Background On The Nature Of Man

I. Introduction

Today’s post serves as a backdrop of, and provides background for, several posts that I will be writing in the near future. All of the posts will rely on the theological principles laid out in this post. Originally I was intending to do only a single comprehensive post, but it was starting to become too unwieldy. So I decided to split it up into several posts, each of which will be far more focused in their intended purpose. Hopefully this won’t stifle the discussion too much. Since this is a background post, I would ask that the discussion here focus on the theological points involved, rather than the eventual topics to be discussed.

Just to warn folks, this post and the attendant series will be heavily Catholic/Apostolic in nature. It relies heavily on Eastern Church (Eastern Catholic) theology as well as some Thomasist theology from the Western Church. A few other odds and ends may be noticeable as well.  If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.

II. Human Nature

Human beings are unique among God’s creation in that we possess three distinct features: A Body, Soul and Spirit. No other creature shares these three like Man does.

A. The Body

Our Body is our physical representation on the material plane. It is what human beings have in common with the animals. It encompasses all of our physical presence in this world. There are two key features that come of possessing a Body: Senses and Appetites.

Senses includes all of the five physical senses: sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Again, these are all things that we share in common with the animals. Senses are how we gauge the material world around us. We use them to know what is real in a physical sense.

Appetites include all of our bodily desires and urges: to eat, to drink, to sleep, to procreate. Again, all things that we share in common with the animals. Our appetites are what keep us alive on a daily basis, as well as provide for the continuation of the species. We use them to determine what purely material things we may want.

Our Senses provide information on the world around us, as well as the state of our Body, and our Appetites respond to this information by generating impulses for us to act upon. Feelings and Emotions are matters of the Body, as they are controlled by both our Senses and our Appetites [they also can have a connection with the Soul as well].

Blood ties as well as material desires are all inherently tied to our Body. They are almost always short-sighted, focusing on continuation or propagation.

Our Body is the foundation of our existence as human beings, in that it is the first part of us that develops. Long before we achieve free will or can build a spiritual life we possess senses and appetites. Sadly, many human beings never rise above material concerns. They focus purely on matters of the body, letting the soul and spirit anguish. One very important thing about the Body is that because it is material, it is also inherently mortal. Our physical form will eventually end. We die. As the Psalmist once wrote: “Man cannot abide in his pomp, he is like the beasts that perish.” Our body may be our beginning, but unlike our soul or spirit, it will also end.

B. The Soul

Our Soul is our mind and the attendant abilities that comes with it. It is what separates us from and elevates us above the animals.  Possessing a soul is what human beings have in common with the Angels. They too have souls. However, human beings are different from the Angels because in order to use our Soul, we must have a functioning body. If our body shuts down (such as in sleep or death- which is just another type of sleep), then our soul shuts down as well. There are two key features that come of possessing a Body: Reason and Free Will.

Reason is our intellect, our ability to logically understand matters both physical and metaphysical. It is our Soul’s counterpart to our Body’s Senses. We use our Reason to understand Truth. Science is what happens when Reason and our Senses combine- it is an attempt to fully measure the physical world and come to a complete understanding of it. Theology is what happens when our Reason and Spirit combine- we try to discern the nature of God, and come to an understanding of Him.

Free Will is our ability to choose what actions we will and won’t take. In Summa Theologica St. Thomas Aquinas explained that “[t]he will is the name of the rational appetite,” hence it is the Soul’s counterpart to our Body’s Appetites. It is through our Free Will that we decide what kind of life to live. In other words, Free Will is what we use to decide what is Good.

Essentially, our Reason determines what our options happen to be, and our Will determines which option we will actually take. Truth + Good= the life we live.

Abstract matters of mind, not matter, are of the Soul. Those who devote themselves to “higher” pursuits (for example, Philosophy) are seeking matters of the Soul. Matters of the Soul can be short-term or long term. Devotion to friends or country (outside of immediate blood interest), for example, are matters in which the Soul dominates.

Unlike our Body, our Soul must develop over time. It is effectively dormant until we reach the age of Reason. Unlike our Body, the Soul is eternal and Immortal. Yet, as noted before, we human beings require a Body to actually use our Soul. The Angels are not so limited. Those who truly develop their soul can live a much deeper and more fulfilling life than those who are guided by mere material pursuits.

