What is the Nature of "Spirit?"
Q: After reading your thesis on "How can Jesus have two spirits" and "How many spirits does Jesus have" I am so excited at what you have written, that I had to write to you, with my current understanding on the subject.
I believe that God did become a man, that Jesus had Gods Spirit and his own spirit. Although we must understand first what is the spirit. I donít claim to know everything, but I have come to an understanding of what the spirit is and I hope that you will sharpened my understanding with your extensive bible knowledge.
What is the spirit? Through my studies, I have come to this understanding, that the spirit in itís original meaning derives from the root words: Wind, Breeze and Breath.
Wind generally cannot be seen, but the wind when it blows can be heard, felt and seen by what it does. When a gust of wind or a breeze blows, it has the power for example to moves a stack of leaves or sways the branches of a tree. God is like that, that is why he is called a spirit, which is wind or breeze, not that he is an actually wind or was ever seen as wind, but his works are like wind, unseen. This is why I believe the root word was used to express God, to show Gods power to change the cause of history, without being seen, stopped or traced. The wind was a mystery, to early man and so is God, thus we get the expression Spirit.
Spirit can also be described as breath, referring to the fact that to live we breath, and we breath in the oxygen God has given to live. If we are denied oxygen we die, and so to do all other living creatures that live off oxygen. God is the supplier of oxygen, and in relation to his creation is like oxygen. God is the air we breath. Without God we would truly die, not only because he supplies the air we breath, but due to the fact that he gives or denies all our other necessities according to his will.
Then the spirit also refers to the life giving power (breath of life) from the God, that all living creatures need in order to live. The spirit can therefore be compared to electricity (all life needs electricity to live) but I am not directly saying that the spirit is electricity. Like electricity gives the computer the energy to function, so too does the spirit give to living creatures. Cut off the electric supply from the computer, the machine shuts down, put back on the power supply the computer with all it functions is active again.
Now I believe that the spirit also refers to a mans mental disposition or Mind-sets: Anger, fear, love, depression etc. including all emotions and other functions of the brain. Both written and spoken words carry spirits, because they carry the thoughts and feelings from a mans mental disposition, which come from the brain. Thoughts work like wind, in that they canít be seen. A mind-set may be expressed by spoken or written words, but canít be seen in the head, but only in a certain arena of expression. So one brain can effect another by harsh words, or a harsh look, or a harsh thought, and even in feelings sensed. Thoughts and feelings cannot been seen, actively in a brain, even under any microscopic lens, but all thoughts are generated in the brain.
So God is also a spirit, in all the descriptions found above and also in relation to his mental disposition. God is all Mind, because he is expressed in his mind, which is unseen, but can be manifested in the natural arena of sight etc., also in all his creation and his recorded words. So although I donít believe God has a brain, I do believe he has the functions found in the brain, but in an unconfined way. So when God created all living creatures, he reproduced his mind capacities in the confines of a brain, to give power to rest of the being. God gave man, above all creatures a greater capacity for intellect, but animals have spirits too. So the brain is the mind, and the spirit is the mind, which is the brain. So according to the sets of thoughts and feelings projected in a beings expressions and reactions to stimulations, the spirit is a function of the brain.
Now how did God and man fuse together in Jesus Christ.
A man projects outwardly what his brain tells him to, and who he is, is what his brain is programmed to tell him, he is. A man is his thoughts, and all his thoughts are stimulated in the brain. You can read a book written by an author, and know the author by his writings, because he is in the writings. But if you saw the author, you wouldn't recognize him until he spoke and expressed the mental disposition found in his writings.
So too with God, you canít look at Jesus and say, "hey look thereís God," because how would you know, you have never seen God. No man has seen God at any time, all we have seen of God, is his mind, or spirit, in his word.
The mind of God became flesh, the mind of God translated itís self into a human brain. Gods characteristic, emotions, feelings and thoughts all were transmitted and interpreted into a human brain. God became all that makes a human a human, but a God version. Jesus Chrisís brain, with the mental dispositions was an interpretation of Gods mind. God became a man, and it is so simple to me, in this understanding of the human spirit.
Gods thoughts in addition to this, were conveyed by unseen means to Christís human brain, stimulating the brain of Jesus, like wind moves branches on a tree. Another mans thoughts can move the thinking processes of a people to a specific action, by communications. So Gods spirit (mind) worked in Christís spirit (human brain) in the same manner.
So God truly projected himself in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ had the brain that was ready to receive the communications from Gods unseen and unconfined mind. So therefore Jesus Christís mind was an interpretation in the human arena of the mind of God.
Please, I am not launching an attack at anyone, I just want you to read what I have written and reply with your understanding of the truth in relation to what I have written.
