What is Man?

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    Now Jesus made the statement in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body [physical life now and in the end time as demonstrated in the Old Testament] in hell [Gahenna].” Now the Assyrian or the Beast will be thrown into the Gahenna fire, see Rev 20:10.
    The Greek word “psuche” has been translated “soul” in this text, but in forty other texts it has been translated “life.” For example, Jesus said, “Whosoever shall lose his life (psuche) for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 16:25. Obviously “psuche” could not mean soul in this instance, or people could be said to lose their soul for Christ's sake. It is properly translated “life. “
    But what of Matthew 10:28? Put in the word “life” instead of “soul” and the text makes perfect sense in its consistency with the rest of the Bible. The contrast is between one who can take the physical life, and He who can take away eternal life. Here is proof in the words of Jesus: “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell.” Luke 12:4, 5.
    In other words, the word “soul” here means not only life, but eternal life. Notice that Luke says everything just like Matthew except that he does not say “kills the soul.” Instead he says “cast into hell.” They mean the same thing. Men can only kill the body and take away the physical life. God will cast into hell and take away eternal life. Not only will their bodies be destroyed in that fire, but their lives will be snuffed out for all eternity.
    Biacchiocci comes to the same conclusion: “To kill the body means to take the present life on earth. But this does not kill the soul, that is the eternal life received by those who have accepted Christ's provision of salvation…all the dead will be resurrected on the last day, as they lie in their graves their soul, that is their life that they have lived for or against Jesus Christ, is still awaiting its final destiny; eternal salvation for believers and eternal destruction for unbelievers. The latter is the destruction of body and soul in hell that Jesus warned about” (ibid, p.88, emphasis added).


    Matthew 10:28 And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
    Not only can Elohim destroy the body as men can but He can destroy the soul too. Any human has the ability to destroy the body, putting it to death through the damage they inflict. However no human can keep a person from coming back to life or staying dead. This is because Elohim holds the breath of life in His hands only, which gives Him the ability to put back that breath in a dead body, raising it back to life. Elohim has the sole prerogative to restrict that person from ever being alive again thus destroying both the body and soul (breath), that makes up the one individual life. This is exactly what Hes going to do in the end resulting in eternal death.

    “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell [Gehenna].” See also another account of the same discourse by Luke—12:4,5.
    Here our Lord pointed out to his followers the great cause they had for courage and bravery under the most trying circumstances. They were to expect persecution, and to have all manner of evil spoken against them falsely, for his sake, and for the sake of the “good tidings” of which he made them the ministers and heralds; yea, the time would come, that whosoever would kill them would think that he did God a service. Their consolation or reward for this was to be received, not in the present life, but in the life to come. They were assured, and they believed, that he had come to give his life a ransom for many, and that all in their graves must in consequence, in due time, hear the Deliverer’s voice and come forth, either to reward (if their trial had been passed in this life successfully), future trial, or judgment, as must be the case with the great majority who do not, in this present life, come to the necessary knowledge and opportunity essential to a complete trial.
    Under present conditions men are able to kill our bodies, but nothing that they can do will affect our future being (soul), which God has promised shall be revived or restored by his power in the resurrection day—the Millennial age. Our revived souls will have new bodies (spiritual or natural—”to each ‘seed’ his own [kind of] body”), and these none will have liberty to kill. God alone has power to destroy utterly—soul and body. He alone, therefore, should be feared, and the opposition of men even to the death is not to be feared, if thereby we gain divine approval. Our Lord’s bidding then is, Fear not them which can terminate the present (dying) life in these poor dying bodies. Care little for it, its food, its clothing, its pleasures, in comparison with that future existence or being which God has provided for you, and which, if secured, may be your portion forever. Fear not the threats, or looks, or acts of men, whose power can extend no farther than the present existence; who can harm and kill these bodies, but can do no more. Rather have respect and deference to God, with whom are the issues of life everlasting—fear him who is able to destroy in Gehenna, the Second Death, both the present dying existence and all hope of future existence.

