Description: The tragedy is that we live for what we can get through our bodies, emotions and mind. The fall of mankind is that we manipulate to our advantage.
Distinction: Body, Soul and Spirit
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
Dear ones, I felt really that there was a need to back up for one Sunday. That’s because I’ve again
and again mentioned the soul and the spirit and I’ve continually forgotten that the last time I
expounded the scriptural distinctions between them was about a year or year and a half ago. And many
of us were not together then. And so I felt that it would be good tonight to go back and deal with
God’s plan for the spirit, the soul and the body. And so that’s what I’d like to talk about and
next week then I’d like to get back to desire in the life of the Christian. So really tonight I’d
begin talking and discussing because the discussion is really as important as the presentation. But
I’d like to speak for maybe half an hour for God’s plan for the spirit, the soul, and the body.
Why do you think God made us? Why do you think God made us? I think a lot of us feel that he made
us because he needed us. Now, I think it’s important to see brothers and sisters that it was not a
selfish desire like that that prompted God to make us because he already had all fellowship he
needed. Now you can see that in John 1, and you remember the verse yourselves by heart probably.
John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” So
Jesus, you remember, is the Word. And so Jesus was with God before the creation of the world.
You remember Jesus says to the Father on one occasion, “Give me the glory which I had with thee
before the creation of the world.” And you remember it talks about Jesus being the lamb slain from
before the foundation of the world. So before we were ever thought of the Father and the Son had a
love relationship that we can only imagine and that we will experience in heaven.
You remember, too at the very beginning in Genesis it says – if you look at Genesis 1:2, you find
there was a third member of that fellowship, “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was
upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” So there
was a trinity family that had all of the love they needed before we were ever created. And God did
not make us because he needed us. He had all the fellowship he wanted in the Son and the Holy
Spirit. That’s the importance of the three persons you see. They were independent without us. They
didn’t need us.
Now, why did God make us? Well, the answer is really there in, I believe it’s 1 John 1:3. “That
which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you,” and this is the reason the Father made us,
“So that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son
Jesus Christ.” And God made us so that we’d have fellowship with him, and with Jesus, and with the
Much the same brothers and sisters as two people in love naturally seem to produce another person to
enjoy that love and enjoy that life. Love seems you see, to create. It seems to bring to birth
other people to enjoy the fellowship. And so the Father’s love was the reason we were created. And
his love wanted other beings to share the fellowship that he, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
already possessed. And that’s why you see he turns to them you remember at the beginning of Genesis
there. And you remember, he is obviously speaking to somebody else, if you look at it there. And it
is Genesis 1:26. And it’s obviously God turning to someone else because God turns and he says, “Let
us,” that is you my Son Jesus and you Holy Spirit, “Let us make man in our image, after our
likeness.” And so the Father decided to make us so that we could enjoy his fellowship.
Now you can see that some things were important if we were going to enjoy God’s fellowship. First
of all you know how difficult it is to have fellowship with someone who doesn’t speak the same
language as yourself. It’s a real problem, you know. Or, it’s very difficult to marry someone who
is from a totally different background to yourself. It really is. You spend a lot of time coming
together into something that you have in common. In other words, you can see, dear ones, that it’s
essential if you’re going to have fellowship with someone that that someone is like you in some way.
Now that’s why the Father made us in his own image, you see. Now people interpret that variously.
Some say, “Yes, he made us a trinity as he himself is a trinity. He made us with a body like his
Son had here on earth. He made us with a spirit like the Holy Spirit has. He made us with a soul,
the real part of us, the very real part of us, the real you just as God the Father is the real you
in the trinity.” And some people say, “That’s partly what it means, that God made us in the
tripartite image of himself.”
Some say, “Well, he made us with a mind like his so that we could enjoy the beauty of the galaxies
as he enjoyed them. He made us with emotions and feelings like his so that we could feel like him.
We could feel joy like him and feel sadness like him, and feel love like him. And he made us with
wills like his so that we could make decisions and do things.” But do you see that God made us in
his own image?
