Does our spirit dwell in our bodies?

by Matt Slick

Though this question may seem a bit odd, there are those who say our spirit has no spatial limitations and is separate from the body and does not dwell within it. Instead, it is in another location without space and time. This is problematic since it risks separating the body from the spirit and suggests that our "self," the spirit, has no residence within us while we walk about, hopefully, carrying out the will of God. It also proposes a kind of non-spatial existence of our spiritual essence that is, nonetheless, house within a physical body it also does not have spatial limitations. Nevertheless, following our verses that show us our spirit does indeed indwell our physical bodies.

  • James 2:26, "For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."
  • Job. 32:8, "But it is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding."
  • Job. 32:18, "For I am full of words; the spirit within me constrains me."
  • Isaiah 26:9, "At night my soul longs for You. Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently. For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness."
  • Zech. 12:1, "The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him."
  • Luke 8:52-55, "Now they were all weeping and lamenting for her; but He said, “Stop weeping, for she has not died, but is asleep.” 53 And they began laughing at Him, knowing that she had died. 54 He, however, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Child, arise!” 55 And her spirit returned, and she got up immediately; and He gave orders for something to be given her to eat."
  • Acts 17:16, "Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols."
  • 1 Cor. 2:11, "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God."

So we can see our spirits indwells our physical bodies. But it is also true that our spirits can leave our bodies. Consider the following verses.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:8, "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord."
  • 2 Corinthians 12:2-4, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows— 4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.

However, this does raise the question of what exactly makes us what we are. Our spirit is that part of us that animates our bodies. It is the place where we think, have emotions, have a will, etc. It is the thing that makes us "us."  Though we cannot completely understand what that means, we do experience what life, thinking, emotions, etc. Now, this sounds a bit like philosophical mumbo-jumbo. But we must understand that we cannot completely fathom what it is that makes us what we are.  Only God, the author of life, can comprehend that.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.