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This is one of a series of questions I have regarding the Christian notion of the Trinity. Assuming Jesus soul was created, and that Jesus has a free will of his own, then any God-like attributes Jesus possesses would be the gifts given by a Father to a dutiful Son. If Jesus soul was not created, then presumably "Jesus" would just be another name for "God", being one and the same identically. Presumably. Is there a consistent Trinitarian view on this, or are opinions widely varied?

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This was a controversy in the early 1800s and provoked William Huntington to write one of the most spiritual books I ever read (outside of scripture) 'The Soul of Christ' wherein he states :

... divinity is not made, nor created ; much less created out of earth (p5)

where Huntington counters the error of a 'divine soul' saying that no such thing exists and that it is a contradiction in terms.

... if Christ hath not a human soul, every scripture which declares him to be man is absolutely false.

God is the 'Father of spirits' (Heb 12:9). His [Christ's] body was made of the woman's substance. his soul was made by God. His flesh was of the virgin, his human spirit of the Almighty.

Huntington further quotes Jesus himself, saying,

Now is my soul troubled [John 12:27 KJV]

My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death ... [Matt 26:38 KJV]

WH also quotes from the prophets and the prophetic psalms :

thou wilt not leave my soul in hell [Psalm 16:10 KJV]

When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin [Isaiah 53:12 KJV]

I recommend the whole of this very short book, twenty-eight pages. But I have no link, as yet to it. If I find one, I will add it, in due course.

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  • Thanks, Nigel. It looks like an interesting book. But it seems from the quotes you cited here, that it proves/ affirms that Christ indeed had a soul [the psyche, which comprise the mind, will, and emotions, our personality]. Not that they were created. Christ is God and co-existed with God and the Holy Spirit from eternity past. The Holy Spirit was not created at Pentecost, or any time- same with Christ. It was only the incarnation, where he became flesh, "and was in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin." – Tennman7 Dec 25 '20 at 1:52
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    @Tennman7 Jesus Christ possesses all the attributes of humanity and all the attributes of Deity. The human soul is a created thing, created at a point in time. The Divine Person of the Son of God is eternal. – Nigel J Dec 25 '20 at 8:42
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    You may purchase and download the PDF of "The Soul of Christ" here: christianbookshopossett.co.uk/doctrine-theology/…. It was originally published under the name "The Doctrine of Garrett Refuted". – Mike Borden Dec 26 '20 at 15:39
  • @MikeBorden I have just ordered a copy from that bookshop. I remember once delivering christian books to that very bookshop in about 1987 or thereabouts. Thank you. – Nigel J Dec 26 '20 at 15:53
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Yes, Jesus had a true human nature, which includes a created body (made from the matter supplied by the Blessed Virgin) and a created soul (created by God ex nihilo, out of nothing).

Arius and Apollinaris thought that the Son of God assumed (took on) only a body and not a human soul, but this is a heresy. Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas's question "Whether the Son of God assumed a soul?" (Summa Theologica III q. 5 a. 3).

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Did God create Jesus' soul?

The short answer is yes.

Your question was raised in the early centuries of the Church. Christians at that time were trying to figure out more accurately the nature of the Incarnation — what it means to say that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

In time, the Church gave a definitive answer: When God the Son became a Man, He took for himself a complete human nature. The human nature that He took (the technical theological term is “assumed”) included everything that makes us human.

So what does this include? Human beings are composed of both a body and a spirit. The body and spirit are not two natures, but two components so intimately joined that they form together a single human nature.

Are spirit and soul the same thing? In human beings (though not in other living creatures on earth), yes: Their immortal spirit, created by God, functions as their soul, which is defined as the animating principle of a body — that is, the thing that gives life to the body. (When the spirit departs, the body dies.) The term spirit, then, refers to what it is, its essence; the term soul refers to what it does, its function.

As a rough analogy, consider the rock that sits on a stack of papers on my desk. If you ask what it is, I say it’s a rock. If you ask what it does, I say it’s a paperweight.

Because this single human nature is composed of both body and soul (spirit), when God the Son became a Man, He took for himself not only a human body, but also a human soul. This means that the Incarnate God had (and will always have — He will never lose them) two natures: one divine, and one human, with the human nature being composed of both body and soul. Why was it so important for the Church to clarify this reality? Because, as the Church Fathers often emphasized, the purpose of the Incarnation was to heal and save human nature. If some part of that nature was not included in the Incarnation, neither would it have been saved and healed.

Do we fallen human beings need healing in our souls? Of course! Jesus came to heal the disorder of our souls: our thinking, our will, our emotions. So He took a human soul as well as a body.

This reality is reflected in the traditional formulation that when we receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, we are receiving not only His Body and Blood, but also His “Soul and Divinity.” His Body and Soul are so intimately joined, and His Humanity and Divinity so completely in union, that to receive any one of these is to receive them all — the whole Person, Jesus Christ, the Son of God in the flesh. - Does Jesus have a soul?

St. Thomas Aquinas thus explains it thus in his Summa Theologica.

Whether the Son of God assumed a soul?

