Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What is Spirit?

  photo HEALING_HANDS.jpg

Originally Posted by boneso View Post
Really, you said this "(1) he can't actually tell us what that means.", When i have clearly demonstrated that i can! If you can't grasp what i am teaching you then i can't help that. "Spirit" is not something we "know" about, therefore my statement is still true.

yes spirit is something we know about. try to pay attention this time.

....Atheists on CARM are at it again.  This time they assume spirit and soul are things we can't know about. "Bigthinker" (so called) says  "where is the spirit located." The major fortress of facts ploy, if we can't touch it and count it and analyze it with scinece then it cant' exist. The first proof of a thing's tangibility is locating it. So they actually expect to the spirit to be a physical object like a spleen. Spirit is something, in my view, we know exists. We know we have minds, we know mind is a quality associated with certain phenomena we all experience, that is a thing we know about even we don't understand it well. Spirit is essentially mind. In ages past people came to think of spirit as wind or breath,that's one meaning the Greek New Testament word (pneuma) conveys. Becuase of it's association with wind people came to think of the spirit as a ghost-like aspect, such as a ghost-like version of themselves inside their bodies. In the early modern times the Puritans thought of it it as a vapor. In old books on old movies we hear of sick people having "the vapors." That was an aliment related to the spirit. In my view spirit is mind, and mind is consciousness. It's not located anywhere, although it's accessed through brain apparatus. We could say it's "in the brain" but that's too physically oriented and mind is mental phenomenon. How do I know the spirit means mind? That's one meaning the Greek term of hte New Testament (pneuma) is given. The key is the association between break or wind and invisible power. Mind is also an invisible power. Let's explore the and see the connotations.
....The Classical Greek Lexicon, Liddell and Scott, gives various meanings of the word and it's cognates as "wind," breath, "breath of life."[1] Thi

 ....John W. Ritenbaugh The site Bible makes the point that the Hebew word ruach, the Greek pneuma has a common thread running between them.

A common thread runs between English "spirit," Hebrew ruach, and Greek pneuma, even when a spirit-composed being is described. "Spirit" represents something non-physical and normally invisible. We can conclude, except in the one case where "spirit," ruach, or pneuma describes a being that has revealed itself, that spirit is never seen. All that is ever seen is what spirit causes, motivates, inspires, encourages, impels, triggers, stirs, provokes, stimulates, influences, or activates. Why? Because in every other sense, except where spirit clearly means a spirit being who has revealed himself, spirit is seen as a function of the mind, whether it is God's mind, angel's mind, or man's mind. Just as we surely do not see mind, but we do see what mind does, so also we cannot see spirit but only what spirit does. As we understand it, mind is more than spirit, yet "spirit" can figuratively refer to a person's mind.

Read more:

....I turn to a conservative evangelical interdenominational sight to convey the basis of the word in order to convey the fact that even though what I say sounds very radical it's actually not so radical. This source says spirit means different things (Pumena= Greek for spirit)

In any given language, many words have at least two meanings, and some have many more than two. The Greek word pneuma, which in the New Testament is most often translated as “Spirit” or “spirit,” has many meanings. Sometimes this presents challenges to translators as they try to bring the sense into English. The chart below shows uses of pneuma in four different versions of the Bible, and reveals not only different meanings of pneuma, but how translators differ in how they deal with it.

form the same source several uses of the term that imply mind: "Pneuma is used of the individual and his attitudes, emotions, etc.

A. Pneuma is used of the individual self. Matthew 26:41 says, “...The spirit [pneuma] is willing, but the body is weak.” Here Christ was referring to the “spirit” as the individual self, not the gift of holy spirit.

B. Pneuma refers to personal emotion, attitude, thought, desire or will. 2 Corinthians 7:13 says, “...we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit [pneuma] has been refreshed by all of you.” The holy spirit born within a believer does not need refreshment. Thus, “spirit” here refers to his personal and emotional life, or possibly is used by the figure of speech Synecdoche for his entire self. Referring to attitude, Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit [pneuma]...” Obviously, “poor in spirit” does not refer to the amount of holy spirit one has received from God, but rather refers to an attitude of meekness in the mind. Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently (literally “in a spirit [pneuma, i.e., attitude] of meekness...). The NIV translators recognized that holy spirit was not being referred to, and used the phrase, “restore him gently,” to refer to a humble attitude of mind.

