THE SPIRIT - PART I
THE WAY TO LIVE_DOT III (YOUR ROLE) // CHAPTER 22
“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” // Genesis 1:27
“Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.” // Genesis 2:7
What makes a person a person? Most of us have come to understand that there are three distinct things that come together to form a person: spirit, soul and body.
The physical part of who we are. Our five senses and our physical matter. The eleven main systems of the human body fuse to form the matter of our physical presence.
The center of our mind, will and emotions. All our thinking and feeling occurs within our soul. Our desires are centered within our soul. We know that we have a mind, will and emotions, but these things don’t seem to have a physical location; nevertheless, people have attempted to locate the physical place of the soul since the beginning of recorded history. Our mind, emotions and will are unique to us, and we are aware of this uniqueness. It is hard for us to understand where this uniqueness comes from; therefore, we call it a soul. It is the non-physical part of our everyday life: thoughts, emotions and desires that can’t be easily quantified or divided into systems like our physical body can.
But we are not just a body and a soul. There is something deeper within us that is transcendent—something spiritual that goes beyond our human experience.
There is something in us that looks beyond ourselves and wonders why. Why are we here? Why does anything exist? The ability to look beyond ourselves is a uniquely human characteristic. The notion that life is supposed to be meaningful drives us to look for meaning. It’s as if we know intuitively that our individual selves are not enough. We have a thirst that will never be quenched until we connect with something greater than ourselves.
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” // C. S. Lewis[i]
There is something within us that tells us that we are more than our body. Much more than our soul. There is something that lies beyond our finite and personal experience. We have a sense of the infinite. There is something more than “human” about us. There is no other being on the planet that possesses this desire for more.
Human beings are the only things that are created in God’s image. What specifically is created in God’s image? Our body? The first human body was formed out of dirt. God doesn’t have a physical body that we know of. If he did, how would we explain how different humanity looks across the earth? Could our soul be the thing formed in God’s image? Romans 12 tells us that God wants to transform us into a new person by changing the way we think. Isaiah 55 tells us that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts, higher than heaven is above earth. So, we can rule out our mind, will and emotions being in the image of God.
Genesis 2 tells us that God himself breathed the breath of life into humanity. The ancient Stoics used a Greek word pneuma (πνεῦμα) to define this breath of life. In Stoic thought, the pneuma is the animating force of life. It drives both our body and soul. This pneuma doesn’t just animate the individual person; it is the animating force of the universe. Our individual pneuma connects with the pneuma of the logos. The divine plan and reason is also the thing that animates us. The spirit of God made our spirit in his own image.
There is something within us that makes us alive. This is our spirit, our pneuma. The New Testament uses this same word to describe the spirit, not just the spirit of a person but the Spirit of God. All of humanity that lives has taken their first breath. The breath of life.
Our spirit is our animating force. The best and most pure part of us. It is the core of our personhood. It is our connection to other people and to the eternal. It is a gift from God that makes us more than just a body and a soul. It represents the image of God within us. Our spirit is what makes us more than animals. The spirit is the gift that God gave only to us that is meant to transcend our human experience, to connect back to him and to other people. This is the likeness of God within us.
Our spirit is the core thing that makes us us. It ties our body and soul together and is the driving force for both. It is the core and eternal part of every human being.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” //Georges I. Gurdjieff[ii]
We are spiritual beings. We are not just meant to contextualize our life based on our physical experiences or our thoughts, feelings and desires. Our spirit is the seat of our being, who we are at our core. The breath of God that gives each one of us life at the moment of our creation.
This spirit is a gift from God. It is the thing that defines our existence. It represents a unique part of God that he has given to each one of us individually and uniquely.
A long time ago, my dad, Keith Craft, came up with an exercise. In fact, he wrote a book on it titled Your Divine Fingerprint. I’ll paraphrase that book and exercise briefly:
Look at your hand. Look at your fingers. What’s on the end of your fingertips? A fingerprint. Science tells us that our fingerprint is unique only to us. There has never been anyone else in history with your fingerprint. There will never be anyone in the future with your fingerprint. Your fingerprint is a physical manifestation of your spirit. A unique expression of God himself. On your body is a physical representation of this uniqueness in your fingerprint.
Three months before you are born, your fingerprints are fully developed in the womb. So, not only do you have a fingerprint, you have a fingerprint that God himself gave to you the moment he created you. Ask yourself this question: What’s the purpose of your fingerprint? Why would God give you, and only you, the fingerprint that he gave you?
According to Jesus in John 17, there is a glory that he has given you. God’s glory is not an attribute that he possesses but it is the way he reveals himself to the world. You have the power within you to reveal who God is to the world. That’s what your fingerprint represents; that’s what your spirit represents. Think about it. You leave a fingerprint on everything you physically touch. Couldn’t there also be a fingerprint that God wants to leave on the world through you?[iii]
All of this starts with our spirit. Understanding the power of our divine fingerprint.
Think of a $100 bill. We all know a $100 bill is worth $100. If you crumple that $100 in your hand, how much is it worth? If you drop it on the ground and step on it with your shoe, how much is it worth?
Our body may experience physical pain and hindrance. Our souls may experience difficulty and torment. But if we understand that there is a part of us that is meant to connect back to God himself, and live our life with this understanding, our worth will never be determined by anything external.
Our true worth will be determined by our understanding that we have a “fingerprint [spirit] that no one else has; to leave an imprint that no one else can leave.”[iv]
We have been given a spirit. This spirit doesn’t just animate our soul and body. This spirit drives us to live a life that is beyond our present experience.
[i] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 1952).
[ii] “You Are Not a Human Being Having a Spiritual Experience. You Are a Spiritual Being Having a Human Experience,” Quote Investigator, June 20, 2019, https://quoteinvestigator.com/2019/06/20/spiritual/
[iii] Craft, Your Divine Fingerprint.
[iv] Craft, Your Divine Fingerprint.