THE THREEFOLD NEED OF THE TRIPARTITE MAN
The Bible tells us that man is composed of three parts. Apart from the body, man also has a soul; moreover, there is a spirit within the soul. Man’s soul and spirit are both mysteries. It is interesting how the ancient Chinese formed these Chinese characters for soul and spirit. Soul belongs to the group of characters with demon as a radical, while spirit belongs to the group of characters with rain as a radical, which is also where the character electricity belongs. This is a hint that the spirit is as wonderful as electricity, which is invisible yet very real. If a man would carefully recall his past with all his experiences in a quiet and humble way, he will surely discover that there is a spirit within him.
We also know that when a person satisfies his physical needs for food, clothing, shelter, and transportation, he still does not feel satisfied within. Thus, he looks for various kinds of entertainment and amusement to satisfy his need. For example, admiring artistic works, listening to music, reading books, watching television and movies, and other matters are all for the entertainment of the soul. In Greek, the words for soul and psychology come from the same root word psuche. Therefore, the soul is the psychological part referred to in psychology, which is also what we often refer to as the metaphysical things, things that are invisible and without bodily form.
However, a person may have no lack in food, clothing, shelter, and transportation; he may have enjoyed every possible kind of entertainment and amusement. He may have achieved success and acquired fame, and he may have many children and grandchildren. Yet when he lies down to rest in the silence of the night, his deepest part often has a kind of bored and empty feeling. He still feels that human life is tasteless. Deep within him there is still a big void which cannot be filled, so he still has no satisfaction. This is the real condition of many people in the world. This empty part in the depths of man is what the Bible calls the human spirit. The hole, the void, in the deepest part of men is something that cannot be filled by any person, thing, or matter in the world. This is a sign of the hunger and thirst of the human spirit. In the deepest part of man, in man’s spirit, there is truly a need which cannot be satisfied by any physical or psychological thing in the world.
THE BIRTH OF RELIGION
Throughout the ages, due to the fact that the need within man’s spirit cannot be satisfied by anything in the world, religion was then invented. We all know that today there are five great religions in the world: Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Mohammedanism, and the Judeo-Christian religion. Confucianism, which is composed of the teachings of Confucius, teaches people about ethics and morality but not the worship of God. Therefore, strictly speaking, it cannot be considered a religion. Buddhism, which was founded by Sakyamuni, does not even speak of the true God. It talks only about the wheel of reincarnation and meditation to become Buddha, and it also teaches people to practice abstinence, to do good, and to worship the clay statues of Buddha. Therefore, strictly speaking, it cannot be considered a religion either. Taoism teaches profound and mysterious thoughts, transcendence from worldliness, and self-cultivation to obtain immortality. It is merely an empty philosophy, so it cannot be considered a religion either. Mohammedanism, which is also called Islam, teaches people to worship the God who created the universe and not to worship idols; hence, it can be considered a religion. However, the Koran, the sacred book of the Moslems, was written by copying from and making changes to the Holy Scriptures of Judaism and Christianity; it is altogether a deviation from the biblical truths. Hence, Mohammedanism cannot be considered an orthodox religion.
The Judeo-Christian religion is composed of Judaism and Christianity. The Holy Bible of this religion teaches men to worship the unique true God, Jehovah, and declares Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. None of the founders of religions or the great philosophers dared to proclaim himself as the Lord. Only the Bible tells us that there is a true God in the universe, and that He is the Lord, the Creator, and the sovereign One in the universe. The Old Testament says that Jehovah God is the Creator of all things; moreover, the New Testament says that Jesus Christ is the Lord of all (Acts 10:36). We all know that this year is A.D. 1983, which is counting from the year that Jesus Christ was born. Today all the countries in this world, including the atheistic communist countries, use a calendar based on the year of the birth of Jesus Christ. Logically speaking, the calendar a country uses indicates the one to whom this country belongs. Today all the countries of the world use the calendar of Jesus Christ as their calendar. This tells us that all the countries of the world belong to Jesus Christ. All men under heaven use the calendar of Jesus Christ as their calendar, so Jesus Christ is the Lord of all men of the world.
(The Subjective Experience of the Indwelling Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)