The Triune Nature of Man – Part 2
.... Let’s return to the discussion of man and his triune nature. We’ve already established that man is three as far as his basic essence, and there are personal distinctions between those three parts of a man: spirit, soul and body. Now let’s see whether those three parts remain one in essence.
.... The first thing to examine is the unity between the spirit and the body. In James 2:26 we are told that the body without the spirit is dead. In other words, if your mortal body were destroyed, you would die; or if your spirit departed from your body – if you gave up the ghost – you would die. Therefore your spirit and your body must be joined as one in order for you to live at all. If that aspect of your triune being is ever sundered, you are going to die: you simply cannot continue to exist.
.... Next let’s consider the unity between the body and the soul. Psalm 16:9-10 makes this statement: "My flesh shall rest in hope, for you will not leave my soul in hell." This passage describes a person who is dead– his flesh and his soul have been sundered, and that’s why he’s dead. But if he’s being resurrected at a later time (because this passage is quoted in Acts 2:27 as a prophecy, and it pertains to resurrection), his body and his soul must come together again for him to live. And of course, this would be a glorified body in that state.
.... In this passage we have seen that the sundering of the body and soul brings a state of death. Now the body can die and the soul and spirit will still live on in another way – I mention this for later, because we’ll see something of this in the Godhead. But for there to be life according to the pattern in which we were created, these three must be joined together. If you’re triune nature is sundered, between your soul and body, or between your spirit and body, you will die.
.... Now the last part to establish is what would happen if your spirit and your soul could possibly be sundered. This is hard to find in Scripture but there’s a passage in Hebrews 4:12 that talks about the sword of the spirit dividing between the spirit and the soul. The only thing I can tell you about this, is that for the soul and the spirit to possibly be divided is metaphorically likened to bringing a sword upon them. So our spirit and soul are very, very close to each other, probably closer than spirit and body, or the soul and body.
.... What we want to see through these Scriptural quotations is that man is three in regard to personal distinctions, nevertheless he is just one in regard to the essence of his being. If man’s triune nature were ever to be sundered in any respect, he could no longer exist at all, but would die. He must exist as a triune being in order to exist at all.
.... So here is our scale model of man as a basic example of the Trinitarian concept. Keep this in mind because one of these days you’re going to run into a Jehovah’s Witness, and his complaint against the Trinity will be that he thinks it’s ‘incomprehensible’ and that he ‘can’t understand it’. So when he says this, you can take him back to this little model we’ve been discussing. He himself is a man, and he is a triune being. He is spirit soul and body. There are personal distinctions within each of those persons within his own being. Nevertheless, he must exist as one being in essence if he is to exist at all. If the trinity within him is ever sundered he will die. He must be a triune being to even be able to live.
.... This is very similar to the Trinitarian concept. At this point our Jehovah Witness friend could no longer deny the possibility of this concept itself unless he actually denied himself, because it is true of himself. And in our next lesson we’re going to try to match some of the things we’ve just discussed to the actual Godhead.
To view the next section, on the Spirit in the Trinitarian Model, scroll down or click HERE