     Adam Pastor 
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    The following quotes are taken from “Life, Death and Destiny”, Warren Prestidge, Resurrection Publishing, 1998
    with some editing from me …


    p. 19 “DUST”

    Gen. 2:7 tell us three things about ourselves. Let us examine each in turn, in the light of Bible teaching generally.
    First: “man” ('adham) was “formed” by God “of dust ('aphar) from the ground ('adhamah)” “Man” (in the generic sense), not “man's body”, was so formed. This insight is echoed throughout Scripture: Gen. 3:19, 18:27; Job 10:9; Ps. 103:14 (“we are dust”), Eccles. 3:20).

    Now, the same rule is true of the animals, according to Gen. 2:19. In fact, Gen. 2:19 closely parallels “formed out of the ground” (compare Ps. 104:29, Eccles. 3:20).

    The NT offers no contradiction. On the contrary, in the definitive treatment of death and resurrection, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul fully reaffirms Gen. 2:7: “The first man was from the earth, {earthy [choikos, dust] i.e.} a man of dust.” … Further, “As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust” (that is, all of us: 1 Cor 15.48). We “have borne the image of the man of dust” (49). As Paul explains, this means we are “flesh and blood”, “perishable”, “mortal” (50, 53).

    However, it is also true that all in Christ “will also bear the image of the man from heaven” (49). {Bear the image of Christ, the second Adam, who is to be the Lord from heaven.}
    How? By a resurrection change (51-55, 42). When? At the return of Jesus Christ (21-23).

    p. 20-21 “BREATH”

    Second, Gen. 2:7 says that we live in virtue of “the breath (neshamah) of life.” …

    Actually, the OT uses three different words for the “breath of life”, or life principle. In Isaiah 42;5, and Job 27:3, 33:4 and 34:14, neshamah is parallel and synonymous with ruach, (“spirit”). Once again, it is vital to note that this “breath” or “spirit” is also active in all animals. Animals, too, have “the breath (ruach) of life” (Gen. 6:17, 7.15). In Gen. 7.22, both words are used together, of humans and beasts equally. In fact, Eccles. 3:19 insists that man and beast “have all the same breath (ruach)“. Gen. 2:7, speaking of the “breath of life” “breathed into (man's) nostrils”, is certainly not speaking of a personal immortal substance. Rather, this “breath in their nostrils” is an indication of human frailty and mortality, not of human divinity or immortality (Isaiah 2:22)!

    The ruach {spirit/breath} which according to Eccles. 12:7, returns to God at death, is not a conscious, personal entity, but the breath or power of life.
    “No biblical text authorises the statement that the 'soul' is separated from the body at the moment of death. The ruach, 'spirit,' which makes man a living being (cf. Gen. 2:7), and which he loses at death, is not properly speaking, an anthropological reality, but a gift of God which returns to him at the time of death (Eccles. 12:7).”
    [E. Jacob, “Death”, in G.A. Buttrick et al. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Nashville: Abingdon, 1980, Vol. 1, p.802.]

    This is how we should understand Ps. 31:5 (ruach) and NT equivalents such as Luke 23:46 and Acts 7.{59-}60, where the corresponding Greek word is pneuma: “Into your hand I commit my spirit.” … The “spirit” which the Psalmist, Jesus and Stephen are entrusting to God is their life-breath. The only difference here from Eccles. 12:7 is the attitude of trustfulness. The expression means: “Even in death, I trust you, God. I am in your hands.” … James 2:26 explains simply: “… the body without the spirit (pneuma, 'breath') is dead.”

    A third Hebrew word for this “breath,” or life principle, or simply life itself is nephesh. In Gen. 1:30, it is this word which is used for “the breath (nephesh) of life,” which animals also have. This, then, is the key to such texts as Gen. 35:18, 1 Kings 17:21-22, Job 27:8, or Jeremiah 15:9. An exact NT parallel is Acts 20:10 (“life” – the Greek word is psuche). Both nephesh or psuche are very often translated “soul” in English versions, but this practice can be quite misleading. Biblically, the nephesh or psuche that leaves us at death is not a personal “soul”, but the life principle, which is God's to give or take.

    p. 21-22 “SOUL”

    Third, Gen. 2:7 tells us that man is (not has) “a living soul (nephesh) (“being”).

