Man as a creature of God is a tripartite being, composed of body, soul, and spirit (1 Thess. 5:23); but these two last are often spoken of under the one term - the soul: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." (Matt. 10:28.) The soul is immortal, so it never dies, and it never sleeps. Hence all the dead live unto God (Luke 20:38), a solemn thought for the unsaved. But man as such is said to live only when in his body; for he is not complete as a man without it. As for the body it can die; but, if it dies, it will be raised to die no more (Rev. 20); that the person as a whole - body, soul, and spirit, may live for ever, whether in weal or in woe. The death of the body is but temporal. The second death, which is the lake of fire, is not in any sense a ceasing to exist; the person as a whole, who is cast into it, and as alive, will be tormented there for ever and ever. (Rev. 20:10.) Resurrection then of the body is a consequence of death, because man is a responsible creature, and so must render an account of his deeds to God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, before whose judgment-seat we must all be manifested, whether converted or unconverted (2 Cor. 5:10), to receive the things done in the body, according to what we have done, whether it be good or bad. Hence the sleeping saints; i.e. those whose bodies are in the dust, will share in the resurrection from the dead; whilst the ungodly will only share in the resurrection of the dead. For, alas! man is now a fallen creature; and since all are not saved, there will be a resurrection of the just and also of the unjust; a resurrection unto life, and a resurrection unto judgment. (Acts 24:15; John 5:29.)
Such is the creature man. But as there are different senses in which the word man is used, it may be helpful to some to distinguish them. We read of the outer man and the inner man; of the old man and of the new man; of the first man and of the second man. To this we may add the natural man, the fleshly man, and the spiritual man.
1. Now, first, of the outward man and the inner man. These are the two parts of every man, whether converted or unconverted; the outward man referring to the body which can die (2 Cor. 4:16); the inner man (Rom. 7:22; 2 Cor. 4:16; Eph. 3:16) referring to the heart, mind, etc.; all that is within the body, but is distinct from it, and which can never die. Eph. 3:16 may help to make this clear, as we read, "That ye may be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith." And again (Rom. 7:22), "I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind," etc. Here the heart and the mind are the inward man. These terms then, outward and inward, contrast the material and the spiritual parts of man as a child of Adam.
2. The old man and the new man speak of two natures, both of which are only found together in one really born of God. The old man, palaios (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) is a term used of that sinful nature which governs the unconverted, and which we all inherit from Adam. It is also called the flesh, and sin. (Gal. 5:19; Rom. 7:20.) The new man (kainos in Eph. 4:24, and neos in Col. 3:10) tells us that this nature, derived from the new birth, is to man one wholly new in kind, and so called kainos; and new as to time, seeing he did not formerly possess it, so it is called also neos. That which formerly characterized him ere his conversion, the walking after the dictates of the old or former man, is to characterise him no longer. For that old man has been crucified with Christ; i.e. judicially dealt with by God at and on the cross; and now the nature that the Christian has received, as born of God, is to be seen working in him. For the new man is created, according to God, in truthful righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:24); but though new as to time - neos, it is a nature only, and not power, so is to be renewed, anakainoumenon, unto full knowledge, epignosis, according to the image of Him that has created him. (Col. 3:10.) As new then, kainos, it is wholly different from the old, palaios, man; and as new, neos, or recent, there was a time when the person did not possess it. The man then, the Christian, is a person composed of parts - body, soul, and spirit; with two natures diametrically opposite the one to the other; the one, the old man, only and wholly evil; the other, the new man, which is impeccable. At times the person may be viewed as identified with the one, and at times as identified with the other. An instance in Gal. 2:20 will make this plain: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me." The new man is not crucified with Christ. The old man was. So "I am crucified with Christ" views the person as identified with the old man, for whose actions he is and will be held responsible. "I live," etc., views the same person as identified with the new man.
Further, the distinction between the two natures in the Christian's inner man can be seen in Eph. 4:22-24: "Your having put off according to the former conversation the old man, corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and being renewed in the spirit of your mind; and having put on the new man," etc. Here the old man and the new man designate of course the two natures, and the mind refers to the inward man; one part of every child of Adam, whether converted or not.
3. We come now to the terms, the first man and the second man. These are two persons, Adam and the Lord Jesus Christ; the two heads of races, the natural and the spiritual. All of us by nature are ranged under the headship of Adam; and every Christian is ranged under the headship of Christ. So we speak of being in Adam, or in Christ. The condition of the first man, consequent on his act of disobedience, characterizes, and the results which flow from his act involve, all ranged under his headship. The condition consequent on the act of obedience to death of the second man characterizes, and the results of His obedience concern, all who are ranged under His headship. All mankind are involved in the one. All saints share in the other. That we learn from Rom. 5:12-18. But this truth of headship has not only a moral application, it concerns the person of the saint in his body as well. So we read, "The first man out of the earth, earthy (choikos); i.e. made of dust; the second man, out of heaven. Such as he made of dust, such also those made of dust; and such as the heavenly One, such also the heavenly ones. And as we have borne the image of the one made of dust, we shall bear also the image of the heavenly One." (1 Cor. 15:47-49.) The reader will be helped in the understanding of the passage, if he remembers that the apostle is treating of the resurrection of the body. We bear in our bodies the image of the earthy one; i.e. the one made of dust. We shall in our bodies bear, when we see the Lord Jesus, the image of Him, the heavenly One. The contrast here is not a moral one, as the term earthy, not earthly, will show.
Lastly (4) we read of the natural (psychikos) man, the fleshly (sarkinos), and the spiritual man (pneumatikos). All three are mentioned in 1 Cor. 2:14-3 1. These are different states or conditions, in one of which every person on earth must be classed. The natural man (psychikos) describes a person without spiritual life, animated only by his created soul. The fleshly one (sarkinos) is one born of God, but without the indwelling presence of the Holy Ghost. So in Rom. 7, in delighting in the law of God after the inward man, he finds he has no power to do what is right. So he says, "I am fleshly" (not carnal, which would be sarkikos) "sold under sin." Again the apostle, addressing the Corinthians, who, though really richly endowed with all spiritual gifts, were not walking in the energy of the Holy Ghost, tells them he writes to them as unto fleshly (not carnal); i.e. as to those who were quickened, yet were without the energising power of the Spirit, for they were not using it. They were not really fleshly, but he addresses them as such. But the spiritual man is one in whom the Spirit is, and who is guided and energised by Him. Every true Christian then is spiritual as to his condition, though he may be walking like a fleshly person, and be even carnal in his ways.
Briefly then, to sum up, we have first (1) the different parts of man, which will always characterize him as the creature man. Those parts which he has by his birth as a man will exist in eternity. He will, as raised or changed, always have a body, a soul, and a spirit. (1 Thess. 5:2, 3.) But from the saint all taint and presence of sin will be removed, and his body will be fashioned like to Christ's body of glory.
Next (2) we have glanced at the two natures now in the saint. But, thank God, he will by-and-by be freed for ever from the old man, the fruit of the fall, and only have throughout eternity the new man.
Thirdly (3) we have two persons, two heads of races, under the term first man and second man. Saints are now by the Holy Ghost in Christ ranged under His headship, though still bearing the image of the first man, looking forward when the change comes to bearing instead, and then for ever, the image of the second, the heavenly One.
Lastly (4) we learn there are three conditions, in one of which every person on earth must be classed, either natural, fleshly, or spiritual, this last condition not being reached by attainment or walk, but consequent on being sealed with the Spirit. It is plain then we must not confound the inner man with the new man, nor the first man with the old man, if we would speak or think correctly. C. E. Stuart.