Now I think it is important, dear ones, to see that God only carried that up to a certain point.
Now, would you look there at the actual creation account in Genesis 2:7? “Then the LORD God formed
man of dust from the ground.” So God made our bodies. He took ordinary dust to which we return and
he fashioned them into physical bodies like this. And then do you see what he did in the rest of
the verse, “…Man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and
man became a living being.”
Now God breathed his own life into us. Now what kind of life did he breathe into us? Obviously not
the kind of life that we could get from the tree of life, otherwise he needn’t have provided the
tree of life. But do you see that word, life, in Verse 7? The Hebrew word is “chai’im”. And some
of you will recognize it, I think, in “Fiddler on the Roof” wasn’t it? They toasted “l’chai’im”
“l’chai’im”. And it means “to life”. But ‘chai’im’ is the Hebrew plural. In other words, every
time you come to it, it’s actually a yod and a mem. If I can remember it in English letters now,
it’s an I, and like a Y and M. And every time you come to that in Hebrew it means lives, lives
[plural of the noun “life”].
And so many people can see that really when God breathed into our nostrils he breathed into our
nostrils the breath of lives. He breathed into our nostrils the breath of mental life, and
emotional life, and volitional life. And then do you see what happened? As a result of God’s life
combining with our bodies, man became a living–and the King James Version is more correct there.
The Hebrew word is nephesh. And it means a living soul. And so you see what happened, God took the
corporal part of us, the dust part, the physical part, and he breathed into that part his own life
and as a result those two parts fused together and formed man’s soul.
And so you had the Spirit of God, the capacity for spirit inside us combining with our bodies and
forming a soul, our mind and emotions and wills. And that’s how we came to be the creatures we are.
And that’s why the soul is so important in mankind, you see. The soul is the unique part of man.
You remember, God never calls the angels, souls. But he often calls men, souls. You know again, and
again you find in the Bible references that man is referred to as a soul.
You see it there in Matthew 10:28–because this was the element in us that distinguished us not only
from the animals but also from the very angels themselves. And that’s why it’s so important to see
that the soul is there. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather
fear him who can destroy both the soul and body.” And in Revelation 20:4 it’s more obvious that the
reference is to men. And yet it is souls. “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to
whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their
testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had
not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ
a thousand years.”
Now do you see, it doesn’t mean I saw the souls in the sense of I saw their minds, emotions and
their wills wandering around. It means, I saw the lives of those men who had died. And again, and
again if you follow through the Bible you’ll find that God often refers to men as souls. And there
he’s not referring to just the soulish part of them but the soul is so peculiar to man that God
often refers to men as souls when he means their whole beings. And this is because the soul is the
unique part of us. So we ought not to despise the soul. We ought to see that is the personality
part. That is the real you. Nevertheless we ought to see its true place.
Now it is important, dear ones, to see that we have a body, soul and a spirit. Some people say, “Oh
yes, you’re right pastor. We’re just referred to as souls because, you see, that’s all we have. We
have our body. Then we have our soul. We’re two parts.” Now, dear ones, that is dualism. That is
the belief of modern psychology. Modern psychology says, “Listen, all you people have is you have a
body. And that produces behavioral psychology. And you have inside that a soul. You have mind,
emotions and a will. And you have nothing deeper than that. You have no spirit.”
Now do you see that we throw ourselves into the hands of the psychologists if we are unscriptural in
this? And some of us tend to be. Some of us want to say, “Oh yeah, Pastor, we have only two parts
of us. We have a body and a spirit.” Dear ones, the soul is different from the spirit and we need
to see the distinction. That’s what’s happened to the great majority of churches today. They have
made no distinction between the spirit and the soul. And so the psychologists and the psychiatrists
seem to be able to do as good a job as the pastors.
Now loved ones, I know I did courses and courses in psychology in seminary because the whole mood in
Britain, at that time, was that way. And now the whole mood in America is that way, because, you
see, we’ve made no distinction between soul and spirit. And so we say, “What’s wrong with a person
is what’s wrong with their soul.” The Greek word for soul is “psuche”, psyche, hence psychology.
