“Rabbi Simeon then rose and spoke: In meditating, I have perceived that when God was about to create man, then above and below all creatures commenced to tremble.”
-Scholem, Gershom, Ed. (1995). Zohar: The Book of Splendor. Schocken Books: New York.
Form a mystical view, God is wholly and purely spirit, pure consciousness and pure knowledge. The soul of man, which is in the image of God, is itself the same-eternal and unchangeable. It is only our dualism (earthly attachments) that prevent us from realization. So yes, to realize God we need to continually renew the Spirit of God within us.
We are not spirtual beings. We are persons composed of body and soul. And our soul is spiritual, being the substantial form of the body, the source of man’s life and " motor " of all his life functions, and having powers of reason, knowledge, will, and memory. Since the soul is a living form, it is a spirit and uncomposed, but limited in its powers and perfections.
It is in his spirtual nature, his soul, that man is most truly the image of God, for the soul has the faculties of life, intellect, will, and memory. And because the soul is immaterial, it will live forever like God and because the soul is the form of the body, it will eventually be reunited with the body and man will then live forever. It is important to keep in mind that no soul lives forever on its own. It is only the man that will actually live forever.
And yes, all things outside of God, including the human soul, need the contstant influx of God’s act of creation. You can say that at every moment God is willing our existence. And without the continual act of God’s will, we would cease to exist. But this will not happen, because God does not change his mind. But we must not forget that God’s Spirit is not our spirit. The two are absolutely distinct, the existence of the soul, being dependent on the continued Existence and Presence of God.
There is nothing " mystical " about this folks, it is pure philosophical truth and Dogmatic teaching. However, the continual Presence of God’s Spirit to the soul, even in a soul in the state of serious sin, is worthy of continual contemplation.
The " self " is nothing more than who we are. We are aware of ourselves as a unique person, a conscious composit of body and soul. That is not an " illusion. " God made us as knowing, intelligent beings, beings with an intellect and a free will by which we strive toward our final end, beatitude, under the action of grace.
Point to the ‘self?’ You provide a very weak definition and do not distinguish it from the ‘person.’ So, Mystics cannot kill the self, as they claim? Forget about the self, and think about self-consciousness (reflective consciousness), which is what I had in mind.
Logically, they cannot be separated. Man is a person, you cannot sudivide him to find the " self. " The " self " is the living man, body and soul as a composit being. Mystics are not known to speak with philosophical, ontological precision and we neither exect nor demand that they do…