We believe there is more to man than meets the eye, more than flesh and blood. Unlike the animals, wholly flesh, which at death cease to be, man lives on beyond the grave.
Man was created in the image of God; the animals were not. (Genesis 1:26,27.) God is inherently spirit – a spirit being. (John 4:24.) The beasts of the field possess no spirit, no inner man; however, “there is a spirit in man.” (Job 32:8.) Further, “The Lord forms the spirit of man within him.” (Zechariah 12:1.) And again, God is the “Father of spirits.” (Hebrews 12:9.) Thus, man was created in the image of God in that he was endowed with a spark of divinity; he has within him a God-given, God-like spirit.
It is this spirit within man which must be reborn. Christ taught that in order to enter the kingdom, a man must be born again. (John 3:3-5.) He further explained what part of man must be reborn: “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6.) There is no need for a rebirth of the body, as Nicodemus at first mistakenly thought. (John 3:4.) Rather, the spirit is that part of man which must be reborn through the agency of God’s Spirit. From the Bible, the “sword of the Spirit,” we learn how our spirits may be born again.
We can easily see that the body and the spirit are distinct one from the other. At death, the spirit departs the body, as James teaches, “The body without the spirit is dead.” (James 2:26.) In fact, death may be properly defined as the state which incurs at the separation of body and spirit. At death the body goes back to the earth, but “the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” to await the Judgment. (Ecclesiastes 12:7,14.)