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I listened to a book promo on a local radio station for a book which examined the questions of theology. I wanted to call in, but the station was not taking calls. I looked the author up, based on some biographical tidbits mentioned during the interview, and sent him e-mail. I received a kind response to my e-mail, in which I asked:
What is the difference between a soul and a spirit?
What do they do?
What reason is there to believe souls exist?
Are they our consciousness or our conscience?

His response follows:

Here are the definitions you asked for. I divided them 2 ways: into a dichotomy and into a trichotomy.

  1. Dichotomism
    1. Physical Body- that which dies
    2. Spirit or Soul- that which does not die

    Theological Positions:
    1. Body is a means of present life but not a necessary part of personality.
    2. Personality exists without a body.
    3. The body accomplishes our intentions, but the soul must rule it.
    4. Resurrection of the Body vs. Immortality of the Soul.

  2. Trichotomism (I Thess. 5:23)
    1. Physical Body- like plants and animals
    2. Soul- psychological element, reason, emotion
    3. Spirit- religious element

  3. Poly-Partite Unity
    1. Self is a complete union of body, soul, and spirit.
    2. A human cannot exist apart from a body.
    3. Hebrew does not have a word for body.
    4. Paul uses different words but always thinks of a unitary being.

We believe in a soul because the Bible talks about it and because a part of the image of God in us is that we never die. The soul is not our conscience but it is related. One element of our spirit or the spiritual side of us is the conscience. It is the instrument the Holy Spirit uses to warn us of sin and wrong.

I hope this helps.