What is The Nature of Jesus' Soul?


#1

I have tried 2 different times to get an answer to some questions about the nature of Jesus’ soul from the staff. But no one wants to reply to it. I assume that they don’t have an official church teaching on it or simply don’t know or don’t want to promote a personal exegesis. I think it is an extremely important theological question since it has implications for our relationship with God and the Trinity and with each other.

So I want to ask it here to get insights from those who have pondered some of these thoughts spiritually.

The genesis for my question extends from some of the final words of Jesus on the cross as well as from the recognition that God creates different kinds of creatures such as angelic beings and human beings. Also since God is divine and not created like all other created creatures by our teaching and belief in a triune God with 3 equal parts (God the Father [spiritual], Son [who becomes flesh] and Holy Spirit) I would like to better understand the nature of the relationships between the souls of created creatures with the divine.

Here is the particular verse that uses the word “spirit”.

[quote=Luke 23:46]Jesus uttered a loud cry and said, “Father, into your hands, I commend my spirit”.
[/quote]

Here are my questions:

  1. Does the triune God have a divine soul or does He exist as a self evident and complete divinity unto Himself without the finite limitations of holiness implied with a created soul?
  2. What is the nature of Jesus’ soul? Did he have a divine soul or a human soul or was his “spirit” in Luke 23:46 in fact the 3rd person of God - “The Holy Spirit”? If Jesus had a human soul was it imparted through some mystery of transfiguration with a divinity that could exceed the limitations of holiness implied with a human soul?
  3. Does God in his three parts have a divinity that attaches Jesus’ human or divine soul to it or does God exist in a state of being that transcends the very notion and confines of “a soul”.
  4. Did Mary have a human soul or a divine soul?

Would appreciate insights and personal exegesis if no teaching is given.

James


#2

The key is understanding that Jesus was fully man and fully God…fully human and fully Divine. The hypostatic union.

That would be the latter. God is three Divine Persons in one Divine Nature. The Triune God. God is Spirit - The Father (the First Person), the Son (the Second Person) and the Holy Spirit (the Third Person).

The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became man - fully man - while still remaining fully God. This is the mystery of the Hypostatic Union. It’s deep, and byond our human capacity to understand fully - but there are some things we can understand.

All men are the combination of body and soul. To be fully human, one would have to have both body and soul. So, yes, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in the Incarnation took to himself not only human flesh, but also a human soul.

Um…I’m not sure I understand the question. Jesus’ human soul was united with Jesus’ Divinity, but it was still a human soul.

I wouldn’t say God has “parts” - one of the crucial things about understanding what a spirit is, is understanding that it is not material…it doesn’t have parts. But God does have persons - three in total. Even our souls - our human souls - don’t have parts. We can’t say this is the top of the soul, this is the left side of the soul, etc.

And God the Son - the Second Person - did “attach” the human soul (since it was part of his fully human nature) to His Divine Nature. That is the Hypostatic Union.

Human.

Those are just off the top of my head. Hope it helps.

I have a book that I know you would love. Don’t let the title throw you, this one is deep, and is the best treatment of the Trinity I’ve read so far: Theology for Beginners by Frank Sheed.

The author has another one that goes even deeper, Theology and Sanity - which I haven’t read yet, but plan to some day.

Peace in Christ,

DustinsDad


#3

Jesus, as man, has a human body and soul, the same type of body and soul that we have, which makes us human beings.

In his divine nature, he possesses the one divine nature with the Father and Holy Spirit. He is one Divine person–the Son–but has two natures, human and divine.

The triune God in his divine essence cannot be said to have a “soul” in the same sense that we do. For a soul is the animating principle of a body. God has no body. The divine nature is One, and is entirely Spirit.

Jesus possesses that one divine nature, and also took on a human nature.


#4

This is all good stuff - thanks!

I think I have a pretty good general grasp of the general theology but I have a personal tendency to want to get deeper into things below what is taught the general laity in the catechism. Maybe its time for me to start doing independent study or taking college level courses. It seems there are a lot of Greek philosophical concepts interwoven into our belief too - which is itself intriguing that the Greeks were able to glom onto some truths from a rational thought process. However the church seems to have made conscious efforts to break away from purely intellectual and reason based approaches to evolving the theology for various concerns on its limitations. It seems to now embrace more of a “revelation” mechanism of the Holy Spirit operating through the Church’s saints through both intellect and spiritual awareness.

