Bible Concepts provides easy-to-understand explanations of key concepts in the Scriptures. Explanations are as concise as possible to help you remember them. Supporting references are generally excluded for convenience. However, these concepts may be expounded upon in more complete commentaries, with Scripture references and supporting arguments included.
God and Man
God is One: the eternal spirit outside space and time; a trinity of persons united in perfect love; the sovereign Creator of all things; the righteous judge of the living and the dead. God formed the body of Man from the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul in the image of God.
Body, Spirit, and Soul of Man
The body is the material flesh and bone of Man, which was formed out of the dust of the ground by God. It is the “user interface” with which Man interacts with the created world. The immaterial spirit of Man was made in the image of God. Being made in the “image of God”, Man became a moral agent possessing both consciousness and free-will conscience. Only after flesh and bone embody the spirit do the material and immaterial become the human soul.
Man was made with a body of flesh and bone to teach him dependence on God’s grace. Man was given a spirit in the image of God to teach him to recognize, respond, and be accountable to God’s authority. Man was made a human soul to experience the full pleasures of God’s wonderful Creation.
There is One who possesses all the attributes of God and all the attributes of Man. He is called the Word, and His name is Jesus Christ:
John 1:1-3 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
John 1:14 — “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”
Truth and Lies
Truth is the authority of God’s Word, by which good and evil are defined. Lies reject the authority of God’s Word and redefine good or evil in false terms.
Good and Evil
Good is the definition of complete perfection. If anything is called good, it is free from any and all defect. Evil defines a condition from which some or all goodness is removed. Something evil possesses some defect and therefore cannot be wholly defined as good, though it may contain elements that could be described as good.
Faith and Sin
Faith is the choice of Man to believe truth (the authority of God’s Word) and accept its definitions of good and evil. In contrast, sin is the choice of Man to believe lies and accept false definitions of good and evil.
Love and Hate
Love is the exercise of faith in thoughts, words, or actions. Love gives unconditionally to another from any goodness that is within one’s possession to give. Hate is the exercise of sin in thoughts, words, or actions. Hate forcibly takes something good from another.
Grace and Mercy
Grace is the loving act of bestowing goodness upon one who does not deserve it. Mercy is the loving act of withholding evil from one who does deserve it.
God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Free Will
God’s sovereignty is His power to declare truth, prove it, and judge Man’s compliance to it. Man’s free will is restricted to his power to make a free-will choice to believe or deny the truth of God’s Word. By God’s sovereignty, God reveals truth to Man who, being made in the image of God, is free to believe or deny the truth revealed to him. Then, again by divine sovereignty, God directs the consequences of Man’s choices to an effect that proves the truth of His Word: either blessing the choice according to Man’s faith, or cursing it according to Man’s sin.
As a result of the sin of Adam and Eve, God cursed the ground for Man’s sake. And as the ground was cursed so became the flesh of Man, since Man’s flesh was made from the ground. From then onward, Man became afflicted with a Sin Nature of pain and suffering.
The curse of the Sin Nature afflicts the body of flesh, not the free-will spirit. The Sin Nature does not cause Man to sin, but it does predispose Man to sin. Sinning is a free-will choice as the facts of the first sin attest: Adam and Eve first sinned while they possessed a perfectly functioning body and before the curse of the Sin Nature. So, sin is a free-will choice of a rebellious spirit. It is not caused by a body afflicted with pain and suffering.
The Sin Nature teaches Man to depend on the grace of God. Ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve, the physical body contracts disease, dysfunction, and ultimately dies on earth. Man must trust God to live a life of peace and joy in this fallen world. If Man fails to learn this lesson and chooses instead to reject God’s authority, then Man shall be condemned as a disembodied spirit to suffer eternal separation from God in Hell.
Life and Death
Life is thriving in the complete presence of God’s grace. Death is existing in the partial or complete absence of God’s grace. Life or death applies to either physical or spiritual existence. The experience of any physical flaw or weakness is a symptom of dying a slow physical death. Likewise, the experience of any spiritual flaw or weakness is a symptom of dying a slow spiritual death.
Salvation and Damnation
God’s offer of salvation is the ultimate expression of His grace and mercy, expressed in three divine acts of loving kindness: 1) God forgives those who repent of their rebellion against His authority; 2) God’s Son died as punishment for all earthly sins committed by Man against others; and 3) God restores what was lost from all victims of sin who trust in God’s offer of salvation.
Salvation is free to any who ask for it by faith. It has three corresponding effects: 1) God restores spiritual fellowship between repentant sinners and a loving God; 2) God makes righteous the faithful who trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; and 3) in Heaven, God abundantly restores all that was lost on earth, thus removing the burden of shame experienced by victims of sin (Romans 10:9-11).
However, the souls of those who reject God’s offer of salvation face a damnation of their own choosing. This is the process: 1) the human soul dies from earth; 2) the soul is dispossessed of its body of flesh and bone; and 3) the disembodied spirit enters into everlasting destruction from the presence of God and the glory of His Creation (Matthew 10:28, 2 Thessalonians 1:9).
Heaven and Hell
Heaven is the place where the souls of the faithful spend the rest of eternity in the presence of God’s amazing grace. Hell is a place reserved for the spirits of sinners who reject God’s offer of salvation. In each place, everything that was believed on earth becomes reality: truth, goodness, and eternal life for the faithful souls; lies, evil, and an everlasting death for the sinful spirits.
God’s Word establishes truth. Truth alone defines what is good or evil. Faith believes in truth and God’s doctrine of good and evil. Those who rebel against God’s authority believe lies and become liars. By denying truth, liars become sinners and commit hateful acts of evil against God and others. When sinners do hateful things, they take from the goodness that belongs to another. Sin results in immediate spiritual separation from God.
Because all have sinned, God has cursed each sinner with a Sin Nature of disease and dysfunction that ultimately culminates in physical death. But there is hope even for sinners, for a God of grace and mercy has provided the way of salvation that promises to restore everlasting life to those who renew faith in God.
When the time is right, God will confine all evil to Hell. But in Heaven, God’s abundant grace will bring eternal peace and joy to all who accept God’s offer of salvation. God is the only source of everlasting life; and without God, the spirits of the lost will experience a conscious death that lasts forever.