C. The Spirit

Our Spirit represents the highest form of life that we can live- the divine life. It is the potential that we human beings have to partake of the divine nature, to become like and become one with God. It is not so much that we share a Spirit with God, but rather He shares His Spirit with us. It is the highest form of life that Man can live. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27). That image is the life of the Spirit- that which God shares with us.

The three virtues of Faith, Charity/Love and Hope mark our Spirit. All three are the key features of our Spirit. “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor 13:3).

It is important to understand that the Spiritual Life is not possible through either our Senses or Reason alone. Revelation was necessary for us to perceive this higher form of life. Hence, even the greatest of philosophers were not able to know of it.

Our Spirit is our connection and union with God. It is a life not connected with our physical body, or even the physical world. It is a life that transcends the material world- “what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6). Since it comes from God, it is also immortal and eternal. Our Spirit endures forever, and from what I understand, does not “shut down” like our Soul does (I’m not certain about this and may correct it later if I should be wrong).

As Christians we understand that we cannot achieve this life on our own. Rather, it is only accessible through the aid of God. “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, 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.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

It is only through a life of Christian discipline that we can build a Spiritual life for ourselves. It is notable that neither Adam nor Eve had to do so- they were created with a full spiritual life. Which brings us to the next section.

III. The Fall

The Fall dramatically reshaped how human beings were. What we were like before the Fall was very different from how we are now. Here are some ways we changed-

A. Spiritual Death

Prior to the Fall both Adam and Eve possessed full Spiritual lives. But then Death came into the picture.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

(Genesis 3:1-5)

The Death that is referred to in the Garden of Eden re: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is not a purely physical death (in fact, it may not have been physical death at all). What God warned about was much worse: Spiritual Death. By eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve rebelled against the Lord. The price for that rebellion, the price of Sin, was to be cut off from the Lord. To be cast out of the Garden. Since God is the source of all Spiritual Life, by cutting off union with God they cut off the source of their Spiritual Life. Thus, it died within them. And so it was for all human beings afterwards until the time of Jesus- they all had dead Spiritual lives. Only the Sacrifice of the Cross allowed for human beings to be reunited with God again, and through it to be able to live a Spiritual Life.

It should be noted that the Serpent lied about many things there. Not the least of which is that eating of the fruit would make human beings like God. In fact, the opposite occurred- because we died Spiritually we became unlike God, in Whose image we were originally made.

B. Disorder and Weakness

Prior to the Fall, our Spiritual life was our dominant life. Our Body and our Soul existed to serve our Spirit. The Order in priority was Spirit, then Soul, and then finally Body. The Fall changed all of that.

Because human beings died spiritually as a result of the Fall, part of our being became Disordered. Our Body, which used to occupy the least dominant position in the hierarchy of our nature, assumed the dominant position. Our Soul, which used to serve our Spirit, came instead to serve our Body. And since it was dominant, the desires and weaknesses of the Flesh (Body) came to dominate mankind. The goal of living out a Spiritual life is to restore the right order, and elevate our Spiritual Life to the dominant position. That way we can become primarily divine beings again, and be able to, as it were, walk with God as we did in the beginning.

Speaking of the weaknesses of the flesh, that was another consequence of the Fall. Our bodily appetites, which used to properly serve us, essentially ran rampant. Our appetites became contrary to reason.  Instead of craving natural things in their proper place, human beings developed cravings for unnatural things or natural things outside their proper place. This is known by many names, among them Concupiscence. Now, this doesn’t mean that our Bodies are totally corrupt. Rather, it means that our body is weakened, vulnerable. This weakness was a punishment imposed upon us by God as a consequence of our rebellion. As a result, we are vulnerable to temptation and sin because our body is inclined towards disorder. This inclination, which St. Thomas Aquinas referred to as the Fomes of Sin, persists as long as we shall live. No matter how Holy we may become, we will still struggle with sin.

C. A Choice Must be Made

Because of all of this, every human being must make a choice. He or she must choose to either live out a material life, or a Spiritual life. Our Savior explained it to us: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24). Mammon refer to the world and the things of the world. We must choose whether to serve God, which means letting the Spirit dominate, or to serve Mammon, and let the Flesh dominate. “Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want.” (Galatians 5:16-17).

Those are the two paths available to us. There are no others. The Flesh and the Spirit are opposed, they do constant battle with one another. Neutrality is not possible. We have to choose a side. Either we are with God, or against Him. Not choosing isn’t possible- the default position, thanks to the Fall, is to choose the Life in the Flesh.

