Difference between a human soul and spirit


#1

Hi

Whats the difference between a human soul and spirit

Does Jesus has a spirit?

thanks
marlo


#2

[quote=marlo]Whats the difference between a human soul and spirit
[/quote]

This is a Good Question. St. Paul speaks of “spirit, soul, and body” (1 Thess 5:23), and some have drawn Trinitarian parallels (Holy Sprit, Father, Son).

The idea of a “soul” actually pre-dates Jesus - Aristotle wrote about human uinty being comprised of body and soul. The idea of “spirit” comes from Genesis (“spirit” means “breath” - as in “God breathed upon Adam”).

The terms have been used interchangeably in Christian writing over the centuries. AFIK, the Catholic Church has never distingushed between the two.

Some protestants believe the “soul” is the “spark of life” which all living things possess (trees, animals, etc), whereas the “spirit” is the essence of the Divine Nature which is specific to humans (who possess both soul and spirit), but the Catholic Church does not teach such a doctrine.


#3

This thread might help:

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=80715&highlight=sheed


#4

The way I always understood it is the spirit is specifically created by God (designed to interact with the spirit realm and hear the Lord’s voice), the body is created by man (designed to interact with this world), and the soul is created by the union of the spirit with the body at the moment of conception.

The soul is the intellect, emotions and will. The soul is that part of us that we identify as who we are. The soul is temporally linked to the body in order to live here on earth. It is permenantly linked to the spirit which lives forever. But even in Heaven, we are told that we will be just like Jesus receiving “glorified” bodies as a permenant dwelling for eternity.

David


#5

The soul is the life-principle of the body. One can say, from a philosophical standpoint, that all living beings have souls. But only the human soul is spirit. It is not material. Our spiritual soul has the faculties of intellect and free will.


#6

[quote=DavidFilmer]The idea of a “soul” actually pre-dates Jesus - Aristotle wrote about human uinty being comprised of body and soul.
[/quote]

Jesus is co-Enternal with the Father, Aristotle doesn’t pre-date Jesus :wink:

Some protestants believe the “soul” is the “spark of life” which all living things possess (trees, animals, etc), whereas the “spirit” is the essence of the Divine Nature which is specific to humans (who possess both soul and spirit), but the Catholic Church does not teach such a doctrine.

Actually, that is EXACTLY what the Church teaches.

A Soul is what animates living matter, without a soul, there is no material life.

This was affirmed by both Augustine and Aquinas.

St. Thomas Aquinas *Summa Theologica * I-II, Q78, specifically articles 1-2
library.sebts.edu/ispencer/GreatBooks/Aquinas/Summa/summa/FP/FP078.html

Plants have an "animative’ soul, that provides the general necessities of life.

Animals have a “Sensitive Soul”, that can respond to input from the senses.

Both of these souls are non Spiritual. They have a finite existance, the soul of plants and animals cease to exist when the life of the creature is over.

Humans, on the other hand, have a Rational soul. We know and understand good vs. evil. We can make decisions on such knowledge.

Our souls are also Spiritual. God IS Spirit (He is not made of Spirit, He IS Spirit). Our souls, unlike the animals, are made in the likeness and image of God. Our souls, therefore are Spiritual in Essence. We are, therefore unique in all of creation, being creatures of both matter AND Spirit.

The Angels, are creatures of pure Spirit.


#7

[quote=DavidB]The way I always understood it is the spirit is specifically created by God (designed to interact with the spirit realm and hear the Lord’s voice), the body is created by man (designed to interact with this world), and the soul is created by the union of the spirit with the body at the moment of conception.

[/quote]

“Spirit” is an uncreated essence, matter is created.

We are “endowed” with Spirit, (as an essence of our soul). Our soul is unified with our bodies to create a human being (defined by the Church as 'Corprae et Anima Unis" - Body and Soul United.


#8

Hi Marlo,

Very often the word “spirit” is used interchangeable with “soul”. However, “spirit” can be and is used to denote a variety of different things.

Here is a quote form the Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org):

In Theology, the uses of the word are various. In the New Testament, it signifies sometimes the soul of man (generally its highest part, e. g., “the spirit is willing”), sometimes the supernatural action of God in man, sometimes the Holy Ghost (“the Spirit of Truth Whom the world cannot receive”). The use of this term to signify the supernatural life of grace is the explanation of St. Paul’s language about the spiritual and the carnal man and his enumeration of the three elements, spirit, soul, and body, which gave occasion to the error of the Trichotomists (1 Thess., v, 23, Eph., iv, 23).

And here is the Catechism:

367 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.

But leaving aside these various definitions, I will address one common undertanding of these two words.

“Spirit” refers to a “non-material” substance. This is what we mean when we say God is pure spirit. The angels, too, are spirits – they do not have a bodily substance. Therefore, our souls are also spiritual – they are not a physical thing in us.

But we must avoid any indication of duality – We are a soul/body composite.

See the Catechism:

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual.

AND

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:[234] i.e., 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.

So remember,

364 Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity.

