|What is Man’s Composition?|
|Is Man material? Yes! Is Man immaterial? Yes! What are Man’s Components?|
Dr. Roger G. Ford, Ph.D., P.E.
Many have asked over the centuries, “What is man’s purpose? Why am I here? What is man composed of? What is man’s destiny? Is this all there is?”, and so on.
While there are many philosophies that have been offered from the past and certainly in the present day, those philosophies generally come from the mind of man and his imagination coupled with the finest education that man has to offer. What the great “philosophers” of the past and present say sounds impressive, sounds reasonable, sounds worthwhile until the source of the great philosophies of life is examined.
What men have to say can sound meaningful. What men advise can seem useful, even trustworthy. But, from God’s perspective (which we all should consider since we are children of God if we know His Son, Jesus Christ), man does not know the true and trustworthy way of life, the wisdom that is needed to live a meaningful and God-glorifying life.
We all know that there is a God. Romans 1:18-22 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
What Paul and the Holy Spirit was telling us is that man’s philosophies outside the wisdom of God is pure unadulterated foolishness in spite of the distinct possibility that those philosophies sound pretty good and promise amazing results. And, that we should not listen to any of it if it does not reflect the Word of God. Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Following man’s philosophies and not even knowing what God’s Word has to say about any subject that man addresses is certain to be the wrong thing to do in every case. Romans 1:22, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.” What might work out initially for good will inevitably turn into disaster in the long run if God’s Word is not respected and obeyed. Short-term gain is not worth the long-term loss which could be eternal damnation.
The apostle Paul describes the complete makeup of a human being with a combination of three different words: spirit and soul and body. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
The words spirit, soul, and body are translated from the three original New Testament Greek words: pneuma, psuche, and soma, respectively. In the original Hebrew language of the Old Testament the same three words are ruach, nephesh, and geshem, respectively. Considering the usage throughout the Old and New Testaments of these three different words, we must conclude that each word has a different meaning. A spirit is somewhat different from a soul or a body. And a soul is somewhat different from a body or a spirit. Paul used all three words to describe the complete or entire makeup of a person. We are led to the thought that each human being must be composed of three different entities which Paul calls: spirit and soul and body.
The altogether difficult-to-believe concept of the immortality of the human spirit needs to be mentioned. There has never been, nor will there ever be, any human being conceived by a human man and a human woman that does not possess a spirit that is immortal and will exist forever and ever, to the eternities of eternities! To explain this concept, we have to get into the details of the composition of the human, made in the image of God, possessor of body, mind, and spirit. The blatant, terribly disappointing, and woeful fact is that the great majority of all humans, living, dead, or that will be born in this age and the Millennial age to come, will NOT, repeat NOT, spend eternity with Jesus. They will be sent to the most horrific place of eternal punishment, devoid of the presence of God, burning eternally with flame that cannot be seen because there is no light because God is not there, and of complete and utter aloneness in spite of the monumental numbers of God-rejecters that are there. That place is the Lake of Fire of Revelation 20. But, the Old Testament believers in God and the New Testament believers in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in the presence of the Creator, the all-powerful Great God, the Beginning and Finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of Lords. Praise God!
The Human Heart
In sort of a parenthesis, the human heart needs to be addressed before we continue. In Proverbs 21:2 we read, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” We all think we are pretty smart. We choose leaders that sound as if they agree with our principles or our desires because that is what they say, but we, as humans, cannot know those leaders’ hearts. To know what is in a person’s heart is to know what they are really like, what motivates them, whether they know and respect God, whether they lie or are sincere, you get the drift. Since we cannot know others’ hearts, it is good to know that God knows all that is going on plus the very direction and intent that every heart is leading or even in the process of leading individuals towards. There is a problem with our hearts leading the way. Why? It is really very simple. Although we are certainly unwilling to admit this uncomfortable fact, Scripture says that, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9) Whose heart? Everyone ever born! To trust in your heart or, as Elvis sang, “You gotta follow your heart wherever your heart may lead”, is to court certain failure, sorrow, trouble, even disaster. That is what God in His Word tells us.
It may seem implausible, but our hearts are not just pumps to circulate our blood to keep us alive. Our hearts are also a source of rebellion against the laws of God, even God Himself. Before the Flood of Noah, “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all of the time.” (Genesis 6:5) Apparently, our hearts are both material and immaterial at the same time. There is an immaterial characteristic of our hearts that only we, as humans and made in the image of God, have. We humans are not only living, breathing creatures, we also have a part of us that is operating in the immaterial realm as in our hearts being selfish and always wanting our own way.
Therefore, it is important to include the heart in the consideration of the human makeup. We are triune as God is since we are made in His Image. But, the heart is an integral part of the equation spanning the physical as well as the material, and is our innermost essence. Without God, the heart is desperately wicked. With God, the heart is the essence of love for both God and our fellow man. The heart seems to be an integral part of the human soul distinguishable by references to our intentions, our capability to love and feel compassion, our ability to empathize and sympathize. The soul contains the heart and its attitudes, while the soul itself contains all the rest of our personalities, our emotions, our feelings. Hard to define and testimony to the unmistakable fact that we are, indeed, creations of an Almighty, Amazingly Powerful, Incredibly Imaginative, and Highly Complex God Who is also very personal and very desirous of intimate relationships with His creation.
