soul is the sinful, carnal nature of man that has to be crucified and hung on the cross. If it is the soul that has to be crucified what is the salvation of the soul that Hebrews spoke about? (Hebrews 10:39) Even more, why did Peter, John, and Paul not inform us that it was the soul who was our adversary? If the soul is the major obstacle to our relationship with God, why then are there so many scriptures that say otherwise and why was this not plainly stated by the first church fathers?
1 Peter 1:6-10, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end5056 of your faith, even the salvation4991 of your souls.5590 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:…”
END: 5056 telos; from a primary tello (to set out for a definite point or goal); properly, the point aimed at as a limit, i.e. (by implication) the conclusion of an act or state (termination [literally, figuratively or indefinitely], result [immediate, ultimate or prophetic], purpose).
SALVATION: 4991 noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally).
Peter felt that the end of our faith is the salvation of our soul, not the death, destruction, or crucifying of it. He even taught that the prophets of old (the Old Testament prophets) had looked into and searched diligently for the grace that had come unto the people of the New Testament Church through faith. He said that he hoped that through the trial of their faith, facing many temptations would be found unto praise and honor through the appearing and revelation of Jesus Christ; the grace that was theirs, even the end of their faith, which was the salvation of their souls. If it were their souls that were supposed to be crucified, I find it hard to understand why Peter was telling the people he was writing to, to rejoice because if they endured through faith the fiery trials for a season, they would save their souls. Would the Holy Spirit really have inspired Peter to tell them that there was salvation for their souls if the soul was their carnal nature that had to die and there was no hope for its salvation in the end? Peter also felt that the soul had to be protected and that fleshly lust was an enemy of the soul and that people should abstain from the fleshly desires in order to protect their soul. He did not identify the soul as being the cause of fleshly lust; rather that it was the fleshly lust that fought against the soul. According to Peter, the soul is capable of having an honest conversation and doing good works which glorify God (1 Peter 2:11-12).
In his letter to his beloved friend Gaius, John desired that he would prosper (succeed) and be in good health even as his soul prospered (3 John 2). If the soul was representative of the flesh or carnal man, why was John commending the prosperity of his soul and wishing that his friend prosper even as his soul prospered? If his soul was the flesh man, would John not have told him to prosper in health, but condemn the prosperity of his soul?
When Jesus was telling the parable about the rich man He called him a soul, He did not warn the disciples that the soul was hopelessly in the death realm and had to be done away with, nor did He inform them that there was such a thing as a soul realm. He only said not to gather up unto themselves the treasures of the world to make themselves rich in physical things, but instead to lay up the treasures of heaven that is rich toward God (Luke 12:16-23). Paul prayed for the Thessalonians that their whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:22-23). If the soul is carnal or our sinful nature then it would never be able to reach the state of un-blamelessness. James taught that it was a good thing to convert a sinner because it would save, (deliver, protect) a soul from death (James 5:19-20). James also felt that the salvation of the soul was the expected result when we received the engrafted word into our hearts (James 1:19-21).
In his letter to the church family in Colossians, Paul said that men were alienated from the life of God and enemies of God in their mind because of wicked works. He did not say they were enemies of God because of the wickedness of their soul nature. It was the wicked desires of their heart that separated them from God. Paul never mentioned to the people of Colossians that their soul was inherently evil and that they must crucify it in order to stand in the presence of God. Was he also ignorant of the evil nature of the soul?
Colossians 1:20-22, “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:….”
Paul did say to the Romans to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light and walk honestly before God, putting on the Lord Jesus Christ and not make provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust of the flesh (Romans 13:12-14). He was very clear in pointing out that they were not to take forethought in their mind to perform the wicked works of darkness to satisfy the lust of the flesh. This is an action that points to the unrepentant mind of carnal flesh, not to the soul. The writer of Hebrews in 8:10 quotes the Old Testament verse Jeremiah 31:33 which says, God would make a new covenant with His people; He would write His laws into their mind and in their hearts. According to Hebrews this prophecy was fulfilled through Jesus Christ by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. For this prophecy to be a reality in our hearts we would have to utilize our thinking process and feelings or the emotional part of our being through our desires by bringing them into subjection to the Holy Spirit. “He that hungers and thirst after righteousness shall be filled,” has to make use of our will and our emotional desires. Hunger and thirst is a description of having a craving for, or an emotional desire or longing for righteousness.
Peter said to gird up (protect and make secure) the loins (creative power) of our minds, to be sober and to hope unto the end or the fulfillment of the grace that is to be received into our mind at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13). Also, Peter said nothing about fighting against our soul, nor did he encourage the people to whom he was ministering to spend time trying to destroy it. Rather, he encouraged them to devote their energy to submitting themselves to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in seeking the righteousness of God. Even if the soul is just our mind, will, and emotions it is not our enemy, nor is it what separates us from God. It is rebellion by rejecting the presence of the Holy Spirit through wicked works that separates us from the life of God. It is by allowing our minds to get caught up in the lust of our eyes, the lust of our flesh, and the pride of life that makes us the enemies of God. There is a natural, beastly, carnal realm and there is a spiritual, righteous, heavenly realm, but the Bible does not teach that there is a soul or soulish realm that is evil and a spirit realm that is good.
If Jesus knew that the soul man or the soulish man was carnal and opposed to the spirit man why did He ask the question, “What did it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul,” as if the soul was more important then worldly treasure? (Matthew 16:26) Clearly this Scripture indicates that Jesus was telling them that seeking after worldly goods was not worth losing one’s own soul. Had He felt that the soul was the carnal man and of the world and needed to be destroyed, He would not have given them instructions on how to preserve it. Jesus said, man can focus all his desires on worldly treasures to satisfy his carnal longings and lose his soul, a warning that the soul was something to be preserved and not lost. If the soul is only the mind, will, and emotions, how could a person ever preserve his soul if it is bound in lust, unlawful desires, greed and self will, attempting to satisfy their carnal flesh?
