Proverbs 20:27. The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
The spirit ( Heb. nesamah) is that inner spiritual part of human life that was inbreathed at the Creation (Genesis 2:7) and that constitutes humans as spiritual beings with moral, intellectual, and spiritual capacities.
In other words, when God breathed the breath of life into Adam, He created in him a sense of right and wrong, the ability to learn, and the ability to develop spiritually as well.
Because all of that is God-breathed, it seems somewhat of a mystery to us. For example, we would like to think of every newborn child as a “clean slate,” having no imprint of sin or even of understanding of right and wrong. However, it doesn’t take long for the new parents to realize that their child is born with a great concern for his own well-being, and he’s not particularly concerned with how his parents are sleeping 🙂 And just as every adorable baby is born with a sin nature, they are also born with a spiritual nature, which responds to love and the joyful care of the parents. This is the “light” in the child. It is the instrument of God. It illuminates life. It is that by which man is constantly kept face to face with truth. It isn’t long until it becomes very clear that a baby understands good and bad. We need to understand that even the most evil men know that their works are evil.
If you consider the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis, there is no doubt that Cain knew without question that his murder of his brother was wrong; that his own life was in danger with God for what he had done, and that if he were to survive, he needed some protection from God. He didn’t know all this from going to school, or getting a degree in criminal behavior. He knew it because of the spirit of God within his soul.
The parent who excuses his child’s bad behavior with, “Well, I don’t think he understands. . . .” is only fooling himself. Children understand far more than we think they do.
The lamp of the Lord—God’s word—can search the depths of a man’s heart like nothing else. This is because God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12). There are times, as I do my daily Bible reading, that I’m convinced God put a certain verse or passage in His Word just for me!
God has given to every human being a mind, which He enlightens by His own Spirit, so that we know how to distinguish good from evil; and conscience, (the word means “with knowledge”) which springs from the enlightened mind, searches the inmost recesses of the soul.