Item printed from The Restored Church of God (rcg.org)
Modern science is continually bringing new knowledge to civilization. Each important scientific discovery—each new piece of knowledge—is received worldwide with excitement and acclaim.
Reflect on all that science has given to mankind at large. It has put men on the moon and created weapons of mass destruction. It has broken down the genetic codes of DNA and cloned numerous different creatures. It has learned much about the staggering size and nature of the universe—outer space—and discovered incredible things about the tiny sub-atomic particles in different kinds of atoms—inner space. It has made numerous medical breakthroughs and accomplished amazing feats of engineering.
The scope and potential of science seems limitless. Most believe that, given time, scientific discoveries will solve most or all of mankind’s problems. Yet science is limited in a vitally important way that involves you. There is a discovery it will never—and can never—make about the nature of the human mind!
Your mind contains a dimension that cannot be understood or discovered by any process or experiment known to science. This world’s religions have missed it. Their theologians neither teach nor comprehend it. They have completely overlooked this critical component—this single vital key—that unlocks the enormous difference between men and animals. Only by understanding this revealed key can you learn your purpose for being!
Look at all of the amazing works of nature—both on earth and throughout the heavens. The kaleidoscope of God’s handiwork that can be seen by the human eye is staggering.
Consider the planets, stars and galaxies. Each is its own marvel. Then reflect on all of the species of plants found on earth. There are millions, diverse in color, shape, size and beauty. The brilliance of their various designs and purposes is incredible! Now think of the many millions of different kinds of animals and insects. They are as marvelous and fascinating as the world of plants, with their diversity of purpose, appearance and behavior.
But none of these creations rival the complexity and nearly unlimited capability of your mind. And as fascinating, marvelous, beautiful and amazing as are all the things described above, none is more amazing than the human mind. It is the absolute pinnacle of all living organisms. Nothing else in God’s creation even comes close. What else can plan, think or create to even a fraction of the same degree?
Just think about how many things the human mind can design and produce: Houses, telephones, trains, automobiles, planes, rockets, computers, fax machines and other sophisticated devices that are practically limitless in complexity and usefulness. The only thing it cannot design and build is itself!
When the psalmist said, “…for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14), this is most true of your brain—the human mind!
The Creator of your mind sent with it a detailed Instruction Manual containing vital information, explaining the nature, design and purpose of this greatest of all creations. He identifies the hidden key—the missing dimension!—to the right and proper use of the mind, opening the way to peace, happiness, abundance and universal prosperity.
But this Instruction Manual is almost universally ignored, misrepresented, misunderstood and rejected. I speak of God’s Word—the Holy Bible! As a result, the problems, troubles and evils of civilization mount with no solution in sight and conditions only growing worse.
Stop and think! Apply basic logic.
Would God create His marvel of engineering—your mind—and send it without an Instruction Book explaining how to use it? Of course not!
Yet this most amazing of all books remains a mystery to so many—with few even professing to understand it. Most spend their entire lives worried about what people think and say. Few concern themselves with what God thinks or says. Be honest and examine yourself. Do you derive your opinions from people? Or do you regularly search and accept the plain Word of God as the guide for your life?
The following scripture explains why even the most brilliant minds are completely unable to learn certain understanding, unless it is revealed to them. Notice: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank You, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes” (Matt. 11:25). The greatest thinkers of this world cannot fathom the things God has revealed in His Word! They are literally hidden from them.
We must be willing to examine God’s Word for what He reveals about your mind. It will open your thinking to incredible new understanding about why you were born—and of your awesome future and potential. However, we must start at the beginning.
Many suppose that the composition of the human mind is entirely physical. Is this true? Others believe that each person possesses an immortal soul. Is this true? What does the Bible say? Does it endorse either of these ideas? Or does God’s Word teach something completely different—something completely overlooked by all religions, and unable to be discovered by all methods of science?
First, we must consider the difference between human minds and animal brains. There are facts that science tells us about the comparative qualities of both. All understand that in some way animal brains are entirely different from human minds. But in what way? How are they different?
