What Is Man?

by Peg Y. Rhone



There are very few questions that can spark such immediate debate as, “What is man?” How would you answer it? There seem to be as many answers as there are religions, philosophers, and debaters. But in truth, there can be only one answer, and that must be found in the Scriptures.

For many years I thought that I had a very good understanding of man; of body, soul and spirit. But then I realized that many of my beliefs were not really my own, I merely parroted what I had been taught by someone else. Much to my chagrin I had not searched the Scriptures for myself to see if the things that I believed were so.

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

I am now taking a fresh look at all of my beliefs, starting with the question, “what is man?” Beginning in Genesis with Adam the first man:

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. Genesis 2:7

I endeavored to read this verse without prejudice. This was a very difficult and challenging task because I had twenty years of thinking in a certain way with which to contend. I found myself completely humbled by my own ignorance as to the actual meaning of Genesis 2:7. The words of Matthew came to mind where Jesus said that truth was hidden from “the wise and prudent” but revealed unto “babes”, meek ones, those who are humble enough realize that the Lord is the true revelator of His word.

.. Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Matthew 11:25

It is in the spirit of meekness that I share the following pages with you. And my prayer is that you will be challenged – not to believe what I have written – but to search the Scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so.


What is Man?

A Biblical Study of Body, Soul & Spirit

The earth is populated with people, billions of moving, living, breathing people. Every one so different, so unique and yet they all share one common thread – life. That precious condition that we so desperately hang on to. Perhaps every thinking human has wondered at some point in time where that life comes from.

What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? Job 7:17

What is man? What makes him tick? Why are we here? What happens when we die? These are the core questions in everyone’s life. And our heavenly Father has not left us without answers. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God,“ James 1:5.

In our current religious culture, which is a mixture of part Biblical and part Greek philosophy, one might think these questions are impossible to answer. But we can have an answer if we simply ask, “What is God’s truth concerning man?” because the unvarnished truth is in the Bible.

The Scriptures are where we must go for the answers to all of our questions about life. But we must be willing to take a clean, fresh, look at verses to which we may have attached error in the past.

The First Man

To answer the question, “What is man?” let us begin by looking at the first man, Adam.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, andbreathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2:7

Three elements are mentioned in this verse when the Lord God created Adam:

• He formed man of the dust of the ground,
• He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
• and man BECAME a living soul.

“Breathed” in verse 7 is the Hebrew word naphach, which means, “to puff or kindle”. One aspect of the word kindle is, “to bring forth young.” This verse does not say what was puffed into man’s nostrils, but we do learn here that soul was the result of God “kindling,” forming a body and then breathing into it “the breath of life.” Thus the first man, Adam, became a living soul.

In Genesis 2:7 it was the infusion of “breath life” that caused the body of Adam tobecome a living soul, a living person. What was infused when God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life?” Job says that is was, “the spirit of God.”

All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; Job 27:3

“Spirit” is the Hebrew word ruach. It is used 347 times in the Old Testament. It is translated eleven different ways, but the majority are: “breath” 28 times, “wind” 90 times, and most notably “spirit” 232 times. In Job 27:3 ruach is translated “spirit.” Here we learn that the “spirit of God” or the “breath of God” is in a human’s nostrils.

Even when ruachis translated “wind” it refers to something that stirs things up, causes movement or “brings to life,” so-to-speak. The spirit that God breathed into man brought him to life.

But there is a spirit (ruach) in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding. Job 32:8

There is a spirit in man. Job does not say that there is a spirit in a righteous man, or a saved man, but there is a spirit in every man. This verse does not give a special qualification. In Job 34 we learn that if God took away His spirit all flesh would perish.

If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit (ruach) and his breath(neshamah);
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. Job 34:14,15

The life force in every man is ruach, “spirit.” Simply speaking, the “spirit of man” (Job 32:8) is “the breath of God.” It is the life force from God that animates a human being. It is like the electricity that causes light in the light bulb filament. Every person has the spirit of man.

Therefore in Genesis 2:7 that “breath of life” that caused man to become a “living soul” must of necessity be the spirit of man, a life force originating from God Himself.

O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation? Numbers 16:22

“The God of the spirits of all flesh…” every living person has this God-breathed life force. In Isaiah we see the same truth, that all men have the spirit of man.

Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit (ruach) to them that walk therein: Isaiah 42:5

The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. Zechariah 12:1

All men and women have “the spirit of man” within them. Living animals also have ruach, breath life, a spirit of life within them. In Genesis 7, ruachis used when speaking of the animals that Noah took into the ark.

