Nov 6, 2014

Soul and Spirit

Soul and spirit: The same/united in the soul, or separate? 
Does the soul die and the spirit live on?

     I say that human beings are both body and spiritual soul. Our soul isn't physical, but spiritual and can know of spiritual things as well as temporal  things. Our soul is how our bodies are moved, and how all of the natural functioning of our bodies are made possible.

The soul is how we learn, and understand, and how we can have faith, "man understands through the soul." (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

Without the soul our bodies would not be active. Therefor at death our bodies are in no more need of our soul, and our soul is free from the bodies limitations. The spiritual part of our soul is what allowes us (our soul) to move on to an after life..

I guess we could say that the soul moves the body,  and the spirit moves the soul. "Therefore the soul, which is the first principle of life, is not a body, but the act of a  body." (Saint Thomas Aquinas)

Saint Augustine when speaking about resurrected matter has this to say, "Every soul will have, as its own, all that is required to complete a whole human body." Also he says, "in an instant of time this matter returns to the soul that first animated it, and that caused it to become a man, to live and to  grow."

As humans we have a body which is physical, we also have a soul, that is spiritual, our spirit. Our spirit is what makes us human. Just like how the body and soul live united to each other in life, so does the soul and spirit after bodily death. The soul does not need the body to move, or exist. The soul is subsistent, and can subsist without the body.

"We must conclude, therefore, that the human soul, which is called the intellect or the mind, is something incorporeal and subsistent." (Saint  Thomas Aquinas) 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The human person, created  in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. The biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that  "then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed  into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God." (CCC 362)

In scripture the human person is often referred to as a "soul" people are seen as souls, and human characteristics are shown to come from the soul.

Some examples, "And his soul was drawn to Dinah" (Gen 34:3) and, "So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls." (Acts 2:41), also "And fear came upon every soul" (Acts 2:43)

Jesus himself even says, “Now is my soul troubled." (John 12:27). Even evil emotions, and thoughts are shown to come from the soul, "the great man utters the evil desire of his soul" (Micah 7:3). 

Of course you can look these up and read them in context I have only quoted the portion useful for this article. You will see more examples of how human emotions, thoughts and desired come from the soul, and more specifically the spiritual human soul.

Even though evil thoughts and intentions can come from the soul, it is our spirit that moves us to pure thoughts and good intentions. Our spirit which is like God's Spirit is how God speaks to our souls. We are connected to him spiritually in this way.

Soul and spirit separate, but one.

In scripture the soul, and spirit are often talked about in a way that denotes there separate functions, but not necessarily meant to explain a duality of soul, and spirit. In other words not to mean that the soul, and spirit are separate from each other. Scripture showes that all though the soul, and spirit have some separate functions they are one, and together make the spiritual human soul, and the complete person.

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" (Luke  1:46-47)

"And now, O Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, the soul in anguish, and the troubled spirit crieth to thee" (Baruch 3:1)

We see that the soul, and spirit serve man in their own way. Not only does the soul move the physical body, the soul is moved by the spirit into emotional experiences and especially spiritual experiences.

The soul suffers while the spirit cries out to God!

Like I said before the soul moves the body, and the spirit moves the soul. The  spirit moves the soul to prayer (praying in spirit), to faith in God, to understanding of divine things, to love, etc.. All of these spiritual works is what leads us to our salvation.

This is how Saint Steven could say, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)          

And how it is said of Christ, "When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit." (John 19:30)

This is why we humans have spiritual souls, this spiritualness of our soul is what makes it, subsistent, and immortal. Our spiritual soul is how we are created in the  "image of God" (Gen 3:7)

 "The human body shares in the dignity of "the  image of God": it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a  spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become,  in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit" (CCC 364)

But, what about verses that seem to show that the soul and spirit are separate things? Like, (Danial 3:86) "O ye spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord: praise and exalt him above all for ever."

(1 Thess 5:23), "may the God of peace himself sanctify you in all things; that your whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless in the  coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

And, (Mark 12:30) "and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’"

We see that we are to love God with the full capacity of all the functions of our body, soul, and spirit, as in this next verse. "and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might." (Deuteronomy 6:5)

This Mark verse especially is not to be taken as the heart, soul and mind are separate things, but that they are united in their separate functions in one spiritual person.