C. Pneuma can also be used to intensify emotion. Mark 8:12a (KJV) says, “And he sighed deeply in his spirit [pneuma], and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign?” Interestingly, the NIV translators recognized that holy spirit, the gift of God in Jesus, did not sigh, but rather it was an action of the mind, from the heart of Jesus’ emotions, so they translated the verse “He sighed deeply [pneuma] and said....” “Sighed deeply” is exactly what Jesus did, represented in the Greek text as “sighed in his spirit.”

....The word study on the Truth or Tradition (above) website is actually pretty good. They present a fine chart that shows a huge list of words by which pneuma is translated and show how many times each major translation translated it that way. They show that penumbra translated as "mind" 1 in Niv and 2 in NRSV.

Pneuma on crosswalk

Crosswalk is a big Evangelical site, very fundamentalist but has a good reputation (with certain caveats[2]) for their online reference material. For the New Testament thier major lexicon is Strong's.That's the most used and standard Greek Lexicon for New Testament study. In addition to Strong's they are also using Thayer. It's from Thayer that Crosswalk get's the Trinity reference below. Corsswalk gives it's own treatment of the word based that Lexicon. Here's the definition on cross walk:


the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit, coequal, coeternal with the Father and the Son sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his personality and character (the \\Holy\\ Spirit) sometimes referred to in a way which emphasises his work and power (the Spirit of \\Truth\\) never referred to as a depersonalised force the spirit, i.e. the vital principal by which the body is animated the rational spirit, the power by which the human being feels, thinks, decides the soul a spirit, i.e. a simple essence, devoid of all or at least all grosser matter, and possessed of the power of knowing, desiring, deciding, and acting a life giving spirit a human soul that has left the body a spirit higher than man but lower than God, i.e. an angel used of demons, or evil spirits, who were conceived as inhabiting the bodies of men the spiritual nature of Christ, higher than the highest angels and equal to God, the divine nature of Christ the disposition or influence which fills and governs the soul of any one the efficient source of any power, affection, emotion, desire, etc. a movement of air (a gentle blast) of the wind, hence the wind itself breath of nostrils or mouth Spirit (of God)13, Spirit (of the Lord)5, (My) Spirit3, Spirit (of truth)3, Spirit (of Christ)2, human (spirit)49, (evil) spirit47, spirit (general)26, spirit8, (Jesus' own) spirit6, (Jesus' own) ghost2, miscellaneous21

 From an actual online copy of Srong's,(Strong's number 4151) not some distilled version but the actual Lexicon itself:

wind, breath, things which are commonly perceived as having no material substance; by extension: spirit, heart, mind, the immaterial part of the inner person that can respond to God; spirit being: (evil) spirit, ghost, God the Holy Spirit
wind, air in motion, Jn. 3:8; breath, 2 Thess. 2:8; the substance spirit, Jn. 3:6; a spirit, spiritual being, Jn. 4:24; Acts 23:8, 9; Heb. 1:14; a bodiless spirit, specter, Lk. 24:37; a foul spirit, δαιμόνιον, Mt. 8:16; Lk. 10:20; spirit, as a vital principle, Jn. 6:63; 1 Cor. 15:45; the human spirit, the soul, Mt. 26:41; 27:50; Acts 7:59; 1 Cor. 7:34; Jas. 2:26; the spirit as the seat of thought and feeling, the mind, Mk. 8:12; Acts 19:21; spirit, mental frame, 1 Cor. 4:21; 1 Pet. 3:4; a characteristic spirit, an influential principle, Lk. 9:55; 1 Cor. 2:12; 2 Tim. 1:7; a pervading influence, Rom. 11:8; spirit, frame of mind, as distinguished from outward circumstances and action, Mt. 5:3; spirit as distinguished from outward show and form. Jn. 4:23; spirit, a divinely bestowed spiritual frame, characteristic of true believers, Rom. 8:4; Jude 19; spirit, latent spiritual import, spiritual significance, as distinguished from the mere letter, Rom. 2:29; 7:6; 2 Cor. 3:6, 17; spirit, as a term for a process superior to a merely natural or carnal course of things, by the operation of the Divine Spirit, Rom. 8:4; Gal. 4:29; a spiritual dispensation, or a sealing energy of the Holy Spirit, Heb. 9:14; the Holy Spirit, Mt. 3:16; 12:31; Jn. 1:32, 33; a gift of the Holy Spirit, Jn. 7:39; Acts 19:2; 1 Cor. 14:12; an operation or influence of the Holy Spirit, 1 Cor. 12:3; a spiritual influence, an inspiration, Mt. 22:43; Lk. 2:27; Eph. 1:17; a professedly divine communication, or, a professed possessor of a spiritual communication, 1 Cor. 12:10; 2 Thess. 2:2; 1 Jn. 4:1, 2, 3
 Of course Strong's derives its definitions from it's use in the New Testament. The uses of mind above deal with translations in the New Testament where spirit is used in the sense of an attitude, such "the spirit of the pioneers." It's not a commentary on the actual intention of meaning in the Greek word itself. The literal words means wind. The context is what decides the issue between literal wind that blows in the sky and something beyond the natural such as a ghost or spirit. The problem is doesn't define what is meant by spirit. So if we talk about having such a thing as a spirit we are going to talk about what we think the implications are based upon what the ancients are talking about and how they use it. If we take out undermentioned references to things that can't be proved such as references to "spirit' and "soul" and use the word in relation to what we know exits, all the uses, as seen above, pertain to things regarding the mind, attitude, perceptions. consciousness. If we examine the Hebrew term we find an even stronger connection to mind.
the Heberw term Rauch also spirit, is defined in various ways involving mind, that comes in several lexicons:

