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Rated: E · Prose · Philosophy · #2182277
How to interpret the Doctrine of the Soul under Idealism, rather than Substance Dualism.
"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

Colossians 1:17

"In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

Job 12:10

As explained in The Clarification of Metaphysics, Idealism works far better than Substance Dualism as a metaphysical framework. It avoids the dilemmas posed by Substance Dualism, as well as those of Materialism and Solipsism. As Idealism tells us, all things exist fundamentally as information in the mind of God.

How should one interpret the Doctrine of the Soul? Under Substance Dualism, the soul is a concrete object albeit a spiritual one. The Substance Dualist version of the soul is in fact "material," albeit composed of spiritual matter rather than physical matter.

Under Idealism, however, the soul is a description of one's relationship with God. This fits with all the common language surrounding the Doctrine of the Soul. To save a soul, after all, is to recover a relationship with God. Furthermore, Hell is made possible by the person's rejection or destruction of a previous relationship with God.

Because all things, including we ourselves, exist fundamentally as information in the mind of God, it is up to God alone to continue the relationship even after physical death. For God to grant an afterlife, God needs only to re-imagine or re-write the dead individual's underlying fundamental information in the Divine mind.

In short, the soul is a description of one's relationship with God. As to a concrete object versus a relationship, the soul need not be a concrete object, even on a spiritual plane, to fulfill the doctrine of its immortality. Since all things exist fundamentally as information in the mind of a loving God, there is no need to pose a material duality of physical matter versus spiritual matter.

Objection 1: "If the soul is one's relationship with God, how can it be a direct creation of God, as the Catechism teaches?"

For that very reason. Because God is the Creator, all relationships with him are initiated by him. The soul is thereby a direct creation of God because, not despite, its being a relationship with God.

Objection 2: "How then could Jesus have a human soul in addition to his status as God the Son? Does God have an interpersonal relationship with himself?"

The Animist heresies about Jesus are similar to Modalist heresies for this reason. An Animist heresy is one which claims that the Son is the body, and that the Father is the soul, essentially.

Albeit within the same God, the Trinity is indeed an interpersonal relationship. There is a most perfect relationship between the three distinct persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Jesus' identity as the incarnation of God the Son, however, is distinct from his relationship with God the Father. Jesus is God the Son, and has no indeed to say that he is pleased with himself. As recorded in Matthew 3:17, however, God the Father appeared as a voice from the heavens and said, "This is my Son, whom I love. With him, I am well pleased."

Quod Erat Demonstrandum.
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