In the following Scriptures Jesus refers to my soul:

Matthew 26:38 KJV

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.

Mark 14:34 KJV

And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

John 12:27 KJV

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.

In Genesis chapter 2 we are told that man became a living soul when God breathed the breath of life into his nostrils.

Genesis 2:7 KJV

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Succeeding generations apparently become living souls when their nostrils receive the breath of life.

In Genesis chapter 18 it appears that a pre-incarnate Jesus spoke with Abraham, since no Angel would be able to modify orders for the destruction of Sodom.

Genesis 18:26 KJV

And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Since Jesus the deity was there before creation Jesus the man certainly was not referring to that as his soul.

So I have wondered if a soul was formed for the human part of Jesus when he was born of Mary, or is there another Scripture I have overlooked, or some writings on this that I do not know about.

  • Perhaps you can get a more technical explanation on the Hermeneutics site. Soul in this context, I would bet, is the same word that is used for creature or being. To say "My soul" like this would be like saying "all that I am" or "at my very core". I know for sure that "soul" in Genesis [Hebrew] also is translated as creature or being. The same word is used when the animals are described as becoming "living creatures".
    – user3961
    Commented Jan 22, 2014 at 21:42
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    Mod Notice: The comment function is not for discussing theology. If it's not asking for clarification or suggesting a way to improve the post (or for questions, links to related questions etc) please take it to chat instead. Or ask your own questions.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 19:32
  • A good answer needs to look at early Christological controversies, and that would require a book! But I'm sure someone can summarize ;)
    – Dan
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 23:18

3 Answers 3


A body is animated by the soul. Jesus’ body was no different, except that it was both fully human and fully divine: there wasn’t a “human part” and a “divine part”. As his whole nature was fully human and fully divine, it follows that his soul was both fully human and fully divine as well, for he could not be the Word Incarnate without the Word being part of all of his incarnate nature.

This is attested by the Fathers, for example St John Damascene:

By the fact that at Christ's death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word.

De fide orth. 3, 27: quoted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 626

While the Word was pre-existent, the soul of the Incarnate Word came into existence with the Incarnation, just as it does with any person: Christ was fully human.

See also this question.

I don’t understand your reference to Genesis 18. While it’s true that the three visitors are generally accepted as an allegory for the Trinity, there is no reason that one should be the Word Incarnate. With the exception of “behold, three men stood in front of him”, all the references are to “the LORD” in the singular, and it is the Lord who speaks. The three men Abraham met could just as easily — even more, likely — have been God, in the same form as he walked in the garden with Adam, accompanied by the two angels of Genesis 19:1.

  • I bet you cannot prove that the body is animated by the soul. It is pure biology so maybe edit out that part of your answer. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 15:59
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    Fortunately, we're talking theology not biology. Compendium of the Catechism, question 90: "The Son of God assumed a body animated by a rational human soul." Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 16:19
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    Good answer, but a couple phrases at the beginning are misleading. Jesus' belongs to his human nature. The person of Christ is fully divine and fully human, but specific attributes are a result of one or the other. So his body was a human body and his soul was a human soul. You state the latter point accurately at the end but it seems to contradict what you said at the beginning. Edit that and you've got my vote. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 2:19
  • @Mr.Bultitude His human body was formed in a human way (in a womb) and received its soul similarly; but the body was also fully divine (he was the Incarnate Word), and the soul was fully divine too. Both body and soul must have two natures, or the Word died with the body, which cannot have happened. Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 7:03
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    Mod Notice: Comments containing only theological rambles without being either a request for clarification or suggestion for improving this post have been removed.
    – Caleb
    Commented Jan 31, 2014 at 19:35

Among the meanings of ψυχε (psuche, 5590; soul, life) is
"the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)"

I'm not certain what it would mean for my "(eternal) soul"/"living being"/"union of body and spirit" to be grieved. I think it makes much more sense to read his statement in a poetic sense, as:

"My heart is deeply grieved, to the point of death,"

Consider Genesis 6:6 (NASB)

The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.

Note: this is not the Hebrew word for "soul" (לֵב), only a use of the word "grieved" in reference to God.

  • Finally, a sensible answer without fluffing. Thank you! Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 8:34

A soul is a the union of one's spirit and body. A disembodied spirit, such as a spirit before birth or after death does not have a body and is therefore not a soul. A lifeless body, one that is dead, is not a soul but is merely a corpse.

In John 12:27, Jesus is prophesying concerning His own death, for He knows that it is only a few days away and He also knows that the sacrifice He will make will descend below all things and be the worst physical, spiritual, and emotional pain that anyone had ever endured. But only he could do it, because he was a half-God, half-man. He had God the Father as His Biological Father and a mortal Mary for His mother. Therefore, He had power over death, but was still capable of dying. No man could take away His life, but He could give up His life. He was nevertheless subject to every physical hardship of mortals including pain, sickness, grief, sorrow, temptations, toil, labor, and heart aches.

In the cases where Jesus is referring to His soul being sorrowful, his body and spirit are pained both physically and spiritually because this marks the beginning of Christ's sacrifice for all men everywhere. He is taking upon himself the sins of the entire world and of every person who had ever lived or would live.

This moment was the most critical moment in eternity. Jesus had a choice, He could either continue and drink "this cup" and yet he would be saved, for he was the only sinless being who had ever lived, and he could let all mankind to be lost, or he could drink "the cup" and finish the requisite sacrifice that would allow all men the possibility to live with God in heaven.

Luke records of this, "And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke22:44) There in the garden called Gethsemane (meaning Olive Press), the Son of God, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World, the Promised Messiah, knelt and bowed under the crushing weight of the sins of the world as He took upon Himself the sins of all mankind that he might redeem all men, if they would choose Him and cast their sins upon him.

Following this ordeal, which He had asked His disciples to stay awake and witness, he was betrayed by Judas, arrested, and the abusive Jewish leaders began the trials that would result in His death.

Jesus was well aware of all that had happened and all that would yet take place. Is it any wonder that His soul was "exceeding sorrowful, even unto death"?

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    Your answer seems to steer away from the question to become an expression of what you believe. Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 16:02

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