The answers here confirm my own thoughts and assumptions in this area. The things that I now must ponder or ask is:

Can a created human soul ever hope to be able to be holy enough to enter into a FULL communion with God as Jesus did through the same mechanisms of joining His deity with His created Human soul? Intuitively, it just seems that finite created souls (e.g. angelic & human souls) can never have the infinite capacity to ever be in full union with God and to know God as He fully knows himself. This probably comes across as spiritually greedy since we should feel overwhelmed with Joy of having any share in the beatific vision. But it does raise some interesting perspectives if God would ever permit a human soul to share in His actual divinity as a full person in His divinity. Perhaps we do that through Jesus in a similar kind of hypostatic union? It comes down to what is the nature of “the communion of the saints” with each other and with God? Are we all “one” spiritually and relationally share equally in one divinity or are we distinct entities that equally share our seperate relationships with the One?

I suppose that the details are not that important - since we are given the assurance its “no eye has seen or heard what God has prepared for us”. But its spiritually motivating to wonder if God permits us all to become “as God” - which seems to be a real theological possibility.

James


#5

God is not created. There is no “soul” of God. God is God.

  1. What is the nature of Jesus’ soul? Did he have a divine soul or a human soul or was his “spirit” in Luke 23:46 in fact the 3rd person of God - “The Holy Spirit”? If Jesus had a human soul was it imparted through some mystery of transfiguration with a divinity that could exceed the limitations of holiness implied with a human soul?

Jesus, The Son of God, is true man and true God united. Before the incarnation God the Son had no soul, as He was God, nor body. At the incarnation God the Son acquired a body and soul, which were separated at His death and reunited at His resurrection. God the Son is now (post resurrection) permantly and forever a body and soul united in heaven.

  1. Does God in his three parts have a divinity that attaches Jesus’ human or divine soul to it or does God exist in a state of being that transcends the very notion and confines of “a soul”.

Jesus is our “link” (in His REAL and true humanity) to God the Triune. Does God the Triune have a “soul”? No. Does Jesus have a “soul”? Yes. How does THAT work!? Mystery time!

  1. Did Mary have a human soul or a divine soul?

“Divine” means “of God”. Only God is divine. There is no such thing as a “divine soul”. Souls are “created” and nothing created is “divine”.

How could Mother Mary not have a human soul? Was she not “fully human”?

Would appreciate insights and personal exegesis if no teaching is given.

James

Please check the Catechism and the Fathers of the Church for justifications or contraversions of my understandings above. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the interesting questions!


#6

It is not a Christian “want” to be “one with God” as a buddhist, for example, would understand that.

We are “personally” (as a personal IDENTITY which we will NEVER lose) connected to God (the Triune) by Jesus. Jesus is always “between” (intercessionally) us and God. There is no possibility of being on the “same level” with Jesus as Jesus is related to God.

We have no “deity”, divinity. How can we possibly be “like Jesus” since we have no divinity?

Intuitively, it just seems that finite created souls (e.g. angelic & human souls) can never have the infinite capacity to ever be in full union with God and to know God as He fully knows himself. This probably comes across as spiritually greedy since we should feel overwhelmed with Joy of having any share in the beatific vision.

But it does raise some interesting perspectives if God would ever permit a human soul to share in His actual divinity as a full person in His divinity. Perhaps we do that through Jesus in a similar kind of hypostatic union? It comes down to what is the nature of “the communion of the saints” with each other and with God?

Are we all “one” spiritually and relationally share equally in one divinity or are we distinct entities that equally share our seperate relationships with the One?

We are not buddhists. There is no “dissolving into THE ONE”.

You will be YOU, body and soul, as created by God, forever into the future eternity. God does not and can not “share” His divinity. It is not share-able, other than by the 3 Persons of the Trinity.

We are creations. Thanks to Christ we have an actual humanity that connects us to God. But we can never “space walk” and “jumper cable” ourselves to God the Triune and be “horizontal” to Jesus in relation to God.

