Re: [GTh] A commentary
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tom Saunders" <tom@...>
Sent: Sunday, July 13, 2003 3:21 PM
Subject: [GTh] A commentary
> Thank you Frank for your post.
> If it is fair to say that four elements to man are implied both by Mary,
Paul, and others, then we have the pnuema (spirit), psyche (soul), nous
(mind), and soma (body). As an implied( implied possibly by being
conspicuously absent) construction, we have the monumental task of
explaining each element, its separate function, and its synergetic or
interactive function. Otherwise there is no figuring out sayings like 87.
Sorry for delay in responding. I was on vacation in the Black Hills, the
Big Horn Mountains, and a family reunion at Williston, N.D..
I'm not sure whether Paul considered the mind (nous) to be a fourth element
or just another name for the spirit (pneuma).
> GT 87. Jesus said, "How miserable is the body that depends on a body, and
how miserable is the soul that depends on these two."
> (Miserable is the nous that trys to figure the "real McCoy" how the soma,
is connected to the psyche, without a constructed model. You could get all
out of pnuema trying to do it.) Honestly, I think that the Apostles could
not, or would not do this construction, so they avoided it to an extent,
implied the four part construction but never put it together. Plus there is
still another element to the four part construction, the Holy Spirit, the
GTh 87 is cryptic. I suspect that it is based on the idea that the spirit
is the inner man and that the flesh is the outer man, with the inner man of
the spirit being a spiritual body, just as the outer man of the flesh is a
material body. In this case, it relates about how miserable is the
spiritual body of the spirit that depends upon the material body of the
flesh (for it will then share in the death of the material body of flesh)
and about how miserable is the soul that depends upon these two (for it will
then die like both of them).
The Spirit can enter into a human being, but this does not necessarily make
the Spirit another "element" of a human being. Indeed, what I suspect is
that the human spirit (pneuma) is a copy of the Spirit (Pneuma).
This line of thought can be taken one step further for, according to John
4:24, God is Spirit (Pneuma).
What I suggest is that, in one early Christian tradition, there was the idea
that there is there is an original (the SPIRIT (i.e., God)), the Image of
God (the Spirit), and that made after the Image of God (the spirit). In
this case, the spirit (pneuma) is the god-like element of a human being,
being an inferior copy of God.
> This means salvation or becoming a 'Pnuematophoroi' (Gnostikoi ?),
becoming one with the Holy Spirit, is somehow aligning yourself to become
'one,' so to speak. Saying 87 becomes important to understand, as there is
much more than just the body and soul. If one achieves 'pnuematophoroi' or
'gnosis' then might not the nous. pnuema, psyche, and soma merged with the
Holy Spirit amount to another possible reference to the five trees of
paradise mentioned in saying 19?
Tom, what do you mean by becoming one with the Holy Spirit? Do you simply
mean that the Holy Spirit abides in you or are you thinking of some sort of
actual merger of the Spirit with one or more of the elements of a human
As for understanding what it means to become 'one' in terms of Thomist
thought, I think it useful to look at Colossians 3:9-11, "Do not lie to one
another, having put off the old man with his practices, and having put on
the new (man), the one being renewed in knowledge in accord with (the) Image
of the One having created him--where there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Sythian, slave, freeman, but
Christ (is) all things and in all."
The old man, I suggest, is the outer man of body/flesh. The new man is the
inner man of the spirit. In this rebirth, one's real self is transformed
from the outer man of body/flesh to the inner man of the spirit: which
spirit is made after the Image of God. As a result, in this rebirth, one's
real self becomes conformed to the Image of God. In this rebirth, as it is
of the spirit alone, all bodily distinctions vanish, so those thusly reborn
are not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, male and female, etc.
(compare GTh 22).
> I think your assumption that the GMary was written to explain some of
Paul's assertions or omissions is very insightful.
Thank you Tom.
1809 N. English Apt. 17
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