Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Further reflection on souls...

My previous encounter with a certain individual inspired me to expand on the Catholic view on souls.

It is catholic belief that all living things have souls (plants, animals, and us), by definition, in the proper sense of the word.

New Advent on Souls

An animal does not have a spiritual soul though. That is, its soul cannot exist without it's body. So when a cat, say, dies, not only does the cat cease to be, but so too its soul ceases to be. (Let's just say a soul is "the form of a naturally organised body having life potentially", or more or less, that in virtue of which this substance is what it is as a living substance).

When a man dies, the man also ceases to be. St. Thomas goes so far as to say that when he dies he will not be. The man is not his soul, nor his body, but the composite of both, the soul being the form of his body. But what distinguishes him from a dog, is that man's soul will continue to exist without a body.

So whereas for man, as such, to have eternal life he needs his soul to be reunited with his body, (bet you didn't know that... ) and therefore for himself to become a man again, a dog would have to be re-created, both matter and form. Could God, in the end, re-create certain animals? He's God, He can do whatever He wants that isn't against His nature.

But even if He did, they would not be in heaven, not essentially anyhow. They would not share, nor could they share, in the heavenly society. If they were re-created it would have to be only to have another secondary object for the blessed to reflect God's glory in.

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