Catholic teaching on the nature of our souls


#21

[quote="The_Reginator, post:1, topic:305711"]

For all my fifty odd years (very odd at times) I have thought that our emotions, ability to really think, ability to pray, etc. dwelt in our souls. That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak.

I know that our bodies are essential, so essential that we believe in the resurrection of the body in order to make ourselves complete in heaven.

What has Catholic theology taught about the nature of our souls while here on earth?

[/quote]

The first thing that Catholic theology teaches about the nature of our soul while on earth is that it is because of its spiritual principle (soul) that the body made of matter becomes a living human person. The unity of both the material and spiritual principles is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the "form" of the body. (Source: Council of Vienne, 1312: DS 902. This is the footnote for CCC 366)

**Post 19 by fnr has this realistic paragraph.
"Newer brain imaging technologies like functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and the symptoms of brain injury patients can show us what brain regions are active when we are using our brain for different things: memory, decision-making, emotion, maintaining homeostasis. But none of these things do what a soul does." *
*

However, Catholic theology would remove the traditional "decision-making" because that is an activity of the spiritual soul. As far as I know, emotion and memory can affect the brain's working processes. But it is our spiritual will which can seek to overcome the effects of emotion and memory.

One could say that the first thing our soul does is to separate us from all other creatures. It is because of our soul, that God calls us to share in His divine life through knowledge and love, both on earth and in eternal joy. Knowledge refers to the rational, intellective non-material soul. Thus, you are right in saying our "ability to really think" belongs to our spiritual soul. Love refers to our ability to pray and to know the God we are praying to. You are right. This belongs to our spiritual soul.

Regarding your comment -- "That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak." Are you using the word "conscious" meaning that the soul is active in the processing of the brain's data? The spiritual soul is active, not passive. Its rational ability sorts out the data stored in the brain and analyzes it according to our goals or wishes. Then, because the soul has the ability to make decisions, we can freely will a specific choice.

Regarding emotions. We can choose to love or not. Our decisions can be influenced by our subjective emotions. In other words, I think it would be difficult to say that emotions are only in the soul or only in the brain.

While Catholicism considers the soul as belonging to the spiritual world and the anatomy belonging to the material world, it does not teach that humans have two separate natures. Rather it is the unique union of these two worlds which results in the single human nature.
It is a mystery which works.


#22

=The Reginator;10042419]I'm following another thread wherein a Catholic said the following about our souls:

For all my fifty odd years (very odd at times) I have thought that our emotions, ability to really think, ability to pray, etc. dwelt in our souls. That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak.

I know that our bodies are essential, so essential that we believe in the resurrection of the body in order to make ourselves complete in heaven.

What has Catholic theology taught about the nature of our souls while here on earth?

I'm following another thread wherein a Catholic said the following about our souls:

Quote:
A human being's programming resides in their genes, expressed differently by interactions with the social and natural environment. I am very skeptical that a disembodied soul has cognition anything like a living person.

There's absolutely nothing in human experience to suggest that our consciousness is anything other than an emergent property of our complex nervous systems. Theism does not require a belief in a conscious soul.

For all my fifty odd years (very odd at times) I have thought that our emotions, ability to really think, ability to pray, etc. dwelt in our souls. That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak.

I know that our bodies are essential, so essential that we believe in the resurrection of the body in order to make ourselves complete in heaven.

What has Catholic theology taught about the nature of our souls while here on earth

Here's the FACTS:

WHILE THERE ARE BILLIONS OF CREATED THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE; ONLY ONE; PLANET EARTH HAS THE PROVEN ABILITY TO SUPPORT AND SUSTAIN LIFE FORMS AS WE KNOW THEM.

ON EARTH THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF "THINGS"; BUT AGAIN, ONLY ONE: HUMANITY HAS WHAT IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED IN ORDER TO LOVE, HATE AND RATIONALIZE. humanity ALONE! :)

WHY? Because we emulate God Himself!. Gen. 1:26-27

Isa.43 Verses 7 and 21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." AND the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.” [OUR CHOICE!]

