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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V:
A Treatise on the Soul and its Origin.: Chapter 19

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 19 [XIII.]—Whether the Soul is a Spirit.

But again, why you would have the soul to be a body, and refuse to deem it a spirit, I cannot see. For if it is not a spirit, on the ground that the apostle named it with distinction from the spirit, when he said, “I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved,” 2480 the same is a good reason why it is not a body, inasmuch as he named the body, too, as distinct from it. If you affirm that the soul is a body, although they are both distinctly named; you should allow it to be a spirit, although these are also distinctly named. Indeed, the soul has a much greater claim to be regarded by you as a spirit than a body; because you acknowledge the spirit and the soul to be of one substance, but deny the soul and the body to be of one substance. On what principle, then, is the soul a body, when its nature is different from that of a body; and not a spirit, although its nature and a spirit’s is one and the same? Why, according to your argument, must you not confess that even the spirit is a body? For otherwise, if the spirit is not a body, and the soul is a body, the soul and the spirit are not of one and the same substance. You, however, allow them both (although believing them to be two separate things) to have one substance. Therefore, if the soul is a body, the spirit is a body also; for under no other condition can they be regarded as being of one and the same nature. On your own principles, therefore, the statement of the apostle, who mentions, “Your spirit, and soul, and body,” must imply three bodies; yet the body, which has likewise the name of flesh, is of a different nature. And of these three bodies, as you would call them, of which one is of a different, and the other two of one and the same substance, the entire human being is composed—one thing and one existence. Now, although you assert this, yet you will not allow that the two which are of one and the same substance, that is, the soul and the spirit, should have the one designation of spirit; whilst the two things which are not of one and the same substance ought, as you suppose, to have the one name of body.



1 Thess. v. 23.

Next: Chapter 20

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