Jesus said that there was no greater love a man could have then to lay down his life (same Greek word as soul) for his friends (John 15:12-13). Both Christians and non-Christians were called souls. There were three thousand souls (new converts) added to the church in one day and fear came upon every soul (Acts 2:41-44). Stephen described the Old Testament patriarch Jacob and all of his kindred as being souls (Acts 7:14). Paul and Barnabas returned to the cities of Lystra, Iconium and Antioch confirming (to support further) the souls of the disciples (Acts 14:21-23). Paul and Barnabas placed their lives (same Greek word as soul) in danger for the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 15:25-27). Eutychus fell from the window and was taken up as dead, but Paul embraced him and declared that his life (same Greek word as soul) remained in him (Acts 20:9-10).
When the angel told Mary that she was with child from the Holy Spirit, she said “My soul does magnify the Lord” If it was her soul that was carnal, why would she say that she magnified the Lord with it (Luke 1:46-47)? Paul did not count his life (same Greek word as soul) as being important in comparison to spreading the gospel (Acts 20:24). When Paul was in danger of being shipwrecked he declared that no life (same Greek word as soul) would be lost (Acts 27:22). There were 276 souls on board the ship that Paul was on (Acts 27:37). Paul instructed every soul within the Roman Church to be subject to the higher power of good (Romans 12:21-13:2). In his letter to the Hebrews, Paul encouraged them to look at Jesus the author and finisher of their faith so they would not get tired and discouraged in their souls/minds (Hebrews 12:2-3). Lot is described as being a righteous soul (2 Peter 2:7-8). The righteous were those who overcame the accuser of the brethren and loved not their souls (lives) unto death (Revelation 12:11).
By laying hold of the hope set before us we have a steadfast anchor for the soul which enters into the Holiest of Holies behind the veil. (Hebrews 6:17-20) Why would we need an anchor for the soul if it is the soul man who is carnal and cannot enter the kingdom of God? God made an oath to us that our hope in His word of promise is an anchor to our soul, an anchor holds the soul steadfast in place. The soul shall be saved through faith, but to him that draws back the soul of God shall have no pleasure in him (Hebrews 10:38-39). Jesus instructs His disciples to take no thought for their soul concerning what they would eat or drink. The people to whom Jesus was talking understood that the soul was nourished by food and drink, because He was talking about their person. If Jesus had been talking about not feeding the soul, and it being the mind, will, or emotions, or even the carnal mind, His statement to them would not have made any sense (Matthew 6:24-25).
We are, however, to love the Lord above everything else. If we seek to satisfy our own needs first and set our responsibilities and commitment to our earthly father, mother, husband, wife, children, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbors, peers, or anyone else, even our own soul, above our devotion and love for the Lord, Jesus said we could not be His disciples.
Luke 14:26-27, “If any man come to me, and hate3404 not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life (same Greek word as soul) also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
HATE: 3404 miseo; to detest, by extension, to love less.
In Matthew 10:39, Jesus said that whosoever found his life (same Greek word as soul) would lose it and whoever loses his life (same word as soul) for His sake would find it. If a man would lose his life/soul for Jesus’ sake he would preserve it, or rescue it from death. He said that a man who loves his life/soul shall lose it; and he that hates his life/soul in this world shall keep it unto life eternal (John 12:25). Peter said that he was willing to lay down his life/soul for Jesus (John 13:37-14:1). Jesus said if any person would come unto Him, He would give them rest unto their souls (Matthew 11:28-30), He did not say that He would destroy their soul. Jesus taught his disciples that through patience they could possess (acquire) their souls (Luke 21:19). In Hebrews 13:17-18, the people were encouraged to submit to those who have rule over them because they watched over their souls. Peter said that Jesus was the chief Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25).
In Hebrews 4:12-16, Paul did not say that the soul was bad and needed to be separated from the spirit. He said that the word of God penetrated (piercing) into and separated the soul and spirit, and both joints and marrow. The word of God penetrated into the heart and separated the spiritual from the natural, discerning the thoughts and intents of the heart. No one would literally divide the joints from the marrow (sinew) or that which holds the joints together, doing away with the one to save the other for both are necessary to make the body work. The word of God reveals everything and nothing can be hidden from Him. Just as the word of God discerns the thoughts from the intents of the heart, He reveals the difference between the natural and the spiritual or soul and spirit from the joints and the marrow.
In 1 Peter 3:17-20, Peter called Noah, Noah’s wife, his three sons, and their wives souls. He instructed the people to whom he was writing to commit to the keeping (deposit into) of their souls by well doing unto the will of God, the faithful creator (1 Peter 4:19). In 1 Peter 4:19, 1 Corinthians 7:36-37, Ephesians 6:5-6, the word ‘will’ is used to describe purpose or determination. The same Greek word for ‘will’ is used for both the ‘will’ of God and the ‘will’ of man. A soul is not the will, but the soul does have a will, and can choose of its own willpower to perform an act, good or bad. Paul encouraged gaining power over (in control of) our will concerning relationships with the opposite gender. Yet, he also encouraged the man to marry if he was unable to gain control over his sexual urges; and if he did marry he was not committing any act of sin. Exercising control over the will was subject to each individual and their success was determined by the choices that they made. Paul said that unto them that are rebellious and do not obey the truth, who live in unrighteousness, was given indignation and wrath. He went on to say, tribulation and anguish of spirit upon every soul/man (human being) that does evil, but glory and honor to every person that engaged himself in good works (Romans 2:8-10).
It is only the pure in heart (thoughts, feelings) that shall see God (Matthew 5:8). In His parable concerning reaping and sowing, Jesus said that those who had planted their seed in good ground, were those with an honest and good heart, who heard the word and kept it and brought forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15). Jesus said that He was meek and lowly of heart and if we took His yoke (leadership) we would find rest unto our souls (Matthew 11:29-30). Paul encouraged the servants to be obedient to their masters according to the flesh, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ; not with eye service as men pleasers; but as servants of Jesus Christ, doing the will of God from the soul/heart.
Ephesians 6:5-7, “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart (thoughts and feelings), as unto Christ; Not with eye service, as men pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will (desire) of God from the heart (same Greek word for soul); With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:….”
