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I’ve been forced in recent days to reconsider the doctrine of man, viz., whether or not humanity is dichotomously (body and soul/spirit) or trichotomously (body, soul, and spirit) constructed. I actually have to confess that I’ve never studied the issue in sufficient depth.

Here’s an issue I’m having. Those who have a trinitarian view of man assert that the triunity of man corresponds to the triunity of God Himself, thus constituting a significant part of the imago dei. But it seems to me that the analogy between triune man and triune God breaks down rather badly. The members of the Trinity are equal, each being fully God. Are my body, soul, and spirit to be considered equal? Is each component fully me in the same sense or to the same degree? I have a hard time with the notion that my person is as fully resident in my body as it is in my soul or spirit.

This becomes a particularly sticky widget for charismatic theology, which typically emphasizes the primacy of the spiritual aspect of humanity. In fact, most garden variety charismatics would tell you that vibrant Christian living is a function of subjugating both body and soul to the dictates of one’s regenerate spirit.

Moreover, what happens to the soul at the resurrection? Paul discusses how we have a spiritual body (like Jesus did post resurrection). Do I need a soul at that point in addition to my spirit? Is the idea that the “mind, will, and emotions” reside in the soul (not the spirit) biblically supported? Why can’t my human spirit exhibit volition, think, or emote? If my spirit is that part of me that relates directly to God, who came up with the notion that relating to God does not involve thought, volition, or emotion?

Just thinking out loud at this point, and questioning some mainstream thinking. I’ll share what I learn as I study this.


aka The MonT-SteR