For instance, certain creatures, such as chimpanzees and dolphins, have brains that are relatively similar in size and weight to that of humans. Some larger animals, like whales and elephants, have larger brains than man. Yet they are far less intelligent, far less creative and incapable of understanding any kind of complex thought.
Science has never been able to explain—to adequately account for—the vast difference between the human brain and the brains of animals. While man has a brain that may be only slightly more complex than animals of relatively similar brain size, the difference in capability is vast. There is simply no comparison.
Animals function almost entirely on instinct. They do what they do automatically, and from birth. For instance, almost immediately after birth, a calf knows exactly what to do—how to stand up and take steps, and where to find milk. Human babies require far longer to even stand up with support, and have to be taught how to do virtually everything.
Having minds, human beings have been given hands so that they can create. Merely having brains, animals function on instinct and possess paws, claws and hooves. This leaves them incapable of building something complex like a television—let alone a jet airplane or a space-traveling rocket—even if a mind were directing them. Animals are also not capable of acquiring knowledge beyond a very rudimentary ability to react to certain stimuli.
Humans are capable of acquiring knowledge, drawing conclusions, gathering and assessing facts, making decisions—and building character. This is the single, greatest, overarching difference between men and animals.
Animals are greatly limited because God has merely programmed into them, through instinct, everything that they need to function effectively within their environment.
On the other hand, people do not instinctively know everything necessary to function successfully in life. They must continually acquire more knowledge throughout their lives to address new challenges and demands made upon them.
This is made possible by an unseen, unrecognized component of the mind. Without this invisible, non-physical element, mankind would be just another dumb beast!
Let’s now establish a basic Bible teaching. The patriarch Job wrote, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (32:8). This is a plain statement. Through Job, God revealed that men possess a kind of spirit, called the “spirit in man.” Fully understanding this spirit requires an examination of the other scriptures that describe it.
But before looking into the truth of this matter—before searching to see what the Bible says about this human spirit—we must understand and accept what the Bible does not say.
To do this, we must examine the most popular fallacy taught and believed by countless millions about this subject.
Many read verses like the one in Job and conclude that it is speaking about immortal souls. But is it? Is the phrase “spirit in man” synonymous with an “immortal soul” composed of spirit?
Most people do not understand the relationship between physical men and souls. They assume that human beings are born with immortal souls. The popular belief is that, upon death, the souls of sinners go to hell forever and those of the just go to heaven forever, since all souls are supposedly immortal. Is this what the Bible teaches?
Romans 6:23 states that “the wages of sin is death,” not life in hell. So, does the Bible somehow also teach that people have immortal souls? It does talk about “souls,” but in what context?
The Bible does teach that there is a connection between men and souls. Genesis 2:7 states, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
This verse does not say that men have souls, but that they are souls. Adam became a soul—he was not given one. Then, almost immediately, God warned him, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you [not just your body] shall surely die” (vs. 16-17). When placed together, these three verses reveal that men are souls and that souls can die!
The prophet Ezekiel confirms the book of Genesis. Twice he was inspired to write, “The soul that sins, it shall die” (18:4, 20). Death is the absence of life. It is the discontinuance—the cessation—of life. Death is not life in another place. It is not leaving “this life” for “another life”—the “next life.”
Finally, on the subject of whether the soul can die, notice this in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him [God] which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
The Bible says that souls can be destroyed! According to this verse, they can be destroyed as much as bodies can. We all recognize that bodies eventually die and that, afterwards, they naturally decompose and are completely “destroyed” due to the process of natural corruption. This verse explains that God does the destroying of souls in hell! Bodies can die in many ways. But souls are destroyed in hell by God.
Let’s consider the soul from another angle. We must be certain.
Human minds are differentiated from animal brains by intelligent thought. (We will later learn how this is possible.) Presumably, if the dead are not dead, but are really still alive, then they must be capable of intelligent thought. They must at least be conscious of their surroundings. Let’s consider a series of scriptures.
First, notice Psalm 146:3-4: “Put not your trust…in the son of man…His breath goes forth, he returns to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.” When people die, their thoughts end immediately—“in that very day.” This verse is not compatible with the idea that the souls of the dead are consciously suffering in a place of torment—or that souls are conscious in heaven. For instance, if the wicked are suffering in hell, they do not have knowledge that they are. They are unaware of what is happening to them. We could ask: What kind of suffering is that?
