Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Wednesday 25 May 2016

Spirit, soul, body. A critique of Watchman Nee.

The commentator and Chinese theologian, Watchman Nee, argues that man is composed of three parts, body, soul and spirit, quoting from Genesis and 1 Thessalonians 5.23 as his prime authority for doing so. In his exegesis, he claims that when God created man from dust (clay) the unliving body was animated by the divine breath, the Spirit, to give rise to the living soul.
The idea of a three part human is not new; Augustine had a notion based on the Holy Trinity, God, the Father, God, the Son and God, the Holy Spirit. What the Watchman doesn't show is that this analysis can apply to almost any God, (not only Christian,) or, more importantly, NONE.
For those who think that man is made up of flesh and bone alone, this tripartite version may seem abstract; so has it any basis in truth?
Readers of my booklet, 'Spiritual Man: An Introduction to Negative Dimensions' or viewers of my youtube talks on The Davies Hypothesis (see above) will know that a natural and universal law covers almost every aspect of life, a law described by my trinitarian equation. This equation is best demonstrated by its application to time where the three aspects, 'real' time, 'unreal' time and 'imaginary' time are shown to correspond to the present, the past and the future. In other words, what seems to be illusionary, can be explained by this novel approach. Using the same arguments for mankind we might show that the 'perceived' constitution of a living being, B can be described thus:

B =  ± √ [b² + (-b)² + (ib)²]    where i = √ -1,  'b' real man (flesh & blood), '-b' 'unreal' man and 'ib' is 'imaginary' man

Solving, we have perceived man, B = ± b

In other words, we can perceive the 'real' (+b) and 'unreal' (-b) man but not 'imaginary' man. I suggest, therefore that we can equate 'imaginary' man with the 'Spirit' of the Watchman. Its essence is simply unknowable which correlates with most peoples experience. But what of the other two, the parts we can perceive? The Watchman describes the body (my 'real' man) as being that which exists in the world of matter (Plato's phenomenen) or flesh and blood. I relate it to the body's senses, sight, hearing etc which allow it to identify its place in the world. So we are able to correlate the Watchman's notion of body and Spirit with our own concept. But what of the 'soul' and my 'unreal' man. The Watchman argues that the body, given life by the Spirit, becomes a living soul, having free will and its own identity. I believe this exactly matches the idea that the human soul he describes is indistinguishable from the character, inherited from the past, passed on in the genes from generation to generation, giving, along with nurturing, a person's unique identity.

'But,' I hear you say. 'You've made that equation up!' Not quite; you see the coefficients of the terms within the parenthesis are +1, -1 and +i, three of the four fourth roots of unity, those that introduce uncertainty into the world. See my book for more analysis.

Looking again at the equation we can see that B becomes zero if either the body (real) or soul (unreal) is missing. In other words there is no human existence without both elements present. If the Spirit, the 'imaginary' component is missing, the concept of human life becomes nonsensical. At death, both the body and soul die and B is defined solely by the 'imaginary' component of life 'ib', the Spirit. The Watchman explains that the Spirit, after the creation process, can only influence the body through the medium of the soul which has free will, including the inclination to sin. If he is right, then clearly after death, without the soul to manipulate, the Spirit must become inoperative. In other words, after death all sense of a human being ceases to exist.

So what is wrong with the Watchman's argument? The Watchman doesn't seem able to explain why an omnipotent God should create an entity that is capable of acting contrary to His will.
Whereas the Watchman attempts to demonstrate the existence of God, I believe I have shown here, through my Hypothesis, is that every human being has an inherent capacity for spirituality, including the ability to divine Gods. You do not need to know Jesus to have within you, a stream of 'living water'.

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