Paul told the faithful at Ephesus that in the past they had lived as children of the world, according to the prince and power of the air. He called this prince and power of the air the spirit that was working in those who were being disobedient, fulfilling the lust of their flesh and the will (desires) of the flesh and of the mind (Ephesians 2:2-3). A soul chooses to sin or not to sin based upon the contents and the desires of his heart. A soul can fulfill the lust of his flesh or he can resist and seek the Lord to the preserving of his soul. Peter wrote about people who are self willed, who are determined to live according to their own desires and walking after the flesh. He called them “beguiling unstable souls” who openly acted out their feelings and emotions fulfilling their lustful desires. Their feelings and emotions were a product of their own deception due to their ignorance and corrupted heart, lusting after the things of the world. The deception was not derived from the soul, but from the heart because their eyes were full of adultery and they did not cease from sin (2 Peter 2:12-14).
In John’s vision in Revelation 6:9, 20:4, he saw the souls of those who were slain for the word of God and their testimony. Later on in his revelation he saw the same souls who were beheaded for their testimony as Christians. The souls who had been slain for the Gospel were crying out for redemption. These souls are described as having never worshiped the beast, nor his image and they never received his mark. These were the righteous souls (men & women) who had given their lives for preaching the Word of God.
Romans 10:8-10, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if you shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
It is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks, not the soul. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things and an evil man, evil things (Matthew 12:34-35, Luke 6:45). It is that which is in the heart that separates us from the life of God. Jesus said that the people drew close and honored Him with the words of their mouth, but their heart was far from Him (Matthew 15:7-9). It is from the heart that man expresses his emotions. It is the words that are spoken out of the mouth that reveals the contents of the heart which defiles a man. Jesus did not say anything about the soul being evil. He did say that evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, fornications, thefts, lying, pride, foolishness, and blasphemies were the things that come forth from within the heart and reveal the carnal, sinful man (Matthew 15:16-20) and is that which separates us from God. “Wherever a man’s treasure is there will be his heart also,” if a man’s treasure is material things, fame, recognition or riches, he will focus his attention on acquiring his treasure and protecting it at all cost. The window into a man’s heart is the eye, or what he has focused his heart upon. If his eye is single and focused upon the good things of God, then his whole body will be full of light, but if his eye is evil and focused upon the things of the world, his whole body will be full of darkness (Matthew 6:21-23). It is a hard and unrepentant heart that gathers up as treasure, wrath or judgment (Romans 2:5-6).
It is from the heart that we believe or do not believe (Luke 24:25-26). Several in the Christian community had gathered together with Peter and John praying, and the place was shaken and the Holy Spirit fell upon them all. They were all of one heart and one soul, or in our terminology they were as one body standing together with determination, conviction, and thought in one purpose (Acts 2:46-47, Acts 4:31-32). Philip told the eunuch that there was only one requirement for him to fulfill in order to be baptized, and that was to believe with all of his heart (Acts 8:36-37). A real Jew is not a person who just follows the law outwardly, but he is one inwardly, a person who has had a circumcision (a cutting away of the flesh) of the heart, in his spirit (Romans 2:29). We must bend our will to our heavenly Father’s will by sanctifying the Lord God in our heart (1 Peter 3:15). The end of the commandment (Love the Lord God) is love out of a pure heart, good conscience, and faith unfeigned (1 Timothy 1:4-5).
Jesus said that whoever looked upon a woman with lust, had already committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). Jesus perceived the thoughts of their heart and never mentioned the soul when the disciples were arguing among themselves as to who was the greatest (Luke 9:47-48). He did not correct them concerning the condition of their soul, but the conditions of their heart. He did not tell them that their problem was that their soul was evil or that the thoughts of their soul were improper. Instead He dealt with the humbleness of their heart, their willingness to submit themselves as servants. Peter did not feel that the problem with Ananias and his wife was their souls, but rather the deceitfulness that was in their hearts. They had reasoned together (thought it out) to keep part of the money and to lie and say they had given it all (Acts 5:3-4). Before they stoned Stephen to death he told the Jews, that they were stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears because they resisted the Holy Spirit. He did not condemn their soul, he did however judge the contents of their heart (Acts 7:51). Peter did not tell the sorcerer Simon that his problem was his soul when he attempted to purchase the gift of the Holy Spirit with money, but rather he told him that his heart was not right before God, therefore, he needed to repent of his wickedness and pray, asking God to forgive the thoughts of his heart (Acts 8:20-22).
Romans 1:18-25, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptable God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”
The secrets of the heart of an unbeliever are revealed by the word of God being spoken under the power of the anointing. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness in man, but not against man himself (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians that the minds of the Israelites were blinded by a veil. The veil, he said, remained up unto his day, because when the books of Moses were read they were still blinded. They were still bound up in their hearts in the laws and traditions of their fathers and the veil was still cloaked over their eyes that they could not see that turning their heart over to the Lord would remove the veil. They knew the law outwardly, but inwardly they still were not seeing or accepting the Spirit of Truth that would bring them liberty (2 Corinthians 3:14-17).
Those who sow small amounts of seeds in their garden will reap little amounts of harvest. But, he that plants/sows a large amount of seed will reap a bounty of harvest. It is up to each individual person what he will do or not do, whether he plants a little garden or plants a big garden, all according to how much time and energy he is willing of his own will to invest. Every man according to what he purposes in his own heart. He that invest little time in study, seeking the Lord, and fellowship of spirit, has little results and will never satisfy the spiritual needs of his own soul (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Paul cautioned the people of the church at Ephesus not to walk as other Gentiles (non-Christians) walk. In the vanity of their mind, having their understanding darkened and being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in them because of the blindness of their heart. They had given themselves over unto unrestrained passions and feelings, participating in all sorts of uncleanness and covetous practices (Ephesians 4:17-19). The Hebrew Christians were cautioned to watch over and make sure that there was not an evil heart of unbelief that caused them to be separated from the living God (Hebrews 3:12). James said, that if a person thought themselves to be religious, but could not control the words that came out of his or her mouth, they deceived their own heart and their religion was in vain (James 1:26).
Jesus said that He was meek and lowly of heart and we were to take His yoke upon ourselves (Matthew 11:29). Peter was referring to the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ when he counseled the ladies that instead of the costly jewelry and outward fancy adornment, that they should let the hidden man of the heart which is not corruptible, put on a meek and contrite spirit as their outward adornment, which in the sight of God is priceless (1 Peter 3:4). John said, that if our heart condemns us for what we have done in the past, God is greater then our heart and is willing to wash away our past as we yield our hearts to Him. If our heart does not condemn us, then we have confidence, an assurance, toward God, that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God.