CCC #289 "Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation"

In order to love, or hate; to be able to rationalize requires ALL of the following:

A mind, intellect, and our Freewill all of which are permnately attached to man's SOUL. Each of these attributes reflects our God. Each like God is a "Spiritual Thing." And like God they too are "'ETERNAL!" and cannot die or be killed.

It is this "pkg." of exclusive gifts granted to man alone that faces God in the First Jusgment [at the instant of our death]; and it is this "Pkg." that merits from our lives actions; heaven, hell or purgatory.

In the "Final Judgment" this "other self" will be reunited with our now "perfected bodies" and then our body and soul will spend eternity in the location of our life choices.

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

*Rev.2: 23 *“and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

*1 Peter 1: 17 *“Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one's works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

Matt.19: 17 “...If you would enter life, keep the commandments."

I pray that this brief explaination answers your concerns?

God Bless,
Pat/ PJM


#23

[quote="Jaaanosik, post:9, topic:305711"]
Yes! The Divine Revelation through St. Thomas. :)

[/quote]

Aquinas did not believe in the Immaculate Conception. He was wrong.


#24

[quote="PJM, post:22, topic:305711"]
I'm following another thread wherein a Catholic said the following about our souls

[/quote]

That was me!

WHILE THERE ARE BILLIONS OF CREATED THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE; ONLY ONE; PLANET EARTH HAS THE PROVEN ABILITY TO SUPPORT AND SUSTAIN LIFE FORMS AS WE KNOW THEM.

Yes, and paleobiological evidence pretty clearly shows that life existed on this planet as soon as molten rock cooled enough to solidify around the end of the Hadean era.

On the "only earth" statement, keep in mind that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It may well be that there is other life out there. If so, that's a whole other can of worms but it doesn't say that we're not special!

ON EARTH THERE ARE MANY MILLIONS OF "THINGS"; BUT AGAIN, ONLY ONE: HUMANITY HAS WHAT IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED IN ORDER TO LOVE, HATE AND RATIONALIZE. humanity ALONE! :)

WHY? Because we emulate God Himself!. Gen. 1:26-27

Isa.43 Verses 7 and **21: “every one who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made." AND the people whom I formed for myself **that they might declare my praise.” [OUR CHOICE!]

Yes, but that doesn't mean only our souls are based on the image and likeness of God. Consciousness could well reside in our brains without denying that.

CCC #289 "Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. The inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the "beginning": creation, fall, and promise of salvation"

Ok. But the CCC also refers to Genesis 1-3 as using figurative language. It reflects truths about humanity, but need not be read as a literal historical account.

In order to love, or hate; to be able to rationalize requires ALL of the following:

A mind, intellect, and our Freewill all of which are permnately attached to man's SOUL. Each of these attributes reflects our God. Each like God is a "Spiritual Thing." And like God they too are "'ETERNAL!" and cannot die or be killed.

First, to say that mind, intellect, and will are attached to the soul is different from saying that those things are capacities that reside in the soul. The soul accesses these capacities in union with the body. But after death and before the Last Day, a soul is still the essence of a person, which includes their body and mind. That doesn't mean it HAS a body and mind, but that it's still who you are after you die.

If the soul must be conscious, then what happens to someone with a traumatic brain injury who forgets who they are and loses skills like reading and writing? Is that a damage of the soul? Clearly not.

It is this "pkg." of exclusive gifts granted to man alone that faces God in the First Jusgment [at the instant of our death]; and it is this "Pkg." that merits from our lives actions; heaven, hell or purgatory.

On what scriptural or CCC basis do you claim this?

In the "Final Judgment" this "other self" will be reunited with our now "perfected bodies" and then our body and soul will spend eternity in the location of our life choices.

