Why is the Holy Spirit sometimes called the Holy Ghost?

Nowadays, the word ghost typically refers to ‘An apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image’.1 However, this hasn’t always been the case.

A long time ago, the words spirit and ghost meant the same thing. The main difference between them was the language they had originally come from: spirit came from Latin and ghost from Germanic, via Old EnglishGhost meant ‘spirit, soul’ and spirit meant ‘breath, spirit [unsurprisingly!]’.2

The words Spirit and Ghost are used interchangeably in the Authorized Version [of the Bible]. Spirit (Latin spiritus from spiro to breath…) simply signifies breath or air in motion. Ghost appears in Saxon as gast, in German as geist, in Danish as geest, in Irish as gasda, and seems to be derived radically from some word signifying to move or rush; Irish, gaisim to flow; English, gush, gust… So that the Hebrew [word translated as spirit] (spirit or breath or wind), the Greek [word translated as spirit] … , the Latin spiritus, and the old English ghost, all suggest the breathing or moving of air, and are all nearly equivalent.3

It was only later that ghost got the meaning of an ‘apparition of a dead person’.4 Because this is now the most typical meaning of the wordghost, modern translations of the Bible use the word spirit consistently.5

Further reading


Notes

1. Meaning 1. in ‘ghost‘ on Oxford Dictionaries

2. See “Origin” section of the entries ‘ghost‘ and ‘spirit‘ on Oxford Dictionaries

3. E. H. Bickersteth, The Spirit of Life (London: Religious Tract Society, 1869), p. 37 footnote

4. See under ‘ghost’ in The Merriam-Webster New Book of Word Histories (Springfield: Merriam-Webster, 1991), p. 196-197

5. ibid. Cf., e.g., Mat. 1:18,20 and 3:11  in the KJV with the same verse in CEB, CEV, ESV, GNT, HCSB, LEB, NASB, NCV, NEB, NET, NIV, NLT, NRSV, REB, RSV, etc.

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Stepping Toes 2015 in review

WordPress for you and me

WordPress blue logo.svgThere are a huge amount of articles on the internet to find. We are happy that we can use Word Press were also many people try to place their word. It is an incredible fact: together, those bloggers published more than 660 million posts on WordPress.com in 2015, and made more than 655 million comments.

That’s a whole lot of joy, laughter, tears, insight, and thoughtfulness. And it’s just one part of a huge global community of people — WordPress now powers more than 25% of the internet — with interests ranging from the news shaping our world to personal stories that shape our own families and lives.

Bloggers and their issues

Stepping Toes -aim Nov. 14 14.12On this site and on our other sites for sure we shall not be able to receive as many viewers several bloggers may receive on theirs. Our subjects are of lesser interest. We do know it is not always good to compare with others, but as human beings we also are sensible for that. On this site and on From Guestwriters we may also talk about the serious and the mundane, the silly and the sorrowful. Marriage, parenthood, love, differences, divisions, and identity may be subjects you might find on this site and From Guestwriters as well on the Ecclesia site and the Brethren site. On this site there is not much place for the very popular subjects, like sports, movies, television, showbiz, entertainment  and politics. Sometimes love, romance, and much more often inner feelings may find some place here and on our sibling From Guestwriters.

Xanga and two new readers digests.

Stepping Toes - About Nov. 14 11.32On 28 September 2011 we started on Xanga to present some controversial themes. For some readers when Xanga closed down and found us on WordPress it could have been a revisiting. Two years after our start on Xanga we came to Word Press on October 2013. On this New Platform for us, we hoped to continue in the same way as on Xanga, presenting a readers digest of interesting material around religion and spiritual matters. We created this platform to bring more difficult issues and we present From Guestwriters to bring more social news and family related issues as well offering there a choice of what we could find interesting on the WordPress blogs and on selected material from the huge amount of publications on the internet, with the intention of bringing also some positive news in this world were there is a lot of suffering.

On this site eyes directed to the Master Creator

man in praiseWe took 2015 to look at religion, as usual, and looked at this world with or without religion and with or without a god or The God, wondering also why so many think there has to be a competition between those religions.

Once again the past year we had to come to the conclusion that there are many churches without faith. For that reason we wanted to continue our work of preaching and showing people that there are still several lovers of God and seekers and lovers of truth.

