Important note: This article tries to expose the point of view of Saint Josemaria (which represents the conception of Catholicism) and that of the Author Thomson Dablemond. And Finally, even Joze Tomsic decided to add his points of view. Through their different answers, everyone hopes to bring some answers about the nature of man and the purpose for which God created man.
*** Who Is Saint Josemaría?
Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer was born in Barbastro (province of Huesca, Spain) on January 9, 1902. His parents were José and Dolores. He had five brothers and sisters: Carmen (1899-1957), Santiago (1919-1994), and three younger sisters, who died as children. The Escriva couple gave their children a deep Christian education.
St. Josemaria, Catholic lends is the author of such works as Path, Furrow, Forge, Friends of God, When Christ Passes…, Love the Church, Holy Rosary, Paths of Cross, and Interviews. And it is these works that are quoted in this article. To know more about Saint Josemaria: http://fr.escrivaworks.org/ and https://opusdei.org/fr-ci/section/saint-josemaria/
*** Who Is Thomson Dablemond?
Author, Life Coach, and Mentality Therapist Thomson Dablemond is passionate about Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, and Personal Development. Of Ivorian nationality, he was born on July 3rd, 1992. Graduated in Human Resources and Communications. His life mission is to coach. And to write is his passion.
*** Who Is Joze Tomsic?
I am the one who believes that all scriptures are just the product of human imagination. They are only an attempt to search for the truth, more or less adapted to the ruling elites. Jesus was among those people who rebelled against it. He did this act at a time when it was hazardous to do something like this because all power was in that elite as a guardian of truth. Of course, in the end, he paid for this audacity with his life, like many other lesser-known people. After all, this was a rebellion against the most dangerous beast named man, man, who, in his sick imagination, thinks that he is an image of God. But this is the nature of man in all its primitive form.
Problem: The Nature of Man and the Purpose of His Existence
In the book of Genesis, it says that “God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him, man and woman, he created them”. And what is the “image of God”? Who is the man? Why was it created, and for what? Is he one more being in the heart of nature? Where is his soul?
We recall that the “ answers ” are from Saint Josemaria. And the “ views or comments ” are from Thomson Dablemond.
– Question 1. What Differentiates Man From the Rest of Creatures?
“God created man in his image, in the image of God he created him, man and woman he created them” (Gen 1:27). A man holds a unique place in creation: he is “in the image of God” (I); in his own nature he unites the spiritual world and the material world (II); he is created “man and woman” (III); God has established it in his friendship (IV). (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 355.)
It is the great audacity of the Christian faith: to proclaim the value and dignity of human nature and to affirm that with the grace that elevates us to the supernatural order, we have been created to attain the dignity of the sons of God. Audacity is really incredible if it was not based on the salutary decree of God the Father if it had not been confirmed by the blood of Christ and reaffirmed and made possible by the permanent action of the Holy Spirit. (When Christ passes, 133).
Thomson’s Point of View 1:
The last earthly creature, man, is the crowning of the ineffable creative work of God. What differentiates us from other creatures is our nature, especially: we are spiritual beings (spirit) in an envelope (physical body) whose soul is the link between spirit and soul. Through the soul, the mind manages to lead a human experience and to feel what is happening in the physical. That is to say that the man meets two experiences at the same time in his life, one in the spiritual aspect and the other in the physical aspect.
“An animal is not a man. A man is not an animal. God is not a man. A man is not God. Between the animality and the divinity, the man is: below God [of little inferior to God], and above the animals. Who is the man? It is the man: neither animal nor God. “ (Thomson Dablemond)
Joze’s Point of View 1:
If the nature of man is the same as the nature of God, then I’m really scared of God. From my point of view, man is nature’s greatest mistake. How could be such a being the crowning of the mysterious creative work of God? Man is a killer, destroyer, etc. Man is the most aggressive animal that is armed with a brain. Such a combination is only the most dangerous result of evolution and nothing more. Is this the image of God? If the answer is yes, then help me, God.
– Question 2. Why Was the Man Created With Such Dignity?
