I. WE BEING CREATED BY GOD A TRIPARTITE BEING
In the record of God’s creation in Genesis, God did not give us many details concerning the heavens because the heavens do not have that much direct relationship with us. But concerning the earth, God gave us a number of details. Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2 gives us the details of the earth. First, God caused the dry land to appear on the third day. Then He made the plant life and the animal life. Eventually, God told us that He made man.
In God’s creation, He mostly spoke things into being, but in His creation of man, He used two substances. Genesis 2:7 says that He used the dust to make man’s body and His breath of life to form man’s spirit. The breath of life is not God Himself, God’s life, or God’s Spirit. But it is very close to God, very close to the life of God, and very close to the Spirit of God.
Before the breath of life entered into man, he just had a lifeless frame. But when the breath of life entered into man’s frame, man became a living soul. The soul was not created by God out of a certain substance. The soul was the issue of the breath of life entering into man’s body. It is man’s being, man’s self. Exodus tells us that seventy souls of the house of Jacob went down to Egypt (1:5). These were seventy persons. A person is a soul. This shows us that the soul is our very person, our being. The soul is between the outward frame, the body, and the inward organ, the spirit.
A. With a Body Formed of the Dust,
as Our Outward Frame
In studying the definition of our spirit, we must be clear about God’s creation. We have been created by God as a tripartite man. As we have seen, 1 Thessalonians 5:23 and Hebrews 4:12b are the most basic verses in the Bible concerning man’s three parts. Man’s body formed of the dust is his outward frame (Gen. 2:7a). The minerals in our body are the minerals of the dust.
B. With a Spirit Produced of God’s Breath,
as Our Intrinsic Organ, Ranked with
the Heavens and the Earth
We also have a spirit produced of God’s breath, as our intrinsic organ, ranked with the heavens and the earth (Gen. 2:7b; Zech. 12:1b; Isa. 42:5). I do not use the word made or created but produced. The breath of life produced the spirit. Actually, it was the breath of life becoming the spirit. In Genesis 2:7 the Hebrew word for "breath," neshamah, is the same word used for "spirit" in Proverbs 20:27, which speaks of the spirit of man.
We have two main organs. One is the body as our outward organ, which is full of functions. But we also have an intrinsic organ within us—our spirit. We can substantiate all the things in the divine, spiritual, and heavenly field by our spirit. If we do not use our spirit, we become very low, like the beasts. The difference between man and the other living creatures is that only man has a spirit (Job 12:10). The spirit distinguishes us from all the animals, so we must study our spirit and exercise our spirit. If we do not care for our spirit, we can never enjoy God, we can never be spiritual, and we can never grow in the divine life.
(The Spirit with Our Spirit, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)