Monday, July 22, 2019

Early Christian Quotes on the Soul and the Spirit

Early Christian Quotes on the Soul and the Spirit


The Epistle of the Apostles 

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapters 22, 24:


“Lord, is it true that the flesh will be judged together with the soul and the spirit, and that the one part shall rest in heaven and the other part be punished forever but still be alive?”


Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, the resurrection of the flesh will happen with the soul in it and the spirit.”



Justin Martyr’s On the Resurrection

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 10:


For the spirit does not die; the soul is in the body, and without a soul, it cannot live...For the body is the house of the soul, and the soul is the house of the spirit.



Justin Martyr’s Dialog with Trypho

(Mid-2nd Century)

Chapter 5:


“But if the world is begotten, souls also are necessarily begotten; and perhaps at one time, they were not in existence, for they were made on account of men and other living creatures, if you will say that they have been begotten wholly apart and not along with their respective bodies…


"But I do not say, indeed, that all souls die, for that would be good fortune to the evil. What then? The souls of the pious remain in a better place, while those of the unjust and wicked are in a worse place, waiting for the time of judgment. So, some who are worthy of God never die; but others are punished so long as God wills them to exist and to be punished.”



Irenaeus’ Against Heresies, Book 5

(Late 2nd Century)

Chapter 6, Paragraph 1:


For by the hands of the Father, along with the Son and the Holy Spirit, man, and not merely a part of man, was made in the likeness of God. Now the soul and the spirit are certainly a part of the man but are not the man; for the perfect man consists in the commingling and the union of the soul receiving the spirit of the Father, adding in the fleshly nature molded after the image of God.



Fragments of Irenaeus

(Late 2nd Century)

Paragraph 49:


The soul is not less important than the body in its essence; nor does the body come before the soul when they are formed, but both are produced at the same time.



Tertullian’s A Treatise on the Soul

(Early 3rd Century)

Chapter 27:


How is a living being conceived? Is the substance of both body and soul formed together at one and the same time? Or does one of them precede the other in natural formation?


We indeed maintain that both are conceived and formed perfectly simultaneously, as well as born together and that not a moment's interval occurs in their conception…As death is defined to be nothing else than the separation of body and soul, life, which is the opposite of death, is defined solely as the conjunction of body and soul.



Sentences of Sextus

(Early 3rd Century)



Repeat to yourself that your body is like clothing for your soul. Keep it pure because your soul is innocent.


Whatever the soul will do while it is in the body, it has witnesses when it goes into judgment.




Lactantius’ The Divine Institutes Book 7

(Early 4th Century)

Chapter 12, Paragraph 2:


The soul is not the same thing as the mind, for it is one thing that we live, another that we think. For it is the mind of those who are asleep which is at rest, not the soul; and in those who are insane, the mind is deadened, but the soul remains; so they have a soul but are deprived of their mind.


So, the mind, that is, the understanding, is either increased or lessened according to age. The soul is always in its own condition, and from the time when it receives the power of breathing, it remains the same even to the end, until, being sent forth from the confinement of the body, it flies back to its own abode.


In the next place, the soul, although inspired by God, is shut up in a dark abode of earthly flesh and so does not possess knowledge, which belongs to divinity. So, it hears and learns all things, and it receives wisdom by learning and hearing.



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Find more of what the early Christians thought on my Christian History page!

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