We all know that the Catholic Catechism tells us that the soul indeed does exist; "that “soul” (also) refers to the innermost aspect of man, that by which is of greatest value to him (Matthew 10:28, 26:38; John 12;27; 2 Maccabees 6:30), that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.” (CCC 363) Further, “The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit.” (1 Cor 6:19-20; 15:44-45) (CCC 364)
Let us consider for a moment that after God willed us into being and prior to the fall, when there was no bodily death, that life, human existence, and being were in their purest form and our relationship with God began. The human body, in this pure, “transfigured” state did not know sickness, death, or decay. However, sin ended that, the body as we know it became a covering, a tent as Paul said “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (1 Corinth 5:1)
Before the fall, we existed bodily, in heavenly bliss before God. The body given at creation was something pure, good, and it would appear, necessary. After all, it is our very belief in the resurrection of the body that gives us the hope of one day returning to that state of pure oneness once again in His presence. It appears that we are made to be embodied, that we cannot encounter God without a body, making it at least as important to eternal life as an immortal soul. And if the Christian physicalists (e.g. Nancey Murphy in Bodies, Souls, or Spiritied Bodies? or Joel Green in Body, Soul and Human Life) had their way and there was no soul, what then? Can there still be eternal life without a soul? Without a body?
So my question for us to ponder is this:
Is our hope for eternal life staked on bodily resurrection rather than the immortal soul?