Wisdom in Our Minds and Souls and Spirits
So, what are we to do if we cannot trust our hearts to guide our lives? In Proverbs 9:10 we’re told that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” And where is wisdom found? James 1:5, 6 says, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Wisdom comes from knowing God, listening to God through His Holy Spirit, and reading, studying, meditating on God’s Word. Where does that wisdom then reside? In our material minds but also in our immaterial souls as well as in our regenerated spirits.
First, what is the difference or the dividing line between our minds and our souls? Our minds are the incredibly complex, extraordinarily engineered creation of Almighty God, completely beyond comprehension by man, impossible to duplicate or even fully understand because of the Creator’s majesty. The memory is so capable that we can remember smells, sights, even temperatures in our lives perhaps back to early childhood. How many times have we smelled something wonderful coming from someone’s kitchen and remembered our grandmother’s recipes? Or smelled the air after a recent rain and remembered a time when the family was all together many years past when everything seemed to be perfect? That entire amazing gift of God is material somehow.
Our minds, our brains, are unique to creation because we are made in God’s image. But, what is the repository of our collective experiences and the effect that they have had on our personalities? Where do our emotions reside? How do we develop into who we are and then react to life based upon that development? Is all of that stored in our brains and then somehow synapses and electrical signals make us feel happy or sad or glad or miserable? I contend that the residence of all of the experiences and feelings and emotions of our lives reside in our souls, an immaterial part of us that shows us who we are as individuals. I believe that we all can grasp the concept that if identical twins were raised apart in two different cultures on opposite sides of the world, they would be radically different in many ways even though genetically they were almost identical. That difference is not the material side of those twins; it is their souls that developed differently.
Our body and soul are separate entities. This thought is reinforced as we consider the meaning in context of each word in the Old and New Testaments. Jesus spoke clearly of the distinction between the soul and the body of a person when He told His disciples that the soul of a person could not be killed as could the body of a person but that the soul lives on after the death of the body. “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul;” (Matthew 10:28)
Second, our spirit and soul are separate entities. The writer of Hebrews speaks of the distinction between the spirit and soul of a person indicating that the spirit of a person should be separated from the soul of the person. Indeed, the context of the passage in Hebrews indicates that it is improper for the spirit of a person to be fully enclosed within the soul of that person (as marrow is fully enclosed by bone) and that it is the function of God’s word to work in that person to free his spirit from being enclosed by his soul. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12). Reflection on the meaning of this verse leads us to questions about the proper functions of one’s spirit and one’s soul. Clearly the verse speaks of the desirability of one having a spirit which is somewhat free from the total influence of his soul. Therefore, we must conclude that the spirit of a person is somewhat different from the soul of that person.
Therefore, the soul and the body are different parts of the human being for the soul lives on after the death of the body. The spirit and the soul are different parts of the human being for the spirit can and should be separated from the total influence of the soul. But the three parts, spirit and soul and body, make up the complete person as he lives on earth, as he is preserved to meet the Lord when He comes again, or as he is destined to meet the Judge and eternal punishment.
The Individual Parts
The spirit, soul, and body are separate entities within one complete human. The proposition that each human being has been created by God with three separate entities is strengthened by our knowledge that our God has three entities. Our God is three in one, a triune God, with the three parts referred to in the Bible as the Father, the Word or the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Since God has created human beings in His image, we are led to expect that humans have been created as triune beings also, with three parts, referred to in the Bible as spirit, soul, and body. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;'”. (Genesis 1:26).
If people are triune beings consisting of spirit and soul and body, we should be able to learn something of the origin, function, and destiny of these three parts by studying the usage and context of the words spirit, soul, and body in the Old and New Testaments. The complete human being is God’s creation. The unique body of each human was made by God. The unique spirit of each human came from God. Then, as the spirit quickened the body, God made in the human certain characteristics which were tantamount to a third part, a unique living soul. The human was then fully created as a unique living person, a triune being, with a consciousness of himself.
How does God intend his created, triune human being to function within and in relation to the rest of His creation? Through human reasoning and observation of ourselves we human beings know something of the functioning of our bodies and their sensing abilities in the material world. And by noting that we have a consciousness of ourselves, that we are subject to various kinds of emotions, that we are able to assimilate and utilize knowledge, and that we have will power and the desire to exercise that will power in our lives, we know that there must be another part, a soul, within us quite different from our fleshly bodies.
Thus, a person is aware that he has a body and a soul. (See Figure 1) We also know that God has given us life and that that life stops when we die. We deduce that an unseen or spiritual part of us has left the body to cause its death. So to a limited extent a person is aware of the functions of his body, soul, and spirit. But, a person is naturally aware only that he is made of flesh and unseen spirit which differ. Only by Biblical revelation from God does a person become aware of the three entities, spirit and soul and body, and how they are intended by God to function together.
