What the Bible Teaches



Chapter 10

[Home]  [Accept  Jesus]  [More]  [Previous]  [Next]

010.000.000       Torrey: p13


   The aim of this book is to ascertain and state in systematic form what the Bible teaches. The format is an introductory Topic statement, followed by one or more Points. Each Point is directly followed by supporting Scriptural excerpts. Comments are added as necessary. For researchers, each Chapter, Topic, Sub-Topic (if any) and Point is given a unique Reference number, and the corresponding page in Torrey's edition is noted.

010.010.000       Torrey: p13, T:I
Topic 10:   The Fact that God is Spirit.

      John 4:24 God is [a] spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.

010.010.010       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 10:   God is Spirit.

010.012.000       Torrey: no
Topic 12:   What is the nature of a 'spirit'?

   Human languages do not have words that convey the true essence of what a spirit is, just as they lack words that convey the true essence of what man is. Without such words, the best approach is to (a) identify those characteristics, those qualities which are unique to spirits, (b) identify those characteristics which are shared by spirits and other things, and (c) identify those characteristics which spirits do not have.

010.012.011       Torrey: no
POINT 11:   A spirit is alive.

      Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God ...

010.012.012       Torrey: no
POINT 12:   A spirit has intellect, intelligence, knowledge.

   God, angels, Satan and man plan. They reason. God, angels, man, cats, dogs, horses, chimpanzees, and gorillas (and many other animals) see the events of nature and the activities of men and react. These are signs of intellect, intelligence, and knowledge.

      Psalms 94:10 ... Does he who teaches man lack knowledge?

   Note that intelligence does not necessarily imply wisdom. Man obviously is intelligent yet we all do foolish things on occasion.

010.012.012a       Torrey: no
POINT 12a:   Spirits are intelligent, but not all intelligent creatures are (or have) a spirit.

010.012.013       Torrey: no
POINT 13:   A spirit is sentient.

   'Sentience' is not the same as intellect or intelligence. A sentient being understands that there is a 'big picture'. It understands abstract concepts such as honesty, loyalty, community, and honor. It can conceive of events in the distant future, e.g., retirement or graduation from college.

   A sentient being is alive and has intelligence, but a creature can be alive and intelligent yet not be sentient. Cats, dogs, and horses are intelligent, but probably not sentient.    

      Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will ....

010.012.013a       Torrey: no
POINT 13a:   All spirits are sentient. We do not know whether some creatures that lack a spirit are sentient.

010.012.013b       Torrey: no
POINT 13b:   In theory, it is possible for a creature to be sentient but lack a spirit.

010.012.014       Torrey: no
POINT 14:   A spirit has senses. It can sense its surroundings. It is aware of events occurring around it.

   Senses mean the ability to perceive and detect changes in one's environment. Senses do not require physical apparatus such as eyes, ears, a nose, or a tongue. God and the angels can perceive the events of nature and the actions of men even though they lack a physical body.

      Psalms 94:9 Does he who implanted the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?

010.012.014a       Torrey: no
POINT 14a:   Almost all living creatures have senses, yet most lack a spirit.

010.012.015       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 15:   A spirit is non-corporeal, i.e., it does not have a physical body.

   God, the angels, and Satan do not have physical bodies.

      Luke 24:39 Revised Standard Version See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself! Handle me, and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.

010.012.015a       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 15a:   Anthropomorphic descriptions do not mean spirits have physical bodies.

   OBJECTION: Like many other passages, the following passage says that the LORD has physical body parts, e. g., arms and ears:

      Isaiah 59:1-2 [1] Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. [2] But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.

   ANSWER: The language is anthropomorphic. Humans have a tendency to process information in patterns. It is easiest for us to interpret and understand new information if we can recognize similarities to things with which we are already familiar. Anthropos is the Greek word for "Man", and morphos is the word for "form". Anthropomorphism means ascribing human characteristics and qualities (the "form" of a "man") to something that is clearly not human. Common examples of anthropomorphism are "My car doesn't want to start" and "the long arm of the law."

   Passages such as Isaiah 59:1-2 mean that God (a spirit) has characteristics or abilities that are functionally equivalent to arms or ears. However, in the case of spirits, those abilities do not consist of physical body parts.

010.012.015b       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 15b:   A spirit is invisible.

      Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

      1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

010.012.015c       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 15c:   Other types of living beings have physical bodies.

010.012.015d       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 15d:   Man has a dual nature.

