Tripartite ontology of man? Bizarre Idea?

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Chrisser | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, Jan 29 2020 7:35 AM

I have thought about Paul's division of a human person into Body, Spirit, and Soul. For a long time I assumed spirit and soul is redundant but now I'm thinking differently. I know a tiny amount of Hebrew, but no Greek. (I'm working on it). My assumption is Paul has 'nephesh' in mind, which is not exactly divorced from bodily existence. sometimes translated as 'life-force' or 'breath of life', i wonder if this is correct; humans have Body, Spirit, and Soul. The soul is the breath of life. It's life itself, and I don't mean only a scientific, purely material understanding of life. Both body and spirit are given life by the soul. i'm not trying to bring in any form of platonism into play. Body and Spirit and "ensouled" they are imbued with the breath of life. 

This could have implications beyond its direct meaning. Please consider this first INDEPENDENTLY of death, judgement, eternity, and so forth, and THEN consider it with those things in mind. I would say, regardless of interpretations of what hell and judgement exactly entail, people who are unsaved have their Souls destroyed, and then exist only as Body and Spirit?

I'm asking what you guys think. I want as many perspectives as possible, from the most mystical to most conservative.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 7:48 AM

Chrisser, you're supposed to ask for any resources that support this idea .... forum guidance prohibits theology-fun. The key is to make the request as controversial as possible, while assuring readers 'just resources, no arguing'. Then, usually an FL guy will appear after 3 pages of excitement.

"I didn't know God made honky tonk angels."

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 7:56 AM

Denise:

Chrisser, you're supposed to ask for any resources that support this idea .... forum guidance prohibits theology-fun. The key is to make the request as controversial as possible, while assuring readers 'just resources, no arguing'. Then, usually an FL guy will appear after 3 pages of excitement.

any resources support this idea or other ideas which are similar or different?

Cool

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David Thomas | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 8:49 AM

Chrisser:
My assumption is Paul has 'nephesh' in mind, which is not exactly divorced from bodily existence.

to assume Paul in any one citation had a particular Hebrew idea when in Greek he has a range of 16 different words at his disposal is a HUGE assumption. Louw-Nida provides a semantic range to describe "psychological faculties" English notions of soul and spirit contain much nuance.

Making Disciples!  Logos Ecosystem = Logos8 on Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (Win10), Android app on tablet, FSB on iPhone, [deprecated] Windows App, Proclaim, Faithlife.com, FaithlifeTV via Connect subscription.

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 9:27 AM

Alright I'll have to do some more research.

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 10:12 AM

Alright as it seems this is a very complicated topic. I'm gonna have to talk to my buddy who know's Greek. This makes me think of the maxim Body, Mind, and Spirit, rather than Soul.

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Rich DeRuiter | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 12:20 PM

There's been a lot of ink spilled on this topic, but I'd suggest dialing it down to the summaries of the arguments you can find in some systematic theologies. It would be under the general heading of anthropology or doctrine of man.

Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology discusses this on pp.191,ff (Part Two...; II.A.). Guy Duffield's Foundations of Pentecostal Theology discusses this on pp. 128,ff (Chapter Three...V. B.).

Berkhof (a Reformed theologian) comes down on the side of dichotomy; Duffield (obviously Pentecostal) seems to leave the question open ended. Your preferred systematic theologies probably also speak to the question.

 Help links: WIKI;  Logos 6 FAQ. (Phil. 2:14, NIV)

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Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 1:55 PM

Rich DeRuiter:

There's been a lot of ink spilled on this topic, but I'd suggest dialing it down to the summaries of the arguments you can find in some systematic theologies. It would be under the general heading of anthropology or doctrine of man.

Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology discusses this on pp.191,ff (Part Two...; II.A.). Guy Duffield's Foundations of Pentecostal Theology discusses this on pp. 128,ff (Chapter Three...V. B.).

Berkhof (a Reformed theologian) comes down on the side of dichotomy; Duffield (obviously Pentecostal) seems to leave the question open ended. Your preferred systematic theologies probably also speak to the question.


Thanks. I'll also need to talk to my friend familiar with greek as well. I'll take a look at those. The semantic dictionary seems to suggest this is our "mind" or something related to it. 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 2:33 PM

Chrisser:
humans have Body, Spirit, and Soul.

IIRC this is the stance you will find in the theology of the Jehovah's Witness. And I find that generally if I can remember a group that takes a particular stance there are many others I do not know. A google search on spirit vs. soul vs. body will give you many starting points.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 2:51 PM

oof once again i have gathered my foot!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 2:55 PM

Chrisser:
That's not good! I definitely want to be cautious. I'm NOT going to read JW "literature" to prove it.

Okay, Chrisser, here you are getting too close for comfort to breaking the guidelines and insulting another Christian group. Please re-read the guidelines, consider them prayfully, and remind yourself of how broad the Logos community is and should be. BTW remember I am Catholic - very, very far from the JW.

