Understanding Spirit, Soul and Body—The Human Trinity :: By Dave Cogburn

As we all know, God is a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He has created mankind in His image; and just as God is eternal Spirit, we, too, are eternal spiritual beings who are connected to a soul and a human body – a human trinity you might say.  Is God’s Trinity also a Spirit, Soul and Body? Some might say it appears that way with Jesus representing the body, the Holy Spirit representing the Spirit, and the Father representing the Soul. So let’s examine this and see how everything unfolds.

Some people are confused as to what the difference is between the spirit and the soul and what it all means. We are eternal spiritual beings who are connected to our soul and body. What is our spiritual body? It is our “eternal” body you might say. Think of spirit and eternal as referring to the same thing.  What is our soul? Our soul is who we “really and truly are” from the standpoint of our mind, our thinking, our emotions, our intellect, etc. Our body is obviously our human body that “houses” our spiritual body and our soul.

The Bible talks a LOT about our “heart” and our “spirit.” What is our heart? Some might say that our heart is represented by our spirit, but that cannot be because our “eternal spiritual body” is neither good nor evil. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

Where does anything come from that relates to our heart?  From our soul. It is with the thinking and emotional soul part of us that we think, say and do good or bad things. When the Bible says the heart is deceitful above all things, why does it say that? For one simple reason: we ALL are born with a sin nature and live in fleshly darkness due to that. The only way out of that fleshly darkness is when we become born again through an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. We then receive God’s Holy Spirit LIGHT in us, and God’s Holy Spirit beam of Light in us “shows us and guides us” onto God’s path out of our fleshly darkness into God’s Spiritual light.  He wants us to walk “by His Spirit.”

God not only saves us through Jesus, but He also gives us a part of Himself through the Holy Spirit so we can be “empowered by Him” to know how to “navigate” from fleshly darkness into His Spiritual light path, and know the things of God He wants us to know in our human journey through life. If we follow God’s Holy Spirit light in us, we will be walking by His Light Spirit versus us turning from His Light back to our fleshly darkness with our sin nature that is still in us.

The Bible talks a lot about walking in the spirit. Romans 8:14 says, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  Galatians 5:16 says, “But I say, walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.  Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.”  These are only a few of many examples.

Does this mean that everyone who is not a believer is evil and a horrible person? No, not at all. Many non-believers are “good” people who are kind, moral, law abiding, generous, etc. From our human perspective, they are good people. But from God’s perspective, their good deeds are like filthy rags.  Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

The reason for this is because God never “judges” us from our good works. He judges “everyone” from the standpoint of sin – are they without sin due to their relationship with Jesus and Him paying the price for ALL of their sins, or do they have sin due to no relationship with Jesus? Although their good deeds are nice, their sins are still there; and that means they can never enter heaven unless their sins are removed through a personal relationship with Jesus. And “any” sin automatically makes all good deeds “as” filthy rags, since good deeds cannot save you.

Anytime God enters into a personal relationship with anyone, whether a person or even a nation like Israel in the Old Testament, the first thing that has to happen is dealing with the sin issue. For a person, the sin issue is taken care of through Jesus Christ. For the nation of Israel in the Old Testament, the sin issue was taken care of by millions of animal sacrifices over 2,000 years until Jesus came to save us all once and for all.

However, good deeds for a “believer” are wonderful and earn eternal rewards, because a believer’s good deeds are done out of gratitude for Jesus saving us and out of our desire to serve and please Him in our journey through life. Good deeds are never to try to “earn” our salvation as that is impossible.  And it is with our “soul” that we make decisions regarding our beliefs, our words, our actions and our deeds.

What about the body? Where does our sin nature come from anyway? This is explained in Genesis 3:15 following Adam and Eve eating of God’s forbidden fruit. First, it is important to understand that our sin nature comes ONLY from the seed of MAN, not woman. God made Adam in His image from the dust of the ground, and He made woman “from man.” Genesis 3:15 is God having a conversation with Satan, the serpent, and God telling Satan that a time is coming when God is going to come “between” Satan’s “seed” and woman’s seed. In Gen 3:15 God says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and hers. He will crush your head and you will strike His heel.”

God has just called man’s seed Satan’s seed, and that is WHY every human being who has a human father has a sin nature that is passed down from Adam and the seed of man. This is why Jesus could be born of a sinful woman and still be born without sin, because woman is not responsible for the original sin. This explains why Jesus could not have a human father. God and His seed is Jesus’ Father, and that makes Jesus able to be born without a sin nature.

Our human “body” goes through a type of “death,” if you will, every night when we go to sleep in “darkness,” but ONLY our body goes to sleep – not our soul or our spiritual body. Our dreams and nightmares are produced by our soul, the thinking part of us. Every “day” is an example of light and life, and every “night” is an example of darkness and death.

Eternity is 100 percent either white or black. Everything is good through God’s light and life, or everything is bad without God’s light and life which means eternal darkness and death – a separation type of death from God. Everything on earth is gray – a combination of white and black such as day and night, representing light and life or dark and death. God “wants” us to experience BOTH the good and the bad in our “gray world” to make it easy to see that good is a lot better than bad; and thus, “eternal good” through Jesus Christ is far better than “eternal bad” without Jesus Christ.

Some people believe that when we die as believers we do not go to be with the Lord immediately but enter into what they call a soul type of sleep waiting for our resurrection bodies sometime in the future.  First, I already explained that the soul does not sleep. Paul says, “To be absent from the body is to present with the Lord.”  Do we have any type of “proof” that might be the case.

And surprisingly, yes, we do have proof. If you study near-death experiences, you will find that there have been literally “millions” of near-death experiences since we’ve been studying them. There are thousands upon thousands of actual case studies where people died and “immediately” rose out of their body and started watching what was going on in the hospital or wherever they were; and then later, when they came back, they described in minute detail everything that happened in the operating room or wherever while they were “unconscious.” Most then go on to describe events that occurred in heaven and some even in hell. But the main point is that their soul did NOT go to sleep when they died.

Physical death simply means the REAL us, being our spiritual body connected to our soul, immediately moves from our temporary fleshly realm to our eternal spiritual realm. And where we spend eternity is 100 percent related to “entering” eternity without sin into heaven or with sin into hell.

I hope this article has helped in understanding how our spirit, soul and body work together, and especially how important it is to receive God’s Holy Spirit Light in us through our born-again experience with Jesus being our Savior.

Navigating our lives following God’s light mainly by showing God’s “love” to others means we are earning “eternal rewards” that are pleasing to God and ourselves, obviously.  We still have our sin nature that is at war with our new Spiritual nature; and when we stray back into fleshly darkness away from God’s Spiritual light, we repent and ask the Lord to help us stay on His Spiritual light path in our walk through life with Him – and He is more than pleased to do so.

God bless and Maranatha!