Dual Nature of Humankind
Humankind (whether it has evolved physically and then been given a soul in God’s image; or whether starting with two created unique beings, each with a soul) have a physical and material aspect and a spiritual aspect to their existence. As a result, the human nature is both animal, stemming from their physical being; and spiritual, stemming from the soul qualities that make humans unique and the greatest among earthly creatures. Because of this dual nature, humans have both animal passions and feelings, and spiritual ones, reflecting the fact that the human soul is made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27; 9:6).
In other words, humans possess a double set of emotions, corresponding to their dual nature. Those stemming from man’s physical nature set in motion thoughts and actions related to the material existence – mind and body. Of and by themselves, these feelings, thoughts and actions are not out of harmony with God’s laws. However, they have the potential of becoming so when wrong desires are conceived and followed, which leads to sin and unhappiness (James 1:13-15; Gen. 3:6).
Habitual sinful emotions, thoughts and actions cause the soul’s spiritual emotions and aspirations to become dormant, and the soul becomes contaminated and encrusted with evil. To prevent this from happening, humans need to exercise their will to choose to do what is right and in accordance with God’s laws. This will encourage the development of their spiritual nature and a relationship with God. Through prayer, soul longings and effort, the spiritual nature can be developed so as to dominate the individual’s personality.
If the person’s soul remains encrusted and contaminated when they die and enter the spirit world, the soul must undergo a period of suffering through which the soul is purified. This purification works in accordance with the Law of Compensation, for no contaminated soul can enter God’s spiritual heavens, or what the Hebrews called Paradise. The time this purification will take depends on the soul itself – the awaking to its condition, circumstances in the spirit world, its own will, as well as the help of others.
When on earth, Jesus introduced and lived a new way of transcending the physical aspects of the human nature with its sinful potential. This is through the Divine Love being poured into the soul by the Holy Spirit as a result of earnest prayer. When this happens, the soul is not only purified, but also transformed from divine image into divine substance. The individual becomes at-one with God and an immortal divine angel.
Reference: New Testament Revelations of Jesus of Nazareth, pgs. 60-63
The Bible, in Romans 7:14-8:2, gives an interesting glimpse into the dual nature of man and the struggle there can sometimes be to resist the pulls of the physical nature and do the right thing (quoted from the New International Version).
Romans 7 – the struggle
14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do [spiritual nature] I do not do, but what I hate I do. [inclinations of physical nature] 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. [spiritual nature] 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it [spiritual nature], but it is sin living in me. [physical nature] 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. [physical nature] For I have the desire to do what is good, [spiritual nature] but I cannot carry it out. [physical nature] 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do [spiritual nature]; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. [physical nature] 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it [spiritual nature], but it is sin living in me that does it. [physical nature] 21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good [spiritual nature], evil is right there with me. [physical nature] 22 For in my inner being [spiritual nature, soul] I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. [physical nature] 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? [physical nature] 25 Thanks be to God –through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law [spiritual nature], but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin [physical nature].
Romans 8 – victory!
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus [recipients of Divine Love], 2 because through Christ Jesus [Divine Love] the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.