(See Figure One posted separately)
A careful study of the Biblical references to the body and soul of man should lead us to an expanded and, perhaps, corrected understanding of the proper functions of our bodies and souls as vessels serving God’s eternal purposes. A careful study of the Biblical references to the spirit of man may unfold truths of which we may not have been aware but which may be of great importance to us in serving God. (See Figure 2)
(See Figure Two posted separately)
What are the Functions of the Human Body?
That the body is that part of us on which we hang clothes and which has many members for sensing material things of the world is noted by the Bible. “Do not be anxious for…your body, as to what you shall put on.” (Matthew 6:25). “For the body is not one member, but many…the foot…a hand…the ear…an eye.”
(1 Corinthians 12:14-16). “I buffet my body and make it my slave.” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
Of more importance, the Bible reveals that Christians can and should use their bodies to serve God. “I urge you therefore, brethren, …to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice.” (Romans 12:1). When one becomes a Christian, it is the body which is “washed with pure water” at baptism. (Hebrews 10:22). And the body becomes a member of Christ to serve Christ. “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 6:15). The body of a Christian becomes a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit of God enabling him to glorify God in his body. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God…therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
However, it is the body which lusts and can be used to commit sin if one chooses to do so. “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13).
These scriptures reveal that the body is that part of a person which senses the material and fleshly things of this world, and through which the person can exercise influence on material things. But in referring to the functions of the body, each reference refers to another part of a person which apparently controls the body of that person. When Jesus said, “Do not be anxious for your body”, He referred not only to the “body” but also to “you”. The command, “Do not be anxious”, is not given directly to the body but to the “you” who controls the body. Similarly, when Paul said, “I buffet my body,” he spoke not only of his body but that part of him which controlled his body. Time after time the scriptures speak, not of “a body” alone, but of “your” body, indicating that the body does not stand alone but serves another part of the person. Through the senses of the body the soul of a person is influenced by that with which the body comes in contact. And through the members of the body the soul of a person can exert influence upon that with which the body comes in contact.
What are the Functions of the Human Soul?
When God formed the body of man from dust and gave a spirit to him by breathing into his nostrils, “man became a living soul.” (Genesis 2:7). “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” (1 Corinthians 15:45). God’s word in both the old and new testaments calls men “souls”: “All the souls of the house of Jacob.” (Genesis 46:27), “There were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41).
The word soul is translated “life” in Matthew l6:25 when Jesus said, “Do not be anxious for your life (soul), as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life (soul) more than food, and the body than clothing?” This passage shows that the soul of a person is the unique life of the person and it is sustained in the person’s body by food and drink. It also shows that the emotion of anxiety in a person is closely associated with the soul.
The word soul is translated in some Bible passages as “person” as in the words of Paul in Romans 13:1, “Let every person (soul) be in subjection to the governing authorities.” In this passage the word soul is used to denote the unique personality of the person. The souls of Christians are also to be watched over by the elders of the church for Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders, and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls.” Souls, then, have the ability to commit and subject themselves to others.
Peter tells us in 1 Pet. 2:11 that while we live on the earth we should “abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.” We have already noted that it is the body that lusts (Romans 6:12-13). Now we see that the lusts of the body influence the soul in an unhealthy manner. This influence can be such that the soul will do evil. “There will be tribulations and distress for every soul of man who does evil.” (Romans 2:9). If the soul does evil (sins), it will die! (Ezekiel 18:4).
The soul of a person can be influenced by temptations and by warnings and commandments from God contained in the Scriptures. The soul can weigh evidences and can accept or reject evidence. This shows the intellectual function of the soul. The soul has the ability to know and understand the consequences of choices, especially those consequences which are clearly enunciated in the Scriptures. The soul is warned of tribulations, distress, and even death if wrong choices are made. It is this death of the soul that Jesus referred to when He said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). Again, “For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). And again, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you.” (Luke 12:20).
What is the nature of this death of the soul which occurs when it sins? It is quite different from the death of the mortal body when killed or slain. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul.” (Matthew 10:28). We must conclude that man cannot kill a soul by murder or manslaughter as he can kill a body. The soul lives on after the death of the body. The nature of the death of a soul is different from the death of a body. Jesus continued in Matthew 10:28, “But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” We must conclude that the only death for the soul is the death in hell, eternal separation from God, caused by sin, to be imposed by God on unrepentant souls at the judgement.
Although God did not create in man a living soul just to have that soul die (become separated from God), all souls of men have died at one time or another because all men (all souls) have sinned. (Romans 3:23). Souls of men can and do choose to lead men into sins against God. However, God has provided redemption for the souls of sinful men. Souls of men can and often do choose to accept God’s provision of redemption. David said, “He (the Lord) restores my soul.” (Psalms 19:7). Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:9 that “salvation of your souls” is “the outcome of your faith” in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:39 says faith brings about “the preserving of the soul.” James tells us that “the word implanted ….is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21). Peter says that “souls” may be “purified….in obedience to the truth.” (1 Peter 1:22). “Those who received his word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:41). “And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47). It becomes clear that souls of men are saved from the consequences of their sins through their faith and obedience to the word of God.