Gretchen Kelly of Drifting Through may think that

There is no After – happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today – During.

on “The Thing All Women Do That You Don’t Know About.” But we showed that even when there is no such thing of ourselves what people call ‘soul‘ that would continue to live when we die, we are convinced and hope to bring you to see, that we have reason enough to believe our hope in a later life is grounded in promises which will come true. We wrote that there is a more than great God to look for, Who promised a “heaven on earth” and had a short series on the mortal soul and mortal psyche.

To come to see what those promises are we pointed out to that Book of books which tells everything. We also looked at an anarchistic reading of the Bible. and at this and at our newest baby site ‘Messiah for All‘ we showed that nothing in the Bible has to exclude science. Yes a scientist has enough reason also to believe in God. Also an historian has enough reason to believe God’s Word, but he will be worried more, because he or she shall understand the predictions in the Bible and shall see the connection with what is going on now. Many people  may perhaps also see that we are entering a new period of cold war. We all should see what happens in the region or land of Euphrates and Tigris. It is very important that people come to understanding from sayings written long ago.

Calling on the Name Jehovah to be DeliveredWith the Bible at hand we continue to show you and our readers that we have a sword of the Spirit to come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man. In a year when it is still possible that girls can do anything that boys do but sometimes it turns out that they get killed for it {The story of “A Senseless Death,” from don of all trades.} on this site and on From Guestwriters we want to bring such anomalies in the news and have people think about it. In 2015 some people tried it to make impossible for parents to have their children growing up in a certain religious way. In the Middle East was there a oppression group which forced its own beliefs to all around. The problem with them is that they managed to get some Westerners to believe that what they say is in their holy scriptures, the Quran, though it is not and often contrary to what is written in it (like the abusing and killing of children, burning of the Quran and mosques, etc.)

In the year that Muslims denied the Jewish claim to the temple mount, we looked at Pascal’s possibility and the scientific evidence for God. We also continued to show were people go wrong in their thinking about the person of God and about God His son, whom we consider our Messiah. Closing the year we looked at that man, his skull and his skin and how certain pagan elements entered Christendom and still keep many Christians celebrating the birth of Christ on an other day than he is born, and how a framework and vehicle for Christian scholasticism and loss of confidence has been created.

Writings, happenings, perspectives, ciphers, visitors and viewers

Up to December the 29th 387 articles were published of which 77 were published this year, having this site looked at 3,200 times.

At our other sites we looked more at the tragedy of the EU refugee crisis. For sure 2016 shall bring that refugee crisis often in the picture. Also the ones who want to force all thinking and handling in the same way shall come more often in the news with their acts of terror.

WordPress Logo 中文: WordPress Logo

We do hope we shall be able on this site and on From Guestwriters to show the community how important it is that we keep an open mind to all sort of people and all sorts of believes. With others who write on WordPress, we like to come together to uplift each other. Following attacks in Paris and Beirut, WordPress.com bloggers offered unique perspectives on what happened around the world in 2015:

“Most never thought they’d be in this position.”

—From Lionel Beehner’s visit to the Zaatari refugee camp. More blogs featured in On the Run: Blogging the European Refugee Crisis.”

We don’t have to be united. We don’t have to agree. We don’t always have to “stand together,” even. That’s precisely what makes us strong, and that’s precisely what makes our way of life worth defending.

—Drew Messinger-Michaels (Everybody’s Talking at Once) on the Paris attacks. Featured in “Don’t Be Who ISIS Wants You to Be”: Bloggers on Paris and Beirut.

This is a day for celebrating equal treatment by the law, and equal recognition by the state.

—Lela Urquhart, at Tropics of Meta, on the history of marriage. Featured in the roundup “#LoveWins! LGBTQ Bloggers Make Their Voices Heard.”

Global Community

We could reach 75 countries in all with this site and do hope in the coming years to reach more people in more countries.
Most visitors came from The United States (2314). United Kingdom (141) & Netherlands (117) were not far behind. Belgium with only 61 viewers come far behind. Australia with 101 did even better.