And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath (ruach) of life. Genesis 7:15

And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man:
All in whose nostrils was the breath (ruach) of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
Genesis 7:21,22

The Breath of Life

In the King James center margin “the breath of life” (Gen. 7:22) is translated “the breath of the spirit of life”. This is a wonderful translation and very accurate. The “breath of life”(ruach), is common to both man and animal.

[God] In whose hand is the soul (nephesh) of every living thing, and the breath (ruach) of all mankind. Job 12:10

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath (ruach) ; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Ecclesiastes 3:19,20

The simile here is that both man and beast have breath life that comes from God. It is spirit (ruach) that gives a body life. In the New Testament Spirit is the Greek word pneuma. In James 2:26 the truth is reiterated that a body without spirit is not alive, it is dead .

For as the body without the spirit (pneuma) is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26

In Genesis 3:19 the Lord God said unto Adam, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Both man and beast are taken from the dust of the ground, and in death their bodies will return to the dust. This is the common fate, physically, of both man and beast. However, there is one distinct difference, God said something about man that He never said regarding animals.

And God said, Let us make man in our image… Genesis 1:26

The creation of man in the image of God lifts man far above the animal in intelligence and moral discernment; in man’s ability to choose good or evil, resulting in eternal rewards or consequences. (Dan. 12:2) What man shares with the animal is a similarity in death.

Who knoweth the spirit (ruach) of man that goeth upward, and the spirit (ruach) of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:21

The spirit of man has a different end than the “spirit of the beast.” One “goes upward” and the other “goeth downward to the earth.” Why? Because animals will not be raised from the dead, resurrected and judged, but allmen will. Some men will be raised to everlasting life and others to everlasting contempt.

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. Ecclesiastes 3:17

For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

There is a time coming when all men shall be judged. Those who did not accept God’s way will be like the beast and perish. There are many differing views on exactly what happens to the unbeliever, suffice to say, they will not spend eternity in the joy and presence of the Lord.

Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49:20

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

The point is, that like the animal, humans cannot live indefinitely in their present bodies for they are corruptible, made from the dust. But unlike animals, God places man on earth to be to His glory and to His praise (Isaiah 43:7). God gives man a shot at immortality, everlasting life in His future Kingdom. But the man who “understandeth not”, who does not accept God’s plan of salvation, will perish like the beast. He will NOT live in the presence of the Lord for eternity .

Both man and animal have spirit life that causes them to become “living souls.” But the spirit life that God placed in animals is NOT “in His image” (Gen. 1:26). They can never worship God, nor accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. Because of this, animals can never choose to reign with Him in the future. But every man has that choice, the potential to be with God and with His son, Jesus Christ, for eternity.

He [God]hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world [eternity] in their [man’s] heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

“World” in verse 11 is the Hebrew word ’owlam which should be translated eternity or a vanishing point. God has placed within man an innate hunger for things he cannot see with his eyes, things that man must take on faith. God has given man an innate craving for the things of eternity, including eternal life.

The Amplified Bible reads:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He also has planted eternity in men’s hearts and minds [a divinely implanted sense of a purpose working through the ages which nothing under the sun but God alone can satisfy], yet so that men cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

The Lord has placed a hunger in man’s heart which nothing under the sun but faith in God can satisfy. There is a “God shaped void” in man’s heart that no amount of money, success, drugs, or any other earthly pleasure, can satisfy. Only a true and vital relationship with his Creator can satisfy that longing in man’s heart.

It is true that in this life men “cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end…” we do not understand all the “why’s and wherefore’s” of the ways of God. But God has revealed enough for man to choose Him.

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: Romans 1:20

And God has revealed through the Scriptures that He created man for a purpose, to live eternally with Him. By choosing Jesus as his lord and savior a man will live forever with the Lord, thus fulfilling God’s desire to have a family.

And [I] will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:18

And this is life eternal, that they might know [have a relationship with] thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3

It is really quite astounding that the choices we make today have such immense ramifications on our future. It is a great comfort to realize that we do have a purpose on this earth, and that we can know what our future holds. Understanding God’s plan and hope for mankind takes away the fear of death and gives man a firm footing on which to base all of life’s decisions.

We are not helpless pawns in the universe, being moved about against our will. Choosing to have a relationship with God, now and forever, IS the meaning of life!

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. Galatians 6:8

Man generally craves to live as long as possible, and yet the gift of eternal life will not be claimed by everyone. Each man can choose or reject everlasting life. At the time of a man’s death his body shall return to dust, and his spirit shall return to God, who gave it. At the resurrections, some will be raised to everlasting life others to everlasting contempt, (Dan. 12:2) according to their decision while they were alive.

…. because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets…
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit (ruach) shall return unto God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:5b, 7

If he [God] set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit (ruach) and his breath;
All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust. Job 34:14,15

At the time of death, man’s body returns to the dust from whence it came, and man’s spirit returns to God who gave it. This is the fate of every man. Between the time of death and the resurrection, the spirit of man goes into a state of “sleep” or unconsciousness.

Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Psalm 13:3

The dead rest in a state of unconsciousness called “the sleep of death.” The spirit returns to God who gave it. It is not a conscious, disembodied spirit waiting in heaven to receive a body sometime in the future. The spirit is asleep and “knows not anything” until the resurrection.

For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Ecclesiastes 9:5

We would save millions of wasted dollars on psychic hotlines, and other hoaxes perpetrated on the public, if we would just read the Bible. No one is living in heaven with God today, except Jesus Christ. Period!

Thankfully, our loved ones are NOT in heaven as disembodied spirits. How could it be “heaven” to watch your loved ones, who are still on earth, go through the trials and tribulations of life while being helpless to come to their aid? When I used to believe in heaven, harps, and fifty cent cigars, I thought, “What a cruel joke for God to play on His children. That sounds more like hell to me.”

For example, the thought of having my beloved grandmother watching all of my mistakes, and yet unable to help me avoid them, sounded more like torment than heaven. I rejoice in the truth that my grandmother (along with all deceased persons) is “asleep,” awaiting the return of Christ. My grandmother and I will taste eternity for the first time together. What rejoicing that will be!

When a man dies he enters a state of sleep until the resurrections. (Psalm 13:3) A man’s soul does not continue on someplace else without his body, not even in heaven. If anyone would have gone to heaven after they died, surely it would have been the great patriarch David. But David is NOT there!

Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Acts 2:29 –

For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Acts 2:34

There is, however, one exception. The only human who is currently in heaven is the Lord, Jesus the Messiah.

And when he [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. Acts 1:9

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted… Acts 2:32,33

Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God. He is seated there right now with a continuing ministry: as head of the church (Eph. 5:23), as our High Priest (Heb. 3:1), as the mediator between God and man (Heb 9:15), and as the one who ever lives to make intercession for us. (Heb. 7:25) He is not a disembodied spirit, but a man who has already been raised from the dead, and has received his new spiritual body. He is the one who helps us in time of need.

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession [confession].
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4: 14 -16

These are such comforting words. Christ is our help. From his residence at the right hand of God, he can relate to our pain, and help us in time of need. He bestows grace and mercy in time of need.

Christ is the only human who currently has eternal life. He has already put on his new spiritual body. That is why he is called, the firstfruitsof them that slept (are dead).

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
I Corinthians 15:20

No one else is up there with Christ, except God, his Father. All other people are either dead or alive until the return of Christ. Then, everyone will stand before the judgment seat of Christ at one of two resurrections.

Those who accepted Christ as Messiah, will be judged at the first resurrections and will reign with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead will not live again until after the thousand years. (Rev. 20:4,5)

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:6

The first resurrection takes place when Christ returns to earth as King of kings, and Lord of lords, at the beginning of his millennial kingdom (Rev. 20:5,6). The second resurrection takes place at the end of the millennial reign (Rev. 20:7, 11-15).

…there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. Acts 24:15

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Romans 14:12

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
II Corinthians 5:10

At the time of the resurrections those who believed on the Lord’s Messiah will be judged “just”, and will receive eternal life. At the second resurrection, those who did not believe on the Messiah will be judged “unjust,” and will perish like the beasts. (Psalm 49:1- 20)

Another way to look at it is those who are righteous will point to Christ and say, “I am here because of him! He is my savior.” Those at the second resurrection, whose names are NOT found in the book of life, will point to themselves and say, “Uh, oh!” Realizing how desperately they, too, needed the savior. But it will be too late.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6

Since there is nothing inherently immortal about the body of a man prior to the resurrections, the faithful who inherit everlasting life will receive anew immortal/spiritual body at the time of the resurrection.

For this corruptible [body] must put on incorruption, and this mortal [body] must put on immortality. I Corinthians 15:53 – (Also see I Cor. 15:35-44)

It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. I Corinthians 15:44

A born again man, one who takes Christ as his savior, receives his new spiritual body at the time of his resurrection. And in his new flesh he “shall see God!” (Job 19:26) Until that time the Bible clearly teaches how frail the life of man is upon this earth, “It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” ( James 4:14)

At the time of a man’s death the whole man, his spirit (breath life), and his flesh, perish from this earthly existence. His spirit returns to God who gave it, and his body returns to dust. Since the soul cannot exist on its own, it must be considered asleep as well. The man is asleep in the Lord, awaiting one of the two resurrections.

 A Mortal Soul

There is another word that we need to understand, the Hebrew word nepheshtranslated soul. The soul cannot exist independent of the body and the spirit.

