All Humans Have a Spirit, a Soul, and a BodyHumans are trifold beings composed of a spirit, soul and physical body. Lets talk about the spirit of man first because that is the least understood. Most theologians believe that man had a fully self-aware spirit like the angels when he was created and that spirit died when Adam sinned. However, this belief flies in the face of the evidence presented by scripture. The bible indicates that man became a living soul when God breathed into him his breath of life (Gen. 2:7). That breath was not air, but is Spirit, because God is Spirit, and the bible says we all have our being in that Spirit ( Acts 17:28). There is not a single scripture in the entire bible, however, which supports the notion that this Spiritual breath is a fully formed personage in it's own wright, capable of making moral judgments. Indeed, we have good evidence in scripture that the spirit of man breathed into him by God was not a fully formed personage and that evidence is found in the following scripture referring to the tree of life (Gen.3:22). If it wasn't a fully formed personage then it couldn't be held accountable for sins of the soul. In support of this statement, conspicuously, the bible mentions the soul being in hell at least six times but it says the spirit of man returns to God (Ecc. 12:7). There is no mention of the spirit of man going to hell, whatsoever. The bible mentions angels going to hell so we know spirits do go to hell. Lets move on to what happens when this spirit of man units with the Spirit of Christ, (Col. 1:27) to become what Jesus described as being born of the spirit (Jhn. 3:3,5). Thus we become that new spiritual creature (2 Cor. 5:17). This new spiritual personage is then immediately sealed by the Holy Spirit unto that day of redemption (Eph. 1:13,14). It is created in the perfect image of Christ (1 Jo. 4:17) and is completely sinless. Sin cannot touch it ( 1 Jo. 3:9). However, it shall not experience the completed work of salvation, I. E. our soul and our body, until we pass through the judgment seat of Christ (2 Co. 5:10), and receive our glorified bodies.
Our soul is the totally human side of us. It is made up of our core human personality, which is the heart, and then the rest of the mind, which is commonly referred to, by many theologians, as our intellect, our will, and our emotions. Upon confessing Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9) as Lord of all, our spirit is born as a completely new creature, but the only part of our soul which is changed immediately after this new birth is our core personality, or heart (Eze. 36:26). This new heart is the "beach head" of the soul and is where the battle for the rest of our mind is launched. It's a life long battle. We must continually work at renewing our thought life allowing our thoughts to be transformed into the way which Christ thinks (1 Co. 2:16). This is that part of our salvation which Paul talks about in Phl. 2:12 and this process shall not be fully completed until we pass through the judgment seat of Christ (2 Co. 5:10) and receive our glorified bodies. This process is also made harder because our soul can never comprehend spiritual truths through the use of the five senses (1 Co. 2:14). Indeed, these spiritual truths are foolishness to our natural minds. Yet it is the acquiring of these spiritual truths and then the sowing of them into our own lives, which brings the blessings of God (Gal. 6:8). There are only two ways for a believer in Christ to receive this spiritual enlightenment. One way is through the Holy Spirit (Jhn. 14:26). The other way is through the written word of God (Heb. 4:12).
Here are other thoughts on the characteristics of the human soul. The word "soul" is mentioned over 450 times in the Bible separately from the word spirit. Yet, most Christians confuse the characteristics of the soul with those of the spirit. The soul, gets its awareness between it and this world, through the five physical senses. Its understanding is limited to things of this world and is amoral at birth. The soul can also communicate with the spirit realm, God, devils, angels but lacks the godly wisdom to draw the right conclusions from those communications, within itself. The human soul has an affinity for believing that God is Lord of all (Rom. 1:19-21), which begs the following question, at least in my mind. Is a belief in a "Great White Spirit, which is thought to be tribal Americans' name for God, enough to satisfy the requirements in Romans 10:9? That scripture sets the bar a lot lower than most Christian's think. I have often wondered about this. Will I be joined in heaven by people I never suspected would be there? That's a deep discussion for another time. The soul cannot influence our new born spirit, but the new born spirit can and does influence our soul through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. The soul will not be completely redeemed until a believer goes before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom. 14:10, 2 Co. 5:10). The soul can harbor demonic oppression, ancestral sins and strong holds of the devil. It is not automatically cleansed of all these instantaneously when a person becomes a believer in Christ. If you thought like a serial killer before you became born again there is a very good chance that you will still think like a serial killer until your soul is delivered from that stronghold. By the way, the souls of all believers need some form of deliverance. The soul is the seat of a believer's thought life which must be transformed into the mind of Christ bit by bit (Rom. 8:29, 12:2). Unbelievers can pick up some enlightenment and have it be reflected from their soul, into the world around them, as a result of the influence of a believer or as the result of a legacy left behind by a believer. However, that unbeliever's enlightenment is not permanent. That reflected light in the soul of an unbeliever will fade in time. When they died, the souls of Adam and Eve were probably the most pure souls of any human being this side of heaven because they started from a pure state, free from sin, unlike us. I find it interesting that Adam was given the opportunity by God to become born of the spirit through the tree of life, which provided no redemption from sin but did provide eternal life. It seems a little near sighted that Adam didn't jump on that deal immediately. It is human nature, however, when we are young and healthy to think that we are going to live forever already, I suppose.
Our natural bodies are our space suits for living in this earthly environment. Everyone is pretty familiar with these so I do not need to say much about them. They are corruptible. They came from the dust and will return to the dust (Ecc. 3:20). They will be replaced by an incorruptible body but I know very little about that (1 Co. 15:54). Most are capable of understanding the basic makeup of the human body and basically how it's biology functions. What we are not good at understanding, is how our bodies interphase with our soul. We know it does and we know that this communication link is made up of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. How those connections are transferred back and forth in our thoughts becomes much harder to understand. For example, we can generate thoughts which seem to have nothing to do with instinctive programing or the environment around us. The body doesn't have a conscience or the ability to judge right or wrong. Simply put, the biological body only responds in a very mechanical way to either outside stimuli coming from the five senses or the internal commands generated by the soul.