Mortal Soul Theologies

[ I1 ~> I2 <~ T3] ^T3

§1: classification

§2: descriptive analysis

a mortal soul theology hold that the soul is a not naturally immortal; and, barring divine intervention, would die when the body dies.

within a christian context, mortal soul theologers attack the doctrine of the natural immortality of the 'soul' as a pagan doctrine originating with Plato; and, defend the doctrine of the mortality of the soul based on scriptural references. it is not the purpose of this philosopher to take sides in such a theological dispute; but, it is necessary to justify identifying the I2 (in contrast to the more usual I3) as the pronoun to which the 'soul' talk of this belief system is attached. this identification is made by noting the noun-name attached to the subject of experience.

The word 'soul' in English, though it has to some extent naturalized the Hebrew idiom, frequently carries with it overtones, ultimately coming from philosophical Greek (Platonism) and from Orphism and Gnosticism, which are absent in [nephesh]. In the OT [old testament] it never means the immortal soul, but is essentially the life principle, or the living being, or the self as the subject of appetite and emotion, occasionally of volition.1

describing the 'soul' as the subject of appetite and emotion supports the identification of 'soul' as the noun-name that this belief system gives to the I2, the experiencer. thus, at least for the duration of the life of the individual, a mortal soul theology is indistinguishable from naturalism.2

§3: online references:

  1. theological rejection of dualism
  2. need to obtain immortality

§4: contrast analysis

in contrast to both classical cartesian trionism and virtual entity trionism:

  1. the ontological component of the I0 is a collectivity, Spirit, that appears both within and without.
  2. belief systems with an individuated ontological component would have an easier time explaining the personal survival after the death of the I2; but, both would have to explain how memories are preserved (if they are preserved).

[1]: George A. Buttrick, ed., art. "Soul," The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), pp.428-29. as quoted by the anonymous author of "Man as Body and Soul" in Present Truth. 38(3). online [Back]

[2]: it is worth noting the irony of describing 'soul' as the subject of appetite and emotion while trying to avoid platonism. for Plato, the appetitive soul was the lowest level of the tripartite soul. [Back]