Do humans have a soul?
It is not right to claim that human beings have a soul yet there is no concrete evidence to indicate any action that has resulted from the presence of the soul. Instead, many individuals just talk about it surviving after the death of the body. Without anything that the soul dies after one’s death, it is not to conclude that humans have the soul. Instead, the ones that claim they have the soul should be able to identify some of the things that have been either done or influenced by the souls. Going by that, the different audiences will be able to believe in the existence of the soul (Bishop 27).
Moreover, the definition of the soul itself is not clear. With that, many do not know what they talk about when they refer to the soul. From both definitions given by philosophy and religion, it is considered as part of the human body that partakes of the divinity aspect and does not die with the body. However, the same religion talks of the dead and the living souls being judged at the end of the world. With the different definitions of the same, it is not clear what the soul is. Without a proper definition of the soul, it is still not proper to claim that it exists. On the contrary, the Bible says, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Aristotle and Irwin 1093).
The fact that science lacks concrete evidence on the existence of the soul, a study of the various cultures, both ancient and modern, in addition to religion, indicates the existence of the human soul. Both the religious and philosophical teachings describe the soul as the immaterial essence or aspect of the human being that confers to humanity and individuality. With that regard, The soul is synonymous with the human self or mind. Theology further explains the fact that the soul is a continuation of divinity after the death of the human body (Eardley and Still 34).
As discussed earlier, the different cultures have their recognition of the incorporeal aspect of the human life or the existence that corresponds to the soul. Several cultures have thus attributed the soul to most of the living organisms. The discussions of at least four different cultures as described in the subsequent paragraphs indicate that indeed the soul exists. In a bid to explain the existence of the soul, there are different theories by various philosophers and religions. The theories revolve around the nature of the soul, the relationship between the soul and the body, its mortality, and origin.
The first culture is that of ancient Egypt and China that were conceived of dual souls. According to the Egyptians, their souls were never affected by death. However, it had the ka that remained within the body even at the time of death. The other component of the dual soul was the “ba”, which went to the land of the dead. The Chinese, however, talked about a lower soul that was insensitive and disappeared with death. The other element of the dual soul amongst the Chinese was the “gun” that survived the grave and became the essence of the ancestral worship. From this illustration, it is evident that for the Egyptians and the Chinese, the soul existed and the evidence given is satisfactory.
The historical aspect of the two ancient cultures identifies a dual soul and gives detailed information on all the elements that compose the dual soul. This is more than the scientific evidence (Aristotle and Irwin 1098). Even though there are no proper experiments to confirm all that information, it is better believed as it is more convincing than the scientific evidence that has more speculations.
Secondly, the Hebrews in the early days had a similar concept concerning the soul yet the one in question was never separated from the body. The Jewish writers were to advance the concept later in history. There are Biblical references concerning the soul yet they do not clearly distinguish between the corporeal body and the ethereal soul. The Christian concepts of the dichotomy of the body and the soul had their origin from the Greeks in ancient times, were to be introduced, and became part of the Christian theology by St. Augustine and the other theologians (Lanza par. 2).
The fact that most of the Bible references are from the Hebrew teachings is enough to confirm that the soul exists. There are several instances in the Bible where the soul is mentioned. Even when it talks about the love of God the Bible talks about the soul. As the Bible talks about the soul, it does so in a way that makes the individuals reading feel like the soul is with them and that the Lord needs the soul.
When the mention of the soul is made in the Bible, the readers can feel like it is there and that they need to take care of it. Because of all that, it is not possible to conclude that the soul is never there. Instead, more effort should be exerted n the understanding of the soul and the way it works within human beings. That is to be done as a way of ensuring that many of the individuals not only give the best to their bodies but also their souls (Aristotle 433).
Third, there were ancient Greek teachings concerning the soul that varied by the philosophical school and the respective era. For instance, the Epicureans treated the soul as composed of atoms just like the other parts of the body. The Platonists, on the other hand, considered it an incorporeal and immaterial substance akin to their gods yet was still a component of the world of change. From that, it is evident that the soul at one time was never considered as important as it is now. It may have been because of that period’s disregard for the soul that led to some claiming that it does not exist in the real sense. However, that is not to be believed. It is because the same cultures that once talked about the non-existence of the soul now claim it exists (Lanza par. 3).
