Genesis Chapter 1-2:3 – The Dominion of All Things Part 2

Is man a 2-part (dichotomous – body and soul) being or is he a 3-part (trichotomous -body, soul, and spirit) being?


1. The following 2 arguments have been been suggested to support dichotomy:


Because of the plan of God and the very nature of the universe which is made up of natural (body) and non-natural (soul). The spirit would identify with the soul.

The terms soul and spirit are used interchangeably.

Luke 1:46

2 Corinth 7:1

James 5:20


2. basic evidence for trichotomy:


In at least 2 passages the New Testament distinguishes between body and soul

1 Thess 5:23

Heb 4:12


3. Trichotomy is the best theory to explain the 3 levels of consciousness in all men:

That of self-consciousness (through the soul)

World-consciousness (Through the body)

and God-consciousness (through the Spirit)


3. Where and how does man receive his soul?


First view – Pre-existence of man

All men have known other existence prior to this earthly life in heaven or somewhere in time past and therefore receive their original soul from this previous existence into their earthly bodies.

This is one of the favorite views of many cults.

Needless to say, this has no scriptural support.


Second view – The creationist theory

Each human soul is an immediate and special creation by God and enters the developing fetus at an early stage in the uterus. The following verses are offered to support this view:

Eccl 12:7

Zech 12:1

Isaiah 57:16

Heb 12:9


This raises another question.


If God creates each soul in heaven separately and sends it down into the developing body, then why are all men sinners?


Sin is not said to come from the flesh or body it comes through the the stubbornness and rebellious will of man. His will is an aspect of his soul.


Does God create a sinful soul?

Does God create one man for evil and then another for good?


If He does He then becomes the author of sin and He becomes a liar because He goes against His own word.


If instead, He creates a pure and innocent soul, then why and how and when does man become a sinner?


Couldn’t one person out of the more than 60 billion who have lived on this earth have chosen to keep his pure soul unspotted and sinless?


The third view – The traducian theory

Both body and soul are passed on through natural generation:

Supporting passages

Psalm 51:5

Job 14:4

Psalm 58:3

John 3:6

Eph 2:3

Gen 5:3


If a child receives his soul from his parents, then how did Jesus escape the sin-tainted nature of Mary and remain the pure and perfect Savior that He was and Is?

The personality of our Lord did not come through the creation or traducian method. The fact is that He, as God always existed

Heb 10:5

John 17:5


Many cults and denominations try to say that Jesus was purely a man from birth until His baptism, where the Spirit descended onto Him and this Deity of Christ left Him just before His crucifixion. This idea was a popular Gnostic belief and it is still carried by certain cults today. The fact is that He was fully God and full man. He existed before His birth and He still exists 2000 years after His death on this earth.


What is a soul?

1 Cor 15:51-54


We have a soul or are we the soul?

Is it the fact that I have a body and a spirit but the soul is me?


The basic characteristics of a soul:


We will focus on four words but they are not absolute


1) Intellect

The aspect of the soul which tells me whether a given issue is right or wrong.


2) Sensibility

That aspect which tells me what I would like to do about the issue.


3) Conscience

That aspect which tells me what I should do about the issue.


The Bible lists several kinds of consciences:

An evil conscience – Heb 10:22

A defiled conscience – Titus 1:15

A weak conscience – 1 Cor 8:7,12

A good conscience – Acts 23:1, 1Peter 3:16,21

A poor conscience – 1 Tim 3:9

A seared conscience – 1 Tim 4:2


4) Will

That aspect which tells me what I should do about the issue.


All animals have bodies and like man can show emotion but only man has a soul and a spirit.


The spirit of man


In a sense there is a relation to the earth and man through the body (dust) and there is a part of man that is different from any other creature on earth.

Man has a spirit and it is given from God (John 4:24). Man has a soul and it is returned to God upon death if one is saved.


What is God-like about our spirit?

A) Man’s creativity


A sense of creativity

God made (Genesis 2:4)

God spoke (Genesis 1:6)

God placed (Genesis 2:15)


In a similar way man has the ability to think in abstract terms. He has the ability to think of something in his mind and make it, but of course man is limited.


B) Man’s communication


Man’s words

There are noises and sounds in the animal world but no other creatures can speak like we can through words.


C) Man’s morality

Genesis 1:31


God saw all that He had made and it was good. Man was a part of all this. Man has a sense of basic morality yet not everyone lives by it. But if you go the most basic primative society you will find they have a basic moral code for life.


About Clint Rodgers

I am a father of 2 wonderful children and the husband of a beautiful woman who has taught me more about compassion for goofballs than I could have ever learned. I have know Jesus for many years but about 5 years ago I truly met Him and now I do my best to follow Him as I walk in this world
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