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NATURE OF MAN.
§ 1. Scripture Doctrine. The Scriptures teach that God formed the body of man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into him the breath of life and he became m'n miss, a living soul. According to this account, man consists of two distinct principles, a body and a soul : the one material, the other immaterial; the one corporeal, the other spiritual. It is involved in this statement, first, that the soul of man is a substance; and, secondly, that it is a substance distinct from the body. So that in the constitution of man two distinct substances are included.
The idea of substance, as has been before remarked, is one of the primary truths of the reason. It is given in the consciousness of every man, and is therefore a part of the universal faith of man. We are conscious of our thoughts, feelings, and volitions. We know that these exercises of phenomena are constantly changing, but that there is something of which they are the exercises and manifestation. That something is the self which remains unchanged, which is the same identical something, yesterday, to-day, and tomorrow. The soul is, therefore, not a mere series of acts; nor is it a form of the life of God, nor is it a mere unsubstantial force, but a real subsistence. Whatever acts is, and what is is an entity. A nonentity is nothing, and nothing can neither have power nor produce effects. The soul of man, therefore, is an essence or entity or substance, the abiding subject of its varying states and exercises. The second point just mentioned is no less plain. As we can know nothing of substance but from its phenomena, and as we are forced by a law of our nature to believe in the existence of a substance of which the phenomena are the manifestation, so by an equally stringent necessity we are forced to believe that where the phenomena are not only different, but incompatible, there the substances are also different. As, therefore, the phenomena or properties of matter are essentially different from those of mind, we are forced to conclude that matter and mind are two distinct substances ; that
the soul is not material nor the body spiritual. “To identify matter with mind,” says Cousin, in a passage before quoted, “or mind with matter; it is necessary to pretend that sensation, thought, volition, are reducible, in the last analysis, to solidity, extension, figure, divisibility, etc.; or that solidity, extension, figure, etc., are reducible to sensation, thought, will."1 It may be said, therefore, despite of materialists and idealists, that it is intuitively certain that matter and mind are two distinct substances; and such has been the faith of the great body of mankind. This view of the nature of man which is presented in the original account of his creation, is sustained by the constant representations of the Bible.
Truths on this Subject assumed in Scripture. The Scriptures do not formally teach any system of psychology, but there are certain truths relating both to our physical and mental constitution, which they constantly assume. They assume, as we have seen, that the soul is a substance ; that it is a substance distinct from the body ; and that there are two, and not more than two, essential elements in the constitution of man. This is evident, (1.) From the distinction everywhere made between soul and body. Thus, in the original account of the creation a clear distinction is made between the body as formed from the dust of the earth, and the soul or principle of life which was breathed into it from God. And in Gen. iii. 19, it is said, “ Dust thou art, and ụnto dust shalt thou return.” As it was only the body that was formed out of the dust, it is only the body that is to return to dust. In Eccles. xii. 7, it is said, “ Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Is. x. 18, “ Shall consume .... both soul and body.” Daniel says (vii. 15), “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body.” Our Lord (Matt. vi. 25) commands his disciples to take no thought for the body; and, again (Matt. x. 28), “ Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Such is the constant representation of the Scriptures. The body and soul are set forth as distinct substances, and the two together as constituting the whole man. (2.) There is a second class of passages equally decisive as to this point. It consists of those in which the body is represented as a garment which is to be laid aside ; a tabernacle or house in which the soul dwells, which it may leave and return to. Paul, on a certain occasion, did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body. Peter says he thought it meet as long as he was in this tabernacle to put his brethren in remembrance of the truth, “knowing," as he adds, " that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle.” Paul, in 2 Cor. v. 1, says, “ If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God.” In the same connection, he speaks of being unclothed and clothed upon with our house which is from heaven; and of being absent from the body and present with the Lord, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. To the Philippians (i. 23, 24) he says, “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better : nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (3.) It is the common belief of mankind, the clearly revealed doctrine of the Bible, and part of the faith of the Church universal, that the soul can and does exist and act after death. If this be so, then the body and soul are two distinct substances. The former may be disorganized, reduced to dust, dispersed, or even annihilated, and the latter retain its conscious life and activity. This doctrine was taught in the Old Testament, where the dead are represented as dwelling in Sheol, whence they occasionally reappeared, as Samuel did to Saul. Our Lord says that as God is not the God of the dead but of the living, his declaring himself to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are now alive. Moses and Elijah conversed with Christ on the Mount. To the dying thief our Lord said, “ To-day shalt thou" (that in which his personality resided) " be with me in Paradise.” Paul, as we have just seen, desired to be absent from the body and present with the Lord. He knew that his conscious personal existence was to be continued after the dissolution of his body. It is unnecessary to dwell on this point, as the continued existence of the soul in full consciousness and activity out of the body and in the interval between death and the resurrection, is not denied by any Christian Church. But if this be so it clearly proves that the soul and body are two distinct substances, so that the former can exist independently of the latter.
i Elements of Psychology, Henry's translation, N. Y. 1856, p. 370.
