Monday, April 7, 2008

The Struggle to Accept the Spiritual...

One must still have chaos within oneself 
to give birth to a dancing star.
Nietzche

Plato, in his belief that the soul has full knowledge prior to birth, confers immortality to the human being.  In his recollection argument, Plato suggests that humans compare aspects of the human experience with particular ideals for which they could have no faint memory except that before birth.  He identifies the soul as unchanging, divine, intelligible, and indissoluble. Conversely, he asserts, "the body is made for dissolution." 

I don't know why I struggle so with the concept of a soul. It seems intuitive, in some sense, that other dimensions of the "person" exist. Is only the material, tangible world real? The world of physics cannot provide all the answers, at least not yet.  So I continue to ask the questions...

And I wonder if, perhaps, even within the tiniest molecules in nature, there is a soul of sorts.  The acorn, in its tiny, cocoon, contains enough molecular chaos to give birth to the mighty oak. There exists immortality in this process, for this mighty oak will give birth to the acorn, and again, the acorn brings forth yet another oak.

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn.   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson







2 comments:

Kerry said...

Thank you for sharing this, Joanne. I sincerely appreciate everything that you have done. A couple of years ago I took a chemistry class and one of the "laws" we learned was that energy cannot be detroyed. It simply changes form. That seemed so profound to me. Could it be that the life energy we all have simply changes to another form of energy? And we call this "the soul?"... Hmmmm... I guess one day we may all find out...

Kerry H

Robert said...

WHAT REALLY HAPPENS AT DEATH?
5 What happens at death is no mystery to Jehovah, the Creator of the brain. He knows the truth, and in his Word, the Bible, he explains the condition of the dead. Its clear teaching is this: When a person dies, he ceases to exist. Death is the opposite of life. The dead do not see or hear or think. Not even one part of us survives the death of the body. We do not possess an immortal soul or spirit.
6 After Solomon observed that the living know that they will die, he wrote: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” He then enlarged on that basic truth by saying that the dead can neither love nor hate and that “there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in [the grave].” (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6, 10) Similarly, Psalm 146:4 says that when a man dies, “his thoughts do perish.” We are mortal and do not survive the death of our body. The life we enjoy is like the flame of a candle. When the flame is put out, it does not go anywhere. It is simply gone.
WHAT JESUS SAID ABOUT DEATH
7 Jesus Christ spoke about the condition of the dead. He did so with regard to Lazarus, a man whom he knew well and who had died. Jesus told his disciples: “Lazarus our friend has gone to rest.” The disciples thought that Jesus meant that Lazarus was resting in sleep, recovering from an illness. They were wrong. Jesus explained: “Lazarus has died.” (John 11:11-14) Notice that Jesus compared death to rest and sleep. Lazarus was neither in heaven nor in a burning hell. He was not meeting angels or ancestors. Lazarus was not being reborn as another human. He was at rest in death, as though in a deep sleep without dreams. Other scriptures also compare death to sleep. For example, when the disciple Stephen was stoned to death, the Bible says that he “fell asleep.” (Acts 7:60) Similarly, the apostle Paul wrote about some in his day who had “fallen asleep” in death.—1 Corinthians 15:6.
8 Was it God’s original purpose for people to die? Not at all! Jehovah made man to live forever on earth. As we learned earlier in this book, God placed the first human couple in a delightful paradise. He blessed them with perfect health. Jehovah wanted only good for them. Does any loving parent want his children to suffer the pain of old age and death? Of course not! Jehovah loved his children and wanted them to enjoy endless happiness on earth. Concerning humans, the Bible says: “Time indefinite [Jehovah] has put in their heart.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) God created us with the desire to live forever. And he has opened the way for that desire to be fulfilled.
WHY HUMANS DIE
9 Why, then, do humans die? To find the answer, we must consider what happened when there was only one man and one woman on earth. The Bible explains: “Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food.” (Genesis 2:9) However, there was one restriction. Jehovah told Adam: “From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17) This command was not difficult to obey. There were many other trees from which Adam and Eve could eat. But they now received a special opportunity to show their gratitude to the One who had given them everything, including perfect life. Their obedience would also show that they respected the authority of their heavenly Father and that they wanted his loving direction.
10 Sadly, the first human couple chose to disobey Jehovah. Speaking through a serpent, Satan asked Eve: “Is it really so that God said you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” Eve replied: “Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat. But as for eating of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it that you do not die.’”—Genesis 3:1-3.
11 “You positively will not die,” said Satan. “God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” (Genesis 3:4, 5) Satan wanted Eve to believe that she would benefit by eating the forbidden fruit. According to him, she could decide for herself what was right and what was wrong; she could do what she wanted. Satan also charged that Jehovah had lied about the consequences of eating the fruit. Eve believed Satan. So she picked some of the fruit and ate it. She then gave some to her husband, and he too ate some of it. They did not act in ignorance. They knew that they were doing exactly what God had told them not to do. By eating the fruit, they deliberately disobeyed a simple and reasonable command. They showed contempt for their heavenly Father and his authority. Such disrespect for their loving Creator was inexcusable!
12 To illustrate: How would you feel if you raised and cared for a son or a daughter who then disobeyed you in a way that showed that he or she had no respect or love for you? That would cause you much heartache. Imagine, then, how hurt Jehovah must have felt when both Adam and Eve took a course of opposition to him.
13 Jehovah had no reason to sustain disobedient Adam and Eve forever. They died, just as he had said they would. Adam and Eve ceased to exist. They did not pass on to the spirit realm. We know this because of what Jehovah said to Adam after confronting him with his disobedience. God said: “You [will] return to the ground, for out of it you were taken. For dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:19) God had made Adam from the dust of the ground. (Genesis 2:7) Before that, Adam did not exist. Therefore, when Jehovah said that Adam would return to the dust, He meant that Adam would return to a state of nonexistence. Adam would be as lifeless as the dust from which he was made.
14 Adam and Eve could have been alive today, but they died because they chose to disobey God and thus sinned. The reason we die is that Adam’s sinful condition as well as death was passed on to all of his descendants. (Romans 5:12) That sin is like a terrible inherited disease from which no one can escape. Its consequence, death, is a curse. Death is an enemy, not a friend. (1 Corinthians 15:26) How grateful we can be that Jehovah provided the ransom to rescue us from this dreadful enemy!

Becoming...

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The soul still sings in the darkness telling of the beauty she found there; and daring us not to think that because she passed through such tortures of anguish, doubt, dread, and horror, as has been said, she ran any the more danger of being lost in the night. Nay, in the darkness did she, rather, find herself.

--St. John, Dark Night of the Soul


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