Of all visible creatures, the only man is “able to know and love his Creator” (GS 12, § 3); he is “the only creature on earth that God has wanted for herself” (GS 24, § 3); he alone is called to share, through knowledge and love, the life of God. It is to this end that it was created, and this is the fundamental reason for its dignity:
What reason did You make the man in such great dignity? The inestimable love by which You have looked in Your own creature, and You are in love with her; for it is out of love that You have created it, it is for love that You have given it a being able to taste Your Eternal Good (St. Catherine of Siena, dial 4, 13: G. Cavallini edition [Roma 1995], page 43). (See as well Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 356).
Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, there is one of which Christians especially need: the gift of wisdom which, by making us know God and enjoy God, enables us to judge without error the situations and things of this life. If we were consistent with our faith, looking around, contemplating the spectacle of history and the world, we would feel in our hearts these feelings of Jesus: In the sight of the crowds, He had pity because these people were tired and prostrated like sheep without a shepherd. (When Christ passes, 133).
Thomson’s Point of View 2:
The reason that man was created with dignity is that God wanted to make a special creature. A creature in which God could look at himself and admire himself. A creature in which God could contemplate his masterpiece. That’s why, at Creation, God gave man domination. The original purpose of God was to take pleasure in seeing man live in happiness, in happiness, and above all, eternally. God wanted to transmit the life of Heaven on Earth so that life on Earth is only a copy of Heaven’s only in human and earthly experience.
You understand why God, in his Love, raised man and made him inferior to him and crowned him with glory and magnificence (see Psalms 8: 3-8).
Joze’s Point of View 2:
What dignity? What do you talking about? Such thinking is nothing but glorifying our ego. We are born like every other creature in blood and pain. There is no difference. And, after all, how do you know the feelings of animals? How can anyone claim that an animal is not capable of feeling eternity? What research confirms this? Perhaps the investigations of blinded human ego?
– Question 3. Man Was Created in the Image of God; What Does That Mean?
Because he is in the image of God, the human individual has the dignity of a person: he is not only something but someone. He is able to know himself, to possess himself and to give himself freely, and to enter into communion with other people. He is called, by grace, to an alliance with his Creator, to offer Him a response of faith and love that no one else can give in its place. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 357).
The God of our faith is not a distant being who contemplates from the height of his indifference the fate of men. He is a Father who loves his children ardently. A Creator God of overflowing love for his creatures. He gives man the great privilege of being able to love, thus transcending the ephemeral and the transient.
Human lives, holy because they come from God, cannot be treated as mere things, like the numbers of a statistic. In considering the deep reality of life, the human heart lets out its most noble affections. What love, what tenderness, what infinite patience that parents have towards their children long before they are born. Is not this also the case of the theologian who seeks the depth of the meaning of the divine word on human life with the same untiring generosity, the attention given to the concrete or the serenity of his judgment? And the doctor who uses the most modern remedies to avoid the risk of a contagious disease, which may be a risk to the life of the unborn child, does not also live in this expectation full of hope, with his ability of intuition, his sharpness of mind? (Discourse on the University, The Commitment of Truth, 8).
Thomson’s Point of View 3:
To be created in the image of God means that we have the imprints of God in us. We have the divine faculties in us: thought, will, and creativity. These faculties bring us closer to God and move us away from other earthly creatures. These faculties make us expansive, unique, and wonderful beings.
The fact that we are created in the image of God demonstrates the love and value that God gives to the human.
Joze’s Point of View 3:
This means that we are able to kill millions of people and animals for no reason. In the name of God, for example. Yes, we can say that we are an image of God. If you read the Bible carefully, you can quickly find the same behavior of God. But supposedly, this is his right. You can do with your creation whatever you want. So, I must agree that the nature of man is really the same as the nature of God.
– Question 4. For What Purpose Was It Created?
God created everything for man (see GS 12, § 1, 24, § 3, 39, § 1), but man was created to serve and love God and to offer him all creation:
What, then, is the being who will come into existence surrounded by such a consideration? It is the man, a great and admirable living figure, more precious in the eyes of God than the whole creation: it is the man; it is for him that there exist the sky and the earth and the sea and the whole of creation, and it is to his salvation that God has attached so much importance that he has not even spared his only Son for him. For God did not ceaselessly make every effort to bring man up to him and make him sit on his right (St. John Chrysostom, serm., In Gen. 2, 1: PG54, 587D- 588A). (See also Catechism of the Catholic Church, 358.)
Thomson’s Point of View 4:
The Man was created to live the life of God on earth. The Man was created to rejoice in the heart of God. And it is only by rejoicing in the heart of God that man lives happiness and well-being, for one cannot rejoice in the heart of God and be unhappy. God provided mankind with everything he needed for his fulfillment. “The world was created for man, and man was created for God” (Thomson Dablemond).
Joze’s Point of View 4:
Thinking about the purpose of life and what man should be rid of. Talking about the purpose of life (causa finalis, teleological thinking), this already presupposes a higher instance of God. I have nothing against God, but this way of thinking simply deceives us. It is misleading because it is, firstly, a far too light way of getting out of the dilemma, and secondly, because it throws the wrong light on God. It imposes on him the meaning and purpose of the higher instance. This shows God as someone who gives meaning to man – what is, after all, the primitive purpose of all religions. And last but not least. How should we seek Christian purpose in people who are not raised in Christianity? Or in people who lived in areas where they did not know God until Christians did not coerce them into faith with sword and blood.
The question of whether life is meaningful can be completely and in itself senseless. The point is not that objective life has any meaning, purpose, and so on. The preliminary question is, from what perspective does the person who first asks this question speak?
Question 5. Men, What Do They Have in Common? What Unites Us? Why Are We Different From the Rest of Beings?
Thanks to the community of origin, the human race forms a unity. For God “brought forth all the descendants of men from a single stock” (Acts 17:26, see Tb 8: 6):
The marvelous vision that makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God (…); in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and mission in the world; in the unity of his habitation: the earth, goods from which all men, by right of nature, can use to support and develop life; unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all must tend; in the unity of the means to reach this end; (…) in the unity of his redemption made for all by Christ (Pius XII, encum “Summi pontificatus,” see NA 1). (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 360.)
“This law of human solidarity and charity” (ibid.), Without excluding the rich variety of people, cultures, and peoples, it assures us that all men are truly brothers. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 361).
The Word deigned to fully assume human nature and consecrate the earth by his presence and the work of his hands. The great mission that we receive with baptism is that of redemption. The Charity of Christ urges us to take on our shoulders part of this divine task which is the redemption of souls. (When Christ passes, 120).
Thomson’s Point of View 5:
What men have in common is their nature. No man was conceived differently. All men are equal because they carry the same divine mark. What unites us above all is the voice of God in us and the blood flowing in our veins. As I have always defended: “Beyond all … All the same!”
Joze’s Point of View 5:
Yes, we are all the same. But we are the same as animals too. Differences are, of course, noticeable at the genetic level. Of course, we are also dependent on the environment in which we live. What separates us above all is the voice of God in us and the blood flowing in our veins. We all know how much blood was spilled, mainly because of religion.
– Question 6. Is the Human Being a Body With a Soul or a Soul With a Body or None of This?
The human person, created in the image of God, is a being, both bodily and spiritual. The Bible narrative expresses this reality in a symbolic language when it states that “God modeled man with the clay of the soil, he breathed into his nostrils a breath of life and man became a living being” (Gn 2, 7). The whole man is therefore wanted by God. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 362.)
What is the body? Is the body bad?
The body of man participates in the dignity of the “image of God”: he is a human body precisely because he is animated by the spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person who is destined to become in the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Spirit (1 Cor 6, 19-20, 15, 44-45):
Body and soul, but truly one, the man, in his bodily condition, gathers in himself the elements of the material world which thus find in him their summit and can freely praise their Creator. It is therefore forbidden for a man to despise bodily life. But on the contrary, he must esteem and respect his body which was created by God and which must be resurrected on the last day (GS 14, § 1). (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 364.)