1 Corinthians 15:42-50,
“So also is the resurrection of the dead.
It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory:
It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
And so it is written,
The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh4561 and blood129 cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
CORRUPTION: 5356 phthora; from 5351; decay, i.e. ruin (spontaneous or inflicted, literally or figuratively): 5351 phtheiro; (to pine or waste); properly, to shrivel or wither, i.e. to spoil, to ruin (especially figuratively, by moral influences, to deprave).
RAISED 1453 egeiro; to waken (transitively or intransitively), i.e. rouse (literally, from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or figuratively, from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence)
INCORRUPTION: 861 aphthrsia; incorruptibility; genitive case unending existence; (figuratively) genuineness.
DISHONOR: 819 atimia; from 820; infamy, i.e. (subjectively) comparative indignity, (objectively) disgrace: 820; (negatively) unhonoured or (positively) dishonored.
NATURAL: 5591 psuchikos; sensitive, i.e. animate – fill with breath, give life to.
LAST: 2078 eschatos; farthest, final (of place or time).
It is sown (planted) as a natural body and then it is raised a spiritual body. The first man Adam (the natural) was made a living soul and is of the earth, earthy. He did not give him a soul, he became a soul. He was not Adam who had a soul, he was Adam a living soul. The last Adam (living soul) became a quickening or a life giving spirit which was and still is, Jesus Christ.
Scripture tells us that we are to love the Lord with all our breath (soul), energy (spirit), emotions (feelings), thoughts (understanding), and intellect (mental processing), and with all of our strength (inner will or determination). We are to love the Lord our God with every part of our being; our entire mind, our entire will, with all of our feelings, all of our strength, our entire soul, and all of our spirit. How is it “man” who loves Him, if it is not generated from man’s commitment, man’s determination and man’s inner will to hunger and thirst after His righteousness? If it is He that gives us His breath, His spirit, His will, His strength, His determination, to serve and love Him; it is all His motivation and all of His commitment in us, and we have committed nothing of ourselves in return. If we are to fulfill the commandment to love the Lord our God with all of our soul, heart, strength, and our understanding, then it is “we” who must turn all of our heart, all of our soul, all of our will, all of our thoughts, all of our understanding, all of our emotions, all of our physical and spiritual strength; every fiber of our being over to the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
It is the Word of God manifesting Himself on the outside that identifies a Christian and separates Him from the world. “By their fruit you shall know them.” (Matthew 12:33, Luke 6:44) It is the indwelling presence of the Anointed (Spirit) Word alone that gives us the power to become children of God and frees us from the power of sin and death. (Romans 8:2, John 1:1-14) We put on the Holy Spirit and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33), then life and restoration takes place within our soul, and sin and death are pushed out because Jesus gave us the power through His word to resist the devil making him flee from us. It is His anointed word, by the power of His Holy Spirit that strengthens our faith and diminishes unbelief. It is through His indwelling presence that we have the power to resist the temptations of the world so it is He that has done the cleansing. Jesus came to save us from sin and death, so when we became a Christian, we accepted Him as our savior and it was His word that began to cleanse us and as we allowed Him into our mind (thinking process) will (desires, goals, strengths) and emotion (our heart) all the old is washed away by His loving hand and behold all things became new.
Colossians 3:17-25, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eye service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”
The word heartily in verse twenty-three comes from two Greek words. The words and their definitions can be found in the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The first one is the word ek; a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time). The second Greek word is the same word used for soul throughout the New Testament: psuche. The verse should read as “whatsoever you do, do it from out of the soul, as unto the Lord, and not unto men.” According to some teachings it is impossible to do anything towards God with our soul because the soul is terminally carnal, but according to Paul we are to do everything we do from out of the depths of our soul, and do it as unto the Lord, to glorify and exalt His presence in the earth.
Jesus did not come and take upon Himself the weakness of sinful flesh so that He could be ministered unto, but rather He came to minister and to give His life (same Greek word as soul) as a ransom for many (Matthew 20:27-28). Jesus laid down His life (same Greek word for soul) for His sheep. Three times in this passage of Scripture He said He was laying His soul/life (psuche – same word used for soul) down for His followers (John 10:11-18). The apostle John wrote that we can perceive the love of God in Jesus because He laid down His soul/life and we should lay our souls/lives down for the brethren. Before he was stoned to death Stephen quoted an Old Testament prophecy given by David (Psalms 16:9-11). “My heart rejoices” which is an expression of emotion. “You will not leave my soul in hell,” which according to Stephen, David was prophesying concerning Jesus.“ (Acts 2:26-32) This could be interpreted in many different ways, but clearly Jesus had a soul and after His crucifixion His soul was placed in the tomb, but Scripture declares that His Father did not leave it there.
Isaiah 26:8-9, “Yea, in the way of thy judgments, O LORD, have we waited for thee; the desire of our soul5315 is to thy name, and to the remembrance of thee. With my soul5315 have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”
As a sinner we are told that Jesus Christ alone has the power to cleanse our heart, mind, will, and emotions and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. A person experiences genuine repentance and submits their heart to the Lord becoming a child of God, and just when they begin to accept the full impact of their salvation, they are told that they must crucify their flesh man; that which has been called their soulish nature. As a sinner, the new convert had no control over their mind, will, and emotion; that is why they came to Jesus Christ in the first place so they could be saved. Immediately out of the womb they are told that they must begin their personal warfare against their mind, will, and emotions which separates them from the life of God. But when they are told that they have to crucify their own flesh, they are again in a wrestling match, bogged down by their same own failures, the very condition they were already in before they came to Christ. It is only in, through, and by, the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ, the living, Anointed Word that they can truly find salvation and overcome. (John 3:3, 1 Peter 1:23) There is no other name under heaven whereby a man may be saved except through Jesus Christ. (Acts 4:12) New converts should be encouraged to focus on learning how to yield to the leadership of the Holy Spirit, not try to kill a nature already bound up in death. It is by putting on the mind of Christ, the life of God in man, that we overcome the rulers and powers of darkness.
