"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1: 7
In our postmodern age fools, more often than not, are the devil's foot soldiers otherwise known as the West's ruling class 'elite' whose self-love leads them to despise and reject the only true God as an amoral monster and His Revealed Word as the superstitious nonsense of prescientific goat herders. To the fool the supernatural things of God are foolishness because he has elevated his own fallible reasoning and fallacious science-gnosis above the Revelation of God, which he rejects as unscientific while ridiculing and persecuting all who hold fast to the Revealed Word of God.
Without Revelation from God however, such a man plays the part of a fool because he is unable to understand himself, to know who and what he is, what is wrong with himself and what needs to be done about it.
So what higher knowledge has the fool in his arrogant, insolent presumptuousness denied to himself and to all who are persuaded by him?
Beginning with Genesis 2:
"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground; and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." Gen. 2:7
Here God reveals three points for our consideration. First, God reveals that He formed the body of man from physical matter as the potter does the clay. To this initial act Job refers when he says,
"Remember, I beseech Thee, that Thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt Thou bring me into dust again?" Job 10:9
God teaches us that He formed Adam's body from physical matter and then breathed into it "the breath of life" thereby producing a twofold life, sensual and spiritual. Here the Eternal Word reveals that He is Life (John 14:6), thus life does not alchemically evolve from chemicals or energy as today's scientifically enlightened theologians and unbelievers posit. Nor was life seeded on earth by highly evolved extraterrestrials as many other "wise" ones believe. Life is only from the living God, thus His breath of life instantaneously became the spirit of man, the principle of life within him which as the Lord reveals to us, "is the spirit that quickens." (John 6:63; 2 Cor. 3:6)
We are taught in Proverbs 20:27 that the human spirit is "the lamp of the Lord that sheds light on one's inmost being." Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes the soul of man from the physical matter of his body. Spirit is immortal and can will, self-reflect and think. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend his material brain and the natural dimension in order to access the supernatural dimension (3rd heaven), thereby allowing him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, the spirit of man's heart is renewed and his conscience cleansed over time, thus enabling him to more perfectly orient the manner of his existence in this world in preparation for eternity.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no person.
The key to individual liberty in the temporal sphere is man's spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically programmed animal-like orientation. Animals have souls but not spirits, which are linked to intelligence, imagination, conscience, sensitivity, self-consciousness, reflection and the capacity for truth and moral goodness. ("Body, Mind, and Soul," a sermon delivered by Pastor Louis Pernot at the Temple de l'Etoile in Paris, Nov. 28, 2010)
A person is uniquely free because his spirit can spiritually transcend the physical matter of his own body to access the supernatural dimension as Paul affirms:
"Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." (2 Cor. 3:17)
It is important that we not confuse our own spirit with the substance of the Spirit of God as pantheists do (i.e. liberal Christians, New Age, Eastern mysticism). Scripture plainly distinguishes the substance of God from the spirit of man. (Ro. 8:16)
So far, we now know by what God has revealed to us, that Adam was created of two independent substances, the physical body and the spirit. Next, when God placed the spirit within the body of Adam the combination of body and spirit instantaneously produced a third part, his soul, thus Adam became a living soul:
"The essence of the human is not the body, but the soul....For the sake of the soul...the Son of God came into the world...." (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
A human life is a soul which informs inert matter, thus a body without a soul is no more than a mass of cells that would quickly disintegrate.
The soul is our self-conscious part, it is the seat of our emotions which proceed from the senses of the body. Your soul allows communication between your body (sense-part) and your spirit (God-consciousness). (Luke 1: 46-47)
Early Church Father Tertullian describes the soul as the covering for spirit and the body that of the soul.
Adam therefore became a living soul in the sense that spirit and body were merged in the third part, the soul. The soul as the uniting medium became the cause of Adam's individual personality.
In the classic work, "Earths Earliest Ages," George Hawkins Pember (1837-1910), an English theologian and classically-educated research historian, wrote that God made Adam good, but not perfect, because He well-knew the great obstacle to perfection: abuse of free will. Perfection must wait until men have passed the danger of abusing God's gifts, thereby falling as the sinful angels had done before them. Thus Adam was made good, and before he fell, resulting in the death of spirit, there was perfect harmony between his three natures, hence he knew nothing of the ceaseless strivings and disordered emotions (pride, impatience, anger, boredom, greed, lust, hate, covetousness) of spirit and body that have been the daily experience of fallen men since the disobedience of Adam and Eve.