Some willingly ignore the meaning of scripture and allege that only mortal thoughts “perish.” Of course, this is ridiculous. The Bible says no such thing! The next verse is more direct: “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing…” (Ecc. 9:5). To the honest reader, there is no mistaking the plain meaning here!
This is because, as Solomon stated, “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast…All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again” (Ecc. 3:19-20).
Now consider Psalm 115:17: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.” Death involves “silence.” This does not square with any of the popular concepts of millions of the souls of the dead wailing and screaming in agony. This would hardly be a picture of silence! And, if the souls of some of the dead go to heaven, we could ask, why are they not praising God?
Psalm 6:5 adds that the souls of the dead do not experience conscious memory: “For in death there is no remembrance of You: in the grave who shall give You thanks?” Could anyone seriously suggest that souls in heaven could experience human memories but not be aware of God—not “REMEMBER HIM”?
You are now prepared to discover what almost no one understands. While man is composed of flesh, he has a non-physical component, the spirit in man, which can only be known of by what God has revealed in His Holy Word.
Understand that man is made of physical matter—he is flesh. God is Spirit (John 4:24). God had to have a way for Himself (Spirit) to be able to work with and communicate with man (flesh). Later, we will understand more regarding the vital spirit connection between God and humans, and how it works.
Notice this passage: “The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, says the Lord, which stretches forth the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1). It is God who creates, designs and “forms” the spirit of man in each human being. The following verse explains that all people possess this spirit: “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation” (Num. 27:16). The One who creates all the spirits in men calls Himself the God of these spirits.
All physical creatures eventually die. This applies to men and animals. Consider: “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even one thing befalls them: as the one dies, so dies the other; yes, they have all one breath; so that a man has no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?” (Ecc. 3:19-21).
Solomon is not saying that there is a spirit in beasts, but rather asks rhetorically, “Who knows…the spirit of the beast that goes downward…?” Many verses reveal that there is a spirit in man, but men are ignorant of this truth and of whether animals also have some kind of “soul” or spirit. This verse shows that it cannot be talking about mere breath, plainly something different.
Now notice this astonishing verse. Paul wrote, “For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11).
Do not try to “interpret” this scripture. Simply let it interpret itself. Accept it for what it says. This passage identifies two different kinds of spirit—the “Spirit of God” and the “spirit of man.” They are not the same. Each provides a different function in acquiring knowledge, and this verse identifies how.
Human knowledge (“the things of a man”) is acquired because God has given men a human spirit—the spirit in man. Paul’s inspired statement also makes clear that spiritual knowledge (“the things of God”) can only be acquired by the presence of the Spirit of God. Even this very knowledge—that these two spirits exist and how they work—is in itself truly amazing! Think of it this way. Virtually no one has the knowledge about how either physical or spiritual knowledge is acquired!
Remember Job’s plain statement, “But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (32:8). Job said exactly what Paul said. He identified this spirit, while distinguishing spiritual understanding (or knowledge) as something that comes from God—“the Almighty”—through His “inspiration.” This happens through the indwelling of the Spirit of God in converted minds.
Animals do not have the spirit in man. Animal brains are different from human minds. Humans are given this spirit from conception, allowing them, through use of the five senses, to acquire and retain knowledge. Without this unseen spirit element, mankind would just be another dumb beast. But he has been given the power to acquire, retain and use knowledge for all kinds of purposes.
All human beings were created by God to receive two entirely different spirits. One comes at conception, and the other comes by completely different means—repentance and baptism. Without the Spirit of God, people are incomplete. Their existence remains limited to what they can acquire on their own without God’s help. Vast amounts of spiritual knowledge remain beyond reach. Though the human ability to acquire physical knowledge is beyond that of brute beasts, they cannot attain to any of this other marvelous understanding.
Let’s learn more about how the Spirit of God works with the human spirit in converted minds. Proverbs 20:27 offers important insight: “The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Think of this verse in the following way: God can work within a physical brain—communicating with and inspiring it—by means of, or through use of, the non-physical component of the spirit in man.