Faith only comes from hearing the word in our hearts, and our confidence in His saving power grows as we learn of Him and yield to Him in our hearts. A Christian can only resist the devil to the limit of their faith and where there is little application of faith, there is little results. (Romans 10:17, 2 Corinthians 9:6) As we yield our members as instruments of His righteousness, our awareness of His presence in our life grows and we become more and more confident in His ability to work for us, in us, and through us and more and more we are able to resist the forces of darkness. As our understanding of who He is in us and our relationship with Him grows stronger, our faith has less resistance from unbelief. Very few newly converted Christians have enough faith built up to counter balance their unbelief in order to resist the temptations that will surely come upon them. It is only by unwavering faith in the living Word of God that we begin to experience His grace and our faith is given strength through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior over our life.
I do not kill my emotions; I yield them to the leadership and control of the Holy Spirit. I do not kill my mind and quit thinking or processing information, or learning, I bring my thoughts (the meditation of my heart) into captivity to grow and mature in the understanding of my heavenly Father. I do not crucify my will (desires, hungers, and thirst), I commit it to asking, knocking, and seeking an intimate relationship with my heavenly Father. If I have no personal will or inner drive, no determination to use the gifts that He has provided through His grace, then I am being negligent in my relationship to Him and to His church. If I do not keep my eyes, mind, and spirit focused in the heavens, to grow in understanding by stirring up the gift of righteousness and grace within me and do not make any inner effort to put on the mind of Christ, then I am without hope of ever becoming an overcomer, clothed in the glorious splendor of His righteousness, His peace, and His joy that can only be found through a relationship with the Holy Spirit.
True salvation begins when we recognize that when we have made Jesus Christ the reigning king over our hearts, our wills, our emotions, our strength, our thoughts, and our soul, our whole life, it takes our commitment not only in word, but in active participation to make salvation a reality. When we submit to His drawing and it is the Holy Spirit motivating us and in control of who and what we are, in all of our thoughts and actions, then sin has no more hold on us. It is not just Him, nor is it just us, but it is the new creation, the union of God and man through the power of the Holy Spirit. A transformation has taken place in our spirit and we have submitted our will in obedience to His authority over our life. We cannot of our own self destroy anything, but as we yield unto Him and grow, eating His flesh (Word), and drinking His blood (Spirit) we are doing it in remembrance of His resurrection power, His glory and His exalted presence in our lives. As we submit, we are cleansed from the inside out by the washing away of our failures, our ignorance, our rebelliousness, our hurt, our anger, our fears, our double mindedness, and our unbelief, through the power of the Anointed Word. All of our will, mind, and emotions are turned toward Him because we just want Him and nothing else of this world interest us.
We limited our interpretation of the soul strictly within the confines of the Scriptures. Because we feel that we would not have any knowledge that there was such a thing as a soul unless we had learned it through the scriptures, we felt that we would allow the Bible to be our source for identifying it rather then any other. It is the Bible, after all, that told us about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for us and it is also where we learned about our creation. We felt it would be ludicrous to go to any other resource, as it would not provide any Christian with any reliable edifying information.
The following is a list of the usages of the Hebrew word nephesh (Strong’s Exhaustive concordance number 5315): It occurs a total of 749 times in the King James Version:
soul 416 times: Genesis 2:7, 17:13-14 (2), 19:20, 27:4, 19, 25, 31, 34:3, 8, 35:18, 42:21, 49:6, Exodus 12:15, 19, 30:12, 31:14, Leviticus 4:2, 5:1-2 (2), 4, 15, 17, 6:2, 7:18, 20-21 (4), 25, 27 (2), 17:10-12 (3), 15, 19:8, 20:6 (2), 22:3, 6, 11, 23:29-30 (3), 26:11, 15, 30, 43, Numbers 9:13, 11:6, 15:27-28 (2), 30-31 (3), 19:13, 20, 22, 21:4-5 (2), 30:2, 4-8 (6), 10-13 (4), 31:28, Deuteronomy 4:9, 29, Deuteronomy 6:5, 11:12-13 (2), 18, 12:15, 20-21 (3), 13:3, 6, 14:26 (2), 26:16, 30:2, 6, 10, Joshua 22:5, Judges 5:21, 16:16 (2), 1Samuel 1:10, 15, 26, 2:16, 7:55, 18:1 (3), 20:3-4 (3), 17, 23:20, 24:11, 25:26, 29 (2), 26:21, 30:6, 2Samuel 4:9, 5:8, 11:11, 14:19, 1Kings 1:29, 2:4, 8:48, 11:37, 17:21-22 (2), 2Kings 2:2, 4, 6, 4:27, 30, 23:3, 25, 1Chronicles 22:19, 2Chronicles 6:38, 15:12, 34:31, Job 3:20, 6:7, 7:11, 15, 9:21, 10:1 (2), 12:10, 14:22, 16:4, 19:2, 21:25, 23:13, 24:12, 27:2, 8, 30:16, 25, 31:30, 33:18, 20, 22, 28, 30, Psalms 6:2-4 (3), 7:2, 5, 11:1, 5, 13:2, 16:10, 17:13, 19:7, 22:20, 29, 24:3-4 (2), 25:1, 13, 20, 26:9, 30:3, 31:7, 9, 33:19-20 (2), 34:2, 22, 35:3-4 (2), 7, 9, 12-13 (2), 17, 