This choice is made by our Soul, which acts as the fulcrum point in this battle. Specifically, our Will (which is part of our Soul) must choose to partake of the Divine nature, or to partake of the base pleasures of the body. Now, Reason helps us decide what is True, but it is our Will which chooses what is Good. Both the Spirit and the Flesh have very different ideas on what is True and what is Good.  As Christians we understand that the Flesh misleads us, and that what Mammon offers is an illusion. When we speak of “saving souls”, we mean that we help incline a Soul towards choosing to serve God, and not Mammon.

This struggle is constant, and far from easy. “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7:14). We cannot do it by ourselves; on our own we haven’t a chance. Thankfully, we have God on our side. “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 

IV. Of Heart And Love

[In a case of extreme sloppiness on my part I forgot to include this in the original post. Thanks to Deep Strength for pointing that out.]

As some might have (and some clearly have) noticed, my explanations thus far have not addressed two very important topics: Heart and Love. Both matters are intimately connected, and in fact we often use the symbol of a heart to mean love.

From what I understand of the Eastern Church perspective, the Heart is associated with both life and Love. Further, there is no separate “Heart feature.” Instead, there are three different meanings of the word Heart. Each meaning is associated with one of our features. In addition, there are two different ways of looking at each Heart. One centers around the Life component, and the other centers around a form of Love. In this sense we might understand one to be internal (life), and the other external (love).

Also, and not coincidentally, each meaning of Heart is associated with a different form of Love. As many of readers will be aware, ancient Greek had three different words for love that saw general usage: Eros, Philia and Agape. Each one of these loves is associated with a particular feature of human nature, and its respective Heart.

A. Body

When we speak of Heart in connection with the Body, we refer to the physical organ itself that keeps the body alive. As the pump that moves blood around the body, it is a source of Life. It is no accident that when doctors speak of death, they speak of the heart stopping.

The form of Love that is associated with the Body is Eros, which refers to bodily/sensual wants and desires. When Eros is used it is mostly in connection with sexual desires, but all produces of our Appetites fall here. As hinted at just now, Eros is connected to our Appetites. When we say we “love” a type of food, pizza for example, we refer to the love known as Eros. Unfortunately for us, Eros can overwhelm the other loves and become “inordinate”, which means that our Will serves it and our Spirit dies).

Emotions are something special, in that they mix both bodily desires/Appetites with the product of the Soul as well. When we speak of Emotions, we refer to them as “coming from the heart.” The Jews and Greeks thought that the organ itself was responsible. We know that isn’t the case now, as it is the brain instead. But that is still a function of the Body. This is why animals can have emotions. Yet we also recognize that the Soul also plays a role as well- which explains why emotions are much more developed in human beings. Sometimes when Scripture refers to the Heart, it refers to that connection with emotions- a product of both Soul and Body.

B. Soul

When we speak of Heart in connection with the Soul, we refer to our innermost being- the depths of who and what we are. What keeps our soul alive. This is the form of Heart used most commonly in the New Testament. This Heart is also connected with emotions and feelings.

The form of Love associated with the Soul is Philia. This is the faculty which allows our soul to “desire” immaterial things like friendship, or peace or philosophical ends. Philia is a higher form of Love than Eros, and since it is immaterial can last forever (presumably we can still love our friends in Heaven). Pursuit of this form of Love leads to a more fulfilling life. Philia is associated with our Free Will, and resides in the Heart of our Soul.

C. Spirit

When we speak of Heart in connection with the Spirit, we refer to our union of God. The life of the Spirit, that divine life within us which is provided by a connection with God. “12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13). When we treasure the things of God, and build up Spiritual treasure, then our Heart resides with Him. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21).

The form of Love associated with the Spirit is Agape, or Caritas (Charity). This Love resides in the Spirit and is the expression of wanting that the Spirit demonstrates. It is a desire for God, to be fully united with him. Agape or Caritas is a self-sacrificial love that gives and asks nothing in return- this makes it the highest form of love, and ultimately the most fulfilling. Naturally enough, this is the Love that God has for us. Caritas is the greatest of the theological virtues, and the first gift of the Holy Spirit. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we cannot help but demonstrate Caritas (think the Evangelizing by the Apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit- they were punch drunk with Love). Since it is associate with the Spirit, this Love is only possible with Grace- we can’t do it without God.

[This section is still a little light, I need to do some more inquiry here. Expect it to be updated in the future.]