As Augustine says (De Haeres. 69,55), it was first of all the opinion of Arius and then of Apollinaris that the Son of God assumed only flesh, without a soul, holding that the Word took the place of a soul to the body. And consequently it followed that there were not two natures in Christ, but only one; for from a soul and body one human nature is constituted. But this opinion cannot hold, for three reasons. First, because it is counter to the authority of Scripture, in which our Lord makes mention of His soul, Mt. 26:38: "My soul is sorrowful even unto death"; and Jn. 10:18: "I have power to lay down My soul [animam meam: Douay: 'My life']." But to this Apollinaris replied that in these words soul is taken metaphorically, in which way mention is made in the Old Testament of the soul of God (Is. 1:14): "My soul hateth your new moons and your solemnities." But, as Augustine says (Qq. lxxxiii, qu. 80), the Evangelists relate how Jesus wondered, was angered, sad, and hungry. Now these show that He had a true soul, just as that He ate, slept and was weary shows that He had a true human body: otherwise, if these things are a metaphor, because the like are said of God in the Old Testament, the trustworthiness of the Gospel story is undermined. For it is one thing that things were foretold in a figure, and another that historical events were related in very truth by the Evangelists. Secondly, this error lessens the utility of the Incarnation, which is man's liberation. For Augustine [*Vigilius Tapsensis] argues thus (Contra Felician. xiii): "If the Son of God in taking flesh passed over the soul, either He knew its sinlessness, and trusted it did not need a remedy; or He considered it unsuitable to Him, and did not bestow on it the boon of redemption; or He reckoned it altogether incurable, and was unable to heal it; or He cast it off as worthless and seemingly unfit for any use. Now two of these reasons imply a blasphemy against God. For how shall we call Him omnipotent, if He is unable to heal what is beyond hope? Or God of all, if He has not made our soul. And as regards the other two reasons, in one the cause of the soul is ignored, and in the other no place is given to merit. Is He to be considered to understand the cause of the soul, Who seeks to separate it from the sin of wilful transgression, enabled as it is to receive the law by the endowment of the habit of reason? Or how can His generosity be known to any one who says it was despised on account of its ignoble sinfulness? If you look at its origin, the substance of the soul is more precious than the body: but if at the sin of transgression, on account of its intelligence it is worse than the body. Now I know and declare that Christ is perfect wisdom, nor have I any doubt that He is most loving; and because of the first of these He did not despise what was better and more capable of prudence; and because of the second He protected what was most wounded." Thirdly, this position is against the truth of the Incarnation. For flesh and the other parts of man receive their species through the soul. Hence, if the soul is absent, there are no bones nor flesh, except equivocally, as is plain from the Philosopher (De Anima ii, 9; Metaph. vii, 34).

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The answer is No.

In order to explain this more completely in a way that makes sense, we have to look at the creation of man in Genesis by God. It says that mankind was created in the image of God? Does this mean that we look like God, have the same facial features, hair color, body style? No, because there are thousands of different features of races across the planet, from fair skinned Skandanavians to Africans and Asians.

We are made in God's image in that mankind is also a tri-une being. 3 in 1. The trinity is one of the most complex concepts to explain in all of Christianity. Every analogy falls short, but here are some that can help. Travis is one guy, but he is a Husband, a Father and a Son, all at the same time. Another example is how we have H20 - and it exists in three forms, liquid, ice and vapor, but all still the same element.

Mankind has body, soul and spirit. The Greek word for soul is "Psyche" where we get Psychology - and is the mind, will and emotions- which make up our personality. This is the same part that animals have. The Spirit is the immortal part, and this Spirit is the part that makes us unique from animals - the part that has a conscience and is accountable for sin, and which lives forever, either in Heaven or Hell.

The Trinity is God the Father, God the son- Jesus and God the Holy Spirit, and it is eternal. Each member of the trinity existed forever and was not created. Jesus was not created by God, nor was the Holy Spirit. The deity of Christ is one of the core- foundational truths of Trinitarian Christianity, and one of the defining points that sets us apart from denominations like Mormonism and Jehovah's Witness which teach that Jesus was created. He is not eternal.

Jesus was fully God and fully man - so yes, he had a soul, or distinct personality, and sense of humor, separate from his brothers, and he is spirit - but the Holy Spirit and Jesus co-existed with God from eternity past- they were not created, nor was their personality, when Jesus was born.

John chapter 1 says "In the beginning was the word- [Logos], and the word was with God, and the word was God." Jesus is the Logos, the living word.

"All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was light, and the light was the light of men."

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  • This does not make sense. You begin by saying 'No', then you say 'yes, he had a soul ...' If the soul is human, it is created. – Nigel J Dec 25 '20 at 8:32
  • To join the two words together 'soul' and 'eternity' is to form a contradiction. 'Jesus' did not 'exist with God' 'for eternity'. 'Jesus' is the one born of Mary, who had a human soul. The Son of God is the only begotten of the Father ; his is 'the eternal life which was with the Father'. And these two descriptions describe One Person. But one must understand (and believe) both aspects in order to truly believe in he who is Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God. – Nigel J Dec 25 '20 at 23:20
  • Nigel, the deity of Christ as part of the trinity and eternally existing with God is not only one of the pillars of Christian doctrine, it is found in many Protestant Statements of Faith. Take away the deity of Christ - [The doctrine that Jesus was fully God, not a created being] and you have no trinity. The same is true of the Holy Spirit. Cheers. You might want to check out some other sources on the trinity. Gotquestions.org is a good start. – Tennman7 Dec 26 '20 at 2:33
  • Does this answer express a non-Chalcedonian view of the incarnation? Non-Chalcedonians can still be Trinitarians, but it is best to be explicit. – curiousdannii Dec 26 '20 at 4:28
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    This answer demands that God has a soul while Scripture demands that God is Spirit. – Mike Borden Dec 26 '20 at 15:14

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