After the Epicureans considered the soul as the normal part of the body with atoms like the other body parts, another group was to come, namely, the Platonists that talked about something different. As a result, one thing becomes clear even as the discussion on the existence of the human soul continues. That has to do with modernization and its effects on the belief in the existence of the human soul (Aristotle 435). As the various societies or communities advance or progress with age, it is significant to understand their change of view on the topic. Even as that is done, one of the expected findings is that the human soul is there and what has to be done is to know the best way to define it and to know it is working.
Fourth, the best distinction between the soul and the body was made by St. Augustine when he described it as a rider within the body and thus made the difference between the immaterial and the material. Even though the body and soul were two separate things, it was not possible to have the soul in the absence of the body (Eardley and Still 34).
Fifth, by the Hindu teachings, the soul is considered as the custodian of eternal life but has first to be born with the body. As the body disintegrates at death, the soul proceeds to eternity. The Hindu believes that if the soul is not present, then one can’t have eternal life. From the Hindu teaching, it is clear that the soul has to be there for certain functions in the lives of individuals to be performed and various aims fulfilled like that of eternal life. When the souls the key to eternal life, it is difficult to imagine how it cannot exist within the Hindu community. It means that those who lack the soul will never have eternal life (Lanza Par. 6).
The Muslims, just like the Christians, believe that the soul is born once the body is conceived and has its own life, As such; it claims that the union between the soul and the body is a merely temporary one. From the Muslim perspective, the soul exists. It is because it has its own life that is separate from the body even though it is born with the body at the same time. It is important to note that at the beginning, the body has to be there for the soul to exist but after the death of the body, the soul remains in existence, as it no longer has to depend on the body for existence. With the different religions and cultures that talk about the soul being into existence, a decision must be made to state categorically the fact that the soul exists. The human soul exists and can be used when carrying out certain functions (Eardley and Still 34).
From the teachings of St. Augustine concerning the soul and the body, a clear distinction is made between the immaterial and the material aspects of the body and the soul. The fact that the soul is a representation of the immaterial aspect of human nature speaks a lot when it comes to the lack of any evidence of the deeds of the soul to confirm its existence. As the Bible puts it in the book of Ecclesiastes, the dead are aware of nothing and thus cannot perform any action.
No one should expect any form of action from the dead or even the soul. As such, the call for concrete evidence to confirm the existence of the soul should not come in when questioning that critical aspect of the human soul. Instead, the various scriptures and beliefs concerning the soul and the body should be considered at length (Bishop 34).
It is not to depend on the definition of the soul to come up with or make key decisions on whether or not it exists. It is because from ancient times, different schools of thought, religious groups, cultures, and many other groups, have had their definitions of the soul. Because of that, it will be disorderly to discredit anyone’s belief by defining the soul as ambiguous or incorrect. The best way to go is to ensure that their definitions and description of the same be taken into consideration with the necessary evidence being examined. It is, after all, that process when one can determine whether the soul exists according to the different groups (Turumella par. 3).
From the discussion, it is important t note the fact that human beings have a soul. The soul is different from the body even though it comes with the body at the inception stage. Once the body dies or disintegrates, the soul remains the only part of the body that is never affected directly by the breakdown or death of the body. It is such a continuation of the body even though the eternal life aspect.
Aristotle, and Terence Irwin. Nicomachean Ethics. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub., 1999. Print.
Aristotle. On the Soul ; Parva Naturalia ; On Breath. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1957. Print.
Bishop, Paul. Synchronicity and Intellectual Intuition in Kant, Swedenborg, and Jung. Lewiston: E. Mellen, 2000. Print.
Eardley, Peter, and Carl Still. Aquinas: A Guide for the Perplexed. London: Continuum, 2010. Print.
Lanza, Robert. Does the soul exists? Evidence say ‘Yes’. n.d. Web.
Turumella, Srikal. Ghost Adventures: Do we really have soul inside, which gets out of the body when we die? Is there any evidence to prove it? n.d. Web.