A: I am quite impressed with your etymological understanding of the Biblical concept of spirit. Both the Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma mean spirit, breath, wind. Therefore I agree wholeheartedly with your first five paragraphs. Spirit is often used for the disposition of the mind, and for the life-giving power of God. In the way of critique, let me share some of my reservations on how we apply this etymological truth of the meaning of "spirit" to God, man, and the incarnation.
My first comment is not necessarily in opposition to your view, but a reservation on my part to state it in the way you have stated it. You noted that God is "all mind." Although I agree that God has a mind (in an incorporeal sense), I hesitate to say that God is all mind. We know so little about the nature of God other than that He is a spirit. Most all of our limited knowledge of God concerns His attributes (love, mercy, justice, etc), not His nature. I do not want to say that God is only Mind because we cannot know for certain that this is true. Godís nature could consist of a number of things that our mind cannot even fathom. It seems that we might be taking a truth about Godís nature, and making it the truth of His nature.
Although I agree with the etymology of the Hebrew and Greek words for "spirit," I believe that the way this truth is applied is an illegitimate reduction of the Biblical data. If I have understood you correctly, I see the main deficiency in your understanding of "spirit" to be that it limits the spirit to the brain, or to physical processes, being a function of the brain. Let me ask you a few questions to challenge your conception.
If the spirit is a physical process in the brain, or is limited to the brain in any way, what survives death? In Revelation 6:9-11 there are martyrs (disembodied individuals) under the altar in heaven that are crying out to God asking Him how long He will wait to avenge them of their enemies. If a humanís spirit is located in their brain, and these martyrs do not have brains because their body is on the earth, how were they existing? The only way to avoid this conflict is to deny an intermediate state of man, and to embrace the doctrine of soul-sleep. You might also argue that the mind is not limited to the brain. But what about Mosesí appearing with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-10)? Mosesí body was buried by God, so what the three apostles saw was not Mosesí body, but his spirit. If the human spirit is a physical process in the brain, however, the apostles could not have seen Moses. He even looked like a human person. The apostles were able to identify him as Moses. It seems apparent that the human spirit is an incorporeal entity that survives death. This incorporeal entity is separated from our physical existence after death, along with our mind.. I believe that the mind is spiritual as well as physical.
Or what about Samuel? He appeared in a disembodied form before the witch of Endor and spoke to Saul (I Samuel 28:11-20). If a spirit is only the mind, contained in the physical brain, how could the being look like Samuel, if it wasnít Samuelís body? How could Samuel speak and think without a brain? The fact that Moses and Samuel have an incorporeal existence that thinks and speaks, and appears in a form that is identical to their physical appearance, leads me to believe that the spirit is more than physical.
You said that in the incarnation, Godís mind was made flesh; it translated itself into a human brain. Again, if I am understanding your view correctly, your view of Christ is essentially an Apollinarian view. Apollinarius taught that the Spirit of God replaced the human spirit/mind of Jesus, so that all of Jesusí thoughts were the thoughts of God. The problems with this view are too numerous to be mentioned here, but let me note that if Jesusí brain was just the mind of God made flesh, where was Jesusí human mind? If Jesus truly became a human being, and not just a body that God dwelled in, Jesus would need to possess a human spirit/mind. He came in the flesh to redeem every aspect of humanity. If in the incarnation God did not truly assume a complete and authentic human existence, then Jesus cannot be said to truly be one of us. He can only redeem that which he assumed. If he only assumed a human body, he can only redeem the human body; He cannot redeem our spirit/mind. In order for Jesus to be a true human being He would need a personal spirit/mind which is distinct from Godís Spirit/mind. If not, Jesus was just the animated body of God. This view of Christís person reduces Him to little more than a puppet animated by Godís Spirit. The Scriptural presentation of Christ is that He had genuine human emotions (Mark 10:21; John 11:3; Matthew 9:36; 14:14; 15:32; 20:34; John 15:11; 17:13; Hebrews 12:2; Matthew 26:37; John 12:27; Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15), a genuine human spirit/soul (Matthew 26:38; John 12:27; Luke 23:46; 2:40; Mark 8:12), and that He had a will distinct from the Father (John 5:30; Luke 22:42). None of this could be true if Jesusí human spirit/mind was replaced with Godís Spirit/mind.
If you recall, I argue in my paper that Jesusí mind was a human mind that was informed by Godís mind externally, not intrinsically. He did not have two different centers of consciousness within Him that constantly spoke to Him. Rather Jesusí consciousness was His human spirit/mind, that was informed and directed from the Father externally. God spoke to Him and revealed to Him what He was to do and to teach (John 3:32; 5:19-20; 8:28, 38, 40; 12:49-50; 17:8).
I believe that you have a great understanding of the nature and meaning of "spirit," but that because it is simplified to an etymological understanding, it does not fit all of the Biblical data. I do not claim to have a full-orbed understanding of the concept of "spirit," but I do believe that the questions I have raised are worthy to be contended with for developing a Biblical concept of "spirit."
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