• Shamshir
    743
    I did exactly what you asked for, in noting that the afterlife is spiritual by mechanism of The Word. That's the overlaying motif of John, bluntly established in John 3.

    As is noted in 1Cor15:44
    "it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."
    What spiritual body refers to is soul.

    Please pay attention.
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    Thank you for thorough analysis.Daniel C

    Thank you, although I didn't notice your reply because you didn't copy me in - apologies for that.

    somewhere along this line of the development of thought the tough problem of "mind versus matter" set in - most probably with Plato. This problem is still with us and I have strong doubts if there exists a philosophical solution for it. The "immortality of the soul" is just one facet of it.Daniel C

    There's a world of material to study there. Not least from the philosophical perspective, Plotinus and neo-platonism and the influence of Platonism on Augustine.

    Aristotelian dualism was 'the union of matter and form', bearing in mind that the meaning of both words in Aristotle and the Greek philosophers, was completely different to our understanding of it.

    It was Descartes who cast the problem into the modern form, with his division of res extensia and res cogitans. It's pretty hard to summarise all of these issues in forum posts, but suffice to say that from the perspective of Aristotelian (hylomorphic) dualism, Descartes' philosophy was highly problematical. I think where you'd find some readings on that would be the neo-thomists - Jacques Maritain and the like. Ed Feser is another source, who writes in an approachable style and is at least a contemporary. His blog has some useful articles on it.

    As far as 'the eternal' is concerned, this is the overriding theme in all the higher religions, not just Christian. An example is the Advaitin guru Ramana Maharshi, whose philosophy was concerned with 'realising the identity of soul [atman] with supreme soul [Brahman]'. In Christian mysticism, parallels are expressed in terms of 'theosis' which is likewise conceived of as a state of 'union with the divine' (although there are important differences between Hindu and Christian conceptions.) But even in Buddhism, there are references to 'the deathless' as being the consummation of the discipline of the Buddha e.g. here.

    I'm not much of a Biblical scholar myself, more an eclectic. But still I'm of the view that the Christian 'mythos' is an expression of revealed truth, although I differ with the Christian view in believing it's not the only one.
  • Daniel C
    36
    Shamshir and Relativist. Your discussion has reached a turning point or perhaps a position of checkmate. The questions now are: what is the difference between a natural and spiritual body, and is a spiritual body the same thing as a soul? If these two are not the same, in which way(s) are they different from each other. If the doctrine of the RC church is true, the soul cannot be the total human being, because it seems, according to Paul in 1Corinthians 15, that a body, although spiritual, is needed to complete the person. If the soul by itself is the whole person, then why the need for a spiritual body. So, it seems to me, that the big problem here is to understand the nature of the relationship between the soul and the spiritual body. There is, of course, also the possibility to consider that Benedict xii made a mistake when he decided to officially declare that the soul as an immortal entity does exist. What do you think?
  • PoeticUniverse
    622
    There is, of course, also the possibility to consider that Benedict xii made a mistake when he decided to officially declare that the soul as an immortal entity does exist. What do you think?Daniel C

    These things can't be known for sure, nor the underpinnings of it and more as 'God'; therefore, it is dishonest to the max to declare truth. What happened to their honest word, 'faith'?
  • alcontali
    538
    Is it true or not that the Bible claims that human beings have immortal souls?Daniel C

    The resurrection of the dead originates from:

    Daniel 12:2. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.

    This eschatological belief in the resurrection of the dead was not generalized in second-temple Judaism, but all its offshoots -- that managed to survive destruction by the Roman empire -- adopted it.

    Christianity, just like Rabbinic Judaism and Islam, is an offshoot of second-temple Judaism and inherits the core of its eschatology from then already existing pre-temple-destruction beliefs. The striking new element is the Second Coming of Jesus (both in Christianity and Islam).
  • Shamshir
    743

    The current consistency of the human body is one part physical and three parts postphysical. If you look at it currently, the soul is not the totality of man.
    A natural or earthly body is like a phone casing, while the spiritual body is RAM, Storage and Processor respectively.

    The misinterpretation you're making is that the soul requires a body, when it is a body - in the sense of a body of water; a body in the sense of substance.

    You could thus interpret the transition of man in to a spiritual body as the transition of data in to cloud storage. An imperishable persona without need for maintenance.

    But do tell, if that is not a soul, what is a soul?
  • Fine Doubter
    62
    Christians . . . simply believe as a presupposition of their faith. If anyone's "justifying," you can challenge them on their faith - faith has no need of justification, it only needs belief. And that not for itself, but as an animating principle. It's not (so much) that you have a soul, but rather what it means to have one

    Tim Wood (5 days ago), what a nice clear explanation!

