Do I have a soul - Part 6

SERMON TOPIC: Do I have a soul - Part 6

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 29 April 2018


Sermon synopsis: Christian views
1) Pre-existence: Influenced by Plato’s teaching, it holds that souls exist before the creation of the body. God created all human souls at the same time and keeps them in a “warehouse of souls”. At the moment of conception God “attaches” a soul to a person. This view lacks Biblical support.
2) Creationism: God creates a “fresh” soul within each human embryo at or some time shortly after conception.
3) Traducianism: This theory teaches that the soul is created in and with the body by the parents. While God is the ultimate creator of all things, he uses people intermediately or as secondary causes. The soul is in some way generated by way of the act of reproduction and comes into being at the time of conception.
4) Generationism: When a distinction is made between the terms Traducianism and Generationism, the former denotes the materialistic doctrine of the transmission of the soul whereby parents generate from inanimate matter both body and soul of a child.
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(PART 6)

Christian theologians differ on how many components make up the human being.

One part (Monism) – the view that humans are not composed of various components (i.e. body, soul), but rather as a radical unity.

Two parts (Dichotomism) - the belief that humans are comprised of a material component (body) and a nonmaterial component (soul, or spirit).

Three parts (Trichotomism) – holds that humans are comprised of three different elements: body, soul, spirit.



Non-Christian views on the origin of the soul in each human being.

Greek philosopher Plato believed that human souls predated Creation and were created before the material world.

Hindus and Buddhists believe in the reincarnation cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth. They believe that death is not extinction – the soul survives and is reincarnated in another body.


Plato (d. 348/ 347 BC)

Christian views

Pre-existence: Influenced by Plato’s teaching, it holds that souls exist before the creation of the body. God created all human souls at the same time and keeps them in a “warehouse of souls”. At the moment of conception God “attaches” a soul to a person. This view lacks Biblical support.

Adherents: Origen, Delitzsch

Creationism: 1 God creates a “fresh” soul within each human embryo at or some time shortly after conception.

Adherents: Roman Catholics, John Calvin, Charles Hodge, Louis Berkhof, Wayne Grudem

1 Not to be confused with the belief that the universe and life originated “from specific acts of divine creation,” which is contrasted with the Theory of Evolution.


Traducianism: (from the Latin tradux, meaning “inheritance, transmission.”) This theory teaches that the soul is created in and with the body by the parents. While God is the ultimate creator of all things, he uses people intermediately or as secondary causes. The soul is in some way generated by way of the act of reproduction and comes into being at the time of conception.

Adherents: Tertullian, Apollinaris, Augustine, Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius, Rufinus, Nemesius, Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards

Both the Traducianist or the Creationist agree that the soul does not exist prior to conception. This is the clear teaching of the Bible.


Generationism: When a distinction is made between the terms Traducianism and Generationism, the former denotes the materialistic doctrine of the transmission of the soul whereby parents generate from inanimate matter both body and soul of a child.

The latter applies to the doctrine according to which the soul of the offspring originates from the parental soul in some mysterious way analogous to that in which the body originates from the parent’s body.

In the 5th century Jerome wrote that “the majority of Oriental writers think that, as the body is born of the body, so the soul is born of the soul”. 1

1 Epist. cxxvi, 1


Verses that seem to support the Creationist view of God making the soul.

Isa 57:16 For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always angry; for the spirit would faint before me, and the souls who I have made. (WEB)

Zech 12:12 …The LORD… who forms the spirit of man within him, declares…

Eccl 12:7 … the spirit returns to God who gave it.

While for Creationists, God is the primary cause of the souls coming to be; for Traducians, he is a secondary cause. Just as God designed the human reproductive process to reproduce a body, he allowed for it to also reproduce a soul. God is still ultimately responsible for the creation of each and every human soul.


Verses that speak of God creating the soul do not prove direct creation. Even though our bodies are produced by the natural reproductive process, the Bible speaks of us being formed by God in our mothers womb.

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

Ps 139:13 (NASB) For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.

God is always the ultimate (even if secondary) source.


The weakness of Creationism is that it has God continually creating new human souls, while the Bible indicates that God ceased creating.

Gen 2:2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Furthermore God clearly created living creatures and even plants with the capability within themselves to completely reproduce themselves after their own kind e.g.

Gen 1:12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds…

Also Gen 1:21-22


Traducianism teaches that the soul is inherited from the individual’s parents, along with his or her biological material. It finds Biblical justification in Genesis 5:1-3. God is said to have made Adam and Eve in his own likeness.

Gen 5:1 … When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.


But Seth was made in the likeness of Adam.

Gen 5:3 … Adam … had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

It appears that the soul of Seth was not created anew by God, but was derived from Adam. So Adam’s descendants seem to be “living souls” without God breathing into them.


