Soul and Spirit

A deeper understanding for those who desire to go further

Wade E Taylor

"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." Genesis 2:7

Notice that man was formed of "dust." Had he been formed of "clay," his creation would be more understandable, as dry dust cannot be molded. The natural man would like to think that God took clay and molded him - complete and independent within himself.

For a very important reason, God "formed" Adam from dust and then "breathed" into him. This speaks of an impartation of "spirit," which caused the cohesion of the dust so Adam could be "molded" into the image of God.

"So God created man in His own image… ." Genesis 1:27a

Therefore, the Lord breathed into Adam the breath of "lives." This word is plural in the original. Adam was "formed" (soul) and then "breathed into" (spirit).

Adam was formed to be dependent on the Lord for his spirit life. He could not remain dependent unless he had the opportunity to become independent, therefore, he was placed in a probationary environment. His spirit could only commune with the Lord as he remained dependent.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

When Adam partook of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the part of Adam that was "spirit" instantly died, and later, he died physically. Man is but "dust" (soul) and cannot "cleave" to anyone, or to anything without the "impartation" of spirit that had been breathed into him. Apart from a redemptive act by his Creator, man is unable to enter into the purposes for which he has been created.

"And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden." Genesis 3:8

The natural man acts as he does because he cannot cleave (they hid from the presence of the Lord). There is something that must be "added" to him so he can function in the purpose for which he has been created. Through redemption, the Lord must breathe "spirit" into him.

"And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive you the Holy Spirit." John 20:22

When we repent and receive Jesus as our personal Savior, that which Adam lost (spirit) is restored and begins to function within us.

"That which has birth from the flesh is flesh, and that which has birth from the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I say to you, It is necessary for you to have a second birth." John 3:6-7 Bible in Basic English

Having become a spiritual baby, this restored part (our spirit reborn) must be developed.

"As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby."

I Peter 2:2 NKJV

After our "new birth" through redemption, there is a consciousness of these two realms within our being - the earthly (soul realm) and the heavenly (spirit realm). For us to live in and communicate with our physical environment, we must have a means whereby we are compatible with the earth realm.

"And as we have borne the image of the earthly... ." I Corinthians 15:49a

We put a seed in the ground and cover it over. It grows, and then we pick it, put some salt on it and eat it. We may not understand how brown soil can produce red tomatoes, white onions and green peas, but we must partake of these to receive nourishment, because we are of the earth in our physical creation.

Therefore, we easily relate to and function in the "earth realm," which is the place of our natural environment and life. But there is more, as our creation did not end with our identity in the earth realm of existence, as the "breath of lives" (earthly - soul life, and also heavenly - spirit life) had been breathed into man (us).

"…we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." I Corinthians 15:49b

By divine intent, we are to come into a measure of "dependent" identity with Jesus in order to function in this heavenly (spirit) realm, in which increasing levels of relationship and communion with Him will become available to us.

"And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Ephesians 2:6

Man was created "soul" and "spirit" so he could live and function in both the "natural" and the "spiritual" levels of life. But, there is an active enemy who ever seeks to keep us "earth bound."

"What the earthy one is, that also are those who are earthy; and what the heavenly One is, that also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne a resemblance to the earthy one, let us see to it that we also bear a resemblance to the heavenly One."

I Corinthians 15:48-49 Weymouth

The Lord has a purpose in mind, so He placed within man a "capacity" for his development and growth in each of these different realms. This is a marvelous thing: the finite (man) can relate to and commune with the infinite (God) in the heavenly realms.

"In whom we also are built together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."

Ephesians 2:22

We differ in our "soul" life both in personality and in potential. Many are born with natural gifts, such as a special ability in music or art. A person who has a talent should consecrate it to the Lord, as being a "good steward," and use it for the purposes and glory of the Lord. There should be within us a desire to cultivate and use these natural gifts, and not ignore or take for granted that which the Lord has placed within us. Those who have these gifts should be encouraged in their development.