    This harmonises I think with J H Newman's "assent to degrees of inference". My inference (from not only Scripture but from authoritative interpretations and that takes diligence and a lifetime of being led up the garden path), my degrees of it, my assent.
  • Fine Doubter
    62


    Given that God is so much larger than us, and beyond dimensions we know, what appears eternal to Him (and described thus in Revelation) is momentary to us, or perhaps I mean the other way round. This is what I see as the curve of time. When we are beyond our existing dimensions, our experience will change.

    Many teach that soul is composed of the mind, the will, and the emotion. When we see ourselves as making "unseen" impact, this gives the hint as to the connection with the above.

    Some teachers also highlight reason, character, feeling, consciousness, memory, perception, thinking, etc along with the above. James Hillman saw "soul" as the "substrate" upon which one's consciousness rests, so I've been reading.

    I'm growing to like the idea that I'm making an impact, as I become less ashamed of myself. Some "unseen" parts of me and of what I am achieving are already extending beyond "our" dimensions. The multidimensional really has been far more ordinary than we are used to thinking, all along. Perhaps it is egg-shaped, like happiness.

    To my mind I think it is left slightly open whether "body" is in St Paul's usage sometimes a metaphor for soul, or refers to a kind of body which we've not known before.
  • Fine Doubter
    62
    Perhaps the key elements are quality of will ( = character), quality of reason, and memory ("live" with it).
  • Daniel C
    36
    Can you see what is happening now? We have arrived at the point where our reason is driving us to exceed the boundaries of Biblical scripture to make sense of the concept, "soul". And it will, for sure, take us to the territory of "philosophy of mind" where, perhaps, the most serious issue is to try and understand the "connection" between "mind" and "body". If you are interested in this - from a western point of view - we will, I think, have to go back to Descartes, leading us into the modern period of philosophy, especially with his rationalism in epistemology. Where can we start with Descartes. Perhaps with his thinking subject (res cogitans) and extended thing (res extensa). For Descartes there runs a line of division between these two realities: the mind on the one hand and the physical body on the other hand. He argues that although the mind is connected to the body, it is capable of existing without the body. In other words, the mind is a substance, because it has self-existence, being able to exist on its own. Isn't this exactly what we've got in cases where people are defending the Christian notion of a "soul" which survives the death of the physical body? If "soul" and "mind" are identical, we will really have to think carefully if we want to defend the notion of a human mind being able to exist independently from a live physical body. I have heard claims of this nature where these "minds" "show" themselves to exist independently - at seances, but empirical scientific proof for this is very disappointing! (It seems that these "souls" only appear on condition that no scientists be present.)
  • Gnostic Christian Bishop
    685
    Given that God is so much larger than us, and beyond dimensions we know,Fine Doubter

    Kind of a self-contradicting statement that.

    How can you know anything about a god who is in a dimension that you say we cannot know?

    Regards
    DL
  • god must be atheist
    588
    Is it true or not that the Bible claims that human beings have immortal souls?Daniel C

    It is not true. According to the Scriptures, those whom Jesus rejects, will perish like a moth in the eternally burning fire.

    In other words, only those who are saved have an eternal soul. The soul of those who are not saved will not last forever.

    Therefore not every soul is immortal. Get that out of your head. If you are a Christian, Jew, or Muslim.
  • god must be atheist
    588
    Given that God is so much larger than us, and beyond dimensions we knowFine Doubter

    You believe attributes of god, but you don't know them. Or even if god exists. Your claims are ridiculous on a philosophy forum. On a Christian forum you'd be applauded for saying this... here you are making a fool of yourself with the same thing.
  • Shamshir
    743
    If "soul" and "mind" are identicalDaniel C
    They are not.

    A musical piece is soul.
    Its tones are mind.
    Its playing is spirit.
  • Daniel C
    36
    Shamshir. This will indeed be a great way to express yourself on this matter on a literature forum. But, this is a philosophical forum; therefore you will have to "translate" your poetic language into rational language for it to make sense philosophically. What do you think? (We are merely trying to be philosophers here, not poets.)
  • Possibility
    498
    The dualism of Descartes has hamstrung this discussion of ‘soul’ for centuries. If we follow the chronological path of modern philosophy through Descartes, we arrive at exactly where we are now: trying to understand what consciousness is and why we can’t seem to connect mind and body, while discounting ancient religious documents as failing to take into account modern philosophical or scientific thought - and then wondering at the gaps in philosophical or scientific thought.

    The nature and capacity of the human mind enables us to explore connections that have little to do with their chronological proximity or their use of common language terms. These connections in philosophy are the content of human experience. How we experience the world as human beings essentially hasn’t changed for thousands of years. What we are aware of about our experiences, and how we structure those experiences as the ‘reality’ in which we interact has been the interconnected and collaborative task of spirituality, philosophy and science.