No, we will live in the New Earth, united with the New Heaven with God living among his people (assuming we attain salvation). That's Revelation 21. This co-residence of God and humanity echoes the tabernacle which the ancient Israelites carried with them, and the Holy of Holies in the temple. There God dwelt among his people but Christ removed the boundary. When we are resurrected, we will live with our God.


#25

[quote="The_Reginator, post:1, topic:305711"]
I'm following another thread wherein a Catholic said the following about our souls:

For all my fifty odd years (very odd at times) I have thought that our emotions, ability to really think, ability to pray, etc. dwelt in our souls. That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak.

I know that our bodies are essential, so essential that we believe in the resurrection of the body in order to make ourselves complete in heaven.

What has Catholic theology taught about the nature of our souls while here on earth?

[/quote]

Our soul is immortal. It doesn't sleep, nor die, unlike our mortal bodies. When the body dies, the soul seperates from the body. The Church says we are immediately judged and we know at that moment where our eternal destiny will be. Our soul possesses memory intellect and will. Otherwise, we couldn't process judgement, the next life, whether good or bad?

As an example,

Jesus tells the story of the richman and Lazarus. As soon as each died they went to different places. Lazarus is happy in his place, the richman is in torment. The richman pleads with Lazarus for water to quench his thirst but no water is coming. He tries to intercede for his family in the previous life so they don't come to the place he is now, but he's told his family has the law and the prophets, let them follow that. How is any of that interchange and experience possible one could ask, without a body? Their body is gone. Yet their spirits are fully alive. One sees immediately in what Jesus says with each soul, memory is involved, intellect is invovled, and will is involved with each person in their state. The impact of happiness and suffering is fully experienced.........without a body.


#26

[quote="thistle, post:23, topic:305711"]
Aquinas did not believe in the Immaculate Conception. He was wrong.

[/quote]

... and still his work is a foundation of the Catholic teaching about our spiritual soul.

I guess this teaching can be slightly off as well. We don't have a good understanding of what is this 'spiritual' soul and a possibility that it's the brain with the nervous system should not be dismissed.


#27

[quote="steve_b, post:25, topic:305711"]
Our soul is immortal. It doesn't sleep, nor die, unlike our mortal bodies. When the body dies, the soul seperates from the body. The Church says we are immediately judged and we know at that moment where our eternal destiny will be. Our soul possesses memory intellect and will. Otherwise, we couldn't process judgement, the next life, whether good or bad?

[/quote]

Actually, if you look in a New Testament concordance, you'll see that the three verbs for which the soul is the subject are "live," "die," and "love."

Why must a soul "process judgment?" That's a task for God. Think of the new Roman Missal wording: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." Why just the soul?

Between death and heaven, a soul must undergo theosis in Purgatory. Theosis is the alignment of a soul's love with God's. We're told purgation hurts, but not in the sense that we know in life. A soul giving up selfish love... might experience suffering. But not in the same way we perceive pain in our conscious lives.

The problem with saying that a soul needs to have intellect to experience judgment is that it's putting the proverbial cart before the horse. Science and the Church are two ways to find truth. Two truths cannot contradict one another. We are a pilgrim Church, and our understanding of the faith can only grow as we learn more from science and faithfully consider it in our hearts. (Dei Verbum 8)

Science tells us pretty definitively that consciousness and intellect resides in the brain. Otherwise, how would we explain what happens when the brain is injured or subject to a disease like Alzheimer's?


#28

[quote="thistle, post:23, topic:305711"]
Aquinas did not believe in the Immaculate Conception. He was wrong.

[/quote]

That is wrong. He was undecided. :thumbsup:


#29

[quote="The_Reginator, post:1, topic:305711"]
I'm following another thread wherein a Catholic said the following about our souls:

For all my fifty odd years (very odd at times) I have thought that our emotions, ability to really think, ability to pray, etc. dwelt in our souls. That our souls used our brains to process data but that the soul was still "conscious", so to speak.

I know that our bodies are essential, so essential that we believe in the resurrection of the body in order to make ourselves complete in heaven.