When God made Adam and Eve, said Pember, they consisted of three parts, spirit, soul, and body, and of these three, the soul has predominated in its power over the body since Adam's fall. (Heb. 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:23) However, in eternity (Paradise), the spirit of the redeemed will once again predominate. Perfect harmony will be restored, but this time with spirit once again elevated to the throne we shall become conscious of glorious powers which we can now neither apprehend nor imagine. In place of the soul with its disordered passions and fallible, deceptive, inconsistent, illogical reasoning, our Lord's redeemed children shall be gifted with glorious powers, perfect peace and unerring perception of the Truth and Righteousness which is the prerogative of untainted spirits.
In the meantime, and even in the case of those who have been born again, meaning their spirits are being cleansed and regenerated, the intellectual faculty is still so incompetent that though such people possess Truth in Divine Revelation they are nevertheless, as Paul tells us, able for the present to know and understand it only in part.
The Fall of Adam and Eve
The disobedience of Adam and Eve resulted in spiritual separation from God. Pember writes that spirit was at "first reduced to the state of an almost silent bystander, then as its light faded and disappeared it could no longer either preserve Adam and Eve's bodies from decay or clothe them in glory. The threat of God was now an accomplished fact; the reign of death and suffering had begun. "
With the death of spirit, the soul---manifested sometimes in error-prone, prideful intellectuality, faulty reasoning, hypocrisy, vain imaginings, and futile conceptions, sometimes in sensuality, and often both---would reign over spiritually dead man, who is now natural man. Natural man is unable to hold intercourse with God save when momentarily roused by the Spirit of the Lord to a sense of responsibility. This state of affairs is what Jude refers to when he speaks of the natural men who cause divisions, contentions and strife; the men devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 1:19)
"....they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away." Psalm 64: 8
The soulish intellect of the natural man is not merely fallible but the most dangerous of all gifts from God unless guided by the Spirit of God, "it is a deceitful instrument at best, capable of calling evil good and good evil." The blinding pride of natural man makes matters much worse, for when such a man sets his heart upon an idea, such as Karl Marx with his scientific socialism; Darwin with his evolutionary theory, Teilhard de Chardin with his quasi-Hindu evolution-based New Christianity, Hugh Ross with his Big Bang progressive creationism and Leonard Sweet with his Teilhardian quantum spirituality, the considerable powers of soul are used for the single-minded purpose of dominating the will and reason of other souls, of altering their perception of reality by making fanciful, vain inventions as persuasive and like reality as possible. In this way, darkened souls can mesmerize and lead unsuspecting, spiritually-undiscerning souls astray.
The common denominator of all of these inventions is naturalism. According to the inner logic of naturalism, all things, including human beings, are aspects of the evolving, unfolding universe of energy. With regard to soul (rational nature), man's soul differs not qualitatively but only quantitatively from the beasts. Like beasts, man is not a person created in the spiritual image of God but a creature of the earth. Like them he has no spirit.
Making man's soul the same as the beasts and denying the existence of spirit is how naturalistic systems deal with the problem of human suffering and evil resulting from man's fallen condition. This is how the foolish natural man responds to his suffering and evil.
The spiritually dead men listed above had all of them known the living, personal God but in their pride and rebellion chose to "do things their own way." But in turning away from the Triune God comes the reversal of conversion in which the partially regenerated spirit falls back into spiritual sleep or death. Thus the soul ceases to live from the spirit and begins to live once more with the senses of the body. The disordered passions thereby revive resulting in the natural man of 2 Tim. 3:3. (St. Tikhon, Works II, as quoted in Political Apocalypse: A Study of Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor, Ellis Sandoz, p. 120)
"..... I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life..." Deuteronomy 30:19-20
The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word become Flesh, Jesus Christ the Physician came to heal the spiritually dead. But whoever rejects the Physician, whether through indifference or outright denial of the Revelation of God in favor of the corrupted wisdom of man and his arcane science, rejects His prescription, thus plays the part of a fool by destroying him or herself.