Spirit (רוּחִ, ruach [twice נַשׁמָה, nishmah, breath, Job 26:4; Pr 20:27], πνεῦμα [twice φάντασμα, a phantasm, Mt 14:26; Mr 6:49], both literally meaning wind), is one of the most generic terms in either the English, Hebrew, or Greek language. We therefore discuss here its lexical as well as psychological relations somewhat extensively. SEE PSYCHOLOGY.
I. Scriptural Usage of the Word. — Its leading significations may be classed under the following heads:
1. The primary sense of the term is wind. "He that formeth the mountains and createth the wind" (רוח, Am 4:13; Isa 27:8). "The wind (πνεῦμα) bloweth where it listeth" (Joh 3:8). This is the ground idea of the term "spirit" air, ether, air refined, sublimated, or vitalized; hence it denotes—
2. Breath, as of the mouth. "At the blast of the breath of his nostrils (רוח אפי) are they consumed" (Job 4:9). "The Lord shall consume that wicked one with the breath of his mouth" (τῷ μνεύματι τοῦ στόματος, 2Th 2:8).
3. The vital principle which resides in and animates the body. In the Hebrew, נפשׁ is the main specific term for this. In the Greek it is ψυχή, and in the Latin anima. "No man hath power over the spirit (ברוח) to retain the spirit" (Ec 8:8; Ge 6:17; Ge 7:15). "Jesus yielded up the ghost" (ἀφῆκε τὸ πνεῦμα, Mt 27:50). "And her spirit (πνεῦμα αὐτῆς) came again," etc. (Lu 8:55). In close connection with this use of the word is another,
4. In which it has the sense of apparition, specter. They supposed that they had seen a spirit," i.e. specter (Lu 24:37). "A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have" (ver. 39; Mt 14:26).
5. The soul — the rational, immortal principle by which man is distinguished from the brute creation. It is the πνεῦμα, in distinction from the ψυχή. With the Latins it is the animus. In this class may be included that use of the word spirit in which the various emotions and dispositions of the soul are spoken of. "Into thy hands I commend my spirit" (τὸ μνεῦμά μου, Lu 23:46; Ac 7:59; 1Co 5:5; 1Co 6:20; 1Co 7:34; Heb 12:9). "My spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lu 1:47). "Poor in spirit" (πτωχοί τῷ πνεύματι) denotes humility (Mt 5:3). "Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of (Lu 9:55), where πνεῦμα denotes disposition or temper. "He that hath no rule over his own spirit" (רוחו, Pr 25:28; Pr 16:32; Ec 7:9). The moral affections are denominated "the spirit of meekness" (Ga 6:1), "of bondage" (Ro 8:15), "of jealousy" (Nu 5:14), "of fear" (2 Timothy 1, 7), "of slumber" (Ro 11:8). In the same way also the intellectual qualities of the soul are denominated "the spirit of counsel" (Isa 11:2); the spirit of knowledge" (ibid.); "the spirit of wisdom" (Eph 1:17); "the spirit of truth and of error" (1Jo 4:6).
6. The race of superhuman created intelligences. Such beings are denominated spiritual beings because they have no bodies like ours. To both the holy and the sinning angels the term is applied. In their original constitution their natures were alike pure spirit. The apostasy occasioned no change in the nature of the fallen angels as spiritual beings. In the New Test. demonology δαίμων, δαιμόνιον, πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτον, πνεῦμα πονηρόν, are the distinctive epithets for a fallen spirit. Christ gave to his disciples power over unclean spirits (πνευμάτων ἀκαθάρτων, Mt 10:1; Mr 1:23; Lu 4:36; Ac 5:16). The holy angels are termed spirits: "Are they not all ministering spirits?" (λειτουργικὰ πνεύματα, Heb 1:14). "And from the seven spirits (ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων) which are before his throne" (Re 1:4).
7. The term is applied to the Deity, as the sole, absolute, and uncreated Spirit. "God is a Spirit" (πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός). This, as a predicate, belongs to the divine nature, irrespective of the distinction of persons in that nature. But its characteristic application is to the third person in the Divinity, who is called the Holy Spirit (Πνεῦμα ἃγιον) because of his essential holiness, and because in the Christian scheme it is his peculiar work to sanctify the people of God. He is denominated the Spirit by way of eminence, as the immediate author of spiritual life in the hearts of Christians. The New Test. writers are full and explicit in referring the principle of the higher life to the Spirit. In the Old Test. the reference is more general. The Spirit is an all pervading, animating principle of life in the world of nature. In the work of creation the Spirit of God moved upon, or brooded over, the face of the waters (Ge 1:2; Job 26:13). This relation of the Spirit to the natural world the ancients expressed as Ens extra-, Ens super-, Ens intra- mundanum. The doctrine of the Spirit, as the omnipresent life and energy in nature, differs from Pantheism, on the one hand, and from the Platonic soul of the world, on the other. It makes the Spirit the immanent divine causality, working in and through natural laws, which work is called nature; as in the Christian life He is the indwelling divine causality, operating upon the soul, and through divine ordinances; and this is termed grace. The Spirit in the world may be considered as the divine omnipresence, and be classed among the doctrines which are more peculiarly theological. But the indwelling and operation of the Spirit in the heart of the believer are an essential doctrine of Christianity. The one province of the Spirit is nature, the other grace. Upon the difference between the two, in respect to the Spirit's work, rests the Christian consciousness. The general presence and work of the Spirit in nature are not a matter of consciousness. The special presence and work of the Spirit in the heart of the believer, by the effects which are produced, are a matter of which, from consciousness, there may be the most consoling and delightful assurance. SEE SPIRITUAL.
