“The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.” Prov. 20:27
In this great word of Hebrew Wisdom, we have incidentally what we may reverently describe as a revelation of Biblical psychology. The Hebrew word, here rendered spirit, is the word rendered breath in the passage in Genesis, which says that "God . . . breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." The rendering spirit, therefore is unquestionably accurate, and refers to that in man which constitutes him man, and differentiates between him and all animals. By that breath or spirit he is separated from the animal world, as surely as the sentient life of the animal is separated from the vegetable life beneath it - and to greater distance. Man is not an animal. That breath or spirit - says this word of Wisdom - is the lamp of Jehovah, searching all the deepest things in the personality of man. Here is the Biblical conception of conscience. Within the mystery of the spirit-nature of every man there is light. It is the instrument of God. It illuminates life. It is that by which man is constantly kept face to face with truth. Let us make no mistake about it: the most evil men know that their works are evil. No specious arguments can prove to the spirit-life of a man that wrong is right, that impurity is pure. The day may come when a man becomes content with wrong, satisfied with impurity. Perhaps the day comes to some when they are unable to make the distinction. I doubt it although America has sure tried to say wrong is right. But if so, then it is because that lamp of Jehovah is put out, that deep essential spirit-life is atrophied-perished. But that is not the end. That spirit-life cannot cease to be. There is a resurrection to condemnation. There will be a new lighting of that lamp, and therein is the awful mystery of retribution. "In Hades, he lifted up his eyes, being in torments." He finally displays remorse. A human condition not that of an animal although he might have acted with those attributes for most of his life on earth.