Vol. 8, No. 12
Since You Asked
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Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.
I have been told that man has three distinct features, body, soul, and spirit. If this is true, where will they go upon death and at the second coming of Christ? Willie Moore, Sylvania Heights Church of Christ
The short answer is that when a threesome, "body" represents the physical nature of mankind (also shared by the animal world), "soul" represents the breath of life (also shared by the animal world) and "spirit" represents the immortal nature of humanity (resembling the spiritual nature of God and not shared by the animal world). Upon death, the body returns to the earth and the spirit returns to the custody of God: "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7). Of course, the breath of life ceases when one dies. Upon the resurrection at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, bodies of the righteous dead will be resurrected, changed for an immortal, eternal dwelling with God in heaven and joined by their immortal spirits: "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Cor 15:49-53). See also Romans 8:11, Philippians 3:20-21 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). See also the following articles in the Archive of Gospel Gazette Online:
I am writing to ask you about manic depression. I am wondering if it is sin to have manic depression? I heard that it can caused by chemical imbalance in the brain that you cant help it. Will you be able to help with this question?
Manic depression is still the object of scientific investigation and subsequent definition. "The causes of bipolar disorder have not yet been precisely determined..." (Bipolar Focus). Apparently, manic depression is thought to be at least partially linked to genes, but not entirely since identical twins (sharing the same genes) may manifest one manic depressive and one not (National Institute of Mental Health). The Mayo Clinic reports concerning manic depression or bipolar disorder:
Doctors and researchers don't know exactly what causes bipolar disorder. But a variety of biologic, genetic and environmental factors seem to be involved in causing and triggering episodes of this illness. Evidence indicates that differences in the chemical messengers between nerve cells in the brain (neurotransmitters) occur in people who have bipolar disorder. In many cases, people with a bipolar disorder may have a genetic disposition for the disorder. The abnormality may be in genes that regulate neurotransmitters. However, not everyone with a family member who has bipolar disorder will develop the disease. Factors that may contribute to or trigger episodes of bipolar disorder include drug abuse and stressful or psychologically traumatic events. (MayoClinic.com)
Literature and studies conclude that manic depressives have a tendency internally that may be triggered externally. "Bipolar disorder is considered to be a result of complex interactions between genes and environment" (Wikipedia).
Brother Bill Flatt, Ed.D, is a licensed counseling psychologist and author of a book that addresses depression and how to respond thereto as a child of God: Restoring My Soul. Chapter Five, "Victory Over Depression," begins by noting the "Myths of Depression (emphasis added)," including: "It is sinful," "It is a moral weakness," Depression is always due to a chemical imbalance," Depression is all genetic" and "It's just a lack of faith." This chapter also has a section "How to Turn It Around." At this point, I have not read the book, but it promises to be an invaluable resource, especially in view of the nearly complete absence of related material from either a biblical perspective or at the pen of our brethren.
Like other medically influenced inclinations owing to genetic inheritence, in addition to the circumstances over which we have little to no control, the faithful child of God must opt for personal responsibility in the areas over which he can exercise himself. This may involve the help of qualified others as well as (cited on the cover of Restoring My Soul) "discipline, persistence, and faith."
"Bipolar Disorder." 17 Nov. 2006 MayoClinic.com. 3 Jan. 2007 <http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/DS00356/DSECTION=3>.
"Bipolar Disorder." National Institute of Mental Health. 3 Jan. 2007 <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/publicat/bipolar.cfm#bp5>.
"Bipolar Disorder." 1 Jan. 2007 Wikipedia. 3 Jan. 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_Disorder#Heritability_or_inheritance>.
"Bipolar Disorder Causes." Bipolar Focus. 3 Jan. 2007 <http://www.moodswing.org/causes.html>.
Flatt, Bill. Restoring My Soul. Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 2001.