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is an "eternal spirit.” Heb. 9:14. Angels are spirits (Heb. 1: 7, 14), hence are not subject to natural death, but are immortal beings. See Mat. 22:29, 30; Luke 20:35, 36.
There is a spirit or soul in man (Job 32:8; 14: 22; 1 Cor. 7:34), which is not subject to physical death (Mat. 10:28); hence, immortal. Here then we have the nature of man's being clearly defined. We see in what sense he stands a little lower than the angels. Angels are wholly spirit beings, wholly immortal; while man is both spirit and flesh, soul and body. He yet inhabits a mortal body, which is subject to physical death. This places him a little lower than the angels until “that which is sown a natural body shall be raised a spiritual body”; then we shall be "equal unto the angels."
But man being a spiritual and moral being as well as a physical being, places him on a much higher plane than the beasts of earth. The spirit of man is destined to range in unlimited spheres of activity long after the world is put in ashes. In the face of the foregoing facts, materialism must fall.
Second. The doctrine of materialism is wrong, because it denies experimental salvation in this life. If a man were wholly a material being, and possessed no spiritual entity, he could not undergo a spiritual change. All the change that could be wrought upon him by his Creator would be material. The brute creation can not undergo a spiritual work, for they are wholly upon the plane of material beings. But
the very fact that the work of salvation is a spiritual work proves beyond question that man is more than a material being; he is “both body and spirit.” 1 Cor. 7:34.
In the work of salvation it is not the flesh, bones, or blood that is regenerated or converted to God; neither is it the breath we breathe, nor is it simply the mind: for men may intellectually be converted to the truth without any moral change being wrought in their natures. For a Jew or Mohammedan to simply see that his religion is wrong, and that the Christian faith and religion is right, and accept the Christian belief that Christ is the Son of God, will not change his moral nature. It takes more than this. A man may with his mind endorse the whole truth, and yet be a sinner. Salvation goes deeper than the mind.
The materialist will ask, What part of man's being, then, undergoes the great work of salvation ? Answer, “The hidden man of the heart." 1 Pet. 3: 4. Proof: "Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.” Jas. 1:21. “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” Psa. 19: 7. "Believe to the saving of the soul." Heb. 10:39. “The salvation of your souls." 1 Pet. 1:9. “That the spirit may be saved.” 1 Cor. 5:5. Having “purified your souls.” 1 Pet. 1:22. “Purifying their hearts by faith." Acts 15:8,9. "Blessed are the pure in heart." Mat. 5: 8.
What a beautiful wreath of heavenly truth! It
was man's spiritual and moral nature that was affected by the fall; hence, in the work of salvation, the spiritual and moral nature of man is restored. “He restoreth my soul.” Psa. 23: 3.
The members of the physical body are only the instruments of the soul; therefore, when the soui is restored by salvation to a state of purity and holiness, the members of the physical body act in harmony. For example, when theft is removed from the heart, the hands will not steal. When profanity is cleansed from the soul, the mouth will not send forth profane language. Hence the injunction of Jesus, “First cleanse that within, that the outside may be clean also.”
Here is a weighty point. Man must be a spiritual being in order to become morally defiled by sin, and morally purified in the work of salvation. Another thought worthy of consideration: God has promised “to give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” Luke 1: 77. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” 1 John 5:10.
But what is this witness? “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Rom. 8:16. How clear! It is by man's spiritual nature that he is made conscious of God. His spirit communicates with our spirit and imparts a consciousness of our acceptance with him. Here again, materialism stands square against the Bible and the great work of man's redemption.
Third. The doctrine of materialism is wrong, because it denies spiritual birth in this life. Jesus himself positively taught that “ye must be born again.” John 3:7. He also stated why: “Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. He can not enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:3,5. The kingdom of God here referred to may apply to the kingdom of grace here, or to the kingdom of glory above; or, as is most likely, it includes both. However, in any case, the new birth is absolutely necessary in order to enter it. “Ye must be born again.” This is defined as being “born of the Spirit''; viz., a spiritual birth. Ver. 8.
But were man only a material being without any spiritual entity, he could not undergo any spiritual change. In order for him to be born again he would have to, in the language of Nicodemus, "enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born." But hear the words of Christ: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit IS SPIRIT." John 3:6.
That part of man which is born again is not our physical fleshly being, but “is spirit." Here materialism falls. Man, then, is both flesh and spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; viz., that which comes according to the course of naturenatural birth. But that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Not our fleshly being-impossible, preposterous! Not our breath, nor merely our life, but our spiritThe Spirit of God operates upon our
spirit and changes it from a defiled condition to a righteous state. Thank God for the plain teaching of Scripture on this point.
In order to support their refuge of lies materialists are driven to the extreme position that spiritual birth does not take place until the resurrection of the dead. They say geunao, the Greek word for born, only means begotten. Therefore they argue that we are only in a begotten state until the resurrection of the dead, when we will be born. In the light of God's Word, with all boldness, we declare that this is a shift infernal to deny the immortality of the human soul. It is entirely without foundation in the Word of God. But let us examine their argument.
They say geunao simply means begotten, not really born. “Now when Jesus was born [Greek, geunao] in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born (geunao] King of the Jews ? . . . And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him." Mat. 2:1-11. Here the reader will observe that geunao means to bring forth. Jesus was actually born, and the wise men saw the young child. The Greek term, however, was geunao.
Again, “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born