All creation, the communion of saints and all created things “hang” off of Jesus. When Jesus returns, those parts of creation which have decided that they don’t want to be with God will be “pruned” and sent to their self-created fire forever.


#7

James, I think this has been asked and answered actually. No, a created human soul can never attain the capacity necessary to know God as he knows himself. This includes Christ’s human soul.

Christ’s human soul is created and finite, and thus the powers of His human soul have limits. For instance, His created intellect (and ours), however perfect, cannot have infinite knowledge as His Divine intellect has.

Thus, the Council of Basel condemned the following proposition:

“The soul of Christ sees God as clearly and intimately as God perceives Himself.” (Session 22).
What do you think?
VC


#8

:wink:

Thanks VC - this is exactly what I arrived at through a recollection of my own Catholic teachings as well as my inner most feelings and as well as what seemed “reasonable”, “correct” and consistent with respect to other teaching we have.

I had read some tangential discussions about Mormonism (heretical) that had some Catholics suggesting in principal that humans could ascend to a “god like” (small g) status with respect to their earthly state. But clearly all are as mere created beings with God and can never fully know Him as He knows Himself since our human souls, no matter how purified are finite and can not fathom nor contain his full Godhead.

I was really just exploring the general belief that if we can imagine something too good to be true in heaven about God then that is still not a high enough imagination to grasp what God is all about. So to experiment with that thought I expanded the limits of my thinking to say “but I can imagine that God would make us God - does that mean there is still something more than that possible?”. :wink:

I am more than satisfied knowing that God has unimaginable happiness, rewards and graces to bestow on us in heaven. That apparently would be sufficient to make any perfected human soul appear “as a god” to any mortal being that could exist on earth - if not in all of creation of things we don’t know about. For Jesus to graft his divinity onto his humanity through the incarnation - certainly tells us something about the “rank” that God gives to the perfected nature of humanity relative to his other known creatures (angels). It certainly tells us of the degree of his love and mercy that God has for humankind and a thing or two about His nature!

James


#9

James, I suggest you research the writings from the First Council of Constantinople (381 AD.) Especially focus on the Council’s treatment of the heresy of Apollinarianism. This issue was extensively dealt with by the early church councils and forms a substantial portion of any course on Christology.

newadvent.org/cathen/01615b.htm

newadvent.org/cathen/14597a.htm


#10

God does not and can not “share” His divinity. It is not share-able, other than by the 3 Persons of the Trinity.

This is actually untrue, according to the Church. It is fundamental Apostolic teaching, straight from Scripture and carried on through Tradition, that God DOES share His Divinity with us. Just as these passage attest to this effect:

2 Peter 1:3-4

3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.

and from St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, II-II, Q23 A2:

The Divine Essence Itself is charity, even as It is wisdom and goodness. Wherefore just as we are said to be good with the goodness which is God, and wise with the wisdom which is God (since the goodness whereby we are formally good is a participation of Divine goodness, and the wisdom whereby we are formally wise, is a share of Divine wisdom), so too, the charity whereby formally we love our neighbor is a participation of Divine charity.

From St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel Book 2, Chapter 5:

In thus allowing God to work in it, the soul (having rid itself of every mist and stain of the creatures, which consists in having its will perfectly united with that of God, for to love is to labour to detach and strip itself for God’s sake of all that is not God) is at once illumined and transformed in God, and God communicates to it His supernatural Being, in such wise that it appears to be God Himself, and has all that God Himself has. And this union comes to pass when God grants the soul this supernatural favour, that all the things of God and the soul are one in participant transformation; and the soul seems to be God rather than a soul, and is indeed God by participation

From the Catechism of Trent, on the nature of Baptism:

and from the Catholic Catechism:

**460 **The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”:“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

Through the Incarnation we are capable of receiving Grace, which is nothing else than a share in the Divine Nature. We never become Divine Persons as the Persons of the Trinity (as the Mormons claim), and therefore we don’t experience a Hypostatic Union, but we do become direct participants in the Divine Nature through Grace, and most especially in the Beatific Vision:

1 John 3:2

2] Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

The reason we are able to have Faith is due to the Divine Nature within us, and the reason we are able to Love God with all fullness is because of the Divine Nature; such things are totally beyond human nature in itself. To experience the Beatific Vision we MUST “be like Him” and participate in the Divine Nature, otherwise we would have no vision of God whatsoever. This is why Jesus can truly call us brothers as “adopted sons of God”.