Psychology is the knowledge of the “psuche” or the soul.
Now do you see that the Bible says, though the soul is the personality part of man, though the soul
is the part that distinguishes man from the animals and from the angels, and though the Bible at
times, therefore, refers to man as souls when the Bible means their whole beings. Yet there is a
clear distinction between spirit, soul, and body. Now would you like to look at that distinction?
And you’ve often looked at it before. But let’s look just once more.
1 Thessalonians 5:23, “May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may…” And you see the
order. The order is God’s order, the most important first. “And may your spirit and soul and body be
kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now brothers and sisters, it’s
not enough to say, “Ah, that’s the Bible saying, you know, ‘May the whole lot of you be preserved
blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.’” You know, the Bible is God’s inspired word. The Bible
was inspired by the Holy Spirit so that the men who wrote the Bible wrote exactly what God meant.
And God didn’t just generalize. When he says, “Spirit and soul and body,” he means, “Spirit and
soul and body.”
And loved ones, it is vital for us as Christians to retain that distinction and to see that there is
a spirit, a soul and a body. Otherwise you verge into psychological religion, you see. You either
verge into that or you end up with people filled with the Spirit but living by their mental and
emotional powers. That is why, for instance, many spirit filled groups end up preoccupied with the
emotion that the singing of choruses or the singing in tongues produces, because they themselves
have not moved into a distinction between soul and spirit. And though they are filled with the
spirit they worship in the strength of the soul.
That’s why certain theological groups who want to find their way back to orthodoxy, if they don’t
make a distinction between spirit and soul, they begin to move forward in the strength of their
purely intellectual insights. And you know, you’ve met those dear ones. There’s a hardness to them.
They’re speaking truth but they’re speaking it with a hardness. It’s as if truth itself will
conquer, you know. Now, you see, truth is truth coming through inspired and sanctified personality.
That will conquer but there’s no such thing as just orthodoxy on its own. The Bible always talks,
not about orthodox doctrine, but about sound doctrine, doctrine that produces the Greek word meaning
health–health giving doctrine. And so it’s vital to keep the distinction between soul and spirit
Now some of us may feel, well really, is it necessary to know that there is a difference between
them? And is it necessary to know the distinction in your own life? Well, would you look at Hebrews
4, dear ones, which points out that yes, it is important at a certain part of our lives, to know
that there is a distinction between spirit and soul? It’s Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is
living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit.”
Now you see the Bible says that the word of God is a sword and will pierce and divide between the
soul and the spirit.
Now why bother dividing if it doesn’t need to be divided, you know? The Bible doesn’t go around
doing things for pleasure or for the sake of doing it. So if it says that the Bible is the word of
God and divides between soul and spirit, there must be some reason and some need for it. Now you
see, dear ones, that we need to deal with these passages when we’re dealing with these levels of the
personality. We need to see that these are scriptural. These are not thought up by some man. We
may say, “This is an infinite word of God, brother. And you have a miserable little finite mind. And
every time you take this infinite word of God and try to divide it up for us you make it less true.”
Yes, I’ll agree brother, that finally only the word of God can be interpreted by the Holy Spirit to
each of us.
Nevertheless, do you see we do need to make some attempt to draw out the implications of this word?
And we need to see that this distinction is written into the word. Would you let me just caution
here? Do you see that we’re not saying that I can take out this and say, “There’s my soul; okay
doctor, there’s my soul?” And then I can take out this and say, “Okay Pastor, there’s my spirit.”
They aren’t things. We agree with the modern psychologists, you can’t divide us up into different
parts. We are all one personality. All you can say is, we live at different levels. And what we’re
saying is, you can live at a physical level. And you can live at a soul level, an emotional, mental
and volitional level. And you can live at a spiritual level.