Did you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit that is in you and that you hold of God?
And that you are not your own? (1 Cor 6: 19) How often, in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Beloved Love, will you not answer the Apostle’s question with a joyful affirmation: yes, we know it, and we want to live so, with your powerful help, O Virgin, Mother of God!
Contemplative prayer will spring from you each time you meditate on this surprising reality: something as material as my body has been chosen by the Holy Spirit to establish his home …, I do not belong to myself anymore …, my body and my soul – my whole being – are to God … and this prayer will be rich with practical results that will derive from this great consequence proposed by the same apostle: glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:20).
If you knew what you are worth! … It is Saint Paul who tells you: you were bought pretio magno, at a great price.
He says to you again: Glorificate and portate Deum in corpore vestro: glorify God and carry it in your body.
Thomson’s Point of View 6:
What do you mean by being human? Is it not the fusion of an immaterial body and a material body? Is it not the union between the mind and the body by the bond of the soul? Physical life is the visible life of the spirit. It’s the spirit that lives. The body is only an envelope that obeys physical and material realities. And these realities influence the mind. Just as the spiritual, immaterial realities of the spirit are transmitted to the body. And all this is possible by the immaterial substance, which is symbolized materially by the blood.
Joze’s Point of View 6:
Despite the unprecedented advancement of science over the last 50 years, science has not found the answer to the question of where the line between living and inanimate matter is and what separates life from death. Biochemically and physically, a corpse is no different from a living body immediately after death. So far, therefore, science is incapable of explaining life – perhaps precisely because it lacks the concept of the soul. More and more hypotheses about the afterlife are being put forward and tested in science.
So, I have no answer to the question if a human being is a body with a soul or a soul with a body or none of this. I will not make illusions that I can explain this before science, but I trust in science.
I know, however, that those who seek the answers in the scriptures are more or less lost in the space of fairy tales. Christians interpret one way, Muslims the other, but everyone thinks they are right.
– Question 7. What Is the Soul? What Is It for? Where Is She From?
Often the term soul refers to human life in the Holy Scripture (see Mt 16: 25-26, Jn 15:13) or the whole human person (see Acts 2:41). But it also indicates what is most intimate in man (cf Mt 26, 38, Jn 12, 27) and of greater value in him (cf Mt 10, 28, 2 M 6, 30 ), by which he is more particularly an image of God: “soul” means the spiritual principle in man. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 363.)
The unity of the soul and the body is so profound that one must consider the soul as the “form” of the body (see Cc Vienna in 1312: DS 902); that is to say, it is thanks to the spiritual soul that the body constituted of the matter is a living human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two united natures, but their union forms a unique nature. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 365.)
The Catholic Church teaches that every spiritual soul is immediately created by God (see Pius XII, “Humani Generis”, 1950: DS 3896, SPF 8) – it is not “produced” by parents -; she also teaches us that she is immortal (see CCC Lateran V in 1513: DS 1440): she does not perish when she separates from the body in death and will unite again with the body at the final resurrection. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 366.)
This is the will of God, your sanctification …
May each one of you know how to make use of his body in a holy and honest way without surrendering to the passions, as do the Gentiles who do not know God. We belong totally to God, body, and soul, with our flesh and with our bones, with our senses, and with our powers. Pray with confidence: Jesus protects our hearts! A big, strong, and tender heart, affectionate and delicate, overflowing with charity for you, to serve all souls. Our body is holy, the temple of God, says Saint Paul. (Saint Josemaría, Friends of God, 177)
He was right, the one who said, soul and body, that they are two enemies unable to separate and two friends unable to support each other. (Saint Josemaria, Way, 195).
Thomson’s Point of View 7:
The soul exists because it has had a fusion: immaterial and material – spiritual and physical – divine and human. All in one life: what gave human life. This is why the soul designates “man,” and we mean “living soul”. We speak of a living soul when the spirit lives and the body exists. Men are souls.
It is the soul that makes possible the life of the spirit in the body. And it is the body that allows the mind to have a human experience.