40:14, 41:4, 42:1-2 (2), 4-6 (3), 11, 43:5, 44:25, 49:8, 15, 18, 54:3-4 (2), 55:18, 56:6, 13, 57:1, 4, 6, 59:3, 62:1, 5, 63:1, 5, 66:8-9 (3), 16, 69:1, 10, 18, 70:2, 71:10, 13, 23, 72:14, 74:19, 77:2, 78:50, 86:2 (2), 4 (2), 13-14 (2), 88:3, 14, 89:48, 94:17, 19, 21, 103:1-2 (2), 22, 104:1, 35, 106:15, 107:5, 9 (2), 18, 26, 109:20, 31, 116:4, 7-8 (2), 119:20, 25, 28, 81, 109, 129, 167, 175, 120:2, 121:6-7 (2), 124:4-5 (3), 7, 130:5-6 (2), 138:2-3 (2), 139:14, 141:8, 142:4, 7, 143:3, 6, 8, 11-12 (2), 146:1, Proverbs 2:10, 3:22, 6:30, 32, 8:36, 10:3, 11:17, 25, 13:2, 4 (2), 19, 25, 15:32, 16:17, 24, 18:7, 19:2, 8, 19:15-16 (2), 18, 20:2, 21:10, 23, 22:5, 23, 25, 23:14, 24:12, 14, 25:13, 25, 27:7 (2), 29:10, 17, Ecclesiastes 2:24 (2), 4:8, 6:2-3 (2), 7:28, Songs of Solomon 1:7, 3:1-4 (4), 5:6, 6:12, Isaiah 1:14, 3:9, 10:18, 26:8-9 (2), 29:8 (2), 32:6, 38:15, 17, 42:1, 44:20, 51:23, 53:10-12 (3), 58:2-3 (3), 5, 10-11 (3), 61:10, 66:3, Jeremiah 4:10, 19, 31, 5:9, 29, 9:8-9 (2), 12:7, 13:17, 18:19-20 (2), 20:13, 31:12, 14, 25 (2), 32:41, 38:16-17 (2), 20, 50:19, 51:6, 45, Lamentations 1:11, 16, 2:12, 3:17, 20, 24-25 (2), 58, Ezekiel 3:19, 21, 4:14, 18:4 (3), 20, 27, 24:21, 33:5, 9, Jonah 2:4-5 (2), Micah 6:7 (2), 7:1, Habakkuk 2:4, 10, Zechariah 11:8
life 100: Genesis 9:4-5 (2), 19:17, 19, 44:30 (3), Exodus 4:19, 21:23 (2), 30, Leviticus 17:11, 14 (3), 35:31, 12:23 (2), 19:21 (2), 24:6, Joshua 2:14, Judges 9:17, 12:3, 18:25, Ruth 4:15, 1Samuel 19:5, 11, 20:1, 22:23 (2), 23:15, 26:24 (2), 28:9, 21, 2Samuel 1:9, 2Samuel 4:8, 14:7, 16:11, 18:13, 19:5, 1Kings 1:12 (2), 2:23, 3:11, 19:2-4 (4), 10, 14, 20:31, 39 (2), 42 (2), 2Kings 1:13-14 (3), 7:7, 10:24 (2), 2Chronicles 1:11, Esther 7:3, 7, 8:11, Job2:4, 6, 6:11, 13:14, 31:39, 13, 38:12, Proverbs 1:19, 6:26, 7:23, 12:10, 13:3, 8, Isaiah 43:4 (2), Jeremiah 4:30, 11:21, 21:7, 9, 22:25, 34:20-21 (2), 38:2, 16, 39:18, 44:30 (2), 45:5, 49:37, Laminations 2:19, Ezekiel 32:10, Jonah 1:14, 4:3
souls 58 times: Genesis 12:5, 46:15, 18, 22, 25-27 (5), Exodus 1:5 (2), 12:4, 30:15-16 (2), Leviticus 16:29, 16:31, 17:11, 18:29, 20:25, 23:27, 32, Numbers 16:38, 29:7, 30:9, 31:50, Joshua 10:28, 30, 32, 35, 37 (2), 39, 11:11, 23:14, 25:29, Psalms 72:13, 97:10, Proverbs 11:30, 14:25, Jeremiah 2:34, 6:16, 26:19, 44:7, Ezekiel 7:19 (2), 13:18-20 (8), 14:14, 20, 18:4, 22:25, 27
lives 18 times: Genesis 9:5, Joshua 2:13, 9:24, Judges 5:18, 18:25, 2Samuel 19:5 (3), 23:17, 1Chronicles 11:19 (2), Esther 9:16, Proverbs 1:18, Jeremiah 19:7, 9, 46:26, 48:6, Lamentations 5:9
persons 16 times: Genesis 14:21, 36:6, Exodus 16:16, Leviticus 27:2, Numbers 19:18, Numbers 31:35, 40 (2), 31:46, Deuteronomy 10:22, 1Samuel 22:22, Jeremiah 52:29-30 (3), Ezekiel 7:17, 27:13
person 14 times: Numbers 5:6, 31:19, 35:11, 15, 35:30 (2), Deuteronomy 27:25, Joshua 20:3, 9, 2Samuel 14:14, Proverbs 28:17, Jeremiah 43:6, Ezekiel 33:5-6 (2)
heart 12 times: Exodus 23:9, Leviticus 26:16, Deuteronomy 24:15, 1Samuel 2:33, 3:21, Proverbs 23:7, 28:25, Lamentations 3:51, Ezekiel 25:6, 15, 27:31, Hosea 4:8
mind 11 times: Genesis 23:8 (2), Deuteronomy 18:6, 28:65, 1Samuel 2:35, 1Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 15:1, Ezekiel 23:17-18 (3), 22, 28
himself 10 times: 1Kings 19:4, Job 18:4, 22:2, 23:9, 32:2, Amos 2:14-15 (4), 6:8
body 9 times: Leviticus 21:11, Numbers 9:6-7 (3), 19:10-11 (2), 13, 16, Haggai 2:13
creature 9 times: Genesis 1:21, 24, 2:19, 9:10, 12, 15-16 (2), Leviticus 11:46 (2)
dead 8 times: Leviticus19:28, 21:1, 22:4, Numbers 5:2, 6:11, 9:6-7 (2), 10
yourselves 8 times: Leviticus 11:43-44 (4), Deuteronomy 4:15, Joshua 23:11, Jeremiah 17:21, 37:9
desire 5 times: Ecclesiastes 6:9 (2), Jeremiah 22:27, 44:14, Micah 7:3, Habakkuk 2:5
man 4 times: Leviticus 24:16-17 (2), 2Kings12:4, Isaiah 49:7, minds 4 times: 2Sa17:8, 2Ki9:15, Eze24:25, Eze36:5, pleasure 4 times: Deuteronomy 23:24, Psalms 105:22, Jeremiah 2:24, 34:16, will 4 times: Deuteronomy 21:14, Psalms 27:12, 41:2, 16:27
any 3 times: Leviticus 2:1, 4:27, 24:7, beast 3 times: Lev24:18 (3), themselves 3 times: Esther 9:31, Isaiah 46:2, 47:14,
appetite 2 times: Proverbs 23:2, Ecclesiastes 6:7, ghost 2 times: Job 11:20, Jeremiah 15:9, hearts 2 times: Proverbs 31:6, Jeremiah 42:20, lust 2 times: Exodus 15:9, Psalms 78:18, thing 2 times: Leviticus 11:10, Ezekiel 47:9
angry 1: Judges 18:25, breath 1: Job 41:21, deadly 1: Psalms 17:9, discontented 1: 1Samuel 22:2, fish 1: Isaiah 19:10, greedy 1: Isaiah 56:10-11 (2), heart’s 1: Psalms 10:3, hearty 1: Proverbs 27:9, herself 1: Isaiah 5:14, men 1: 1Chronicles 5:21, mortally 1: Deuteronomy 19:11, myself 1: Psalms 131:2, one 1: Leviticus 4:27, own 1: Proverbs 14:10, slay 1: Jeremiah 40:14, slayeth 1: Deuteronomy 22:26, soul’s 1: Job 16:4, tablets 1: Isaiah 3:20, thyself 1: Esther 4:13, would 1: Psalms 35:25
The following are articles taken from the internet concerning the soul. It is statements made by Greek philosphers, teachers, and educated people and their ideas concerning the meaning of soul. Various articles concerning the origin of some of the teachings concerning the meanings of the soul taken from websites: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ancient-soul/#2
1. The Greek Notion of Soul