   Only man has a dual nature - he has a flesh body combined with a non-corporeal spirit, his soul. When Jesus became man He took on this dual nature.

      1 Corinthians 2:14-15 New American Bible [14] The natural man [physical man] does not accept what is taught by the Spirit of God. For him, that is absurdity. He cannot come to know such teaching because it must be appraised in a spiritual way. The spiritual man [man's spirit], on the other hand, can appraise everything, though he himself can be appraised by no one.

   Note: This passage is exceedingly complex, and deceptively simple. Most translations read "The unspiritual man ...." They give the impression that the passage means "to those who are not religious, godly things seem absurd ..."

   The following is a synopsis of a sermon by Fred K. C. Price, Ph.D. explaining the true meaning of the passage:

      Hebrews 11:1 Revised King James Version Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

      Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

   The substance of something is its reality, its embodiment.

   For those things obtained by faith, one must believe he has already received them before he sees them.

   Man has a dual nature. His physical body has five senses. His physical body cannot perceive or comprehend spiritual things, because they cannot be sensed with the physical senses. Just as perfume is non-existent to the sense of hearing, what we receive by faith is at first non-existent to the five senses. Hence, those things discernable only by the spirit seem absurd to the physical side of man's nature.

   The spiritual side of man's nature is a 'sixth sense'. It is the only sense that can discern spiritual matters. What we often do, in essence, is say "Perfume doesn't exist. The reason I know is that I listened intently, and I didn't hear perfume." The reason many people have problems with obtaining blessings is that blessings are obtained through faith, and although spiritual matters cannot be discerned with man's five physical senses, people keep trying to use their physical senses to "hear God's perfume," i.e., they keep looking to receive the things they prayed for in the future. Because they lack faith that they have received what they asked for, they do not receive it.

   Although this is a digression, it must be pointed out that there is one caveat in "ask and you shall receive." One must ask for things in accordance with God's will. Consider, for example, a teenager whose father is a multi-millionaire. The child goes to his father and says "Dad, I'd like to try heroin. Can I have fifty dollars?" Any responsible parent would say "Sorry, son, I'll pay for your college education, but I'm not giving you a penny for drugs."

      James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

      1 John 5:14-15 [14] This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. [15] And if we know that he hears us -- whatever we ask -- we know that we have what we asked of him.

   How does one determine "God's will?" By praying, and studying His Word.

010.012.016       Torrey: no
POINT 16:   A spirit has no gender.

   Neither God nor the angels have gender. Satan and his minions are fallen angels.

   Angels and the Angel of the Lord (discussed in Chapter 20) do not manifest themselves as men because they have male gender, but simply because if they want to appear human they must include the appearance of a gender, since gender is a fundamental human characteristic.

010.012.016a       Torrey: no
POINT 16a:   Some non-spirit beings have gender.

010.012.016b       Torrey: no
POINT 16b:   Man's spirit has no gender.

   Man has a dual nature. His physical body has gender, but his spirit does not.

010.012.017       Torrey: no
POINT 17:   A spirit is immortal.

      1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

   'Immortal' is not the same as 'eternal'. Both the terms 'mortal' and 'immortal' include the concept of a living being. If a rock always existed it would be 'eternal', but not 'immortal', because it has never been alive. God is eternal because He has always existed and always will exist. He is immortal because He is alive and will never die. 'Immortal' deals with the question of whether a living being's life will end. It does not consider whether that life had a beginning. Angels and men's souls are also immortal because they will never cease to exist. Regarding the question of immortality, the fact that angels and men's souls had a specific beginning is irrelevant.

   OBJECTION: Timothy says that man can be eternal and only God is immortal.

      1 Timothy 6:16 [12] ... Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. [15] ... God, ... [16] who alone is immortal ....

   ANSWER: In many fields certain terms that describe similar concepts are often interchanged even though technically they have different meanings. That is what has happened here. What is important are the concepts, not the words. God is the only thing that has always existed and will always exist. Men's spirits, angels, and demons were created at specific points in time. Because it is God's will, these souls will never cease to exist.

   All human souls suffer "death." This does not mean they cease to exist; Paul described living people as being "dead in their sins." In the spiritual sense, being "dead" means being separated from God by sin.

      Ephesians 2:1-2 [1] As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, [2] in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

   Being "destroyed," and "perdition" mean being permanently separated from God by being cast into the lake of fire on the Day of Judgment.