Although it is the “body” which is “washed with pure water” in baptism (Hebrews 10:22), it is the soul whose sins are forgiven and is saved. And it is the soul which chooses to accept and obey God’s plan of belief and repentance leading to baptism. And it is the soul of the person which directs the body of the person to submit to baptism. “In the days of Noah….eight persons (souls) were brought safely through the water. After salvation of the soul, it is the soul of man which motivates him to continue doing the will of God, “as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart (soul).” (Ephesians 6:6). Then Christ becomes “the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25). Then, “you shall find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29). Then, we have “this hope….as an anchor of the soul.” (Hebrews 6:19).
We are told in Luke 1:46 that the soul of Mary exalted the Lord. Surely, a function of our souls is also to exalt the Lord. Also, it is with “all your soul” that you are to love the Lord and your neighbor. (Matthew 22:37, 39). The soul is that part of a person which has the ability to commit to the principle of love in the soul-life of the person, and to direct the body of the person to perform acts to exercise the love of God in the world. The life (soul) is to be lost in order to save it, Jesus said in Matthew 16:25. And Jesus demonstrated this principle when He gave “His life (soul), a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28). The admonition from Jesus to His disciples that they must “lose” their souls in order to save them refers to selfish characteristics which men have inherited from the flesh of Adam. Inevitably, men’s souls lead them into selfish, prideful and willful actions, with rejection of humble submission to the leadership of God. Men often seek to impose service on God which is directed only by a selfish and prideful soul. Jesus teaches that men must “lose” these “soulish” characteristics if they are to successfully commune with God and be useful in God’s service.
The prophet Isaiah recognized a function of the human soul of Jesus when the prophet said, “His soul would render Himself as a sin offering.” God will be satisfied “as a result of the anguish of His soul.” “He poured out His soul to death.” (Isaiah 53:10-12). Afterwards, John said, “He laid down His life (soul) for us; and we ought to lay down our lives (souls) for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16). So, perhaps the most noble function of our souls is to lay down (lose) our souls for the brethren just as Jesus laid down His soul for us.
The word “soul” is used in the Bible to describe the essence of man, that which makes up his unique personality, including his volitional, intellectual, and emotional makeup. The soul lives on earth in a fleshly body which gives that soul contact with the material world, and allows the soul to have influence on, or receive influence from the material and fleshly world. The soul also has closely associated with it a personal spirit which gives life to the fleshly body which the soul inhabits, and provides for the soul an avenue of communion with the spiritual realm. In accordance with the soul’s choosing, the personal human spirit may provide communion either with evil spirits or with the Holy Spirit of God.
However, in no way can the souls of people strike out “on their own,” or dictate their communion with God. Without Scriptural revelation from God we would not even know about the spiritual realm or that we have a personal spirit to provide communion within the spiritual realm. Our spirit does not operate within our consciousness, but rather behind the fleshly scenes in “other dimensions” of the spiritual realm. But the revelations of God found in the Bible tell us something of this unseen realm of spirits. And our God has created us with a limited ability to think in terms of the expanded dimensions of the realm which we inhabit as He reveals their existence to us in Scripture.
What are the Functions of the Human Spirit?
God gave spirit to man when He breathed into his nostrils the “breath of life.” or “spirit of life.” (Genesis 2:7). Jesus said, “a spirit does not have flesh and bones.” (Luke 24:39). But James said, “the body without the spirit is dead.” (James 2:26). James also said God made the spirit for the purpose of dwelling in us. (James 4:5). When the personal spirit of a person departs from the body of that person, life is gone from the body. The body of the person is said then to be “asleep” or “dead”. (Acts 7:59; Ecclesiastes 12:7; John 11:11-14). Thus we see that a function of the spirit imparted to the human by God is to give life to the body and to dwell in and sustain life in that body until the body dies.
Every spirit is not from God, said John, but “every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God” (1 John 4:12). Here we are introduced to the fact that there are other spirits with us here on earth besides our own personal spirits and God’s Holy Spirit. These other spirits are not from God. They will not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. We must conclude that God intended that it be a function of one’s personal spirit to confess Christ. If your personal spirit does confess Jesus Christ, the grace of the Lord Jesus will be “with your spirit.” (Galatians 6:18).
Paul said, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit” (2 Corinthians 7:1), indicating that the spirit can be defiled during this life. All spirits are preserved by God until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, some without blame, but some (those which are defiled and not cleansed) continue to have blame. (1 Thessalonians 5:23).
Within what context does the personal spirit of a person live and work during a person’s life on earth, and how does the personal spirit become defiled? Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 2:11, 12, “Who among men knows the thoughts of man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God.”
We see at least three types of spirits: spirits of men, the Spirit of God, and the spirit of the world. We must conclude that the spirit of a person can “receive” and be influenced either by the spirit of the world or by the Spirit of God. It follows that the personal spirit of a person which lives under the influence of the spirit of the world is not “without blame”. But the personal spirit which lives under the influence of the Spirit of God has been cleansed and is “without blame.” James said, “He (God) jealously desires the spirit which He has made to dwell in us.” (James 4:5). There is a clear intimation that some other spirit other than the Spirit of God can dwell in us and influence the lives of our personal spirits. Perhaps James 4:5 is recalling Ezekiel 36:26-27 which said, “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you….and I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes….”
