Our “spirits”?

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit
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darinhouston
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Our “spirits”?

Post by darinhouston » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:04 am

To have a meaningful discussion of the Holy Spirit and what it means to be “filled with the Spirit,” I would like to see a discussion of our own spirits. As I understand it, we are spiritual beings, and as God breathed the spirit into Adam, we all have a spirit of our own and that we can make purely carnal decisions and take purely carnal actions based only on biochemical processes with our minds and bodies based on all of our world experiences, mental capacities for reason, etc. But, that we can also make decisions or take actions “in the spirit” based on a reliance of our spiritual selves. We can act according to the spirit, etc. To the extent that we are saved and have the spirit of the lord in our hearts, we can act consistent with that Holy Spirit. What about the non-saved? Do they have possession of the holy spirit in measure, being made in the image of God, or a separate spirit that is personal to them? To the extent we learn to “walk in the spirit,” do we grow in the fullness of the Spirit within us? What’s going on here?

I believe this bears on the various theories of Spirit Christology I have been exploring, but as a preliminary matter, I’d like to better understand what the Bible says about our own spirituality and how that relates to the Holy Spirit (whether the indivisible Spirit of a Unitarian God or a separate person of a Trinitarian God).

Any takers?

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Paidion
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Paidion » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:57 pm

We say that a bicycle HAS two wheels, a frame, a seat, and handle bars. A bicycle Is not merely the totality of its parts. Merely dumping the parts together do not constitute a bicycle. Rather a bicycle is the totality of it parts in a particular relation. And in that relation, the bicycle functions. No PART of a bicycle functions as a bicycle, independently of its other parts .

Likewise a person can be said to HAVE a body and to HAVE a spirit (soul). But the person is NOT his body. Nor is he his soul. Rather he IS the two together when they are in a particular relation. And in that relation the person functions. Neither part of a person functions as a person independently of the other part.

So I disbelieve that a person IS his soul or spirit, and can exist as a conscious spirit apart from his body. In the resurrection the WHOLE person is raised to life, spirit and body—a changed spirit and body, but yet the same entity.

Paul taught that without the resurrection, we may as well eat, drink, and be merry. For this life is all there would be:

...If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. (I Cor 15:32)

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor 15:19)
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Singalphile
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Singalphile » Sun Apr 28, 2019 6:02 pm

I reckon we have or are a spirit and/or soul, so I'm a dualist, I guess. Other than that, I haven't really thought about it.

I found Colossians 2:5 interesting: "For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ."

We use that figure of speech - "with you in spirit" - too, but we probably get it from there, and I wonder what Paul meant, as it relates to this discussion.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

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Homer
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Homer » Sun Apr 28, 2019 8:59 pm

Hi Paidion,

Paul had much to say, particularly in Romans, about the battle between the flesh and our spirit, even to the point of despair over an inability to do what he ought. The animals go by the flesh; the difference between us and animals would seem to be the spirit we have in the image of God. How do you see us as different than animals?

How does this statement of Paul fit with your paradigm? Do you see the "destruction of his flesh" as physical death?

1 Corinthians 5:5 (NASB)
5. I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

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Paidion
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Paidion » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:59 pm

Hi Homer, you wrote:The animals go by the flesh; the difference between us and animals would seem to be the spirit we have in the image of God. How do you see us as different than animals?
I think there are many differences between people and other mammals. I will mention only two.

1. There is a vast difference in intellect. You don't see other mammals, even the anthropoid apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas inventing machines or computers. Although they do use simple tools such as sticks in order to get ants out of ant hills.

2. Many mammals understand human speech to some extent. My two border collies understand a great deal of what I say in English and act accordingly. Yet no mammals can themselves speak speak English. Parrots can imitate human speech but they don't know what they're saying.

I think it's an over-simplification to say that we have a "spirit" which is separate from our bodies and can survive death, whereas other mammals don't. How would anyone know that?—other than their interpretation of biblical writings?
You also wrote:Paul had much to say, particularly in Romans, about the battle between the flesh and our spirit, even to the point of despair over an inability to do what he ought... how does this statement of Paul fit with your paradigm?
I understand it figuratively. Our "flesh" is our sinful natures that have a tendency to harm other people or ourselves. Our "spirits" are our spiritual natures that have the ability through the enabling grace of God (Titus 2), to overcome our self-seeking, sinful natures.

Here are a few examples of the struggle between the two natures:

Mt 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."

Ro 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Ro 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Ro 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.


Ro 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
If "the flesh" refers to the physical flesh here, then none of us can please God since we are all in physical flesh.

Ro 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.
So would this be saying that if the Spirit of God dwells within you, you do not have physical flesh?

