Soul, spirit, body, mind, etc.
Beliefs about what a person is made of
What is a person?
Many Christians agree with the Ancient Greek Pagan
philosophers that people are composed of both:
|A material or physical part: This consists of our visible bodies
consisting of flesh and bones, a brain, sensory organs, etc. At death, all
of these rot and return to fertilize the earth. |
|A spiritual or immaterial part: This consists of either a soul,
or a combination of soul and spirit. These components survive death and are
usually considered immortal; they are weightless and cannot be detected by
any scientific instrument.|
Christians differ in how they view the immaterial part.
|Dichotomists believe that a person is composed of a body and
believe that a person consists of a body, soul, and spirit.|
Some Christians, and most non-theists, Atheists,
Agnostics, Buddhists etc.
believe that a person cannot be divided into parts. They believe that a person
|Psychomatic Unity: a person consists of a single entity. Terms
like "soul, spirit, heart and body" refer to "the unity of the
individual with an emphasis on a particular perspective...."
1 or aspect.|
Most supporters all these three positions are absolutely certain that their
position is the only true one. All are able to justify their diverse
beliefs from biblical passages
Supporters of trichotomy support their belief with two biblical passages:
|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."|
|Hebrews 4:12: "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, and is a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart."|
The former quote refers to a person's spirit, soul, and body being separately
preserved. The latter refers to the word of God being able to divide soul and
spirit -- apparently two separate entities.
Supporters of this belief believe that the soul gives a person both life and
will. The spirit is the organ by which the individual is conscious of God. They
believe that at the time of the fall of humanity in
the Garden of Eden, every person's spirit no longer functions unless and until
they become saved.
About Psychomatic Unity:
Author Gilbert Sanchez writes:
"... the constitution of man consists of a single or unitary constitution
that cannot be separated into components. This single unity consists of two
inseparable aspects, namely body and spirit, which eternally coincide in the
nature of man."
There are numerous references in the Bible to body, soul, heart, and spirit.
However references to biblical lexicons will show that the meanings of these
words overlap. They are used in biblical text as referring to the whole person.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Gilbert Sanchez, "The Nature of Man," The Chalcedon Foundation, 2003-MAR-26,