What is the Meaning of Life
Man is made up of Body, Soul and Spirit
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WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE? Program 167 Man is made up of Body, Soul and Spirit By Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program each day about the meaning of life. That is, why you are here or why I’m here, what the point of it all is. We’ve done a lot of basic discussions over the past eight or nine months on what we think was the origin of life and why we think we are here. The basic premise that we are starting on is that we are here because we were made by a personal being who is at least as personable as we are and who has made us because He wants people whom He can love and who will love Him.
We have been made to share a friendship with the Creator of the universe. That’s why you’re here. You’re not just a little chance deviation thrown up by a mass of protons and neutrons in an impersonal evolutionary process. Though, there may well be some evolution in the universe, yet there has to have been someone who gave that evolution direction and who programmed into it a purposeful development.
What we’ve concluded is that you are here because the person who made you actually loves you, and wants you to be His friend. Moreover, you’re the only version of you that exists. There is nobody else like you. Never will be. Never has been. In a very real way, if you don’t come through to a relationship of friendship with your Maker, He misses something. You, of course, miss everything. That’s what we’ve been talking about.
Now, we’ve reached the point where we are discussing how this works out, this plan for us to become like our Creator through doing what He has put us here on earth to do, how this plan works out in regard to our ordinary personalities. We are doing this because though we’ve read all kinds of psychological books and books on temperament and books on how to develop into wonderful, fully integrated people, yet, many of us are still bewildered and baffled.
Then the sheer fragmentation of knowledge in our present generation makes it almost impossible for us to synthesize these thoughts into one complete whole, or system. This is what we’re trying to do on the basis of what the Son of the Maker of the universe explained to us was reality. We are going back to that old book that many of us have sitting on our shelves gathering dust, that book which is known as “Ta Biblia” in Greek. It means, “the books”, the collection of books. Of course, the Greek word “Ta Biblia” has become our English word, Bible. We are taking some of our basis from that book.
The point we’ve reached in our discussion is that we’ve talked about three levels of our personality. One-body: two-soul; three-spirit. We’ve started to talk about our spirits as the only part of us that is really able to contact God. Now we are starting to talk about our soul, which in Greek is the word “psuche” and becomes, of course, in our English, “psyche”, and part of all those words like psychological, psychiatry, etc. That’s the part of us that is, in a sense, particularly human.
You may remember us going back to the early history of mankind recorded in the Bible in those early chapters which are actually historical. They’re not just bluff, old fantasy. You read the verse that said that God took dust from the ground and made our bodies and He breathed into our bodies the breath of life and that was His own Spirit. Then, that combined with the body and man became, it says, a living soul. The Hebrew word is “nephesh”.
Our soul is actually the part of us that makes us uniquely human. The spirits are like angels. The angels have spirits. The animals have bodies. But, only man has a soul in the sense that we have a soul. We often look into our dog’s eyes and think. “Oh, he’s thinking the same thing as us.” But, we realize quite well he
isn’t. We are just projecting into him our thoughts.
But, the soul is the unique part that makes us human beings as opposed to either spirits or animals. The part of the soul that we discussed yesterday was the mind. The soul in the Bible has reference to the mind and is used often where we would use mind. I don’t know if you know an old book in the Old Testament called Proverbs, but it is really good and you should read it at times. It’s good.
There’s a piece of it that runs like this in Proverbs 3:21-22; “My Son, keep sound wisdom and discretion; let them not escape from your sight, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” There is reference clearly there to sound wisdom and discretion, the ability to judge and decide and reason and evaluate. Those are some of the functions of the mind. You can see that there they are referred to the soul, that they will be life to your soul.
So, one function of your soul is your mind, your intellectual ability to evaluate and decide and judge things. Of course, what we said yesterday was that many of us think the mind is the way into truth but it’s not, actually. The mind simply is able to examine and evaluate what is presented to it. But, it is limited to what is presented to it. The mind itself, actually, is finite and cannot gather all the infinite knowledge that is in the world.
We used the example of the guy that said, “There is no God. We’ve now got out astronauts up in space. They’ve looked and they haven’t found Him. He isn’t there.” And the other guy replied, “Have they looked everywhere?” Well, of course, they haven’t looked everywhere, because you can’t look everywhere. We can’t see to the end of space. That’s part of the limitation of the mind. The mind is the ability that you have to perceive relations and correlates. That is, similarities between things and differences between things, and to evaluate them in the light of certain premises. But, it is limited to what is presented to it.
Now, another function of the soul is the function of emotions. Your soul has emotions. You can find that in all kinds of places mentioned in the old book the Bible. Your emotions are the part of you that feels. With your emotions you feel affection for people. With your emotions you feel strong desire for things or for other people or for experiences. With your emotions you have simple feelings — feelings of anger or hatred or joy, feelings of liking a person or disliking a person. It’s in your emotions where your feelings about people and about circumstances and even about things are experienced.
Your emotions are a powerful part of you. More especially so, because they are connected with the body. You know how when you’re very nervous, then you begin to feel your mouth get dry. That’s because your emotions begin to stop the secretion of fluids in your mouth. It’s the same when you feel fear and your hands grow clammy. It’s because your emotions are very directly connected with your body and they cause the palms of your hands to actually perspire.
Or, it’s the same if you’re very embarrassed and you blush. What happens is the emotion of embarrassment sends messages to your blood vessels and they release more flow of blood in your cheeks and you blush. So, your emotions are probably the strongest part of your soul. Your body, you can guess, is the strongest part of you, but your soul is the next strongest part of you, especially your emotions. They are connected with your physical body.
Of course, you can see yourself right there, the great foolishness and mistake of going by your emotions, because your emotions are so influenced by your body that almost whatever you do in your body effects your emotions. That’s the ridiculous part, of course, of any of us thinking that we can find God in our emotions. I mean, some of us think we are super-intellectual and we’ll find truth through our minds. Well, you can’t,
because the mind is limited to what is presented to it.
But many of us think that we may not be very intellectual, but we can feel God. Well, of course, you can see that your feelings are almost utterly dictated by your body and you’ll never find God through your feelings. Let’s talk a little more about the soul tomorrow and its functions.