There are three Greek words for life in the Bible

When I was a kid, I was told Eskimos (pardon to the First Nations peoples of the Arctic) have 20 words for what is snow in English.  The logical conclusion was that snow is a large part of these people’s lives and they need more descriptive and practical words for what all gets translated into the English word snow than some white kid living in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  Getting back to the point, the Bible has three Greek words for what is translated to “life.” I will not be studying the original Hebrew words right now but perhaps another time.

The three words are Bios, Psyche, and Zoe.

I have two degrees in Biology and a minor in Psychology so those two words have obvious English parallels but in my world, Zoe is a girl’s name.

Not anymore.

Bios, Psyche, and Zoe are like body, soul, and spirit.

Bios is our physiology, all the processes involved in maintaining homeostasis so we can stay alive. That is Bios; our physical life.

Psyche is our selves, who we are, our personality. Our being, Psyche, is our soul.

Finally, Zoe is our spirit, the part of us that is quickened when our soul reaches out to God. Zoe is our in God’s Image-ness and is the part of us that can’t live without God.

There are three types of live that correlate to the three types of love found in the Greek, eros (physical love) phileos (brotherly love or a reciprocal sort of love and agapos which is a pure love that is unconditional.

I am so blown away at the fact that some very fortunate things are alive which is why I love Biology. Psychos and Zoe, look out!

2013-10-24 19.44.50

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