“Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God from your whole heart, from your whole soul, and from your whole power.”
Deut. 6:4-5, OSB (LXX)
I think the Bible reveals mankind with a three-part spiritual anatomy made in the image of the Trinity that is one Lord, our God. In this archetype, the soul is the invisible Father principle whose will is carried out by the body or Son, empowered by that which dwells in his heart or Spirit.
To simplify, think of the body (or power) as hardware, the spirit (or heart) as software, and the will (or soul) as the operator.
- The body is made of organic matter, has mass, and provides 3-way contact with the physical world through its servants: the senses, emotions, and actions.
- The senses give the body awareness of the external world
- Emotions give the body awareness of our internal world, communicating with the spirit/heart/mind
- Our speech and actions express the soul’s will concerning things the body and spirit experience, closing the circle
- The human spirit is made of spiritual matter. It is bound by spiritual laws, but is free from the physical laws that govern mass, space, and time. This makes it able to continue functioning as a body for the self after physical death. It can become diseased or disabled and even die, but not from physical causes. It provides 3-way contact with the spiritual world through its servants, consciousness, heart, and mind.
- Consciousness does for the spirit what physical senses do for the body. Among other things, it either allows or does not allow us to see, hear, and know what our will accepts or rejects
- The heart (higher emotions) does for the spirit what regular emotions do for the body. It responds to truth, beauty, and justice (or to their opposites) as the will directs. When a person’s spirit is diseased, good is taken for evil, and evil for good. What we rejoice over reveals the true condition of our hearts
- The mind is like a General. It records and interprets information from all the senses, filters them for importance, and passes summary reports to the soul so that it can make decisions. It comes up with a plan and rallies the body to fulfill its orders. It cannot be trusted to be honest, fair, or good. It will sacrifice anything it deems necessary to achieve victory. I believe this is what we are warned about in Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT):
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
- The soul (or will) is the choosing part, the sovereign personality and decider whose servants are the body and the spirit with their respective staffs. It cannot act in the spiritual world without a spirit body, nor in the physical world without a physical body. It is the invisible self that survives the death of the body, and of the spirit, if that occurs.