One of the important topics in the word of God is the subject of the nature of man. In I Thessalonians 5:23 we read, “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.” Notice that Paul describes 3 parts of man: spirit, soul, and body. Let’s note a few things about each.
Man’s body is made from the dust of the ground. In Genesis 2:7 we read, “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.” We are made from the common elements that come from the earth. God took the dust of the ground, adding about 3 parts water (we are about 75% water) and formed man. The word “formed” suggests the idea of a potter squeezing and shaping clay to made a pot or sculpture. Even so God formed Adam’s body from the earth. To the earth our bodies will return, Eccl.12:7.
Man also has “soul” that is animal life, vitality. Notice in Genesis 2:7, man became a living soul. The same word is used again in Genesis 2:19, “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.” That phrase living creature is the same word as in 2:7, living soul. Man has “life, breath, vitality” just like the animals. Sometimes in the scriptures though, soul is used to refer to the inward man, made in the image of God.
Man also has a spirit, which was formed within his body. In Zechariah 12:1 we read, “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.” Notice man’s spirit was formed within him. The word “formeth” is the same word used as in Genesis 2:7. God formed man’s spirit, molded, shaped it as a potter would clay. Man’s spirit bears the image of God. Genesis1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” We look like God in that we have intelligence, emotions, and power of choice or will. Animals do not possess these qualities but man does, and this makes us unique. Because we have freewill, the power of choice, we are morally accountable creatures. And since we all have sinned, Romans 3:23, we need redemption. Some day we will face God in the day of judgment, are we ready for that day?
~ Dan McKibben