    Again the word is nephesh, just as the NT counterpart is again psuche (see 1 Cor. 15:45, where Paul quotes the Genesis verse).

    Once again, the same is equally true of all animals in general. Again, compare Gen. 2:19. There the animals are called “living souls” (nephesh; KJV “creature”). Similarly, water creatures (Gen. 1:20-21) and land animals generally
    (Gen. 1:24; Gen. 9:10, 12, 15, 16). An exact NT parallel is Rev 16:3, where water creatures are called “living souls” (psuche). In such cases, nephesh and psuche mean: the total organism, the whole human or non-human animal, without remainder.


    It will be useful, at this point, to outline the range of meanings nephesh and psuche both have in Scripture.

    ( a ) … both words often mean “breath” or “life principle” or simply “life”, whether of humans or animals. A few more examples: 2 Sam. 4:8, 2 Chron. 1:11; Rev 8.9

    In Gen. 9:4-5, Lev. 17:11 and 14, and Deut. 12:23, the nephesh is said to reside in, or consist of, the blood. “For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof:” (Lev. 17:14). This usage also explains Isaiah 53:10 and 12: the Servant's nephesh (KJV “soul” {i.e. “life”}) was given up as a sin offering. Accordingly, in Mark 10:45 Jesus explains that he came to “give his life (psuche) a ransom for many.” Other NT examples: Acts 15:26 (“lives”), John 10:11,
    Acts 20:24, Phil. 2:30.

    The usage in Matthew 10:39 is the key to Matthew 10:28 in the same context. In Matt. 10:39, Jesus declares: “he that loseth his life (psuche) for my sake shall find it” (compare Rev. 12:11); that is, they will “keep it for eternal life”
    (John 12:25), “in the age to come” (Mark 10:30; as in Matt. 25:46). This, then, is also undoubtedly what Jesus means in
    Matt. 10:28
    , where he says that human beings “cannot kill the soul (psuche)“: not that we have a personal indestructible “soul” which survives death (psuche cannot mean this in 10:39); but that, despite death, the Christian's life is not ultimately lost, for God can and will restore it in the resurrection age to come. Only God has ultimate power of life and death (Luke 12:4). He may indeed destroy life ultimately (“in hell” {in Gehenna}, Matt. 10:28) or restore life through resurrection (compare Matt. 16:24-27; John 10:17, 11:25-26).

    ( b ) As in Gen. 2:7, and its NT counterpart 1 Cor. 15:45,
    nephesh and psuche frequently refer to the whole creature, human or animal, alive or dead.

    “Man is described as a soul by the Hebrew word nephesh and the corresponding Greek word about 152 times in the Old Testament and about 16 times in the New.”
    [B.F.C. Atkinson, Life and Immortality, Taunton: Phoenix Press, n.d., p. 3.]

    A few obvious examples: nephesh – Jer. 52:29 {“persons”}, Numbers 19:18 {“persons”}, Lev. 7:27; psuche – Acts 2:41, Rom. 13:1, 1 Peter 3:20.

    Note Ezekiel 18:4,20, where a nephesh, in this sense, can certainly “die”: “The soul {“person”} nephesh who sins shall die.” It can be killed: Deut. 19:6; Joshua 10:28, 30, etc. Ps. 78:50, Proverbs 28:17 {“person”}. Sometimes, it is described as “dead” and may even be translated “body”: Lev. 21:11, Num. 6:6, Haggai 2:13! Even by itself, nephesh can mean {“the dead”} i.e. “dead person”, or “dead animal” (Lev. 19:28, 21:1, 22:4; Num. 5:2, 6:11)!