Heb 7:9–10 One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham, because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor.


This passage is also used to support Traducianism. Levi is considered to be “in the body” of his ancestor (Abraham), even before conception. In this way, the writer of Hebrews argues that Levi was paid tithes to Melchizedek through his grandfather Abraham.

The doctrine of Original Sin teaches that our fallen sinful nature is inherited.

Rom 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners…

Our body, soul and spirit are infected by sin. If God creates a new soul for every human being, how can that soul be defective? If Adam’s sin affects all men, it only makes sense if the body and soul both come from the parents.

Especially after the rise of Pelagianism, when Augustine clearly articulated the idea of Original Sin, many church Fathers thought that Traducianism/ Generationism offered a better, if not the only, explanation of the transmission of inherited sin.


But how can an immaterial soul be generated through what seems to be an entirely physical process?

We don’t understand the mechanics, but the Scriptures make it clear that the spiritual world can and does interact with and influence the material world. E.g. God, angels, and demons are not physical or visible, but they actually interact with matter.



Some theologians argue that human beings are made up of three distinct components: body/ flesh, soul, and spirit. This is known as Trichotomism.


Trichotomists share much in common with dichotomists in that both camps agree that there is a material and immaterial part of man that separate at death and are united at the resurrection.

But at times the Bible refers to body, soul and spirit.

1 Thess 5:23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul distinctly differentiates between praying with the mind (soul) and praying with the spirit.

1 Cor 14:14-15 … I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind…


One of the clearest Scriptures in favour of the Trichotomist view is the following.

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul (psyche) and spirit (pneuma), of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Thus the Word of God is said to highlight the conflict that sometimes exists between soul and spirit.





A major concern with the first two theories is that God has clearly revealed himself in 3 persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As man is created in the image of God (Gen 1:26), it makes sense that we too are triune beings.









Man’s threefold nature.

BODY: makes us conscious of the world (through the 5 senses)

SOUL: makes us conscious of self Mind, Will, Emotions, Memory)

SPIRIT: makes us conscious of God (Fellowship, Intuition, Faith, Conscience)


But since the Fall, man is spiritually dead i.e. the part of man that connects to God has died. God’s words in Eden, “for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (Gen 2:17 NASB) – referred to spiritual death i.e. separation of man from God, when mankind was driven from God’s presence (Adam did not die physically when he sinned).


















As we are dead spiritually because of sin we have lost:

Fellowship: our relationship with God has been severed.

Ps 5:4 For you are not a God who is pleased with wickedness; with you, evil people are not welcome.

Intuition: we have lost our spiritual discernment.

1 Cor 2:14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.


Faith: We no longer have faith and rely only on what we can see with our physical eyes. This is why saving faith is a gift from God.

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Conscience: Our consciences have been seared and we do not realise we are sinners. This is why God has to bring conviction of sin by his Holy Spirit.

John 16:8 (NASB) “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment”


Through Christ the spirit is made alive through renewed relationship with God:

Rom 8:10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. (NASB)

John 3:5-6 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”


But the Bible also speaks of the redemption of our souls.

Ps 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

Ps 23:3 he restores my soul

1 Pet 1:9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Matt 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Ps 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.


Ps 57:1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.

Our entire being needs to desire God,

not only Soul and Spirit…

Isa 26:9 My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.

… but the Body too:

Ps 63:1 O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.


The Body (Greek: “soma”) - This is the entire material or physical structure of a human being -- it is the physical part of a person.

“Plato saw man as two separable parts, body and soul; at death the soul was liberated, the divine spark in man passing from its shadowy life in the prison-house of the body to the real world beyond physical dissolution.” – Milne, Know the Truth , 97.

The Bible teaches that the body, flesh and material world is not inherently evil as the Platonic Greeks and the Gnostic Christian cults taught. It is a creation of God and is redeemable.


Gnostic Dualism: Man’s constitution is physical and spiritual. Heavily influenced by Platonic Greek Philosophy, the Christian Gnostic cults viewed the physical body as a burdensome, temporary and material confinement out of which we long to escape.

Created a negative view on physical pleasures that God gave man as gifts (sex, food, etc.).

Caused people to believe that this life does not really matter.

Devalued the physical by placing it secondary to the spiritual.


Greek philosophers from the time of Plato thought only in terms of immortality of the soul.

Paul refuted the Greek philosophers when he wrote to the Greek cities of Corinth and Philippi, teaching not only that our soul is immortal, but that our bodies will be changed (transformed):

Phil 3:20-21 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies


Our transformed bodies will be like Jesus’ resurrected body.