For a more comprehensive view, I refer to Wikipedia's article Tripartitie (theology)

Supporters of a tripartite view

Many of the theologians below are cited by Louis Berkhof's Systematic Theology, Augustus H. Strong's Systematic Theology, Jan Jacob van Oosterzee's Christian Dogmatics, John Bickford Heard's Tripartite Nature of Man, and Henri de Lubac's History and Spirit.

Name Born Died Theological Tradition Major Works Supporting Trichotomy Referenced by
Justin Martyr 100 165 Early Christian apologist On the Resurrection
Van Oosterzee, Heard
Tatian 120 180 Early Christian apologist Tatian's Address to the Greeks
Van Oosterzee; A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs
Clement of Alexandria 150 215 Church Father Berkhof
Melito ? 180 Bishop of Sardis Van Oosterzee
Hippolytus of Rome 170 235 Presbyter of the Church in Rome Commentary on Daniel, Book 2, Ch. 38 Henri de Lubac
Origen 184 253 Church Father De Principiis, Book 2, On the Soul
Van Oosterzee, Berkhof, Henri De Lubac
Irenaeus 2nd century 202 Church Father Against Heresies
Van Oosterzee
Eusebius 260/265 339/340 Roman historian & Bishop of Caesarea Commentary on the Psalms 102, v. 20
Henri de Lubac
Apollinarius ? 390 Bishop of Laodicea in Syria Berkhof
Didymus of Alexandria 313 398 Coptic Church theologian Commentary on Ecclesiastes; Commentary on the Psalms
Richard A Layton; Henri de Lubac
Basil of Caesarea 329 379 Church Father Homily 21
Henri de Lubac
Gregory of Nazianzus 329 389/390 Church Father and Archbishop of Constantinople Poems, bk. 1, sec. 1, 8 (On the Soul)
Henri de Lubac
Gregory of Nyssa 335 395 Church Father On the Making of Man 8.4–6
Berkhof
John of Damascus 645/676 749 Eastern Orthodox Strong
John Climacus 7th century ? 7th-century Christian monk The Ladder of Divine Ascent
Martin Luther 1483 1546 German Reformer Commentary on the Magnificat
Delitzsch
Thomas Jackson 1579 1640 English theologian, Arminian
Thomas White 1593 1676 Roman Catholic priest and scholar
Philip Doddridge 1702 1751 English Nonconformist leader A Paraphrase and Notes on the First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
Magnus Friedrich Roos 1727 1803 German Lutheran theologian Outlines of Psychology drawn from the Holy Scriptures Berkhof
Seraphim of Sarov 1754 1833 Russian Orthodox Theologian St. Seraphim of Sarov's Conversation with Nicholas Motovilov
Adam Clarke 1762 1832 British Methodist theologian Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Gotthilf Heinrich von Schubert 1780 1860 German Theologian Van Oosterzee
Karl Friedrich Goschel 1784 1861 Prussian Right Hegelian Herzog, Realencyclopadie, article "Seele" Strong
August Neander 1789 1850 German theologian and church historian History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church by the Apostles
Strong
Hermann Olshausen 1796 1839 German theologian Opuscula Theologica and Commentary on 1 Thes. 5:23 Strong, Berkhof
Leonhard Usteri 1799 1833 Swiss Reformed theologian Entwickelung Des Paulinischen Lehrbegriffes
Strong
August Friedrich Christian Vilmar 1800 1868 German Neo-Lutheran theologian Dogmatik: Akademische Vorlesungen G. C. Berkouwer
Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer 1800 1873 German Protestant theologian Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Johann Tobias Beck 1804 1878 German theologian Outlines of Biblical Psychology
Strong, Berkhof
Henry Alford 1810 1871 Anglican theologian and scholar New Testament for English Readers
Frederic Charles Cook 1810 1889 English churchman and linguist The Speaker's Commentary
Johann Gottfried Hausmann 1811 1901
Gustav Friedrich Oehler 1812 1872 German Lutheran theologian Theology of the Old Testament Berkhof
Søren Kierkegaard 1813 1855 Danish Lutheran The Concept of Anxiety, The Sickness Unto Death, Johannes Climacus, or De omnibus dubitandum est. A Narrative
Franz Delitzsch 1813 1890 German Lutheran theologian Biblical Psychology Berkhof
William Smith 1813 1893 English Lexicographer Smith's Bible Dictionary
Theophan the Recluse 1815 1894 Russian Orthodox Theologian The Spiritual Life
Jan Jacob van Oosterzee 1817 1882 Dutch Divine Christian Dogmatics Strong
Charles John Ellicott 1819 1905 Anglican theologian Destiny of the Creature
Strong
A. R. Fausset 1821 1910 Anglican theologian Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Karl August Auberlen 1824 1864 German Lutheran theologian Geist des Menschen im Biblischen Sinne Strong, Berkhof
George Boardman the Younger 1828 1903 Baptist "The Scriptural Anthropology." Baptist Quarterly Vol. 1
Strong
Andrew Murray 1828 1917 Dutch Reformed Church The Spirit of Christ
John Bickford Heard 1828 ? The Tripartite Nature of Man
Strong, Berkhof
Henry Liddon 1829 1890 English Theologian John Laidlaw
Hermann Cremer 1834 1903 German Protestant theologian Biblico-theological Lexicon of New Testament Greek
Strong
C. I. Scofield 1843 1921 American Theologian Scofield Reference Bible
G. H. Pember 1837 1910 Plymouth Brethren Earth's Earliest Ages
Otto Stockmayer 1838 1917 German Holiness Movement Watchman Nee in Spiritual Man
F. B. Meyer 1847 1929 English Baptist pastor and evangelist Watchman Nee in Spiritual Man & Latent Power of the Soul
James M Stalker 1848 1929 Scottish preacher Christian Psychology
Clarence Larkin 1850 1924 Protestant (Baptist) Dispensational Truth or God's Plan and Purpose in the Ages
Jessie Penn-Lewis 1861 1927 Protestant (Welsh) Soul and Spirit, War on the Saints
Mary E. McDonough 1863 1962 God's Plan of Redemption
Lewis Sperry Chafer 1871 1952 American Protestant Theologiian Systematic Theology Vol. 1&2
Gordon R. Lewis and Bruce A. Demarest in Integrative Theology
George H. Lang 1874 1958 Plymouth Brethren Firstfruits and Harvest
Evan Roberts 1878 1951 Welsh Calvinist Methodist War on The Saints
Robert Lightfoot 1883 1953 Anglican Priest and Theologian John Laidlaw
William Theodore Heard 1884 1973 Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church
Arthur W. Pink 1886 1952 Reformed The Great Change, Regeneration, Or, The New Birth, Gleanings in Genesis
Herbert Lockyer 1886 1984 All the Doctrines of the Bible
John Woodward
Theodore Austin-Sparks 1888 1971 British Christian evangelist What is Man? John Woodward
Ruth Paxson 1889 1949 Protestant Life on the Highest Plane
Watchman Nee 1903 1972 Chinese Christian Preacher The Spiritual Man, The Release of the Spirit
George S. Hendry 1904 1993 Reformed Theologian The Holy Spirit in Christian Theology
Witness Lee 1905 1997 Chinese Christian Preacher The Economy of God
E.C.Bragg 1912 1995 American Evangelical Theologian
Lehman Strauss ? 1997 Baptist Man A Trinity (Spirit, Soul, Body)
Mark G Cambron 1911 2000 Bible Doctrines
John Woodward
Lester Sumrall 1913 1996 American Pentecostal pastor and evangelist Spirit, Soul and Body
S. Lewis Johnson Jr. 1915 2004 American Presbyterian Theologian Man and his Nature, part 1
Gleason Archer 1916 2004 American theologian Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties
P. B. Fitzwater ? ? Christian Theology A Systematic Presentation
John Woodward