We truly remain ourselves, and our essence doesn’t change, but filled with the Divine to such a degree that we actually participate in Divinity. It is not merely an external thing, but becomes part of our own life. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!


#11

In the eastern Churches they speak of a process called Theosis by which God raise our human nature to the point where it is able to share in the divine life of the trinity. We retain our human nature and do not gain a divine one. This is alluded to in paragraph 460 of the CCC. In my opinion in the Latin Church we are talking Sanctifying Grace by which this is accomplished.


#12

Yes, Sanctifying Grace is the same as Theosis. :slight_smile:

Peace and God bless!


#13

I said that we can not “share” His divinity. My use of “share” means to be elevated TO divinity. Others have used “share” to mean being given a participation IN the divinity of God. Once again, it’s good to be clear as to what the other means by particular words! :slight_smile:

We agree then. We don’t become divine. We participate in divinity without BEING divinity. All divinity is worthy of worship. No creation is worthy of worship.

It is not possible to be as Jesus is in relation to God the Triune.

It is possible to be given as much participation in God’s divinity as God is willing to give us.

To participate is not to become, where become is be of the same nature.

My insistence that divinity is not a characteristic of created persons is to counter the thought that we can “become God”, such that we can be related to God as Jesus is related to God, or even become a “god” of our own universe.

Only God is God, and no creation could bear being God.


#14

Thanks for the clarification. :slight_smile:

My concern is that I have heard people deny direct participation in Divinity, and it sounded to me like your words were along those lines. Glad to be proven wrong. :thumbsup:

Peace and God bless!


#15

I agree in concept but the profound holiness of an angelic being or a heavenly saint (e.g. Mary or Joseph or Peter St. Michel etc.) suddenly popping in to say “hello” would sure make it hard to stand upright and not want to naturally kneel with our heads bow down out of profound reverence.

I don’t want to get on a tangent but this actually brings up another question I submitted to the forum but has not been answered yet. Namely, does anyone know if:

  1. “Is there a hiearchy or rank in heaven among the saints similar to the 9 Choirs of Angels?”
  2. Do all holy souls share equally in the degree of the beatific vision with God or is this a function of individual merit and glory that God bestows or reward to each individually and become recognized and respected by the entire heavenly court."?

It seems to me that most of us are just trying to “make it” into heaven but God clearly implies in scripture that he does not like underachievers (the parable of the talents) and “expects more from those that much has been given (intellectual and spiritual gifts).” What is ironic here is that it kind of implies to me that God’s justice would permit a very modest but obedient soul entry to heaven before He would permit a soul entrusted with great spiritual gifts and graces that squandered those graces and did not return to God with anything but itself. This implies to me a relative expectation based on “talents” that is kind of scary to tell the truth since that means people called to higher levels of religious life (e.g. priests, nuns, bishops etc.) could be at higher risk of “not making it” if they don’t perform up to expectation. If the logic is valid that’s scary stuff…

James


#16

What is The Nature of Jesus’ Soul?

Hi

Jesus’ soul was as in any other human being, no different.
Quran

[17:86] And they ask thee concerning the soul. Say, 'The soul has been created by the command of my Lord; and of the knowledge thereof you have been given but a little.
www3.alislam.org/showChapter.jsp?ch=17&verse=80

Thanks


#17

Indeed. Acts of reverence are not acts of worship after all. And what we respect in these created beings, is in fact, their reflection of the Creator.

There is a hierarchy and rank.

To different degrees. I think Scripture states this, as have the Doctors of the Church. Many mystics who have been given a glimse of heaven have indicated such as well.

And remember, there is no jealosy in heaven - you and I will be infinitely happy and joyous for those folks who have attained a higher degree of union with God precisely because of the glory they give to God. It’s all about God, and in heaven we’ll “get it” so to speak.