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 (nephesh). Genesis 2:7

God formed man’s body from the dust of the ground; God breathed into man’s nostrils the breath of life/spirit of man, and man BECAME a living soul. The combination of two parts, the body and the spirit of man, produce a third part, soul. The soul comes into being because it has two essential elements: a life source (spirit), and a body to house the activity. There is nothing inherently immortal about the soul.

The soul, in effect, is what makes you – you. It is where decisions are made. It contains your personality. The soul is the “seat” of the heart, will, emotions, and intellect. The word soul is sometimes used to represent the whole man. But for all practical purposes, a living man is considered a three part being; body, soul, and spirit.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:23

Why is understanding all of this so important? Because a dramatic change takes place when a person gets born again. (John 3:5) But the new birth regenerates only the spirit of man. The spirit is reborn, new complete, changed. (See Newness of Life). The body and soul are not automatically affected by the new birth, the mind must be renewed. The renewing of the mind is an act of the will. The body may be affected by gifts of healing, but ultimately it will still grow old, and eventually return to the “dust of the ground,” if the Lord tarries.

A skewed understanding of body, soul and spirit has caused great confusion in the Church, especially when it comes to appreciating what saints have been given under the new covenant, through Jesus Christ. Because one does not experience an immediate change in ones body or mind, one tends to doubt the phenomenal change that HAS actually taken place in the spirit.

In “The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament” under spirit [ruach –Strong’s number 7307] various definitions are given. But I want to bring your attention to one particular section of the Hebrew Lexicon which states:

“The ruach [spirit] of all mankind is in God’s hands. (Job 12:10; Is. 42:5) It was bestowed by a special creative act of God (Gen 2:7)
Though the OT usually treats man as a whole, it also recognizes that he essentially has two parts; flesh and spirit combine to form the self (nephesh). Man has a ruach [spirit], but he is a nephesh [soul].
The ruach [spirit] is contained within its bodily sheath.”

Only the spirit is re-created, or made new, at the time of the new birth.

.. if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

After a man is born again, his spirit is completely new, but he looks the same. He can look in the mirror, and he looks just like he looked before the new birth. Unfortunately, he also thinks the same, until he begins to change his thought patterns according to God’s Word.

The Hebrew Lexicon also states that, “Eventually, spirit, ruach came to mean the entire immaterial consciousness of man (Ps. 32:2; Prov. 16:32; Is. 26:9).” Confusion comes in here because the functions that are carried out in the soul, are sometimes referred to as part of man’s spirit.

That is because by that time the Hebrew idea of man was a two part being, body and spirit, and that the soul referred to the whole of a living man. The soul actually controls the whole of man, because it is where all conscious and unconscious decisions are made.
This fits with Genesis 2:7, the Lord God formed man’s body out of the dust of the ground, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life [spirit], and man became a living soul. Once Adam was formed, made and created, he could think and make his own choices.

How simple and how beautiful this truth is. It clears up so many other difficult sections of the Scripture. Man’s life force comes from the spirit of man within him. Leviticus 17:11 states that,“the life of the flesh is in the blood.” The life force in the blood is spirit. As cited in James, “the body without the spirit is dead.” (James 2:26) Thespirit is the life force of the body, which includes the blood.

The term “soul” is also used to represent the whole man. Here are some examples.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls (psuche). Acts 2:41

These were whole people who were added to the church. The Hebrew word nephesh is equivalent to the Greek word psuche. When applied to man it could simply be translated “person”. The Biblical term “soul” is essentially the individual, either a living person (soul) or a dead person (soul).

And fear came uponevery soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. Acts 2:43

Fear, or reverence came upon the whole of one’s person. They were wholly affected.

And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. Acts 27:37

These were whole, living people. That is why the “salvation of your souls” in the resurrection is referring to the whole of man being made perfect, all three parts; body, soul and spirit.

Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. I Peter 1:9

A man is born with a body and a spirit and therefore he is a living soul. But, for all practical purposes, man is a three part being. The functions of the mind (the soulish part of man) are critically important. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Prov. 23:7)

The soul affects the body and the manifestation, or lack thereof, of the holy spirit. Our mind determines where our body goes, what it does, and how it feels. Our spirit can be “stifled” by lack of faith, by fear, or other negative thought patterns. Or the power in our spirit can be unleashed through faith, confidence and trust in God. In this life the soul holds the trump card, because that is where decisions are made.

Erroneous Teachings

Body, Soul and Spirit

Much confusion has come into the church today because of erroneous teachings concerning body, soul, and spirit. For example, some teach that when Adam sinned, he lost his spirit. That would have left him only body and soul. Nowhere in the Bible is the soul described as the life force of the body. In Genesis 2:17 God said that if Adam sinned he would “surely die.” And he did die, when he was 930 years old. (Gen. 5:3-5) But there is not one word in the Scripture that says Adam’s spirit died the day he disobeyed God.