The life of the soul is, therefore, the meeting of the mind and the body. In the human body: the brain represents and plays the role of the mind. Blood represents the soul and plays the role of link, union, and contact between mind and body. The rest of the human organs are there to allow coherence and experience of the physical realities of the body.
Have you noticed it? It is the brain that controls the entire human organism. And it is the meaning that transmits information from the mind to the body and vice versa. So far, we are able to understand that the reason for being of the soul is the double nature of man at the same time, spirit and body.
Joze’s Point of View 7:
You need to know that the soul of matter, the anima mundi, is the conscious factor of the substance itself. It is the responsiveness of things throughout the universe and the fundamental ability of all forms, from the physical atom to the solar system, which causes the undeniable intelligent operation of everything. It could be called the energy of attraction, connectedness, sensuality, vibrancy, awareness, or consciousness. But it is even closer to saying that the soul is a quality expressed by every form. It is that subtle thing that distinguishes one element from another, one mineral from another mineral. It is the intangible essential nature of the form that determines in the plant kingdom whether a rose or a cauliflower, elm, or watercress will form. It is a type of energy that cares for the diversity of species of the animal kingdom and the different appearance, nature, and character of each human being. Scientists have listed, researched, and analyzed shapes; they named the elements, minerals, plant life forms, and different animal species, studied the structure of the forms and the history of their evolutionary development, and thus reached certain conclusions. Still, the mystery of life escapes even to the best of them. Only when we become aware of the existence of a “web of life” or vital body that lies behind each form and connects every part of the form with all other parts, and when we are able to understand it, will we be able to solve this problem.
Try to undress your ego for a moment and look the animals in the face, and you will understand what I’m talking about.
– Question 8. Soul and Spirit Are They the Same?
Sometimes it happens that the soul is distinguished from the spirit. Thus St. Paul prayed that our “entire being, mind, soul, and body” should be kept without reproach at the coming of the Lord (1 Thess 5: 23). The Catholic Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul (Cc Constantinople IV in 870: DS 657). “Spirit” means that man is ordained from his creation to his supernatural end (Cc. Vatican I: DS 3005, see GS 22, § 5) and that his soul is capable of being elevated free of charge to communion with God (see Pius XII, Enc. “Humani Generis”, 1950: DS 3891). (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, 367.)
We said to one of our good friends, in order to humiliate him that his soul was second or third choice.
And he, convinced of his nothingness, reasoned thus: since each man has only one soul – and I, too, I have only one – for each his soul will be … of the first choice. I do not want to adjust the shot down! Therefore, I have a soul of “the first choice,” and I want, with the help of God, to purify and whiten it and ignite it so that my Beloved will rejoice.
– Do not forget it, you either, although you see yourself full of misery: you cannot “adjust the shot down.” (Saint Josemaria, Forge, 893.)
Thomson’s Point of View 8:
The mind has its realities. The body has its realities. And the realities of the soul are only the sum of the realities of the mind and the body.
For my part, to speak of the soul is to refer to the communion between the mind and the body. Look, the body is attracted to carnal and material things. The mind is attracted to spiritual and immaterial things. Thus, the life of the soul will be only the association between these two attractions. And the dominant attraction will be that which characterizes the life of the soul. Our soul feeds on what the mind and the body give it as an ingredient.
Joze’s Point of View 8:
If we say that man is of body and soul, we are usually not even aware of the fact that we are only victims of some form of dogma built relatively late in the course of Christian development.
Even older Christianity, which still emerged from the teachings of wisdom, distinguished in the human body the body or organism, souls, and spirits, like all wisdom teachings from different times and nations.
In a later decision of the Council, the spirit was almost eliminated. It is since the Council of Constantinople that we are speaking only about the body and the soul.
Modern science, which deals with this issue at all, and therefore does not think materialistically, believes that it stands on the ground of completely free exploration. Modern science does not even feel that it has been accepted as a preconceived notion, as a forward-thinking opinion, only this later notion of the soul that leaves the spirit aside.
It is the same with many concepts that appear and accept in our learning as if they were indeed the result of research while representing only a hundred-year-old prejudice.