II. Doctrinal Distinctions and Queries. — The lexical usage thus pointed out gives rise to questions concerning the constitution of the nature of man. Does it consist of two or three elements? Must we accept a dichotomy or a trichotomy? The dichotomy is unquestionably established if it can be shown that soul and spirit designate only different aspects of the same subject. The passage of Scripture which is fundamental in this inquiry (Ge 2:7) seems, however, to distinguish three constituents in human nature — the clay (עָפָר), the breath of life (נַשׁמִת חִיַּים), and the living being (נֶפֶשׁ חִיָּה). Some understand in the first of these elements the material substance, flesh or body (בָּשָׂר), out of earth; by the second, the spirit (נֶפֶשׁ), out of God, and by the third, the soul (רוּחִ), as resulting from a combination of the other elements. The soul would accordingly be the personality, as constituted of spirit and body, and is both soul and body united into one being. God forms the body, breathes into it the spirit, and the soul results from them both. But the careful reader will note that in the foregoing analysis the proper soul (רוּחִ) has not been brought into view at all. It is only the introduction of the vitalizing element (נַשׁמָה) into the material organism (עפר = בָּשָׂר) that constitutes the composite being or animal (נֶפֶשׁ) — a term which is frequently applied likewise to the low orders of creatures (Ge 1:20, etc.). Yet, as in Scripture universally this last distinguishing element is manifestly attributed to man, it still follows, under either view of the above passage, that Scripture teaches a trichotomy, and several passages explicitly sustain the same doctrine — e.g. Lu 1:46-47; 1Co 15:45 sq.; 1Th 5:23; Heb 4:12. To sum up the conclusion reached, the spirit is not soul simply, nor yet identical with the body, but a third somewhat which originates in the body that was formed and the soul that was inbreathed, but which itself is neither formed nor made but simply becomes (הָיָה). If this be true, then the spirit, itself becomes a powerful argument in behalf of a future resurrection of the body. SEE RESURRECTION.
A second inquiry which arises has to do with the manner in which the race is derived from the first pair whom God created. All agree that it is by propagation under the terms of the original endowment (Ge 1:28), and with the steady cooperation of God. But in the original creation of man, God formed the body out of matter previously created, and then added a new quantity in the inbreathing of the spirit, and the question turns upon the point whether a like distinction between body and spirit is made at the beginning of the existence of every human being. Traducianism (q.v.) teaches, under its various modifications, that the original combination of body and spirit into a single soul was made for all time and for the race, and that no direct interference with the natural processes of procreation on the part of God can be assumed. The living soul is transmitted from generation to generation without the intervention of any new creative act. The various schemes of creationism (q.v.) assume that the Creator infuses the spirit into every new human personality by a direct act. The doctrine of pre-existence assumes that a soul for each individual was potentially created at the beginning, and that it attains to actuality when united with its own special body or dust. Inasmuch as the only warrant for the doctrine of preexistence is the desire to avoid the erroneous idea of new creations, which creationism is said to affirm, there is no occasion to discuss its assumption of embryonic souls. Traducianism must likewise be rejected in so far as its doctrine of the propagation of both body and spirit by purely natural processes involves a disregard of the original distinction between the forming of the one and the inbreathing of the other. In creationism the truth is limited to the origin of the spirit, the soul being the product of both the traduced and the infused factors. It is apparent that the theory of traducianisn leads logically to the dichotomy, while that of creationism leads to the trichotomy. In every form of creationism the birth of a human being involves a sacramental wonder, since God is himself directly engaged in imparting to the individual his peculiar spirit. This theory, derived from Aristotle (De Anim. Mot. 9) and transmitted through the Church fathers, was cultivated in the Middle Ages, and generally adopted by Roman Catholic writers, though not as a confessional locus. It was also largely admitted among theologians of the Reformed Church, though by no means universally. Traducianism was more generally accepted in the Lutheran Church, though here also standard and leading authorities leave the question undecided. The Pseudo- Gnostical and Semi-Pelagian heresies, which taught that the spirit of man is either not at all or but little affected by sin, grew out of a combination of creationism and the trichotomy theory; but they were the result simply of misconception. The same is true of the Apollinarian theory, which confines the human nature of Christ to body and soul (anima vegetabilis), and holds that in him the Logos supplied the place of the spirit (πνεῦμα). SEE SOUL, ORIGIN OF.