V. Conclusion

That brings this background post to a finish. The next few major posts of mine should tie back to this one. Hopefully it will soon make sense why I went to the effort to write all of this. In the meantime, any questions about what I’ve written can be left in the comments. I will try and address them as time permits. In addition, I will likely update this post to correct any deficiencies as they come to my attention, or to clarify anything that needs further explanation.

Advertisements

33 Comments

Filed under Christianity, God, Moral Agency, Sin, State of Nature, Temptation

33 responses to “Background On The Nature Of Man

  1. http://freedompowerandwealth.com

    Very good post. I will be coming back to see the next articles of this series.

  2. This is an excellent summary!
    The East typically views the Fall as involving the darkening of what in Greek is called the “nous”. This is a horrendously difficult word to translate. It is sometimes translated as “mind”, which is a very bad translation for English in particular, because the word mind has mostly connotations that have nothing at all to do with the concept of “nous”. The idea is that the nous is like the eye of the soul – that is, following your schema a bit, the sensing aspect of the soul.
    I’ll transcribe a quote at length from a book called “The Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition”, written by Metropolitan Hierotheos of the Church of Greece ,at length here, because he explains it as well as anyone I have seen:
    “…man’s soul consists of nous, word (logos/reason) and spirit, according to the mode of existence of the Most Holy Trinity. St. John of Damascus says that God created man’s soul rational and noetic. It is also endowed with spirit, which, as the fathers say, is “the noetic love of the soul”. Thus we distinguish the energy of the nous from the energy of reason. The nous is different from the rational faculty. The nous is the eye of the soul. As the eye of the body sees all God’s creation and the whole of nature, so the eye of the soul, the nous, acquires experience of God. This is the way in which the powers of the soul operated before the Fall. …
    Prior to the Fall, Adam was in a state of illumination of the nous, which we now call the second stage of the spiritual life. But after the Fall, his nous was darkened and taken captive. … What actually happened? Reason tried to outflank man’s nous. It rebelled against the nous. It tried, in cooperation with the devil’s efforts to tempt man, to interpret how man would reach theosis (union with God/partaking in the divine nature), namely by abolishing God’s commandment. So we have the nous being identified with reason. The nous, instead of governing reason, is now identified with it. In fact, when we speak of original sin and its consequences, we mean three things. The first is the malfunctioning of the nous. The nous ceased to function normally. Secondly, we mean the identification of the nous with reason and, to a certain extent, the deification of reason. Thirdly, the nous is subjected to the passions, to anxiety and the conditions in its surroundings. This is really death for man, his total disintegration. His inner self id deadened. His nous was darkened. And, just as when the physical eye is harmed the whole body is darkened, so when the eye of the soul, the nous, is blinded, the entire spiritual organism becomes ill and falls into deep darkness. However, aside from the fact that this brought about the disruption of the whole inner functioning of the soul, it resulted simultaneously in man’s external disruption as well. He now faces his fellow human beings, God, the world and the whole creation differently. The reason attempts to meet God, since the nous is unable to do so. Thus idols of God are created and consequently idolatrous religions, as well as heretical deviations. Because the nous is unable to see man as the image of God, reason sees him in a different way, under the influence of the passions. Man exploits his fellow man for love of glory, pleasure and material gain.

    In any case, we were saying earlier that Orthodoxy is a therapeutic method and science, and also that theology is a therapeutic method. It cures man. Yet if we do not know where the illness lies, how can we know what we should heal? It must be clear to us that by illness we mean the darkness of the nous. Then we will immediately realize that healing is the illumination of the nous. The Sacraments and the whole ascetic tradition of the Church are meant to lead us to where Adam was before the Fall, that is, to the illumination of the nous, and from there to theosis, which was man’s original destination.”
    His writing is quixotic, which is probably due to having spent as much time as he has on the Holy Mountain, but nevertheless it’s a good summary of how the East tends to view these things. It rhymes with what you have written, I think, but is also a bit different in a few aspects.
    Anyway, excellent post – look forward to the rest of the series.

  3. Donal,

    I have a bunch of quibbles with your definitions of which I am writing up a lengthy post. I should finish it today so hold off on your next ones for now if possible as I’m delving into the Hebrew and Greek to properly define things.

    I’ll post a link here when I’m finished.

  4. A Visitor

    I have nothing of substance to add besides that this was a great first post and that I am looking forward to the follow ups.

  5. Pingback: The nature of man is spirit, soul, heart, and flesh | Christianity and the manosphere

  6. MK

    TA, “[t]he will is the name of the rational appetite,” hence it is the Soul’s counterpart to our Body’s Appetites.

