Thursday, December 9, 2010

How are the body and soul connected? What is the teaching on statues?

Question So at the end of the world when bodies and Souls are reunited. In the Eucharist the bread and wine take the form of the body and blood of Jesus. This is how there is a direct connection between physical and spiritual. How is that same connection present in things like statues?

Answer The human person is composed of 3 parts- body, soul, and spirit. Most people don't realize that there is a difference between soul and spirit. God is pure spirit, as are angels. Animals are body and soul, but no spirit. Because of the spiritual nature of the human soul, our soul will live forever, whereas an animals cannot. We are also capable of truly loving, considering our own existence, and therefore sinning. This is what is meant by "Created in the Image and Likeness of God"

JPII taught that our bodies are 'sacraments' of our spirits. A sacrament is a physical thing that shows a spiritual reality. So our bodies indicate something about our nature- (this means that men and women are not jsut different physically, but spiritually as well!). Your sould is that bit which 'animates' your body- in fact the word 'anima' is greek for 'soul' and is where we get the word animal. So your soul is your life. It is your personality. But if you damage your brain, it will effect your personality. So the two are totally linked! It's like saying that your soul is the neurions firing in your brain, and your body is the grey matter- they are completely linked, but have different names to describe different functions.

That's what is meant when we say that the soul is not trapped in the body- it's kind of part of it. You can't seperate them, isolate them and say here's one and here's the other.

Statues do not have souls or spirits- they are just symbols. The reason Catholic and Protestants have a difference about statues goes back to John Calvin. He was a reformer who saw the commandment "Though shalt not make images..." (against making idols) and thought that any statues or pictures in Church must therefore be wrong. That's why even today protestant churches tend not to have any. It ignored the fact that shortly after that God commanded Moses to make the Ark of the Covenant- complete with statues- and that the temple itself had statues and images in it.

It became deeply political, and entrenched- in Holland. At that time, Holland was being run by the Spanish. So the dutch threw off the Spanish and the Church at the same time- and when they did, they ransacked Churches, destroying all the artwork and statues and stained glass. Catholics of course were very sad about this, and it created considerable tension between the denominations in Holland.

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