Now dear ones, I agree with you that when I utter a prayer, I’m living at all those levels at once
if I’m really praying in the Spirit because the prayer is really coming from my spirit. And yet it’s
being applied through my mind in words and in language and coming out through my tongue so that you
can hear it. So I agree that all the levels are working at one time. But you do see that it is
important to know that we are moving at the level of our spirits. And that’s the real me, you see.
Because, God’s plan was this: He made us with these capacities, but he didn’t make us like himself.
Now did you get that? He didn’t make us like himself. He made us like himself in that he made us
in his image with the capacities to be like him but he didn’t make us robots that could not do other
than be like him. In fact, he made us with a body, and with a soul and a spirit. And then you see
what he did in Genesis 2:9, “And out of the ground the LORD God made to grow every tree that is
pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” And God, in spite of the fact that he had given us life,
natural life, mental, emotional, and physical and volitional life, and the capacity for spiritual
life, he put another source of life and made it available to us.
Now dear ones, that tree of life is the life of the Holy Spirit. It’s the life that became available
in Jesus. And it was the Father’s will that we should go to Jesus as he walked among us, and we
should, by our own choice, choose to receive that spiritual life of God into our spirits. Now loved
ones, do you see what we had was created life? It was mental life, emotional life, volitional life,
and physical life and a capacity for spiritual life. But it was up to us to choose to receive this
uncreated spiritual life into our beings. It was up to us to choose that.
Now you see why God made it that way loved ones. If he had made us like himself, with an inability
to do anything but be part of the trinity family, he would not have had a family. He’d have had a
family of captive robots. And this is why dear ones, he made us with capacity, and he made us with
the capacity to receive his uncreated spiritual life into our spirits. But he said, “You must
choose. You must choose to walk into my trinity family. You have the ability to become like us.
You have the capacity that makes you superficially like us, but you can only become like us by being
born of our uncreated life. And that is life that is available to you through my son, through the
tree of life, through the Holy Spirit. And only there, if you’re born of my eternal uncreated life,
can you become like the trinity family.”
Well that’s good sense dear ones. You cannot really become like my father unless you were born of my
mother. That’s the only thing that would really make you look like my father, or give you his
traits. And it’s the same with the Father. The only way we become like the Father is to receive the
uncreated spiritual trinity life from the Holy Spirit, by means of Jesus, into our spirits. And that
uncreated spiritual life contains the genes of God. It contains his spirituality, which will work
out into our minds and fill our minds with his spirituality. It contains his own blessedness and
joy, which will flow out through our emotions, and give us real happiness and real joy and peace.
It contains the liberty of his own will that will flow out through our wills, and give our wills
liberty from self.
But do you see the only way we can become like God is to be born of God by receiving that spiritual
uncreated life into us. And the Father told us that that’s what we had to do.
And then you see what he wanted to happen after that, you see what he told us to do in Genesis 1:28,
“And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and
subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every
living thing that moves upon the earth.’” And God wanted us to receive that uncreated spiritual
life into our spirits and then to go out into the world and allow that spirit life to pour through
our minds, and emotions, and our will, and to discipline them, and to make those minds, and
emotions, and wills the servant of the spirit, and then flow out through the body, and begin to
subdue the earth, and bring it under God’s command and will. And then move from this earth to the
other planets and the galaxies until we had brought the whole universe under God’s will.
And you see, by exercising ourselves in fulfilling that great commission we would allow that
spiritual life that had come into our spirits to flow out through our souls, and discipline them,
and make them servants of the spirit. And that way we would become totally like the Father, and the
Son, and the Spirit. Not only because we were filled with the spiritual uncreated life in our
spirits, but because our minds, emotions, and wills had voluntarily become the servants impregnated
with this Holy Spirit.
And so you see there were really two choices that we had to make. The Father wanted us to choose to
receive the Holy Spirit and to be dependent on him for our life and to be dependent on him for all
our needs, and secondly to allow that Holy Spirit to utterly control the soul part of us, the mind,
and the emotions and the will. And that was the Father’s plan. In other words, it was his plan
from the beginning that we should be born of the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, and then that we
should allow that Spirit to distinguish between our souls and our spirits and to control our souls
Now you know what in fact happened, the rebellion in the Garden of Eden was a rebellion of the body
and the soul. Man said, virtually to God in his own being, “We will not live by your life. You
have given us created physical life. We will use that life. And we will get what that life needs to
feed it, from the world.”