For 2016 we shall continue our way trying to bring people closer to the Only One True God. We also shall try to show people that they do not have to change their own ‘I’ when becoming a Christian. On this site and on our sibling site From Guestwriter we shall try to get people not to neglect to live their life, but to make it fit in accordance with the ordinances of the Most High Almighty God. As the teacher Junah writes

We spend too much time to copy the life of others. Try to live life according to what you like. You have your own identity to showcase in the stage of life. {There is Life}

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 53 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Find also to read

  1. Stepping toes
  2. Xanga Toe Stepper made silent
  3. A new voice calling for peace
  4. Looking for writers for two Lifestyle Magazines
  5. The 2015 WordPress.com Year In Review!
  6. Five years on WordPress
  7. Bible and Science: Scientific Facts and Theories
  8. Is it “Wrong” to Believe that the Earth is a Sphere?
  9. Cosmogony
  10. First man’s task still counting today
  11. Can a scientist believe in God
  12. Daring to speak in multicultural environment
  13. From Guestwriters 2015 in review
  14. Summary for the year 2015 #1 Threat and fear
  15. Summary for the year 2015 # 2 Strewn with corpses and refugees
  16. 2015 In the Picture
  17. Belgian Bible Students review of 2015
  18. Bijbelvorsers Blogging annual report and 2015 in review

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Further reading

  1. New Zealand’s 2015: the year we hid from a world in need
  2. 2015 Review—–Year Of The Fracturing Bubble And Clueless Bull
  3. In 2015, India was Busy Watching Porn !!!
  4. 2015 Media Log Summary – Kendra’s Favorites!
  5. End of Year Review: Top 10 Psychology, Coaching and Confidence Blog Posts for 2015
  6. 2015: A Year in Review and Looking Ahead to 2016
  7. 2015 Blog Review – Thank You Followers – Now over 1000 posts
  8. The Main Event on BRT Radio 02/01/2016 – The Bayrak International DJ’s and 2015
  9. Year at a glance
  10. What I’ve learnt in 2015
  11. 2015 Writing Review (petergermany)
  12. 2015 In Review & Other Crunchy Numbers
  13. 2015 What the hell happened?
  14. 2015 in review (lifeingeelong)
  15. 2015 In Review (ingridandjimmy)
  16. 2015 Year-In Review (teaandsea)
  17. 2015 year in review (marathang)
  18. 2015 Review (balladblood)
  19. 50 Things that made me smile in 2015
  20. Let’s Try This Again
  21. 5 Quotes to describe my #TalesOf2015!
  22. It’s the New Year, Have You Changed in the last 365?
  23. New Year … New Projects !

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #6 Summary

Summary

Being aware that the Greek word psuche/psyche means “a living, breathing creature,” referring to man, animal or plant, we as human beings should not consider “Soul” meaning something immortal inside of man or animal. Those plants and animals, like human beings or souls shall die and deteriorate. For all of them it shall be the same, having decay coming over them.

Faroe stamp 430 The First Human Beings

Faroe stamp 430 The First Human Beings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Holy Scriptures remind everybody that they shall wither or like animal and plants become nothing again, like they were nothing before they were born. We as human beings, be it father, mother, daughter or son, we all have a sinful nature and like all those that sin, we shall die.

The Creator provided a universe with living beings. Man was created by God to inhabit the earth. The Divine Creator, the Elohim Hashem Jehovah, took care that there became an animated existence. He created things which received life because He allowed it to be it, in that being.

Immortality or the non death of the soul and or the spirit is a non-Biblical teaching which we do have to put aside as Platonism, not belonging in true Christianity, though it may be the cornerstone of many Christian Churches.

There is the breath of life (nesh-aw-maw) which (figuratively) returns to God when a person, the living fleshy soul (nephesh) dies. There is not at all a separation to take place and as such real Christians should not follow the teachings of ancient Greek writers that man is soul (immortal) and body (mortal), and the two can be separated.

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Preceding

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #4 Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #5 Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit

People Seeking for God 5 Bread of life

Autumn traditions for 2014 – 4 Blasphemy and ridiculing faith in God

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Additional reading

  1. Genesis – Story of creation 4 Genesis 2:16-25 Warning for Adam and Eve
  2. Genesis – Story of creation 5 Genesis 3:1-12 Eating of the fruit-tree of knowledge
  3. Dying or not
  4. What happens when we die?
  5. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  6. Decomposition, decay – vergaan, afsterven, ontbinding
  7. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  8. A philosophical error which rejects the body as part of the human person
  9. Building up the spirit of the soul
  10. We will all be changed
  11. We all are changed into the same image from glory to glory
  12. A Mundane Existance
  13. Material gain to honour God
  14. The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around
  15. God loving people justified

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #4 Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

