– C.S. Lewis
Dust of the Ground
The Hebrew name for man is apparently “adam,” but it could be derived from Hebrew אדם (adam), meaning “to be red.” But the word used for “being,” or some translations call it “soul,” is from the Hebrew word “nephesh,” which means “soul,” “life,” or “creature.” Why would I be bringing this up? I bring this up only to show that our body is separate from the soul. We are dust, or it might seem “red dirt,” but we are simply dust, and to the dust of the ground we will return (Gen 2:7). We have a physical body, but that’s not the same as our soul.
Paul sold himself out for Christ and for the church, saying that he would gladly be spent for the souls of the Corinthians (2 Cor 12:15), which would make no sense if he was talking about only a physical body. Paul knew that the body and soul were two different things because to be absent from his body, meaning at his death, he would be in the presence of the Lord (2 Cor 5:8). He was confident about that. The Apostle John prayed that the believers would prosper, be in good health (regarding their body), just as their soul would prosper (meaning the human spirit or soul), so he distinguished between the body and the soul as being different from one another (3 John 1:2).
In the Body, Away From the Lord
Paul again mentioned the body and soul as different things altogether. He said that as long as we’re home in this body, we can’t be with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6), unless, of course, the Lord returns before our bodies are laid in the graves. He was torn between being in his body to serve the church and being away from his body and with the Lord and who could blame him because he knew which was better (Phil 1:23). When someone goes to my funeral someday and says, “Here he lies,” that is not true. I am not there; that is just my body. God says that He is the God of the living and not the dead (Luke 20:39; Mark 12:27), so I’m not dead, for never have I been as alive as after the moment of my physical death. I am not my body. I am my soul, as Solomon wrote, and my body will go back to the dust from whence it came, but my spirit will return to the God Who created it (Eccl 12:7).
Body and Soul
When Stephen was being stoned, he didn’t say, “Lord Jesus, receive my body and soul,” but “receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). That’s because Stephen’s body was lying in a pile of rocks, but his spirit, or soul, would be going to be with the Lord. Just as Adam’s body was made of the dust of the ground and would return there again (Gen 3:19), so too will we leave behind our bodies, only to be joined with them again at the resurrection at Christ’s return. For me that day cannot come soon enough.
I don’t have all the answers, but the plain things are the main things (John 3:16), and what I don’t understand, I leave up to God. In time, I’ll know, just as you will. I do know this; I am satisfied in Him. How about you?