In order to answer this, it may be best to consider first that man is a “tri-part” being, made up of “body, soul and spirit.” We see this truth clearly revealed in 1st Thessalonians 5:23, “Now may the “God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole SPIRIT, SOUL and BODY be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (NKJV). Notice, God mentions the SPIRIT first, for as we shall see it is the most important part of man. Yet it is often hard to distinguish between the SOUL and the SPIRIT, for both are the “nonmaterial parts” of man. Yet God tells us that His Word is able to do so, “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, PIERCING EVEN TO THE DIVISION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). No one has problems defining the BODY, but because the SPIRIT and the SOUL are more difficult to define, we will take a close look at both of these.

The SOUL has been called “the seat of our affections.” In other words, it is the “EMOTIONAL part of man.” The soul can be MAD, GLAD, SAD, and display other emotions as well depending on the circumstances that we are going through. If we get ANGRY, it is coming from our soul. If we are HAPPY, it is coming from our soul. If we are SORROWING, it is coming from our soul. Even animals have a soul and thus they too manifest these kinds of emotions. The Lord Jesus, who became a true Man, exhibited these emotions and He said they came from His soul. “Then He (Jesus) said to them, ‘My SOUL IS EXCEEDINGLY SORROWFUL, even to death” (Matthew 26:38). “Now My SOUL IS TROUBLED, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’” (John 12:27)? When sin entered into the world the souls of all men (except Jesus Christ) were affected negatively. We could say they are “soul-led” which simply means they are led by their emotions instead of by their “spirit” (as we shall now see).

The SPIRIT is the “highest part of man” that God gave him so he could know God and communicate with Him. In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in our image, according to our likeness.’” We read in John 4:24 that “God is a SPIRIT,” and so in giving man a SPIRIT He was giving him the ability to understand Who God is and to have fellowship with Him. He never gave animals a spirit so they are unable to know their Creator or speak to Him. The first man Adam had intimate fellowship with God until the fateful day when he sinned and HIS SPIRIT DIED. This does not mean that Adam no longer had a spirit; it means that his spirit was now “separated from God.” He no longer wanted to communicate with God and enjoy His presence. And this is true of every man, woman, boy or girl that has been born into this world, for they were all “born in sin” (see Psalm 51:5) and practice sin (Romans 3:23) and are thus “spiritually dead.” This is why we need to be BORN AGAIN as Jesus said in John 3:6-7, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” The moment one is born again their spirit is “quickened” (made alive) as we see in Ephesians 2:1, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Once the “SPIRIT is made alive” fellowship with God is possible and the ability to know Him (see 1st John 1:1-4 and John 17:3).

In closing, you mentioned conscience, fellowship and feelings. We have already addressed the thought of FELLOWSHIP (which is only possible when the “spirit” in us is made alive through the New Birth) and FEELINGS (which is part of the “soul” in us). The CONSCIENCE, I believe, is part of the SPIRIT. It was given to man AFTER ADAM SINNED, for he had “eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” and now he had an “inward monitor” that told him what was “good” and what was “evil.” We read of the work of the conscience in Romans 2:12-15 and it specifically says in verse 15, “their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts ACCUSING or else EXCUSING them.” God can and does use the conscience to convict men of sin so that there can be repentance (an acknowledgement of the sin) and fellowship to God restored. Again, animals DO NOT HAVE A SPIRT, nor do they have a CONSCIENCE, so you will never see an animal communicating with God when they have done something wrong.  (485.3)  (DO)