I have questions to ask you.  First about angels and humans. If both of us have free will, why is it that God still create human? Does the Bible talk about this topic?  Second about soul and spirit. Are these the same things? And if not, what is the differences between them? Also, do we have 2 spirits in our bodies? Our spirit and Holy Spirit? And when we die, do our soul perish together with our bodies? And is it only our spirit waiting for judgment because the Holy Spirit will leave us by then?


The Bible supplies a solid answer for why God created human beings, but gives us relatively little information on why he created angels.  Clearly, angels have free will, as nearly all believers agree (though the Bible is not absolutely clear) that Satan is an angel who fell from God. This implies free will for Satan at least.  Probably all of the demons are also angelic beings who have rebelled against God.
Why did God create humans?  Genesis 1-2 tells us.  We were created as God’s image-bearers, to populate and to govern over the earth as members of God’s kingdom. We exist so that we can glorify God, that God can love us, that we can love God, and that we can love one another.
Why did God create angels?  This is less clear, biblically.  We learn in Hebrews 1 that they are messengers–that they communicate to people on behalf of God.  But this does not seem to be the only reason God created angels.  Perhaps God created angels for reasons not all that different from why he created humans, but the Bible does not give us much information on this topic.  Paul tells us that we will judge angels (which probably means that God will do the judging, but we will be at his side, taking part in such judgment).  The Bible tells us that he has temporarily made us “a little lower than the angels,” in Hebrews 2, but implying that after the return of Christ we will be greater than the angels.
About soul versus spirit, Hebrews 4:12-13 tells us that it is really difficult to separate between soul and spirit.  We have a soul, yet we are a soul. This is because the Hebrew word soul (nephek) has more than one use. We have a spirit, we are spiritual, but we are not a spirit.  I have answered this question at the web site.  I will copy and paste my answer below.
On the two spirits question, here the vocabulary is a problem.  The Holy Spirit is a person.  He lives in us, but he is not merely a Spirit. He is God.  So, I would not say that we have two spirits in us, as we have our own spirit, which is part of who we are, and quite separately, the Holy Spirit lives in us, which is not the same thing. (Exactly what it means that He lives in us is difficult to say, but it is not at all like saying that we have a spirit).
No, when we die, our soul and our spirit both live on.  We will obtain new post-resurrection bodies (1 Cor 15), which will continue to have our soul and our spirit.  I do not understand why you say that the Holy Spirit will leave us when we die. Why do you say that?  I do not see biblical warrant for this.
The Bible does not give absolutely definite answers for some of your questions, but we must do our best to try to understand these questions, using common sense based on what we DO know in the Bible.  So… Take what I say with a bit of a grain of salt.
John Oakes


What is the definition of spirit?


(Note: This is a follow-up to a question about the nature of a soul. Tosave the reader time, I am pasting my response to that question to thebottom of this answer)

It is easier to define soul than spirit for the simple reason that theword soul in the Bible almost always refers to a human soul, while theword spirit (pneuma in Greek) has reference to the spirit of a person andto the Spirit of God and spirit in a metaphorical sense as spirit can meanessence in a more general connotation.

First, there is the passage in Hebrews 4:12 which says the Word of God isso sharp that it can even separate soul from spirit. This implies twothings. First, they are definitely different, and second, it is verydifficult to completely separate the two by mere definition.

Second, I do not believe that spirit is a physical thing in any sense ofthe word. I cannot prove the existence of spirit by any conceivableexperiment, at least I assume it cannot be done, the work of ghost bustersnot withstanding. My belief in and definition of spirit is based on theinspiration and authority of the Bible alone. I believe that theexistence of a spiritual reality is obvious outside of scripture, but mydefinition is to be found solely in scripture, not my opinion, based on myown religious/spiritual experiences.