Now we have a picture of man’s spirit being influenced by two other spirits: God’s Holy Spirit and the spirit of the world. As man grows up from childhood his spirit inevitably is introduced to and receives influence from the spirit of the world. But the only spirit which God desires to dwell in us with our own personal spirit is His Holy Spirit. Both these spirits, the spirit of the world and God’s Holy Spirit, cannot dwell together with man’s spirit in the temple of the body. Thus, if the Spirit of God is to dwell in a person, it must be received as a new Spirit to completely replace the old spirit of the world. The spirit of the world must be thrown out before God’s Holy Spirit can dwell in a person. “And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us. Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the anti-Christ, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 3:24-4:6).
Men serve in their personal spirits either God, “the Spirit of truth,” or they serve “they….from the world”, “the spirit of error”. Paul said, “For God, whom I serve in my spirit in the preaching of the gospel of His Son, is my witness.” (Romans 1:9). We can be influenced by the Spirit of truth and serve God in our spirits. Or we can be influenced by “they” of the world, and serve these spirits of the world in our spirits. But “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17). “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Romans 8:16). But if we have not received the Spirit of God, we have received “a spirit of slavery leading to fear.” (Romans 8:15).
Who are “they” from the world from whom John said we may receive a “spirit of error” and a “spirit of slavery”? Paul informs us that the Holy Spirit said “they” are “deceitful spirits” (Satan and his fallen angels) and “demons” (the spirits of the departed Nephilim). “But the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1). John warns us about these demonic spirits in the Revelation. “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon (Satan) and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.” (Revelation 16:13-14). These “unclean spirits” try to enter into people to take the place that God desires His Holy Spirit to have in them. But God has instructed us all in the New Testament how to get rid of these “unclean spirits.”
“If indeed you have heard Him (Christ) and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Christ Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:21-24). Remember that the “likeness of God” is Spirit, for God is Spirit. When you have been renewed in the spirit of your mind, you will “have come to….the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirit of righteous men made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:22-23).
Perhaps the most important function of a person’s own unique spirit is that, within the person, it becomes united with God’s Holy Spirit providing an avenue of communion from the person to the triune God. God intended that the unique personal spirit of a person become the “holy of holies” within the holy temple of the person’s body where God’s own Holy Spirit might dwell and where communion between the person and God’s Holy Spirit might take place. (1 Corinthians 6:17-20).
But the Scriptures indicate that the personal spirit of a person can be influenced to commune with evil spirits such as the “spirit of the world,” the “spirit of the anti-Christ,” the “spirit of slavery,” or the deceitful and unclean “spirits of demons.” Such communion, of course, will defile the personal spirit of the person and destroy any possibility of communion with God’s Holy Spirit unless and until the personal spirit is cleansed, renewed, and again sanctified for the presence of the Holy Spirit.
We are assured that we can “cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit.” (1 Corinthians 7:34). “If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.” (Romans 8:10). Then, we can commune with God’s Holy Spirit again and can “serve God” in our spirits. (Romans 1:9). Also, we can become “fervent in spirit” (John 4:23) and we can “pray” and “sing with the spirit.” (1 Corinthians 14:15).
Apparently, God intended that it be the spirit’s function to know the thoughts, will, and actions of a person and to serve that person in his communications with God! Indeed, “The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Corinthians 6:17), and “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Romans 8:16). Praise God! Our personal spirit can become one with the Holy Spirit bearing witness to God the Father along with the witness of the Father’s own Holy Spirit!
But when Paul speaks of defilement of spirit we know that we can defile our personal spirits. The thoughts, will, and actions of a person can defile that person’s spirit. And, when Paul tells us that the spirit is alive because of righteousness, we know that without the righteousness imparted to us by God the personal spirit is “dead.” We must conclude that a person’s personal spirit which has not been cleansed from defilement is without righteousness and is not alive, therefore is “dead.” Here are revealed some very important concepts. One’s personal spirit, given to each of us by God to impart and sustain life in one’s body of flesh, while accomplishing that function, in some sense can be “dead.” But, one’s personal spirit can be “cleansed,” made “holy” and can become “alive.” While sustaining life in one’s body, we conclude that one’s spirit is controlled for better or worse by another part of one’s triune being. Through God’s sanctification, the “spirit” along with the “soul” and the “body” may be “preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23). And “the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Cor. 5:5).
We have examined a few Bible passages which help us to understand some separate functions of the three parts of our true makeup, spirit and soul and body, as we live here upon the earth. But our earthly lives are not the whole of our eternal lives. Indeed, the ratio of our few short years on earth to our eternal existence after we depart from this earth is infinitesimally small. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18 that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed.” Not only should we be interested in the function of each part of the triune man while he lives in the flesh on earth, we also should be intensely interested in what God has revealed to us concerning the function and destiny of each part of the triune man after this life on earth is ended.
What is the Destiny of the Human Body?
There is no question but that the fleshly body formed by God from the dust of the ground, will, upon death of the body, return to dust. “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground. Because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19). “All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust” (Ecclesiastes 3:20).