    Often, nephesh occurs in a weakened sense, as merely a solemn version of the personal or reflexive pronoun. For example, in Gen 27:19 “thy {you}” is actually “your nephesh“. Similar instances are Ps. 7:5 (“my soul” {i.e. “me”}), 30:3 (“my soul” {i.e. “me”}), 89:48 (“his soul” {i.e. “himself”}). So with psuche. {Of 1 Peter 1:9,  “… salvation of your souls.” is virtually equivalent to 'your salvation', just as in, 4:19 'their souls' simply means 'themselves'.} …

    ( c ) Both nephesh and ruach, like psuche and pneuma, very often refer to psychological states, attitudes, dispositions, or capacities; to the inner personality. A few examples: nephesh – Prov. 23:2 “appetite”, Exodus 23:9 “heart”, Deut. 6:5 “soul”; ruach – 1 Kings 21:5 “spirit” {so sad i.e. “depressed”}, Josh. 2:11 “courage”; psuche – Acts 4:32 “soul”, 14:2 “minds”; pneuma – 2 Cor. 2:13 “spirit” {i.e. “mind”}, 1 Cor. 2:11 “spirit”.

    However, never do these words refer to anything which survives the death of the body. On the contrary, death means “silence”, even for the soul (Ps. 94:17, 115:17; see Ps. 6:5, Isa. 38:18). “The dead know nothing” (Eccles. 9:5-6). “There is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol to which you are going” (Eccles. 9:10).

    p. 26-27 DEATH

    So then, what happens at death? The human being yields, or God withdraws, the gift of life (the “breath” or “spirit”) which God has given and the whole person, who is “of dust from the ground” (Gen. 2:7) is dissolved. Our creation is reversed. “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). “When their breath (ruach) departs, they return to the earth” (Ps. 146:4). We “sleep in the dust of the earth” (Daniel 12:2). …

    The basic picture holds for humans and animals alike. (Ps. 104:29). As Eccles. 3:19-20 insists, “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; … All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”

    The essential difference between humans and animals is that God has created us “in His image”.  For this reason, He has determined that human death, though all-embracing, is not final, but provisional. There is a judgment to follow (Eccles. 12:14, Heb. 9:27-28), and a Saviour through whom we may gain resurrection to eternal life.

    I hope the above helps to edify those seeking the scriptural teaching concerning 'man' who is A SOUL!

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    hey adam,

    the greek word “pneuma”, which is generally translated spirit (whether of god or man), can also mean breath, or wind… do you have any thoughts on this?



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    Not much help Adam Pastor but thank you,
    lots of inconsistencies
    We sleep in death …yet nothing survives death!
    Sleep is not the absence of life in anyone else's book.
    He continues with the false expression of Gen2.
    Having agreed man is dust he says he IS a living soul. As far as I read it says he BECAME a living soul by having the breath of God breathed into him. So that is a false addition to scripture. His version suggests a change of nature of the body but scripture makes no such statement.
    Your expert says the spirit of man returns to God so God has to recreate us in the resurrection. That is a new and highly questionable teaching.
    I will keep looking but it seems to add confusion and not show the simple truth.

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    Adam Pastor,
    If I showed you an inflated balloon would you say it was a localised area of compressed air?

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    To whoever,

    Does man have a body, soul and spirit?
    If so, what part of a man is our identity?
    Does Jesus have a body soul and spirit?

    I read through the posts quickly but haven't had much time lately, so I haven't been able to take everything in.

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    Hi t8,
    Just a thought or two from 1Cor 2.10
    “…for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the SPIRIT OF THE MAN, which is IN HIM..
    …but we have the mind of Christ”

    So what does this say about man?

    He has his own spirit.
    It lives in him.
    It knows his thoughts.

    Does that then include conscience and insight? These are from the breath of God and may lead to righteousness but they are not the mind as they know the mind. That would fit with the idea that God has equipped everyone with sufficient ability to recognise His work in creation and the difference between good and bad?

