The Mystery of Man

Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am awesomely and wonderfully made.” You don't need to have a Ph.D. degree or an exceptionally high IQ to appreciate how awesome and wonderful we are as God's creature, but have you ever really considered what we consist of? Let's take a brief moment to look at our make-up based on a biblical view.

Man is Tripartite

1 Thessalonians 5:23 says, “And the God of peace Himself sanctify you wholly, and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice how this verse refers to our whole being as spirit, soul, and body. Hence, according to this verse (and actually many others), we are a tripartite being.

Man's Body

Let's look at the body first. Obviously, the body is the physical body belonging to the physiological level. It provides us with our physical senses and enables us to interact with our surroundings and things of the material world. It is the most superficial part, giving us a physical existence in time and space. Without the body, we would be a “nobody”! It is easy to understand the needs of our body. We all need to breathe, drink, eat, sleep, and even exercise to maintain a healthy body, and it doesn't take much to motivate us to fulfill these basic needs.

Man's Soul

The soul is the mental faculty which gives us our self-consciousness that we may have our personality. It belongs to the psychological level. Our intellect, emotions, will, and other inner feelings all point to the different faculties of our soul. The soul is what gives us our identity and a meaningful existence beyond our temporal, physical existence. That's why the Bible often refers to people as souls (e.g. eight souls were saved from the flood in Noah's ark, 75 souls including Jacob and his family left Egypt, and 3,000 souls were saved and added to the church in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost). The needs of our soul are also easy to recognize. The quest for knowledge, entertainment, and even the desire to love and to be loved, are all examples of soulish needs.

Man's Spirit

Now, let's consider the human spirit. The spirit is the deepest and most mysterious part of man, belonging to the spiritual level and possessing God-consciousness. It is with this inner “organ” that we can know God, worship God, fellowship with God, and understand the things of God. Regardless of the differences of race, culture, and education, man has an intrinsic capacity for God because he has a spirit that matches God who is spirit (John 4:24). As wonderful and important as it is, the human spirit is often the most neglected and misunderstood part among the three parts of man.

God's Full Salvation

For problems of the body, we may see a doctor. For problems of the soul, we may visit a psychiatrist. Yet, only God can solve the problems of the spirit. Ever since the fall of man, man's spirit has been dead because of sin. But by turning our heart to God and accepting Jesus Christ as our Saviour, our sins are forgiven and our spirit is regenerated with the Spirit of God. This is the beginning of God's lifelong sanctification work in us, spreading from our spirit into our soul and ultimately transfiguring our body by the power of Jesus Christ at His second coming. This is God's full salvation for the tripartite man, and it can be ours just by believing and asking Him.