Reader Inquiry- Soul Mate Sources

Today I am asking a favor of my readers, principally the Catholic and Orthodox ones. I am asking if any of you know of any writing by the Saints or early Church Fathers which would seem to support the notion of “Soul Mates.” At the same time, I would also like to know of any writing by said persons which argues against or rejects the idea of “Soul Mates.” I hope to use any quotes on the matter in a future post, but unfortunately I am low on time to search for them. Hence my inquiry. Thanks to any who do contribute.

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13 Comments

Filed under Christianity, The Church, Tradition

13 responses to “Reader Inquiry- Soul Mate Sources

  1. fuzziewuzziebear

    Donal,
    I don’t think that there is much out there. The concept of “Soulmates” springboarded off kids finding their own partners and that is, historically, very recent. The more that I learn, the more I come to realize that the old school may be the best school. In the first century, it was normal for parents to line kids up by age twelve. From the time of their betrothment, they could work on compatibility. That sounds more workable in a time when people hardly ever left their village.

  2. The concept of soul mates seems counter to Christ saying no one is married in heaven. I haven’t run into any denial or affirmation in my readings, but I doubt I will as I haven’t even come across anything remotely similar in concept.

    The closest thing I can consider is that, thr Catholic understanding of God existing outside of time, he has always known/knows/will know who you marry in your pilgrimage on earth. Coupling this with the concept that He gives you what you need for salvation, it stands to reason that both spouses are literally made with their marriage in mind.

    This does not, however, mean that you’ll have a particularly happy marriage, and in fact the concept applies to disastrous (but intact) marriages as well. The modern version is just a shallow romanticism of the realities involved

  3. Michael Kozaki

    Agree with Chad. If we love our fellow man like Jesus loves us, isn’t everyone our “soulmate”? Couldn’t we marry any woman destined for heaven?

    I think a lot of this “soul mate” confusion derives from modern theology rejecting 1) praying to the saints, and 2) that works are required for salvation. An isolation view of salvation results in a desperate longing for real human connection in marriage, family, and Church.

    That’s why it makes sense people don’t really want to go to heaven, and don’t want any soulmates. Most reject Jesus’ teachings on sin, obedience, Church, and marriage outright because they interfere with individual freedom. Think about it: marriage and family are just a small taste of the unity of the Trinity, but even this weak imitation is too much for us. We want Jesus to wave a magic wand so we get to keep our sins, avoid cleaning our soul either now or in purgatory, and yet somehow hang out in heaven. No, we will gladly get back on the bus to hell, where we can still be sinful individuals again.

  4. The “Soulmate” theory is Platonic, found in the Symposium. I don’t know of any saints or Church Fathers who condoned it.

  5. (Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40)
    23That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and questioned Him. 24“Teacher,” they said, “Moses declared that if a man dies without having children, his brother is to marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died without having children. So he left his wife to his brother. 26The same thing happened to the second and third brothers, down to the seventh. 27And last of all, the woman died. 28In the resurrection, then, whose wife will she be of the seven? For all of them were married to her.”

    29Jesus replied, “You are mistaken because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30In the resurrection, people will neither marry nor be given in marriage. Instead, they will be like the angels in heaven. 31But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what God said to you: 32‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?’c He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

    33When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

  6. Sorry fem-churchy, no soul mates for you.

  7. The only thing I’m aware of that supports the idea of having a soul mate is in Scripture, in the book of Tobit (Protestants won’t be familiar with this because Martin Luther decided to eliminate it from his Bible). Tobit 6:15-17 says this:

    (15) But the angel [Raphael] said to him [Tobias, the son of Tobit], “do you not remember the words with which your father commanded you to take a wife from among your own people? Now listen to me, brother, for she will become your wife; and do not worry about the demon [a demon had killed her first 7 husbands on the wedding nights before the marriages could be consummated], for this very night she will be given to you in marriage. (16) When you enter the bridal chamber, you shall take live ashes of incense and lay upon them some of the heart and liver of the fish so as to make a smoke. (17) Then the demon will smell it and flee away, and will never again return. And when you approach her, rise up, both of you, and cry out to the merciful God, and he will save you and have mercy on you. Do not be afraid, for she was destined for you from eternity. You will save her, and she will go with you, and I suppose that you will have children by her.” When Tobias heard these things, he fell in love with her and yearned deeply for her [and he hadn’t even met her yet; they were on their way to her father’s house].

    Then again, there’s a multitude of things written in Scripture that talk about how a widow should remarry, and how none of us are married in heaven (like was quoted above by Rollo).

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think that God might have plans for some people (who have marriage as a Vocation) to be paired off with each other in marriage, and for Him to be able to orchestrate their circumstances to make sure it happens. At the same time, the notion that everyone has this one person in the world that’s just perfect for them, and that everything will just fall into your lap, and things will be all hunky dory with them all.the.time, and that if you’re destined to be together that the relationship will be perfect, is completely bogus. Marriage is supposed to help you and the other person get to Heaven, which will require iron sharpening iron and whatnot. It’s not meant to be easy, as taking the narrow way and swimming upstream never is.

  8. Oh, and everything [in brackets, like this] within the Scripture verses I quoted are my own words providing context for those who have never read Tobit. It’s not part of the Scripture.

  9. @ Cassie

    Tobit is an OT parable or “morality play”, not a historical account. So it does things like go tongue in cheek at points- for example, there is one part where Raphel talks about how “God’s healing is near” – an obvious allusion to his name.

    The bit about “eternity” was meant to be tongue in cheek- some melodrama thrown in so the reader would realize that the author wasn’t being serious there. So no, it doesn’t endorse soul mates. In fact it probably should be taken as poking fun at them. As someone else pointed out, they are pagan in origin. And the author of Tobit would likely have been somewhat aware of pagan notions, and might well have been poking fun at that particular one. Just speculation on my part, of course, but I think a reasonable hypothesis.

  10. If we love our fellow man like Jesus loves us, isn’t everyone our “soulmate”? Couldn’t we marry any woman destined for heaven?

    This is, I think, probably the truth here. Although even that is being a bit sloppy on my part- just because someone might make it to heaven doesn’t mean they would necessarily be a good spouse.

    Another look at it: if the other person can help sanctify us, then they are right for us.

    It is just important to reject the whole “specific person picked out by God” bit. Given Scripture and Sacred Tradition, I think that if that were to ever be the case, God would make it abundantly clear- as in, at the very least, an angel coming down from On High and letting us know in no uncertain terms. Probably not just an angel either, but an archangel would likely be a must, just to make it clear.

  11. That is not to say that I believe we are entirely on our own. God can and does help the faithful with their vocations, marriage included. In fact in this day and age it might only be with God’s help that someone can marry well. But that is not the same as saying God has specifically chosen one single person among everyone else on the plane to be our spouse.

  12. Saint Raphael is patron saint of happy encounters. One can intercede through him to find a suitable spouse. Some people have dubbed him patron saint of “soul mates” but that’s not an accurate description.

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