This unity of body and soul is disrupted by death. But the general ressurection reunites us into that original unity (however, our bodies will be in a glorified state, but, never-the-less our REAL PHYSICAL bodies).

See the catechism:

366 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.

Always, always, always protect this doctrine of the unity of man. That is why you may sometimes hear people refering to man as an “ensouled body” or an “embodied soul”. That is who we are, like two sides of one coin, you cannot take away one side of the coin, although you can describe each side.

Incidently, this integrity of body and soul is why the disruption so frightens us. It is why death is a)scary and painful and b)seems to wrong. It is why humans without bodies (ghosts) are scary and why bodies without souls (zombies) are scary – because it is so radically wrong and incomplete.

Now, your second question: Did Jesus have a spirit?

Well, if you mean Did Jesus have a soul? the answer is a resounding YES, and it is an article of faith. Because Christ was *fully human and fully divine, *in order to be fully human He would have to have a human soul, just as we described above. In fact, He has, right now, a human soul.

So, if you mean spirit in the way that it corresponds to “soul” then yes. But if you mean Spirit in other ways, that it depends on what other ways.

For instance, Scripture calls The Holy Spirit “the Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9), the “Spirit of the Son” (Galatians 4:6), the “Spirit of Jesus”(Acts 16:7). And we profess this in the Creed “proceeds from the. . .Son”. However, the Holy Spirit is a real person, the Third Person of the Trinity, God Himself and consubstantial with the Father and the Son.

Does any of this help you out Marlo? What do you think about it?

God Bless,
VC


#9

[quote=Brendan]“Spirit” is an uncreated essence, matter is created.
[/quote]

One clarification: only God is uncreated Spirit. Angels, and the human soul, are created spirit.


#10

CCC 366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God …Only God is uncreated.


#11

[quote=JimG]One clarification: only God is uncreated Spirit. Angels, and the human soul, are created spirit.
[/quote]

:thumbsup:

CCC 366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God …


#12

Hi all,

Reading from all your posts, the more I got confused. What is the truth?
a. Man, has a physical body, a spirit body, a soul, and a soul
gifted with divinity,
b. The physical body dies, what is left of him?
c. When the physical body dies, does his spiritual body dies
as well?
d. What happens to the soul?
e. Has the soul have the quality of eternity? If so, then it has
no beginning. Everything that has a beginning will have an
ending.
f. The soul became corporate to advance/progress itself. How
does the soul progress?
g. “In my Father’s house are many mansions…” Where
does the soul go and why there?

Please clarify anyone. Thank you


#13

The human soul is a spirit. It does not have the quality of eternity: it has the quality of immortality. The soul is created by God at the instant of our conception. Because it is spirit, it is immortal. Death is only the separation of body and soul.

I don’t know what you mean by a “spirit body” or “spiritual body.” Body is material; spirit is non-material.


#14

Thank you JimB

There is a difference between the body, the soul, and the spirit. If the soul (or spirit as you interchangeably use them) have no quality eternity but only immortality, then it has an end. When will the end be?

As to its beginning, the soul is created at the instant of our conception, as you said. But God said, " I knew you even before you were born"?

If the soul is the same as the spirit, do the evil spirits have souls?

What is St. Paul referring then when he said… " Body, spirit, and soul…?


#15

I’ll let somebody else speak for St. Paul, who was speaking theologically. I was speaking philosophically of the meanings of body and soul. Because our soul is a spirit, that means it has no parts, has nothing to come apart, and will not disintegrate. (Eventually our soul and body will be reunited in the resurrection.)

Eternity means no beginning, no end, not existing in time.
Immortal means having a beginning but no ending. Human persons, because we have a (spiritual) soul have a beginning, but no end. Evil spirits as well as angelic spirits, also have a beginning, but no end.

For an angel (or a devil), its soul–i.e. its life principle–is identical to its essence, which is spirit. So it would be a redundancy to say that an angel has a soul; it rather, is a soul.


#16

I read this thread with interest and have studied this issue in our Catechism and other scholarly sources.

It has occurred to me that the difference is not one that I have yet to come accross.

I believe that the human SOUL is created by God and is eternally bound to a person’s physical form … either on earth or in heaven, and might be likend to one’s self-awareness or state of mind.

However the human SPIRIT is not bound as such, but is enabled to transverse time and space in accordance with God’s Will.

The Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, for instance, is always described (in scripture) in some manner of movement or travel; as in the wind or in the breath, or in the coming down upon or entrance within some one oe some place.

So when we find in scripture St Paul or others referring to God’s children as each being composed of body, soul and spirit; a little voive inside me (perhaps not so little) tells me thus.


#17

This thread has been dormant for years. We are not supposed to resurrect old threads. You are free to discuss this subject but you should really start a new thread.


#18

It's a shame that the Spirit has been dormant in this forum so long - I will disenroll as you suggest


#19

[quote="marlo, post:1, topic:37474"]
Hi

Whats the difference between a human soul and spirit

Does Jesus has a spirit?

thanks
marlo

[/quote]

The soul is the battle ground on which Satan fights for your spirit and there is where destination of your spirit is determined.


#20

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