Take our physical bodies for example we have a heart, lungs, liver, brain, arms, legs, etc... We are comprised of many parts, but all are one in our one body. If we part up the human body it will not live as a body. No physical part of us will live on it's own a part from the rest of the parts of a body. Not only that a leg is not a body, no more than a heart is a body. Only all parts together (united) make a body!

The only exception to this is our spiritual soul that as scripture show es and I will point out can and will live apart from the body. Yet, this is a temporary state scripture also tells us that to be fully alive is to be united body and soul in Christ. This is why Christ emphasized the resurrection when are bodies are united to our spiritual souls as the completion of his mission, and our true end.

Regarding the above verses, (Daniel 3:86, 1 Thess 5:23, Mark 12:30) we must read these verses in light of the other verses that clearly show a  unity of both soul, and spirit, as mentioned above.

In regards to the 1 Thess  5:23 verse we see that it is important that we become sanctified in all things namely our "spirit, and soul, and body" not that these are all separate things,  but that their separate functions all work in unity towards our perfect end/salvation.

Further we read in (Hebrews 4:12) "For the word of God is living and effectual, and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and  is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." 

This shows that like joints and marrow, the soul and spirit are working together in a special unity, or oneness, and that only the word of God can penetrate it, move it, effect a change in it, divide it, etc...

Souls and salvation.

I said before that when the body no longer needs the soul as in death, the soul is then free from the limitations of the body. It is the spirit that moves the soul towards it's after life. Many times the Scripture authors use language to show that the soul has moved on, and left the body.

"And as her soul was departing (for she died), she called his name Ben-o′ni; but his father called his name Benjamin. So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)" (Genesis 35:18-19)

The state of our soul upon death will determine it's ultimate end. It is the soul that requires salvation, "As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls." (1 Pet 1:9)

The state of our souls is precisely why we need salvation. In 1 Peter we also read, "Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart." (1 Peter 1:22)

Sin hurts us, and not just because of the problems it causes the body, but more importantly the problems sin causes in our soul! Therefor we must work through faith in Christ, and obedience to the truth to save our soul, and others,

"let him know that  whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins." (James 5:20)

If the soul dies upon death of the body then what is said in James makes no sense. Why  would we have to save our souls, and others if the soul just dies anyway?

Why would Peter imply that our soul must be purified if it just dies upon the death of the body anyway? He would only need mention purifying our souls if our soul lived on to await the resurrection.

So, does the soul die after death, and the spirit live on? 

I have already touched  on some of this above. I have said and shown you that while there is  sometimes a distinction in Scripture between soul and spirit, there is also a  unity, a oneness, and that the distinction does not mean to show us a duality of soul and spirit.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church puts it this way, "Sometimes the soul  is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may  sanctify his people "wholly", with "spirit and soul and body" kept sound and  blameless at the Lord's coming. The Church teaches that this distinction  does not introduce a duality into the soul. "Spirit" signifies that from  creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God." (CCC  367)

In (Matthew 10:28) we read, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Here Christ is telling us to fear God, and not man because man can only kill the body and not the soul, but God if he wants can kill both! If the soul was separate from the spirit, and automatically died when the body dies, then this warning of Christ makes no sense. This verse implies that the soul is alive still even when the body is dead.

If the soul separated from the body, and died as a natural part of death then  man could kill the soul when man kills a body. And if our soul is dead upon our natural bodily death then how can, or why would God destroy it in hell?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body: it  is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a  living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united,  but rather their union forms a single nature." (CCC 365)

"The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God  - it is not "produced" by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not  perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with  the body at the final Resurrection." (CCC 366)

This is why at the resurrection our spiritual soul is united to our body, yet not the same corruptible body that we had, but a glorified spiritual body united perfectly with our spiritual soul.

"So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what  is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is  sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised  a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body." (1 Cor 15:42-44) 

This spiritual body as I have shown is not a body with a spirit, but a glorified incorruptible body with a spiritual soul! While on earth this spiritual soul has a oneness that can lead us to spiritual action, thoughts, knowledge, love, etc..  And hopefully towards our salvation.

