Immortal Souls and JWs : LUSENET : Catholic : One Thread

I did a little digging into Jamey's claim that the idea of an "immortal soul" orginated with St. Augustine as a corrupt introduction of Platonism into Christianity. The following quotations from other early Christians prove him wrong:

". . . human nature is made up jointly of an immortal soul and the body with which it is united at creation" (Athenagoras, "The Resurrection of the Dead", c. A.D. 177).

"What, then, are mortal bodies? Are they souls? But souls, as compared to mortal bodies, are incorporeal: for God breathed into the face of man the breath of life, and man became a living soul. The breath of life, however, is incorporeal. And certainly they cannot say that the breath of life is itself mortal. In this regard David says, 'And for Him my soul shall live,' just as if its substance were immortal" (Irenaeus, "Against Heresies", c. A.D. 180).

"We define the soul as born of the breath of God, immortal, . . .having form, simple in substance, acquiring knowledge by its own operation, showing itself in various ways, free to choose, subject to misfortunes, changeable according to natural inclinations, rational, . . . descended from a single source" (Tertullian, "The Soul", c. A.D. 208). In the same work Tertullian says, "Every soul, therefore, is shut up in Hades? Do you admit it? Whether you do or not, it is a fact."

"Resurrection is not posited of that which has not fallen, but of that which has fallen and has risen up again. . . . For it is not that which has not died but that which has died that is said to be laid to rest. But it is flesh that dies; the soul is immortal" (Epiphanius of Salamis, "Panacea Against All Heresies", c. A.D. 377).

"Now, however, about the soul, which God breathed into man by blowing on his face, I affirm nothing, except that it is not the substance of God; and it is incorporeal, which is to say, it is not a body, but a spirit; not begotten of the substance of god, nor proceeding from the substance of God, but created by God; nor was it so created that any other nature of body or irrational soul might be changed into its nature; and consequently it was created out of nothing, and is immortal according to a certain mode of life, which it can in no way lose; but in accord with a certain mutability, by which it is able to become better or worse, it can also rightly be understood to be mortal; for He alone has true immortality" (Augustine, "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis", c. A.D. 410). Notice that Augustine does not slavishly follow Platonic thought since he says that the soul was created out of nothing and also that the immortality of the soul is completely contingent on God, who alone possesses immortality by nature. Also, unlike Plato, Augustine "against the Manichaeans . . . always asserts the worth and dignity of the body" (Catholic Encyclopedia, "Soul") while Plato saw the body as evil and as the "prison of the soul."

These are just a few witnesses. But we can see that from Greece, to France, to Italy, to Palestine, to North Africa, ancient Christians said the same thing about the immortal soul. Jamey's sources are simply wrong when they claim that St Augustine invented this.

One of the non-Catholic's favorite tactics is to try to compare Catholic teaching to some ancient non-Christian religion and claim that it has been corrupted by that group. Jamey has summarized the Jehovah's Witness teaching on the human soul by saying there are three groups of people, the "Holy Ones" who are spiritual and will reign in heaven, some other humans who have some spirituality but are destined for an earthly existence, and a third group who have no spirituality and are annihilated.

Read this part of the article on "Soul" the Catholic Encyclopedia describing the views of the heretical Gnostic sect concerning humanity and the soul, and see it if sounds familiar:

"Thus, the "newness of life", of which St. Paul speaks, was conceived by some as a superadded entity, a kind of oversoul sublimating the 'natural man' into a higher species. This doctrine was variously distorted in the different Gnostic systems. The Gnostics divided man into three classes: pneumatici or spiritual, psychici or animal, choici or earthy. To each class they ascribed a different origin and destiny."

"[The pneumatici] class consists of course of the Gnostics themselves [the "Holy Ones"?]. The psychici are in a lower position: they have capacities for spiritual life which they must cultivate by good works [other JWs like Jamey?]. They stand in a middle place, and may either rise to the spiritual or sink to the hylic level. . . . Lastly, the earthy souls are a mere material emanation, destined to perish: the matter of which they are composed being incapable of salvation (me gar einai ten hylen dektiken soterias). This class contains the multitudes of the merely natural man [exactly what Jamey says of the unbelieving dead]. Two features claim attention in this the earliest essay towards a complete anthropology within the Christian Church: an extreme spirituality is attributed to "the perfect" [the "Holy Ones"]; immortality is conditional for the second class of souls, not an intrinsic attribute of all souls. [Just like Jamey's system.]"

Also, I've seen in other conversations that Jamey refuses to give reasons for various aspects of his faith (like knowing which books belong in the Bible). Rather, he just relies on some special knowledge that he claims to have but will not tell where or how he got it. This too is exactly like the Gnostics.