Psy·khe′ appears by itself 102 times in the Westcott and Hort text of the Christian Greek Scriptures. We may assume that when we have so many references to the same word or subject we would have enough opportunity to make it possible to get a clear concept of the sense that these terms conveyed to the minds of the inspired Bible writers. When you compare one verse in one book with another verse from another book in the sample of Bible Books, as a reader you should be able to get some idea what they really meant by those words[1]. It should give a clear concept of the sense their writings should convey to the readers mind. An examination shows that, while the sense of these terms is broad, with different shades of meaning, among the Bible writers there was no inconsistency, confusion, or disharmony as to man’s nature, as existed among the Grecian philosophers of the so-called Classical Period.

The New Testament uses the word psyche to refer to life. Though Jesus says psyche is more than food or drink or clothing, it is clear from his words that psyche depends on these things (Matthew 6:25; Luke 12:22-23). Without food and drink the psyche would perish because the body would perish. Psyche is also subject to other frailties. The psyche of Epaphroditus was near to death due to illness (Philemon 2:30). Jesus, healing a man’s hand, asks whether it is better on the Sabbath to save psyche or to kill psyche (Mark 3:4; Luke 6:9). Psyche is something that can be harmed or even killed, and requires healing. Those “souls” with Paul on his voyage to Rome were in danger of shipwreck (Acts 27:10, 22, 37) and eight “souls” were saved from the Flood in the Ark (1 Peter 3:20). As child, Jesuspsyche was threatened by Herod (Matthew 2:20), and Elijah’s psyche was threatened by Jezebel (Romans 11:3). In all these cases it is clear that psyche means life, not some immaterial substance.

The fate of the psyche is equally clear in the NT. Far from being innately immortal, the psyche can be destroyed by capital punishment (Acts 3:23), for example. After death the psyche, rather than floating off to some other realm, resides in the grave – just as the psyche of Jesus did (Acts 2:27, 31). There is no verse in the NT that ascribes immortality to the psyche.

English: The Soul of the Rose, oil in canvas b...

The Soul of the Rose, oil in canvas by John William Waterhouse (British, 1849-1917), shows the mortal Psyche admiring the Eros’s magical garden, the Greek god of life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If psyche referred to your personhood or personality, to who you really were, then many expressions in the NT simply wouldn’t make sense. When Peter is willing to die for Jesus he says “I will lay down my psyche for you” (John 13:37); if Peter is his psyche and if that psyche survives death then what would Peter be laying down? Similarly, when Jesus gave his psyche (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 10:11, 15, 17; John 15:13; 1 John 3:16) what was it that he gave? If Jesus’ soul survived death then obviously the one thing he didn’t give was his soul. Paul says “I do not account my psyche of any value nor as precious to myself” (Acts 20:24); which is a bizarre and contradictory thing to say if he is his psyche. In all these cases, psyche would be better translated “life”. When Jesus talks about the danger that you might lose your psyche (Matt 10:39; Matt 16:25-6; Mark 8:35-7; Luke 9:24; Luke 17:33; John 12:25), he cannot be referring to an innately immortal, immaterial, substance that is you. Again, in these cases psyche is better translated “life”.

One potentially odd verse is Matthew 10:28:

Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the psyche. Rather fear him who can destroy both psyche and body in Gehenna.

This verse is clearly incompatible with the immortality of the soul, since here Jesus says that the soul can be destroyed. However this verse might be read as saying that the body and psyche die separately, that mere men cannot kill the psyche, and that the psyche will be finally destroyed in Gehenna. The parallel in Luke 12:4-5 does not mention the psyche, saying:

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him!

This sounds like there is some part of you that survives the death of the body that might be cast into hell. However once it is understand that Gehenna is a metaphor for complete annihilation after the final judgement then any appearance of the immortality of the soul disappears. According to Luke’s account Jesus is effectively saying “don’t fear death, fear a negative judgement in the Last Days”. Matthew’s account presumably has the same meaning. Psyche in Matt 10:28 cannot mean “life” (in a mundane sense), as Jesus implies that human adversaries cannot kill the psyche, but nor can psyche here mean immortal soul, as Jesus implies that God can and will destroy the psyche of the wicked. The phrase “cannot kill the psyche” in Matthew 10:28 cannot be taken in an absolute sense, because it is clear from Matthew 2:20 that, in Matthew’s own terminology, the psyche can be killed. The best way to make sense of Matthew 10:28 is to remember that Jesus believed in resurrection. Jesus believed that he would give up his psyche (Matthew 20:28) but that he would get it back. In the same way, the believer should not fear those who might take their lives because God is able to give them back their lives.