On the other hand the Scriptures clearly support the truth that thespirit of man IS the life force of every man. The body without the spirit is dead. (James 2:26) And so, if Adam had lost his spirit in the garden of Eden the day he sinned, he too would have dropped dead!

What died the day of Adam’s fall? It was not his spirit, but the quality of his spirit. When Christ regained what Adam lost, he gave son’s of God a new quality of spirit. (See Newness of Life)

An example of this is the parent whose child rebels so badly that their whole relationship changes. The son turns on the parent in such a way that his relationship, which was once close, loving, and secure, becomes “dead” because of the son’s own selfish actions. That is it in a nutshell. After the fall, God still communed with Adam, He still talked to Caine and Abel, and many others, but the sweet, undefiled fellowship they had once enjoyed was gone. It was dead.

What died within Adam the day he disobeyed? His pure,undefiled, relationship with God. Adam changed from freely conversing with the Lord, to hiding from Him. That’s quite a change. Adam’s spirit “mutated,” it was degraded, a certain quality was gone. Adam, who once had dominion over all, became subject to sin, sickness, and death. He and his offspring became subject to the power of the prince of the air, Satan. (Eph. 2:2)

All that had come so easily under the Lord’s direction, would now come through toil and tribulation. Adam had once eaten freely of the fruit of the garden, after the fall he would bring forth fruit “by the sweat of his brow.” He once had access to the tree of life, after the fall his body was subject to sin, sickness, and death. And he passed that on to all men.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men… Romans 5:12

The legacy of sin and death, that came upon all men through Adam, would have to be undone by the righteous obedience of another man, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5:15 -17)

But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Romans 5:15

The Pagan Doctrine of Immortality of the Soul

Error also comes into play from the commonly held, but erroneous, religious belief of the immortality of the soul. That one is a dandy, and has caused great confusion. The Greek philosopher Plato taught that the soul of man is immortal, and that it not only survives death but continues living on in another plane or sphere of existence. Many Christians embrace this pagan doctrine, claiming that the immortal souls of their loved ones go immediately to heaven, where they watch us poor mortals make our way through life. Obviously, Plato did not have a Biblical view of man.

Eastern philosophers have taught that the soul survives death and comes back to earth time and time again in other forms. This philosophy is known as reincarnation. It is where the “essence” of man continues to exist in other forms until the man reaches a desired plane of enlightenment. This directly contradicts Scripture, which teaches that it is appointed unto man onceto die. Man does not get several chances to “get it right.”

…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

The soulcannot continue to exist independent of the body and the spirit. Spirit is the common life force of man and animal alike. (Ecc. 3:21) There is no place in the Bible where the life in a man, or an animal, emanates from his soul. Watchman Nee in The Spiritual Man expresses his understanding of body, soul and spirit:

“When God first created man He formed him of the dust from the ground, and then breathed “the breath of life” into his nostrils. As soon as the breath of life, which became man’s spirit, came into contact with man’s body, the soul was produced. Hence the soul is the combination of man’s body and spirit. The Scripture therefore calls man a “living soul.”

“ … The Lord Jesus tells us, ‘it is the spirit that gives life’ (John 6:63). This breath of life comes from the Lord of Creation. However we must not confuse man’s spirit with God’s Holy Spirit.”

As Watchman Nee said, “We must not confuse man’s spirit with God’s holy spirit.” There is a spirit of man. And there is the gift of holy spirit, called “the new man”, that comes from God at the time of the new birth.

When Jesus Christ came, he paid the price for all sin. He made something available to God’s children for the first time, and that was the Comforter, the gift of holy spirit, which came on the day of Pentecost. All believers throughout the Bible share the same hope, but something came under the new covenant, that was not available under the old, God and His son could dwell inthose who would believe His word.

… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [home] with him. John 14:23

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses … Acts 1:8

And ye in me, and I in you. John 14:20

One of the main differences between the believers under the old covenant and those under the new covenant is the new birth. Holy spirit became available to all of God’s children on the day of Pentecost. Holy spirit gives New Testament saints power to live abundantly, and carry out the works of Christ. This phenomenal gift was prophesied in Joel.

