If you counsel others, compassion and wisdom require you to counsel them based on the way God created humans as multidimensional beings.
Three dimensions of human life and of the fall
- Physical beings with bodily needs- Suffering
- Social beings with relationship needs- Selfishness
- Spiritual beings with a need for God- Separation
Three dimensions of personhood
- Intellect (mind, thoughts, imagination)
- Will (decision-making)
- Emotions (affections or feelings)
A prayer for the whole person:
“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through (make you holy in every way). May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept (so as to be) blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Thessalonians 5:23).
This is a prayer to the God of peace for a total and thorough transformation and for final preservation reaching every dimension of life.
This prayer has led to significant discussion about how we should understand human beings. The two main views are:
- Those who believe that humans have three dimensions (spirit, soul and body). The technical term for this view is “trichotomist.” (see: Hebrews 4:12)
- Those who believe that humans are two dimensional (material and immaterial -or- body and soul/spirit) The technical term here is “dichotomists.”
Other Scriptures – Matthew 10:28- “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (II Corinthians 7:1- body/flesh and spirit; Luke 1:46-47 – spirit and soul are used synonymously when Mary said, “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Most early Church fathers were trichotomists.
They viewed the dimensions of humanity in three parts:
- The spirit is “the ruling faculty in us through which we hold communication with the unseen world.”
- The soul is “the seat of all our impulses and affections, the center of our personality.”
- The body “links us to the material world and is the instrument of all our outward deeds.” (Lightfoot)