Body, Soul and Spirit

Reality of Hell, Heaven, Purgatory.
Life, death and the last things > Body, Soul and Spirit

Body, Soul and Spirit

1Th 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Man is created in the image and likeness of God

Man is a creature of God, created in His image and likeness, part matter taken from the ground and part spirit infused by God. In the spiritual order man is a spirit living in a soul living in a body.
There are three persons in God, and even though we will never have the wisdom or knowledge to explain the mystery of the Holy Trinity, this is how in human terms we are closer to comprehend God the incomprehensible and to utter His unutterable Holy Name.

We can see that God is like a community of three Most Holy Powers which together make One.
God the Father is the absolute Power and Will, the principle of all things that have come into being from nothingness, from His Divine Essence and His Eternal Being.

God the Son is the splendor of the Father, the image of the unseen God, the first born of all creation, (Col 1:15) the Eternal Word of God who became flesh (Joh 1:14). He is the Logos, the Grace of God that has come to the created world to reveal God in truth, to assert His Holy Name (Joh 8:58) and to save His creation.
God the Holy Spirit is the Love of God the Father and God the Son. The breath of God that gives life, the power that sustains the universe, the light of God that shines over the darkness.

God has created man in his image and likeness. He has given him a trinity of inseparable parts that are integrated to make man what he is: Spirit, Soul and Body 1Th 5:23
It is interesting that God has put a small trinity in most of his works, the triple powers are encountered in most things if we look carefully.

Body, Soul and Spirit

Trinitarian image reflected in God's creation

  • The sun is like the Trinity, let's make a comparison, which even being so far away from God, helps us to understand a little bit the great mystery of the Trinitarian unity. Let's say God the Father is the fire, God the Son is the Light, and God the Holy Spirit is the warmth. Wherever there is a fire, there is light, wherever there is light, there is warmth. So the three are always together. God is One and yet three.

  • There are three kingdoms in nature: animal, vegetable and mineral.

  • Time is divided in three: past, present and future.
    States of matter: solid, liquid and gas.

  • Measurements of space: length, width and depth.

  • Primary colors: red, yellow and blue.

  • Parts of an atom: proton, neutrons and electron.

  • Types of radiation, sun's rays : alpha, beta, gamma.

  • Nutrients in the soil: nitrogen, phosphorous and potash.

  • Living cells in blood: red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets (orthrombocytes)

  • Human family: father, mother and children.

  • Powers of the soul: memory, will and understanding.

  • Human expression: thoughts, words and actions.

  • There are many more examples of course, they are like a signature of the Creator.

God is Spirit, but He created man both matter and spirit, allowing him to partake of His spiritual nature. Being Father of all spirits (Heb 12:9) God is our Father.
The Body is the earthen vessel that contains the soul and the spirit.
The Soul is the immortal breath of God, (Job 33:4) that keeps man alive in his mortal body and continues to live even after death, when it separates from the body.
The Spirit is the spark of the Divinity that God has placed in the soul, a little ray of light, it is a perfect image of God, a companion of man, that manifests in the conscience of man, it reminds him that he is a temple of God (1 Cor 3:16), it is like an imprint of the ten commandments.

The unspiritual man is guided by his natural human instincts and has the tendency to pervert himself if left unaided. God by his grace has given us the spirit, to help us to feel attracted to Him and to remember where we come from.

In the plan of God, man was created to know Him, love Him and serve Him. (Deu 10:12) But because He also gave us free will, we decided from the first man Adam our first earthly father to rebel against the Will of God, therefore losing the light that God had filled us with, when we entered the darkness of sin. We lost the original Grace He had given us with our life of sin and we lost our original immortality through our disobedience.
How fortunate for us that Christ has come into the world to undo the work of sin and to give us the Grace (Eph 2:8) to be restored to holiness.

What is the body?
Being made of dust, it is simply a container, an earthen vessel, a pot, that contains a heavenly treasure.

Because of our sinful nature, we are all destined to die, therefore the words of Saint John Vianney are very fitting, we are simply a bucket of worms.

The body with his human tendencies is always craving to satisfy the senses, unfortunately that leads us to sin. Saint Francis of Assisi called the body "brother donkey"

The body and the mind affect the soul with all their activities, the soul is made of light, but the body contaminates it with sin which places wounds on it and takes away its light.