What has Catholic theology taught about the nature of our souls while here on earth?

[/quote]

You have been given some good sources above. The important thing to keep in mind is that it is the Man, the Human Person who thinks, remembers, desires, feels, wills, it is not the Soul per se. The human body is made and created for the soul which is its form. The body needs the soul and the soul needs the body. Although the particular attributes of the soul are intellect, memory, and appetite. Yet these attributes cannot function fully without the body. :thumbsup:


#30

[quote="fnr, post:27, topic:305711"]
Actually, if you look in a New Testament concordance, you'll see that the three verbs for which the soul is the subject are "live," "die," and "love."

[/quote]

The soul can't die

Think about what Jesus said at the bread of life discourse. Jn 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. Jesus isn't talking about His flesh. He's talking about our flesh.

And what is it about the soul that gets purified? It's our memory intellect and will.

understanding, and growth in understanding and knowledge, requires intellect.

It's not an issue when the body and soul seperate.


#31

[quote="fnr, post:24, topic:305711"]

Ok. But the CCC also refers to Genesis 1-3 as using figurative language. It reflects truths about humanity, but need not be read as a literal historical account.

[/quote]

It would be more proper to give the exact citation without a personal opinion.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition paragraph 390.

*"390 **The account of the fall in *Genesis *3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place *at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."


#32

[quote="fnr, post:27, topic:305711"]
. Science and the Church are two ways to find truth. Two truths cannot contradict one another.

[/quote]

"Ah," one says, "that old media cliché is still around." Yup!

Fortunately, there are a few people who know the *real *saying about two truths.
The real truth can only occur if science is conducted properly and Catholic doctrines are properly understood.

Science tells us pretty definitively that consciousness and intellect resides in the brain. Otherwise, how would we explain what happens when the brain is injured or subject to a disease like Alzheimer's?

The brain is material and subject to disease. That is the reason that our spiritual soul is not the brain.:D


#33

Ask a simple question and get ... :hypno:

Well, OK, it is not a simple question. But I've been at work (2 part time evening jobs) and I sure was shocked to find all this.

Thanks so much for all the links. I did not realize that there was a similar thread already on the go, and it is eight pages long already!

(You folk have reminded me that I'm falling behind in reading the CCC. I get a notice daily so that I can read it in a year.)

At 4:00 in the morning this is a lot to take in. If I "sleep on it" will my soul be able to process it a little, or must needs my brain be awake so that my soul can try to understand?:D:D
:sleep:


#34

[quote="Linusthe2nd, post:28, topic:305711"]
That is wrong. He was undecided. :thumbsup:

[/quote]

That is wrong. He taught that Mary was NOT immaculately conceived.

The Catechetical Instructions of St Thomas Aquinas. His own words:

"Christ excelled the Blessed Virgin in this, that he was conceived and born without original sin, while the Blessed Virgin was conceived in original sin but not born in it."

That is a definitive teaching by Aquinas and not the statement of someone undecided.


#35

[quote="steve_b, post:30, topic:305711"]
The soul can't die

[/quote]

Matthew 10:28
"Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul ; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell."

Matthew 26:38
'Then He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death ; remain here and keep watch with Me."'

Mark 8:36
"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Acts 3:23
'And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.'

James 5:20
"let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins."

Think about what Jesus said at the bread of life discourse. Jn 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. Jesus isn't talking about His flesh. He's talking about our flesh.

I'm not saying that we're saved through our bodies. Our souls, our spirits are what give us the chance at eternal life, which occurs within a physical body. Notably, Christ's body after his resurrection was not "mere flesh." Our own resurrected bodies will be (on the Last Day, so time has weird connotation here) just as Christ's was:

1 Corinthians 15: 36-35 and 42-44
"*But someone may say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come back?” You fool! What you sow is not brought to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind; And what you sow is not the body that is to be but a bare kernel of wheat, perhaps, or of some other kind;

....

