Understanding Human Complexity: 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
“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. 24) Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.” 1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5‬:‭23‬-‭24‬
We now tackle an important but difficult subject. We are going to talk about human complexity. We are going to talk about what makes you and me tick. Why is it so hard to be human at this present time?
According to the above verses, God created mankind with three basic parts. We have a body, a soul and a spirit. Each part contributes something different to you and me. Let’s look at each briefly.
First we have a physical body. This gives us world consciousness. It is comprised of several basic parts. For example, we have the five basic senses of seeing, hearing, tasting, touching and smelling. Most discussions of the body stop with these five.
But there are at least three more functions rooted in the human body. Our physical bodies were created with the capacity to digest food to fuel and sustain the basic function of life. This is huge and it is why good nutrition is important.
Our bodies also produces hormones that result in basic sex drives and influences our emotions. (See 1Corinthians 6:13) This is a very deep and fascinating study. Because of this, we could say that people have some basic instincts in common with the animal kingdom, but as we shall see, we are far different from animals.
But let’s take another huge leap in our understanding of the human body and consider a third aspect. According to verses like 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 6:19-20, the human body was also created to be a temple for the Holy Spirit. That means we can host unseen spiritual entities and influences. (Freedom Quest One dealt with this subject.) The implications of this are monumental and Jesus frequently encountered people with unclean spirits.
Second, we have a soul. This is often credited as the seat of the intellect, emotions and will. It gives us self consciousness, personality, individuality and free will.
Human reason is powerful. It can absorb and process tons of observations, personal experiences and learned information to form compelling philosophies, psychologies and shape our personal world view. We can think in abstract terms, learn and enjoy complex communications and languages, design and invent, engage in scientific research and postulate the laws of physics, and we can think in terms of past, present and future. This is all done on the level of the human soul. This represents a huge gap between humans and the animal kingdom.
It is also in our soul that we assemble and program our moral compass. It is here that we determine our personal value system for things like good and bad, right and wrong, truth and error, and acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
But our soul is also heavily influenced by basic appetites coming from our body and can be driven by things like testosterone, estrogen, adrenaline and chemical substances. It is keenly wired to enjoy fun, pleasure and self promotion and seldom recognizes long term consequences.
This is why the third part of our make up is so important. Our spirit is the seat of our conscience, intuition and sense of the Creator. It is where we experience God consciousness and worship. Because we were created in the image of God with the capacity for relationship with God, we have a “God void” or “religious magnet” within.
This is a big factor that separates people from animals and explains why every human civilization both ancient and modern has religion and a sense of life after death. Mankind can misplace and distort our understanding of God with false religions, but we cannot cancel it completely. Even the atheist worships the god in the mirror or humanism.
At the time of Creation, Adam and Eve were governed by the human spirit. It ruled the body and soul and made them subservient to the ways of God and the designs of the Creator. They were in perfect synergy with the kingdom of light. They were living and functioning on the level of “Zoe life.” They were walking with the human spirit in control in total harmony and submission to the Holy Spirit. They were enjoying uninterrupted fellowship with God.
So what happened at the time of the fall? How did it influence the inner equilibrium in the makeup of mankind? Why is it so hard to be human? Why is human civilization plagued with things like war, violence, sickness and disease, injustice, poverty, suffering, addictions, corruption, human trafficking, mental illness, suicide and death in this present world?
These are huge but valid questions. We will begin to unpack them in the next few sections. But first, it is important to understand God’s design at the time of Creation.
I believe that human redemption, personal salvation and the inner ministry of the Holy Spirit can restore what was lost at the time of the fall. Salvation is about more than forgiveness and an eventual ticket into heaven, it is an invitation back into “Zoe life.” (See 2 Corinthians 5:17) This might be the trust of 1 Thessalonians 5:24; “ Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global