The Homeric poems, with which most ancient writers can safely be assumed to be intimately familiar, use the word ‘soul’ in two distinguishable, probably related, ways. The soul is, on the one hand, something that a human being risks in battle and loses in death. On the other hand, it is what at the time of death departs from the person’s limbs and travels to the underworld, where it has a more or less pitiful afterlife as a shade or image of the deceased person.
There is, moreover, some reason to think that philosophical activity, notably Pythagorean speculation (beginning around mid-sixth century), contributed to the semantic expansion of ‘soul’. As we have seen, at least some of the earliest extant texts that associate with the soul moral virtues other than courage suggest Pythagorean influence. It is, in fact, not difficult to see how Pythagoreanism may have furthered the expansion of ‘soul’. Pythagoreanism was concerned with, among other things, the continued existence of the person (or something suitably person-like) after death. It is obvious that against the Homeric background, ‘soul’ was an eminently appropriate word to use so as to denote the person, or quasi-person, that continued to exist after death; there was, after all, the familiar Homeric use of ‘soul’ as that which endures in the underworld after a person’s death. To make the continued existence of this soul significant as the continued existence of the person in question, at least some of the states, activities, operations and the like that seemed crucial to the identity of the person had to be attributed to the soul (following Furley 1956, 11, who goes further than that, writing of the need for the soul “to include all the functions of personality”; cf. Barnes 1982, 103-6).
It is probably true that in mainstream fifth century Greek culture, belief in an afterlife of the soul was weak and unclear (Claus 1981, 68; Burnet 1916, 248-9). If so, it is fitting that Socrates’ arguments for the immortality of the soul, most prominently in the Phaedo, are offered to interlocutors who, at the outset of the discussion, are by no means convinced of the idea. (In fact, in the Apology, 40c, Socrates himself is presented as being noncommittal about what happens to the soul at death, and even about whether it survives at all.) “Men find it very hard to believe”, Cebes says at Phaedo 70a, “what you said about the soul. They think that after it has left the body it no longer exists anywhere, but that it is destroyed and dissolved on the day the man dies.” This view is restated by Simmias (at 77b) as the opinion of the majority (cf. 80d); note that the view includes the idea that the soul is a material thing, and is destroyed by being dispersed, “like breath or smoke” (70a). Glaucon, in the last book of the Republic (608d), is taken aback by Socrates’ question,
“Haven’t you realized that our soul is immortal and never destroyed?”
He looked at me with wonder and said: “No, by god, I haven’t. Are you really in a position to assert that?”
Moreover, apart from the question of immortality or otherwise, there is the further question whether the soul, if it does have some form of existence after the person has died, “still possesses some power and wisdom” (Phaedo, 70b; cf. 76c). Answering both questions, Socrates says not only that the soul is immortal, but also that it contemplates truths after its separation from the body at the time of death. Needless to say, none of the four main lines of argument that Socrates avails himself of succeeds in establishing the immortality of the soul, or in demonstrating that disembodied souls enjoy lives of thought and intelligence. The arguments have been discussed in some detail, for instance in Bostock 1986, and for our purposes there is no need to state and analyze them systematically. It will suffice to comment selectively on aspects of the arguments that bear directly on Plato’s conception of the soul. The argument that sheds most light on what Plato takes the nature of the soul to be is the affinity argument (78b-80b). This argument confronts head-on the widespread worry that the soul, at or soon after death, is destroyed by being dispersed. It begins by distinguishing between two kinds of things: on the one hand, things that are perceptible, composed of parts, and subject to dissolution and destruction; on the other hand, things that are not perceptible, but intelligible (grasped by thought), not composed of parts, and exempt from dissolution and destruction. These two categories are obviously mutually exclusive. It is not clear whether or not they are meant to be exhaustive. Moreover, the category of imperishable, intelligible being is exemplified, but not, it seems, exhausted, by Platonic forms such as equality, beauty and the like (contra Bostock 1986, 118). Intelligible being evidently includes what Socrates calls the divine, whose nature it is to rule and to lead (80a), and there is no indication that the forms exhaust the divine, or even include the divine, so understood. Thus the argument leaves room for the idea that souls are not forms, but are nevertheless intelligible, partless and imperishable (contra Robinson 1995, 29). In fact, in framing the argument in the way he does Plato furnishes the conceptual framework needed for saying that body and soul differ in kind, the one being perceptible and perishable, the other being intelligible and exempt from destruction. However, the argument does not support such a strong conclusion, and Socrates is aware of this.