You asked:
Do you see the "destruction of his flesh" as physical death?
No. It is the destruction of the sinful nature. Paul wrote this with reference to the Corinthian man who had been copulating with his stepmother. The Corinthian Christians' act of delivering this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, didn't result in the man's death. Rather he repented, and then in Paul's second letter, he urged the Christians to receive him as a brother again—which they did.
However, I do not deny that the word "flesh" in the New Testament sometimes does refer to the physical flesh.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

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Seballius
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Seballius » Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:08 pm

Paidion wrote:We say that a bicycle HAS two wheels, a frame, a seat, and handle bars. A bicycle Is not merely the totality of its parts. Merely dumping the parts together do not constitute a bicycle. Rather a bicycle is the totality of it parts in a particular relation. And in that relation, the bicycle functions. No PART of a bicycle functions as a bicycle, independently of its other parts .

Likewise a person can be said to HAVE a body and to HAVE a spirit (soul). But the person is NOT his body. Nor is he his soul. Rather he IS the two together when they are in a particular relation. And in that relation the person functions. Neither part of a person functions as a person independently of the other part.

So I disbelieve that a person IS his soul or spirit, and can exist as a conscious spirit apart from his body. In the resurrection the WHOLE person is raised to life, spirit and body—a changed spirit and body, but yet the same entity.

Paul taught that without the resurrection, we may as well eat, drink, and be merry. For this life is all there would be:

...If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. (I Cor 15:32)

If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. (1 Cor 15:19)
Hello Paidion,

Is there a difference between your view of the soul and the materialist? Of course the materialist does not believe in the resurrection.

I don’t think the bike analogy is true to us humans. For example, I can lose a part of my body and I am still a human.

If a person is only breath and body, then why would Jesus tell us to fear Him who can destroy soul and body in hell?


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Paidion
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Paidion » Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:38 pm

Sabellius wrote:Is there a difference between your view of the soul and the materialist? Of course the materialist does not believe in the resurrection.
In philosophy, a "materialist" is "a person who supports the theory that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications". I have never considered that to be my position. I believe in the existence of the human mind. Yet clearly, a person's mind is a function of his body. That is why taking particular drugs renders the mind unconscious. If the mind were a spirit that exists independently of the body, doing things to the body would not affect it. Also the aging of the body affects the mind. I am 82 and am experiencing this now. I forget the names of people I know really well. Why should age affect an independent "spirit" that exists separately from the body? Also a severe blow on the head renders one unconscious. Why should this be the case if the mind is a "spirit" that exists independently of the body?
+
I don’t think the bike analogy is true to us humans. For example, I can lose a part of my body and I am still a human.
A bicycle can lose a fender and still be a bicycle. But just as a bicycle if taken all apart is not a bicycle, so if you were totally dismembered, you would no longer be considered to be a human being. Rather if your parts were discovered, people would say, "This WAS a human being!"
If a person is only breath and body, then why would Jesus tell us to fear Him who can destroy soul and body in hell?
The word translated here as "soul" is "ψυχη" or in English characters "psyche" from which is derived the word "psychology".
"ψυχη" means "life" or "mind" or "self", that is, the part of us that is conscious. And that consciousness is dependent upon our physical body, and cannot exist independently of it.

Yes, in Mt 10:28, we read And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Luke puts the words of Jesus a little differently with no mention of "soul"
"I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! (Luke 12:4,5)

There will be a resurrection of both the righteous and of the unrighteous. God can kill a person, and then after his resurrection cast him into hell to undergo a severe correction.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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Seballius
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Seballius » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:51 pm

Thank you Paidion for taking time to respond.

J P Moreland has written a book “The Soul” that deals with your objections - about the mind/spirit.

Dale Tuggy summarizes some good arguments for the soul in some short videos.


https://youtu.be/2ARcvXUYSn8


https://youtu.be/jXw7-yKhZ-U


Paidion - what do you think of NDEs?


I have met several people in life that have talked to me of their experiences.


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Paidion
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Re: Our “spirits”?

Post by Paidion » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:58 pm

Seballius, I am unsure about near-death experiences, though as an 82-year old, whose mind functions differently from the way it did when I was younger, I can understand people having them. However, I think these experiences relate to the beliefs of those who have them. For example, I don't read of many cases where an atheist has had a taste of heaven or hell when near death. Perhaps those atheists who were raised in a Christian home, might have heaven-or-hell experiences because deep down, because of the way their Christian parents taught their own children, such "atheists" have doubts about the veracity of their atheism.
Paidion

Man judges a person by his past deeds, and administers penalties for his wrongdoing. God judges a person by his present character, and disciplines him that he may become righteous.

Avatar shows me at 75 years old. I am now 82.

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