A form of trichotomy is also held in Latter Day Saint theology. In the Doctrine and Covenants, a revelation of Joseph Smith Jr. states: "And the spirit and the body are the soul of man" (D&C 88:15).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 4:26 PM

Thanks VERY MUCH for the help. Apologies, I did not think JW counted as that! That was genuinely not an attempt to be a trouble. I know it tends me follow me on this forum, as I'm to speaking in small christian discussion where we more or less don't mince words.

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Sean | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 5:25 PM

You may have better search results if you search for "trichotomy" than "tripartite." The former term is used more frequently.

Trichotomy is a longstanding minority viewpoint within the church. A good history of theology should give you some idea of its acceptance & rejection, and most systematic theologies should have at least some discussion of it in its anthropology section.

Two sources I've read recently with interesting treatments:

Boice, J. M. Foundations of the Christian faith. Reformed, seems to accept trichotomy (This volume is in many base packages.)

Miley, J. Systematic theology. 19th century Methodist; rejects trichotomy but with a good historical discussion. Like many, he sees it more as a matter of opinion, not a question of orthodoxy.

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 6:10 PM

Thanks Sean.

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SineNomine | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 6:19 PM

Chrisser:
I'm asking what you guys think. I want as many perspectives as possible, from the most mystical to most conservative.

Hmmm. I'm not used to thinking on a spectrum that puts mysticism on one end and conservativism on the other.

At any rate, as with most theological and philosophical issues, I recommend consulting Aquinas for his perspective. The article linked to references passages accessible in Logos/Verbum.