It hardly needs pointing out, then, that the soul, as Plato conceives of it in the Phaedo, is crucially characterized by cognitive and intellectual features: it is something that reasons, more or less well depending on the extent to which it is disturbed or distracted by the body and the senses; something that regulates and controls the body and its desires and affections, “especially if it is a wise soul” (94b), presumably in a way that involves, and renders effective, judgments about what it is best to do, and how it is best to behave; and something that has, as the kind of adornment that is truly appropriate to it, virtues such as temperance, justice and courage (114e f.). However, it should be clear that the soul, as it is conceived of here, is not simply the mind, as we conceive of it. It is both broader and narrower than that. It is broader in that Plato evidently retains the traditional idea of soul as distinguishing the animate from the inanimate. Two of the four main lines of argument for the immortality of the soul rely not on cognitive or indeed specifically psychological features of the soul, but simply on the familiar connection between soul and life. According to the cyclical argument (70c-72d), being alive in general is preceded by, just as it precedes, being dead. Socrates takes this to show that a creature’s death involves the continued existence of the soul in question, which persists through a period of separation from body, and then returns to animate another body in a change which is the counterpart of the previous change, dying. According to the last line of argument that Socrates offers in the Phaedo, the soul is immortal because it has life essentially, the way fire has heat essentially. It is plain that both of these arguments apply to the souls of all living things, including plants (cf. 70d, 71d). And in the final argument, Socrates explicitly appeals to the idea that it is the soul that animates the body of a living thing (105c):
In the Bahá’í view, Adam was the first Manifestation of God in recorded history. He is believed by Bahá’ís to have started the Adamic cycle 6000 years ago, which was culminated by Muhammad. The Biblical story of Adam and Eve, according to Bahá’í belief, is allegorical and is explained by `Abdu’l-Bahá in Some Answered Questions.
Latter Day Saint (LDS) view
Latter Day Saint religion holds that Adam and Michael the archangel are the same individual. Michael the archangel fought against and cast out Satan, “that old serpent,” at the conclusion of the “war in heaven” during our pre-mortal exsistence (see Book of Revelation 12:7-9). “Michael” was born into this mortal existence as the man “Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days” (see Doctrine and Covenants 27:11 and 107:54).
The Internet Sacred Text Archive, Qabbalistic Keys to the Creation of Man
Various schools of philosophy, both Jewish and Gentile, have offered explanations erudite and otherwise of the identity of Adam. In this primordial man the Neo-Platonists recognized the Platonic Idea of humanity–the archetype or pattern of the genus homo. Philo Judæus considered Adam to represent the human mind, which could understand (and hence give names to) the creatures about it, but could not comprehend (and hence left nameless) the mystery of its own nature. Adam was also likened to the Pythagorean monad which by virtue of its state of perfect unity could dwell in the Edenic sphere. When through a process akin to fission the monad became the duad–the proper symbol of discord and delusion–the creature thus formed was exiled from its celestial home. Thus the twofold man was driven from the Paradise belonging to the undivided creation and cherubim and a flaming sword were placed on guard at the gates of the Causal World. Consequently, only after the reestablishment of unity within himself can man regain his primal spiritual state.
The Zohar holds the concept of two Adams: the first a divine being who, stepping forth from the highest original darkness, created the second, or earthly, Adam in His own image. The higher, or celestial, man was the Causal sphere With its divine potencies and potentialities considered as a gigantic personality; its members, according to the Gnostics, being the basic elements of existence. This Adam may have been symbolized as facing both ways to signify that with one face it looked upon the proximate Cause of itself and with the other face looked upon the vast sea of Cosmos into which it was to be immersed.
Philosophically, Adam may be regarded as representative of the full spiritual nature of man–androgynous and nor subject to decay. Of this fuller nature the mortal man has little comprehension. Just as spirit contains matter within itself and is both the source and ultimate of the state denominated matter, so Eve represents the lower, or mortal, portion that is taken out of, or has temporal existence in the greater and fuller spiritual creation. Being representative of the inferior part of the individual, Eve is the temptress who, conspiring with the serpent of mortal knowledge, caused Adam to sink into a trancelike condition in which he was unconscious of his own higher Self. When Adam seemingly awoke, he actually sank into sleep, for he no longer was in the spirit but in the body; division having taken place within him, the true Adam rested in Paradise while his lesser part incarnated in a material organism (Eve) and wandered in the darkness of mortal existence.
The followers of Mohammed apparently sensed more accurately than the uninitiated of other sects the true mystic import of Paradise, for they realized that prior to his fall the dwelling place of man was not in a physical garden in any particular part of the earth but rather in a higher sphere (the angelic world) watered by four mystical streams of life. After his banishment from Paradise, Adam alighted on the Island of Ceylon, and this spot is sacred to certain Hindu sects who recognize the old Island of Lanka–once presumably connected with the mainland by a bridge–as the actual site of the Garden of Eden from which the human race migrated. According to the Arabian Nights (Sir Richard Burton’s translation), Adam’s footprint may still be seen on the top of a Ceylonese mountain. In the Islamic legends, Adam was later reunited with his wife and after his death his body was brought to Jerusalem subsequent to the Flood for burial by Melchizedek. (See the Koran.)
The word ADM signifies a species or race and only for lack of proper understanding has Adam been considered as an individual. As the Macrocosm, Adam is the gigantic Androgyne, even the Demiurgus; as the Microcosm, he is the chief production of the Demiurgus and within the nature of the Microcosm the Demiurgus established all the qualities and powers which He Himself possessed. The Demiurgus, however, did not possess immortality and, therefore, could not bestow it upon Adam. According to legend, the Demiurgus strove to keep man from learning the incompleteness of his Maker. The Adamic man consequently partook of the qualities and characteristics of the angels who were the ministers of the Demiurgus. It was affirmed by the Gnostic Christians that the redemption of humanity was assured through the descent of Nous (Universal Mind), who was a great spiritual being superior to the Demiurgus and who, entering into the constitution of man, conferred conscious immortality upon the Demiurgic fabrications.
Eagle’s Cry Ministries
IDENTIFYING THE SOUL, HEART, AND MIND [Dave-Sheila Garner] April 2007 1