What do we definitively know about the soul?
The soul of man, along with his spirit is to me, the hardest doctrine to get perfectly correct on because of their so close connection, to each other......SO CLOSE.
1st Corinthians 15:45~"And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
Here we see the first Adam equated with the living soul relating to the flesh
, while the last Adam (Christ) equated with the quickening spirit relating to the higher, non-fleshly, non-carnal nature
. Soul and spirit are not used here by chance or un-ordered luck, they are God-inspired to show the difference between Adam that sinned in his soul
, and the Spirit of Christ who redeems man from that sin (Micah 6:7). We see that the soul usually pertains to the conscious entity within the body
. It is breath that has given life to our soul or conscious existence
when we were born. That soul includes our personal makeup, or that which makes us different from every other individual. In other words, the body is the outward shell of you, but it is not all of what defines who you are
. Each and every human being given the breath of life by God has a "unique" consciousness or soul
, and that soul is intimately connected to the life blood of the flesh and body. If you shed man's blood, the breath of life ceases from that body and you have a corpse. That is to say, when the soul leaves
, there is the death of the body. For without this breath of life, the soul cannot exist within the body, and the body cannot exist period. I watched this very carefully when I lost my oldest grandson die of cancer last 3-16-2020 in my arms.
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."
Before God gave the breath of life, the body was just a lump of clay. But after God's miraculous creation process of giving the body breath, man became an inimitable living soul. So the soul, as contrasted with the spirit, is more nearly connected to the unique conscious life
existence within the body--the living exhibition of our conscious being that defines us as individuals. As such, the breath of life or soul maintains the earthly body. When the soul is gone from the body, then life is gone from it.
Genesis 35:18~"And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin."
The living soul does not exist apart from the body, except there is the death of the body. In that Genesis declares the soul was departing, we know that there is a soul in people that exists separate from and independent of the body at death. For it doesn't say that her body departed or went away, only her soul
. This signifying that body and soul are two distinct entities
. When one takes their last breath, the conscious soul or existence
departs from the body, and the result is the cessation of life in that body
. Death is not the extinction of the soul (Matthew 10:28), but of the body in its separation and disunion from it. The Soul is in fact the conscious life within the body. And the word is sometimes translated life to illustrate this--for example in Leviticus chapter 17:
Leviticus 17:11~"For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul."
As I said earlier, the soul is intimately tied to the life of the body. While the spirit is intimately related to the soul within the body, but not so tied~but VERY CLOSE, so close it is not easy to distinguish them
. The soul/life of the flesh is in the blood because it is by Christ's shed blood that the transgressions of our souls are atoned for. Likewise, the soul being the consciousness of being within us, can be vexed or made bitter or sad by outward circumstances specifically because it is so connected to the body
. For example we read in 2nd Kings:
2nd Kings 4:27~"And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me."
In the consciousness of her inner existence, she was vexed or made bitter in the flesh. It is the soul that comprises the uniqueness of who we are in the flesh. That is why even after receiving Christ, in our spirit we may have an earnest desire to do the will of God, but in our soul (our whole being
) we often struggle with sin because the soul is the life blood of the the flesh (Leviticus 17:11). In our humanity we are carnal or naturally evil, and the life of our souls are also tainted as a result (Romans 7:24). This can pull us toward the flesh and evil as this flesh wars against the soul so connected to it.
1st Peter 2:11~"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;"
The lusts of the flesh war against our soul because the soul is the breath of life and identity and conscious existence within it. And when unsaved it is our spirit (so in communion with the soul) that gives in and moves the soul to turn to these lusts. But if we are saved, being resurrected in our spirit, we will want to do the will of God and so this spiritual warfare will overcome the soul and bring us into condemnation. But make no mistake, it is there and it is our spirit that helps the soul prevail over the body. For even though we are resurrected and made perfect in the spirit, the soul is warred against by the flesh all through our journey of Christian growth. Just as (under the inspiration of God) the Apostle Paul states:
Romans 7:20-25~"Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
In the inward man, in His spirit, he delights in the law of God. But there is another law of his body that is warring against his soul. And it is seeking to bring his mind and soul into bondage to the lusts of the body. But being a saved man, the Apostle had the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:16) via the Spirit of Christ, that in his soul's existence he serves God. Even though in the flesh, he finds himself sinning (when he compared himself to the spirituality of God's holy law,) with a desire that his soul depart (2nd Corinthians 5:8) that body of death. The soul is moved by the spirit to choose the law of God as what is important, over things of this world that are of little spiritual value.
Later...we will add more~RB