Consider one example of how God can work through the human spirit. It illustrates an important principle. The setting involves King Cyrus of Persia. God wanted him to return to Jerusalem and build a second temple to replace Solomon’s, which had been destroyed: “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing” (Ezra 1:1).
God communicated with Cyrus through (by “stirring up”) his spirit. He does the same today. Now examine the following scripture. It adds a new dimension to the verses we have read about the spirit in man and how it works.
In the converted mind, both the Spirit of God and the spirit in man are present. They work together, with one another: “The Spirit itself bears witness WITH our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16).
This is truly fascinating understanding. The converted person is different from animals in two distinct ways.
Recognize that science could never learn what you have just read!
Now consider an additional point. From the very moment you are converted, purchased by the blood of Christ, God owns you: “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Cor. 6:20). God has literal ownership of your spirit—and it is His to work with.
It is critical to understand the character-building process at work in the converted mind and how it involves the human spirit. Notice: “He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules his spirit than he that takes a city” (Prov. 16:32).
Self-control—temperance—is listed as a fruit of the Spirit of God in Galatians 5:23. Take time to read it. When placed together, these verses show that only through the Spirit of God working with the spirit in man is temperance built!
At the end of the converted person’s life, God returns the human spirit to Himself. In it, He has preserved a complete, detailed record of all that pertained to the life of that individual. This is the plain statement of scripture. Notice: “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23).
The spirit, soul and body represent all that was the person. The personality, experiences, accumulated knowledge and character of each human being is reflected in the human spirit—the spirit in man.
This is why the spirit in man returns to God at death: “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Ecc. 12:7). At death, the human spirit returns to God, who formed and placed it in the mind. Recall Ecclesiastes 3:21: “Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?” Now you know what few others know—that the spirit in man does return to God.
The deacon Stephen understood. As he was being stoned to death for preaching a powerful sermon that antagonized his listeners, the Bible records, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59-60). That is right! Stephen died (“fell asleep”) knowing that God would receive his spirit and it would reunite with him, we will learn, at the resurrection.
Now we are ready for one final scripture before continuing. It is the capstone that explains the “preservation” of all human spirits and exactly where God keeps them. Understand this: “But you are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect” (Heb. 12:22-23). This is an incredible passage. The “God of all spirits” (of all “just men made perfect”) keeps them with Him, until the resurrection.
It is in heaven—the heavenly Jerusalem—where the spirits of all God’s saints from the last 6,000 years are held—are preserved intact—awaiting the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thes. 5:23).
Before continuing, we need to at least mention one other kind of spirit. Paul wrote to the Ephesian Church about the power of the devil and his influence upon the world: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (2:2).
Besides the Spirit of God and the spirit in man, it should be noted as such that the devil is a spirit. He is part of the angelic realm of spirits, consisting of faithful angels and demons (fallen angels).
Notice that verse 2 states Satan’s “spirit…works in the children of disobedience.” The devil is a spirit and he has power, through his spirit, to influence humanity toward disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into people’s minds, bringing disobedience. The devil has enormous power of influence, allowing him to send thoughts of deceit, anger, pride, hate, greed, envy and more, directly into people’s thinking! (Read our free booklet Did God Create Human Nature? to learn much more about how and why Revelation 12:9 states that the devil deceives the whole world.)
Satan, as this world’s god (II Cor. 4:4), has seduced the masses of supposed Christianity into rejecting God’s supreme purpose, involving obedience to Him—so that they can follow the permissive false christ, so popularly worshipped and believed today, to a false salvation.
We must look at the bigger picture. Now that we understand more of the human spirit, we must briefly examine God’s overall purpose. We must look at what He is doing with mankind.
The apostle John wrote, “In the beginning was the Word” (John 1:1) and then continued, “the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” If there is One who was God, but who was also with God, it is obvious that two Beings—two Persons—are being described.
Verse 14 continues, “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” The only God-Being who ever became flesh in order to dwell among men is Jesus Christ. Remember, it says that the Word “was made flesh.” Christ was not flesh until He came to earth to become the Savior of mankind.
Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God…” Moses recorded the first five books of the Old Testament in the Hebrew language. The word translated “God” is Elohim. This word is uniplural and refers to words like team, group, family or church. God is one family—One God—composed of two Beings. This is why Christ could be God and with God at the same time.
Later in Genesis 1, God said, “Let us [more than one] make man in our image, after our likeness” (vs. 26). There was clearly more than one Person involved in man’s creation. Verse 25 adds that each animal was made after “his kind.”
John 4:24 states that “God is a Spirit,” meaning that He is made up of—composed of—Spirit. Men are composed of flesh. Because God is a Spirit, His Spirit must work with another spirit within His human creation.
Men are not part of the animal kind. They do not carry the likeness of any “beast of the earth” (Gen. 1:25). Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God. They are part of the God kind. God did not form beasts to be in His likeness. So says your Bible!
Recall, Genesis 2:7 states, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Man is made out of physical matter—flesh. While he is not composed of what God is—spirit—he is formed in the “image and likeness” of God.
Human beings are able to acquire knowledge. Animals do not have this capability. Recall that God has programmed into animals, through instinct, everything that they need to function effectively within their environment. There is no “spirit of animals” giving them mind power.
Humans receive the spirit in man from conception. It allows them, through use of the five senses, to acquire and retain knowledge.
Once again, however, people do not instinctively know all that they must know in order to operate successfully throughout their lives. They must acquire ever more knowledge as they grow older and as more demands are made upon them. Animals have no such need.
All available knowledge falls into two categories: (1) The physical knowledge of how to work with matter and physical things, and (2) the spiritual knowledge necessary for people to develop personal relationships with both God and their fellow man. All knowledge is either physical or spiritual.
Physical knowledge is acquired through the five senses—sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. People understand that they must acquire a certain amount of useful knowledge, and keep adding to it throughout their lives. The spirit in man makes this possible.
But it is critical to recognize that the human spirit is not the man—it is in the man. There is a big difference! This spirit does not have mind power of and by itself. Neither does the brain. The brain hears through the ears and sees through the eyes. The human spirit does not do these things of and by itself. The brain does the thinking—with the spirit giving it the power of intellect. Remember, the spirit is in the man, giving the five physical senses the ability to work with the brain for analysis and discernment of meaning and comprehension. The spirit empowers the mind to process information received through the five senses.
All knowledge is learned. Tiny babies are born with none—their minds are like blank sheets of paper waiting to be written on. In the process of growing up, they must learn to do everything. To function as adults requires much physical knowledge. Of course, adults recognize that no one can succeed in life without a certain amount of knowledge.
But herein lies a great problem. The physical knowledge that man has acquired has been insufficient for him to be able to solve the many awful problems afflicting all the nations of the world. For instance, he is utterly incapable of learning how to be happy or to bring abundance and peace to earth. And no one has discovered how to rid the world of war, poverty or disease.
Why? Humanity is missing a key component!
After God created Adam and Eve, He presented them with an all-important choice—a critical decision to take one of two paths. Notice: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:7-9).
Genesis 3:1-8 contains the account of Adam and Eve’s fateful decision. They listened to the serpent and chose the wrong tree! This carried grave implications beyond what most could dream because, by not choosing the tree of life, Adam and Eve cut themselves off from the Spirit of God. They were left incomplete, incapable of receiving, understanding or forming spiritual thoughts. They severed themselves from the vitally important missing dimension to spiritual understanding of God’s purpose, the path to character-building and right solutions to humanity’s problems!
Here is what happened next: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of Us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life” (vs. 22-24).
God denied them access to His presence and to His Spirit. While this was never His intention, it was the result of Adam and Eve’s choice.
God intended from the beginning to give Adam and Eve His Spirit. It would have joined with the spirit in man to form a newly-begotten spirit life in each of them—and in all mankind to follow.
God still intends that all human beings ultimately receive the missing dimension of His Holy Spirit. He wants it to eventually enter all minds.