Actually, the views about Jesus Christ held by Jehovah's Witnesses have a lot of points in common with the Gnostic rejection of His codivinity and consubstantiality with the Father.

We are still waiting for Jamey to find us even one person who taught prior to the year 1880 that the "holy ones" of the New Testament are limited to the 144,000 of the book of Revelation.

So, what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Is Jamey just "reading the Bible" or is he incorporating ancient and modern "traditions of men" and then "filtering" the Bible through those? Decide for yourself.

-- Franklin Journier (, August 13, 1999


Might as well throw my other questions for Jamey onto this message so we do not all have to scroll down through that other long message.


If only the 144,000 = the "saints" of the New Testament and that is the "plain" teaching of the Bible then can you find somebody prior to 1880 who said that? If nobody prior to 1880 taught it, then how could it be "plain"?

When human beings die and their bodies decay in the ground, what part of them lives on, where is it, and what is it doing?

And let's toss in one last one. In Matthew 25:46 says "And [the unrighteous] will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Eternal punishment cannot entail annihilation and extinction of consciousness, otherwise it would no longer be punishment. Notice too the contrast between eternal life (equals eternal existence and consciousness) and eternal punishment (equals eternal existence and consciousness). See again the very fine arguments on the Web site I cited. So, how do you reconcile this verse (and the other verses cited on the Web page) with your contention that the souls barred from God's presence are annihilated?

-- Franklin Journier (, August 13, 1999.

Sorry to just post on top of myself but I'm learning some great stuff!

First, I found out that the JWs have clearly mistranslated Matt 25:46 in their New World Translation to try and get out of the big jam it puts them in. The Greek word for "punishment" is kolasis, which Strong's defines as "penal infliction:--punishment, torment". The NWT mistranslates "eternal punishment" as "everlasting cutting-off" which not only doesn't make any sense but is impossible because of the Greek word used.

Also, I found out that this notion that the "saints" of the New Testament are synonymous with the 144,000 of Revelation 7:1-8 and Revelation 14:1-5 was invented in 1935 as an alleged "revelation" to Judge Joseph Rutherford. Now Jamey wondered why it took 400 years for Augustine to find the immortality of the soul if it was so "plain". I proved above that he was wrong about Augustine; Christians have always believed in the immortality of the soul. But I turn the argument back around and wonder if this jazz about the "Holy Ones" is so "plain" why it took Judge Joseph Rutherford in 1935 to figure it out.

Also, notice what the Bible says about the 144,000, who Jamey says are the only ones going to heaven. "It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are chaste" (Revelation 14:4). So these are celibate Jewish men! (Not even St. Peter is going to heaven????) So do the Jehovah's Witnesses really teach that heaven is only populated by celibate Jewish men?????? How many of the JWs qualify? ;-)

Also, notice from 7:1-8 and 14:1-5 that these 144,000 are on the EARTH, not in heaven. It is the "great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues" that is in heaven ("standing before the throne", Revelation 7:9). So the JWs have it exactly backwards!

This does away with the distinction between the "Holy Ones" and ordinary Christians which then brings back in powerful verses to support the immortality of the soul because they don't apply just to the "Holy Ones" but to all Christians:

"We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord." (2 Cor 5:8)

"If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account." (Philippians 1:22-24).

See also Matt 10:28 and Revelation 6:9-10.

That's enough for now. Night all!

-- Franklin Journier (, August 13, 1999.

May I say I am so very proud this night after a week of contemplating returning to the site in seeing the rally cry of Catholics. These past few months I attempted to point out in faith the circular motions of fundamentalism.

Finally support from brothers and sisters saying it like it is. Fundamentalistic cult members have infiltrated this site plain and simple. Yea Team!!

Peace And Well Being A Little Brother In Christ

-- jean bouchardRC (jeanb@cwk.imag,net), August 14, 1999.

Finally support from brothers and sisters saying it like it is. Fundamentalistic cult members have infiltrated this site plain and simple. Yea Team!!

Jean, this seems to be true everywhere. It is difficult to find a newsgroup, web forum, chat room, with "Catholic" in the name that doesn't sooner or later get inundated with Catholic Haters. They spew their distortions of history, and their plain and simple lies, because their real religion is not Christianity but is Hatred of the Catholic Church. And their god is not God but is Anti-Catholic Bigotry. And they serve their god with abandon.

-- Lane Core Jr. (, August 14, 1999.

I'd like to keep this at the top of the "New Answers" for a while. Hopefully Jamey will answer some of these important questions for us.

-- David Palm (, August 20, 1999.

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