One’s biblical psychology is important in describing the physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of people. This not only the case in devotional or academic literature; it’s also relevant in fiction.
The novel Cross Roads, by William Paul Young, goes to great lengths to describe the inner life and sanctification process of the main character, Tony who—for most of the book–is in a coma.
In this book, the way a person is described as three-in-one is basically in line with the holistic trichotomy perspective of this blog site. Briefly stated, man has three ontologically distinguishable parts (spirit, soul, and body), yet with two separable aspects (material and immaterial), yet one in personhood.
Chapter eight of Cross Roads is titled, What is the Soul of a Man?
The dream state character who symbolizes the Holy Spirit answers the main character, Tony: “Trying to explain a human being… a being who is a unity, one, and yet comprising spirit, soul, and body, is like trying to explain God: Spirit, Father, and Son. The understanding is in the experience and relationship…
“Cabby [a mentally handicapped boy], like you, is a spirit interpenetrating a soul interpenetrating a body. But it is not simply interpenetration. It is dance participation… Anthony, like you, Cabby’s body is broken and his soul is crushed and bent, yet his spirit is alive and well. But even though alive and well, his spirit is submitted in relationship to the broken and crushed parts of his person, his soul and body. Words are very inadequate to communicate sometimes.… You are an interpenetrated and interpenetrating whole, a unity of diversity but essentially a oneness.…
[Cabby’s] brokenness is just more obvious than yours. He wears it on the outside for all to see, while you have kept yours all locked away and hidden as best you know how. Cabby has internal sensitivities and receptors that are significantly more developed than yours. He can see things that you are blind to, can pick up on the good and the danger in people quicker than you, and his perception is much keener. It is housed in an inability to communicate, a broken body and soul reflective of a broken world.” (New York: Faith Words, 2012, p.113,114)
Although Young (who also wrote The Shack) sometimes stretches imagination to the brink of unorthodoxy, he does a superb job dramatizing the complex process of the main character’s journey of faith, repentance and spiritual growth.