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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Man Now Another Species Than God Created # 5

"What Is Man?"

Adam's Probation

But, to touch definitely on point three, "man became a living soul." First, the animal being out of the dust; then the spiritual life by the breath of God; and then the soul is mentioned. What did man become? "A living soul." Was that all? If that were all then what of the body? But this "living soul" has a body. Is that all? No! This living soul with a body has a spirit. This phrase, "living soul," well sets forth the nature of man's soul as in that first order as midway between matter and spirit; "lower than the angels" (pure spirits), higher than the brute. The quotation in 1 Corinthians 15:45 we said would help us. It does, in two ways. "The first man Adam became a living soul." The original of the last four words is "egeneto EIS psuchen zosan." the "eis" is interesting; it is local, and implies that the soul is the meeting place of two opposite natures, the body and the spirit. The added clauses in Paul's statement make it clear, or strengthen the conclusion, that in the first Adam the soul is the terminus of body and spirit. The statement helps us in a second way by showing that in the last Adam the spirit is the terminus, or governing factor. Thus the soul is the nexus between the higher and the lower natures, not merely the difference between physical and metaphysical; it is the "ego."

Nothing that is said in this book is intended to infer that soul, as such, is a wrong thing, i.e. that it is wrong for man to have a soul, and that therefore it has to be destroyed. What we are saying is that the soul of man has become poisoned with a self-directive interest, and has become allied with the power which are opposed to God. This is not known, nor imagined, to be so until a real awakening has taken place in the spirit. It is therefore wrong to live wholly or preeminently on the soul side of our being - now. The truly spiritual people will find their chief enemy in their own souls, and God finds His chief enemy in the soul of man. When the spirit is renewed, and Christ dwells and reigns within - in other words, when we are "filled with the Spirit" - then the soul can come to serve the Lord as a handmaiden of the spirit to real but governed usefulness.

So man awoke - so to speak - "a living soul." He came to a threefold consciousness; a world - or sense - consciousness through his psycho-physical body; a self-consciousness in his soul; and a God-consciousness by his - what? Does man arrive at the knowledge of God as a Person, a living Person, by his reason, feeling and volition? The Word of God denies this, and, in the matter of living union with God as an experience, man's history denies it. "Canst thou by searching find out God?" (Job 11:7). Philosophy gives a positive answer, inasmuch as it is the most deadly thing to faith; and philosophy is an intense activity of the soul, mainly on its reasoning side. Multitudes have been lost to a true and vital Christian experience through taking up philosophy as a subject. When God had breathed into the already fashioned man, something more than body and soul was there, and it was this that determined everything in relation to God's purpose through man. The soul was the meeting place of body and spirit. Let the soul surrender to the body and all is lost. Let it surrender to the spirit and all is well.

To sum up. Man became a living soul, having a body and a spirit. By asserting himself - the ego - in favor of the body and not of the spirit, he became a sinful soul. It is what he is, not just what is in him.

He has got to be saved from himself. This is  accomplished in two ways. Christ' death in its representative nature is a potent thing to be entered into by the  "natural" man, so that, by a crisis and a process, the power of Christ's death is wrought and established in the soul-consciousness of man. He becomes aware that he is forbidden to live and move on the basis of the self - ego- life. On the other hand, the resurrection of Christ is also a mighty power in man's spirit, and by its introduction by the Holy Spirit into man's inner being, he is made a spiritual man, as over against a merely natural. His position henceforth is most perfectly stated by the Apostle Paul thus:

"I (the natural man) have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me: and that (life) which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, (the faith) which is in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for (in place of) me." (Galatians 2:20).

This is what Christ meant when in the undeveloped truth He said:

"If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23).

Before taking the third of the questions mentioned earlier it may be more helpful to take  a fourth.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 6 - "Where Psychology Fails")

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