The LORD God formed the 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
Male and female he created them. GENESIS 1:27
Each human being in this world consists of a material body animated by an immaterial personal self. Scripture calls this self a “soul” or “spirit.” “Soul” emphasizes the distinctness of a person’s conscious selfhood as such; “spirit” carries the nuances of the self’s derivation from God, dependence on him, and distinctness from the body as such.
Biblical usage leads us to say that we have and are both souls and spirits, but it is a mistake to think that soul and spirit are two different things; a “trichotomous” view of man as body, soul, and spirit is incorrect. The common idea that the soul is an organ of this-worldly awareness only and that the spirit is a distinct organ of communion with God that is brought to life in regeneration is out of step with biblical teaching and word usage. Moreover, it leads to a crippling anti-intellectualism whereby spiritual insight and theological thought are separated to the impoverishing of both, theology being seen as “soulish” and unspiritual while spiritual perception is thought of as unrelated to the teaching and learning of God’s revealed truth.
The embodiment of the soul is integral to God’s design for mankind. Through the body, as was said earlier, we are to experience our environment, enjoy and control things around us, and relate to other people. There was nothing evil or corruptible about the body as God first made it, and had sin not come in, the physical ailing, aging, and rotting that leads to death as we know it would have been no part of human life (Gen. 2:17; 3:19, 22; Rom. 5:12). Now, however, human beings are corrupt throughout their psycho-physical being, as their disordered desires, both physical and mental, warring against each other as well as against the rules of wisdom and righteousness, clearly show.
At death the soul leaves the defunct body behind, but this is not the happy release that Greek philosophers and some cultists have imagined. The Christian hope is not redemption from the body but redemption of the body. We look forward to our participation in Christ’s resurrection in and through the resurrection of our own bodies. Though the exact composition of our future glorified bodies is presently unknown, we know that there will be some sort of continuity with our present bodies (1 Cor. 15:35-49; Phil. 3:20-21; Col. 3:4).
The two genders, male and female, belong to the Creation pattern. Men and women are equally God’s image-bearers (Gen. 1:27), and their dignity is equal in consequence. The complementary nature of the genders is meant to lead to enriching cooperation (see Gen. 2:18-23) as their roles are fulfilled not just in marriage, procreation, and family life, but in life’s wider activities also. Perception of the unfathomable difference between a person of the other gender and oneself is meant to be a school for learning the practice and joy of appreciation, openness, honor, service, and fidelity, all of which belong to the courtesy that the mysterious reality of the other gender requires. The ideology of “unisex,” which plays down the significance of the two genders, thus perverts God’s order, while the French tag on gender distinction, “vive la difference!” (Long live the contrast!) expresses the biblical viewpoint.
Title: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs
Section: God Revealed as Creator
Author: Packer, J.I. (James Innell)
Index: Concise Theology index – CLICK HERE