What is the soul? Any idea?
Do you wonder, worry, about the state of your soul, desire your soul to go to heaven, or fear your soul will go to hell?
If we have any Bible knowledge at all, we know, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” We sin. We wonder.
It’s not just Christians, though. No, not at all. Most religions at least wonder, if not make claims to know, how to get the soul to a better place after this life, and how to keep it out of a worse place. It’s like we have this built-in KNOWLEDGE that the soul continues in the great beyond.
Yet, most do not know what the soul even IS.
Here’s a clue: The Greek for soul, in the Bible, is psuche. This is also the root word for our psychology – the study of the psyche or psuche. Are lights coming on for you already? Good.
Most who study the soul or psuche divide it into three parts. Everyone likes three parts, but with the soul, it actually applies. Freud (whom we will not be quoting much) called the parts id, ego, and superego, not necessarily in that order. We will call the parts by English names: Mind, Will, and Emotions. That is what makes up the soul, the psuche-psyche, the self.
For today, we will define those terms.
The Mind – The mind is the product of the organ we call the brain, and is the part that deals in facts. It takes in, stores, and/or produces our thoughts. With the mind we can read, remember, rationalize, think ahead, etc. The mind is where we learn, and can be strengthened by learning anything that is true, weakened by learning the false. It’s a big job, yet it is only 1/3 of your soul. What we think is not all there is to us. There also is what we want.
The Will – This is the part that determines what we want. It chooses. It should be in control, well-informed by both the mind and the emotions. It is the scale where the soul weighs the mind against the emotions, facts against feelings, and decides what the outcome will be. The will grows stronger by “exercising the will” and weaker, even unstable, by continuing in indecision. A strong-willed soul may even superimpose its wants onto someone else, if that someone is weak-willed. And stay out of the way if two strong-willed persons have opposing desires: That can even cause wars.
The Emotions – This part of the soul feels sad, happy, attracted, repelled, etc. Genuine smiles come from the emotions, as do tears. Many of the noblest emotions find expression in poetry and drama. With our emotions, we consider the feelings of others, and choose words according to their connotations. The emotions are strengthened by expression, and weakened by squelching. The emotions can be stored for later, as during mourning, when most people take about two years to process all the emotions of a normal loss of a loved one, and longer with a wrongful loss.
Enough for today. Tomorrow, Lord willing, we will use this foundation to build more understanding of the soul.
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