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Appalling evils and troubles are increasing around the world. Suffering continues to grow worse. Can humanity survive? More are asking, What is wrong with people? Where can we go for the answers?
Theologians, moralists, psychologists and educators have been unable to find the hidden key to the human mind. Scientific knowledge expands daily, but it has not, and will never, discover the missing dimension of the mind. You are about to learn what they cannot!
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 creatures. It has learned much about the immense size and nature of the universe—outer space—and discovered incredible things about the tiny sub-atomic particles in atoms—inner space. It has made numerous medical breakthroughs and accomplished amazing feats of engineering.
The scope and potential of science seem 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 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 1 million different kinds of animals—and 12 million types of 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 comes close. What else can plan, think or create to even a fraction of the same degree?
Just think about how many things the 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 King David said, “...for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psa. 139:14), this is most true of your brain—the human mind! The Creator sent along 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 its right and proper use, opening the way to peace, happiness, abundance and prosperity.
But this Instruction Manual—the Bible—is almost universally ignored, misrepresented, misunderstood and rejected. As a result, the problems, troubles and evils of civilization mount with no solution in sight, and conditions are only growing worse.
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!
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: “Jesus…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 the mind. It will open your thinking to incredible new understanding about why you were born—and of your awesome future and potential. 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?
Certain creatures, such as chimpanzees and dolphins, have brains 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 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, with simply no comparison.
Animals function almost entirely on instinct. They do what they do automatically, and from birth. 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 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—never mind a jet 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 can acquire knowledge, draw conclusions, gather and assess facts, make decisions—and build 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 they need to function 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, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding” (32:8). This statement is plain. God reveals that men possess a kind of spirit, called the “spirit in man.” Fully understanding this spirit requires examination of other scriptures describing it.
But before looking into the truth of this matter 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.
Many read verses like the one in Job and conclude 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 men and souls. They assume 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 God’s Word somehow also teach that people have immortal souls? It does talk about souls, but in what context?
The Bible does teach there is a connection between men and souls. Notice: “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” (Gen. 2:7).
This does not say men have souls, but that they are souls. Adam became a soul—he was not given one. Then, almost immediately, God warned him, “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 Genesis. Twice he recorded, “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.
Finally, on whether the soul can die, notice this: “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” (Matt. 10:28).
The Bible says souls can be destroyed! According to this verse, they can be destroyed as much as bodies. All recognize that bodies eventually die and afterward naturally decompose. They are certainly destroyed due to the process of normal corruption. This verse explains God does the destroying of souls in hell! Bodies can die in many ways. 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. 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 is: “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” (Psa. 146:3-4). When people die, their thoughts end immediately—“in that very day.” This verse is not compatible with the souls of the dead 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 they are. They are unaware of what is happening to them. We could ask: what kind of suffering is that?
The next verse is more direct: “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything...” (Ecc. 9:5). To the honest reader, there is no possible way to mistake the meaning here!
This is because, as Solomon stated, “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 another verse: “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence” (Psa. 115:17). Death involves “silence.” This does not square with the popular concept of millions of the souls of the dead wailing and screaming in agony. This would hardly be the sound of silence! And, if the souls of some of the dead go to heaven, we could ask, why are these not audibly praising God?
Psalm 6:5 adds that the dead experience no 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 perhaps experience human memories but not be aware of God—not “remember Him”? Be honest. Most people never read their bibles.
You are now ready 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—flesh. John 4:24 reveals that God is Spirit. 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 about the vital spirit connection between God and humans, and how it works.
Now this passage: “…the Lord...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. All people possess this spirit. Notice: “The Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh” (Num. 27:16). The One who creates all the spirits in men calls Himself the God of these spirits.
All physical creatures—men and animals—eventually die. Consider again: “A man has no preeminence above a beast...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 there is a spirit in beasts, but rather asks rhetorically, “Who knows?” Many verses reveal there is a spirit in man, but men are ignorant of this truth and of whether animals also have some kind of spirit. This verse shows that it cannot be talking about mere breath, plainly something different.
Now notice this astonishing verse. The apostle Paul wrote, “For what man knows the things of a man, save [by] the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but [by] the Spirit of God” (I Cor. 2:11).
Do not try to “interpret” this scripture. Accept it for what it says. It interprets itself. This passage identifies two 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. 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. This very knowledge—that these two spirits exist and how they work—is in itself amazing knowledge! Think of it this way. Virtually no one has the knowledge about how either physical or spiritual knowledge is acquired!
Now recall Job’s statement, “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 be just 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 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 their ability to acquire physical knowledge is beyond that of brute beasts, they cannot attain 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 crucial 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 permit others to return to Jerusalem and build a second temple to replace Solomon’s, which had been destroyed: “...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” (Ezra 1:1).
God communicated with Cyrus through (by “stirring up”) his spirit. He does the same today. Now we examine another crucial scripture. It adds a new dimension to the verses we have read about how the spirit in man 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 fascinating. The converted person is different from animals in two distinct ways.
Recognize that science could never learn what you just saw!
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. 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: “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 this spirit 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, the One who formed and placed it in the mind. Recall this: “Who knows the spirit of man that goes upward, and the spirit of the beast that goes downward to the earth?” (Ecc. 3:21). Now you know what few others know—that human spirits do return to God—upward.
The deacon Stephen understood. As he was being stoned to death for preaching a powerful sermon that antagonized his listeners, the Bible records, “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). Stephen died (“fell asleep”) knowing God would receive his spirit and it would reunite with him, we will learn, at the Resurrection.
Now we are ready for more key verses. They are the capstone that explains the “preservation” of all human spirits and exactly where God keeps them. Let’s understand: “But you are come unto mount Zion [speaking of those who do this in prayer], 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.”
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: “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” (Eph. 2:2).
Besides the Spirit of God and the spirit in man, note that the devil is a spirit. He is part of the angelic realm of spirits, consisting of faithful angels and demons (fallen angels).
Notice 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, hatred, greed, envy and more, directly into people’s thinking!
Satan, as this world’s god (read II Corinthians 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.
To learn more, watch the two-part World to Come broadcast series “The Human Mind – What None Can Discover” at rcg.org/worldtocome.