God says, in Isaiah 57:15, He will live with a person to revive him, to bring him or her back to life (see: “In a Nutshell”). We asked, in what sense are we dead? Why do we need to be revived (see: “The ‘Why?’ Question”)? The answer has to do with the makeup of a human being, and how that makeup became damaged.
Humans are like animals in that we both have bodies and souls. Our bodies are all the physical stuff we use to get around on the planet, our hardware. Our souls are the software that we use to run the hardware, our minds, emotions and will. Our minds and emotions think, “Man, I’m craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!” And then our will decides to make one and eat it. Our souls (mind, emotion and will) tell our bodies (hands, arms, legs, teeth, etc.) what to do. Humans and animals alike have hardware and software, bodies and souls.
But humans were designed by God with the capacity to be connected to Him by His Spirit. Just as our bodies are designed to be operated by our souls, our souls are designed to be informed by His Spirit. To use the previous example, His Spirit says, “It would be cool to go make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and share it with that hungry guy over there.” The soul “hears” that and then controls the body to do that. Getting hungry? Go ahead and get a sandwich; I’ll wait…
So then, an animal has two parts: hardware and software – body and soul; humans have three parts: hardware, software and signal – body, soul and spirit. We humans compare to animals in the same way cell phones compare to calculators. Cell phones and calculators both have hardware, run by software. They both do interesting things, using only hardware and software. But cell phones also receive information from an invisible signal, process that signal, “inform” the software to make phone calls and use the internet. When cell phones can’t receive that cell signal, we say they are dead.
Human beings are designed to be in steady contact with God by His Spirit, His invisible “cell signal.” But our ability to receive that signal is broken. In that sense, we are dead, spiritually dead. Our souls, our software, senses that something is missing, something is not working right; which is why we spend so much of our energy trying to fix it. Anywhere you go on the planet, religions tend to dominate what people think about and how they live. But we cannot fix the connection because we are dead (and vice versa!).
How did that happen? It is explained in the first couple of pages of the Bible. God told Adam, “On the day you deliberately disobey Me and decide you don’t need Me, on the day you think you know better than what I have been telling you, on that day you will surely die.” Well, He didn’t say it exactly like that; it had to do with eating the fruit and all that. You can read it for yourself, but that is the essence of it. Adam did disobey God, and he did die that day. It wasn’t his body that died; his hardware didn’t die. His soul, his software, didn’t die; he was still able to think and feel and decide. What died was His spirit, his intimate connection to God. He lost the “signal,” like a dead cell phone. Adam became spiritually dead, he and all his descendants (that’s you and me).
Now go back to Isaiah 57:15, where God says He “lives with” the contrite and lowly in order to “revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” That means He connects the cell signal of His Spirit to those people to bring them back to life – real life. There is a whole bunch more to this… We’ll get back to it next time.