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Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 7:32 PM

I mean conservative as in cautious. I should say that. Ill note acquinas.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 29 2020 8:00 PM

Chrisser:
I'm asking what you guys think. I want as many perspectives as possible, from the most mystical to most conservative.

As Denise tried to gently remind you, the FL forums are NOT the place for us to ask what others think, it is a place to ask for how to use the Logos tools or resources (Logos or not) for researching a topic. Like Sine Nomine, I am puzzled by the concept of mystical to conservative as some kind of a continuum. Our community ranges from people who consider mysticism as "satanic" to those who consider mysticism the purest form of religion. Our community ranges from people who argue whether Orthodoxy or Catholicism is the most conservative position to those who label the same groups "liberal". It is, however, a place to ask for input to personal research from a wide range of perspectives ... and hope you are lucky enough to have a Rastafarian respond.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 5:14 AM

I like mysticism. I'm not labeling anything Satanic. I meant cautious, not conservative. JW's and Mormons aren't Christians. I don't know if Rastafarians are or aren't.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 5:16 AM

Another take is something referred to as "Binity" (as opposed to Trinity). The general idea is that the HS is personal, in that it is the Father's spirit, but not a third "person" in the Godhead. The Father & Son "are", but the two share the HS together, and likewise it is shared with those who are being fashioned in their likeness. You may find a spread of views as to what the idea means, but that's true of pretty much anything that exists.

Generally speaking, "soul" as used in Greek-inspired religious thought (particularly that inspired by Plato) and nepphesh in Hebraic thought are not compatible ideas, but they were clearly taken to be equivalent by many "church fathers" (who were frequently imbued with a familiarity of Platonic thought). The word nepphesh essentially means "breather". The concept as the Bible describes it is that there is a body (physical) and the spirit that animates it (ephemeral) and empowers it with life. This spirit is the air/breath/wind that a body reSPIRes (specifically oxygen) that is the "battery" of living things. A body that has a resident, active spirit animating it is a soul (nepphesh), i.e. a breathing life. When the body and spirit are together, the soul lives. When they are separated, the soul dies. If a "breather" isn't breathing, it is functionless, thus dead. One way to look at it is that the nepphesh (soul) is the composite whole which is made up of the two combined components of body & spirit. To sum it up bluntly, some say we "have" a soul. The Bible says we "are" a soul.

This understanding fits hand-in-glove with what Yeishuua` described when He said that some can kill the body but not the soul (psuchay is the Greek equivalent of nepphesh), but that there is One who can kill both body and soul. Those who kill "YHWH's children" may take their life (kill the body), but He can and will reanimate them so that their souls do not permanently perish. You are not to fear the one (human or Satan) who can take your physical (first) life, because there is One who can restore it permanently. But you are to fear the One who can not only extinguish your first life, but can finally extinguish your second life (the one you receive for attending your final judgment) as well--thus leading to "the second death".

To factor in "spirit" in this discussion, there is nothing a human can do to "kill" a spirit, which is why Yeishuua` doesn't bother to mention it in the discussion of what can be killed. The spirit simply leaves the body and returns to the Father. Now, the term "spirit" is used in a couple of different ways: first, as the general animating essence; and second, as the SPECIFIC "imprint" of a individual nepphesh. Whatever the spirit of a person is when they die is the RAM memory (so to speak) that gets saved to a flash drive and stored by YHWH until the day of judgment. It is then "downloaded" into a reconstituted (resurrected) body for judgment, resulting in either eternal life or second death.

Now, some take the "one" who can kill both body and soul as being Satan (James Barr, for instance), but that leads to difficulties elsewhere. I would definitely research nepphesh. Animals are called nepphesh in Genesis 1, but most people who think the word means "soul" would probably not want to assign souls to animals, since they perceive that to be the unique "mechanism" allowing for the unique God & human "connection".

[ Specifically regarding Plato's usage of the word "soul" (Greek psuchay), he used psuchay as something "in" the body, whereas in Biblical thought, that animating and "personalized" essence of the individual would be better described as "the spirit in man" (per Job) and thus by pneuma in Greek and ruuahh in Hebrew. The Platonic perspective nevertheless gained supremacy in the early church, and so talk about "what happens to the soul when you die" took hold. The Biblical answer is, it's dead...because it lost the spirit and stopped breathing. But the spirit goes to the Father and awaits the time of resurrection and final judgment. ]

Posts 326
Chrisser | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 30 2020 5:30 AM

Chrisser:

Thanks VERY MUCH for the help. Apologies, I did not think JW counted as that! That was genuinely not an attempt to be a trouble. I know it tends me follow me on this forum, as I'm to speaking in small christian discussion where we more or less don't mince words.

This is incomprehensible gibberish. I don't know how I wrote that.


I mean mysticism to non-mystical which I assume is "cautious." MJ Smith I'm not trying to be difficult.

I'll just not make non-technical threads anymore as I'm not supposed to.

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