      Revelation 20:10, 14-15 [10] And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. [14] Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. [15] If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

010.012.017a       Torrey: no
POINT 17a:   Non-spirit beings are mortal.

010.012.017b       Torrey: no
POINT 17b:   Man's body is mortal, his soul immortal.

   Man has a dual nature. His physical body dies, but his soul, the spirit part of his essence, continues to exist forever.

010.012.018       Torrey: no
POINT 18:   A spirit has feelings.

      Jeremiah 10:10 But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath.

      Exodus 33:19 And the LORD said, "... I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."

      Mark 1:11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased."

   Also see the story of God's wrath against Korah and the plague in Numbers 16.


   'Feelings' might not be the same thing as 'emotions'.

   Some theologians assert that Jehovah has feelings, e.g., anger, mercy, compassion, love, but He doesn't have emotions. They assert that His 'feelings' are characteristics. A person can control emotions, but not characteristics. God has said that He does not change. Therefore, in a given situation He must always act in the same manner. These theologians argue that His response is an unchangeable characteristic, not a controllable emotion.

   Whether His responses are characteristics or emotions, they still are feelings.

010.012.019       Torrey: no
POINT 19:   A spirit has motivations and an agenda.

   God, Satan, and men each have agendas. They and the angels have motivations. God's angels have chosen to follow God's agenda and Satan's angels have chosen to follow Satan's agenda.

      Ephesians 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will ....

      Revelation 12:3-4, 7-9 [3] Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon .... [4] ... The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born. ... [7] And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. [8] But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. [9] The great dragon was hurled down -- that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

010.012.021       Torrey: no
POINT 21:   Spirits enjoy and seek companionship, fellowship, with like-minded beings.

   Note that this Point says "like-minded beings", i.e., like-minded entities, like-minded living creatures; it does not say "like-minded spirits" or even simply "spirits." One of the primary reasons why God created the angels and man was because He wanted companionship, fellowship.

   Make no mistake about it -- Israel was Jehovah's intended bride. See Ezekiel Chapter 16, especially:

      Ezekiel 16:8 Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.

   (Note to parents -- Ezekiel 16 contains some very explicit metaphors that are "not suitable for children." In some translations this is not obvious, but in others it is very obvious.)

   The Elect will become the bride of Christ. See Chapter 205 "The Marriage of Christ."

   Similarly, humans seek out other humans and pets with similar personalities. Satan sought other angels with similar attitudes and seeks men who are like-minded.

010.012.022       Torrey: no
POINT 22:   Also see "The Personhood of the Holy Spirit".

   "The Personhood of the Holy Spirit" lists many characteristics and activities of the Holy Spirit. Many of those items apply to some or all spirits.

010.014.000       Torrey: no
Topic 14:   God is a spirit, not a ghost.

010.014.011       Torrey: no
POINT 11:   God has always been a spirit. He is not a ghost.

   This is a matter of words changing meaning over time. The English word 'ghost' comes from the same root as the German word 'Geist'. Originally, both words simply meant 'spirit'. When the King James Bible was first translated, the term Spiritus Sanctus (literally 'Holy Spirit') was translated as 'Holy Ghost'.

   However, in the five centuries since the original translation, the meaning of the word 'ghost' has become more limited; it is normally used only to refer to the spirit of a human who has "passed away." This is the reason why most Christian clergy and writings stopped using the term Holy Ghost in the early 1900's. (In German, the term Heilige Geist is still routinely used.)

010.016.000       Torrey: p13, T:I
Topic 16:   How is man made in God's image?

010.016.011       Torrey: p13, T:I, P:1
POINT 11:   Man is like God in character, not form.

   QUESTION: What does it mean, then, when it says:

      Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him."

   ANSWER: Contrast Hebrews 1:3 [3] The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, ...

   An image is an inexact copy. It has some, but not all, of the original's characteristics and qualities.

      Colossians 3:9-10 [9] ... you have taken off your old self with its practices [10] and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

      Ephesians 4:22-24 [22] You were taught ... [23] to be made new in the attitude of your minds; [24] and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

      Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

      Compare 1 Timothy 1:17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

   The words "image" and "likeness" evidently do not refer to visible or bodily likeness, but to intellectual and moral likeness -- likeness "in knowledge", "righteousness" and "holiness of truth".

010.020.000       Torrey: p14, T:II
Topic 20: The manifestation of Spirit in visible form.

   To 'manifest' means to appear or to make one's presence known or felt. For instance, a virus manifests itself by causing specific symptoms of illness.