We are a body with a spiritual soul. Our spiritual soul will not naturally die on it's own, our soul by nature is immortal, because by nature it is spiritual. This spiritual soul is one, both soul, and spirit. Any distinction between body and soul does not mean a separated nature, but that they have separate functions that work in unity with our whole self. At the resurrection of the body this unity will be perfected and complete. In the mean time our spiritual soul will live on to be with God, angels and Saints!

A little bit on "soul sleep"

Some people believe that in scripture many times sleep is referred to as death and that this indicates that our souls actually are sleeping until the resurrection of the body. Some believe that this is the end of our existence prior to the Resurrection of the dead, and some say that our spirit is the only part of us that moves on. While others say no part of us moves on to an after life.

Most of the time in Scripture when sleep is referenced it is actually regarding real bodily sleep/rest. Some times however it is used in another way. I have found that nowhere in Scripture is this notion of soul sleep taught. Anytime where sleep is used in conjunction with death it is referring to the body as being inactive, and appearing to be sleeping.

Prior to the resurrection of the dead our bodies remain inactive and return to dust, but our spiritual soul lives on to be reunited to an "awakened" glorified body! This is the context of scripture, and falling asleep in death. Since our soul is not the body, but the form of the body this makes sense. It is our bodies that appear to be sleeping at death.

The language in scripture used about sleeping in death is known as phenomenological language. This occurs when we describe something as it looks, and not of how it is actually. The classic example of phenomenological language is when we talk about the sun rising and setting. The sun appears to rise and set, but this motion is actually due to the rotation of the earth rather than to motion of the sun around the earth.

Scriptural example of the phenomenological language occurs in verses like this one, "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:2) 

Daniel is speaking about the resurrection of the body, and not the state of the soul after death. We must take all scripture in light of the others, and in light of the resurrection.

"so man lies down and rises not again; till the heavens are no more he will not awake, or be roused out of his sleep." (Job 14:12) 

This is another example about people being raised out of "sleep" for the resurrection. Again we must look at verses like this in light of the resurrection. Both these verses are talking specifically about the body and not the state of the soul.

One more example of this phenomenological language is verses that show God to be sleeping obviously we know that God doesn't need sleep and he is not sleeping although sometimes it seems that way like in this Psalm.

"Rouse thyself! Why sleepest thou, O Lord? Awake! Do not cast us off for ever! (Psalm 44:23)

I have found no such Scripture to show that anything other than the body "sleeps" in death. When we sleep for rest for example our souls are still active. Our souls doesn't sleep when we sleep, but remains active. This is how we dream, and this is how people suffering from a coma are still alive. I say this because our soul is linked to our mind. We can see this in Scripture and in the other quotes I have provided.

God spoke to people many times threw dreams here is only a few examples from Matthew you can look them up, (Matthew 1:20, 2:12-22)

It is clear to me that often times sleep is used as a euphemism for death (Euphemism is defined as a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing) our Lord himself uses such a euphemism.

"Thus he spoke, and then he said to them, “Our friend Laz′arus has fallen asleep, but I go to awake him out of sleep.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Laz′arus is dead;" (John 11:11-14)

We know that Jesus loved Lazarus and that he cried about his death. Being like us in every way, but sin Jesus here is using a Euphemism for death at first rather then plainly stating that he was dead perhaps for the sake of those around him. Also notice that the Apostles with him did not take him to be speaking about death when he said sleep, but they understood him literally to mean rest.

Another example of this, "And when Jesus came to the ruler’s house, and saw the flute players, and the crowd making a tumult, he said, “Depart; for the girl is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him. But when the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose." (Matthew 9:23-25)

Also here the people did not take him to be speaking literally about death, and laughed at him because they knew she was dead. Obviously sleep was not something that they used to literally mean death or they would have understood what he was saying.

Many people use this next verse to prove "soul sleep,"
"Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed," (1 Corinthians 15:51)

When we look at this in context we see that sleep is being used in conjunction with the resurrection of the bodies of the dead. Sleep here is being used in a way to show that our bodies which have returned to dust will be raised as if they had been sleeping.

"I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:50-52)

This is how it is said,  "but when anything is exposed by the light it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. therefore it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.” (Eph 5:13-14). 

