I write a letter because my body makes certain movements and my soul purposed that it should. Benedict Spinoza considers the body of a human being under the attribute of extension. The soul in order to exist in the world needs a body which is visible, so that it can, not only think about good deeds but also do them.
The Church has adopted, as a Catholic doctrine, the view that every human soul is created directly by God. ‘ The soul is the necessary core which must continue if I am to continue; it is the part of the person which is necessary for his continuing existence.’ However not every principle of vital action is a soul for then the eye would be a soul, as it a principle of vision; and the same might be applied to the other instruments of the soul.
If the soul and body are supposed to make one person, their union can last only as long as they work with each other in every act, and the more there is of that mutual work, the more there is of union. Speaking generally, it has simply to be maintained that it is better for the soul to be with the body, than to be outside it. Soul is indeed Form, but the Form only of living and sentient beings; in other words, a soul is the same thing as the Form of a living being. Aristotle is of the view that the soul and the body are essentially related.
The destruction of the organism makes the soul lose its hold on the body. Being a spirit, its only tie to the body is its activity in the body, or at least its influence on the body. St. Thomas always considers that the union between the soul and body is for the benefit of the soul; and that separation means loss to the soul, as well as to the body. Descartes asserts that the body is separable from the person and the person can continue even if the body is destroyed just as I continue to exist wholly and completely even if someone were to cut my hair.
Rene Descartes states that the human being is a soul and has a body. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz explains the body- soul interaction through the ‘theory of pre- established harmony’. He says,” In the strict sense, there is real relationship between body and soul. The soul follows its own laws and the body its own laws. They are fitted to each other in virtue of the pre-established harmony between all substances, since they are all representatives of one and the same universe.”
George Berkeley on the other hand upholds spiritism where he says that there is no substance other than spirit. According to Aristotle, a living creature is a ‘substance’. Body=Matter Soul=Form. For Aristotle, the body and the soul are not two separate elements but are on thing. The body and the soul are not, as Plato would have it, two distinct entities, but are different parts or aspects of the same thing.
Jesus spoke clearly of the distinction between the soul and the body of a person when He told His disciples that the soul of a person could not be killed as could the body of a person. “And do not fear those who kill the body, but are unable to kill the soul (Matthew 10: 28). Since God has created human beings in His image, we are led to expect that humans have been created as triune beings also, with three parts, referred to in the Bible as spirit, soul and body. “Then God said, ’Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness ;”.( Genesis 1: 26).
I am of the opinion that the body and the soul are one and not two separate entities which dualists talk and agree about. The body is material and the soul is immaterial. Jesus says, “If then you have not been faithful, with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?” (Luke 16: 11). What Jesus is saying through this is that if the body which was considered as the source of all evil (dishonest wealth) is not respected then the soul (true wealth) will not be given to us. The age old belief that the body is of no use or is the cause of evil and needs continuous chastisement or taming is no longer acceptable today. Faith begins where reason ends, I can’t prove how the body and soul are one but as a Christian I believe in the doctrine of the Church that the body and the soul are one.
· Carvalho, Bosco. Modern Western Philosophy (Class Notes,) Nashik: Divyadaan, Salesian Institute of Philosophy, 2015.
· Flew, Anthony. Body, Mind and Death. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc, 1964.
· Swinburne, Richard. The Evolution of the Soul. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
· Vonier, Anscar. The Human Soul. London: B. Herder, 1913.