But this is not the end of the matter. Isaiah prophesied, “Your dead will live. Their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed dead” (Isaiah 26:19). Isaiah intimates that the death of the body is like a sleep, for he commands the dead to “awake”. Daniel tells us clearly that this body, although dead and decayed, is but asleep and it can awake. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake” (Daniel 12:2). Ezekiel prophesied, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves” (Ezekiel 37:12). Paul said, “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers, and underwent decay” (Acts 13:36). And Paul speaks of the bodies of those Christians who had died during his generation as simply having “fallen asleep”. Then he said, when the Lord Himself descends from heaven “the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16). In Acts 2:26 Peter quotes a prophecy of David, “My flesh also will abide in hope”.
After Lazarus had died, Jesus said of him, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep”. When the disciples misunderstood the meaning of “fallen asleep”, Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:11-14). Later Jesus said to Martha concerning Lazarus, “Your brother shall rise again” (John 11:23). When Jesus went to the place where Lazarus was buried, He called him forth from the grave and “He who had died came forth.” It is clear that the body of Lazarus was whole, possessed of his own spirit, and Lazarus was again, in an earthly sense, a living soul. (John 11:4344). A preview of the resurrection of dead bodies of saints occurred when Jesus was resurrected. We are told that “the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:50-53). But Christ Himself was the first fruits of them that slept when He was raised from the dead. (1 Corinthians 15:20).
Thus we see that the body, (as well as the soul and the spirit) will be preserved complete at the coming of the Lord, even though the body may have decayed and returned to dust. (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Paul in that passage prays that the spirit and soul and body may be “without blame” at the coming of our Lord. If, at that time, the body is not “without blame,” it will be destroyed along with the soul in hell (Matthew 10:28). Daniel prophesied, “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
But Paul tells us “that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Of what use to the Christian, then, is the resurrection of the fleshly body if it cannot inherit the imperishable kingdom of God? Paul makes it clear in the verses which follow
1 Corinthians 15:50 that the perishable body of the Christian is raised simply for the purpose of changing it for an imperishable body. “Behold I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).
What will the imperishable body be like? John said, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet that we shall be. We know that, if He should appear, we shall be like Him.” (1 John 3:2). Paul said, Christ “will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” (Philippians 3:21). Paul also said that the body, when buried, or “sown”, is a “natural body.” But “it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, the first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life giving Spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:44-49).
In discussing the function of the human body (above) we pointed out that the body is meant to be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit enabling one to glorify God in his body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In Romans 8 Paul enlarges on this concept pointing out that, even in this earthly life, one can preview the great change that will be made to the body when Jesus comes again. Paul said, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 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. And if the Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.” (Romans 8:8-11).
In like manner to the way that the human spirit, breathed into the human body by God, gave life to the human body, so the Holy Spirit indwelling the body of the Christian gives him a taste, even as he lives on this earth, of eternal life in the imperishable body to be received when Jesus comes again. And just as the fleshly body without the human spirit is dead, so the body of the Christian does not have eternal life unless the Holy Spirit dwells in it. Paul’s message of Romans 8 is that the body, although doomed to fall asleep and decay, can start serving God now as it will in eternity “if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body.” (Romans 8:13). Even now the Holy Spirit will give life even to your mortal bodies so that you can “therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Although an attempt has been made to discuss the subjects of the body’s function and the body’s destiny separately from a discussion of the soul and spirit, it has not been possible. A body without its spirit is dead. And a fleshly body with its spirit becomes a living soul. Nevertheless, the soul functions as a separate entity from the body or spirit of the triune person. The body will die and return to dust but not the soul (Matthew 10:28). And the soul and spirit can and should be divided asunder (Hebrews 4:12). The three serve each other with the soul being the “captain” of the triune person.
What is the Destiny of the Human Soul?
We have already discovered from the Scriptures that the human soul cannot be killed nor does it die and decay as does the human body. But the soul will die a death of a different kind when it sins. This death is a destruction in hell at the last judgement. (Matthew 10:28; Ezekiel 18:4). And if the human soul is found dead in sin at the last judgement, the complete person, restored completely as spirit and soul and body, will be destroyed in Hell first and then in the Lake of Fire. The human soul can escape this death in hell and the Lake of Fire if it is purified in obedience to the truth. (1 Peter 1:22). Faith in Jesus Christ will result in the salvation of the human soul. (1 Peter 1:9). Christ is the “shepherd” of all saved souls. (1 Peter 2:25). The human soul finds rest in Christ. (Matthew 11:29). And in the salvation promised for the soul, the entire person, spirit, and soul, and body, find salvation.
But what happens to the human soul after the death of the body? Our Lord Jesus Christ has been subjected to all human experiences. What happened to His soul when his body died on the cross? David said in prophecy in Psalms 16, and Peter quoted him in Acts 2:27, “Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay”. This Scripture does not say that the soul of Christ would not go to Hades, but that it would not be abandoned there. Since the soul does not die and decay with the slain body, the reference to decay must refer to the body of Jesus. It does not say that the body of Christ would not die, but that it would not undergo decay while it was in the tomb. Thus, we conclude that upon the death of Jesus’ body on the cross, His soul went to Abraham’s Bosom (Luke 16) in Hades and remained there for three days until His body was resurrected. Though His body “slept” for three days in the tomb, it did not undergo decay. When His body was resurrected, His soul was restored to His body for He again appeared to His disciples as a living soul. We have also learned that His spirit departed from His body when He breathed his last and went back to God who gave it. His personal spirit also must have been restored to His body to give him complete life, spirit and soul and body, at His resurrection.
