I have a friend who would like me to deal with more metaphysical topics on my blog, attempting, at least some of the time, to deal with the eternal questions. He throws down the gauntlet with questions about the meaning of God and man’s place in the beehive seemingly of his (Man’s, with a capital M) own creation. I sent him over to “one cosmos,” the blog I discovered months ago, written by clinical psychologist and Right-wing ranter Bob Godwin at the helm. Godwin is a brilliant writer who claims to be on a spiritual journey. I have visited his blog on and off and sent such philosophical friends to his blog with varying levels of success. I felt this would work because this friend shares with Mr. Godwin some of the righteous anger of the hawkish Right.
My friend was quite impressed with One Cosmos. He made this statement over there: Without the existence of a soul, man's relatively quick passage from birth to death, assuming that after which there is nothing, would be a mere a flash in the pan experience having no eternal significance.
Such a notion as that is denied by most people, due to an inner feeling they have that says there is more after death. Such a feeling can not be thwarted even though constantly being reminded by philosophical know-it-alls of the old refrain: "Even if God didn't exist, man would invent one", which implies that any questions raised by the feeling of existential doubt are the product of a short term imagination.
Since a "hereafter" would demand an experiencing entity to be aware of it, it is concluded by most that this experiencing entity is the soul.
So far so good. But what about the soul? Whence did it come?
Assuming it was God that created the soul -no atheists allowed in this conversation- what was God's reason for doing that? What is the soul expected to and not expected to do? Did all the souls come into existence at one time, or did God throw out a prototype to see if it would fly -that couldn't because of God's perfection, or were souls "launched" in waves?
Any enlightenment on souls would be appreciated, after all, souls are being stymied in their advancement, or so it would seem, and that is not a good thing. Maybe it doesn't matter. I would think that God produce as many as needed.
He was not entirely satisfied with the response over at onecosmos, so I decided I would deal with it myself and see what I could do.
What is the soul expected to and not expected to do?
This question presumes the soul is a concrete entity, capable of performing some action, capable of being controlled by its owner and shaped into some definable, recognizable, even trainable, different thing. This is misunderstanding the concept of the soul, the inner being of man, the center of all growth and spiritual conception. It is not easily understood in such concrete terms as you seem to require with this question. In fact, the question misses the point of souls.
We accept the existence of a soul when we choose to explore the spiritual realm. Our souls are our guides, not the other way round. We must surrender to their influence in order to have a spiritual life. This is what is known as a leap of faith, because that is exactly what it is. Each man comes to terms with his own soul, in his own time, or not, if he chooses not to. This facing of soul as an aspect of self can help one to grow, but it is not necessary to the acknowledgment of the existence of the soul. The soul is directing us, whether we know it or not. Some souls seek higher spiritual awareness on this plane, others are content to live life as a surface exercise and do not seek deep awareness.
Did all the souls come into existence at one time, or did God throw out a prototype to see if it would fly -that couldn't because of God's perfection, or were souls "launched" in waves?
If I didn’t know better I would think you were being facetious here. The souls are not floating around waiting for a home, they are individuated by the existence of humankind. They are part of the human condition. They are as different from each other as human beings are, as all living things are. They are not launched in waves or in any other image you can think of. They are more related to the mind than to the body, but the soul is not of the brain. It is not measurable except by the deeds it does through the bodies of many.
As to why God created the soul, you may as well ask why God created man at all, which is what you are really asking. This is not the kind of “Why is the sky blue?” kind of question one can give a scientific answer to. One can always tell a child the scientific molecular reason that the sky appears blue, but it is just as unsatisfying to the questioner as an answer to why God created man or anything else. There are men with great minds who have tried to address this question, and they often came up with the answer that there is no answer, or even that there is no God. It leads to nihilism, which is not where you want to go, or you wouldn’t have posed the question.
Let us say that there is a force that put all things on earth and in the universe. “Created” may be a misleading word; it presents a human picture. God created man; God was a man working with a lump of clay. He gave it a soul. This is an infantile picture having nothing to do with the reality of either man or God.
The human animal is undeniable. The soul he possesses is unknowable. The questions about its nature are unanswerable, because the real questions are unaskable. If anyone can give you a pat answer to your questions about the soul, he is probably a charlatan. You can find answers only after you have found the right path. A mentor will say only that there is a path, and that you are on it.
With this post we shall see if the philosophically inclined are reading Finding Fair Hope. They will surely want to post comments and engage in conflicts, which activity will perk up my comment section considerably. Or maybe they will suggest that I stick to seeking fair hope for one little corner of the universe rather than attempting to pontificate about the unknowable. That probably won't stop me. I think I'm on a roll here.