What Is the Soul vs the Spirit?
by Alan Horvath | AlanHorvath.com
What's the Difference Between the Two?
I've often wondered, as I'm sure you have, what the difference is between the soul and the spirit. In hearing phrases like "you can lose your soul," I use to find myself confused and bewildered, pondering what that might mean.
Merriam-Webster defines "soul" as:
The immaterial essence, animating principle, or actuating cause of an individual life.
Further, Merriam-Webster defines "spirit" as:
An animating or vital principle held to give life to physical organisms.
See what I mean? Can you see any distinction at all between those two definitions? I can't!
Regarding the Soul: An important point is made in the book of Marqos (Mark):
Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his staff, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for the sake of Me and the Good News, he shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he gains all the world, and loses his own hai?
Marqos (Mark) 8:34-37
Notice how Yahshua refers to "life" and to "hai" (see bolded, above - where the HS says "hai," most all other English translations say "soul") as one and the same? I believe a good definition of the word "hai" would be: Your living experience. This is why I bolded the words "deny himself" and "take up his staff," in the Scriptural quote above - because these two phrases say a lot, regarding what "hai" is all about: Your experience in life. With hai, your living experience is full of understanding, peace, and happiness, because His Ruach is active in you and is guiding you ... as opposed to life, where your living experience is full of confusion, anxiety, and unhappiness, because His Ruach is absent in you and you are being guided by darkness itself; the world's ways and reasonings.
Our living experience is eternally effected by these two paths: We either deny the ways and practices of the world and follow Yahshua, seeking a relationship with the Father ... or we embrace the ways and practices of the world, following the passions of the flesh. One way or the other, each path has its effect on our living experience now, as well as in our eternal future. Remember: People may die in the physical sense, but no one ever ceases to exist!
So the Soul is Hai: One's living experience ... now, as well as in eternity.
Regarding the Spirit: A most important point is made in the book of Genesis:
And Yahweh Elohim commanded the man, saying, "Eat of every tree of the garden, but do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall certainly die."
Now, we know that Adam did eat of it ... but did he die? Yes ... and no.
Yes: He did die a Spiritual death that very day - he lost the Father's indwelling Ruach!
No: He did not die a physical death that day - he continued living on the earth for many years.
The point is that Adam died Spiritually; he lost the Father's indwelling Ruach ... the breath and mind of the Father; he lost the direct communication that he had known with the Father.
Note: In Aramaic/Hebrew or in Greek, the words for "spirit" are the same words for "breath" or "mind."
So the Ruach is: The Qodesh (dedicated) Spirit (the breath and mind) of the Father, active and alive in us; it means having direct communication with our Creator.
Consequently, everyone born after Adam is spiritually dead and full of sin ... and the word "sin," by the way, comes from the Greek word, hamartia (say "hah-mar-tee-ah") ... an archery term, meaning to miss the mark; anything short of a "bullseye" is a sin.
Synopsis: Soul & Spirit
Soul or Hai: Refers to one's living experience ... not only in the present, but throughout all eternity. And what we do with our life in the present, will bring untold rewards and/or lack of rewards - permanently - throughout eternity.
Spirit or Ruach: The Father's indwelling Ruach brings a direct connection and an intimate communication between us and our Creator. Adam's fall, in the Garden of Eden, caused a separation from the Father and a condition of sinfulness - an inability to "hit the mark" - in all of mankind. Today, everyone on earth falls into one of two categories regarding the Spirit: They are either Born from above or they are spiritually dead.
Yahshua has paid Adam's price and has restored the ability for us to receive the Father's indwelling Ruach ... a gift that is available to anyone who has a strong desire to receive it. Without the Ruach, a person is incapable of receiving the things of the Father; incapable of understanding the great mysteries that are in His Word - they see the written Word, but not the Living Word! - and are incapable of communing with their Creator. This, naturally, leads us to the subject of Salvation: The Fix.