Monday, April 1, 2019

What Is The Difference Between Spirit And Soul?

Do Plants Have Souls?

Question: I just got home from church. We have Bible studies at church on Monday nights. Today's topic was on the book of James 3:13-18. The discussion lead to the body, spirit and soul of a person, and the body and soul of an animal. By definition in a dictionary it says that whatever has life has a soul, what about plants? They have life, they breathe, so can you help me? Another question is what is the soul? What is the difference between soul and spirit?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

I appreciate your interest in Bible studies which so many good Christians neglect these days by saying that they have no time for it and deny to place their time, talent and treasure to God as a living sacrifice, as they live in spiritual lethargy and procrastination. These people miss one of the most important work of salvation within their lives which is to get transformed in to the image of Christ
(Rom 8:28-30), and then they end up getting conformed to the world which brings no glory to God and no reward in the after life as they fail God to prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Rom 12:1-2).

James 3:13-18
, conveys to us that those who are truly wise are mild and peaceable without envying and strife, and that we sow the fruit of God's right way of living in to the lives of those to whom we want to make peace through our good attitude towards them without expecting the others to respond positively or negatively towards us.

Yes through renewing of our soul through the Word of God we learn to overcome the bad fruit of our evil nature like envy, strife, lust, etc...and let ourselves be transformed by the power of it in our individual lives.

Spirit, Soul And Body, The Image Of Trinity Again? Independence Within Interdependence

The Scripture points to a tripartite human who cannot live in completeness without the interdependence between the spirit, soul and body. The Scripture clearly reveals his perfect will for us the children of God by saying,
"23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it." (1 Thess 5:23-24).

The above Scripture confirms that we have a immaterial spirit-man that has the ability to connect with God and keep us God-conscious, and a intertwined soul that has the ability to think, feel and take a decision to connect with ourselves to make us self-conscious, and a dust body which is wrapped over both the soul and spirit. The soul which initiates a thought or desire, the body is able to execute it to get fulfilled in the material world around us to make us world-conscious. According to the Scripture, the spirit component and the soul component are so uniquely connected as like a bone to a marrow, that one cannot exist without the other. Even though both have a individual and unique form of existence within us, only a person who is born again and is renewed by the Word of God constantly within his or her soul can only be able to differentiate the thoughts, desires and intents of one's soul from the spirit as the spirit works in the perfect will of God when born again. Unlike the spirit, the soul still has the influence of Satan and demons to misguide us in spite of being born again which needs renewal through the Word of God constantly through our effort and dependence on God to supply us grace and mercy
(Heb 4:12, 16). The spirit cannot express anything, unless the soul submits willingly to the spirit's desire which are in the will of God to guide us in the ways that are perfectly acceptable to God. The soul cannot express anything unless the body works along with it. So the day we die, our spirit and soul returns to the jurisdiction of God (Eccl 12:7; Matt 10:28), and body which was made of dust by God will return to the dust.

A human after death will again become one when God will raise them up in a new eternal glorious body out of the same dust during the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ, in which all believers will attain immortality to live with God forever and ever
(1 Thess 4:13-18).

Animals are made with a soul, but their spirit are connected by God to dissipate his voice in to their soul without the ability to respond back to God, but to humans around them in the world
(Num 22:21-39). In other words if you ask animals, birds and fishes what it conveys through its soul, you can understand that God has put his wisdom within them to declare to humans the wisdom of God and thus reveal His glory to them (Gen 1:26-27; Job 12:7-10). The only difference between humans and animals during creation was that while humans were created with a personal touch of God by breathing His breath of life in to their nostrils (Gen 2:7), the animals, birds and other living creatures were spoken in to existence without His personal touch of involvement unlike humans (Psa 33:9; Rom 4:17; Heb 1:3). While humans have soul life of Nephesh.Heb within them, having the ability to reason and take moral decisions in relation to the holiness and character of God (Gen 1:26-27; 2:7), the animals too have soul life [(i.e.) in every living creature (soul/nephesh)] within them but without reasoning capability to look to God and reflect his holiness to take moral decisions (Gen 1:20–21, 24, 30; 9:9-10; 2 Pet 2:12; Jude 10).

But with the question of whether animals have souls or not, we see that on the fifth day God said,
"Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures [souls], and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens....the fifth day.” (Gen 1:20, 23). The English word 'creatures' specifically means 'souls', this is the first occurrence of nephesh in the whole Bible. Specifically the word 'nephesh' indicates life, when the Bible says "the moving creature that hath life (nephesh)" (Gen. 1:20), it points out that all sea creatures too have a soul individually. It is used interchangeably for birds, animals and humans in various areas of the Bible to mean many different variety and behavior of soul life.

Do Humans And Animals Have Spirit And Soul Alike? What Is The Essential Difference?

