Before this sounds like the memoirs of a psychiatric patient, let me just say that my selves and I are not crazy. Recently, I have been making forays into the field of Christian Anthropology. My rummage has blessed me with a better understanding of just who I am and who we all are. My whole perspective on the human person, identity, vice and virtue, beauty and character, has been radically re-thought. Man is tripartite, which is to say, he possesses a body, has a mind and is a spirit. I’ll share a little of what I’ve learnt.
We tend to identify and define someone by their physical attributes. But the person is not their body. A person merely inhabits or possesses their body. It is the home, shelter, shell, vessel in which the person dwells. Referred to as flesh, our bodies are driven by sensual impulses; thirst, hunger, sex, comfort and pleasure etc. Originally made from the substance of the earth we are likened to jars of clay in scripture…”Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?” ~ Job 10:9. What makes a body significant is not its form but its function. It houses a thing most precious; the human soul.
Soul – Heart and Mind
The soul, the inner man, the man in the middle, call him what you may. The heart and mind are the consciousness of man; the seat of reason and will, desire and affection. This is where the beauty of a person shines through (or doesn’t). Each soul is as unique as a finger print and wonderfully complex. Ultimately, notwithstanding the influences that abound from within and without, all decisions are made within the soul. This hidden part of man is revealed in action and word. The soul is the conscious part of the life-force called the spirit.
Now, to be clear there is spirit and there is the Spirit. Both are from the Lord, God Almighty. The spirit is that mysterious part of us that gives life to the person. It fuses body and soul which allows man to become a living being. This part of man eludes the scientific scope. Now, the Spirit is the very spirit of God; “poured into” those who have, in unwavering belief, accepted Jesus Christ as their master and savior. On a side note, we should be mindful that every spirit has a mind of its own but not necessarily a body of its own. Bodies are temporary (tents) while the spirit it eternal.
Between Two Minds..kind of
The impulses of the flesh and the appeals of the Spirit/spirit are all directed toward our soul. Both fight to have its desires satisfied. Our soul (seat of will and desire) is head of government and decides which influence to allow. The flesh yearns to satisfy itself even (and usually) at the cost of disobeying the Creator, God. The spirit is from God and is willing to completely obey its author. But since the beginning of man, our nature has been to yield to the rebellious, self-pleasing and sinful demands of the flesh. That`s before the Spirit of God steps in. For the convinced, convicted, converted and committed, the Holy Spirit of God empowers the soul of man to overcome the influence of the flesh; enabling us to possess our bodies in holiness and righteousness. The Holy Spirit also brings our soul to a heightened knowledge and experience of our Creator and Savior. Indeed we are fearfully and wonderfully made, in the image and likeness of God Himself. Selah.