by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 5 May 24, 2015 Dayton, Texas
23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].
1901 ASV Translation:
23 And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at thecoming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.
I. The Sanctification of the "Soul".
A. The nature of the "soul".
1. It appears that the word "soul" is used to refer to the actual "person".
a. Genesis 2 reveals that once a body was created and had the "spirit of life" breathed into its nostrils, "man" became "a living soul".
b. Though the issues are complicated, there are references to the "soul" that make it possible for us to consider the word as a reference to "the essential us". Man can exist and function apart from his "body" and though the "body" is dead apart from the "spirit", there is no indication that the "soul" is dead apart from the "spirit".
2. It also appears from the Old Testament use of the word "soul" that the word is widely used in metaphor.
a. The "soul" is/was originally the part of one's body that included the area from just above the eyes to at least the bottom of the neck.
b. This, like the words "heart", "bowels", "loins", etc., indicates that we are to derive our understanding of the "soul" from its original, physical, identity, using the metaphor to inform our understanding.
B. The function of the "soul".
1. As with the "spirit", the issues of the function of the "soul" are most easily derived from a comparative study of the temptation/promise accounts of the Bible in order to understand what it is that the "soul" does.
2. Since John uses "the lust of the eyes" to describe the faults of the "soul", we can easily move to this fact: the "soul" is that part of our bodies which contain the "eyes" and responds to "life events" according to what the "soul" sees. But even this is contained only in metaphor as "eyes" cannot "lust", nor can they "do" anything other than receive visual input and transmit that to the brain.
a. Eve was tempted by the fact that the offer of the fruit of the forbidden tree was "pleasant to the eyes". This strongly indicates that if a matter appears to be "pleasing", the "soul" will make its decisions on that basis. Jesus was offered a vision of "all of the glory of the kingdoms of the world" in His temptation. It is notable that the "appeal" built into this temptation was "authority" and "glory" and Jesus acknowledges that these are issues of "life" that are to be addressed by "worshipping" and "serving" the Lord thy God.
b. From these facts we can see that the "soul" seems to have two major "motivators" involved in "sight" (as both physical sight and metaphorical "sight").
1) There is the "delight" factor: the soul is motivated to make decisions on the basis of what it "thinks" will bring it "delight". That Eve was effectively tempted in this area is a clear indication that, though the soul may depend upon its "sight", it can be misled and deceived.
2) There is the antithesis of "delight"; an "abhorrence" factor that is often rooted in fear. This introduces a "safety" factor.
3) Thus, the "soul" is motivated by "Peace and Safety" issues; "lust for security" and "fear" of damage. The main reason the "soul" seems to be almost completely materialistic so that those involved in "the lust of the eyes" are greedy for gain, is that the "soul" has been perverted from its union with the security-providing God and turned to something else: money, as the "buyer" of safety.
3. As to "function", then, the "soul" is presented as a user of "sight" to attempt to decide what will bring "pleasantness" into play and then as a user of, primarily, its vocal abilities in order to bring the pleasantness into play and to stave off any unpleasantness. Jesus' declaration is that only God can make these things happen and no one ought to "use their eyes" to attempt to determine a "how" to bring things to pass. "Worship" of God excludes the ascription of God's abilities, desires, and decisions to any other person or thing.