    That leaves heart and mind and personality as soul?

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    Ecclesiastes is a great book. It is scripture and seems to look always from a human perspective.
    In 12.7 it says speaking of death
    ” and the dust returns to the earth as it once was and the breath of life returns to God who gave it”
    But in 3.21 it had said speaking of animals and man
    ” Both go to the same place;both were made from the dust and to the dust they both return. Who knows if the life breath of the children of men goes up ward and the life breath of beasts go earthward?”
    Job 34.14-15 also gives some insight about God
    ” If He were to take back His spirit to Himself, withdraw to Himself his breath, all flesh would perish and man would return to the dust”

    All the writer of Ecclesiastes knew is that something happens at death that leaves a body empty of life. We cannot know from his statement that the spirit returns to God can we?

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    Hi Ramblinrose,
    Your second reference suggests some will not be resurrected “God can restrict that person from being alive again” and “That is the second death”
    Sorry but that view is misguided. All will be resurrected, according to the Word of God, some in the first blessed resurrection and the rest to face the white throne judgement, of the sheep and goats, at the second resurrection.

    Rev 20.4f
    “..and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the 1000yrs were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection;over these the second death has no power..”
    Do you agree?

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    ps Adam Pastor .Your book p 22 makes the same error suggesting destruction of life in Gehenna is an alternative to resurrection. All are resurrected-do you agree?

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    Hi Adam Pastor,
    Just because death in scripture is described as sleep, does not mean sleep is a synonym for death. It is not an allegory but a fact. It surely means what it says-sleep- but not absence of life.

    You have described beings after death in a previous post as Nephesh but your writer says “never do these words describe anything that survives the death of the body”

    Why does he talk at all of the body if there is no such thing apart from the soul?

    Scripture never says ,as your writer does, that the whole person is of the dust of the ground and is dissolved at death with the reversal of creation. Man, as body, and animals ,as body, return to the dust of the ground but the breath of God blown into them that made them become living beings was never of the dust was it?

    Without the breath of God all would still be just lifeless body as Job 34 tells us would happen if that breath was withdrawn.
    Do you agree?

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    Taken from the Logos discussion and put here as promised.

    I see it like this:

    We are our soul. That is who we are, our identity.
    What we are is flesh (man), that is our nature.
    We have awareness because the Spirit of God has given us life.

    So the Spirit is of God is a part of God that God can take back for himself. But the Spirit of God that we recieve when we are sanctified is God's eternal Spirit.
    The soul is who we are. Perhaps the area of our will, character and personality.
    The body is the vessel that contains the soul and lets us interact with the physical realm because the body we have is physical and of this world.

    So the spirit that God gives us in the beginning is his breath which gives us awareness and life. But baptism in God's Spirit makes us one with him so that our spirit the spirit that he gave us will be one in unity with his Spirit and this makes us pure in spirit and one with God.

    The spirit is the God conscience part of us and what gives us life.
    The soul is the self concious part of us.
    The body is the world conscious part of us.

    It is our soul (us) and spirit (from God) that God saves and he does this by renewing the spirit inside our soul by joining us with his Spirit. We are eventually given a spirtual body to make us complete.

    Romans 8:16
    The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

    Psalm 35:9
    And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation.

    Hebrews 4:12
    For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    This is my take and I open open for correction as I want to learn.

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    Hi T8,
    I love that Romans 8 scripture. It has shown me I was wrong about that aspect. thanks

     Adam Pastor 
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    Quote (Nick Hassan @ Dec. 09 2004,03:38)
    ps Adam Pastor .Your book p 22 makes the same error suggesting destruction of life in Gehenna is an alternative to resurrection. All are resurrected-do you agree?

    All are resurrected!
    The author of the book believes this as well.

