Have you ever wondered much about your soul, what it is, it’s purpose, etc.?
There are four common theories as to the soul’s origin. They are:
1. Traducianism—our soul and body come from our parents (Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox Churches).
2. Preexistence of all souls (Origen and Mormons)
3. Reincarnation (Hinduism)
4. Creationism—God creates a fresh soul for each body (Roman Catholics and most reformed theologians)
Scripture teaches that God breathed life into Adam (Genesis 2:7) and then rested after creation. Furthermore, we know from Romans 5 that sin enters the world through Adam. These facts strongly led Tertullian, Martin Luther and others to argue for traducianism. Creationists counter by citing Isaiah 42:5; Zechariah 12:1; and Hebrews 12:9, as evidence that God directly creates each human soul. Jerome, Calvin and Thomas Aquinas believed and taught this.
A common understanding among Christians is that the soul is the eternal essence of a human, “the seat or locus of human will, understanding, and personality.” Dichotomists believe that there is only a body and soul but trichotomists use 1 Thessalonians 5:23 to refute this. “. . . And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Saint Augustine described the soul as “a special substance, endowed with reason, adapted to rule the body.” He refused to choose sides between Traducian or Creation proponents. While he favored the former, he reflected honestly a great uncertainty.
Soul in the NT normally means an individual spiritual entity with a material body so that a person is thought of as a body-soul, spirit is the special gift of God which places one in relationship to him . . . it can be said that soul in Scripture is conceived to be an immaterial principle created by God, which is usually united to a body and gives it life; however, the soul continues to exist after death in human beings (Matt. 10:28; James 5:20; Rev. 6:9; 20:4), a condition which is ended at the close of this age (I Cor. 15:35-55).
The Hebrew word nepes occurs 757 times in Scripture and primarily refers to life or soul but in rare occasions also was used synonymously with body and spirit. The most frequent reference to soul (23x) is in the form of exhortation to engage all of our heart and soul in seeking the Lord or doing our best. I would call this “soul’d out for Jesus! The Greek word psyche means life or soul, pneuma is used for spirit and soma for body. Never are they used interchangeably. Genesis 35:18 depicts Rachel’s nepheshas departing. Elijah prayed in 1 Kings 17:21 that that widow’s dead son would receive back his nephesh. Clearly in Scripture, the soul (life) separates from the body at death.
The soul is frequently mentioned in Scripture as capable of experiencing emotions ranging from sorrow (18x), bitterness, hate, to love, joy, etc. The soul yearns or waits for God (10x), finds refuge in Him, praises Him and suffers during times of persecution or difficulty.
Ezekiel 18:4 says, “ . . . The person who sins is the one who will die.”
Jesus taught that the soul and the body were both subject to punishment in hell. Matthew 10:28 reads, “Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“Throughout the history of the Christian church, there has been no clearly defined and universally accepted metaphysical conception of the soul.” If this is so, then why is all this important to you and me? We know that we are destined to die and to be judged (Heb. 9:27). Whether it is our soul or our spirit or both which survive for eternity God knows. In Matthew 11:28,29 Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves.” His words are a promise for all to whom He reveals His Father (see vs. 27). Clearly the key truth with respect to the soul is knowledge of God. Is your soul at rest? Something to think about . . . in reveration.
Man’s soul is neither his body nor his spirit, it is that creation which holds his spirit and his body together, and is the medium of expressing his spirit in his body. It is not true to state that man’s soul moulds his body; it is his spirit that moulds his body, and soul is the medium his spirit uses to express itself.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Psychology
©2006 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)