Phil 3:20-21 … Jesus Christ … will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

1 Cor 15:48-49 As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.


Even though man can exist without his body, he is incomplete without out it – naked or unclothed.

2 Cor 5:1-4 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

This is why Christ will give us resurrected bodies. We do not have to shed an evil physical body to be with God, rather God redeems his creation (both the physical world and man’s body), with the model of resurrection.


Because of sin, the natural world has been subjected to decay, but it still has a place in God’s plan. Ultimately our bodies will be redeemed.

Rom 8:20-23 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.


But until we are perfected, there is an ongoing conflict between the flesh (body) and spirit.

Gal 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

1 Cor 5:5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.


The soul (mind) arbitrates between the flesh (body) and spirit and the will chooses which one to listen to.


Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matt 26:41)

Everyone wants to be fit and healthy, but this won’t happen by just wishing. Neither will filling the fridge with healthy food make us healthier. The food must be properly prepared, then eaten, to be beneficial. Simply wanting to be fitter is only the first step on a journey that takes many steps. 1

1 http:// body.html


A mature Christian is someone who exhibits an inner strength and joy, a high sense of purpose, confidence and hope derived from the Truth, a graceful attitude towards all mankind and an unshakable faith in God. 1

Many of us wish for these wonderful outcomes from Christianity, but wishing alone is not enough. Having our shelves filled with Biblical books written by acclaimed theologians, or being a member of a respected church will not help either – these only lead towards the first steps of a journey that takes many steps. 1

1 Ibid


The flesh tends towards temptation and uncontrolled lust and desire.

Rom 7:23 but I discover within me a different Law at war with the Law of my understanding, and leading me captive to the Law which is everywhere at work in my body--the Law of sin.

Rom 7:5 For when we were in the flesh, the evil passions which came into being through the law were working in our bodies to give the fruit of death.

Acts 15:20 But that we give them orders to keep themselves from things offered to false gods, and from the evil desires of the body


Our minds (souls) must be subject to our renewed spirit, not to our unredeemed bodies (flesh).

Rom 8:4-8 (NASB) so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.


So our bodies don’t have to be our master.

Rom 6:12 Therefore don’t let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.


1 Cor 9:27 No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

1 Thess 4:3-5 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God

2 Cor 7:1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.


To accomplish results in Christianity, we must consistently learn Biblical Truths and skills and apply them by keeping our mind on God – not on people or circumstances. The fruits of Christianity won’t be ours by simply wanting them or doing the right thing once in a while. Proper learning and application must be a daily function and become a way of life. (Rom 12:1-2, Col 3:23-24) 1

Our body is not inherently evil.

When Christ saves us, our “body is a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor 6:19).

1 Ibid


Our bodies can be used to glorify God.

We are told that “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord” (1 Cor 6:13).

You must “offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness” (Rom 6:13).

Rom 6:19 … as you gave your bodies as servants to what is unclean, and to evil to do evil, so now give them as servants to righteousness to do what is holy.

1 Cor 7:34 … Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit

You are instructed to “honour God with your body” (1 Cor 6:20). But how?


Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes Through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet With which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands Through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

~ Teresa of Avila (1515-82)


Our body is brought into check by offering it in service to God and by the renewing of our mind (soul).

Rom 12:1-2 (NASB) Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.


Frances Havergal was born in Astley, England, in 1836, where her father was rector of the Anglican Church.

She was able to read at the age of 3. Often the parents would find her hidden in some out-of-the-way place entertaining herself with a story book. When Frances was 4 years old she was able to read the Bible and other adult books.

She learnt to write with very little tutoring and French and music were soon added to her list of studies. When she was 7 she wrote her first book of poems.

https:// biography/ havergaltw.html


When Frances was 11 she was called to her dying mother's bedside. The mother urged the girl to give herself and her talents wholly to the Lord. “You are my youngest little girl,” she said. “And I feel more anxious about you than the rest. I do pray for the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you…” These words remained with the girl throughout her entire life.

As a child she did not attend school for she was advanced far beyond her age level. She studied English, German, French, Hebrew, Latin and Welsh, and read the literature of those languages. At the age of 14 she was sent to a select school for girls at Belmont and it was here that she took a definite stand for Christ.

As an adult Frances led a well-rounded and active Christian life. She made money from the sale of her poems and hymns which she gave to charity at home and abroad.


How did Frances Havergal request God to use her body to glorify him? She wrote:

Take my life, and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee; Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in ceaseless praise, Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love; Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee, Take my voice, and let me sing Always, only, for my King; Take my lips, and let them be Filled with messages from Thee,


Take my silver and my gold; Not a mite would I withhold; Take my intellect, and use Every power as Thou shalt choose, Take my will, and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne, Take my love; my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure-store. Take myself, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee,



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