We relate to, and communicate with, our earthly environment through five senses (taste, touch, sight, hearing, smell). Should we lose one of these, the others will become more intense and we will still be able to communicate with our environment. If we lose two or more of our senses, it will become more difficult, but if all five were lost, there would be no means of communication with our earthly environment.

These "natural" senses operate in the earthly realm of both the natural (earthly) and the redeemed (spiritual) man. But there is a higher order of life that is available only to those who are spiritually alive (born again). In "redemption," we are given recreated "spiritual" senses. These spiritual senses are a counterpart of our five "natural" senses and are just as real as the natural senses.

"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant." I Corinthians 12:1

The word "gifts" is in italics because it is not in the original. Thus, this verse relates to our being able to function in that which is "spiritual" (concerning spirituals… I would not have you ignorant).

As we spend quality time in the presence of the Lord - "waiting upon Him," these "spiritual senses" will begin to function. Only then can we "sense," or "feel" His anointing and presence and hear His voice, deep within us.

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

II Corinthians 4:18

A natural person can only relate to the earthly realm, but a spiritual person can function in both the earthly and heavenly realms. The spiritual person also has gifts or abilities in his new creation makeup. These are counterparts of natural gifts and abilities, and should be cultivated and developed, as the Lord has an intended purpose and use for them.

"And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion… ." Genesis 1:26a

There are three areas in which the Lord intends us to develop and function - the "image" and "likeness" of God, and then "dominion." A proper response to "image" (created natural and spiritual potential) and "likeness" (breathed spiritual ability), will result in our having "dominion" (spiritual authority, which is the result of a process of testing, or probation).

Man was created with the "potential" to function in both the natural and spiritual realms of his life experience, but his spiritual function was lost in Adam's transgression. Only in redemption is this restored. Then, as we respond in obedience to the workings of the Holy Spirit, our spiritual sensitivity and the deposit of spiritual life within us (divine substance) is enlarged.

"I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find Me... that I may cause those that love Me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures." Proverbs 8:17, 21

The Word says that we have "the mind of Christ" (the ability to relate to the thought and intent of Jesus). We were not born with this ability, but as we "wait" upon the Lord in His presence, we are "partaking" of new creation life, which results in our understanding that which is "spiritual."

"And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that comes to nothing: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world to our glory: "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

"But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them to us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God."

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual." I Corinthians 2:4-13

These spiritual senses are further developed and matured through our obedience to a process of "testing," which is designed to draw us into a higher realm of spiritual awareness, understanding, and experience.

Just as the Lord tested Adam by placing "the tree of life," and also "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" in the "midst" of the garden, we too must face a process in which we are tested to determine the outworking of the Lord's purpose for us. Therefore, these two "trees" are placed in our pattern of life. The tree of life (spirit) represents our utter dependence upon, and trust in, the outworking of His purpose and provision for us. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (soul) represents our desire to be independent, and to choose for ourselves what is right or wrong.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat." Genesis 3:6

This tree appeals to every aspect of man's soul, but the Lord had said "no," and established a penalty for disobedience.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die." Genesis 2:16-17

Isaiah 53 gives us a prophetic picture of Jesus, and also a description of the tree of life. By changing one word (He - to it), this description of Jesus can be seen as being a type of the "tree of life." Thus, it can be said that Jesus is the tree of life. Therefore, He told us that we are to "eat His flesh" and "drink His blood," just as Adam was told that he was to partake of the tree of life.

"For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him there is no beauty that we should desire Him." Isaiah 53:2

Had I been the Lord, I would have reversed these two trees. I would have made the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, ugly; and the tree of life, beautiful. But there is a reason for them to be as they are, as His ways are different than ours.

The tree of life was as a "root" out of a dry ground. The other was a tree with beautiful, luscious fruit. The enemy was there, saying, "Does God want to take all this away from you? Does He want to deprive you? Would God really do that to you?" It appears that the Lord has made it easy for us to make the wrong choice, because He is looking for those who desire His presence and Glory "more" than they desire their own self-centered soul satisfaction.