The Supreme Being, the True God that made the world and all things therein, being Lord of heaven and earth. He is the only Immortal Being (1 Tim 1:17). All the other beings have a beginning and an end to their existence or ‘being’. Their psyche came from nothingness or dust and shall again become nothingness or dust, not able to think or do anything. This will be so for plants, animals and mammals like human beings exactly the same; none of them shall be able to take anything with them in death or could do anything in death. We are all, believers and non-believers, doomed to pass away, just perishing and not going to continue to live in another form, but all coming to nought.

 

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[1] Studying the Bible demands such a comparison of verses to get a right insight of what the text really may mean.

 

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Preceding:

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Next:

Mortality of man and mortality of the spirit

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Additional reading:

  1. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  2. Is there an Immortal soul
  3. Bible sayings on the situation and place for the dead
  4. Jesus three days in hell
  5. Grave, tomb, sepulchre – graf, begraafplaats, rustplaats, sepulcrum
  6. This month’s survey question: Heaven and Hell
  7. What date was the Flood?
  8. Is God behind all suffering here on earth
  9. God’s wrath and sanctification
  10. Darkness, light, burning fire, Truth and people in it
  11. Autumn traditions for 2014 – 2 Summersend and mansend
  12. I Can’t Believe That (1) … God would send anyone to hell
  13. Jesus … will come in the same way as you saw him go
  14. To be prepared and very well oiled
  15. God’s Plan, Purpose and teachings

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Further reading

  1. The Journey of Self-Realization, is to Realize the Truth, Each Day.
  2. Von Belastbarkeitsgrenzen und der Sache mit dem Lernen
  3. A Return to Self
  4. Out of the Way (Mark 8:35)
  5. Emotional body’s set flexibility?
  6. Taking Care Of Your Psyche > Taking Care Of Your Psyche
  7. Mentality: Psyche, Slumps and the Perils of Hope

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #3 Historical background

Historical background

In Roman mythology Psyche represented the human spirit and was portrayed as a beautiful girl with butterfly wings. Lots of elements people could not understand were solved by telling stories about it. As such Psyche, a princess of such stunning beauty that people came from near and far to admire her, became a beautiful mortal desired by Cupid, to the dismay of Cupid’s mother goddess Venus, who summoned that her son Eros (also known as Cupid), the god of love, to make Psyche fall in love with some ugly, mean, and unworthy creature. Eros prepared to obey his mother’s wishes, but when he laid eyes on the beautiful Psyche, he fell in love with her.

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2)

BLW Cupid and Psyche (2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The goddess of fertility or fruitfulness, love, marriage, family life and beauty Aphrodite (identified by the Romans as Venus) decided to punish Psyche. Psyche broke Cupid’s rule and lit a lamp to look upon his face. For this disloyalty, Cupid abandoned her. Psyche wandered through the world in search of her lover Eros, but could not find him. Finally she asked Aphrodite for help, and the goddess gave her a set of seemingly impossible tasks. With the help of other gods, however, Psyche managed to sort a roomful of grain in one night and gather golden fleeces from a flock of sheep. For the final task, Aphrodite told Psyche to go the underworld and bring back a sealed box from Persephone. This trip to the underworld may be the background to the belief that the human ‘psyche’ or ‘soul’ would also travel to the underworld. Psyche retrieved the box and on her way back, overcome by curiosity, peeked inside it. The box released a deep sleep, which overpowered her.

Venus, Pan and Eros

Venus, Pan and Eros (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By this time Eros, could not bear to be without Psyche. He flew to where she lay sleeping, woke her, and took her to Olympus, where Zeus, son and successor of Cronos/Cronus as supreme god, commanded, as master of heavens and earth, that the punishment of Psyche ceased and gave permission for the lovers to marry. The Romans equated Zeus with their own supreme god, Jupiter (or Jove). As the father god and the upholder of morality, he was the only one who could reward the good and punish the evil. Zeus, as the one who was worshipped in connection with almost every aspect of life, had the power to give life to people. He then gave Psyche a cup of ambrosia, the food of the gods, reunited her with Cupid and made her immortal.

