what is the nature of man?
Is a man (and a woman) more than just an animal? Is
there more to us than just a body, made up of flesh, bone, blood and
organs? When a person dies, does the essence of him
disappear, and all that he was degrades back to dust? Or is
there something within a person that is a separate entity from the
body? Does mankind have a soul, or a spirit? Most
(well over 90%) of the people of the entire world believe that there
is! But what is that difference? It's very hard to
tell, because we cannot see it. But we can feel it
This question has plagued mankind for a very long time - it appears to be the basis behind many spiritual quests, as well as the quest for meaning. The sense of awareness, the emotions that we feel, and the need to make our lives matter for time beyond our physical existence all seem to contribute to this spiritual sense.
The Bible clearly describes the situation for us, and provides answers to our questions (just as we would expect it would, if it is truly the special revelation from God). Mankind is special in all of creation, for we were created in the image of God. While there is debate whether there are three parts (body, soul and spirit - a 'trichotomy') or just the two (body and spirit/soul - a 'dichotomy'), the undisputed claim of the Bible is that there is more to a man than just a body. There is a portion of our nature that relates to God in a 'spiritual' sense, and here we will call that nature our spirit. This is the nature of man that was created in God's image - we have a spirit (like God is Spirit.)
In the 'natural' world, we tend to think that we can believe only what we can see...but on the other hand we all (at least the 90%!) know better! We seek spiritual answers, and pursue meaning at almost any cost! We flock to 'spiritual teachers', hoping for an answer, but the Truth behind the mystery is fleeting without a 'special revelation' from God (the Bible).
The mystery of 'spirituality' and of purpose is summarized by the Apostle Paul, in his reference to the resurrection and the mystery of eternal life supplied through Christ. We will one day be made 'imperishable'; our spiritual selves will be our primary identity, and we will commune in spirit with Christ, the God who created us to be with and to be loved by Him!
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body...I declare to you brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable...the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:44b, 50, 53