What are the three parts of Man? What does the Bible say about them? Is the changing of soul or the two-soul doctrine Biblical?
Throughout the Endtime Message circle, there have been many opinions and speculations about the three parts of man, namely the Spirit, Soul and the Body. There have been teachings that man’s Soul will be annihilated by the Holy Spirit and therefore will be changed by another Soul from God. This teaching is popularly known as the Two Soul Doctrine. There are also some who teach that man’s Spirit is composed of his Emotions and Will. Are these really so?
All of these teachings are due to the neglecting of the Word of God and uplifting the Quotes from brother William Branham as their “source” and their Absolute. Many times, misinterpreting Brother Branham up to the point that they would rather consult the “Spoken Word” than the Bible.
But what really thus the Bible, the true Absolute says about these three parts of man? Let us consult It and It alone because this is what many failed to do – to consult the true Absolute as their source.
ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
1 Thessalonians 5:23 “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.”
Throughout both the Old and New Testament, the Scriptures reveal that man has been created with three basic parts: the body, the soul, and the spirit.
This trichotomous view of man is apparent even from the moment of man’s creation. In Genesis 1:26-27 we read:
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Here we can see that God created the first man after His image and likeness. This means that just like our Lord God Who is a Spirit, man is also a spirit. Just like our Lord God who has an image, He also created man after His image. And just like Him Who is both male and female, the first man also is both male and female.
Then “God formed man with the dust of the ground” (Gen 2:7) which is the act of creating man his physical body. The verse continues, “And breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” “Breath” is derived from the Hebrew word “neshamah” which significantly, translated to “spirit” in Proverbs 20:27: “The spirit [neshamah] of man is the lamp of Lord.” We can thus infer, that God’s breathing into man the breath of life is the way of the Lord in putting the man’s spirit into his physical body. Genesis 2:7 concludes “And man became a living soul.” The soul (man’s intrinsic person) was the issue of man’s spirit entering into the nostrils of the body of dust. This biblical record of the three-step creation of man clearly reveals him to be a tripartite being.
The New Testament continues and expands on this revelation. First Thessalonians 5:23 says, “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.” Here Paul enumerates man’s three distinct parts: “spirit and soul and body,” the repetition of the conjunction “and” serving to reinforce their distinctness. Furthermore, Hebrews 4:12 specifies “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow.” All three parts are once again articulated in this verse: the joints and marrow pertain to the body, and the soul is explicitly separate from the spirit. These Old and New Testament references exemplify the Bible’s consistent presentation of the tripartite man.
THE THREE PARTS OF MAN
A. THE SPIRIT
Our human spirit is also composed of three parts: conscience, fellowship, and intuition. The conscience is the part that enables us to perceive right from wrong and which, accordingly, either condemns or justifies us. Through the fellowship, we are able to contact God and commune with Him. Finally, through the intuition, God imparts to us a direct, particular sense or knowledge which is independent of reason, circumstance, situation, or precedent. These three faculties of the spirit: conscience, fellowship and intuition are clearly seen in Scripture.
The primary and leading part of the spirit is the conscience. In Romans 9:1 Paul testified, “My conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost.” When this passage is compared to Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,” it becomes apparent that the conscience is located within the human spirit. The Spirit of God witnesses with our human spirit yet at the same time our conscience witnesses with the Holy Spirit. By association, then, the conscience is a part of the human spirit.
The Scriptures likewise reveal that fellowship pertains to the spirit. Christ Himself told us that “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). Worshiping God is altogether a matter of contacting God in fellowship. Furthermore, Ephesians 6:18 mentions “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,” another form of fellowship with God is praying and supplication. Based on these verses we can conclude that fellowship is a component of the human spirit.
Finally, we must see in the Scriptures that intuition is also a part of our spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:11 says, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?” This verse shows us that there are things which only the spirit of man knows, and which the soul is unable to know. This function of intuition in our spirit has the capacity to know and discern apart from human reason or circumstantial experience. For example, in the gospel of Mark 2:5 the scribes were silently reasoning within their hearts about the Lord’s statement, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” In response to their reasoning, “immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (2:8). This verse further illustrates that the spirit can have an inner sense and knowledge independent of outward circumstances upon which the soul’s discernment relies so heavily. This spiritual sense, or intuition, is an essential faculty of our spirit.
B. THE SOUL
The soul is likewise composed of three parts: the mind, the will and the emotions. God’s Word proves this clearly and definitively.