Let’s learn what role this second spirit plays, and how it works with the spirit in man. Notice what Paul wrote: “The Spirit [the Holy Spirit] itself bears witness with our spirit [spirit in man], that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16-17).
We see two spirits described here. God’s Spirit works “with” the human spirit to bring human beings to salvation as “joint-heirs with Christ.” It is this Spirit Adam was offered and would have received had he eaten of the Tree of Life!
In I Corinthians 2, we read of the spirit of man and the Spirit of God. Paul went on there to add, “But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (vs. 14). This is an enormously important verse. It is not possible for human beings to understand spiritual knowledge—spiritual understanding. Such things can only seem “foolish” to a mind that cannot “spiritually discern.” No matter how intelligent or talented a person may be, without the Spirit of God, they are shut off from all spiritual understanding.
Even attempting to tell people that they do not have this spiritual component is a useless exercise, unless God is opening their minds (John 6:44, 65). Otherwise, it will seem foolish to them because even this information is “spiritually discerned.” The more intelligent the person, the more foolish it will probably seem to him to be told his mind is incomplete—that he is “not all there.”
We have seen that if Adam had eaten of the Tree of Life, he would have received God’s Spirit. He would have learned the way of love—the “give” way instead of the way of “get” practiced by this world. The Bible says that “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), and that “love…is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy [Spirit]” (Rom. 5:5).
Romans 8:6 states, “For to be carnally [physically] minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” If Adam had received the Spirit of God, he would have had life inherent within him. He would have been an “inheritor” with Christ as much as any true Christian today. He would have also known the way to peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity.
Adam was given more than a brain—he received a mind, containing the human spirit. He had the power to choose—to decide for himself his own fate. He was not forced to follow, or be automatically led toward, any prescribed path. He had not been programmed or limited to instinctive thinking, as were dumb beasts. When Adam rejected the Tree of Life, he rejected the opportunity to receive the Spirit of God. This would have opened his mind to the Plan of God—to why he had been created. We saw that his decision caused him and his wife, Eve, to be cast from the Garden. But, their joint decision carried grave implications for all human beings who came from them—who could not then have access to the Tree of Life.
With this decision, Adam cut off himself and all mankind from access to God. He rejected the opportunity for eternal life—to “live forever” (Gen. 3:22).
Grasp what this means! Human beings are not finished—they are incomplete! All knowledge that enters their minds is strictly limited to the physical and material. For his sin of rejecting God and the Tree of Life, Adam was rejected by God and cast from the Garden, and humanity was cast out with him!
This is absolutely remarkable understanding—unknown to all but a scattered few on earth today. And it has not been understood until our time!
God’s purpose has never altered. He desires to offer eternal life to all who qualify for it. Now, almost everyone knows of the following verse: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
But there is a purpose that God is working out in those He has called. He is fashioning, molding, and building within them holy, righteous character—His very character. Notice: “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and we all are the work of your hand” (Isa. 64:8).
That’s right. God is actively working in the hearts and minds of those few who have His Holy Spirit within them (Acts 2:38). Human beings are not born with the character of God. And God cannot instantly infuse them with it by divine fiat. Character must be developed. The true Christian grows in grace, knowledge and understanding (II Pet. 3:18). He endures a lifetime of overcoming because he is in training for a supreme purpose. (Read our article “You Can Overcome and Prevent Sin” to further understand this process.)
Paul understood how God works in Christians. He also recognized that salvation (Rom. 6:23), and even faith to receive it, are free gifts. They cannot be earned. But this does not mean God is not clearly working (and requires good works) in human beings, as He reproduces Himself. Consider: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:8-10).
Most will not allow God to work with them. They fight His purpose! They think they know better than the God who made them—and will not be told what to do and will not be clay in His hands. Isaiah also wrote, “Woe unto him that strives with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to Him that fashions it, What make You? or Your work, He has no hands?” (Isa. 45:9).
Some will permanently reject God, refusing to obey Him. They will trust in their human minds and reject the missing dimension of God’s Spirit, which would have led them to eternal life. They will choose to remain incomplete—unfinished in purpose and character.
