Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Whole Human Person: Body, Spirit and Soul

by Metropolitan  Anthony  of  Sourozh
I am going to speak about the human person as a whole, and I want to introduce my talk by making some important remarks. We have been using the phrase 'human person' because nowadays to say 'man' is offensive to the ears of many, and we do not have in English a word that would correspond to the Greek 'anthropos' or the Russian 'chelovek'. So we take it that in a given case the word 'person' means the human being considered as a whole, although there are a number of important distinctions to note.

Vladimir Lossky in particular, as well as other theologians, insists on the fact that there is an important difference between the words 'person' and 'individual' in theological usage. The individual, as the word indicates, is the last term of division. One can speak of mankind, one can speak of nations, one can speak of races, of families, and then what is left is a unit, because if one were to go on dividing it, it would no longer be a living person, but a corpse and a departed soul.

So the individual is the result of fragmentation. We are all individuals to the extent to which we are alienated one from another, separated from God, and broken up within ourselves. We are not a whole, either as humanity or as individual persons, and this we must take into account when we think of ourselves, as well as when we think of the Church and mankind in general. We cannot have an optimistic vision of the Church without remembering that the Church is also a fragmented body. In each of us the mind, the heart, the body, the passions, our elan to God, do not all concur to form one powerful stream of life and of spiritual life in particular.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...