010.020.010       Torrey: p14, T:II, P:2
POINT 10:   A spirit may manifest itself in visible form.

      John 1:32 Then John gave this testimony: "I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him."

      Hebrews 1:7 In speaking of the angels he says, "He makes his angels winds, his servants flames of fire."

      Acts 2:3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.


   For many years the Catholic Church expressly prohibited any depiction of angels, because people tend to equate their visual perception of an item with its true essence. Although angels may take on human appearance, that is not their natural form or appearance. However, now that artistic depictions of angels are commonplace, most people tend to conceive of them as having human form, perhaps with wings.

010.030.000       Torrey: p14, T:III
Topic 30:   God manifested in visible form.

010.030.010       Torrey: p14, T:III, P:3
POINT 10:   God has in times past manifested Himself in visible form.

      Exodus 24:9-10 [9] Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up [10] and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself.

010.040.000       Torrey: p14, T:IV
Topic 40: What was seen in these manifestations of God.

010.040.010       Torrey: p14, T:IV, P:4
POINT 10:   The prophets and elders did not see God Himself, i.e., God in His invisible essence. They saw a manifestation of God.

      John 1:18 No one has ever seen God [Jehovah], but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side [Jesus], has made him known.

      Exodus 33:18-23 [18] Then Moses said, "Now show me your glory." [19] And the LORD said, "I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. [20] But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." [21] Then the LORD said, "There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. [22] When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until have passed by. [23] Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen."


   QUESTION: Is there any contradiction between Exodus 24:9- 10 ([9] Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up [10] and saw the God of Israel.), Isaiah 6:1 (In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.), and John 1:18 (No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.)?

   ANSWER: No. For instance, we can see a 'manifestation' of a person on live television without ever seeing the actual person. So, men have seen a manifestation of God, and it is true to say those men saw God. No man ever saw God as He is in His invisible essence, and so it is true to say "No man has seen God at any time."

010.040.020       Torrey: p16, T:IV, P:5
POINT 20:   The Angel of the Lord is clearly identified with God; it is a visible manifestation of God.

   "The Angel of the Lord" in the Old Testament is a manifestation of God. Clear distinction is drawn in the Bible in the original languages between "An angel of the Lord" and "The Angel of the Lord." Some translations always preserve this distinction; others do not.

   When examining the following passages it is important to note that God sometimes refers to Himself in the third person. A similar situation would be a statement by Dr. Torrey that "R. A. Torrey is biblical scholar."

      Genesis 16:7-10, 13 [7] The angel of the LORD found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. [8] And he said, "Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?" "I'm running away from my mistress Sarai," she answered. [9] Then the angel of the LORD told her, "Go back to your mistress and submit to her." [10] The angel added, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count. ... [13] She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me."

   Here, "the angel of the Lord" in verse 10 is clearly identified with the Lord (Jehovah) in verse 13.

      Genesis 21:17-18 [17] God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, "What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. [18] Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation."

      Genesis 22:11-12 [11] But the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven, "Abraham! Abraham!" "Here I am," he replied. [12] "Do not lay a hand on the boy," he said. "Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son."

   Here, "the angel of the Lord" in verse 11 is identified with God in verse 12.

      Judges 2:1-2 [1] The angel of the LORD went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you, [2] and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?"

   The Bible often states that God did certain actions. In referring to some of those actions, "the angel of the Lord" distinctly says "I" did those actions.

   Also consider the following, especially verse 14.

      Judges 6:11-14, 19-24 [11] The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. [12] When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." [13] "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian." [14] The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" ... [19] Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. [20] The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And Gideon did so. [21] With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. [22] When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!" [23] But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die." [24] So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

   QUESTION: Just who was this "The Angel of the Lord?"

      Judges 13:18, Revised Standard Version And the angel of the Lord said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?"

      Compare Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

   In the Hebrew, the word for "wonderful" in the passage in which "the Angel of the Lord" gives it as his name, is practically the same as the word in Isaiah, where it is given as the name of the coming Christ.

      Malachi 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty.

   ANSWER: The angel of the Lord was the Son of God before His permanent incarnation.

      John 8:56 Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.

   "The angel of the Lord" does not appear after the birth of Christ. Although the term may occur in some translations, it is always a mistranslation.

[Top]  [Home]  [Accept  Jesus]  [More]  [Previous]  [Next]


(c) 1999-2003 by Rick Reinckens