The Corner

Souls V. Bodies

I like this, from a reader:

Jonah,

I think C.S. Lewis stated it best. “You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.”

You wrote, “ensoulment — the process by which God puts a soul in our bodies — is a controversial topic among religious scholars.”

I’m no religious leader, but I’d argue that God doesn’t put a soul in our bodies. Rather, He puts a body around our soul.

It’s a temporary “earth suit”, if you will.

Your soul is eternal, and won’t need it anymore after a time.

I enjoy your writing – very much.

Me: This is all very encouraging, but I would very much like to upgrade my earth suit.

Update: From a different reader:

Jonah,

C.S. Lewis was a great apologist but a lousy theologian.  To say that “you don’t have a soul, you are a soul” comes very close to gnosticism, and would be denounced as such by the Fathers of the Church, who knew gnostics up close and personal.  What Christianity actually teaches is that man–and man alone–is a psychosomatic entity consisting of a body and a soul.  Both together comprise the human person.  Animals are pure body–even to the extent that they have intellect, they do not have immortal souls; angels on the other hand, are pure spirit, and thus have only tenuous links to the material world.  Man alone participates in the entire “kosmos” created by God, who made all things visible and invisible (which formulation in the patristic mind implied material and immaterial).  Man therefore has a unique place in God’s plan as mediator of creation.  The patristic understanding of the Second Coming, therefore, is not the obliteration of the material universe so that man can live an airy-fairy existence in some immaterial heaven (white robe and harp optional), but the restoration of this world to the state it had before the fall of Adam.  To Christians, as to Jews, the resurrection of the dead means specifically the reuniting of the soul and the body in a restored humanity no longer subject to death and corruption.

Me: Does this mean I can’t trade in my earth suit? 

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