The next verses describe their end. Malachi 4:3 states, “And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, says the Lord of hosts.” The wicked will be destroyed forever. Matthew 10:28 shows that the wicked will be gone, without remembrance. Also notice Obadiah 16: “For as you have drunk upon My holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” (Our free booklet The Truth About Hell explains the wicked’s fate in detail.)
Paul wrote of those in whom God is working, “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom. 8:29). As explained, God is expanding His Family, adding more children. Christ was first and all others must conform to His image—to His character and likeness.
God is making more “brethren” in a Family where all will have the same character and spirit composition.
Recall that, in the Garden, God and Christ made man in their “image and likeness.” This explains why the New Testament talks of being “conformed to the image of His Son.” The Old and New Testament scriptures match—they fit together in revealing God’s purpose.
God has never worked in animals. They are lacking in moral and spiritual faculty. They are made for the enjoyment and service of both mankind and the environment. But they cannot acquire new knowledge and they have never been offered eternal life. They are not part of God’s Plan of character-building and of reproducing Himself. God has never worked in or through animals toward any spiritual purpose. He is at work in begotten, Spirit-led human beings.
Human reproduction represents the very same pattern that God Himself uses. The human family is a type of the family that God is building.
Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” and “That which is born of the flesh IS flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit IS spirit” (John 3:3, 6). Recall that God’s Spirit works with our spirit, making us sons of God (Rom. 8:16-17).
Marriage between men and women pictures the great Marriage of Christ to His bride, which will occur at His Return (Rev. 19:7-9).
Each human being carries staggering potential, with capability far beyond brute beasts, and exceeding even the potential of God’s holy angels. Notice: “Being made so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said He at any time, You are My Son, this day have I begotten You? And again, I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son?” (Heb. 1:4-5).
All matter is physical. You are made of matter—you are physical, of the dust of the ground. There is nothing permanent about your flesh. Without food, water and air, for even a short time, you will die. Likewise, no person can gain eternal life apart from the Holy Spirit present and working within him. Without this Spirit helping to change one, to give eternal life, none has hope! Without contact with God, His Spirit and His purpose, allowing for spiritual comprehension, all those of Satan’s world will live out their physical lives and die, with nothing to follow. But God is working with a few now!
Earlier, we quoted Job. He understood that God’s Spirit worked with his spirit to grant him understanding. He was well aware of God’s Plan and purpose at work in his life. He asked, “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. You shall call, and I will answer You: You will have a desire to the work of Your hands” (14:14-15). Job knew that the resurrection awaited him—when he would be “changed.” In the meantime, he had to “wait” in the grave until God called him.
Job possessed the Spirit of God and understood when and how God would resurrect and change him. He recognized that it would be the very Spirit of God in humans that would make this change possible. Earlier in Romans 8, Paul had written, “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwells in you” (vs. 11).
Paul also wrote to the Corinthians about the coming change at the resurrection, when all will awaken from sleep with a new spirit body: “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (I Cor. 15:49-53).
This speaks of a mystery Paul had to explain. It is certainly a mystery to the world that there is coming this change to spirit composition at the resurrection of the dead when Christ returns. Most suppose that they have an immortal soul that goes to heaven upon death. Yet, few seem to ask or care about how one could go from “mortal” to “immortal” (vs. 53-54), at the resurrection, if he already has an immortal soul! Do you see the foolish logic of men cut off from God’s marvelous Plan, and from the understanding of plain scriptures in the Bible?
Ask yourself: How can people be resurrected if they are already alive in heaven as immortal souls? Only the dead, like Christ when He was in the tomb, need to be resurrected. That is the purpose of a resurrection. Do not be fooled by those who say, “The resurrection only applies to the body, since the soul remained alive after death”! You have seen this fallacy disproved. Man does not have an immortal soul—he has a spirit empowering his brain to the status of human mind. Without the Spirit of God, men are completely unable to understand the most important knowledge.
David understood that he would “awake” (Psa. 17:15). Stephen understood that at death he “fell asleep.” Job understood that he would be “changed” (Job 14:14). Paul understood that Christians will be “changed”—that they will awaken from “sleep”—at the time of the resurrection (I Cor. 15:51). At this time, all deceased servants of God will literally awaken from death!
