Nihilism: Why America and the West are Committing Suicide
For fifteen hundred years, Christendom and then later Protestant America, had followed St. Augustine (AD 354-430) in affirming that as all men are the spiritual image-bearers of the transcendent Triune God then it logically follows that each person is a trinity of being — of soul, spirit, and body:
“The essence of the human is not the body, but the soul. It is the soul alone that God made in his own image and the soul that he loves….For the sake of the soul…the Son of God came into the world….” (Incomplete Work on Matthew, Homily 25, Ancient Christian Devotional, Oden and Crosby, p. 153)
In Biblical thought, the body is inert matter organized and vitalized by the soul. A human life is a soul which informs inert matter, thus a body without a soul is no more than a disorganized mass of cells that would quickly deconstruct, said Pastor Louis Pernot in a sermon delivered at the Temple de l’Etoile in Paris. (“Body, Mind, and Soul,” Nov. 28, 2010)
The noblest part of the soul is spirit (the heart). Spirit is immortal and self-aware. It can will and think and is freely responsible for what it thinks, wills, and does.
Spirit is the unique property that distinguishes soul from matter. In Biblical thought, spirit allows man to spiritually transcend the natural dimension in order to access the supernatural dimension, thereby allowing him to enter into a personal relationship with the Spirit of God. Through this relationship, man’s conscience is cleansed over time, thus enabling him to more perfectly orient the manner of his existence in this world in preparation for eternity.
In Christian thought, a person is a spirit and personality is the total individuality of the spirit. Without spirit there is no person.
Pastor Pernot notes that the key to individual liberty in the temporal sphere is man’s spiritual liberty contrasted against a genetically programmed animal-like orientation. Animals do not have spirits, which are linked to intelligence, imagination, sensitivity, self-consciousness, reflection and the capacity for truth and moral goodness.
A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend matter to access the supernatural dimension as Paul affirms:
“Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17)
Man is God’s spiritual image-bearer, and, said the brilliant French economist, statesman, and author Frederic Bastiat, this is the gift from God which includes the physical, intellectual and moral life:
“He has provided…..
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