Friday, 18 September 2015

What is the Soul

Jesus is the great Shepherd of souls.

The human soul, created by God, is distinct from the heart and the mind. It can be strong or unsteady; it can be lost or saved. We know that the human soul needs atonement and is the part of us that is purified and protected by the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit.

In many religious, philosophical and mythological traditions, the soul is the incorporeal and immortal essence of a living thing, the non-physical part of every human being.The soul is different from the body and that it continues to live after physical death. Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas attributed "soul" (anima) to all organisms but argued that only human souls are immortal. Other religions, most notably Jainism and Hinduism, teach that all biological organisms have souls, and others teach that even non-biological entities, such as rivers and mountains, possess souls. This latter belief is called animism.

Anima mundi is the concept of a "world soul" connecting all living organisms on the planet.

The Ancient Greeks used the word for "alive" to also apply to the concept of being "ensouled", indicating that the earliest surviving western philosophical view believed that the soul was that which gave the body life. The soul was considered the incorporeal or spiritual "breath" that animates the living organism.

The human soul is central to the personhood of a human being. As George MacDonald said,“You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” In other words, personhood is not based on having a body. A soul is what is required. Repeatedly in the Bible, people are referred to as “souls”, especially in contexts that focus on the value of human life and personhood or on the concept of a “whole being”.

Francis M. Cornford quotes Pindar by saying that the soul sleeps while the limbs are active, but when one is sleeping, the soul is active and reveals "an award of joy or sorrow drawing near" in dreams.

It has been said that there are only two things that last: the Word of God and the souls of men. This is because, like God’s Word, the soul is an imperishable thing. That thought should be both sobering and awe-inspiring.

Every person you meet is an eternal soul. Every human being who has ever lived is a soul, and all of those souls are still in existence somewhere.


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