Originally Posted by cisco 1
I never saw the “Soul” and the Spirit to be the same thing, as with Hebrews 4:12. The Soul being the one that gives our bodies and life an identity (emotions for example), it’s the mind, while the Spirit is our life force/energy?
The terms “soul” and “spirit” in the Bible are used somewhat interchangeably. Both are used as the “life force”. ”…and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived (1 Kings 17:22). “Thus says the Lord, who…formed the spirit of man within him” (Zechariah 12:1, James 2:26).
Both are used as the seat of thoughts and emotions. ”My soul is very sorrowful even to death” (Matt 26:38). “…my spirit within me was anxious” (Daniel 7:15). (For a happier view Psalm 35:9 and Luke 1:47)
Sometimes even using both in the same manner together. ”I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 7:11).
Both are used in terms of being “lost” or “saved” (1 Cor 5:5, James 5:20)
Both are used in terms of “spirits/souls” without a body (physically dead), yet still alive and aware (Rev 6:9-10, 1 Peter 3:19-20).
Also consider 1 Thes 5:23 ”may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound” and 2 Kings 23:25 …who turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might”. You could include ”heart, mind, soul, and strength (Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27). It’s using different words to convey the same meaning (i.e. everything about you), not defining different “parts” of the human person.
I think Hebrews 4:12 is speaking figuratively of judging our actions of the flesh (soul) with the intentions of the heart (spirit). I view this as God seeing through hypocrisy (Matt 6:2-5; 23:14) although there are several views that could apply. If “spirit” and “soul” are two different “parts”, this is the only scripture that really supports that theory and as such it seems highly unlikely that that is what is being conveyed, especially considering the interchangeable usage throughout the rest of scripture.
Very basic Catholic view:
Soul= life principle in any living physical body (plant, animal, or person).
Spirit= life principle that knows, loves, has power over matter (God, good and bad angels).
Human persons therefore have what we call a “rational soul”. It is a spirit that knows, loves, and has power over matter (to a limited degree), but also functions as a soul giving life and joined to a physical body. It is our spirit which is made in the image and likeness of God. In common usage we usually refer to the human “soul”, while God and angels are “spirits”.