And you see, that’s the heart of the story in Genesis 3 really. You remember, that Eve looked at
the tree of the knowledge of Good and evil in Genesis 3:6. “So when the woman saw that the tree was
good for food,” that she could get all that her physical body needed from the world itself without
depending on God. She could get food from the crops, and the fruits of the tree. She could get that
for food, “And that it was a delight to the eyes.” And that’s a delight to the eyes to make you feel
happy and glad. And she saw that she could get all the enjoyment she wanted for her emotions from
the world. Boy, there was a beautiful green world out there. She could get all the satisfaction
and emotion she wanted. I suppose she never foresaw water skiing and flying. But in her own way,
she saw that you could get all the enjoyment for your emotions from the world itself, from the
natural world. And do you see that immediately she began to see what she could get?
The Father wanted her to pour out life through her emotions and through her body so that she’d fill
the world. But she saw that she could get from the world and empty the world–empty it of all its
oil, empty it of all its natural resources, of all its purity, of all its fresh water. And so we
come to this position you see we’re in today.
And then you see, “That the tree was to be desired to make one wise.” And she began to play about in
her own mind. And her sons and her daughters did. And you remember, at the very beginning of the
world obviously–from the Inca civilizations we can see that at the beginning of time men were
incredibly clever. And they used the abilities that they had mentally to begin to increase their
wisdom through manipulating the world for their advantage. And that was the fall of mankind you see.
It was a rebellion of the body and a rebellion of the soul. And you see what happened: Man began to
be dominated by his body and his soul.
Now loved ones, what is needed is, that the whole thing should be reversed, you see. The tragedy is
that we, as unregenerated people, live for what we can get through our bodies, and live for the
independent life in our souls. And therefore, there is a great threefold need when we come to
Jesus. First of all, really, there is a need for God to be able to forgive us, and give the tree of
life back to us, the life of the Holy Spirit back. And in order to do that, someone has to die for
us, so that God can return again that tree of life to us. That’s the first need and Jesus died for
The second need is that we not only believe that but that we go to the tree of life when we receive
the Holy Spirit. Otherwise, we’re in the old position that Adam was in, where the tree of life was
right there, but he never touched it. Now you see, many Christians are like that. Many of them
know that their sins are forgiven and they know that Jesus died for them. And they will say again
and again, “Boy, we’re glad that God has given us back the Holy Spirit, that he’s available for us.”
But they don’t receive the Holy Spirit, or they receive him and hold him into a little part of
their lives and they don’t allow him to fill them and to be utterly dependent on him. That’s the
second need, that they are filled with the Holy Spirit.
And the third need is, that they do what God originally intended. They allow that Holy Spirit to
control their souls and to integrate their souls and bring them back under the order of the Spirit.
And of course, begin the flow of life in the right direction. And that’s what we talk about, you
know, when we talk about the soul powers going to the cross. The soul powers have two mistakes.
They are independent working on their own, and secondly they’re working in a reverse direction.
They’re working from the body. The body dominates the soul, and the spirit is virtually compressed
What needs to be done is that the spirit is filled with God’s Spirit and becomes alive. And then the
direction begins to flow back the way God wants it to, and that the soulish powers begins to come
under the control of the Spirit. So there are two needs, dear ones, with the soulish powers: that
they begin to work from the spirit outwards and secondly, that they begin to be healed and
disciplined by the Holy Spirit.
Because, you see, at the moment, they’re like anything that doesn’t have sufficient life. If you
don’t have sufficient air coming in through your nostrils, then you’ll begin to have symptoms inside
your body of a lack of air. Now, if you do for a long time without the Holy Spirit your mind becomes
impaired. Your emotions become unbalanced. Your body becomes weakened. And that’s the state most of
us are in. And so it’s necessary after we’re filled with the Holy Spirit to allow the Holy Spirit
to begin to strengthen our minds and to rule our minds, begin to balance our emotions and begin to
strengthen our bodies. And that is the movement that comes back.
