Dr. Henry B. Waiters: Man, the triune one
Man is body, spirit and soul, according to the creation sequence. “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Gen. 2:7
Man’s body was fashioned from the dust of the ground, while his spirit came from the very “breath of God.”
The first step was exceedingly important, but the moistened dust was far from being a man until the second miracle was complete. God communicated His own life to that inert mass of substance He had previously created and molded. The divine breath permeated the form and transformed it into a living (being) soul. That strange combination of dust and deity produced a marvelous creation (I Cor. 15:47-49), made in God’s own image.
In Scripture, image does not suggest that man bore a physical resemblance to God. Rather, he was made like God in spiritual powers. Man was given the powers to think and feel, to communicate with others, to discern and discriminate and, to a certain extent, to determine his own character.
Man, then, is a trinity: spirit, soul and body. Spirit is that part of man which knows (I Cor. 2:11), his mind.
Soul is the seat of the affections, desires, emotions and of the active will, the self. Because man is spirit he is capable of God-consciousness, and of communication with God (Job 32:8; Psa. 18:28); because he is soul he has self-consciousness (Psa. 13:2, 42:5, 6, 11); because he is body he has, through his senses, world-consciousness.
Because the natural man is, characteristically, the soulual or psychical man, soul is often used as synonymous with the individual (Gen. 12:5; Ezk. 18:4; Rom. 13:1). The body, separable from the spirit and soul, and susceptible to death, which the spirit and soul are not, is nevertheless an integral part of man.
The body is the lowest part of man as a triune being, in which his soul and spirit (human/creative) spirit resides (1 Thess. 5:23). Man and woman were created perfect beings, and placed in a perfect environment, and communicated daily with their Creator. God warned them of the consequence of disobedience. Lucifer, the fallen angel and enemy of God, caused the woman to disobey and fall through pride; she then causing man to fall, deliberately (I Tim. 2:14).
The consequences: physical and spiritual death for them and their descendants (I Cor. 15:20-22), spiritual death being separation and alienation from God. Jesus in the Scriptures is referred to as the second Adam who makes it possible for man to have a new relationship, life and fellowship with the Father (1 Cor. 15: 45-50). To enter into this new relationship, one must be convicted of his present condition and need (John 8:9); after conviction, repentance (Acts 3:19); then conversion (Matt. 18:3); then confession (Rom. 10:10).
These actions are prerequisite for the new birth. One must be born again (John 3:3-6). One then is born of the Spirit into that Spiritual body, Salvation body, Invisible body, true church of the Lord Jesus Christ. After this new Scriptural birth which also includes redemption, one then unites with a visible body, local assembly, which portends to be a visible representation of the invisible Spiritual and Salvation body.
In the body of a redeemed man, the Holy Spirit who initiated the action dwells (I Cor. 6:19; II Pet. 1:13,14), and his body is said to be peculiarly God’s property (I Cor. 6:20). All members of the physical body are to be yielded unto God as instruments of righteousness rather than unto iniquity (Rom. 6:13, 19).
There are three words that are used figuratively for the human body in which the Soul, human spirit and Holy Spirit dwells. The first is Tabernacle: a tent sanctuary used by the Israelites during the exodus; a house of worship; a temporary shelter; a dwelling place. “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens: (II Cor. 5:1,4; I Peter 1:13-14).
The second is Vessel: a container for holding something. A person into whom some quality (such as grace) is infused, transforming a person into a true vessel of the Lord. “But the Lord said unto him, go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” (Acts. 9:15; Rom.9:22,23; II Tim. 2:21).
The third is Temple: an edifice for the worship of a deity. A place devoted to a special or exalted purpose. “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, his shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy, which ye are.” (I Cor. 3:16,17). Much attention should be given to these verses. ‘Defile’ is the rendering of several Hebrew and Greek words, generally meaning uncleanness in a figurative or ceremonial sense. Many blemishes of person and conduct were, under the Mosaic law, esteemed as defilements. Under the Gospel moral defilement is especially emphasized (Matt. 15:18; Rom. 1:24).
