Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Soul: Part 2

Adam was created with spirit because he was holy as God is holy (i.e., in the image of God). When the spirit imbued Adam, it went somewhere. Just as void was the container for the universe, an Adam-shaped void became the container for the soul. Jesus referred to this container as his cup. Many times in the New Testament, the cup is mentioned.
Matthew 23:25 (ESV) “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."
This statement was symbolic but clear. As the plate holds the cup, the body holds the soul. In other places, Jesus asked his followers to drink of his cup. He is sharing his spirit with them, that spirit represented by his own blood.

The spirit and the soul are not the same thing. Paul mentioned both in the same sentence:
1 Thessalonians 5:23 "Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Spirit" is pneuma in the Greek and the "soul" is psyche. Wikipedia erroneously equates the psyche  as the spirit or soul. You can see from Paul's writings that they are not the same. If the soul is filled with God's Holy Spirit, as Paul implies to be sanctified, the Christian must keep both blameless.

Psychology - the study of the soul, is another religion. We cannot use the definition from false teachings but their definition is that the psyche is the human mind both the conscious and the sub-conscious, then go back and use the word "spirit" to define it in more detail. (Wikipedia; "psyche"). We know that the mind is a faculty separate from the body and soul. However, both interact with it.

We know that the soul is incorporeal because it cannot be excised by dissecting. The blade of the surgeon will never pass through the soul because it is not material. To find the shape of the soul, we should look toward Jesus in whose image we were created.
Matthew 17: 5 (ESV)"...he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son,with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified."
What happened on the mountain top? That is where the Son of Man became fully the Son of God. Apparently, his soul was made manifest in that it was revealed in his clothes as a bright light came over them. Luke, in his gospel,  referred to this bright light as "glory" which is the presence of God.  Luke also said that Jesus's countenance was altered.

Divine countenance is when God is manifested rather than just his immanence. There on that mountain top what had been hidden before - the Holy Spirit, was revealed for the first time to the apostles. The Holy Spirit had been in Jesus all the time, but on that mountaintop three of the apostles saw the cup which held the Holy Spirit. It was a Jesus-shaped cup! The pure white light which dazzled on Jesus made his soul appear!

Why was Moses there to witness this? Why Elijah? Let's consider Elijah first. He was taken to heaven in a whirlwind without dying. As such, he was the only mortal who had seen God yet lived. Also, he explained the need for the fifth cup, rather than four, as a celebration of future redemption in celebrating the Passover feast. Here he was, witnessing the fifth cup with its contents revealed! Elijah announced the future redeemer centuries before, and John the Baptist did so as well. The Baptizer was a type of Elijah.

Moses witnessing God was nothing new either. He saw God on Mt. Sinai as a burning bush, or at least that was the description. It was no coincidence that God appeared as a dazzling white light on the mountaintop to see immanence change into glory just as he had seen before. Some suggest that the mountain of transfiguration was the same Mt. Sinai where Jesus appeared to Moses long before.

I said that Jesus had appeared to Moses there. The immanence of the burning bush was God's glory -  his presence. The Word spoke from the burning bush. The Voice was the immanence of Jesus. The burning bush wrote the commandments in stone. That power was the Holy Spirit. God in his three substances appeared on Mt. Sinai to Moses, and here he was again seeing much the same thing happen! Jesus was there in body, God the Father was there as a dazzling cloud, and the Holy Spirit was revealed in Jesus! The transfiguration was basically, in my view, revealing the Holy Spirit in Jesus's soul.

Our own body is the plate, and our own soul is the cup. As Jesus's cup was Jesus-shaped, ours is Adam-shaped. Since Adam was made in God's image, our spirit is God's and our soul is as Jesus's.

That describes the shape of our soul and it's existence. Being immanent, It can't be seen, just as Jesus's could not before he was transformed from immanence into manifestation. When we die and are glorified, our Adam-shaped soul will glow as well, I believe, since we too will be in the presence of God - glorified.

What is in the soul. God's Holy Spirit. We need only "look" at the attributes of the Holy Spirit to see the contents of an imbued soul. I say "imbued" because rather than be "filled" Greek pletho in Acts 2:4 means "imbued". I believe that Jesus, being pure, was totally imbued with the Holy Spirit, which is to permeate of tinge deeply. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). I liken that to a sponge soaked with water. People have the things of the world still inside after they sin, but God doesn't take his spirit away. Christians still sin, but the spirit is still in the soul. We must always repent to keep our temple (the soul) clean so as to be more fully imbued with God's Holy Spirit.

Thus the contents of the soul is purity tinged with sin. As Christians we will never be perfect as he is perfect (Matt 5:48), but we are to work to be perfect. I specifically say work because perfection is a command and is hard work!

Since our soul is imbued with God's Holy Spirit, what is its contents? The fruits of the spirit are twelve (Rev 22:2). Nine are mentioned:
Galatians 5:22 (ESV) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. "
Because we are not yet perfect until we are glorified, some contamination is still within the soul:
 Galatians 5:18  (ESV) "But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions..."
In order for the soul to remain pure as can be, we must repent of all these works of the flesh. We must keep our cup clean by keeping our plate clean.

I wish that I could say that Christians don't have these works of the flesh. We do, but when they are repented of, God washes the cup clean, and we start all over again. If one never repents of sin, and their soul becomes imbued with sin,  then the temple of Christ becomes dirtied. We become less imbued, and are headed for trouble!

We will never fully understand the soul. I certainly don't, but from scripture I have an idea of what it is, and how sin and holiness interact within it. Regardless of the shape of the soul, we must guard against its contents being dirtied. If we claim Christ but live for Satan, we serve two masters. (Matt 6:24). One must prevail. Which one is up to you!

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