Now, dear ones, really I do feel that I should just very briefly give you some scriptural references
to the soul, and perhaps if we have time, to the spirit, so that you have some understanding of it.
Now I’ve just taken a few of them so maybe we could just look at the few that I have.
First of all, would you look at Psalm 41:2? And this is so that we should begin to see that the
scripture teaches the distinction between soul and spirit and goes further than that. The scripture,
by its references to soul, indicates some of the functions of the soul. “The LORD protects him and
keeps him alive; he is called blessed in the land; thou dost not give him up to the will of his
enemies.” Now the Hebrew word is “nephesh”, “soul”. And it’s translated “soul” in the King James
Version. And again and again when the Hebrew Bible talks about “nephesh” or “soul” it is talking
about as it’s translated there in the RSV, the will.
So the “will”, you see, that volitional part of us, is part of our souls. And that’s what we mean,
“Many Christians live in their souls.” They serve God with their souls. They’re willful people,
you know, they want to do it. And they insist on, “Yeah, you should go to this meeting, brother.
This is the church to go to. You should go to this meeting.” And there’s not the sweetness of
Jesus comes out, not the sweetness of Jesus’ Spirit. But they’re serving in their wills. That old
will has not been broken. Their soulish powers have not come to the cross.
Deuteronomy 21:14, “Then, if you have no delight in her, you shall let her go where she will.” Now
the Hebrew is according to her “soul”, according to her “nephesh”. And so again, you see, you’ll
find that soul means “will” in the Bible. And so one of the soul functions is our will.
Now would you look at another one? It’s Lamentations 3:20: another function of the soul. “My soul
continually thinks of it and is bowed down within me.”
Now obviously what thinks is our mind, you see. So when the Bible refers to “soul thinking,” it
obviously means that one of the parts of our soul is our mind. And you get that again 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.” Now obviously wisdom and discretion we connect with our minds, you
see. And so when the Bible talks about soul, it means, at times, our mind. So another function of
the soul is our mind. And you can begin to see where the psychologists got their name, “psychology”
Really, many things stem back to the Bible strangely enough you know. And it is really from the
soul that they got the meaning of psychology, that it includes the emotions. Really, they were not
so brilliant after all you know, discovering that they ought to deal with the will and the mind.
And then if you’d like to look at 1 Samuel 18:1. I’m sure these are not the only functions of the
soul, but they are perhaps three of the primary functions. This particular reference refers to the
emotion of affection, you see, “When he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit
to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” And the second “soul”, of course,
means as his own being. As we said the Bible uses “soul” at times to refer to the whole man. But the
first “soul” is obviously emotion. When you love a person you love them with your emotions. And so
the Bible, when it refers to soul, it refers to emotion.
I’ll just give you quickly the other references, dear ones, so that you’ll have them. The emotion
of affection is in 1 Samuel 18:1. Then Psalm 84:2 which refers the emotion of desire, you see. We
desire with our emotions. That’s when we’re walking through Dayton’s [department store] and that
desire for that lounge chair or that new dress comes upon us. There, we’re walking in our souls,
you see. And we’re still walking in reverse direction. We can be baptized with the spirit, filled
with the spirit, all that. But if we’re walking with that desire drawing us, that’s what brings
unrest to us. You know it. You desire it. And you live for it, and live for it. And it brings
unrest. That’s why, dear ones, I’ve shared with you the need to bring those soulish powers to the
cross, because they can cause you as much unrest as that old will that is independent of God–that
resists God. That’s the emotion of desire.