If this man was created perfect and upright, these are two of many characteristics to consider: Sanctity, the holiness of life and character; godliness, the quality or state of being holy or sacred. Sacred: dedicated or set apart for service, witness, or worship of God and worthy of religious veneration (respect).
The fall of man caused him to commit acts of “desecration,” “profaneness” and “debasement” upon himself. Desecration is to violate the sanctity of life, holiness of life, sacredness of life; to profane is to treat disrespectfully, irreverently or outrageously. Profane is to treat something sacred with abuse, irreverence or contempt, to desecrate, to debase by a wrong, unworthy or vulgar use. Debase is to lower in status esteem, quality or character.
Man has nothing to do with his birth, and should have nothing to do with his death. That interval in between, cradle to grave, is what belongs to him.
At the earliest age of comprehension, he should be taught who he is and whose he is. He then understands that he is created in the image of God and possesses those inherent characteristics as well as that potential. He will start early respecting and protecting that body, being concerned about proper diet, avoiding tobacco, alcohol and drugs, paying required attention to personal hygiene, development and care of the body.
Often, many indicate dissatisfaction with themselves: skin texture or color; hair color or length; lack of body piercing or inking. They observe the many models they choose to imitate, hoping their decision will be satisfying and call attention to themselves.
They don’t know or care that some decisions can be devastating — they desecrate, profane and debase the sanctity and sacredness of the tabernacle, the human body in which the soul dwells.
Some noteworthy Scriptural admonitions:
“Doth not even nature itself teach you that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her, for her hair is given her for a covering” (I Cor. 11:14-15).
The Apostle Paul is saying that man is created in the image of God, created to display the attributes and glory of God, and should not wear long hair. Nature teaches that long hair makes him appear feminine and destroys his higher distinction and authority over women.
But a woman’s hair is given to her by nature, a natural covering. A hat or veil is a temporary covering; her hair carries the same significance as the temporary covering. Her hair is her glory and should not be bobbed nor her head shaved. The church is the glory of Christ on earth and is in subjection to Christ. The woman’s hair also denotes her subjection to her husband, the head.
Note Moses’ description of some of the relationships and walk of God’s people: “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord” (Lev. 19:27-28).
“Cuttings in the flesh” prohibited any voluntary disfigurement of the person. Both cutting and tattooing of the body were practiced by the heathen. “Making baldness” upon their heads was a sign of mourning among heathen people. They were therefore denied the service of the Jewish priest who would perform the ritual and offer the bread of God, because their baldness made them ceremonially unclean.
The continuously increasing occurrences of men’s long hair or shaved heads, and women’s bobbed hair or shaved heads, and all but covering of the body with ink (tattooing), and the piercing of the body, even by those who profess faith, seems to show that they are unaware of the defilement, debasement and profanation they bring upon themselves.
These worldly aspirations, including claw-like nails, prevent them from effectively witnessing and representing the Lord Jesus Christ. This clearly indicates that the body members are not yielded unto God as instruments of righteousness, but rather unto iniquity (Rom 6: 13,19).
“The body of sin” (Rom. 6:6), called also “the body of death” (Rom. 7:24), represents the physical body under the control of the old nature. Unless the believer walks in the new nature under the power of the Holy Spirit, he will come under the contamination of the old nature, which is not destroyed when one becomes a believer (Rom. 7:15-25).
Paul describes a believer’s life, service and consecration: “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:1,2).
We are not to suppose that non-conformity to the world necessarily involves awkwardness of behavior, peculiarity of dress, or boorishness in manner. But the entire world system is summed up in three terms — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life (the ostentation of living).
Therefore, non-conformity to the world implies holding the body and its appetites in subjection to the Spirit of God, subjecting the imagination to the mind of Christ, and walking in lowliness of spirit through surroundings where self-confidence and boasting are the order of the day.
As the mind is occupied with Christ and the affection set on things above, we become like Him who has won our hearts for Himself; and walking in living obedience we prove the blessedness of the good, and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Dr. Waiters can be reached at 704-636-3369.