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originally posted by: Thetan
Hi ATS. I hope you all find this OP well. I want you to actually do this exercise: (after you've read all of the steps.)
Step 1: Close your eyes.
Step 2: Picture a cat.
Step 3: Answer the question "What is looking at the cat?"
My answer to the question is "I am."
It seems to me however, that this "I" that I am is not a physical entity. Many materialists will answer, "nothing," they say that nothing is looking at the cat. They say this because they do not want to admit that something seemingly non physical exists. I actually agree with their answer, I think that "nothing" is looking at the cat, it is just a very special kind of nothing, it is you. Souls are purely causative entities, they are not "things," but creators of things; mini Prime Movers if you will.
What do you think is looking at the cat?
I think that "nothing"...is just a very special kind of nothing, it is you."
Definition: In the Bible, “soul” is translated from the Hebrew neʹphesh and the Greek psy·kheʹ. Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. To many persons, however, “soul” means the immaterial or spirit part of a human being that survives the death of the physical body. Others understand it to be the principle of life. But these latter views are not Bible teachings.
“There is no dichotomy [division] of body and soul in the O[ld] T[estament]. The Israelite saw things concretely, in their totality, and thus he considered men as persons and not as composites. The term nepeš [neʹphesh], though translated by our word soul, never means soul as distinct from the body or the individual person. . . . The term [psy·kheʹ] is the N[ew] T[estament] word corresponding with nepeš. It can mean the principle of life, life itself, or the living being.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 449, 450.
“The Hebrew term for ‘soul’ (nefesh, that which breathes) was used by Moses . . . , signifying an ‘animated being’ and applicable equally to nonhuman beings. . . . New Testament usage of psychē (‘soul’) was comparable to nefesh.”—The New Encyclopædia Britannica (1976), Macropædia, Vol. 15, p. 152.
“The belief that the soul continues its existence after the dissolution of the body is a matter of philosophical or theological speculation rather than of simple faith, and is accordingly nowhere expressly taught in Holy Scripture.”—The Jewish Encyclopedia (1910), Vol. VI, p. 564.
Can the human soul die?
Ezek. 18:4: “Look! All the souls—to me they belong. As the soul of the father so likewise the soul of the son—to me they belong. The soul* that is sinning—it itself will die.” (*Hebrew reads “the neʹphesh.” KJ, AS, RS, NE, and Dy render it “the soul.” Some translations say “the man” or “the person.”)
What is the origin of Christendom’s belief in an immaterial, immortal soul?
“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.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia (1967), Vol. XIII, pp. 452, 454.
“The concept of immortality is a product of Greek thinking, whereas the hope of a resurrection belongs to Jewish thought. . . . Following Alexander’s conquests Judaism gradually absorbed Greek concepts.”—Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de la Bible (Valence, France; 1935), edited by Alexandre Westphal, Vol. 2, p. 557.
“Immortality of the soul is a Greek notion formed in ancient mystery cults and elaborated by the philosopher Plato.”—Presbyterian Life, May 1, 1970, p. 35.
“Do we believe that there is such a thing as death? . . . Is it not the separation of soul and body? And to be dead is the completion of this; when the soul exists in herself, and is released from the body and the body is released from the soul, what is this but death? . . . And does the soul admit of death? No. Then the soul is immortal? Yes.”—Plato’s “Phaedo,” Secs. 64, 105, as published in Great Books of the Western World (1952), edited by R. M. Hutchins, Vol. 7, pp. 223, 245, 246.
“The problem of immortality, we have seen, engaged the serious attention of the Babylonian theologians. . . . Neither the people nor the leaders of religious thought ever faced the possibility of the total annihilation of what once was called into existence. Death was a passage to another kind of life.”—The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria (Boston, 1898), M. Jastrow, Jr., p. 556.
some... began using concepts borrowed from ancient philosophers in order to explain their beliefs.
The connotations that the English “soul” commonly carries in the minds of most persons are not in agreement with the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words as used by the inspired Bible writers. This fact has steadily gained wider acknowledgment. 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 neʹphesh, observed: “Soul in English usage at the present time conveys usually a very different meaning from נפש [neʹphesh] in Hebrew, and it is easy for the incautious reader to misinterpret.”
More recently, when The Jewish Publication Society of America issued a new translation of the Torah, or first five books of the Bible, the editor-in-chief, H. M. Orlinsky of Hebrew Union College, stated that the word “soul” had been virtually eliminated from this translation because, “the Hebrew word in question here is ‘Nefesh.’” He added: “Other translators have interpreted it to mean ‘soul,’ which is completely inaccurate. The Bible does not say we have a soul. ‘Nefesh’ is the person himself, his need for food, the very blood in his veins, his being.”—The New York Times, October 12, 1962.
What is the origin of the teaching that the human soul is invisible and immortal?
The difficulty lies in the fact that the meanings popularly attached to the English word “soul” stem primarily, not from the Hebrew or Christian Greek Scriptures, but from ancient Greek philosophy, actually pagan religious thought. Greek philosopher Plato, for example, quotes 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.”—Phaedo, 80, D, E; 81, A.
In direct contrast with the Greek teaching of the psy·kheʹ (soul) as being immaterial, intangible, invisible, and immortal, the Scriptures show that both psy·kheʹ and neʹphesh, as used with reference to earthly creatures, refer to that which is material, tangible, visible, and mortal.
The New Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Nepes [neʹphesh] is a term of far greater extension than our ‘soul,’ signifying life (Ex 21.23; Dt 19.21) and its various vital manifestations: breathing (Gn 35.18; Jb 41.13), blood [Gn 9.4; Dt 12.23; Ps 140(141).8], desire (2 Sm 3.21; Prv 23.2). The soul in the O[ld] T[estament] means not a part of man, but the whole man—man as a living being. Similarly, in the N[ew] T[estament] it signifies human life: the life of an individual, conscious subject (Mt 2.20; 6.25; Lk 12.22-23; 14.26; Jn 10.11, 15, 17; 13.37).”—1967, Vol. XIII, p. 467.
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’ (Mk 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.”—Edition published by P. J. Kenedy & Sons, New York, 1970.
Neʹphesh evidently comes from a root meaning “breathe” and in a literal sense neʹphesh could be rendered as “a breather.” Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros (Leiden, 1958, p. 627) defines it as: “the breathing substance, making man a[nd] animal living beings Gn 1, 20, the soul (strictly distinct from the greek notion of soul) the seat of which is the blood Gn 9, 4f Lv 17, 11 Dt 12, 23: (249 X) . . . soul = living being, individual, person.”
As for the Greek word psy·kheʹ, Greek-English lexicons give such definitions 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.” Of course, such sources, treating as they do primarily of classical Greek writings, include 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 emerged from the body at death, the term psy·kheʹ was also applied to the “butterfly or moth,” which creatures go through a metamorphosis, changing from caterpillar to winged creature.—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.
The ancient Greek writers applied psy·kheʹ in various ways and were not consistent, their personal and religious philosophies influencing their use of the term. Of Plato, to whose philosophy the common ideas about the English “soul” may be attributed (as is generally acknowledged), it is stated: “While he sometimes speaks of one of [the alleged] three parts of the soul, the ‘intelligible,’ as necessarily immortal, while the other two parts are mortal, he also speaks as if there were two souls in one body, one immortal and divine, the other mortal.”—The Evangelical Quarterly, London, 1931, Vol. III, p. 121, “Thoughts on the Tripartite Theory of Human Nature,” by A. McCaig.
originally posted by: Thetan
Souls are purely causative entities, they are not "things," but creators of things; mini Prime Movers if you will.
What do you think is looking at the cat?