Body Series: Part 1 (Outer Court)
Where shall we begin?
At first glance it appears quite challenging when searching for a place to begin a study of Spirit, Soul and Body. Logic demands that since we call this series, Spirit, Soul and Body, we would start with “Spirit.” Let’s address this question first!
There are few entities with which we are more familiar than our own body. It is something we can feel, that feels. And so, this is the place to start.
Our God is a great teacher. Daily, He employs creation’s diffident resources to teach us life’s lessons and reveal complex realities. He employs this principal in His word. The Hebrew Scriptures[i], commonly called The Old Testament, is filled with images of natural things which teach grand spiritual relevance. Therefore, the natural place to begin is in “The Beginning.”
“And Yehovah (יהוה) Elohim (אלהים) formed man [of] the dust of the adamah [ground, land], and breathed into His nostrils the ruach chaiyim [breath, life]; and man became nephesh chayah [soul alive].” Genesis 2:7 Hebraic Transliterated Scripture*
Moses, who scribed the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scriptures (The Torah) must have understood that what he wrote reveals the basic elements of how man was fashioned. It was from the ground that Yehovah Elohim formed, or fashioned, man. Man, then, has a body. Yehovah Elohim breathes into man’s nostrils the spirit of life. That breath infuses Adam with his personal spirit which simultaneously quickens his body and soul. By this act, Elohim did something unique in nature. He created a being which had attributes similar to His own and, in some aspects that we will address later, divine.
Does the Hebrew Scriptures expound upon the foundation laid by Moses?
Centuries later, other writers, including David, Solomon, and the Prophets, confirm and magnify the foundation laid by Moses in Genesis 2:7. Their writings can be organized in two categories, passages that explicitly mention the words, “body, soul, and (personal) spirit,” and passages mentioning “types and shadows.”
We are not going to talk about the latter, but you will be happy to note, this will be covered in another article of this series. Stay tuned!
The word, “body” is mentioned in 39 passages of the Hebrew Scriptures. If you include the word, “flesh,” which is another term that refers to the mortal part of our personal trinity, the total within the Hebrew Scriptures is 418. Following are two examples of the passages which include the word, “body.”
“And Yehovah (יהוה) shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the eretz [land] which Yehovah (יהוה) sware unto thy avot [fathers] to give thee.” Deuteronomy 28:11 Hebraic Transliterated Scripture*
“And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Geichazi (גחזי) said, My adon[lord], O king, this [is] the woman, and this [is] her son, whom Elisha restored to life.” 2 Kings 8:5 Hebraic Transliterated Scripture*
We will continue our study in the next article called, “Body Series, Part 2 (Outer Court)”
* Comments, revisions and emphases are our own.
[i] Hebrew Scriptures – “What has been canonized and is commonly referred to as the Old Testament by many faiths was mostly written in ancient Hebrew. However, after the exile in 538 B.C. the language of Israel was mostly Aramaic, though a revival of sorts of the Hebrew language occurred during the Maccabean era it was all but replaced in everyday usage by Aramaic.” Katie Hall, communications coordinator for the Bible Gateway and lives in Grand Rapids, MI.