Trichotomy (threefold division) is the theory according to which man is divided into three parts-body, soul, and spirit. This is thought by many to be the apostolic classification of our nature (1Th 5:23). Generally soul and body are opposed; but spirit, so contrasted, is the highest portion of our nature, allying it to God, and on which his Spirit works. Soul (in the German sense) is the lower portion, the region of appetite, instinct, and of much besides which we have in common with the lower creation. This idea throws light on many passages of Scripture. The body mediates between the soul and the external world, the soul between the spirit and body, and the spirit between both and God. This view of human nature would have prevailed, had it not been so keenly opposed by Tertullian, and so slighted even by Augustine, and had not Apollinaris adopted it to illustrate his erroneous view of our Lord's nature. He denied spirit, in this human sense, to Christ, but held that its place was occupied by the Divine Spirit. It was held by Luther, as it still is by the more evangelical part of the Lutheran Church. The Reformers, however, did not consider spirit and soul as different substances, but only as different attributes or operations of the same spiritual essence. SEE SOUL; SEE SPIRIT.

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