KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE
LESSON 5 – THE NATURE OF MAN
“And God breathed into his nostrils and man became a living being…and God said, ‘It is very good.’” What a joy it is to be part of God’s very best creation. No other creature captures His image. No other creature captures His attention when they cry out. He sent His only begotten Son to die for no other creature…only man.
Our view of man is foundational to so many other doctrines. It affects our approach to many ethical questions, such as abortion and capital punishment. It affects how we view sin and salvation, free will and human nature. So the study of this lesson is focused on man’s nature and what God intends us to be.
Some groups (Jehovah’s Witnesses and Seventh-day Adventists) believe man is a body only, thus there is a denial of an eternal hell. This view must be rejected as a serious false doctrine. On the other side of the spectrum are those who believe the soul is indestructible, and thus there is no hell.
Then there are those who believe man’s true essence is spirit only. This view is held by the metaphysical cults like Christian Science. The New Age Movement heavily depends on Hindu metaphysics and says that man’s true nature is his participation in the universal, nonmaterial mass of vibrating energy, also know as “god.”
1. What is your view of the essence of man? (Man is spirit, soul and body – a trichotomy; made in the image of God.) 1 Thess. 5:23; Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7
2. What does it mean when we say we are made in the image of God? (We are a person, as He is a person; like He, we have a conscience, intellectual capacity that reasons, verbal language, volitional capacity that is free to decide, moral capacity with a sense of right and wrong, creative capacity, and emotional capacity.)
3. Why did God make man?
4. Insight: God wants to have relationship with us. He also created us to worship Him by our own free-will choice – which all other creation does so by design, not choice.
5. If someone were to say to you that our spirit and soul are the same, what would you say? (They are not the same; they are divided, per Heb. 4:12. Psuchay: soul, heart, life. Pneuma: spirit, wind, breath.) Heb. 4:12
6. Is our spirit the same as God’s Spirit? Jn. 3:5-7; Acts 2:38
Insight: Our spirit is that which enables us to communicate in the spiritual realm. The Holy Spirit comes and goes, working on the heart of unredeemed man; but God sends the Holy Spirit to take up permanent residence in the one who is born again and seals him/her.
7. Explain the function of our spirit per the passages below.
Ps. 51:10 ________________________________ (Conscience – where God convicts.)
Acts 20:22 _______________________________ (Intuition – sensing in the spiritual realm.)
Jn. 4:24-25 ______________________________ (Worship – where we touch God.)
8. Explain the function of the soul per the passages below.
Prov. 2:10 _______________________________ (Knowledge – the mind.)
1 Chr. 22:19 ______________________________(Choose – the will.)
1 Sam. 18:1 ______________________________ (Love – emotions.)
Ps. 42:1-2 _______________________________ (Desire – emotions.)
Matt. 26:38 ______________________________ (Feeling – emotions.)
9. Explain the parallelism of the spirit/soul and life in: Lk. 12:16-21; Ja. 2:26; Matt.27:50.
Insight: The soul and life are inseparable. If one does not have his soul, he dies. Life is the phenomenon of the soul. Therefore, the life of man (his soulical realm) is the composite of his mental, emotional and volitional capacities.
10. According to these passages, which is the more important component of man? 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16; Rom. 7:22-25; 1 Pet. 3:3-4
11. Upon death, what part of us goes to heaven or hell? Rev 6:9; 20:4
Insight: Man is more than what he does in the body that he wears. His soul expresses his personality and his spirit communicates with the spiritual that is unseen. But it is the soul that must not be sold to Satan, for Jesus came to die to redeem your soul to the Father.
12. Which is stronger…our spirit or our flesh? Matt. 26:41
13. Explain the puzzling passage of 1 Thess. 4:14-16 (Upon death the spirit and soul of the Christian goes to be with the Lord immediately; what is resurrected in this passage is the new, incorruptible body that is reunited with our spirit & soul.)
14. Is the soul of man immortal? (It is not immortal; it is perishable.) 1 Tim. 6:15-16; Ezek. 18:4
15. According to Rev. 20:11-15, how important is it to prepare for the state of the soul/spirit after death?
Man, in the span of eternity, is but a blade of grass – alive today and blown away by the wind tomorrow. We are but a wink in the eyes of our eternal God, but He knows every moment of your life in this wink. He is fully intimate with every move you make. Of all His creation…you bear the mark of His image…and it is only for His creation of man that He sent His Son to die to purchase your soul.
So much of our world promotes satisfaction of the flesh, yet it is the least valuable of our entire being. We live every day having to deny sinful indulgence of the flesh and feed our spirit on the things of God. Here’s the delicate balance: What we do in our lifetime in the flesh counts for eternity…but to focus only upon the flesh is to make a foolish and eternally fatal decision that will reveal the folly when we stand before our Maker on that final day and give an account for what we did in the flesh and the spirit. The flesh is but a blade of grass…but the soul that is clothed with Jesus Christ will flourish for eternity.