The life of the soul.

As I understand it, the Christian position is when a baby is conceived, at the moment of conception, God infuses the baby with a soul.

Where does God get this soul from?

Does He create it out of nothing, like He did the universe?

Can the soul, once’s it’s made, be destroyed?

If not, why not?

If yes, why doesn’t God just destroy the soul, instead of letting it suffer for all of eternity in Hell (whatever that may be as I know there are different interpretations of what Hell is)?

Sarah x :slight_smile:

In my denomination, I do not think there is any official teaching on the exact nature of the soul. Personally, I have never liked the language of infusion when describing souls; it makes it sound like the soul is superfluous to the life of the body. I much rather would talk of souls being integral to being human, so much so that at the moment of conception both a human body and a human soul are created simultaneously. Souls are difficult to describe, but I would assume all non-physical entities are created ex nihilo. I don’t believe that God has some sort of spiritual material with which He creates all spiritual things.

As for your other question, I know there are ancient and medieval discussions on the immortality of the soul, but I can’t think of what they are at the moment. I suppose the soul is only immortal in so far as God allows it to be so (much like the universe holds together only because God wishes it to be so); whether or not a soul “naturally” has an immortal quality to it must be answered by someone more knowledgeable than myself. There are models of hell that say God will in fact destroy the souls of the condemned (this is called annihilationism). I don’t know if this view has ever been condemned, it has usually been on the fringe of Christian views. But, if Augustine can be believed,:thumbsup: then existence itself is a good thing. If so, God would be showing mercy to the condemned by allowing them to exist despite their best efforts to the contrary.

“infuses” is simply another term for “creates” but it is used to remove the impression that the soul is simply a ghost in a machine. The body and soul are inextricably linked and constantly interact.

Where does God get this soul from? Does He create it out of nothing, like He did the universe?

It suffices to say “God created…” The phrase “out of nothing” suggests that nothing is something!

Can the soul, once’s it’s made, be destroyed? If not, why not?

Orthodox Christians believe the soul is immortal because we are made in God’s image.

If yes, why doesn’t God just destroy the soul, instead of letting it suffer for all of eternity in Hell (whatever that may be as I know there are different interpretations of what Hell is)?

Those who are isolated from God choose to be isolated because they want to be completely independent - like some people in this world (although they don’t understand the full implications of their rejection of their Creator).

Hell is not a state of undiluted misery. If it had no compensations or consolations it wouldn’t exist!

Sarah:

In my opinion, God does not ‘infuse a baby with a soul’. Therefore, the process should not to be construed as something added to non-living matter, such as a clay statue, in order to animate said “clay.” Primary matter is animated at the moment of conception, but not because a ‘soul’ alone is added that supplies some sort of magical power to effect it.

Aquinas defines the soul as the essential synthesis of Primary Matter and Form. Both are required for the existence of a “soul” and its animation. Primary Matter is not just any matter. It is Matter that is predisposed to the reception of its particular Form. Since all things seem to tend toward perfection, so too does Primary Matter. The primary matter of a cat tends toward synthesis with that form which will produce, ultimately, an adult cat. Likewise, the primary matter of an oak tree when combined with the Form of oak tree, will ultimately produce an adult oak tree.

Souls are “created.” They are created where before the soul was created, there was nothing. So, yes, the creation of a soul is like the creation of the universe.

A soul can theoretically be destroyed. This is called annihilation. The Church believes that God does not annihilate an exigency once He has created it. The reason being, that this universe would become a helter-skelter of inconsistency. We believe that God has no need of pure annihilation.

God does not create frivolously. If He did, it would be admitting to imperfection in God. God cannot be the creator of all else, pure Act, and at the same time, full of imperfections and potencies. If He were, He’s not God. He would be nothing more than a creature of the real God.

Think of it this way: God expended an enormous effort (that in no way diminished Him) in producing a universe, by taking a dimensionless point, expanding it in terms of number, then configuring the resulting points into a finite but extraordinarily huge array of physicality. Some of that physicality is later on to became the beneficiary of the multitude of Forms, resulting from God’s thought and emanating from Him at each discrete point of each’s insertion into time, or, if you prefer, into the explicate dimension.

That initial “point” was that which we understand to be the initial singularity. As the initial singularity expanded and multiplied, space was co-created.

God bless,
jd

Excellent questions, my friend! In order to answer the question, first I find it necessary to have a working understanding of spirit and soul. Please consider the following:

A spirit can be defined as image, knowledge, and actions of the past. Therefore, anytime one thinks of the exact image, knowledge, and/or actions of the past of an individual, it can be said that they are interacting with the spirit of a person. Recognize that a spirit comes from thought, it has an image, knowledge, and will that is unchanging, and this thought is an instance of the spirit.

A soul can be defined as image, knowledge, and actions of the future. Now we do not have the ability to give a thought of a person free will, however God does. Therefore, the instance God thinks of a person, the soul is made.

So to answer the questions:

Where does God get this soul from?

His thoughts.

Does He create it out of nothing, like He did the universe?

He creates it using His body, thoughts, and will, like He did the universe.

Can the soul, once’s it’s made, be destroyed?

I don’t know.

If yes, why doesn’t God just destroy the soul, instead of letting it suffer for all of eternity in Hell (whatever that may be as I know there are different interpretations of what Hell is)?

Perhaps because the soul does not want to live in union with God and His ways, and does not want to die either. Therefore, God respects the soul’s desire to continue living out of union with Him.

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