Unit 4 - Beliefs about The Soul

General Christian Beliefs about the Soul

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Beliefs about the Soul - Beliefs of Plato

Greek Philosopher Plato (428-348 BCE) thought that the soul is the essence of a person and that it is what makes us individuals ie what makes a person unique. He taught others that it is with the soul that we know how to act and that the soul was eternal and once we die we go to heaven/hell. Plato split the soul up into 3 parts:

  • The pathos - This relates to our physical needs.
  • The thymos - This relates to our emotional motive for behaving the way we do
  • The logos - This is the mind and it allows logic to be used in our decisions.

He refers to the analogy of the Parrot ( the soul) and the Cage( the body.) If the cage breaks, the parrot is still alive and is now free. This relates to our soul being eternal and our body being mortal.

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Beliefs of Aristotle

Aristotle was also a Greek philosopher and lives in the times of 384 - 322 BCE. He believed that the soul was the essence of a person. But he though that it didn't have a separate existence from the body. Therefore he argued the soul was not eternal.

He said the reason why we have bodies is to act in a rational way and that our capacity to act rationally was our essence, shown below as the Knife Example.

The essence of a knife is to cut The essence of a human is to act rationally.

Once destroyed and is a lump When a person dies, they can no longer act

of metal it can no longer cut. rationally

The essence ceases to exist Their essence no longer exists.

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More key ideas

Christians believe that the body and the soul are constantly in conflict as the body wants to fulfil its desires and satisfy their pleasures as the spirit wants to praise and please God( this gives us a relationship with God that can be developed.) This key idea is from the Bible in Romans 7:21 - 24

(((These is two separate points, the body and soul in conflict is 1 mark and the desires of the body and soul is another)))

"The Lord God formed the man from dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

  • God breathed life into Adam ( the breath is thought of being his soul)
  • We received life in a different way to animals, we have a soul and they don't.
  • We were made in the likeliness of God, who calls himself eternal (Genesis 1:27)

If we cut ourselves open we cannot see our soul unlike the body which can be seen.

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In the bible ( 1 Corinthians 3:16 ) it says human life is scared because we possess a soul. It says our body is a temple for God in which his spirit can live. This means we have and can develop a relationship with God.

In the letter to the Corinthians, Paul also explains how our body is imperfect and will die but our spiritual spirits will be resurrected ( 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 ) This is proved by the resurrection and ascension of Jesus to Heaven.

It also hold our conscience and tells us who we are and what the right and moral thing to do.

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Question Time

After Revising the above, answer the question:

Describe Christian beliefs about the soul ( 8 marks )

((Refer to specific points in the Bible, you don't necessarily have to quote them word from word but just mention where in the bible they are ))


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