God’s character will have already been perfected in those He “quickens” at the resurrection. At this time, they will no longer be able to sin: “Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (I John 3:9).
At His Return, Christ will bring the individual rewards of all those sons and daughters through whom He and the Father have worked. They will have qualified for great glory: “For the Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and then He shall reward every man according to his works” (Matt. 16:27). Your works in this life have a direct bearing on your reward in the next life. (Our booklet What Is Your Reward in the Next Life? explains how.)
That reward involves rulership. The initial phase of that rulership will last 1,000 years. Rulers sit on thrones: “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. this is the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4-5).
But God’s Plan will not end with just those included in the First Resurrection. God intends to give all human beings an opportunity to receive His Spirit, build His character—to be finished and come to completion!
John described the continuation of God’s Plan to the time when all mankind will receive an opportunity for salvation. It is called the “Great White Throne Judgment” and is described this way: “And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:11-15).
But those of God’s Church—the one Church that Christ promised to build (Matt. 16:18)—are being taught and led now in all the truths and ways of God. This “little flock” is now feeding and preparing those who will rule with Christ. Paul wrote the Ephesians describing the responsibility of Christ’s true ministers: “…for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (4:12-13). (This Church is carefully explained and identified in our booklet Where Is God’s Church?)
The spirit in man neither changes nor resurrects the person. This comes from God’s Spirit first working in the mind. At the resurrection, the spirit in man will unite with the Holy Spirit. We will be exactly the same, except made of spirit and therefore will no longer have human nature or the pulls of the flesh.
Think of the spirit in man in this way: It is like a cassette tape of everything we have ever learned or done—and it is the very mold of the mind for our coming spirit body, containing the memory, character and experiences of each human being. In a sense, like any cassette, it can be “played back.” Yet, it cannot have or give life, or function by itself, because it must be connected to a physical brain—or a spirit mind at the resurrection.
Like one working with a computer, the spirit in man works with the brain to form the amazing human mind!
Science will never discover this knowledge. No one understands it. But now you do!
In his booklet What Science Can’t Discover About the HUMAN MIND, Herbert W. Armstrong concluded with:
“Notice what happens at death.
“‘Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.’ After death, whether buried in the earth, cremated, or what, the physical body returns to the earth. But the spirit that was in the man, now having recorded everything—the body’s form and shape, the facial identity, the memory and the character—returns to God.
“It will be preserved UNCHANGED.
“Such saints as Abraham, Moses, David and Daniel died thousands of years ago. Stop and think about THAT! God had to provide some way to preserve the form, shape, appearance, mind and character of saints for thousands of years. They were composed of corruptible flesh and blood. All that was them (man is composed wholly of matter) long since decomposed. Yet in the resurrection, it will seem to them as the next fraction of a second since loss of consciousness at death.
“In the interim of death, they knew absolutely nothing. Says God’s Word, ‘For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing’ (Ecc. 9:5).
“The spirit which returns to God is the human spirit that was in them throughout life. It was not an ‘immortal soul,’ for the soul was mortal and corruptible.
“Those who died with God’s Holy Spirit will be in the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-5). They will come forth immortal, in a glorious body of Spirit composition, their faces aglow as the sun.
“All others who have not been called to eternal salvation by God during their human lifetimes will be resurrected after the thousand-year reign of the Kingdom of God under Christ, in the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-12). They will be resurrected mortal, once again in a flesh and blood physical body, just as before. In this great judgment they will be ‘called’—their eyes opened to God’s truth. Then, finally, there will be a last resurrection (Rev. 20:13-15) of those who had been called by God in their mortal human life, but had rejected or turned from the truth. They, with those who reject it in the Great White Throne Judgment, will be in the lake of fire (II Pet. 3:10-11), which is the second death. They then shall be ashes under the soles of the feet of the immortals in God’s Kingdom (Mal. 4:3), and will be as though they had never been (Obadiah 16).
“Then, ahead of the millions of immortal redeemed, shall lie the tremendous awesome human potential—when God the Creator shall have put the entire universe under our jurisdiction (Heb. 2:7-8).”