So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown corruptible; it is raised incorruptible. It is sown dishonorable; it is raised glorious. It is sown weak; it is raised powerful. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual one.*"

And what is it about the soul that gets purified? It's our memory intellect and will.

No, it is not our intellect and will. It is not by knowledge that we are saved. It is not through our desire for salvation that we are saved. 1 Corinthians 13 says that there are three things that last: faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love. These are not cognitive constructs.

understanding, and growth in understanding and knowledge, requires intellect.

Again, it is not knowledge that saves us. It is while we are alive that we "work out our salvation in fear and trembling" (Philippians 2: 12) "For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work." (Verse 13)

And when the soul leaves the body, does the brain still function? No. Nothing in the body functions anymore without the soul.

That's absolutely right. Once we die, we can't change our minds and suddenly decide that we love God and other people more than we love ourselves. When we die, we lose cognitive function. We can't be convinced any longer. Our will can't be changed.

Damnation occurs because in life, someone chose to turn from God, and at their death, they still bore that intention in their soul. If a soul had a consciousness even after death, it would be horribly cruel for God not to keep trying to convince the souls to repent. But a soul after death can't repent of its sins; only people can. Confession and penance grant us the absolution of our final sins. Those who refuse to repent of their sins... well, once they die, it's too late.


#36

[quote="grannymh, post:31, topic:305711"]
It would be more proper to give the exact citation without a personal opinion.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition paragraph 390.

*"390 **The account of the fall in *Genesis *3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place *at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."

[/quote]

The affirmation of a "primeval event" does not mean that Genesis 1-3 describes literal, historic events. The truth of humanity's fallen nature is not contingent on the historicity of Adam and Eve.


#37

[quote="fnr, post:36, topic:305711"]
The affirmation of a "primeval event" does not mean that Genesis 1-3 describes literal, historic events. The truth of humanity's fallen nature is not contingent on the historicity of Adam and Eve.

[/quote]

To set the record straight --

It is the Catholic Church
who declares Catholic doctrines which flow from the first three chapters of Genesis.
Not the individual who declares her or his personal opinion about some vague truth regarding humanity which may or may not be real depending on her or his personal interpretation of Divine Revelation according to literal historic events which may or may not have happened depending on her or his desires.

In other words, which Catholic doctrine are you referring to? Or What?:(


#38

[quote="grannymh, post:37, topic:305711"]
To set the record straight --

It is the Catholic Church
who declares Catholic doctrines which flow from the first three chapters of Genesis.

Not the individual who declares her or his personal opinion about some vague truth which may or may not be real depending on her or his personal interpretation of Divine Revelation according to literal historic events which may or may not have happened depending on her or his desires.

In other words, which Catholic doctrine are you referring to? Or What?:(

[/quote]

I'm not declaring an individual opinion. I am just saying that the Catechism no where says that Catholics are required to believe that Adam and Eve were two literal persons, and that their lineage and progeny literally lived as described in Genesis. The Catechism refers to Genesis 3 as using figurative language. That doesn't mean there's not truth in it.


#39

[quote="fnr, post:38, topic:305711"]
I'm not declaring an individual opinion. I am just saying that the Catechism no where says that Catholics are required to believe that Adam and Eve were two literal persons, and that their lineage and progeny literally lived as described in Genesis. The Catechism refers to Genesis 3 as using figurative language. That doesn't mean there's not truth in it.

[/quote]

May I gently and respectfully point out that your opinion was not requested in post 37. Please refer to the question at the bottom of the post. Thank you.


#40

[quote="fnr, post:38, topic:305711"]
I'm not declaring an individual opinion. I am just saying that the Catechism no where says that Catholics are required to believe that Adam and Eve were two literal persons, and that their lineage and progeny literally lived as described in Genesis. The Catechism refers to Genesis 3 as using figurative language. That doesn't mean there's not truth in it.

[/quote]

Here is the general answer to your question in post 38.

If you have the hard copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition, please go to page 5. On line, check Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum which appears at the beginning of the Catechism.


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