23 ¶ 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.
Here is one of the great doctrinal statements of the Bible and essential to theology, showing clearly how far off the rails Christianity went from the pagan Greek philosophy influenced Council of Nicea in the early fourth century and beyond. It shows how heretical conventional Trinitarian theology actually is. Let’s dig into this verse.
You and I are composed of three parts. There is a spirit, which is how we know God and how He examines us.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
It is also the channel by which God gave the original writers of the Bible and also future copyists and translators inspiration which is not necessarily dictation but always understanding and wisdom.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The higher animals have a spirit, as well, but they exist in God’s will, do not have our understanding and wisdom, and are not in rebellion to Him but innocently suffering as a result of our sin so its purpose is only within the timeframe of their physical lives.
Ecclesiastes 3:21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?
You have a soul, the seat of self-identity and will. This is eternal but was created when God breathed life into the first man.
Isaiah 57:16 For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
Genesis 2:7 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.
In the Old Testament the body composed of flesh and the soul were linked and the soul suffered what the body suffered as a consequence of sin. This is also the state of the unregenerate now. The body dies and perishes and the soul suffers in Hell and then the Lake of Fire in eternity.
Leviticus 4:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:
But, under grace in the New Testament our soul is cut from our flesh and no matter what the sins of the one who truly belongs to Christ, his soul cannot suffer the judgment common to all men, by virtue of what Christ has done. We are trusting in Christ’s righteousness, not our own, to have eternal life.
Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Our own self-awareness of our consciousness is one way we know that our soul exists. I am convinced that one day neuroscientists will learn that consciousness and self-awareness in particular are not functions of the body and brain but use the body and brain as a vehicle by which to operate in the world. Some neuroscientists, if you read the literature and watch the videos they put out, are already stating something like this due to the fact that people who die on the operating table and then are brought back to life report seeing things from above the operating room that they could not have seen in their condition but which are accurate. Others, who are blind and have that experience, also report seeing things that are accurate but which they physically could not have seen. Some of the scientists I have read and watched simply say they don’t know what consciousness is or what it is for. I wish they would consider what the Creator of consciousness has said about it.
The higher animals also have a soul, the seat of will and self-identity.
Numbers 31:28 And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:
Job 12:10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
And, of course, we have our flesh. The spirit is the vehicle through which we experience God and God sees our innermost workings. The soul is the seat of our self-identity and of our emotions and reason by which we make our decisions and live our lives and how we know ourselves as distinct from others. Both are eternal but having been created at a point in the past. Our flesh is how we know the world around us. It is fallen because of Adam’s sin and our inheritance of that sin.
It is the spirit that is made alive when God comes to dwell in us and the soul is saved from eternal loss. The flesh is redeemed at Christ’s return and we are given a new body, identifiable with our old but complete and perfect, which is the doctrine of Adoption. See Romans 8:23.
God, as well, is one God with three parts, but being God, His parts can act independently, while ours cannot. If our spirit or soul leaves the vehicle of our body we die. He has a spirit, the Holy Spirit, by which He interacts with His creation.
Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
God has a soul, the seat of self-identity and God’s will, we know as God the Father.
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
God has a physical image, a body, whom we know as the WORD incarnate or the Lord Jesus Christ, after whom we are patterned.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
James 3:9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
Similitude and likeness are references to appearance.
Deuteronomy 4:16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,
After Adam’s sin mankind’s deteriorating condition, particularly genetically, as with every cell division information is lost until we grow old and die, caused him to be made after the fallen image of Adam.
Genesis 5:3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
In regard to God, the Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the visible image of God.
Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
So, God has three distinct parts, Spirit, soul, and body, as we do, however His can act independently of each other. This Bible doctrine from a literal perspective goes against the Nicene Creed and Trinitarian Theology. God is not three distinct persons with one essence. He is one person composed of three parts, because the Bible says so not because of how we perceive Him.
Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
This is not the heresy of modalism or Sabellianism. It doesn’t matter how we perceive God as our perception is a vital part of that heretical belief. God simply is what He is and the pattern with which He created living things. This is a literal interpretation of what the Bible says not some Greek pagan influenced creed that corrupted what became the state church of Rome, the Greek Orthodox, and the Protestants. Jesus Christ was not eternally begotten of the Father before the earth was formed. Jesus as the only begotten Son is a clear reference that, unlike Alexander, Augustus Caesar, and others’ claims of being God in the flesh or the Son of God, which means the same thing, God only became a human being once, in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as fully man and fully God was born in a specific place and time in history and only once, the only begotten Son.
Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
In the following verse it is clear that no man has seen God the Father at any time. Every incidence of seeing God, or seeing an angel or appearance of God, has been that of the Lord Jesus Christ, the image of God.
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
When people saw God before the incarnation or after the resurrection they saw an appearance or angel of God, an angel being fully named, “the angel of his presence,” which was the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 63:9). Adam and Eve, Gideon, and Manoah and his wife all saw the pre-incarnate Christ. Notice Manoah’s cry.
Judges 13:21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
Paul spoke with Christ as the angel or appearance of God after the Resurrection.
Acts 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
And using the figure of speech called a Hendiadys even said that Jesus Christ was the angel or appearance of God.
Galatians 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Powerful Christian personages of the Roman Empire arguing about whether or not the Son proceeded from the Father or whether the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son, etc. etc. are ludicrous and unnecessary to understand what the Bible literally says in its entirety.
Jesus is the WORD, the Logos of Greek belief like modern evolutionists who believe in self-organizing properties of matter, the creative power of the universe, who was not a force or blind power like the pagans believed and still do, but a person, which was made flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ.
John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Lastly, Paul here expresses his wish that God would set the Thessalonians apart for His purpose and that each person in his entirety as a human being will be preserved blameless, a promise we have from God that Christ performed by His offering of Himself for our sins on the cross.