Relation of the Soul and Body. Man, then, according to the Scriptures, is a created spirit in vital union with a material organized body. The relation between these two constituents of our nature is admitted to be mysterious. That is, it is incomprehensible. We do not know how the body acts on the mind, or how the mind acts on the body. These facts,
however, are plain, (1.) That the relation between the two is a vital union, in such a sense as that the soul is the source of life to the body. When the soul leaves the body the latter ceases to live. It loses its sensibility and activity, and becomes at once subject to the chemical laws which govern unorganized matter, and by their operation is soon reduced to dust, undistinguishable from the earth whence it was originally taken. (2.) It is a fact of consciousness that certain states of the body produce certain corresponding states of the mind. The mind takes cognizance of, or is conscious of, the impressions made by external objects on the organs of sense belonging to the body. The mind sees, the mind hears, and the mind feels, not directly or immediately (at least in our present and normal state), but through or by means of the appropriate organs of the body. It is also a matter of daily experience that a healthful condition of the body is necessary to a healthful state of the mind; that certain diseases or disorders of the one produce derangement in the operations of the other. Emotions of the mind affect the body; shame suffuses the cheek; joy causes the heart to beat and the eyes to shine. A blow on the head renders the mind unconscious, 2. e., it renders the brain unfit to be the organ of its activity ; and a diseased condition of the brain may cause irregular action in the mind, as in lunacy. All this is incomprehensible, but it is undeniable. (3.) It is also a fact of consciousness that, while certain operations of the body are independent of the conscious voluntary action of the mind, as the processes of respiration, digestion, secretion, assimilation, etc., there are certain actions dependent on the will. We can will to move ; and we can exert a greater or less degree of muscular force. It is better to admit these simple facts of consciousness and of experience, and to confess that, while they prove an intimate and vital union between the mind and body, they do not enable us to comprehend the nature of that union, than to have recourse to arbitrary and fanciful theories which deny these facts, because we cannot explain them. This is done by the advocates of the doctrine of occasional causes, which denies any action of the mind on the body or of the body on the mind, but refers all to the immediate agency of God. A certain state of the mind is the occasion on which God produces a certain act of the body; and a certain impression made on the body is the occasion on which God produces a certain impression on the mind. Leibnitz's doctrine of a preëstablished harmony is equally unsatisfactory. He denied that one substance could act on another of a different kind; that matter could act on mind or mind on matter. He proposed to account for the admitted correspondence between the varying states of the one and those of the other on the assumption of a prearrangement. God had foreordained that the mind should have the perception of a tree whenever the tree was presented to the eye, and that the arm should move whenever the mind had a volition to move. But he denied any causal relation between these two series of events.
Realistic Dualism. The Scriptural doctrine of the nature of man as a created spirit in vital union with an organized body, consisting, therefore, of two, and only two, distinct elements or substances, matter and mind, is one of great importance. It is intimately connected with some of the most important doctrines of the Bible; with the constitution of the person of Christ, and consequently with the nature of his redeeming work and of his relation to the children of men; with the doctrine of the fall, original sin, and of regeneration; and with the doctrines of a future state and of the resurrection. It is because of this connection, and not because of its interest as a question in psychology, that the true idea of man demands the careful investigation of the theologian.
The doctrine above stated, as the doctrine of the Scriptures and of the Church, is properly designated as realistic dualism. That is, it asserts the existence of two distinct res, entities, or substances; the one extended, tangible, and divisible, the object of the senses ; the other unextended and indivisible, the thinking, feeling, and willing subject in man. This doctrine stands opposed to materialism and idealism, which although antagonistic systems in other respects, agree in denying any dualism of substance. The one makes the mind a function of the body; the other makes the body a form of the mind. But, according to the Scriptures and all sound philosophy, neither is the body, as Delitzsch 1 says, a precipitate of the mind, nor is the mind a sublimate of matter.
The Scriptural doctrine of man is of course opposed to the old heathen doctrine which represents him as the form in which nature, der Naturgeist, the anima mundi, comes to self-consciousness; and also to the wider pantheistic doctrine according to which men are the highest manifestations of the one universal principle of being and life ; and to the doctrine which represents man as the union of the impersonal, universal reason or dóyos, with a living corporeal organization. According to this last mentioned view, man consists of the body (owma), soul (tuxń), and lóyos, or the impersonal
1," "sche Psychologie, p. 64.