First, the Scriptures consistently identify the Mind as part of the soul. For example in Psalm 139:14, the Psalmist exults, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” Knowledge, no doubt, pertains to our mind. In addition, Lamentations 3:20 says, “My soul remembers them well and is bowed down within me.” To remember is another function of the mind. These verses clearly indicate that there is a part of the soul that knows and remembers; this part is our mind.
The Will is also part of the soul. Job had much to say about the will, for example, “So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.” (Job 7:15). He also said, “My soul refuses to touch them…” (6:7). Both choosing and refusing are functions of our Will, which is a part of the soul.
Finally, we can see from the Word that emotions are part of the soul. In Song of Solomon 1:7, the Solomon speaks to her beloved, “Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth.” Second Samuel 5:8 records the opposite feeling: “And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind, that are hated of David’s soul.” And in Psalm 86:4, David experienced a change in feeling: “Cause the soul of Your servant to rejoice…” Since love, hate and rejoicing are clearly expressions of the emotions, it is obvious that the emotion is the third faculty of the soul.
C. THE BODY
The body of man with its five senses is the part which contacts the physical world. This physical body as man’s outward frame is God’s provision for his existence; without it man would be unable to exist in the physical realm. Originally, man was created with a pure, undefiled body. But due to man’s fall, his body was changed in nature, transmuted, thus becoming the fallen flesh full of lust. Hence, man’s body is a corrupted body as Paul observed in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing”
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE THREE PARTS OF MAN
A. The Function of the Spirit
1. To Contact God
The Lord explained in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.” To worship God is actually to contact Him, based on the etymology of the Greek word here rendered “worship,” as “proskuneo”. This term is derived from “pros,” meaning “toward,” and “kuneo”, meaning “to kiss.” Thus, “worship” literally signifies “to come forward and kiss.” To kiss is to make intimate contact with another person. Similarly, we make contact with God in the most personal, intimate way when we touch Him as the divine Spirit through our human spirit.
2. To Receive God
We receive initially God when we are born again. This new birth takes place in our spirit, for according to John 3:6, “…that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Not only does our spirit function to receive God initially; it continues to function to receive God as the Spirit for the rest of our Christian life. The Lord prophesied of this New Testament experience in Ezekiel 36:26: “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” God wisely gives His children both a new heart to love Him and a new spirit to receive Him. As a physical illustration, our heart may love many things, but without the exercise of the appropriate faculty in order to receive those things, they can never be substantiated and enjoyed by us. For example, to apprehend and appreciate the sound, we must exercise our ears, just as color is substantiated by the exercise of our eyes. Neither can we receive food without exercising our mouth. Likewise, to receive God it is crucial that we must exercise our spirit.
3. To Contain God
Finally, our spirit functions to contain God. 2 Timothy 4:22 says precisely, “The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit.” This word clearly designates our human spirit as the place where God makes His abode in us. Since the Lord lives within our spirit, we can accurately describe our spirit as a container of God.
B. The Function of the Soul
To Express the Lord
The primary function of the soul of man is to express the attributes of the Lord. The soul’s expression of God is clearly portrayed in the first chapter of the Gospel of Luke. In response to Elizabeth’s blessing, Mary exclaimed, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has exulted in God my Savior” (v.46-47). Mary’s spirit had exulted in God and was filled with joy, yet the joy in her spirit could not be adequately expressed apart from the function of her soul. 2 Corinthians 3:18 provides a detailed description of the soul’s function of expressing God: “But we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.”
Our soul is designed to behold and express Christ. Yet in order for our soul to express Christ in the clearest, most unobstructed way so that He can be seen in us, it’s fallen and tainted state must first be denied (Matthew 16:24-26; Luke 9:23-25). This means that we must learn to deny our tainted mind, will and emotion. Secondly, for our soul to express Christ alone, it must not only be denied but also purified by receiving the Word (1 Peter 1:22). Finally, our soul needs to be thoroughly transformed into the image of Christ by the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18). Thus, when our soul is denied, purified, and transformed it is able to fulfill its intended function, the glorious, true reflection of Christ in us.
C. The Function of the Body
Man’s physical body, the least mysterious of his three parts, is simply God’s provision for his existence. Without this body, man is not able to exist within the physical realm. When a man’s body dies, the man himself ceases to exist. Thus, man’s existence altogether depends on the functioning of his physical body. If our soul and spirit are whole but our body is defective, we still can’t functions well. Same when the spirit or the soul is defective. So these three parts of a man are interconnected. They affect each other.