The body being responsible for sin, colludes with the soul to destroy what God created pure. This is why after the final Judgment, all the dead will rise, their bodies will reunite with their souls, and the good will ascend to the Glory of God in body and soul, whereas the evil ones will sink to the depths of hell in body and soul to be punished eternally in the fire that is never put out and they will be tormented by the worm that never dies. (Mar 9:48)

The body being made of earth has earthly tendencies, on the other hand the soul was made to love God and has heavenly tendencies but is left at the mercy of the body, it shares its weaknesses.

The Spirit takes part being a force that helps man to control himself.


What is the soul?

The soul is the breath of life given to man when he is conceived, it is a spiritual body that unites to the physical body made of elements formed in the ground. We don't receive a soul from our parents, while they take part in God's creation, the soul comes directly from God, the soul is the life of a created being. Matter has no life but the soul being from God gives life to all created beings.
The soul of man being in the image and likeness of God is immortal, contrary to the soul of other creatures. The souls of animals and other created beings die when their bodies die.
The soul has three powers that help the mind to act: memory, will and understanding. The mind is the part of the person that helps him experience life in the world, it interacts with the soul and the spirit through feelings and emotions. The mind is more inclined to reason than to faith, therefore it poses the first opposition to the spiritual life which is based on faith.
The soul of man is an immortal body of light, it is given pure to man but it becomes sullied with our sinfulness and gets wounded mortally.

The soul in its glorified state is the perfect image and likeness of God, it partakes of the Immortality and Glory of the saints, it shares the attributes of God and enjoys the following properties: Clearness, Impassibility, Agility and Subtlety.

Excellent teachings about the Soul, Body, Self-love, Spirit and Humanity in a Spiritual Dialogue by St. Catherine of Genoa


last things

Definitions from the Summa Theologica
. Clearness: (Clarity) The risen body in glory will have a measure of lightsomeness and splendor, according to the soul's degree of glory. Says scripture (Matt. 13:43): "The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." This shining and splendid quality of the risen body is called its clarity.
. Impassibility: The bodies of the just will not be capable of suffering any pain whatever, nor will they ever undergo substantial change. The bodies of the damned will endure pains in hell, and hence are not impassible; yet these bodies will not undergo substantial change. St. Paul (I Cor. 15:42) says: "It [the body] is sown in corruption, it shall rise in corruption."
. Agility: The glorified body will be able to move with the quickness of thought from place to place under the direction of the soul and the command of the free will.
. Subtlety: The risen body will be, in all organic action, perfectly subject to the soul, and instantly responsive to the will, needing withal no material sustenance. This spirit-like quality of the risen body is called subtlety.

What is the Spirit of man?
The spirit is the immaterial part of man, it is so connected to the body and the soul, that it is full of earthly tendencies, it leads him to the things of the world and the cravings of the senses. It is nourished by our self love and works in direct opposition to the Spirit of God. The Lord says, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Our heart is pure when our spirit is pure.
In Baptism we receive the Holy Spirit of God and we receive sanctifying Grace which will help us to win the battle over the sinful nature of our human spirit. God has given us free choice: either we live by our human spirit and enter into darkness and death or accept His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and raise us from the dust to light and eternal life. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves, to give up our spirit in exchange for His Spirit, in order to become his followers.
Being temples of the Holy Spirit of God we must live according to the Spirit of God (Gal 5:16) and not according to the flesh, otherwise we open the doors of the soul to evil spirits that will take over the temple of God and pervert our humanity aided by our sinfulness.
God is the Father of all spirits. In Baptism we are clothed with Christ, we receive the Holy Spirit. God has put his spirit in man as prophesied in Eze 36:27 I shall put my spirit in you, and make you keep my laws, and respect and practice my judgments.
We are temples of the Holy Spirit. 1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own?
So penetrating deeper into our being, the body has a heart that gives life, that life comes from the soul, the breath of God, and the soul has its center of light in the Spirit of God who is the Light of all lights.
The Holy Spirit is God Himself, He is like the wind that comes from here or there, we cannot see it but He acts in us and through us (Joh 3:8). We must cultivate a deep relationship with God in order to remain in His Presence and become instruments of the Holy Spirit. We must firmly believe and reverently act as temples of God.

1Th 5:23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Body, Soul and Spirit

May the Lord sanctify your spirit with His Holy Spirit, so that being filled with God, your body and soul partake of the Holy Humanity of Christ which keeps us blameless and holy. Amen

Joseph of Jesus and Mary.

Body, Soul and Spirit

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