1. My first definition of spirit is that part of human beings which ismade “in the image of God.” Obviously, if we are made in the image ofGod, it certainly is not defined by our bodies. Any implication that Godhas physical features is clearly ridiculous. All such references (God?shand supported me and so forth) are clearly intentional anthropomorphisms.It is in our spiritual nature that we are like God. John 4:24 God isspirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth.

2. A spirit is identified as somehow associated with a person, but not allspirits are human. The Bible often calls a person a spirit. In thatsense, the spirit of a person is the essence of that person. 1 Sam 16:23and the evil spirit left him? 1 Kings 22:21 Finally, a spirit cameforward? Mk 9:20 When the spirit saw Jesus, it? 1 Peter 3:19 preachedto the spirits in prison who disobeyed God.

3. While a human being is alive, their spirit is somehow constrained orlocalized (in a way I am powerless to define) to a body, but the spiritlives on after the body dies. At that time, the spirit is no longer tiedto the body. 1 Peter 3:19 again. I assume that these are human spiritswho are no longer physically embodied. Ecc 12:7 the spirit returns tothe God who gave it. Acts 7:59 “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Luke8:55 Her spirit returned.

4. From God?s perspective, a human body without its spirit is dead James2:26. I will admit that I do not fully understand the implications ofthis statement.

5. One?s spirit is effected by emotions (but it is not the emotionsthemselves, unlike the soul) John 13:21 Jesus was troubled in spirit.John 11:33 he was deeply moved in spirit. Daniel 7:15 I, Daniel, wastroubled in spirit. Psalm 51:12,17 a willing spirit? a broken spirit?

6. The human spirit is in some ways similar to and responds to the HolySpirit and to God in general (because God is spirit). Romans 8:16 TheSpirit himself testifies with our spirit?

7. The human spirit is eternal. Unlike God, the human spirit wascreated, but like God, it is eternal. I will admit that the meaning ofthe Greek word for eternal (aeon, I believe) can be debated, so the exactmeaning of this claim is not as obvious as some might think.Nevertheless, the spirit is eternal. Zech 12:1 ?who forms the spirit ofman within him?

I could say more, but that is a pretty good start. You will see that thebiblical definition of spirit is more vague than the definition of thesoul. I can speculate and give you my opinion about what a spirit is. Icertainly have some ideas of my own, but I will spare you my speculativeopinion.

John Oakes, PhD

What are the properties of a soul?


As a scientist I cannot define the word soul. As far as I know, the soulhas no physical reality. Rather, it has a spiritual reality; not subjectto experiment. It is ontolological, metaphysical. I will freely admitthat my belief in a soul rests principally (though not totally) on theauthority of the Bible, so I will answer your question by quoting theBible.

1. It is something with which we can love God and our neighbor.(Deuteronomy 4:29, 10:12, Mark 12:30, etc.)

2. It is a center of human emotion (1 Sam 1:10 Job 3:10 bitterness, Job30:25 grief, Psalms 35:9 joy, Isaiah 29:6 yearning

3. It is the seat of human affection (1 Sam 14:7,

4. It is a part of us which takes part in worship (Psalms 23:4 of an idol,Psalms 42:2 of God,

5. It can be “lost” or “saved.” In other words, it is in some senseeternal, although it was created. (Psalm 49:15, Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:37,Prov 23:14, Psalm 86:13, Proverbs 11:30, 1Peter 1:9,

6. It can be blamed for the wrong it motivates us to do (1 Thessalonians5:23, Ezekiel 18:20, Micah 6:7

7. It can be healthy or sick, at least in some sense (3 John 2,

8. It belongs to God (Ezekiel 18:4

I left these lists as open parenthesis, as I could have cited several moreverses under each category. To summarize, the human soul is created. Itis “eternal” (but the exact meaning of this word is not absolutely clear).It is the seat of desire and emotion. God will hold our soul responsiblefor the actions which its desires caused us to do or to not do. I couldsay more, but I think that is a reasonable starting point.

John O.

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