We also know from the following Scriptural verses that both animals and humans have both soul and spirit within them,

“Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [spirit/ ruwach] of life; and man became a living being [soul/nephesh].” (Genesis 2:7)

““But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare to you. “Who among all these does not know That the hand of the LORD has done this, In whose hand is the life [soul/nephesh] of every living thing, And the breath [spirit/ ruwach] of all mankind?” (Job 12:7–10)

While the spirit of animals and all other living creatures are side ward looking
(Jude 10), that is, upon each others and upon humans, the spirit of humans was created to be upward looking (Isa 45:22). But the soul of all the living creatures are working the same as humans, that is, inward looking to be self-conscious and which is then connected to the world through its body to express their thoughts to the world around just like humans are. The have the divine innate ability to call on God for their earthly survival and God responds to their cries with His provisions too (Psa 147:9; 145:15-17; 136:25; Job 38:41; 147:9). God does not forget about the plight of his creation and therefore he does have a idea to bring them all back in to the liberty which He had intended for them during the creation before sin brought suffering and decay in to their lives (Luke 12:4-7). God cares about the rights of the animals too (Num 22:27-28). God wants us humans to take care of animals and respect them (Prov 12:10). Animals in the new heaven shows how much God loves animals (Isa 11:6-9; 65:25; Zech 14:20). Animals have the SAME feelings of anger, love, fear, affection, aggression, stubbornness, independence, freewill etc. Animals have recognizable personality just like man. Animals and humans were both created one after the other on the same sixth day and so there is no much of a difference except the spiritual component of the different make up in their spirit within them. Praise the Lord!

So when a animals or any other living creatures die, they return to the dust alike, but the spirit of humans goes upward to God if they are saved
(Rev 6:9), or else if unsaved with the animals downward to a place where God keeps all the departed spirit and soul in Hades which I believe will have a separate section within for other living creatures which will all be waiting to come alive in to the new creation of God that God has planned for them all in the new heaven and new earth (Eccl 3:19-20; Rom 8:18-22, 23; Eph 4:9; Rev 1:18; 20:13-14; Gen 9:5-6, 12, 17; 1 Cor 15:38-39, 55; Acts 2:31; Exo 12:29).

Do Plants Breathe Like Animals?

We know that plants and all trees and everything take in and inhale carbon-dioxide which we humans and animals exhale, so that the environment can be conducive for the sustenance and existence of all living creatures and humans possible both on sea and land. We do not see the neural wiring in plants to process suffering and emotions of pain like living creatures and humans do.

Thus plants do not have a soul, but only a life cycle. The plant life cycle begins with a seed. The seed will sprout and produce a tiny, immature plant called a seedling. The seedling will grow to adulthood and form a mature plant. The mature plant will reproduce by forming new seeds which will begin the next life cycle.

Thus the breathing of plants is not to support a soul unlike humans and living creatures, but it is to keep the life cycle to go on and on and on in order that the living creatures and humans may be able to consume it and keep being refreshed to sustain life, God saw it and felt very good because He has sustained the project on earth perfectly through interdependence of keeping the environment intact
(Gen 1:29-31). Even humans first main work in the Garden of Eden was to tend and keep it intact sprawling everywhere to keep the environment beautiful, balanced and maintain a ecology of good health both physically, soulishly and spiritually (Gen 1:8-9, 15)

Photosynthesis, process by which green plants and certain other organisms use the energy of light to convert carbon dioxide and water into the simple sugar glucose. In so doing, photosynthesis provides the basic energy source for virtually all organisms, thus fulfilling God's purpose for the purpose of the life of the plants which is to provide sustenance for living souls of humans and animals and living creatures alike. Praise the Lord!

Plant disease damages the photosynthetic apparatus and affects the growth of plant which came as a result of sin and disobedience to the voice of God
(Gen 3:17-19). Most plant diseases (around 85%) are caused by fungal or fungal-like organisms. Other serious diseases of plants are caused by bacteria, viruses, etc...

Plants do not have soul because soul consist of mind, emotion and will which act in interdependence to form unique characteristics to each and every soul that possess it.

As seen above already, spirit is the God apparatus that supports the soul life in sustaining the life which has been put within the body to sustain it through breathing which is promoted by the Spirit of God and the blood life which is placed within at the time of creation of all lives
(Lev 17:13-14; Psa 104:29; John 6:63; Job 34:14-15). The spirit within us too have a ability of its own to think and express it to God and to people (Rom 9:1), show its emotions to God and to people (John 11:33), and finally take a decision of will to do something towards God and towards people too (1 Cor 5:3) and above all the spirit within us have the supernatural ability to receive communication, convict us of our wrong doings and assurance of His voice from heaven (Rom 8:16; Prov 20:27).

As both the spirit and soul are immaterial things, no body can differentiate and know the difference except the humans who use the word of God wisely by letting themselves be transformed in to the image of God. Praise the Lord! GLORY!

Jonah 4:10-11, the Lord clearly conveyed that if any man consider the plants life so precious, the life of humans and animals are much more precious than the plants life cycle made for it, as the Lord said so certainly to Jonah the prophet who was complaining and grumbling toward God for having made a plant that gave shade to him to die, “You did nothing for that plant. You did not make it grow. It grew up in the night, and the next day it died. And now you are sad about it. If you can get upset over a plant, surely I can feel sorry for a big city like Nineveh. There are many people and animals in that city. There are more than 120,000 people there who did not know they were doing wrong.” So understand that the living souls of humans are so so important to God and next the soul of all living creatures and next to it even the plants which reveal the Glory of God (Matt 6:25, 26, 28-29, 30). Then as said God is concerned for the well being of the life cycle of the plants which do matter to him as it becomes a revelation of His Glory to humans, sustenance and survival for the humans who are made in His image, and to the living creatures made with soul for His Glory!

Much Blessings....


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