    Thanks for that. I am always in awe how the “rational appetite” is so often justified by Christians in regards to marriage, family, and religious disunity. Moral justification of birth control and divorce always follow (only for special cases, of course!). Yet these sins are clearly mortal: no matter how slick or sophisticated one’s theological reasoning the basic demographic reality cannot be denied.

    We see this most clearly in the Muslim invasion of Europe, which started as early as WWI (taking advantage of Christian disunity and individualism). The painful truth? Muslims, for all their theological error, at least get the very first commandments of God correct: multiply! Obey! And no amount of theological posturing by Christians can deny the physical consequences of declining populations. Theology has consequences. it’s truly beautiful.

  7. Finish it finally:

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2015/11/10/the-nature-of-man-is-spirit-soul-heart-and-flesh/

    The main thing that you’re missing here is the “heart” and missing the heart leads to a lot of different conclusions than you made when you only assumed there is “spirit” and “soul” and “flesh” only. Specifically, you’re imparting some things to the body and soul that should be imparted to the heart. Both rational and emotional thoughts and intents are from the heart not from the soul and body respectively.

    On a basic level,

    1. “Spirit” is our entire “breath of life” which is composed of soul, heart, and body
    2. “Soul” is our life or more aptly named “consciousness” which is immaterial
    3. “Heart” is the seat of our rational and emotional
    4. “Flesh” houses our soul and heart

    See the above link for more details and Scripture references which support this.

  8. @ Deep Strength

    I can’t believe that I forgot to include a section on Heart (and Love, which would accompany it). I will try and get that included either today or tomorrow. In the meantime I will look over your post.

  9. Feminine But Not Feminist

    This post was already awesomely brilliant, but the update made it even more so!

  10. Mrs. C

    I think the E.O. understanding of the nature of man is the same as the Catholic church. You referred to Human Nature(s) but the understanding is that there is only one human nature made of body and soul. They shouldn’t be thought of as two natures united together but different aspects of one whole being. The CCC states “365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:[234] i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.”

    The soul is what animates the body and with animals and plants their souls cease to exist when the body dies. Humans have a spiritual soul. This means that their souls have the faculties of intellect and will which flow from its essence. A soul in the state of grace participates in the very life of God. The supernatural aspect of our soul means that this grace, along with the infused virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit, help to perfect the person and the faculties of the soul. The supernatural aspect is sometimes referred to as spirit but shouldn’t be seen as something distinct from the soul. This grace divinizes the soul and helps to perfect and elevate the intelligence and will. Because humans have a spiritual soul, the soul is immortal and capable of existing when the body ceases to exist but ultimately has an affinity for the body. Our souls are capable of being perfected and will be reunited with our glorified bodies.

    I don’t think we say angels have souls but that they are pure spirit, whereas our souls are a spirit that depends on the body for its operation in this life and naturally prefers to be reunited with the body after death.

    “In St. Thomas’ understanding, “heart” refers to the human will, the power of decision-making. “Soul” refers to the passions and appetites. These are powers that move us to some action, whether good or evil. “Mind” refers to the intellect, the power to know and understand. “Strength” refers to our commitment to carry through with difficult tasks.”

  11. About the edit.

    Speaking on the topic of the heart itself in relation to the body… there is evidence that a heart affects the desires somewhat. This is seen in heart transplant patients desiring things that the previous owner of the heart did.

    http://www.namahjournal.com/doc/Actual/Memory-transference-in-organ-transplant-recipients-vol-19-iss-1.html

    Additionally, not sure if I agree with the Eastern view on how the spirit, soul, heart, and flesh interact. I’ll have to think about it more. The Jewish concept seems to be a bit more clear to me in that the “heart” is the seat of the rational and emotional and that there should be no distinction between them. It basically unifies desire with everything and considers it in a more holistic perspective.

  12. @ Deep Strength

    Speaking on the topic of the heart itself in relation to the body… there is evidence that a heart affects the desires somewhat.

    I remember hearing about that. I can think of several explanations, with different hormone levels and chemical differences between the first and second organ playing a role.

    The Jewish concept seems to be a bit more clear to me in that the “heart” is the seat of the rational and emotional and that there should be no distinction between them. It basically unifies desire with everything and considers it in a more holistic perspective.