    But we also have a tendency to fear, deny our fear of and then compartmentalise what we don’t understand - in other words, we haven’t been connecting or collaborating very well in many key areas of discussion.

    When did philosophy abandon poetic language as a tool for connecting human experience? Rational language fails at the edge of reasoning and logic, but you can’t deny that human experience exists well beyond it...
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    The dualism of Descartes has hamstrung this discussion of ‘soul’ for centuries. If we follow the chronological path of modern philosophy through Descartes, we arrive at exactly where we are now: trying to understand what consciousness is and why we can’t seem to connect mind and body, while discounting ancient religious documents as failing to take into account modern philosophical or scientific thought - and then wondering at the gaps in philosophical or scientific thought.Possibility

    This is one of the themes explored in Thomas Nagel's 2012 book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False. There was a lot of controversy over this title but I found it persuasive.

    The modern mind-body problem arose out of the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century, as a direct result of the concept of objective physical reality that drove that revolution. Galileo and Descartes made the crucial conceptual division by proposing that physical science should provide a mathematically precise quantitative description of an external reality extended in space and time, a description limited to spatiotemporal primary qualities such as shape, size, and motion, and to laws governing the relations among them. Subjective appearances, on the other hand -- how this physical world appears to human perception -- were assigned to the mind, and the secondary qualities like color, sound, and smell were to be analyzed relationally, in terms of the power of physical things, acting on the senses, to produce those appearances in the minds of observers. It was essential to leave out or subtract subjective appearances and the human mind -- as well as human intentions and purposes -- from the physical world in order to permit this powerful but austere spatiotemporal conception of objective physical reality to develop. — Thomas Nagel

    (Mind and Cosmos: pp. 35-36)
  • Possibility
    498
    :up:
    I’m intrigued by the title - It speaks directly to my current perspective.
    I’ll have to add it to my reading list. Thanks!
  • Wayfarer
    8.3k
    I’ll have to add it to my reading list.Possibility

    Let us know when you do. After I read it - basically the day it came out - I followed the reviews and commentary, which are interesting in their own right. It's only a slim volume, and well worth the effort of reading.
  • Shamshir
    743
    I already gave you a technological description, via a computer.

    No spirit - can't do anything.
    No mind - don't know anything.
    No soul - no one to know or do anything.

    And I'll reiterate my stance as concisely as I can:
    Living beings are subject to attrition; they consume and produce friction which slowly whittles them away.
    They are bound to earthly bodies that anchor them down.

    Enlightened beings, as the name might suggest, are free from attrition and self-sustainable.
    They are a Perpetuum Mobile, unbound, and don't whittle away.

    So while souls by themselves are immortal, earth-bound souls are not.
    Now based on your definition of human, you can choose whichever fits.

    On a side note:
    Based on that - do you now understand the ramifications of Free Energy?
  • Fine Doubter
    62
    GCB and GMBA, pardon my brevity. Some people are worried, in the context of this sort of matter, whether if we go beyond, we come across "god", and I am suggesting this in the context of a commonplace conception of god.

    I was trying to envisage how life in fewer dimensions looks, when viewed from more dimensions, and vice versa. At the moment of going but not yet gone beyond, we will still look (both to ourselves and "anyone else") somewhat bound by our present set of dimensions.

    I think that is why many people reasonably believe that we will cease to exist altogether.

    I was putting this far too briefly.

    I am sure there are myriad additional explanations too (many good ones given by others here).
  • Daniel C
    36
    Shamshir. Thank you for explaining yourself once again. Your tripartite conception of "what we trying to grasp" is interesting and definitely one to be born in mind as we go along. But, we must not forget that once you've entered the forest of "philosophy of mind" you don't get out easily. I want to put the following, very familiar view on the table: all manifestations of mind / soul / spirit are nothing more than "effects" of physiological processes occurring in the human brain. If that is the case, everything about mind / soul / spirit is reduced to matter - therefore a view we can call something like "reductive materialism." This implies that our (temporary?) "cognitive closure" regarding brain processes is the real difficulty here and science is our only hope of overcoming this issue. In the mean time I will remain a mysterian - definitely not accepting a "mystical" view of this issue. (Wayfarer, I'm aware of this view clashing with Nagel's views of the nature of mind.)
  • Fine Doubter
    62
    "" The dualism of Descartes has hamstrung this discussion of ‘soul’ for centuries. If we follow the chronological path of modern philosophy through Descartes, we arrive at exactly where we are now: trying to understand what consciousness is and why we can’t seem to connect mind and body, while discounting ancient religious documents as failing to take into account modern philosophical or scientific thought - and then wondering at the gaps in philosophical or scientific thought.

