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Theology literally means thinking about God. In fact, Christians have created a number of models for thinking about God. This can be fulfilling but it raises some vexing questions, as well. Are we all thinking about the same God? In the same way? Which model is best? Is only one true? Does the Bible go far enough in defining God for us? How can we share a faith if we're not all on the same page? This study will help clarify this confusing issue.
What Is the Soul?
Publication Date:
2/1/2006
Pages:
0
Session(s)
2
Product Type:
Internet Download
Adult Study, Adult Study
Product Number:
TC0028

Although we sense that our soul is the deepest part of who we are, it is difficult to draw a picture of just what a soul is. Is it the same as the body? Separate from the body? Mortal? Immortal? Because the Bible does not answer all of these questions, various ideas or mental models of the soul have developed in Christian theology.

Creedal Christians affirm "resurrection of the body." The words immortal soul or immortal spirit do not appear in the creeds, despite the observation that many Christians find comfort in such a belief. The fact remains that it was the Easter resurrection of Jesus in the body that provided the Christians who followed with the promise that God will deliver a new creation, complete with our resurrection into that new creation.

Session 1 draws a spectrum of various understandings of the human soul as found within Christian theology and in some cases non-Christian theology and even atheism. The second session asks how the Christian commitment to resurrection can be maintained in light of what we think about the soul. Finally, the Christian idea of trichotomy is discussed--that we human beings are a unity of body, soul, and spirit.

This study is a little more academic than most studies on the Thoughtful Christian. If your group is up for the challenge, however, it is an excellent review of how to understand the human soul.

Ted Peters is Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute for Theology and Ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor.


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