The many stories about such a wandering ‘ghost’ or immaterial element of the human body made people believe it could wander when being on this earth in a person, but leaving the body when that person died.

These early ideas about psyche, born out of mythology, were later explored by the Greek philosophers. Plato [1] quotes his master Socrates as saying:

The soul, . . . if it departs pure, dragging with it nothing of the body, . . . goes away into that which is like itself, into the invisible, divine, immortal, and wise, and when it arrives there it is happy, freed from error and folly and fear . . . and all the other human ills, and . . . lives in truth through all after time with the gods.[2]

One can understand the attraction of such an idea as a departing spirit because it takes away the fear of the unknown at death.

Aristotle, Plato’s pupil, considered the soul the form, or essence of any living thing; that it is not a distinct substance from the body that it is in. That it is the possession of soul (of a specific kind) that makes an organism an organism at all, and thus that the notion of a body without a soul, or of a soul in the wrong kind of body, is simply unintelligible. Aristotle thought of psyche as referring to something like the “life-force”.

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy...

Portrait of Aristoteles. Pentelic marble, copy of the Imperial Period (1st or 2nd century) of a lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In his second book of his major treatise on the nature of living things “On the Soul” (Greek Περὶ Ψυχῆς, Perì Psūchês; Latin De Anima), Aristotle threw a spanner in the soup. Aristotle divides substance into its three meanings (matter, form, and what is composed of both) and shows that the soul must be the first actuality of a naturally organised body. This is its form or essence. It cannot be matter because the soul is that in virtue of which things have life, and matter is only being in potency. According to him there are different sorts of souls, possessed by different kinds of living things, distinguished by their different operations. He also looked at the psyche or soul as an element that people, animals and plants had to have or possess to be able to live, grow and reproduce. The lower animals as such would have the powers of sense-perception and self-motion (action), whilst the higher mammals or human beings have all these elements of plants and lower animals as well as intellect.

Plato and Aristotle argued that some parts of the soul — the intellect — could exist without the body and this gave way to the assumption that this ‘soul’ could leave the body (the other soul) to exist on its own.

Eventually the Platonic idea about the immortality of the soul was adopted within Christianity, as the New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 452, 454 acknowledges:

The Christian concept of a spiritual soul created by God and infused into the body at conception to make man a living whole is the fruit of a long development in Christian philosophy. Only with Origen [died c. 254 C.E.] in the East and St. Augustine [died 430 C.E.] in the West was the soul established as a spiritual substance and a philosophical concept formed of its nature. . . . His [Augustine’s] doctrine. . . owed much (including some shortcomings) to Neoplatonism.

As a consequence of this Platonic heritage, modern translators render psyche as “soul”. Yet translators are often well aware that psyche does not carry this meaning. The Roman Catholic translation, The New American Bible, in its “Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28), says:

In the New Testament, to ‘save one’s soul’ (Mark 8:35) does not mean to save some ‘spiritual’ part of man, as opposed to his ‘body’ (in the Platonic sense) but the whole person with emphasis on the fact that the person is living, desiring, loving and willing, etc., in addition to being concrete and physical.[3]

[1] Greek and English Lexicon, 1836, p. 1404.

[2] Brain death is not the same as a vegetative state, but the two are often confused.

[3] Glossary of Biblical Theology Terms” (pp. 27, 28)

 

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Preceding:

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word

Next: Psyche, According to the Holy Scriptures

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Additional writings:

  1. Creation of the earth and man #9 Formation of man #1 Cure of souls
  2. Men as God
  3. Hellenistic influences
  4. A look at the Failing man

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Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #2 Psyche, the word

Psyche, the word

In psychoanalysis and other forms of depth psychology, the psyche refers to the forces in an individual that influence thought, behaviour and personality. The Greek word ψυχή (psūkhē) meant “life” in the sense of “breath”, from the verb ψύχω (psukhō, “to blow”). This Greek word, rendered in Latin as ‘anima, has traditionally been rendered in English as “soul”.

