Quote Originally Posted by Undesired Walrus View Post
The soul ever been defined as anything more than a purely superfluous addition to the body? What's it supposed to generate that the physical mind cannot?
What is the soul? It is self-consciousness having mind, will and emotion. That's the precise definition.

How did the soul come into being: full and complete self-consciousness, more than just the animals would have? When the body was formed from dust over 13.7 billion years (Gen. 2.7) it was then about six millennia ago, God breathed the breath of life, directly creating man's spirit, into the body, and when the spirit made contact with the body, the soul life was formed. Man became a living soul at that point with a spirit of God-consciousness: again, more than anything prior that pre-Adamic had. We know, obviously, if people profess to worship and believe in God, they must have a capacity to do so and must have commenced at some point in our species. As it must start somewhere. The spirit of God-consciousness has the functions of intuition, communion and conscience. Furthermore, mankind having awareness of his Creator, it would be unrighteous of God to allow man to cease to exist.

The soulical mind and body can't form themselves. They needed a cause to come into being. God is the cause. Just as nature can't cause itself, nor can man who is in nature.

"For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4.12). Why does God want to divide our spirit from our soul? Because they are mingled and confused, so man is unable to walk by his innerman, but lives in his outerman, like an animal. Such is a man of the world, under Satan who is the god of this world. As the High Priest places the sacrifice on the altar to split it open, joints (revealing motion) and marrow (revealing sensation), so does God using the word of God to divide our spirit and soul, and from our body, discerning all the intents and thoughts of our heart.

What God places above all else is our spirit, because it is in our spirit we can receive God's life and the leading of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. Spirit makes contact with spirit. "May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5.23). Notice spirit comes first. Think of your spirit as the mistress, your soul the steward, and your body the servant. Your mistress is the one who is really in charge, for she gives the demands, and the steward responds to execute it by way of the servant. Another analogy is that of electricity and light bulb. The electricity is the spirit, the wire is the body and the bulb the total man. The spirit sends the signal through the body of the wire which animates the soul of man.

The soul, if it chooses, also can suppress the spirit and take some other delight as lord of the man. This trinity of spirit, soul and body may be partially illustrated by a light bulb. Within the bulb, which can represent the total man, there are electricity, light and wire. The spirit is like the electricity, the soul the light, and body the wire. Electricity is the cause of the light while light is the effect of electricity. Wire is the material substance for carrying the electricity as well as for manifesting the light. The combination of spirit and body produces soul, that which is unique to man. As electricity, carried by the wire, is expressed in light, so spirit acts upon the soul and the soul, in turn, expresses itself through the body.

However, we must remember well that whereas the soul is the meeting-point of the elements of our being in this present life, the spirit will be the ruling power in our resurrection state. For the Bible tells us that "it is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15.44). Yet here is a vital point: we who have been joined to the resurrected Lord can even now have our spirit rule over the whole being. We are not united to the first Adam who was made a living soul but to the last Adam Who is a life-giving spirit (v.45).