A Spirit for the Ages
The third part of man is who many believe we are, a spirit man. If a man is a spirit, that makes him immortal. Is this true? So once born man cannot die? That is what it means to be immortal. Let’s take a closer look. Remember Genesis 2:7 as we continue…
Let us begin by looking at Paul’s writing to the Corinthian Church.
“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.
Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:1-8
As verse 1 begins, it alludes to a physical body with the word ‘earthly’. This agrees with Genesis that we are dust. And if our body dissolves, it is subject to death and decay. It also states that we have a building of God. Note the use of the future tense. If we are spirit beings now, why mention a future of having a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens?
Paul states that we desire to put on our house, not that we already have it on. So much so that we groan desiring it! And being in that state, we are not naked. Now note verse 4. He mentions that eternal life will replace mortality. If we are a spirit, we are already immortal. We should already have eternal life.
And this means the body also, becomes immortal. Why would we need our flesh to become immortal if we are spirits? Angels are spirits. They don't have flesh. Why then create us and clothe us with flesh?
Look To Jesus
We believe Jesus is God the Son. He came to earth as a man. He put on flesh. Why?
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:” ~ Romans 8:3
He had to come in the flesh in order to:
- Show mankind that it is possible to live without sin
- Become the perfect one time sacrifice for man by being like man
- Show mankind what he will one day become
When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He demonstrated that He is flesh and bone (Luke 24:39). 1 John3:2 states that we are Sons of God. Yet we are not currently what we will be. But when Jesus appears, we will be like Him. We will see Him as He is. What is He? According to Luke, He is flesh, yet immortal! This is the way Adam was before the fall! That's tough I know, but please bear with me.
Here is where things get tricky. Verse 6 of 2 Corinthians 5 mentions being present in the body while verse 8 reverses the state. This might be interpreted that we are something other than our bodies when actually we are not. Look again at verse 1. This tells us of our present state, which is mortal! Verse 2 makes it plainer. Here we desire our heavenly house, which is spiritual ‘from heaven’.
So being present in the body and absent from the Lord is to be in our current mortal state. Being absent from the body and present with the Lord is our desired spiritual, heavenly state. In Romans 8:23, Paul states that we have the first fruits of the spirit, the Holy Spirit. We groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. If we are spirits, why groan and wait to become something we already are ? Again, the evidence here is that we are mortal. We wait to become spiritual beings, that is, immortal, via transformation. Galatians 5:5 states:
“For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.”
And what is this hope? It is the redemption or change of our mortal body to our heavenly body. Before we move on to the immortality of man, let's look at a special event. This gives us more clues about our current and future state.
From Mortal To Immortal
“Behold, I shew 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 trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:51-54
I just have one simple question. Why put on what we claim to have already? Now let’s look once again at the creation of Man.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” ~ Genesis 2:7
The word used for breath in Hebrew is ‘neshamah’, which means ‘spirit’. In this case, this is not man as a spirit placed into the body, but this is the Spirit of God breathed into the body! It is the Spirit of God that gives life. How can we prove this? By continuing to search for other instances where the word neshamah appears.
“All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.” ~ Genesis 7:22
“And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him.” ~ 1 Kings 17:17
“All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;” ~ Job 27:3
There are many more instances, but these should do. Take note of Job. The word breath here is the same in Genesis 2. Now let me introduce another word, ‘ruwach’ which means wind and breath. So if we were to insert the Hebrew words in place of the English ones, we would get this:
“All the while my neshamah (spirit) is in me, and the ruwach (spirit) of God is in my nostrils;”
See how the same context describes the spirit of Job and what was in Job’s nostrils (breath)? Let’s see if we can find more contextual similarities. Before we do that, let’s visit Job once more.
“The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” ~ Job 33:4
Job reveals that the Spirit (ruwach) of God created him and His breath (neshamah) has given him life. The usage depends on the context. It should start to become clear that the Spirit of God and the breath of man are in fact one and the same! If not, let’s continue…
“Cease ye from man, whose breath (neshamah) is in his nostrils…” ~ Isaiah 2:22
“For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath (neshamah) of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” ~ Isaiah 30:33
The bible uses the same word in both verses for the breath of both man and God.
If this is the case, then how can a man be a spirit while scripture says his breath is the Spirit of God? After all this, would it surprise you to know that man is not a spirit? And the scripture states this! Let’s take a look…
Lower Than The Angels
The discussion for this stance is that if a man is a spirit, then he must be an immortal being, like the angels. Well, the scriptures don't confirm this and the Bible is plain on that point.
“But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels…” ~ Hebrews 2:6-7
That should be plain enough. It's mentioned twice (Psalms 8:5 is the first time) and a third time in reference to Jesus himself! We began talking about this earlier.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death…” ~ Hebrews 2:9
Why Jesus? Because He came here to be like us, flesh. This way, He could relate to us. He can understand our weaknesses, our frailties, and our shortcomings. And also to show us that we can be perfect in this flesh. Not by our might or power, but by His sacrifice and His Spirit. How wonderful is that?
The Immortal Soul
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see…” ~ 1 Timothy 6:15-16
Interesting… How can we be or have an immortal spirit if the Bible says Christ is the only one who has immortality? The spirit in us is, in fact, the breath of God. Now we need to ask a final time, what is a man?
Genesis 2 states, “…and man became a living soul.” Beloved, this does not say we are spirits that live in a body and have a soul. We ARE souls, living souls! Here is the equation:
Body + Spirit (breath) = Living Soul, not Body + Soul + Spirit = Man
Here is how God put everything together. First, there is the Godhead where God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are one. So we would be confused with being God-like, he made Adam by forming us from the dust, added His breath and man became a living soul. Finally, remaining with the concept of oneness, he took a rib from man and created woman. He brought her to the man and they were what? One flesh. God’s ideal is unity and oneness.
As we close this out, let's reverse the process to complete the cycle of man’s life. Note this:
“Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:7
This verse, in essence, shows how death decompiles man into his original components. How many do you see? Two, body (dust) and spirit (breath, ruwach). What happened to the soul? It died! If a soul can live, it figures that it can die as well. We plan to visit this concept apart in a future post.
The Holy Bible – King James Version