Wednesday, April 02, 2008

The Composition of Man

Back in early 2001, God gave me an answer for my philosophical questions: a systematic ontology, a set of three categories into which everything could be divided: the Physical, the Logical, and the Emotional. Everything that exists, or even can or could exist, is made up of things from these three categories.

It made sense; man has a body, a mind, and a heart. At least it made sense at the time, but the primary objection most fellow Christians have is "where does spirit fit in?"

I need to ask them, each time, "What do you mean by spirit?"

You see, spirit is a word that, in contemporary American English, can be used for many things. It can be used in a philosophical sense, a psychological sense, a moral sense, a purely emotional sense, a metaphysical sense, an abstract sense, or as relating to consciousness either of man, of animals, or both.

Soul can usually also be used in such senses.

The Triessentialist trichotomy, by contrast to the traditional trichotomy, holds at its core the multiplicative combination of the three components (Body, Mind, and Heart): the person as a moral being.

A thing of Body only (such as a rock) cannot be held accountable under law, nor can a thing of Mind only (such as a mathematical equation), nor a thing of Heart alone (such as the emotion of anger).

Nor can the combinations of two alone be held morally responsible in the same way as a human. Animals are beings of Heart and Body (their mental capacity not encompassing the logical capacity necessary for language), and if they harm a person, they are destroyed without trial. Computers likewise are things of Science (Mind and Body without Heart), and as such are tools; they are no more legally responsible for their actions than would be a hammer used to crush a skull. A being of Mind and Heart without Body would be unable to affect the physical world in any way, except possibly through communication with humans; yet we cannot hold Holden Caulfield or Nietzche's Zarasthustra legally responsible for acts committed in their names, as they are fictional characters, beings of Logic and Emotion without real substance.

The only beings we hold morally responsible are humans, the only Earthly nexus of Body, Mind, and Heart.

Thus I define moral existence to require these three characteristics, these three components. I further define this Moral nexus as the soul of a person.

The being currently made of entropy-prone matter and arranged chemically to function as if a real person will be given a better Body, one made of better stuff, without dependence on gravity, electromagnetism, time, and oxygen. I term this the spiritual body, which will house the soul when this body dies or is removed.

Spirit remains, like Love, a word I rarely use due to its ambiguity. First, I state that there exists a pseudophysical realm that is "outside" but "near" our own, in which the general concepts of the Physical still apply, such as things not occupying the same space at once, and one thing pushing on another makes it move; this is the spirit realm, in which angels and demons exist; this is the realm in which we will exist, and the matter of which our new bodies will be constructed. Second, I state that the term spirit, when not used in this manner, is generally used to describe all things emotional; I generally try to refrain from this second use, as it seems more metaphorical than real to me.

When reading the Bible, I draw no distinction between soul and spirit, since the Bible itself draws no systematic distinction, except in the works of Paul. Since he uses them systematically, I see the term soul (psuche) as equal to "psyche", the flesh-based mind OR the fallen Moral will, but "pneuma" as EITHER the pseudophysical supernatural component of Man OR the Moral Will, the nexus that is the person, which Jesus restores through salvation and the Holy Spirit renews through sanctification.

And please, if you see ANY theological flaws with this, PLEASE alert me to them at once.

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  • There once was a grey hippopotamus
    Who thought of himself as trichotomous.
    "I've a head, as you see,
    and some legs under me,
    which hold all of the weight of my bottomus."

    By Blogger BlueNight, at 4:36 PM  

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