Catholic Church teachings on human soul?


#1

I just had a talk with my mom who is a very knowledgeable Catholic, but doesn’t have any motivation or faith enough to live life according to the Church. Anyway, there is a Jahova’s Witness who is her boss, and he has been trying to tell her all these things about how the Catholic Church is a “false religion, blah blah”. I do not really know anything about jahova’s witnesses, but he was talking about how we don’t have souls, and how nobody is in heaven or in hell until the 2 judgments in the book of revelation. While I don’t know much about the book of revelation, could someone explain what the Church’s stance on human souls, the fate of those souls at our death, and the events of the book of revelation are?


#2

Every human being has a material body informed by a spiritual soul.

At death, as a result of original sin, the soul and the body are separated.

At the point of death, each person immediately receives a judgment: the Particular Judgment.

The souls of those who will go to Hell go immediately to Hell.
The souls of those who will go to Heaven either immediately go to Heaven or go to Purgatory to be purified before they enter Heaven.

At the end of time, the bodies of all the dead will be raised and reunited with the souls of the dead.

Then, Christ will judge all of human history and all humanity, revealing the definitive meaning of creation and revealing God’s providence throughout history and the consequences of all our actions: the General Judgment.


#3

So basically, if you go to Hell you could still end up being saved by the righteousness of the world? I don’t understand the end-part. Do you know where I could find out more information about jahova’s witnesses?


#4

From the old Baltimore Catechism

  1. Who made you?
    God made me.
  1. Why did God make you?
    God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next. (See QQ 169, 320, 336, 339, etc.)
  1. To whose image and likeness did God make you?
    God made me to his own image and likeness.
  1. Is this likeness to God in your body, or in your soul?
    This likeness to God is chiefly in my soul.
  1. How is your soul like to God?
    My soul is like to God because it is a spirit, and is immortal.
  1. What do you mean when you say that your soul is immortal?
    When I say my soul is immortal, I mean that my soul can never die.
  1. Of which must you take most care, of your body or of your soul?
    I must take most care of my soul; for Christ has said, ‘What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?’ Matt. 16:26
    (In Catholic theology, the soul and body are not opposed to each other. The human body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, made to the image and likeness of God. Salvation is for the whole person, both body and soul.)
  1. What must you do to save your soul?
    To save my soul I must worship God by Faith, Hope and Charity; that is, I must believe in him, I must hope in him, and I must love him with my whole heart.
  2. Is there any likeness to the Blessed Trinity in your
    soul?
    There is this likeness to the Blessed Trinity in my soul: that as in one God there are three Persons, so in my one soul there are three powers.
  1. Which are the three powers of your soul?
    The three powers of my soul are my memory, my understanding, and my will.

You should probably break your statements up into multiple threads.

It is only because of sin that death entered the world, the body and the soul are not meant to be rent apart. The soul, related to the spirit, the animating force of the body, is immortal. It is against God’s original plan for the two to be apart. The soul goes to heaven or hell depending on the decisions they’ve made and God’s mercy.

Since the body and soul are not meant to be separated they will be reunited at the last judgment.

  1. What is the eleventh article of the Creed?
    The eleventh article of the Creed is, ‘the resurrection of the body’.
  1. What do you mean by ‘the resurrection of the body’?
    By the resurrection of the body I mean that we shall all rise again with the same bodies at the day of judgment.

THE TWELFTH ARTICLE OF THE CREED

  1. What is the twelfth article of the Creed?
    The twelfth article of the Creed is, ‘life everlasting’.
  1. What does ‘life everlasting’ mean?
    ‘Life everlasting’ means that the good shall live forever in the glory and happiness of heaven.
  1. What is the glory and happiness of heaven?
    The glory and happiness of heaven is to see, love, and enjoy God forever.
  1. What does the Scripture say of the happiness of heaven?
    The Scripture says of the happiness of heaven: ‘That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him’. 1 Cor. 2:9
  1. Shall not the wicked also live forever?
    The wicked also shall live and be punished forever in the fire of hell.

As for the meaning of the book of revelation there are many acceptable interpretations as Catholics. A pretty common Catholic view is that it the book is heaven’s view of Christ’s passion death and resurrection. Another common Catholic view is that it is a prophecy to the first century Christians. Another Catholic view is that it is prophecy of the end times. I personally believe it is most likely all three, but the first view moves me the most. As God, through the old testament prophets layered prophecy, where a prophecy would apply both to King David and Jesus many years later, or to Israel’s rejection of God’s love and Christ’s rejection by the Jews. I don’t see why Revelation has just one meaning. Talk to your priest about it.

Edit:
Replying to your post, once one has chosen hell he will always be condemned.


#5

catholic.com/library/noncatholic_groups.asp


#6

This site will be informative to you about the JW’s and the Catholic response to them:

catholicxjw.com/index.html


#7

When I was a boy I was told by Jehovah’s Witnesses that the world would end before the generation that fought in the 1914-1918 war had passed away. Lat time I checked there were five British veterans of that war left.
You won’t have to wait long to find out if your boss’s religion is the true one or not.

On souls, JWs believe in a “little flock” of 144,000 superior saints, who have a heavenly resurrection, and on life in a transformed planet Earth for the rest. So they are basically resurrection of the body type people. This isn’t in fact too far from Catholic dogma, it is just that they claim certainty over all the details whilst the Church tends to hedge. We know that time is just as much a feature of the physical universe as space, but whilst it is possible to imagine a type of mental life outside of space, it is not possible to imagine what life outside of time will be like. Saints are in heaven now, according to the Church, but also particpate in the general judgement.


#8

No. The judgments of each Particular Judgment are not reversed in the General Judgment. That’s not possible.


#9

Information about JW’s, their beliefs, their dangers, and how to respond to them biblically:

carm.org/witnesses.htm


#10

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.