But this IS that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: Acts 2:16.17

This was a first! Jesus is the mediator of the new covenant. (Heb. 12:24) Pentecost was the beginning of a new relationship between God and man. Some have called it the birthday of the Church. When Jesus ascended into heaven a whole new spirit power was unleashed here on earth. This power was something prophesied about in Joel, and other places, and that Jesus promised to his disciples. (Lk. 24:49; Acts 1:4 )

On Pentecost God poured out His spirit upon “all flesh.” A new spirit made available to all who believe on Christ! Under the old covenant some people here and there had the spirit upon them. Under the new covenant the Lord said He would pour out His spirit upon ALL flesh. This means that all believers who accept Christ have God’s spirit “poured” into them at the moment of the new birth. They are filled with a “new creation.” It is the indwelling presenceof God, and Christ.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [home] with him. John 14:23

The indwelling presence of Christ was simply not available under the old covenant because Christ had not yet come. There is some confusion about what New Testament believers receive today because of a “new spirit” spoken of in Ezekiel. (Eze. 11:19, 18:31; 36:26)

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
And I will put my spirit within you… Ezekiel 36:26, 27

In Ezekiel the Lord promises Israel that He will give them a new spirit and a new heart at the time of Christ’s return. (Eze. 37:13,14) The Lord is addressing Israel, under the old covenant, about what will happen when Christ comes back to establish Zion. Since Christ had not yet come, “Christ in you,”(Col 1:27) the new man, was not yet available.

No matter when a person receives it, nothing is more important that the salvation of one’s soul. This is the whole point of our time here on earth.

Psalm 49 is one of the few Psalms that contains specific instruction, that will open up a “dark saying.” It illuminates what is truly important in life, not riches, fame or power, but the redemption of one’s soul.

Hear this, all ye people; give ear, all ye inhabitants of the world:
Both low and high, rich and poor, together.
My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

Wherefore should I fear in the days of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about?
They that trust in their wealth, and boast themselves in the multitude of their riches;
None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him:
(For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever:)
That he should still live for ever, and not see corruption.

For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names.
Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.
This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings.

[Selah means to “consider deeply what has just been said.”]

Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.
But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me. Selah.

Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;
For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.
Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.
He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.
Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Psalm 49

The Lord reveals great truth in Psalm 49. He wants us to understand what is really important in life.Most people spend their lives on things, cars, houses, bank accounts, or other “stuff” to leave to their children. A man can have wealth and honor in this life,he can even have cities named after him, but with all that power, he cannot ransom his soul. Only the Savior, the Messiah can do this for man. Jesus is God’s plan for salvation, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Anyone who does not understand and accept this truth is “like the beasts that perish.” No eternity with God for them!

In answer to Job’s question , “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” The Lord God Almighty created man because of His desire to be a Father unto him. God “set His heart upon” sons and daughters who will be with Him for eternity.

Every man is given the opportunity to choose God, and the things of God, in this life.

Choosing God’s way of salvation through Jesus the Messiah, is the “ransom for man’s soul.” The redeemed man will reign with Christ in his millennial kingdom, and will go on to be with his heavenly Father for eternity That is God’s desire for ALL men, even though not everyone will accept the ransom for his soul.

[God] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. I Timothy 2:4-6

God never turns anyone away, but man is given the freedom to turn away from Him.


Newness of Life

The Spirit of Man and the New Man

Having an understanding of body, soul and spirit, helps us appreciate what takes place at the time of the new birth. (See “The Greatest Story”) There is a “spirit of man” and there is a “new man.” They are not the same thing. The new man is the change that takes place at the time of the new birth.

Man is unique from any other life form on the planet. He alone can have fellowship with God. I love my dog, but she can’t have fellowship with God. Horses are wonderful, but they cannot have fellowship with God. Remember Adam and Eve? When they sinned, they lost that perfect, divine fellowship with God, that which was unique, sanctified, and holy. After the fall, the Lord still spoke to Adam, but under a much different relationship.

Thankfully, Christ came to regain everything Adam lost, and more!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” The word “new” is kainos, which means “new in quality.” That man’s spirit is new in quality. It is transformed, regenerated, to a whole new level. Man’s born again spirit is complete, whole, and eternal. That’s a new quality that did not exist in him before he accepted Christ.

What quality did the Lord give you? He gave you that “quality” that Adam lost. When you are born again your spirit is not like the life force you inherited from Adam, but it is a new life force, paid for by Jesus. Your born again spirit is just like Jesus’ spirit. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

The word “creature” in II Corinthians 5:17 should be translated “creation.” It is the Greek word ktisis. By virtue of an act of creation, called “the new birth,” a believer’s spirit takes on a whole new quality, taking on the attributes of Jesus Christ. That which Adam lost for mankind, was bought back for us by Jesus Christ. When a man is “in Christ” a new quality is created on the inside; holiness, sanctification, justification, and the righteousness of God. Wow!

The NIV reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he has become a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” The new creation is described as: the new birth, the new creature, God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus, newness of life, the new man, the inward man, the divine nature, and more.

Man is a three part being, and so by sheer logic “new creature” cannot be referring to man’s body, because he looks the same way after he is born again. It cannot be referring to man’s soul, because he thinks the same. Therefore it must be referring to his spirit. At the time of the new birth, his spirit gets a complete makeover. It is new in Christ. It is a new creation.