A third question follows, which is concerned with particulars connected with the forming of the body and the imparting of the spirit, and with the results that follow. The forming of the body extends to the entire organism with reference to all the members of the body, and to the senses, since in these consists the germ of the body. The inspiration of the spirit extends, with regard to all its far reaching consequences, over the whole of the spirit, in all its powers and abilities. Body and spirit, however, contain only germs which attain to organic development and form in the soul, the body especially becoming the form (μορφή) of the soul. Psychology, the philosophy of the soul, has consequently to inquire into the bodily life of the organism, particularly with reference to the senses, the emotions, the intellect, the will, and likewise into the νοῦς, λόγος, πνεῦμα, etc. In our days, psychology may even embrace in its investigations the science of language, since it has become important to demonstrate, in opposition to rationalism, pantheism, and materialism, that the germs of language, no less than of thought, inhere in the spirit; and that language, in which thought attains to expression, secures its development in the soul in harmony with the diversities of nationality, which is equivalent here to individuality, SEE MIND.
A fourth question asks, whither does the soul tend? or, more exactly, what becomes of it when separated from the body? The scriptural answer is brief and confident: the spirit returns to God, but not as it came from God; it retains the nature obtained by its union with the body; and it is accordingly as a soul, i.e. affected by the body, although the latter has become dust, that the spirit returns to God. The Scriptures teach that the soul neither sleeps nor dies, but retains its spiritual character. We shall accordingly not be found utterly naked even after death, but rather clothed with conscious activity (ἐνδυσάμενοι, οὐ γυμνοί, 2Co 5:3 — a passage, however, which legitimately refers only to the finally glorified state; see Alford, ad loc.), and thus await the reunion of soul and body in the resurrection. SEE INTERMEDIATE STATE.
The soul accordingly attains its consummation in the body, which was also the beginning and basis of the personality. Corporeity is thus the end of the ways of God, as it was the beginning in the clay from which man was formed. The three Catholic creeds close with the words "the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting;" and Paul writes, "There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body... that was... first which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual" (1Co 15:44 sq.). The body is thus the first and the last; "the spirit quickeneth" by the energy of the soul, and is the bond which unites the soul and body, the agent which combines them into a single substance, so that even death is unable to effect more than a partial and temporary separation. SEE DEATH.
See Molitor, Philosophie der Geschichte, etc. 2, 90; 3, 129, etc.; Rudloff, Lehre vom Menschen nach Geist, Seele u. Leib (1858); Von Meyer, in Blätter für höhere Warheiten (1823), 4, 271 sq. The above furnish information with reference to the teachings of the Cabala. According to Von Meyer, the Cabala distinguishes five souls (Nephesh, Ruach, Neshama, Chaja, Jechida). See also Dante, Divina Com. Purg. 25, etc.; Heinroth, Psychologie (1827); Schubert, Gesch. d. Seele (1833); Von Meyer, Inbegrif d. christl. Glaubenslehre (1832), p. 134, etc.; Lange, Land d. Herrlichkeit, etc. (1838); id. Positive Dogmatik (1852); Martensen, Dogmatik (1851); De Valenti, Christl. Dogmatik (1847); Ebrard, Christl. Dogmatik (1851); Delitzsch, Bibl. Psychologie (1855); Fichte, Anthropologie (2d ed. 1860); id. Zur Seelenfrage, etc. (1859); Wichart, Metaphys. Anthropologie (Minster, 1844); Polack, Unsterblichkeitsfrage (Amst. 1857); Richers, Schöpfungs-, Paradies- u. Sündfluth-Geschichte [Genesis 1-9] (1854), § 13, p. 210 sq.; id. Natur u. Geist (1850 sq.); Hahn [Aug.], Lehrb. d. christl. Glaubens, 2 ed. § 74; Hahn [G. E.], Theologie d. Neuen Testaments, § 149 sq.; also Lotze, Mikrokosmos... Anthropologie; Deinhardt, Begriff d. Seele mit Rucksicht auf Aristoteles (Hamb. 1840); Schmidt, De Loco Aristot. τὸν νοῦν θυράθεν ἐπειζιέναι in Aristot. Περὶ ζώων γενέσεως (Erfurt, 1847). Of Roman Catholic writings we mention Baltzer, De Modo Propagat. Animarum (1833); also Göschel, Beweise fur d. Unsterbl. d. Seele (1835) [per contra Becker, Ueber Göschel's Vers. eines Beweises d. personl. Unsterblichkeit (Hamb. 1836)]; id. Die siebenfaltige Osterfrage, etc. (1836); id. Beitr. zur spekulativen Philosophie von Gott u. d. Menschen, etc. (1838); id. Zur Lehre v. d. letzten Dingen (Berl. 1850); id. Der Mensch nach Leib, Seele u. Geist, etc. (Leips. 1856); Richter, Die neue
Unsterblichkeitslehre, in Jahrb. f. wissenschaftl. Kritik, 1834.-Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. SEE SOUL.