Remember we will be fully alive, and our self when we are reunited with our glorified bodies at the final resurrection!

“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats," (Matt 2531-32). 

"And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”" (Matt 25:46)

Another way that sleep is mentioned in scripture is to show that we are asleep in faith, or intellect and that we need to awaken, and take notice of the things that we are failing to do.

"So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober." (1 Thessalonians 5:6 )

In conclusion. 

We have so many good English translations of the Bible available to us today and with remarkable accuracy to the original Greek texts (Septuagint) and Hebrew texts. Some may say when you look up the Greek it is spirit not soul there for it says something different.

First of all which Greek text? Not surprising there are a number of Greek texts for the bible and many also differ in wordage used from another. So while one Greek text says soul, another may say spirit in the same verse.

I have come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit has preserved very well the message of scripture through the various main stream translations available to use today. The Holy Spirit most faithfully does this through the interpretive authority of the Catholic Church, believe it or not!

I think it doesn't matter whether the verse says soul or spirit since they are one thing which denotes different functioning only, as I have shown here. Both words when human beings are concerned mean the spiritual human soul, no matter if spirit or soul was present in the original texts. The only way it matters is if you believe that spirit and soul are different things, this changes everything!

 Please note that the different word used is used to denote a particular function of the spiritual soul and not meant to show that they are separate things all together.

Soul, or spirit may be used to denote the whole human person, or the whole spiritual person, and spirit may be used to denote some spiritual concept. I encourage you to always cross reference and if you can do learn biblical Greek as well as Latin since both were at once universal languages as English is today, and compare for the best understanding.

Almost there your patients is appreciated :)

I think that it is dangerous to think that the soul dies after death. Like I said earlier our soul is what in us that needs salvation. Our soul moves our body, and sin committed in the body effects the state of and, salvation of our souls.

Our souls are spiritual this is where spirit comes from. God has given us this spirit, his Spirit so that we can unite our wills to his and enter salvation. Our soul is not separate from the spirit, but one united for our immortality. This is what makes us human because we have a spiritual soul. When we begin by rejecting the immortality of the soul, we then can find our self on a slippery slope to rejecting sin, and the effects of sin.

We can then say that we have no need of salvation because our soul dies anyway. This thinking may also lead us to rejecting the wonderful sacramental system established for us in the Church like baptism which removes the stain of sin from our souls.

There are many things not explicitly taught in scripture that the Church has declared through her authority. It is good to look to this authority for a full explanation of biblical truths. The Church is the body of Christ united through all believers. Through her authority she is our Mother and we owe it to Christ to listen. The Church is also the voice of Christ in this world and the interpreter of sacred scripture.

The immortality of the spiritual soul is an infallible teaching of the Catholic Church which is from Christ. She has spoken, and as Saint Ignatius 2nd century Bishop of Antioch says...

 "You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Nor is it permitted without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate the agape; but whatever he approve, this too is pleasing to God, so that whatever is done will be secure and valid."

By Joanne 11-6-2014

References and quotes:

Saint Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica part 2 Article 1 Whether the soul  is a body? Article 2 Whether the human soul is something subsistent?

Saint Augustine's Enchiridion CHAPTER XXIII.  The Reality of the  Resurrection

The Catechism of the Catholic Church CCC 362-367. II. "BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE"

Letter to the Smyrnaeans by St. Ignatius of Antioch. Third Bishop of Antioch 98-110 AD a hearer of the apostle John and 3rd in order to Peter. Quote From the Faith of the early Church fathers, Jergans addition

Gen 34:3
Acts 2:41
Acts 2:43
Luke 1:46-47
Baruch 3:1
Gen 3:7
Danial 3:86
1 Thess 5:23
Mark 12:30
Hebrews 4:12
Genesis 35:18-19
1 Pet 1:9
1 Peter 1:22
James 5:20
Matthew 10:28
1 Cor 15:42-44
Job 14:12
Psalm 44:23
Matthew 1:20, 2:12-22)
John 11:11-14
Matthew 9:23-25
1 Corinthians 15:50-52
Eph 5:13-14
Matt 25:31-32
Matt 25:46
1 Thessalonians 5:6

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