Ruach is defined in the following Hebrew lexicons:

Brown-Driver-Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon (pages 924-26):breath; wind (kinds of winds, quarters or directions of heaven); spirit (temper, disposition, vivacity, vigour, courage, impatience, etc.); seat of emotion (desire, sorrow, trouble); the will (=lev, heart); spirit of God (activity in inspiring prophets, the ancient angel of the presence and later Shekina, divine presence).

William Holladay, A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (pages 334-35): air in motion, blowing; wind, what is empty or transitory, spirit, mind; breath; directions; spirit of man; mind, disposition, temper; spirit of God.

Samuel Tregelles, Gesenius' Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon (pages 760-61): spirit, breath, air in motion, breeze, wind; direction or quarter of heaven; life, the vital principle; animus, rational mind, seat of affections; disposition (thinking), will and counsel, intellect; Spirit of God, Holy Spirit, divine Spirit: peculiar endowments of mind.

Alexander Harkavy, Students' Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary of the Old Testament (pages 661-62): air; wind, breeze; vanity; side, quarter (of heavens); breath; vital breath (spirit, life); spirit (versus flesh, invisible power of God, of inspired prophets); mind, purpose; courage.

 ...What we have here is a situation in which the actual intent of the word can't be gotten at because the definition is metaphor. The literal meaning is wind but that's too literal for define spirit, because we are given to understand that spirit is some kind of invisible force that is only metaphorically depicted as wind. Aside from 'wing" the only tangible meaning the word is translated by is mind, or aspects having to do with perceptions or consciousness (which means related to mind). Some expositors relate it to personal awareness or consciousness in relating it to the Holy Spirit, but that is relation to mind. The word is cross referenced with it's use in Hebrew, which also is a metaphor of wind and also relates to mind and other things. The real relationship is that of invisible power. We can think about it in primitive terms and posit a ghost-like entity or we can think in modern practical terms and understand it as mind which we know exists and which need not be proved in taht sense, even though we don't understand that much about it.   

 ....Modern New age types can run wild with this idea, and they have. German idealism made a more intellgent use of this concept. Schweitzer spoke of spirit as mind as a matter of course. Such ideas need not be linked with new age or occult notions.  

[1] Liddell and Scott's Greek-Enlighs Lexicon. Oxford:At the Clarendon Press, abridged, 1983, 566-67.
this is the version Greek students call "baby bare."

[2]  The major problems with Strong's is it's tendency to take the doctrinal gloss along with the translation. Because it derives meaning from translations it doesn't' screen doctrinal spin produced by a doctrinally biased translation. This is especially bad in study  of women and chruch authority. I always back it up with Liddell and Scott to get the secular (classical) understanding which is free from doctrinal bias but it's also sometimes lacking in scriptural understanding.

1 comment:

Metacrock said...

ok that's a boring recitation of different defintions. I'm trying to be scholarly.