Body and Soul Connection
by Ron Kurtus (revised 26 February 2012)
Does Your Body Get a Soul or the Soul a Body?
A common Western religious belief is that at some time between conception and birth, the human body receives a soul. Following that concept, when a person feels the presence of God, he or she is then having a spiritual experience.
A different perspective is that there already exists a sprit or soul that receives a body sometimes between conception and birth. In this case, the person is a spirit that is having a human experience.
Questions you may have include:
- What is the implication of the body receiving a soul?
- What is the implication of the soul receiving a body?
- Which concept is correct?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Note: This is an educational website. We are not promoting any one religion.
Body receives a soul
Most Western religions believe that at conception, at birth or at some time in between, the body receives a soul. It is implied that the soul did not exist before and is somehow created for the body.
When body gets soul
The time when the body receives a soul is a major factor in the debate on abortion. Catholics believe that a person gets a soul at conception, thus any form of abortion is the murder of a human being. Some Protestants believe that a body gets a soul at birth and that abortion is not killing a human being, rather part of the mother.
When a person has a vision or religiously moved, he or she is said to be having a religious or spiritual experience.
People pray to try to communicate with God.
Purpose of life
An implication of the body receiving a soul is the belief that the purpose of life is to serve God and that breaking religious rules can result in the soul receiving punishment, such as going to Hell.
Soul receives a body
Another viewpoint is that there exists a soul which is given a body at some time from conception to birth. This concept is readily accepted in religions that believe in reincarnation.
Inhabit other creatures
One implication of this viewpoint is that the soul or spirit not only can receive a human body, but may inhabit an animal, plant or even inanimate forms of matter. Some American Indian tribes, African natives and Aborigines in Australia believe that mountains, rivers and even weather have a spiritual form.
One problem with that is the fact that life seems to be something very special. For a spirit to simply inhabit a body seems like it could inhabit a machine. Perhaps the spirit is what gives life-forms their life.
The concept that inanimate objects can have a spiritual form implies that perhaps there is a global spirit the inhabits everything. But then that wouldn't make us very unique.
This viewpoint is not inclusive of Eastern and native religions. Some Christians also accept the concept that people are spirits having a human experience.
If we were spirits on some sort of holiday, experiencing human life, then what would be the propose of prayer? You would think the spirit would be able to directly communicate with God.
Purpose of life
Another implication of this is that the purpose of life is to enjoy the experience of living. Certainly social rules must be followed, but it is not indisputable whether there is any punishment if the body does not follow religious rules.
Impossible to prove
The viewpoint and religious beliefs are based on upbringing and belief. It is impossible to argue or prove one over the other.
Fundamentalists and strict followers of the documented Word—in any religion—will most likely not accept the other viewpoint. More liberal religious believers may accept that the other viewpoint is possible and could fit within their religious framework.
Many Western religions believe the human body receives a soul and that a religious feeling is the body and mind having a spiritual experience. A more Eastern perspective is that a sprit or soul receives a body and that the person is a spirit having a human experience.
As with most things religious, it is difficult or impossible to prove either perspective.
Resources and references
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