Therefore, we must make a choice concerning these opposite pulls upon our being. We can choose to satisfy our soulish, sensual desires, as expressed in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or we can choose the higher realm of spirituality, as expressed in the tree of life. If we think more of these sensual desires than our spiritual desires, and then choose to satisfy them, our spirituality will progressively suffer loss until we no longer have spiritual perception, and we will die spiritually.

Because the Lord has given man so much, there is a severe penalty if he makes the wrong choice.

"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die." Genesis 2:17

Adam failed and "died," first spiritually, and then physically, as the Lord had said. This affected his ability to stand in the presence of God.

"And the Lord God called to Adam, and said to him, Where are you? And he said, I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself."

Genesis 3:9-10

Adam being "naked" had nothing to do with clothes, but with the loss of the covering of "Shekinah." "Shekinah" speaks of the glory of the Lord in relation to man; it is the "covering" that allows us to come into and abide in His manifest presence. When Adam lost this "covering" of Shekinah, he could no longer enter the presence of the Lord to commune with Him, but instead, was convicted by His presence, and hid from it.

As a result of his transgression, the Shekinah that had been upon Adam as a covering was now external, apart from him. As a flaming sword before the tree of life, it became an "enemy" to keep him from the spiritual life that he had once enjoyed, and could have maintained by partaking only of the tree of life.

"To Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them." Genesis 3:21

The Lord slew an animal, and covered Adam with its skin. This involved the shedding of blood as a type of redemption. Now, Adam was "covered" and brought back into the possibility of relationship. This covering was a "substitute" for the Shekinah that had been lost, and gave Adam acceptance, but man was still prevented from coming back into the realm of spiritual life that he had once known.

"So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." Genesis 3:24

Jesus died on Calvary's cross to become our covering for sin. But there is more in our redemption. On the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus demonstrated that the Shekinah had been embodied "within" Him, but was not available to us. Now, in His resurrection and ascension, the Shekinah is again openly "upon" Him. The veil has been rent and a way has been made for us to enter into identification with Jesus in His abiding Shekinah Glory. The "flaming sword" is no longer a hindrance to our experiencing His manifest presence.

We can continue to abide in the "covering" for sin that Jesus provided through His shed blood upon the cross, receiving His forgiveness, but never coming back to the place that Adam (we) lost – that of having our spiritual senses quickened, and being "clothed upon" with His Glory.

"The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Ephesians 1:18

When the Lord came to walk with Adam in the cool of the day, Adam hid from His presence. When the Lord asked Adam where was he, he both heard and responded to this question. Notice that we can commune with the Lord in the realm of our soul, and never come back to the place of full and open fellowship with Him.

Many are satisfied with only having the redemptive covering that has been provided for them through the atonement of Jesus on the cross, and they feel comfortable to stay there. However, the Lord greatly desires us to come beyond this, and experience the full restoration of all that was lost.

"Then said Jesus to His disciples, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me." Matthew 16:24

Just as Adam, through disobedience lost his "spirit-life," we must, through obedience, die to our "soul-life."

This includes not only the provision of a covering for our sin, but also, the restoration of the original covering of the Shekinah that will enable us to experience His abiding, manifest presence (visible glory).

Our spiritual senses only function as they are quickened, or sensitized in His presence. Their development must be cultivated, and this takes time. While we are experiencing a time of communion with our Lord in His manifest presence, or when we respond and enter into a "moving" of the Holy Spirit (a quickening of His presence), our spiritual senses develop and function. This is far more important than most realize. The enemy desires to destroy this aspect of our spiritual experience by labeling it as being "emotionalism."

The Lord is looking for those who desire a full restoration of all that was lost. We have experienced forgiveness, but this must give way to the greater victory of an active life in the Spirit. At this present time, especially, the Lord is restoring His Glory to His people. He greatly desires to demonstrate this through the lives of those who have chosen the higher realm of spiritual life.

"When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe… ." II Thessalonians 1:10a

These saints (overcomers) will walk with Him in the restored covering of His "Shekinah Glory," and witness His manifest presence and power to the world in these last days.

"Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon you, and His glory shall be seen upon you. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising." Isaiah 60:1-3