We are born into this world the first time with a life force called the spirit of man. But when we get born again (John 3:5), we have a whole new life force coursing through our veins. If one reads Colossians 3:4, and believes it, it will stagger the mind.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4

Christ IS your life! Now! At the time of the new birth, man’s spirit gets a complete makeover, it is taken from death unto life. Colossians teaches that when we accept Christ we die, and receive a new life in Christ. This is a type of resurrection, the old spirit is dead, and the new one will live eternally. That is just the opposite of what happened to us through Adam! What Adam “killed” Christ made alive.

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 KJV

For you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.
And when Christ, who is our real life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. Colossians 3:3,4 NLT

One of the main differences between the saints of the Old Testament and the saints of the New Testament is the indwelling presence of Jesus Christ. The New Testament believer has a new spirit which gives them power to live abundantly and carryout the works of Christ in this world. This new life, holy spirit, became available to man on the day of Pentecost.

When man is born the first time, his spirit is not “whole.” Man is born into the world under Adam’s sin, separated from the life of God. His spirit is changed at the time of the new birth (John 3:6) when it becomes “reborn” via God’s Word.

For if by one man’s offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Romans 5:17

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 5:23

This verse refers to a mans “whole spirit.” “Whole” means, “complete in every part.” The Old Testament believers will get their new spirit at the same time they get their new body. They could not have a new, recreated spirit in this life because Christ had not yet come. But the New Testament saint gets their whole, complete spirit at the moment of their new birth.

Some teach that after Christ came, a believer gets his new spirit in the future. That idea comes from information given in Ezekiel. (Eze. 11:19, 18:31; 36:26) But the context of these passages is Israel, old covenant believers. The Lord is speaking to Ezekiel because His glory was about to depart the Temple, and He was giving Ezekiel a future promise regarding Israel.

Nowhere, from Acts to Revelation, does scripture speak about the born again believer getting a new spirit at the return of Christ. The epistles testify to just the opposite. The believer receives a new spirit at the moment of the new birth.

Since the day of Pentecost man’s spirit is made new the moment he is born again. The believer will, however, receive a new spiritual body at Christ’s return. Christ promised his followers a new spirit that would be in them and with them afterhis ascension. That promise was realized and poured out on the day of Pentecost. If any man is in Christ he is a new creature, a new creation. ( I Cor. 5:17)

Even the Spirit of truth… but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me … Acts 1:8

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, … they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Acts 2:1,4

Once a believer receives the holy spirit, he must then renew his mind to bring that spiritual reality into evidence in his life. He must “put on” the new man.

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Ephesians 4:24

The new man is created, after God, in righteousness and true holiness. Our spirit is as holy as God is holy. That which is born of spirit is spirit; and that which is born of the flesh is flesh. Simple.

Jesus answered… Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. John 3:5-7

“Born of water” is referring to man’s first birth, his natural birth. We come “through water” in the birth process when a woman’s water breaks. That is “born of the flesh.” “Born again” refers to the second birth. It is a spiritual birth that comes directly from God, who is spirit. (John 4:24)

Your earthly daddy fathered you in the first birth. In the new birth, God Himself fathers you, imparting to you His characteristics and nature. That is why, at the time of the new birth, your spirit becomes just like His son’s, Jesus Christ.

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. I Corinthians 6:17

“One” is heis, which means “ the same one, a single one to the exclusion of all others.” Our new spirit is the same as the Lord’s. We are made joint heirs with Christ because we are given that same spirit as the glorified Christ. That is why it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27) The new spirit is eternal. The new spirit is complete. But we must wait for the redemption of our body.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit [to know], the redemption of our body. Romans 8:22,23

We are waiting “to know, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:23) At the time of the new birth the spirit is made perfect, it is only the body that needs to be redeemed. I Corinthians 15:35 -50 goes into great detail about the return of Christ, and it never speaks of the new spirit being changed. It is only the body that shall be changed. Please note that all of the following verses refer to man’s body, not the new spirit.

But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
Thou fool, that which thou sowest [the body, dust to dust] is not quickened, except it die:
And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another…
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
It is sown in dishonour; 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. I Corinthians 15:36-44

Could it be any more clear? All of these verses refer to the body,therefore it is very clear that the new spirit needs no changing. The outward man, the body, is perishing day by day. But the inward man is renewed (continues in that new quality) day by day. The “Christ in you” never changes. Even though your body will die, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God.

Here are more clear verses:

Since Christ lives within you, even though your body will die because of sin, your spirit is alive because you have been made right with God. Romans 8:10 NLT

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. II Corinthians 4:16

The “new spirit” that God promised to Israel some time in the future, under the Old Covenant, became available under the new covenant, through the accomplished work of Jesus Christ. What a great time to be alive!