HOW DID SATAN RUINED THE THREE PARTS OF MAN
Created with a spirit to receive God, a soul to express God, and a body to maintain his existence, the first man Adam possessed a tremendous potential to express and represent God. Before this potential could be realized, however, Satan came in to spoil and ultimately ruin the proper function of each of man’s three parts. The fall of man thus was not merely an act of disobedience and transgression; rather, it had the effect of corrupting all three parts of his being, thereby preventing man from fulfilling God’s purpose.
All three parts of man were spoiled by the fall. First, his soul was contaminated; second, his body was transmuted into the sinful flesh; and third, his spirit was deadened. It is crucial that we see the tactics employed by Satan to corrupt man, especially his soul (his mind, emotion, and will). This awareness will equip us to discern the strategies he continues to employ to keep man from receiving and enjoying God and thereby expressing and representing Him.
First Step: Contaminate the Soul
Satan began to contaminate man’s soul by touching the mind, thus causing the human mind to begin to doubt God’s Word. In Genesis 3:1 the serpent began his assault on the human mind by injecting it with doubt through the twisting of the Word: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” By responding to the serpent in verses 2 and 3, Eve opened the door of her soul to the serpent, allowing him to take another step to further contaminate the human mind. In verse 4 the serpent went on to assure Eve, “You shall not surely die!” By this time, the serpentine venom had infiltrated her mind, causing her to doubt God’s Word.
The second stage of the contamination of man’s soul was mounted against her emotion, causing Eve to begin to dislike God. In this stage, the serpent sowed a seed of resentment into Eve by lying to her about God’s motive: “God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). This word incited Eve’s emotions, causing her to feel that God was withholding something good from her. Thus, the human emotion that was created to love God was spoiled, poisoned instead with an actual dislike for God.
The third stage of the contamination of man’s soul took place in his will, enticing man to choose the tree of knowledge of good and evil rather than the divine tree of life. Genesis 3:6 records, “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.” This consummated the contamination of the human soul, by means of the seduction of the human will to choose the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge.
Second Step: Infiltrate the Body
The body as originally created by God was a pure vessel containing only one created essence, the human nature created in God’s image and likeness. But by the seduction of the serpent to Eve, Eve partakes the “fruit” of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The once pure body was changed in nature, that is, transmuted into the fallen flesh when a foreign element was introduced through the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This foreign element, called the Original Sin, now resides in man’s flesh. This is why Paul says in Romans 7:17, “Now then it is no longer I that work it out, but sin that dwells in me.” Because this evil substance has fully occupied and saturated our body we should never have any confidence in our flesh.
After that event, every man born through sexual intercourse in this world has inherited this foreign material in their flesh. This is the reason why Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. There is now the need for a perfect Savior that has no contamination in His flesh for us in order to be saved.
Third Step: Deadened the Spirit
The ultimate consequence of man’s fall was that his spirit was deadened, thus becoming insulated from God and losing its function toward God. After the introduction of sin to the body, God’s Spirit that provides life and light to Man was cut off. This totally darkened his soul and deadened his spirit making him a dying man. The Light that once provided him an Eternal Life was now cut off.
Ephesians 2:1, therefore, says, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins” referring to our fallen, deadened state before we were saved. But in what part were we dead? Since our body and soul were very much alive, this verse refers to our human spirit. We must make it clear at this point, however, that neither sin nor Satan has ever had any entrance or access into man’s spirit at any time before, during, or after the fall of man. God has preserved the human spirit inviolate for Himself. Rather, it was only the God-contacting function of our spirit that was deadened.
And that’s how each of the three parts of man was ruined by the fall. The entire soul (mind, emotion, and will) was contaminated, the body was changed in nature, and the spirit was deadened. Nevertheless, this hopeless state of man’s sets the stage for God’s salvation.
GOD’S WAY FOR THE COMPLETE REDEMPTION OF MAN
Now, it is time to know the wonderful way of God to redeem us back. God’s complete redemption encompasses man’s entire being. It not only restores the three parts of man to their proper function but also dispenses Himself as life into each of us for the fulfillment of His plan. He starts at man’s innermost part (the spirit) and spreads outward through the soul to the body until every effect of the fall of man has been reversed, every trace of the fall has been erased, and man has been thoroughly saturated with the life of God in each of his three parts.
