According to physiologists, the activity of consciousness, that is, mental activity, should be presented as a colossally complex system of unconditioned and conditioned reflexes, which have previously arisen and are constantly re-formed, as a huge chain of perceptions brought by receptors into the brain, which are analyzed in it to develop a response motor reaction.
Our genius researcher of higher nervous activity, I.P. Pavlov, defines consciousness as follows: Consciousness appears to me to be the nervous activity of a certain area of the cerebral hemispheres, which at the given moment, under the given conditions, has a certain optimal (probably average) excitability. At the same moment, the rest of the mass of the cerebral hemispheres is in a state of more or less reduced excitability.
In the area of the cerebral hemispheres with optimal excitability, new conditioned reflexes are easily formed and differentiations are successfully developed. This is at the moment, so to speak, the creative department of the cerebral hemispheres. Their other departments, with reduced excitability, are not capable of this, and their functions at the same time – most importantly – are the previously developed reflexes that arise stereotypically in the presence of appropriate stimuli.
The activity of these departments is what we subjectively call unconscious, automatic activity. The area with optimal activity is not, of course, a fixed area, on the contrary, it constantly moves throughout the entire space of the cerebral hemispheres, depending on the connections existing between the centers, and under the influence of stimuli – accordingly, of course, the area with reduced excitability also changes.
If it were possible to see through the cranium and if the place of the cerebral hemispheres with increased excitability shone, then we would see on a consciously thinking person how a constantly changing in shape and size, bizarrely irregular outlines, a bright spot surrounded by everything moves along his cerebral hemispheres. the rest of the hemispheres is a more or less significant shadow.
We fully accept this deeply scientific understanding of the activity of consciousness, but we just do not consider it exhaustive. We are also ready to subscribe to the main thesis of materialism: Being determines consciousness, but only under the condition of a not narrowly materialistic understanding of being.
To represent our understanding of consciousness, we must divide it into acts, states, and volume of consciousness.
Thought flows like a stream. Thought flares up with a bright light. Thought digs the depths of being.
Calm and deliberate volitional actions. Sudden volitional explosions – a stab in the heart of the offender. Constant tension of will in the flow of life, aimed at achieving basic plans and goals.
Quiet love devoid of passion. Deep, calm aesthetic pleasure. Stormy passions, rage, fear. Deep, constant devotion to God, guiding all life.
These are acts of consciousness.
They are caused by: 1) perceptions of the sense organs, 2) organic sensations of our body, 3) perceptions from our transcendental being, 4) perceptions from the higher spiritual world, 5) influences of our spirit.
Acts of consciousness are not isolated, thought is always accompanied by feeling, feeling and will by thought, and feeling by volitional movements; acts of will are always associated with feeling and thoughts; the complex of these simultaneously occurring acts of consciousness determines the state of consciousness. These states of consciousness are constantly changing, because the acts of consciousness are in continuous motion.
The wealth, variety and depth of acts and states of consciousness determine the volume of consciousness, which is also constantly changing, usually upward. Our spirit always participates in acts and states of consciousness, defining and directing them. In turn, the spirit grows and changes from the activity of consciousness, from its individual acts and states.
This is our idea of the completeness of human mental activity. But not only people, but also animals have a soul. The soul of an animal is in its blood. And an animal, like a person, consists of spirit, soul and body.
What is the soul? In its simplest form, in animals it is a complex of organic and sensory perceptions, thoughts and feelings, traces of memories, or only (in the lower ones) a complex of organic sensations, unified by self-consciousness (with the mind in higher animals). The primitive spirit of animals is only the breath of life (among the lower ones). As beings rise up the ladder, their spirituality grows, and the rudiments of mind, will and feeling join the breath of life.
In man, the soul is much higher in its essence, for the spirit participating in its activity is incomparable with the spirit of animals. He may have supreme gifts
Of the Holy Spirit, which St. the prophet Isaiah (II, 1 3) calls the spirit of the fear of God, the spirit of knowledge, the spirit of strength and strength, the spirit of light, the spirit of understanding, the spirit of wisdom. The Spirit of the Lord or the gift of piety and inspiration in the highest degree.
The spirit and soul of a person are inseparably united during life into a single essence; but one can also see different degrees of spirituality in people. There are spiritual people according to the Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 2:14). There are, as we said, people are cattle, people are grass, and there are people – angels. The former are not much different from cattle, for their spirituality is very low, and the latter are approaching disembodied spirits that have neither body nor soul.