Then Psalm 42:5, and that is the emotion of feeling. And maybe we could just pause to look at that
for a moment because it affects so many of us. “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you
disquieted within me?” Now you can see the reason for coming to a cross experience as far as our
soulish powers go, because it is in our emotions that we experience sadness and depression. And
that’s where many of us make a mistake you see. We think, “Oh in a service on Sunday morning if our
emotions are aroused to the height, that’s great.” No, it’s bad, because if you live in your
emotion there, Satan will find it very easy to draw you down into the emotion of depression later on
in the day. And it’s the Father’s will, you see, that our soulish powers should come to an
experience of the cross and be broken. Because you’re right, they are not evil in themselves. But
they are natural and they are independent, strictly speaking, of the Holy Spirit life of God. And
they can be used by Satan to draw us back into independence.
So you can see, dear ones, that there is a real distinction in the Bible between spirit soul and
body. I think it would be unfair at this point to go on into the distinctions of the spirit. And I
will try and do that on another Sunday evening. But I think it’s vital to see that we are a
tripartite being. We are tripartite beings. And there is a need, not only to receive and be filled
with the Holy Spirit in our spirits. But there is a need to allow the Holy Spirit to bring our
soulish powers under the control of our spirit, so that we no longer live by those soulish powers,
but they are controlled by the Spirit of God.
Now would you have questions, dear ones?
Question from Audience: (inaudible)
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
It seems to me that the whole meaning – somebody could correct me on this, but I think the whole
meaning of the resurrection is that the body will be raised up and the soul and they will be united
with the spirit and that the whole three will come together in unity before they come before the
Father. And I think that’s the meaning, that the spirit does not die but the body and the soul, as
it were, are dead, because the spirit is no longer in them. And that’s where at times, you know–I
remember with my dad, when he was lying there – in Ireland we are foolish really. We keep the body
in the casket in the house. And I remember there came a time about, oh six hours, you know, after
he was dead, when I sensed that he was no longer there.
Now, one can give that many explanations. But I think that many of us have sensed that there comes a
time when the spirit – we seem to sense that that person is no longer the people we knew. And so it
seems that at the resurrection the whole three will be united together.
Question from Audience: (inaudible)
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
Good, good. In other words, that in heaven – no the whole tripartite personality yes, will be
alive. The only difference will be, we’ll have a spiritual body like unto the glorious body of
Jesus. And therefore it will be free, presumably, to move throughout the universe and will be free
from the weaknesses that our own body has. And it seems that then part of the change in the
twinkling of an eye would be that the Holy Spirit would then completely renew our minds, and our
emotions, and our will. And so that’s why we say we’re not perfect now as we will be then.
Question from Audience: (inaudible)
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
It seems to me that when the Bible talks about the heart, it talks about it much in the same way as
it talks about the soul. At times it refers to the heart as the inner being of mankind, just the
deepest part. So that at times, if it means the heart of an unregenerate man, it means the deepest
part of that man. At times if it talks about the heart of a regenerate man, it means the spirit of
that man. The heart of an unregenerate man would be a soul, because his spirit is really dead to
God. And the heart of a regenerate man would be his spirit.
And at times it talks that way. But for instance, Deuteronomy 6:5, obviously it means something even
different from that again. “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with your
soul, and with all your might.” So it’s the same as with the soul. No, you can’t mathematically
divide it, brother. You can’t say, “Every time soul means this,” or, “Every time soul means that.”
And that’s where I think we verge into purely intellectual distinctions that get us into trouble.
And I think it’s the same with “heart.” What it certainly doesn’t mean is a blood pump. That’s
Question from Audience: What made Adam and Eve rebel? Was it ignorance of what they had in God?
Reply from Pastor O’Neill:
Brother, the will remains a mystery. And every theologian would say that. The will is left a
mystery by God. And as far as I can go is Dostoyevsky’s statement. He said, “The only reason a man
will act against his own best advantage is in order to have his own way.” And I don’t know,
brother. That’s it. You can say, you know, it was a deception of Satan. You can say that that is
why God is able to forgive man at all, because man did not originate sin. Satan originated sin. And
you can say it was a deception of Satan. And Satan said, “Now, you’ll be as God if you do this.
You’ll be as God.” And so he deceived man into thinking that he would really fulfill himself.