Even though some New Testament believers will still be alive when Christ returns they, too, will be changed. And they will receive an incorruptible body. (I Cor. 15:51-54) Those who are dead in Christ shall rise first, then those who are alive will be caught up together with the Lord. (I Thess. 4:16,17) Prior to the return of Christ, there is nothing inherently immortal about man’s body. God is going to make alive our mortal bodies by his spirit that dwells in us.

And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Romans 8:10,11

At some time in the future there will be no more death, sorrow, sickness, or sin. Hallelujah! We look forward to that time.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:1,4

One may rightly ask the question, “If my spirit is perfect why do I still have so many problems?” That is precisely why we are discussing body, soul and spirit. Man is a three part being, but only one part becomes new when he is born again, and that is his spirit.

The power and information in the “new creation,” spirit, must be brought into fruition via the renewed mind. This does not happen automatically. Since a man’s soul and body are not changed at the time of the new birth, they will only reflect the treasure on the inside as they renew their mind, and walk out in faith.

After the new birth, life is not about getting more Word into your spirit, it is about getting what is already in your spirit into your mind, by faith. Understanding this one fundamental truth can take you to a whole new level of victorious living. It takes you from acting like a beggar to being a son. Your eyes open up to the inheritance that is ALREADY IN YOU, through Jesus Christ!

Perhaps this sounds too good to be true, but that’s what the gospel is – the good news. We have a great, big, wonderful God.

It would be ludicrous to think that the new birth was less amazing and spectacular than the first birth. The first birth is wonderful, awesome, moving. Who can understand man’s DNA code? Just think how much more incredible it is the be a partaker of the divine nature! God in Christ in you by way of holy spirit.

There are dozens of scriptures that refer to the indwelling presence of God and Christ in the New Testament believer. Here are just a few:

… If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode [home] with him. John 14:23

And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the spirit which he hath given us.
I John 3:24

[Christ speaking] … ye in me, and I in you. John 14:20

Even the spirit of truth… he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. John 14:17

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom. 8:9

Know ye not that you body is the temple of the holy ghost which is in you I Cor. 6:17

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith… Eph. 3:17

That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the holy ghost which dwelleth in us. II Tim. 1:14

For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. I Cor. 14:14

But ye have an unction [endowment] from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
I John 2:20

But we have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:16

These are all present realities for the child of God.

You may not feel like you know all things, or that Christ is living in you, but God says that the above verses are a reality in your new spirit. Colossians says that, “you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.” Where are you complete? In your spirit. And so the choice is yours, do you believe what you feel, or do you believe what God says is true?

Salvation, the new birth, is a life transformingexperience. The new man is total and complete.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. II Corinthians 5:17

[God] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Colossians 1:13

Notice the word “hath” is in the past tense. The deliverance hastaken place. Right now, from a spiritual perspective, we are seated in the heavenlies.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: Ephesians 2:5,6

A man’s spirit instantly changes at the time of the new birth. His spirit becomes a new quality, the “same spirit” as the Lord Jesus Christ. It is sealed until the day of redemption. (Eph. 1:13 ) It is our guarantee that all God has promised in the future will also come to pass. (Eph. 1:14) and it allows the believer to walk as Christ walked when he was here on earth. (John 14:12)

When Christ was on earth he could only be one place at one time. On the day of Pentecost that all changed. On the day of Pentecost God was able to reproduce the same spirit of Christ in all of His children. And so today, Christ can be every place where there is a born again believer!

The challenge for the Christian is to release, through the renewed mind, what is already in his spirit. Renewing the mind transforms a man’s life. It brings into the physical realm a spiritual reality, Christ in you, the hope of glory!

Then, the body and soul reflect that magnificent gift that is on the inside. The outer world changes as the Christian focuses on the treasure on the inside, and walks according to the new image of himself.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Romans 8:6

This is an absolute truth. When we walk according to this new reality, we will have life and peace. It is all about trusting our Creator. And walking like a son of God. “Beloved, noware we the sons of God.” I John 3:2

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

God rewards those that seek Him. Having faith in God pleases Him. This was His plan from the beginning. To glorify Himself through His children.

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20,21

Man is the only creature on earth that was made in the “image of God.” When we take on that “image” at the time of the new birth, the one in whom God’s spirit dwells is given authority and stewardship to act on God’s behalf. This is the highest achievement in life. This answers the question, “What is man, that thou should magnify him?”

What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? Job 7:17

And [I] will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. II Corinthians 6:18

Beloved, now are we the sons of God. For this reason we came into the world. This is our true purpose. This IS the reason for man!

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:57