By Fred Pruitt
And before we might approach a solution to this dilemma, there are also the added scripture terms, “outer man” and “inner man,” as well as, “natural man” and “spiritual man.” It can be quite confusing! And there is simply no set of scriptures that clearly explains all these things. There is validity in the Nee model, and validity in the NPG model. How do we reconcile these things?
And that is really the beauty of it! One does NOT have to figure it out! It is completely “livable” even without a deep understanding of it. Don’t get me wrong, knowledge and understanding are much to be desired! And wisdom even more!
Therefore, I am going to champion NPG’s model because of its simplicity, and ultimately reject the Nee model, mainly because it ends up being dualistic, and the fact that nearly everyone I’ve ever met who has been “taken” by that model, maintains some sort of separate personhood. That is the reason I say the Nee model ends up being dualistic, is because of the tendency to turn the “soul man” into another person, instead of what it is, the servant of spirit. In fact, I do not really believe in the “soul” man, only the “spirit” man.
But that flies in the face of my everyday life, doesn’t it? All day long I am mostly taken up with things having to do with “soul life,” e.g., eating, drinking, thinking, health, work, finances, marriage, kids, car repair, etc. Isn’t that all in the “soul realm?”
Yes and no. Yes, it is all “soul” stuff. And yes, there is a mental process and a decision making faculty which acts on that level. It is not about deciding eternal things, but things like where we will park or what we will wear. It has been called a “world consciousness,” not necessarily meaning it to be a bad thing, but simply the “consciousness” that we must have in and of this world if we are going to live in it. Norman called it a “self-consciousness,” not meaning it as a negative term, but just simply what we are saddled with in this life. We will never get out of it, nor are we to expect to, because we could not relate to this world or the people within it, if we did not live in it ourselves.
The “no” part, is that it does not originate in soul. Nothing does. “Soul” is not its own master, nor is it a source of anything. Any “activity” in the soul is stimulated by spirit. The “I” that speaks when we are in our “self” or “world” consciousness, is the same “I” that speaks when we speak the things of God by the Spirit of God – Christ as “I.”
Adam became self-aware, i.e., a “living soul,” when God breathed His breath into him. And that is where we have the sure source of our understanding. “Soul” consciousness is an outworking of spirit reality, not the other way around. Soul did not begin to know itself and then entered into spirit. Spirit entered into the “man” God made, and he then became “a living soul.”
Now right there is spiritual “proof” for the whole outworking of God and His processes. When spirit moves in, self-consciousness (which we can loosely call “soul”), begins. Spirit is the source of soul. And it is always that way!
When we were the kidnapped children of the false one, we did “his lusts.” Where was it expressed? In soul, in tangibility, in feelings, thoughts, in physicality. Soul expressed spirit, in our former case, the “spirit of error.”
Same soul. Same faculties. Which spiritual source?
God Is Knowing:
I think I stand on solid ground when I put all the important stuff, as Norman did, in spirit. God is spirit. Never once that I am aware of, is it said, “God is soul.” God says His name is, “I AM THAT I AM.” So basic “I AM” is Spirit. God is “I AM,” inclusive of all the other derived, little “i am’s,” and that is spirit. “He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” He is “father of spirits,” as it says in Hebrews, and my favorite, “The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” (Pr 20:27) Isn’t that verse something? Great meaning there! This “I AM” is also, is the ultimate of “knowing.” I can say (speaking as if God is speaking),“I AM THAT I AM” because I am aware and KNOW that I AM. I am here. I exist.
This same inner knowing that is the heart of God, is also in our deepest center as well. Norman used to always say, “all of life is inner consciousness.” It took me a long time to grow into understanding that. We are what we are on the outside, which is perceptible to us, because of who we are on the inside, which may or may not be perceptible to us. If we are children of light and walk in light, we radiate that light outward, whether we know it or not, and we usually do not, because the light does not radiate for us, but out to others. We cannot even see our own form, but only images in mirrors or photographs. The fact that our faces look “out,” and our eyes see “out,” is clear proof that we are not to be about ourselves in this life. Everything is geared to this “going out.” But the kingdom of darkness is exactly the opposite. If the light in us is “darkness,” (Matt 6:23), then instead of radiating light, the “light” in us which is darkness seeks to draw everything into itself to magnify itself, like a spiritual “black hole,” because it lets out no light, since there is no light.
God Is Love:
God is love. What is love? Paul describes God’s love, that it seeks not its own, does not envy, does not judge, etc., but those are attributes, not the love itself. What, exactly, is love?
“For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (Deut 4:24)
Passions burn the hottest, when they are the strong desires to have someone else fully as your own and be one with them, whether we are speaking sexually or more metaphorically – do they not? There is something in the heart of God that is a FIRE!
Every time I think about it, I marvel and wonder that this earth, this “solid planet” we live on, is at its center a rolling mass of magma burning with the intensity of the sun inside the inner belly of this planet. Yes, there is the light of the Son coming from 93 million miles away with the perfect sunlight effects to make our world come alive. Besides making our crops grow, the Son also stirs up the winds and the sea, creating all our surface weather. But below us is also what is almost an “eternal” fire, that is daily issuing itself out into the surface world, that also daily affects our atmosphere, weather, and many other things. It is also creating new land everyday, as we can see with certain volcanic islands, which grow day by day before our eyes!
All of this, whether in the earth below, or from the Son above, starts with FIRE! Even we ourselves, in the physical, have an inner “fire.” Human beings are consistent within a degree or two of a constant inner fire, inner temperature, regardless of outer conditions. 98.6 F is “normal,” and that is usually my operating temp. Whether it is 95 or 35 outside, inside I am 98.6, if I am functioning properly.
But the moment the body dies, the heat begins to drain out of it, until it reaches room temperature, like everything else. No more life, no more inner fire, and what had been a living organism while there was a Life inside it, begins to putrefy. No fire, no life. No life, no fire.
The fire must have something to fuel it to keep it going, and even to temper it so that it does not consume everything. Which way will it go?
God is love, God is fire, because fire comes from love and love generates fire. Our God is a “consuming fire” and it is said his angels, his ministers, are “flames of fire,” (Heb 1:7), and man’s spirit is fire – The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord ….