Most Christians believe that the Bible teaches we are a trichotomy, a three-part being, made up of 1. body and 2. soul and 3. spirit. However, some Christians hold to a view that man is only a two-part being 1) body and 2) soul/spirit. They consider the soul and spirit to be the same thing. However, this verse suggest they are not the same:
1 Th 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.
Let’s look at these three parts as God created man.
Created Body, Soul, and Spirit
When God created man (Adam), He created him in His image (Genesis 1:26-27), God created Adam with a body, a soul, and a spirit. This spirit was a human spirit, the spirit of man (Zec 12:1, Rom 8:16, 1 Cor 2:11). Then God breathed into Adam:
Gen 2:7 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.
The breath of life in Genesis 2:7 is the Hebrew word ruach, which means wind, breath, air, and spirit. Since it was God’s ruach, it was God’s wind, God’s breath, God’s air — God’s Spirit. It was Holy Ruach, Holy Wind, Holy Breath, Holy Air — the Holy Spirit. By that Holy Breath, Adam’s soul was given life. His soul was made alive by the Breath/Spirit of God, filling him and making him into the full image-bearer of God. Adam was created an eternal being with a perfect body, a living soul, and a pure spirit. He was in perfect union with God, just as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit share perfect union. Adam was triune with a body, a soul, and a spirt with His soul filled with the Spirit of God.
After Adam Sinned
Sadly, Adam’s sin changed everything. His sin broke the union he had with God. He began dying physically, and his soul was no longer filled with the Breath of God. Therefore, he “died” spiritually. Adam was still triune (body, soul, and spirit) but now he had a dying body, a dead soul, and only a human spirit.
Only Adam was created in the full image of God with a perfect body, a living soul, and a pure spirit. Since Adam, all mankind has been born in the image of Adam.
Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
Again, the image of Adam is a dying body, a dead soul, and the spirit of man—a spirit fallen in sin. Since Adam, all mankind is born spiritually dead and that’s why Jesus taugh that mankind must be:
- born again (John 3:3)
- born of water and of the Spirit (John 3:5
- be made alive (1 Cor 15:22)
It is only by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus, that man can be born again. When one is born again, the Holy Spirit regenerates the soul, making the forgiven sinner spiritually alive, and sealing the the redeemed sinner unto the day of redemption (Eph 4:30).
Do not let “dichotomy or trichotomy” become a divisive spiritual topic. Bible-reading, Bible-believing Christians hold differing views on this. At Reasons for Hope* Jesus, we believe the Bible teaches a three-part being, but always search the Scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so (Acts 17:11).
In Whose Image Are You?
This is one of life’s most important questions. All mankind is God’s creation—originally created in His image, but now born in the image of our earthly fathers.
The creation of man is God’s most miraculous work. It is beyond our full understanding and we stand in awe of both His creative ability and His amazing love. But the redemption of man is even more awe-inspiring. God, in His love, mercy, and grace provided the only way to make us whole again.
God so loved us that He gave His only begotten Son to live and die for us. And God offers redemption and regeneration to all trust by faith in Jesus. If you have been born again, your soul has been regenerated unto life by the Breath of God.
Romans 8:9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.
Tell someone today how they can be born again and made alive.
Music by Casting Crowns | Video by Reasons for Hope* Jesus
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