There has not been equal time given to the topic of man's spirit compared with the soul and body of a believer due to the Greek influence of pagan philosophy regarding man's soul.
Men like Parmenides, Zeno, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras and Heraclitus have influenced many "Christian" ideas which were not promoted by Christ nor the disciples. The Pythagorean school of Philosophy was pagan. These folks believed that man was only body and soul. Period. And that idea remained for a long time through until our very day. Every philosopher believes this basic trend of thought.
The man who made this idea stick so solidly had one of the highest IQ's ever known to man. He was rumoured as a homosexual, couldn't support his wife and kids and was eventually sentenced to die by poison. Socrates. Two men came out from under him and influenced western thought more than anybody. Aristotle and Plato. They perhaps had greater influence than Christ and Paul due to their so-much-accepted distortion of Christianity.
These men taught that man is body and soul alone.
Due to their ideas coming into Christianity in the monstrous manner in which they did, the largest part of Christianity will likely never be recovered from their thoughts.
Hebrew prophets saw man as spirit, soul and body comprising a whole. Jesus did not learn from any teaching of men on this topic, since He was truth, Himself, and EXPERIENCED the Life to be lived. He held wholeness in His being as man was intended to live.
Our humanity is in our soul. Jesus, however, resides mainly in our spirits. And heathen philosophers did not have the foggiest understanding of this concept. If they heard of it they would never had comprehended it anyhow. The early believers ignored the heathen speculations and theories, but the heathens determined to infiltrate, as it were, their thoughts into the church. And that day came. Believers erringly began looking at man as only a body and soul. No more.
Around the middle of the second century (150 AD) the followers of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle became Christian believers. They are known as the Greek apologists, but they never dropped their pagan philosophies. Their writings ruled the era, as other believers seemed to be so busy living the life rather than theorizing it. And the early church, as it actually existed during this time, was certainly not like the church these pagans-at-heart described it.
These neo-pagan men did not delve into the depths of faith, but enjoyed the astounding issues of Greco-heathen philosophy. They applied Aristotle's ideas to the Christian way of living, and man came to be understood as a body and soul.
His greatest influence was Neo-Platonism, which to this day reigns as the basic perspective of distorted Christianity. This thought was a mixture of Stoicism, Neo-Pythagoreanism and Socratic thinking. Most modern day Christians think in the terms taught in this philosophy. Its wrong.
The results of this conglomeration of thoughts became what is know as "Self-realisation", and was Origen's MAJOR teaching. Origen also sat under Plotinus, finishing up the view of Neo-Platonism.
Tertullian came along and also promoted some NEW thoughts. Origen mixed these with Paul's writings (which were some of the only correct ones around in that hodge-podge) and Aristotelian "dialectics", and came up with religious Neo-Platonsim.
Origen died, but his thoughts were picked up by the Christianized pagans while believers began losing spiritual depth which was being replaced by philosophy.
Church leaders were still fiery church-planters, but were soon replaced by intellectualists.
Since many speculate that one must possess an IQ of at least 130 to follow Greek philosophy clearly, and 140 to fluently converse in its details, and 150 or more to add new thought, 95% of the human race is exempt from "enjoying" this philosophized Christianity. Such men of high IQ have led the popular church for 1000 years! That was not the Lord's plan!
The pagan thought of soul and body remains strong
to our day!
Augustine's writings were regarded almost as high as Scripture by many!
Look at the following roots of Augustinianism (or Platonic Dualism):
Another strain influenced this way of thinking as follows:
Platonism>Speusippus>Arcelsilaus>Carneades>The Academies (Skepticism).
And another influence:
High steepled buildings (believe it or not), high-ceilinged sanctuaries and stained-glassed windows all came through his philosophies being translated into physical expression. For one thousand years men quoted him as though they quoted a first century believer!
He took the "insights" of Platonism, Aristotelian thought and Neo-Platonism and made them Christian!
Even Luther took Augustinian thought and mixed it with Thomastic teachings to come up with his theology. Aquinas' teachings are the roots of both Catholic and Protestant theology.
Aquinas said: "THE INTELLECTUAL ASPECT OF THE SOUL IS THE SOUL'S SPIRITUAL FACULTY."
This makes the soul "human" with a "spiritual" flavour to it somehow. And that is where the unbiblical phrase "man's indomitable spirit" came from.
Christian "counseling" came into being as the psychiatrists entered theology. So you have man's soul solving soul problems. It doesn't make sense. How can that which is fallen lift up that which is also fallen? Only our spiritual faculties can solve these problems after they are regenerated by the Spirit of God.
We were meant to walk in our spirits and walk after the Spirit which was proposed to us from those who experienced it - not merely from people who theorized and philosophized it. It barely reached us due to all the thousands of philosophers who did not experience anything of the kind, but merely thought for the most part of their lives.
Mary McDonough and T. Austin Sparks came along in the 20th century and pointed out that the bible clearly teaches a spirit and soul and body as comprising our beings. People did not notice that before. They then said, "Well, there might be a difference, but its not worth thinking about since it must be awfully small."
IT MEANS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HIS LIFE AND OUR
(SEE GENE EDWARDS' Book THE HIGHEST LIFE. ISBN 0-940232-33-2)