Firsts Step: Quickening of the Spirit
In order to save us, God needs first to quicken our deadened spirit (1 Cor. 15:45) through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, Acts 1:5, John 3:5) so that we who are dead will be born again (John 3:7) and be alive (Eph. 2:5). It is in our Spirit that God planted the Seed so that when that time will come that that deadened Seed will be quickened by the Word, it will grow in us. Just like a sperm that fertilized the egg.
When we first repent of our sins and apply Christ’s redeeming blood to cleanse our conscience, our deadened spirit is made alive. Ephesians 2:5 explains, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved).” Our deadened spirit then begins to sense God and to contact God. Through this contact, not only is our spirit’s function restored, but the divine and uncreated life of God is also added to it (Romans 8:10), which life is Christ Himself (John 14:6). This is the new birth, the regeneration alluded to in John 3:6: “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By this new birth, a new element has been added to our spirit that was not originally there according to our first birth: it’s God’s own life – Eternal Life. This is also the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise in Ezekiel 36:26: “a new spirit I will put within you.”
As a result of quickening, a change in life began to take place at the center of our being. God’s life with its divine nature was added to our human spirit. Following our regeneration, God desires that this change of life would continue by gradually spreading into our mind, emotion, and will. We may have Christ in our spirit, yet it is possible that our mind, emotion, and will remain the same.
This is just like what happened to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ during the ministry of the Shout (1 Thes. 4:16) through Bro. William Branham. We are all asleep in the darkness but the message of the Shout had awakened us and therefore, we have wakened up from our slumber.
Second Step: Transformation of the Soul
After the quickening of the Spirit is the transformation of the soul which starts from the renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:2). This is the second step for the complete redemption of man. As this renewing progresses on from day to day, we begin to think as our Lord thinks (mind), love as He loves (emotion), and choose as He chooses (will) for it is no longer us who lives but the Spirit of God in us (Gal. 2:20, 2 Cor. 5:15). Eventually, we will resemble God in full; that is, we will be absolutely conformed to the image of God. This is why 2 Corinthians 3:18 explains, “we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting like a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit.” Thus, in God’s salvation of our soul, not only is the contamination of Satan negated but even the more, we come to bear the glorious image of Christ in full.
Unlike the quickening of our Spirit, the transformation of our soul takes time. This step is the longest among the three steps in our complete redemption. After we have been born again, we are now into this process of the transformation of the soul. The Bride of Christ is in this process right now by the ministering of the Word through the 5-fold ministry.
Just like a Caterpillar who is enjoying the Life from the leaves before its glorification to be a butterfly and fly, we are also now in this process of eating the Word of God through the Five-fold ministry. We are now enjoying the Voice of the Archangel (1 Thes. 4:16. In order for our soul to be completely transformed, we must do what a caterpillar is doing – eat and eat the Word of God until we are full. And this Life Itself will someday tell us if we are ready for the final step, the Glorification of the Body.
Third Step: Glorification of the Body
Following the lifelong process of transformation of our soul, God will culminate His redemption process by the glorification of our mortal body, as described in 1 Corinthians 15:52-53: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye…we will be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” Philippians 3:21 also speaks of our glorification: “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”
If the transformation of the soul is ministered by the Voice of the Archangel through the 5-fold ministry today, one of this day, this glorification of our body will be ministered by the Trump of God (1 Thes. 4:16) through the 7 Thunders of Revelation 10:4. It is through them that we will be Raptured. The Glorification of our body is the ultimate consummation of God’s salvation. Thus, this is God’s complete redemption.
In His complete redemption, God first quickened our spirit (John 3:6). Right now, He is still transforming our soul (Rom. 12:2) through the ministration of His Word. One day, He will consummately glorified our body, making us the same as Christ in all three parts of our being. Thus, in God’s complete redemption not only is our body freed from the foreign elements of sin and death but even the more, it is saturated with the divine glory and conformed to His glorious body.
Therefore, teachings like the Two Soul Doctrine or the Changing of Soul Doctrine is nothing but unscriptural teaching. According to Hebrews 10:39;
“But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.”
Yes, we are of them that believe in the salvation of the soul. We are not those who believe that our soul will be annihilated.
Beloved, before you believed in any teaching, make sure that it is in the Bible. We are called “Bible Believers” because we believe the Bible and not just the teachings of men. It is time now for us to be back to the Word, back to the Absolute!
May the Lord will guide us into all Truth is my prayer.
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