The place in Hades where the soul of Jesus went after the death of His body Jesus called “Paradise”. “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise”, Jesus told one of the thieves as he hung on the cross. (Luke 23:43). Where is “Paradise”? It is not in heaven with God. For Jesus said to Mary Magdalene, after His soul had spent three days in “Paradise”, “I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17). Therefore we know that “Paradise” is not in heaven with God the Father. It was in Abraham’s Bosom in “Hades” where the soul of Jesus went for three days, but where it was not abandoned by God.
At death, the body of Jesus went to “sleep” for three days in the tomb. The personal spirit of Jesus went back to the Father of spirits. The soul of Jesus rested for 3 days in “Paradise” in Abraham’s Bosom. Jesus preached to the captive souls in Hades, then He took those in Abraham’s Bosom from Hades to Heaven where they are still today. When Christians die, they go to Heaven, not Abraham’s Bosom as did all those faithful Old Testament believers in Almighty God (Abraham, Moses, Joshua, etc.). Upon the resurrection of the body of Jesus, His personal spirit was returned to give life to the body and His unique soul was restored. Jesus has gone through everything to which Christians will be subjected. Christians need have no fear. As God raised and restored Jesus, He will raise and restore us as well.
After learning what happened to the spirit, soul, and body of the man Jesus, we know now the state of the poor man Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31. “Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried”. Both Lazarus and the rich man died and the bodies of both were buried to undergo decay. But some part of Lazarus was carried away to a place called “Abraham’s bosom”. And some part of the rich man was carried away to “Hades”. “And in Hades he (the rich man) lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom”. The rich man was in Hades (the unseen place), and though “far away” from the rich man, Lazarus and Abraham were there also. It was not the eyes of the body with which the rich man saw Lazarus because his body was in the tomb undergoing decay. It was not the dead body of the rich man which was in torment. It was that part of him which was in “Hades”.
What part of the rich man was in “Hades”? David tells us in the Hebrew language that it is the “soul” which goes to “Sheol”. “Sheol” is the Hebrew word for the Greek word “Hades”. Peter quotes David in the Greek language to tell us that it is the “soul” which goes to “Hades”. (Acts 2:27). Therefore, we must conclude that it was the “soul” of the rich man that was in torment in “Hades”. We must also conclude that the “soul” of Lazarus went to “Hades”, but to another part of “Hades” from that of the rich man, to a place where the soul of Abraham was. Jesus called the place in Hades where His soul and that of the former thief went, Paradise. Was it not, then, Paradise where Lazarus and Abraham went because they died before Jesus’ Resurrection?
What is the Destiny of the Human Spirit?
The body is material. The soul is immaterial, but it is as real as our very personalities are real. We all have the same physical necessities for life or we could not exist, especially advance to old age. To look upon the outside of us, we look happy or sad, well or sick, contemplative or silly. But, on the inside, autopsies reveal that we are all the same inside, whether male or female, healthy or not, and not much else. Nothing was known about Alzheimer’s disease and its extent until we looked inside the brain itself. The physical brain is damaged causing loss of normal functions such as short term memory and even loss of certain abilities. But, since the soul is immaterial, when we die, what was us disappears entirely. All that is left is a physical shell devoid of life.
But, what is the spirit that the Bible says we have from conception? The human spirit is immaterial, but is the human spirit different from the soul? The human spirit is the incorporeal, the intangible part of man. The Bible says that the human spirit is the very breath of Almighty God and was breathed into man at the beginning of God’s creation: “Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7). It is the human spirit that gives us a consciousness of self and other remarkable, though limited, “God-like” qualities. It is this spirit that provides us the unique ability to comprehend and understand (Job 32:8, 18). It is this spirit that tells us that there is a God: “For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world re clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse…” (Romans 1:20)
Genesis 2:7 says, “Jehovah God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.” Where is the human spirit in this verse? We can see that “the dust of the ground” becomes the physical body and “a living soul” refers to the soul, which is the psychological part of a person, their mind, emotion, and will. But what is “the breath of life”? “The breath of life” refers to the third part of man, the human spirit. We have confirmation of this in Proverbs 20:27, which says, “The spirit of man is the lamp of Jehovah.” The same Hebrew word used for “spirit” (neshamah) in this verse is the word translated “breath” in Genesis 2:7! The words spirit and breath are translations of the Hebrew word neshamah and the Greek word pneuma. The words mean “strong wind, blast, or inspiration.” Neshamah is the source of life that vitalizes humanity (Job 33:4). It is the intangible, unseen human spirit that governs man’s mental and emotional existence.
