This page gives insights into the nature of soul and spirit and their interaction on both the human and divine levels.
The subject of the soul is of vast importance, but difficult to explain, for there is nothing on earth that it can be compared with. Therefore, to understand the nature of the soul, humans must have reached a level of a spiritual development from which come soul perceptions. Only soul can understand soul, and the soul that seeks to comprehend its own nature must be a live soul, with its faculties developed to at least a small degree.
The human soul is a creature of God the Father, not an emanation from Him, or a part of His soul – the Over-Soul. Like the other parts of each person, such as the intellect, the spirit body, and the material body, it had no existence before its creation. It has not always existed, but had its beginning, and only God knows whether it will ever cease to exist. However, any soul that partakes of the Love essence of the Father will become divine with which comes immortality. Such soul can never lose the Divine Love essence and ever become less than immortal, and never again can the decree, “dying thou shalt die,” be pronounced upon it.
At some point each human soul was created by the Father and made the highest and most perfect of God’s creation. It was the only one of all His creations that was made in His image, and the only part of each human that is in God’s image. This is true in the sense that the soul is the individual person, and all the person’s attributes and qualities, such as intellect, spirit body, material body, as well as appetites and passions, are merely appendages or means of manifestation given to that soul while it is passing through its earthly existence and into the spirit world.
As great and wonderful as the soul is, it was created in the mere image and likeness of God, and not of His substance or essence, and thus may cease to exist without any part of the divine nature or substance of the Father being in any way affected. So the teaching that the human soul is of and by itself divine or has divine qualities is erroneous. Like the lower created beings, it is a creation, not an emanation, of its Creator.
While originally made perfect, the soul can never become anything different or greater than a human, unless it receives the divine essence and qualities of the Father. This wasn’t given to man at creation, but at that time God offered humans the privilege and opportunity for receiving the divine substance and nature, and thereby become divine. The perfectly created man and woman could become divine angels, if they so willed and pursued the way provided by the Father for obtaining and possessing that divinity.
The human souls, destined to live for a time in material bodies and experience mortal lives, were created long before the appearance of man on earth. Prior to this, each soul existed in the spirit world as a substantial conscious entity, although without visible form and individuality. Yet, it had a distinct personality, thus being different from every other soul. Its presence could be sensed by every other soul that came in contact with it, and yet it was invisible to the spirit vision of the other soul. This is still the case. The spirit world is filled with souls awaiting incarnation. The spirits know of and sense the presence of these souls, yet cannot see them. These souls only become visible when they take on the human form and have a spirit body.
This is also true of God. Spirits can sense the presence of the Father, but cannot see Him even with their spiritual eyes. Only when their souls are developed by the divine essence of His Love, can they perceive Him with their soul perception. To its possessor, the vision of the soul perception is just as real or objective as is the vision of the mortal sight to the mortal.
The question may be asked, “were all souls that have been incarnated, or that are yet awaiting incarnation, created at the same time, or is that creation still going on?” The spirit world contains many souls awaiting their temporary homes and the assumption of individuality in the human form. However, as to whether that creation has ended, or whether at some time the human reproduction for the embodying of these souls will cease, has not been revealed by the Father.
As has been stated, the soul is the “human” before incarnation, during their mortal existence, and ever after in the spirit world. All the human parts, such as the mind, body and spirit are mere attributes, which may be lost or discarded as the soul progresses in its development toward its destiny of either the perfect human or the divine angel. In the latter progression, the human, or carnal, mind becomes, as it were, non-existent. It becomes replaced by the mind of the transformed soul, which is in substance and quality, to a degree, the mind of God.
Many theologians, philosophers and metaphysicians teach that the soul, spirit and mind are substantially one and the same, and that anyone of them may be said to be the man or the ego. It is also believed that in the spirit world, one or the other of these entities continue and their degree of development determines the state of the individual after death. This concept, however, is erroneous, for these parts each have a separate existence and functioning, whether man be a mortal or spirit. The mind in its qualities and operations is well known to man because of its manifestations. Being the more material part of man, it has been the subject of more research and study than the soul or the spirit.
While humans have, over the centuries, speculated upon and attempted to define the soul and its attributes, because it cannot be comprehended by the intellect, the question of what is the soul has never been satisfactorily answered. However, some of the searchers, with inspiration, saw glimpses of the soul.
The soul is separate and made of real substance, though invisible to mortals. It is the discerner and portrayer of the person’s moral and spiritual condition, never dying, so far as is known, and the real ego of the man. In it are the love principle, affections, appetites and passions, and possibilities of receiving that which will either elevate man to the state of the divine angel or the perfect man, or lower him to the condition that fits him for the hells of darkness and suffering.
The soul is subject to the human will, which is the greatest endowment bestowed upon him by his Maker at his creation. Based on the working of the will, qualities of love and affection or wrong appetites and passions will manifest either for good or evil. The soul may be dormant and stagnate, or it may be active and progress. Its integral energies may be ruled by the will for good or evil.
The soul’s home is the spirit body, whether or not that body is encased in a mortal body. It is never without the spirit body, the appearance and composition of which is determined by the soul’s state. The soul condition determines the destiny of the individual as they continue living in the spirit world. This, however, is not a final destiny, because the soul’s condition is never fixed, and as it changes, the person’s destiny changes. The progress of the soul will continue until it becomes the perfect man in the sixth sphere and is then satisfied and seeks no higher progress.
In common language as well as in theological and philosophical terms, mortals who have passed to spirit life are said to be spirits, and in a certain sense this is true. However, as such, they are not nebulous, unformed and invisible existences – they have a substance which is more real and enduring than that of a mortal. Their form and features are visible and subject to touch and other spiritual senses.
When people speak of soul, spirit, and body, a more accurate way would be to say, soul, spirit body, and material body.
There is a spirit, but it is altogether different from both the spirit body and the soul. It is not part of the spirit body, but is an attribute of the soul, without which it could not exist. The spirit has no body, substance or form and is not visible to even the spirit vision – only the effect of its working can be seen or understood. Yet it is real and powerful, and when existing, never ceasing in its operations. The spirit is simply the active energy of the soul. The soul has its energy, which may be either dormant or active. If dormant, the spirit is not in existence; if active, the spirit is present, and manifests itself in action. So the spirit and soul are not identical. Rather, the spirit is only present when the energy of the soul is active.
It is true that God is spirit, for spirit is a part of His great soul qualities, which manifest His presence in the universe. However, it is incorrect to say that spirit is God unless meaning that a part is the whole. In the divine economy, God is altogether spirit, but spirit is only the messenger of God, by which He manifests the energies of His Great Soul.
And so it is with man. Spirit is the instrumentality by which the human soul makes known its energies, powers and presence. Man is soul created in the image of the God, the Divine Soul or Over-soul, and all manifestations, such as spirit and spirit body are mere evidences of the existence of the soul – the real human individual.
Reference: What Is the Soul and What It Is Not
Photo Credit: Gingergirl, Dreamstime.com
A small PDF book on the subject is at Nature of Soul and Spirit.