My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
THE DANGER OF LOSING YOUR SOUL
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and
loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for
his soul?" (St. Matthew 16:26).
At the creation of the SOUL, God took nothing of it from the earth but imparted it to man SOLELY BY His creative INBREATHING. This clearly shows that, in the conception of the word of God, "the HUMAN SOUL IS AN ESSENCE COMPLETELY SEPARATE FROM THE BODY AND FROM EVERYTHING NATURAL AND COMPOSED OF ELEMENTS, HAVING A NATURE NOT EARTHLY, BUT ABOVE THE WORLD, HEAVENLY." The high PRE-EMINENCE OF MAN’S SOUL compared to everything earthly was expressed by the Lord Jesus Christ in the words: "What is a man profiteth, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (St.Matthew 16:26), The Lord Jesus instructed His disciples: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul" (St. Matthew 10:28).
Concerning THE EXALTED DIGNITY OF THE SOUL, Saint Gregory the Theologian expresses himself thus: "The soul IS THE BREATH OF GOD, and while being heavenly, it endures being mixed with what IS OF THE DUST. It IS A LIGHT ENCLOSED IN A CAVE, BUT STILL, IT IS DIVINE AND INEXTINGUISHABLE… The Logos/Word spoke and having taken part of the newly-created earth, with His IMMORTAL HANDS FORMED MY IMAGE AND IMPARTED TO IT His life; because He sent INTO IT THE SPIRIT, which IS A RAY OF THE INVISIBLE Divinity" (Homily 7, "On the Soul").
The very statement that the soul is of heavenly origin does not mean that the soul is divine in essence. "He breathed the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7) is an anthropomorphic expression, and there is no basis for understanding it as meaning that He gave something of His Divine substance.
Appealing to simple observation the Church Fathers show:
a. That it is characteristic of the soul to GOVERN the strivings of the body, and characteristic of the body to accept
this governance (Athenagoras and others).
b. That the body is, as it were, a tool or instrument of an artist, while the soul is the artist (Sts. Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa,
Cyril of Jerusalem and others).
c. That the soul is not unconditionally subject to the impulses of the body; it is even capable of "ENTERING INTO WARFARE" with the striving of the body as with something foreign and hostile to it, and is able to gain victory over them, thus showing that it is NOT THE SAME THING AS THE BODY but IS AN INVISIBLE ESSENCE, IS OF A DIFFERENT NATURE, SURPASSING EVERY BODILY NATURE (Origen)
d. That it is INTANGIBLE and UNGRASPABLE, and is neither blood, nor air, nor fire, but a self-moving principle (Lactantius)
e. That the soul is a power which brings all the members of the organism into full HARMONY AND FULL UNITY (Saint Athanasius the Great and Saint Basil the Great).
f. That the soul possesses REASON, SELF-AWARENESS, AND FREE WILL (Origen and others).
g, Speaking of the very nature of the soul, the Fathers and Teachers of the Church point to the SIMPLICITY and IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL, as opposed to the complexity and the material crudeness of the body; they indicate ITS INVISIBILITY AND COMPLETE ABSENCE OF FORM, and in general to the fact that IS IS NOT SUBJECT TO ANY OF TEH MEASUREMENTS (SPACE, WEIGHT, etc.) to which the body is subject (Origen and others).
How the soul of each individual man originates is not fully revealed in the word of God it is "A MYSTERY KNOWN TO GOD ALONE" (Saint Cyril of Alexandria), and the Church does not give us a strictly defined teaching on this subject… In the view of certain Holy Fathers of the Church (Sts. Clement of Alexandria, John Chrysostom, Epiphanius the Syrian, Theodoret).
"… According to Tertullian, Sts. Gregory the Theologian, Gregory of Nyssa, Macarius the Great, Athanasius the Presbyter, BOTH THE SOUL AND BODY RECEIVE THEIR BEGINNING SIMULTANEOUSLY AND MATURE TOGETHER; THE SOUL PROCEEDS FROM THE SOULS OF THE PARENTS JUST AS THE BODY PROCEEDS FROM THE BODIES OF THE PARENTS. In this way, "creation" is understood here in a broad sense as the participation of the creative power of God which is present and essential everywhere, for every kind of life. The foundation of this view is the fact that in the person of our forefather Adam, God created the human race–"He HATH MADE OF ONE BLOOD ALL NATIONS OF MEN" (Acts 17:26). From this, it follows that in Adam the soul and body of every man was given in potentiality. But God’s decree is brought into reality in such a way that God holds all things in His hand: "HE GIVETH TO ALL LIFE, AND BREATH, AND ALL THINGS" (Acts 17:25). God, HAVING CREATED, CONTINUES TO CREATE." (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Father Michael Pomazansky)
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +
With sincere agape in His Life-Saving Resurrection,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George