Every human being has a spirit, an eternally existing, never perishing “image of God”. It is distinct from the “spirit,” or life, of animals. God made man differently from the animals in that He created us “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:26, 27). Therefore, man is not an animal as so many today announce boldly. Man (and not animals) is able to think, feel, love, design, create, and enjoy music, humor, and art. And it is because of the human spirit that we have a “free will” that no other creature on earth has, animal or fish or bird or insect. But, the human spirit was damaged in the fall. When Adam sinned, his ability to fellowship with God was broken; he did not die physically that day, but he died spiritually. Ever since, the human spirit has borne the effects of the fall. Before salvation, every person ever born, from ages past to the present is characterized as spiritually “dead” (Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13). All spiritually dead do not have any connection to a Holy God. Therefore, since the human spirit is eternal and since we are separated from God spiritually, where does the human spirit go after death? The Bible is clear.
When a person’s body dies that person’s personal spirit does not die but is released from the body. It is God’s desire that the spirit then return to Him, the One who gave it. “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7). When Jesus died on the cross He “cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit.” (Matthew 27:50). Luke tells us, as does the Prophet of the Psalms, what Jesus said when He cried out. “Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” (Luke 23:46; Psalms 31:5). Thus we see an example in Jesus’ death on the cross of the body yielding up its spirit and the spirit returning to God who gave it. Stephen at his death also expected his body to give up his spirit and for the Lord to receive it. As he was being stoned to death “he called upon the Lord and said, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59).
Paul speaks of one in 1 Corinthians 5:5 with whom the Christians were not to associate (“but deliver such a one to Satan”) “that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” This indicates not only that his spirit can be saved, but that it possibly can be lost. Paul prays in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This indicates not only that “your spirit can be without blame,” but that it can possibly be blamed at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, else it would not be necessary for Paul to pray this prayer. What then happens to the personal spirit of a person upon the death of his body? It goes back to God who gave it. God preserves it until the day when the Lord comes back. We conclude from the words of the dying Stephen that he expected the Lord Jesus Christ to receive his personal spirit immediately. Perhaps, then, it is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who receives the spirits of faithful Christians and preserves them “without blame” until that day.
But what happens to the spirits of those whose bodies die while they are in a disobedient state, who have not allowed the Holy Spirit to dwell in them, but have continued to allow an unclean spirit of the world to dwell in them? Peter tells us about the destiny of such spirits of men. “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the Spirit in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons were brought safely through the water.” (1 Peter 3:18¬20). In this passage Peter tells us that the spirits of the people whose bodies died in the great flood are now held “in prison”. He says that it was the Holy Spirit of Christ who spoke to this world of people through Noah during the construction of the ark. Noah tried, but failed to bring the people of the world to God by obedience to his preaching. But they were disobedient, all except Noah and his immediate family. The spirits of those who were disobedient are now “in prison”. These spirits of disobedient people have not been destroyed but are preserved “in prison” until the Day of Judgment. Where is this “prison”? This is speculation since the Bible is not specific, but the soul and spirit of man, not being split by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 4:12), are still joined in the unregenerate man and, therefore, go to Hell until the Day of Judgment or the Great White Throne of Jesus Christ at the end of His Millennial Kingdom.
What happens to men’s spirits after the judgment? Since “the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him,” (1 Corinthians 6:17) he has a composite spirit consisting of his own personal spirit and the Holy Spirit of the Lord. Surely it will be this composite spirit which God will breathe into the “changed” body to give it life when the bodies of the faithful ascend into the clouds to meet the Lord in the air when He comes again. The “natural body….is raised a spiritual body” when “we shall all be changed, in a moment” (1 Corinthians 15:44, 51, 52). “The dead in Christ (as well as) we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
But the spirits of the unfaithful have joined themselves to “unclean spirits” of “demons”. The spirits of the unfaithful dead are “in prison”. When the Lord comes again they will meet the same fate as the demons, Satan, the beast, and the false prophet. “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who had worshiped his image, these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone” (Revelation 19:20). “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:14-15).
The conclusion to all of this is that we, as individual and separate creations of Almighty God, made in His image, are both material (body parts, body functions, living beings) and immaterial (mind/soul/spirit). When we realize in our lives that we have always known that there is a God (Romans 1), we have to start dealing with the decision of whether we care or not. Do our desires outweigh what God wants? Just what does God want anyway? Is there anything that happens after this life we are in now? Does what we do now in this life matter in the life to come? Don’t we all go to Heaven? Doesn’t being a good person mean that God is going to allow us to get to Heaven? Maybe doing things like serving the poor or giving money to needy people or working for a non-profit qualify us for Heaven?
The hopeful result of these intense and thoughtful questions is the seeking, by the will of the Holy Spirit, of the knowledge of God through His Son Jesus Christ. When anyone seeks Him, God promises that he will find Him (Matthew 7:7). “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with Me”. (Revelation 3:20) “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9) At that point, the soul and spirit of man is changed forever. The spirit of man upon physical death return to the Father in Heaven. The body lies in wait for the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), and the regenerated and saved soul of the physically dead man is also with the Father. When the Rapture happens, the resurrected, uncorrupted body of the believer, both those dead physically and those alive, will be reunited to forever be with the Lord Jesus in sinless new immortal bodies, complete with body, soul, and spirit.