In the minds of most persons, the connotations of the word “soul” are not in agreement with the meaning of the Hebrew [נֶפֶשׁ] ‘ne′phesh” (Nepes, Nephesh)(Nefesh) and Greek ‘psy·khe′’ [ψυχή]) as used by the inspired Bible writers. This fact has steadily gained wider acknowledgement amongst scholars. Back in 1897, in the Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. XVI, p. 30), Professor C. A. Briggs, as a result of detailed analysis of the use of ne′phesh, observed:

“Soul” in English usage at the present time conveys usually a very different meaning from נפש [ne′phesh] in Hebrew, and it is easy for the incautious reader to misinterpret.”[1]

We should see the “soul” as “the capacity to live”, that is, any life chance for plants, animals and human beings.

46 is the earliest (nearly) complete manuscrip...

46 is the earliest (nearly) complete manuscript of the Epistles written by Paul in the new testament. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although the Hebrew word nefesh [in the Hebrew Scriptures] is frequently translated as ‘soul,’ it would be inaccurate to read into it a Greek meaning. Nefesh … is never conceived of as operating separately from the body. In the New Testament the Greek word psyche is often translated as ‘soul’ but again should not be readily understood to have the meaning the word had for the Greek philosophers. It usually means ‘life,’ or ‘vitality,’ or, at times, ‘the self.’[2]

Greek-English lexicons give such definitions for psyche as life,” and

“the conscious self or personality as centre of emotions, desires, and affections,” “a living being,”

and they show that even in non-Biblical Greek works the term was used of animals. We also can find all the meanings that the pagan Greek philosophers gave to the word, including that of “departed spirit,” “the immaterial and immortal soul,” “the spirit of the universe,” and “the immaterial principle of movement and life.” Evidently because some of the pagan philosophers taught that the soul departed from the body at death, the term psyche was also applied to the “butterfly or moth,” creatures which go through a metamorphosis changing from caterpillar to a winged creature.[3]

In the past, translators brought their background in philosophical literature to the translation the Holy Scriptures. Those translators interpreted psyche to mean something that was of a different substance than the body. This translation of the NT psyche was inconsistent the OT nephesh, which referred to the whole living being. The Bible does not say humans have a special separate substance called a soul. The soul, psyche or nephesh, is the person, the whole being including the mind, the body with its need for food, the very blood in the veins – all of the person.

Years ago the definition of death used to include only cessation of heart and lungs but now after further development it has been altered so that it can include permanent and irreversible brain failure. In the Germanic speaking countries, from a medical perspective, it is considered that when the ‘psyche’ or mind is not working any more, when the brain does not function any more, the person is considered to be death. In Europe the specific criteria used to pronounce legal death are variable and often depend on certain circumstances in order to pronounce a person legally dead. Controversy is often encountered due to the conflicts between moral and ethical values. Legal death is usually pronounced when a person is considered brain dead. Brain death is considered an irreversible coma. A patient is diagnosed as brain dead when there is no detectable brain activity. In the United States, brain death is legal in every state.[4]

This actually accords with the view of Scripture. It is when breath goes out of a person and the spirit (psyche) gives way, i.e. when the brain is not working any more, that a person dies and is dead. At that moment the memory is gone, and like plants or animals when they die, the person can no longer function and the body begins to decay. Then they shall rot or to cause to waste away and there shall take place a disintegrating of their body to end up into tiny particles of solid or powdery matter, called dust. Whatever the psyche is, ends at death.

Ecc 3:19-20 ESV For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.

[1] C. A. Briggs ; Journal of Biblical Literature (Vol. XVI, p. 30)

[2] The Encyclopedia Americana (1977), Vol. 25, p. 236.

[3] Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, revised by H. Jones, 1968, pp. 2026, 2027; Donnegan’s New Greek and English Lexicon, 1836, p. 1404.

[4] Brain death is not the same as a vegetative state, but the two are often confused.

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Preceding: Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro

Next: Historical background

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Additional reading:

  1. Science, belief, denial and visibility 1
  2. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  3. Are you religious, spiritual, or do you belong to a religion, having a faith or interfaith
  4. Creation of the earth and man #13 Formation of man #5 Living soul
  5. Elul Observances
  6. Human beings and creation
  7. Human Nature: What does the Bible teach?
  8. Soul
  9. The Soul not a ghost
  10. Is there an Immortal soul
  11. Immortality, eternality – onsterfelijkheid, eeuwigheid
  12. Dying or not
  13. What happens when we die?
  14. How are the dead?
  15. Dead and after
  16. Sheol or the grave
  17. Self-development, self-control, meditation, beliefs and spirituality

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Further reading material:

