MAN – HIS COMPOSITION,
BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT
For many years there has been much confusion among different Orthodox writers concerning the components of man and the difference between man’s soul and spirit and this has been going on since days of old. This may shed some light on the subject.
Let us examine Scripture, which establishes the true facts and to see what this will reveal/. Many writers and speakers say that Adam and his posterity are the image and likeness of God, which is not accurate for Scripture does not apply the words “image and likeness to the creation of Adam it speaks of a man to come who will be just like God. Scripture says: “Let us create man in our own image and likeness” and many apply this to Adam, but it does not refer to him or his seed. It refers to Jesus Christ, the Godman, who is the perfect image and likeness of God. Concerning the creation of Adam and Eve Scripture says: “And God formed man in His own image, male and female created He them, establishing that Adam and his posterity are the image but not the likeness. Because describing the creation of Adam and Eve the likeness is not mentioned, and this is correct for later they listened to the serpent and broke God’s law. The man “in the image and likeness of God, the perfect man will be in the likeness of God, and this man is Jesus Christ the Godman, eternal God and perfect sinless man.
Formation of Man
Regarding the formation of Adam the Bible says: “And God formed man out of the clay of the earth and breathed into his person a breath of life and the man became a living soul.” There are three things shown mentioned. Man, body and soul lifeless from clay, the inbreathing from God of a breath or spirit of life, “and the man became a living soul.” So the first man is body and soul from the clay of earth and an enlivening spirit breathed into Him from God’s spirit. Therefore, man’s life is derived from the spirit of God. Confirming this is the Scripture statement of death: “Then the clay shall return to the earth as it was; and the spirit shall return to God who gave it” (Eccles. 12:7). Death occurs when the return of the spirit of life returns to God, the body is buried in a shallow grave and the soul descends into Hades, according to Scripture. Man is therefore, formed in the image of God for he is one and also three, body, soul and spirit.
Two natures grow in man’s soul, carnal and spiritual, carnal because his soul is united to a carnal or fleshly body causing his carnal nature. His soul is also united to the spirit from God causing his spiritual nature. This also is testified to by conscience through which God arouses the soul to do good not evil.
The difference between man and animals is the divine spirit breathed into man. Animals and men are both body and soul, but animals do not have spirit, thus man is superior to animals.
The body and soul of man, are carnal and spiritual. The spirit breathed into man by God, not only gave man life, but cognition or intellect, affection or feelings and a will, and he gave him freedom.
Nature of the Soul
The nature of the soul is cognitive, volitive and affective.
The cognitive faculty is the power through which the soul cognizes itself and things around it as well as the first cause. It resembles the visual faculty of the eye, which sees visible things, which are processed by the cognitive faculty. Thus the cognitive faculty is sensuous receiving visual sensations. Cognition is also conscious and is rational, due to the union of the soul with spirit.
The affective faculty feels and experiences pleasure and pains, gratification and griefs, joy ands sorrows. The feeling of these opposed passions grows in the soul out of the need for the nourishment and preservation of its body, primarily eating and drinking.
The volitive faculty wills and wishes for things which it considers good for itself and detests what is bad. In willing it has the power of moving and striving after what seems good. The will is affected by the cognitive and affective faculties, through understanding and feelings.
Man is body, soul and spirit, both the soul and created from the clay of the earth. Life, cognition, affection and volition are not derived from the soul itself, which at creation was lifeless, but the soul is enlightened by the spirit breathed into man from God.
Because man is united to a body of flesh and the spirit breathed into him, two natures are present in his soul, carnal and spiritual. The carnal body when it feels any need, signals the soul’s affective faculty as to its needs or desires, such as hunger or thirst. The cognitive faculty decides to accept or reject the suggestion and the will fulfills and acts accordingly. The desire to learn, to understand and know, to worship the Creator, to govern and be governed are all derived from the spiritual faculty. The desires of the flesh to eat drink and sleep derive from the carnal faculty.
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