    All he is saying, (just as in Dan 12:2) is that; some will be resurrected to enjoy life in the [resurrection] age i.e. the age to come (which incidentally is exactly what zoe aionios means, life in the age to come; poorly translated as 'everlasting/eternal life' in the KJV)
    or some will be resurrected to be condemned to Gehenna, which will mean their total destruction i.e. they will receive punishment in the age to come (which is the meaning of the words, kolasis aionios, punishment in the age to come, Mt 25.46, terribly translated as 'everlasting punishment').

    Sorry, the quote wasn't clearer.

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    Thanks Adam Pastor,
    The question about the inflated balloon was not meant to be flippant. Not only could some see it as a localised collection of compressed air but others may say it is a solid ovoid object.

    Both are right but neither are right.

    The first knows only about the contents but does not describe the view or texture and the second goes only on what can be seen and touched.

    Both ignore the fact that an vessel is filled with a gas. Applied to man I see great problems amalgamating body and soul as it distorts the nature of both. Of course the allegory relates to the frailty and insignificance yet vital importance of the container. And it relates to death too on the release of the contents when the balloon bursts or deflates leaving a ruined vessel.

    If you see man as this combined entity with the 'life principle' which returns to God then where does the personality, mind and heart of man reside and what happens to them at death?

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    Hi WIT,
    From the post in trinity dvpt. I presume you are asking what is the spirit of natural man.
    We know from 1 Thess 5 that we are complete as body, soul and spirit.
    We know from Gen 2.7 that God breathed into man and he became a living being. So all of us except the body is of the breath of God.

    Now when man had been fully created he was told not to eat of the tree in the middle of the garden of Eden.
    Gen 2.16″ The Lord God gave this order
    'You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and bad. From that tree you shall not eat;the moment that you eat from it you are surely doomed to die' …..
    The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of the fruit and ate it;and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.
    Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they realised they were naked..”

    What is the knowledge of good and bad? conscience!
    What else did they gain through eating the fruit? Self consciousness.

    I only found this today so it corrects what I recently wrote  still further.

    So looking again at 1 Cor 2.11 the work of our spirit is to “know a man's innermost self” That includes knowing the mind as v 16 tells us. That means it isn't that self, which is soul. Neither is it conscience.

    As we saw it seems man was created without a conscience or inner law. As the Word says [Rom 5.13] if there is no law no sin is imputed but through law came death to man by his own hand!
    Who can add here?

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    ps. by self consciousness I do not mean self awareness which is of the spirit. I mean the sense of self judgement. Man was naked-so what? His new knowledge seemed to judge that as sin so they covered themselves.

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    pps. Also 1 cor 2 tells us the role of the Spirit in relationship to God and compares it with the relationship of man to his spirit. So we should be able to draw conclusions then from teachings about the Spirit to learn about our spirit?

    eg” God is at work in us to will and to do”
    tells us that our spirit also gives us choice and motivation?

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    Hi Ramblinrose,
    If you look closely at your quoted sources there is a problem.

    Yes the same word can be translated “life” as “soul”.And there are several verses given where it clearly means natural human life.

    But they also say it means “eternal life”.

    So do you say these terms are equivalent too, natural life and eternal life??

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    ps English is so inadequate .There are many greek words interpreted as “life” including “psuche”-“5590”. The word “zoe”-“2222” occurs over 130 times in the NT but in only 2 or 3 does it possibly mean anything but the new and eternal life.

    In Mk 3 Jesus spoke of natural life when he said about healing the man with the withered hand.
    ” Is it permitted to do a good deed on the Sabbath-or an evil one? To preserve life[psuche] -or to destroy it?”
    even Jesus spoke of his human life in this way in Mk 10.45
    ” The Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve-to give his life [psuche] in ransom for the many”

    But “eternal life” NEVER uses “psuche” but only “zoe” as when the rich man in Mk 10.17 asked” what must I do to inherit eternal life[zoe]”

    In John 10 Jesus 3 times talked about laying down his life[psuche]for the sheepbut in verse 28 says
    ” I give them eternal life [zoe] and they shall never perish”

    So it seems that while psuche can mean 'life' it can never mean 'eternal life' as your reference claims. Do you agree?

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