  1. Be a Mensch..
  2. Absolute Being and the relative universe
  3. “One is not born, but made, a human”
  4. A definition can never explain the essence of a thing
  5. Life is much more than a cluster of cells
  6. Finding the True Self
  7. Daily Bliss – October 20
  8. Poi Dog Pondering-All Saints Ascension
  9. Today
  10. Set Your Soul on Fire
  11. The Soul vs The Ego
  12. Influencing the soul
  13. The Crucial Distinction Between Your Soul and Your Spirit
  14. “Whispers of Hope”
  15. For yourself
  16. God First
  17. My God, My Hope!
  18. The Way
  19. Prayer to The Dead
  20. The Petition For Souls
  21. Do All Living Beings Have Souls???
  22. I Walk Upon the Path of the Occult
  23. A Season for Souls.
  24. Souls’ mission II
  25. The More We Have
  26. #37 Evaporating Souls
  27. The Threat of Faith
  28. Where Word Belongs to Man
  29. Rest for Weary Souls
  30. Grief and Writing
  31. Life Depends upon a Sentence
  32. Life can change in a heartbeat, or none at all
  33. Hell
  34. Falling into Beautiful Death
  35. Grave Choice
  36. Allhallowtide
  37. meeting God in the garden
  38. The Voice of the Shofar
  39. Five Smooth Stones
  40. Chewing the Cud
  41. Praying Dirt
  42. The Repairer of the Breach

 

Mortal Soul and Mortal Psyche #1 Intro

Intro

When a husband and wife come together, in that physical expression of mutual love and intimacy, sometimes a biological fusion will occur that starts a new life. After nine months a miracle of nature takes place and that foetus, now fully grown, sees the light of this world for the first time.

When in the womb of the mother that little human being does not know what happened before it. When that baby comes into the world it does not remember anything from before. The brain of the child is not yet fully formed and has no knowledge as yet. That child does not yet have any idea about right or wrong, good or bad. It is, in that sense, a blank slate.

As that child develops into a person, he will be influenced by the events of his life. The child shall grow up forming his inner being, his mind and way of thinking (his “soul”), along the way. That “soul” may be blessed with moments of goodness but will also be spotted with sin. Each person will struggle with temptation, each in their own way. Some struggling to resist; some consenting with their lusts and being drawn away by them.

Yet much of that child’s life has already been determined by the circumstance of its birth. There is “a time for birth,” Solomon said, but also “a time to die” (Ecclesia 3:1-2), and the days in between may be filled with many kinds of experiences including joy, pain, hard labour, abundance, trial and, if without God, emptiness (Job 7:1-3). Everything that a person has belongs to God, for it is only God (and not that person) who can deliver the “soul” from the power of death (Psalm 89:47-48). No person is so strong that they shall live on and escape the iron grip of death.

There may be a point in a person’s life where thought is given to the purpose of this life, and a conclusion might be reached that what this life offers is not entirely satisfying. At that point a person might stop and consider exploring if there is some higher purpose or truth in this life (Ecclesiastic 3:11). A person may embark on this inquiry without understanding completely that this inner urge to explore these questions are part of being created by God. Each person is created in the likeness of his Creator. All children are in the image of God, like the first human beings were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). And though from one perspective giving birth is a “natural” act, God is responsible for bringing things to life and all “natural” things (Psalm 90:2). Having eternity set within our hearts, yet living only for a short time, we long for something more; we long for a way for our person (our “soul”) to conquer death.

English: Fountain of Eternal Life

Fountain of Eternal Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Scriptures speak of another sort of birth, a spiritual birth, leading a new sort of life. A person “born of water and of the spirit” (John 3:5) can enter the Kingdom of God, becoming a child of God and enjoying everlasting life. This, then, is the way for the “soul” to endure. Not through natural immortality but through a second birth and entering through the small gate into the Kingdom of God.

In this chapter we shall look at what it means to have a “soul”, to form a “soul”, to have a mind to think and a body to be in; what it means to be mortal and to have the opportunity for eternal life, from the perspective of the New Testament.

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To be continued

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Additional reading:

  1. What is life?
  2. Creation Creator and Creation
  3. Creator and Blogger God 2 Image and likeness
  4. Born to Shine not to fear!
  5. Looking at three “I am” s
  6. Philosophy hand in hand with spirituality
  7. Necessity of a revelation of creation 2 Organisation of a system of things
  8. Eternity depends upon this short time on earth

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