What is a man? This question has confounded more Christians and created more confusion in the Christian church than almost any other. We have the dichomotous camp and the trichotomous camp and several others. some say the spiirt and the soul are the same. Others that they are different. Some say a soul is the whole of man and others a part of man. So what is it?
The answer is unbelievably simple. When God made "man" he was "man" before he had spirit or before he became soul. In Genesis 2:7 we read "and God breathed into the man the breath of life and the man became a living soul." A human soul is the relationship of spirit and flesh. Man is by himself flesh and simply flesh. To become human is to become flesh, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (Jn 1:14). And God is the Father of all spirits (Heb 12:9) which return to him when we die (Eccl 12:6-7) and we humans return to the dust from which we came?
A soul is what you have when spirit and flesh come together. I personally think that flesh is only flesh when it has first had life in it. Animals and humans both have flesh for example. Otherwise, theywould just be "dust." But flesh is flesh and edible flesh by virtue of the fact that it once lived. So to be more precise, a human is dust and when dust formed in image of man and spirit come together you have a soul of flesh. To make it even more simple, a soul is the relationship between created matter and spirit.
A man does not "have" a soul. He IS a soul. He is a relationship of spirit and created matter. When spirit and created matter come together you get something called "life." So when Jesus yielded up his spirit" he died. This is why the word soul is often translated as "life." The relationship of matter and spirit is a soul and this relationship is life.
It is very similar to a man and a woman. The life and light of their relationship is their love. This IS their relationship. In the same way, a soul of a man is not just the relationship itself. A man and a woman's relationship is not just defined by their wedding day. It is defined also by what those two do together. In the same way a human soul is defined what the body and the spirit do together. This is what God is judging on judgment day: way of flesh vs. way of spirit.
A soul is not an "element" which is a part of humanity. It is what you have when humanity has a relationship with the divine - spirit. And so you have life since life comes from the divine. The spirit in us is not a human thing. It is a divine thing and it is not us. It is given to us for a time so we may live and have a life. So what is the difference between our spirit and the Holy Spirit? Well firstly the Holy Spirit has the purpose of eternal life where the spirit in us only has the purpose of temporal life (Gen 6:3). The spirit in us does eventually leave us and this is when we die. Once we are bodily resurrected, the Holy Spirit will be with us eternally and we will never die (1 Cor 15:45; Luke 20:36). But a more insightful way to understand this is to see God as Holy Spirit and also the Father of the spirits who are angels (Hb 12:14). If we simply have a relationship with our "small s" spirit, we are simply having an relationship with the divinity of the angelic dominion. We are not having a direct relationship with God. Ther are unclean and clean angels and the unclean ones are called demons. But if we have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, we have a direct relationship with God himself because he IS Holy Spirit. That is why Christians may enter into the very presence of the throne room of God.
This may further explain how John the Baptist came in the power and spirit of Elijah. This is not the same as reincarnation. Reincarnation says that same person came back into another body. But Elijah was not spirit but he did have one. And John's temporal life was made possible by that very same spirit.
The Bible tells us plainly what man is: dirt. "The LORD God formed man out of the dirt of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living soul." (Genesis 2:7). "To the man He said...."Until you return to the ground. For dirt you are, and to dirt you shall return" (Genesis 3:19). Can it be anymore plain? We have it straight from God. Man is by dirt by definition. This is a little more than obvious since we see in Genesis 2:7 that a man was a man before God breathed the spirit of life into him.
In what sense did Adam and Eve die?Jews - angelic dominion under the law angel (spirits) = gods Holy spirit = God