"THE THREEFOLD NATURE OF MAN."
The outer circle stands for the "Body" of man, the middle for the "Soul," and the inner for the "Spirit," or what Paul calls the "CARNAL" (1Co 3:1-3); the "NATURAL" (1Co 2:14); and the "SPIRITUAL" (1Co 3:1), parts of man. In the outer circle the "Body" is shown as touching the Material World through the five senses of "Sight," "Smell," "Hearing," "Taste" and "Touch." The Gates to the "Soul" are "Imagination," "Conscience," "Memory," "Reason" and the "Affections." The "Spirit" receives impressions of outward and material things through the Soul. The "Spiritual Faculties" of the "Spirit" are "Faith," "Hope," "Reverence," "Prayer" and "Worship." In his unfallen state the "Spirit" of man was illuminated from Heaven, but when the human race fell in Adam, sin closed the window of the Spirit, and pulled down the curtain, and the "chamber of the Spirit" became a Death Chamber, and remains so in every unregenerate heart, until the "Life" and "Light" giving power of the Holy Spirit floods that chamber with the "Life" and "Light" giving power of the NEW LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS. We see then why the "natural" man cannot understand "spiritual" things. He cannot understand them until his spiritual nature has been renewed.
But the Spirit of the Natural man is not only darkened, his "Will" stands as a "guard" at the door, and prevents the entrance of the Holy Spirit, and it is not until the "Will" surrenders through the power of the "Sword of the Spirit," the "Word of God," that the Holy Spirit can enter and take up his abode in the "Spirit" of man.
The "Threefold Nature of Man" may be illustrated by a peach. A peach is a "trinity." There is the meat of the peach corresponding to the "body" of man, the stone, corresponding to the "Soul," and the kernel, corresponding to the "Spirit." As you can remove the meat of the peach and the "kernel" will still have a body, the stone, so when a man dies his "Soul" and "Spirit" separate from the "Body," and the "Body" is laid in the grave, but the "Spirit" is not "bodiless," it has what Paul calls its "PSYCHICAL" or "Soulish" body.
As this "Soulish Body" can hear, and speak, and think, and feel, it must have some "tangible" form. It is not a "ghostlike" structure. There are doubtless limitations in its use, or there would be no need for it to recover its "physical" body at the Resurrection.
That there is such a thing as the "Soulish Body" is brought out in the story of the "Rich Man and Lazarus." Luk 16:19-31. The story is not a Parable, but a description by Christ of something that really happened in the other world to his own personal knowledge. It declares that both Lazarus and the "Rich Man" died and were buried. That is, their bodies were left on the earth. What happened to them in the "Underworld" then, is descriptive of what happened to them in their "disembodied state." In that state they were conscious and the Rich Man recognized Lazarus, which he could not have done if Lazarus had not a body, not his "physical" body, he left that on the earth, but his "Soulish" body. This is proof that the "Soulish" body is not simply a body, but that in its outward form and appearance it conforms to the earthly body of the owner, otherwise he would not be recognizable in the other world. Again the "Rich Man" could see, and feel, and thirst, and talk, and remember, proving that he possessed his senses and had not lost his personality. This proves that there is no break, as "Soul Sleep," in the Continuity of Existence, or Consciousness, in passing from the "Earth-Life" to the "Spirit-Life." Sleep in the Scriptures always refers to the "Body," not to the "Soul," and the expression "Asleep in Jesus" refers to the Believer only.
Let us trace the life of the "Soul" and "Spirit" after they have left the "Body." In the account of the "Rich Man and Lazarus" we have a description of "THE UNDERWORLD." See the Chart of "The Underworld." Before the resurrection of Christ the Soul and Spirit of the "Righteous Dead" went to the "Paradise" compartment of "The Underworld." There Christ met the "Penitent Thief" after His death on the Cross. On the day of His Resurrection Christ's Soul and Spirit returned from "The Underworld." But He did not return alone. He brought back with Him all the occupants of the Paradise compartment and locked it up, and He now has the "Keys of Death and Hell." Rev 1:18. Here "Death" stands for the "grave" and "Hades" for "The Underworld." Some of those who came back from "The Underworld" with Christ got their bodies, and ascended with Him as the "First Fruits" of the' resurrection "from among the dead." Mat 27:52-53. The rest were taken up to the "Third Heaven" where Paul was caught up. 2Co 12:1-4. Paul called it "Paradise." There all the "Righteous Dead" that have died since Christ's resurrection go that they may be "WITH THE LORD." Phi 1:23. 2Co 5:8. There the souls of the "Righteous Dead" shall remain until the time comes for the resurrection of their bodies, then when Christ comes back to meet His Church in the Air, He will bring back the souls of the "Righteous Dead" from the "Paradise" of the "Third Heaven," for we are told that He will bring them whose bodies "Sleep in Jesus" on the earth WITH HIM (1Th 4:14), and they will continue on to the earth and get their "bodies"from the grave, and then ascend again together with the "Translated Saints" to meet the Lord IN THE AIR.
- By Clarence Larkin