It’s also something to think about here on earth…I can’t remember who said it, but one that always stuck with me is that it was said that those in heave, while already perfctly happy and in God’s presense, would willingly come back to earth to suffer a lifetime of suffering for the opportunity to say one more Our Father or Hail Mary with devotion …the grace given for eternity for such so far exceeds anything we could possibly imagine or endure in this life. It makes sense - eternity is eternity after all, and here, well, it’s a blink of an eye.

Amen to that. I agree totally with your thoughts here.

Peace in Christ,

DustinsDad


#18

To “revere” is to “highly appreciate”. I personally would “highly appreciate” a visit by such a being! :slight_smile: But if that being was worthy of reverence it would tell me to WORSHIP only God when it sensed that I was tending toward worshipping it.

That’s how you tell the difference between an angel and a demon.

I don’t want to get on a tangent but this actually brings up another question I submitted to the forum but has not been answered yet. Namely, does anyone know if:

  1. “Is there a hiearchy or rank in heaven among the saints similar to the 9 Choirs of Angels?”

My opinion: No. Each saint is a unique person “developed” by their earthly life and, while they “might” be aggregated into “types of help” in what they do, they are too specific in personality as compared to the angels to be divided into distinct “choirs” (Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Throne, Cherubim and Seraphim).

  1. Do all holy souls share equally in the degree of the beatific vision with God or is this a function of individual merit and glory that God bestows or reward to each individually and become recognized and respected by the entire heavenly court."?

My opinion again (D’uh!): Purgatory is to “cleanse” us. Once cleansed we’re CLEANSED, meaning we are clean just as every other person in heaven is clean. Everyone in heaven takes a different path to the same place, not the same path to different places.

It seems to me that most of us are just trying to “make it” into heaven but God clearly implies in scripture that he does not like underachievers (the parable of the talents) and “expects more from those that much has been given (intellectual and spiritual gifts).” What is ironic here is that it kind of implies to me that God’s justice would permit a very modest but obedient soul entry to heaven before He would permit a soul entrusted with great spiritual gifts and graces that squandered those graces and did not return to God with anything but itself.

“Longer” in purgatory for the talented wastrel. :slight_smile:

This implies to me a relative expectation based on “talents” that is kind of scary to tell the truth since that means people called to higher levels of religious life (e.g. priests, nuns, bishops etc.) could be at higher risk of “not making it” if they don’t perform up to expectation. If the logic is valid that’s scary stuff…

James

At least the religious know more thoroughly what is expected!

They (religious) are no less likely to “make it” into heaven if they don’t buckle under the pressure and stay “on target”. They ARE more likely to have to deal more “thoroughly” with purgatory due to the “talented wastrel” possibility, but everyone is just about as likely to “buckle under pressure” to be unGodly as everyone else. But, that’s only “in general” and since being Godly is entirely individual in nature one’s individual “odds” are what they are. :slight_smile:

I personally believe that since God doesn’t give us “tasks” which we can’t handle, what we do get we are as likely to “accomplish” as anyone else. The only question is “will”.


#19

I don’t think in terms of different places (although in the Father’s house there are “many rooms” :-))- but in terms of different capacities…some will in some way (which is hard to fathom or understand on this side of the pearly gates) participate or share more deeply in the Divine life for all eternity.

The verses that immediately jump to mind is Our Lord’s words (in varous places) regarding the least and the greatest in the Kingdom. I’m sure there are more.

Peace in Christ,

DustinsDad


#20

Good answers all - thanks.

CalmDownWisWins - I wanted to comment again on this one about a rank within the saints. It seems to me that God does make at least a distinction between his martyrs. I deduced implicitly additional ranks or special honors from many of the various devotional promises that talk about “special” and very unique graces bestowed on those who follow certain of these. Also, the very existence of many of the devotionals implies that God wants to reward a certain saint or angelic being with special “recognition” and “honor” (e.g. Mary or St. Michael etc.) to bring yet another profoundly good spiritual tool or weapon to humans to petition God with and join with the particular saint’s intercessions.

I imagine that any special glory and honor though is automatically shared as a matter of “saintly protocol” withe the entire heavenly court through the communion of the saints though - kind of like all clapping at a huge banquet for a honored person given first chair at the table. My own feeble attempt to draw a crude human analogy…

James


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