There remain yet some things to point out before the harmony of Scripture doctrine as to spirit and soul is properly before us. Types indeed of the difference and relationship between these two essential parts of man's being are to be found, I doubt not, in the human race at large. Man and woman, in their characteristic differences, seem to present very much the peculiar features of spirit and soul: the one predominant in mental activity, the other in emotional the woman formed for the man, and each the complement of the other, made for mutual support and relationship.
The analogy may be traced further than this, however, and grows in significance as we contemplate it. The man was seduced through the woman, his judgment not astray, but led captive by his affections. "Adam was not deceived," says the apostle (1 Tim. 2:14), "but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." "The serpent beguiled me," says the woman. "The woman gave me of the tree" (not beguiled me), says Adam. Thus, as the man was led by the woman and fell by her, so was he, it is plain, led by the affections of the soul, and with the soul the spirit fell.
It is always so. To use the language of the day, though not of Scripture — the head is seduced by the heart. "How can ye believe," asks the Lord Himself; "who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which cometh from God only?" And again — "that they all might be damned, which believed not the truth, but" [mark the reason] "had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:12). And so again, when there is real turning to God, "with the heart," not the head, "man believeth unto righteousness" (Rom. 10:10).
Thus, though the spirit be as much astray as the soul, it is through the soul, as well as with it, it is seduced and is fallen. And the word of God, in its own perfect and wonderful way, ever keeps in mind the distinction. It proclaims the fact that in fallen man the spirit has yielded its supremacy to the soul, and that the "natural" man is "sensual" or soul-led (psuchikos) (1 Cor. 2:14). In the believer, and especially in the blameless state of such, the spirit again recovers its supremacy. "Spirit and soul and body" are again in the divine order
Nor are these by any means solitary expressions. The same thing is expressed in various ways in the language of Scripture. Thus the will, in the now natural state, is identified or connected with the soul. This is translated three times "will" in our common version (Ps. 27:12, Ps. 41:2, Ezek. 16:27). "Let her go whither she will," is (in Deut. 21:14) "let her go to her soul." "Aha, so would we have it" (Ps. 35:25), is "aha, our soul!" And the expression, "binding the soul with a bond," i.e., with a vow, repeated ten times in Num. 30, shows how intimately will and soul are connected together. Thus it is even so that "the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life" characterize the world for God, and man, alas! is but the creature of fleshly impulse — "sensual," if "not having the Spirit" (Jude 19).
On the other hand, that the spirit should have supremacy, and so give the will (I say not, in independence of the soul, but as enlightening and guiding it), is evident from the chief place it gets. Indeed the old nature has its synonym of "flesh," from the opposite tendency of being guided by the soul, which is so nearly connected with the body. But into this it is not my province now to enter.
Still I would point out how, in perfect accordance with all this, as thus sin is in a special sense "the sin of the soul" (Micah 6:7), so atonement is said to be made, in the same way, "for the soul." The expression is three times found (Ex. 30:15, Lev. 17:11, Num. 31:50). And I speak of it to show the blessed harmony of Scripture on this as on every other point. Moreover, as for the soul atonement is needed, so by it atonement was made. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied" (Isa. 53:10, 11).
So complete, so uniform, is the testimony of the Word.