    I actually don’t disagree with you on this. I too like the idea of emotions and reason being tied to the same source- our innermost being. But the model I am drawing on explained it this way, and I’m using it for now. I should add that this is merely one Eastern Church (Eastern Catholic, to be specific) model. My understanding is that the Eastern Church has more diversity of thought here than as found in the RC church. This can be seen in what Mrs. C. mentioned earlier.

  13. I’m unsure if you need to modify it.

    Remember, the passions as we think of them ARE the interaction of body and soul. Namely, it is when the desires of concupisience overtake the powers of the soul to govern according to a well formed conscience. The results are that the will goes forward from the agent to enact disordered desires, rather than rightfully ordered desires if the soul guided the conscience.

    Most of the confusion seems to spring from your choices in terms, as well as the fact that, from what I can tell of Aquinas’ thinking, the essence of a man is formed by body and soul. Body refers to ALL matter within the temporal realm, the senses by which we perceive the physical world, and the desires based on those senses. Soul refers to ALL subjects that fall within the incorporeal realm. So soul, by Thomistic teachings, is a composite of the intellect, the spirit (the now common use for ‘soul’) and the will.

    Thus you start to have a foundation for Thomistic thought in which the temporal components of our essence interact in a temporal manner, which can then be relayed to those that make up the soul of man. A soul with a weak willpower will be overthrown by the tyranny of his ungoverned body.

    Does that help?

  14. @ Chad

    I’ve modified the post already, I’m not sure what you are referring to in your comment.

    This model is different from that used by Aquinas, as are the terms. I just included some of his thought in different parts. It is mostly EC derived. Rather than just Body and Soul, it separate Soul into the Spiritual and non-Spiritual component. One thing about this model is that it places the soul in the middle, with Spirit and Body on opposite side, opposed to one another. It helps make clear that our Soul must choose between the Body (world) or the Spirit (God) in terms of priority.

  15. Made some edits around the use of the word “nature.” Instead of saying we have three “natures”, I am instead trying to say human nature has three “features” -body, soul and spirit.

  16. Ah, I had read it earlier in the da and hadn’t reread it to see if you’d changed it yet.

    Also, when I saw you reference Aquinas I assumed you were using him as a model and chosing different terms to try and make it clear to any non Catholic or those not educated on Thomas.

    May I suggest that the issue is solved more clearly by saying that the will, a part of the soul, can either chose to have the individual partake of the Divine nature or in base pleasures of the body? From what I can see, this simplifies the conversation, adds clarity, and allows further depth of thought.

  17. Chad, I made an alteration to the section on A Choice Must be Made which included your suggested clarification.

  18. T.

    Donal, too much theologizing and philosophizing here… that’s not a helpful mindset when attracting women. There’s a time for that of course, but I’ve seen it through my theology nerd friends – they are all unsuccessful with women. Never.

  19. T.

    If you were to ask me, I’ll just say Man is not perfect, and is always inclined to sin because that’s the easy and self-pleasing way. Christianity teaches us to deny that at times for the sake of God and others, and makes us more selfless people in the process, being more able to love unconditionally just like Jesus did.

  20. @ T

    Donal, too much theologizing and philosophizing here… that’s not a helpful mindset when attracting women.

    I don’t take this approach or attitude with me when trying to find a wife. I know when and where to philosophize.

  21. Scott

    Just saw this. Thanks for writing it. I will go read the other one now!

  22. Pingback: The Mammon Trap- Replacing The Holy Spirit | Donal Graeme

  23. Pingback: Morally Contextualized Romance

  24. Pingback: The loss of identity in marriage | Morally Contextualized Romance

  25. Pingback: Brief Thoughts And Updates | Donal Graeme

  26. Pingback: Two Become One | Donal Graeme

  27. Pingback: Reference: Men Refusing To Marry Non-Virgins Won’t End The Hook-Up Culture | Donal Graeme

  28. Nestor

    “The Flesh and the Spirit are opposed, they do constant battle with one another.”

    This is Manichaeism. You are not a Christian, you are a Manichaean.

  29. @ Nestor

    A bold statement. Especially since I backed it up with a writing from St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians that argues exactly what I stated. All I did was add the word “battle” in there.

  30. Pingback: Selected Sunday Scriptures- #111 | Donal Graeme

  31. Pingback: Thoughts On Love In Marriage | Donal Graeme

  32. Pingback: Prayer, Anger And Peace | Donal Graeme

  33. Pingback: Splitting Eros Leads To Disaster | Donal Graeme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s