    The nature and capacity of the human mind enables us to explore connections that have little to do with their chronological proximity or their use of common language terms. These connections in philosophy are the content of human experience. How we experience the world as human beings essentially hasn’t changed for thousands of years. ...

    But we also have a tendency to fear, deny our fear of and then compartmentalise what we don’t understand - in other words, we haven’t been connecting or collaborating very well in many key areas of discussion.

    When did philosophy abandon poetic language as a tool for connecting human experience? Rational language fails at the edge of reasoning and logic, but you can’t deny that human experience exists well beyond it... ""

    “”Can you see what is happening now? We have arrived at the point where our reason is driving us to exceed the boundaries of Biblical scripture to make sense of the concept, "soul". And it will, for sure, take us to the territory of "philosophy of mind" where, perhaps, the most serious issue is to try and understand the "connection" between "mind" and "body". If you are interested in this - from a western point of view - we will, I think, have to go back to Descartes, leading us into the modern period of philosophy, especially with his rationalism in epistemology. … his thinking subject (res cogitans) and extended thing (res extensa). For Descartes there runs a line of division between these two realities: the mind on the one hand and the physical body on the other hand. He argues that although the mind is connected to the body, it is capable of existing without the body. In other words, the mind is a substance, because it has self-existence, being able to exist on its own. Isn't this exactly what we've got in cases where people are defending the Christian notion of a "soul" which survives the death of the physical body? If "soul" and "mind" are identical, we will really have to think carefully if we want to defend the notion of a human mind being able to exist independently from a live physical body. ... “”

    I think a lot of harm ensued by an insistence by (perhaps) "Aristotelians" on a term "substance" to describe more than one kind of "thing" or "stuff". We will have cultivated quality of will and attitude to memories, and I think circumstances will defy any facile idea of "exist" or "continue".

    Rather than compartmentalising and fail to collaborate as lamented above, in my opinion we ought to apply "epoche" (an affirming agnosticism about very respectable antinomies) because we can proceed far on almost all other issues without particularly "deciding" this one. Any suggestions by me for one are just that - splatters on the "art wall". If we're not sure what "continue" will mean in the circumstances, because those will stretch the word too far, at the verbal level it becomes the case that the case will be ostensibly "so" and "not so" simultaneously. That's because at our ordinary level, we can make words and situations coincide in reference more easily.

    (And I don't like séances either.)
  • Daniel C
    36
    Fine Doubter. Thank you for all your contributions to this discussion - they are valuable and are appreciated - at least by me. Getting to your last text: I get the impression, and may be wrong, that you want to move into a more mystical and / or aesthetical direction in your attempt to make sense of a soul as a reality. I have a different proposal that I want to put on the table, attempting to maintain that it is possible talk about a "soul" while remaining in the realm of the purely rational. Based on Ryle's concept of a "category mistake" my claim is that Descartes caused all his trouble by placing "soul" in the same logical category as "body". A "body" is a physical entity, open to perception, with various attributes like mass, length, hair color, type of bone structure and others. But, it seems that the same cannot be said about a "soul". If we compare the soul concept with a concept such as "university" it becomes clearer: if I have to show someone around to give him an idea of what a university looks like, I will most probably show him the lecture halls, library, admin. building(s), hostels, cafeteria etc. If, afterwards, this person states, after having seen al these constituent elements of the university that he is still waiting to be shown the "actual university", it is clear that he doesn't understand the concept of a university: to him there needs to be something else, over and above the constituent elements of the university, which is the real / actual university which I failed to show to him. What is happening here is the failure of the person to grasp the difference between concepts belonging to different logical classes / categories. This is, most probably, what happened to Descartes with his mind / body dualism: the mind is not an entity separate from the body, but, together with the body, constitutes a living person(ality). Therefore Ryle calls the Cartesian mind / spirit the "ghost in the machine". Of course, the implication if this view is that it is impossible for an entity like a "soul" to exist which can survive the physical death of the body. I don't know if this make any sense to you?
  • PoeticUniverse
    622
    The physical mind is as a virtual Emperor receiving advice from his local empire of actual hierarchal experts of their own areas. This empire is what chooses.

    I'm trying to play off of your 'university' idea here.

    Or these

    The pyramid of the will bears nested dancers,
    Each an expert in their field of laws and causers—
    Through the land’s contours of memory’s sands of what was;
    The King doesn’t decide, but his repertoire does.

    ‘Magic’ has fallen by the wayside, it
    As trancendence an intangible writ,
    Unable to be distinct from matter,
    Having to talk/walk the talk/walk of it.

    Conscious qualia reflect the just past,
    Decisions and thoughts produced, though quite fast,
    The mechanizations not apparent,
    Their constancy such that on Earth we’ll last.
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