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Is Man 2 Parts or 3?

The Church Fathers

The most interesting point about the debate between dichotomy and trichotomy is that it has existed almost from the start of theology as a unified set of doctrinal statements by the church leaders.

For example, Augustine, writing in the fourth century held the dicohotomous view. Others agreed, while many also taught trichotomy (Origen, second century; Clement of Alexandria, late first, early second century). Indeed, since the Reformation, trichotomy is the favored view. For example, in his Commentary on the New Testament, the Rev. W.B. Godbey translates the noun form of psuche (soul) to mean intellectual, thus, the "soul or mind." His argument is that there is no English word which carries the meaning of the Greek noun psuchicus, even though the Anglicization of this word produces our English word physical. He argues primarily from 1 Thess 5:23, distinguishing man from animal, an animal being "mind" (soul) and body, but no spirit. For Godbey, the human spirit consists of "conscience, with affections or heart." The conscience survived the fall, but with Satan ruling the throne, not God. The psuche involves judgment, memory, and sensibility, the "natural" things of man.

Godbey argues, in part, from the interesting perspective of historical cults. Those who believe in dichotomy become dualists, such as the Gnostics, depriving man of the "spirit." Those who believe in the Trinity become trichotomists because there are three parts to God, thus, there must be three parts to man. To quote Godbey, "we have the human trinity – the pneuma, ‘spirit'; psuche, ‘soul' (or ‘mind'), and soma, ‘body.' The spirit is the man himself, the mind (or soul) and body being his appurtenances. The spirit is so called because homogeneous to the Holy Spirit, and constituting the doorway into the complicated labyrinth of humanity, the Holy spirit entering the human spirit and then passing on into the mind and body, primarily assimilating the spirit to Himself and then lifting up the mind, with all its complicated machinery of intellect, judgment, memory, and sensibilities, assimilating and subsidizing them to His heavenly administration." In his commentary on Hebrews, Godbey clearly states that there are innumerable Scriptures confirming the trichotomy of the Bible, but he fails to relate the trichotomy of man to any of these Scriptures, except 1 Thess 5:23 and Heb 4:12. Part of his argument is that total depravity does not relate to mind or matter, but only to spirit. His argument is that Adam did not forfeit physical life nor mental capacity and ability.

But, is this true?????




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December 8, 2021

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