So, the soul can be understood as a set of organic and sensory perceptions, traces of memories, thoughts, feelings and volitional acts, but without the obligatory participation in this complex of the highest manifestations of the spirit, which are not characteristic of animals and some people. The apostle Jude says about them: These people are sincere, without spirit (Jude 1, 19).
In self-consciousness during life, the life of the spirit is closely intertwined with those mental acts that are common to man and animals, that is, with organic sensations and sensory perceptions: these latter, in turn, are inextricably linked with the life of the body, especially the brain, and disappear with death body. Therefore, the primitive soul of animals is mortal, just as those elements of man’s self-consciousness that emanate from the deceased body (organic and sensory perceptions) are also mortal.
But those elements of self-consciousness that are associated with the life of the spirit are immortal. The spirit is immortal, which, as we will show below, can exist without connection with the body and soul. Materialists deny the immortality of the soul precisely because they do not want to know anything about the spirit. And we are not talking about the immortality of self-consciousness, understood purely physiologically.
Let us now see if the Holy Scripture gives us the right to understand spirit and soul as we have just stated. We think that our understanding of soul and spirit is in perfect agreement with Revelation.
The word “soul” is used in different ways in Scripture. As in common parlance, it simply means the whole person: “No soul,” “no soul.” Not a single soul of you will perish, says St. the apostle Paul to his ship companions.
He kept the family of Noah in eight souls (2 Pet. 2.5).
The sinning soul, it will die (Ezekiel 18:20).
Then the soul is synonymous with life.
His soul will be for him instead of the spoil (Jer. 21.9).
Those who were looking for the soul of the Infant died (Matt. 2.20).
Their bread is for their souls (Hos. 9: 4).
Do not be anxious for your soul, what you eat and what you drink (Matthew 6, 25).
And here are a number of texts that clearly talk about what could be called an “animal soul.”
Their souls spit up in them … He nourished a thirsty soul and filled a hungry soul with good things … Their souls turned away from all food … Their souls decay in distress (Psalm 106: 5-26).
He will graze … and his soul will be satisfied on Mount Ephraim (Jer. 50, 19).
My soul shall be satisfied with them (prey) (Ex. 15.9).
A hungry man dreams that he is eating … and his soul is thin … dreams that he drinks … and his soul is thirsty (Isa. 29, 8).
The charitable soul will be saturated (Proverbs II, 25).
The soul of a lazy person desires, but in vain; but the soul of the diligent will be satisfied (Proverbs 13: 4).
A negligent soul will suffer hunger (Proverbs 19 ^ 15).
A well-fed soul tramples a honeycomb (Proverbs 27.7). Let your soul delight in fatness (Isa. 55: 2).
Their soul will be like a garden filled with water (Jer. 81,12).
(Here we are talking about the blessings of the earth).
His soul clung to Dinah (Gen. 34.3).
His soul is waiting for her (payment) (Deut. 24, 15).
… his soul turns away from his favorite food (Job 33,20).
Hear, my soul, the sound of the trumpet (Jer. 4:19).
I will feed the souls of the priests with fat (Jer. 31.14).
What your soul desires (1 Samuel 20: 4).
Those who are accustomed to the idea of the immortality of the soul should not be confused by our words about the immortality of the spirit. This is not a novelty, for in most of the Scriptures, where death is discussed, it is precisely about the abandonment of the body by the spirit, and not by the soul, that is spoken of.
As a body without a spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead (James 2:26).
Who knows: does the spirit of the sons of men ascend upward and the spirit of animals descend into the earth? (Eccl. 3:21).
To the spirits in prison (not souls!) … he preached (1 Pet. 3:19).
To the spirits (not souls) of the righteous who have attained perfection (Q. 12:23).
And her (daughter of Jairus) spirit returned (Luke 8.55).
Into Thy hand I commit my spirit (Ps. 30: 6; Luke 23:46).
Lord Jesus! receive my spirit (Acts 7.59).
The spirit will go forth through her, and (he) will return to his land: on that day all his thoughts will perish (Psalm 145: 4).
And the dust will return to the earth, which it was; and the spirit will return to God who gave it (Eccl. 12: 7).
These last two texts are especially important for substantiating our opinion that those elements of mental activity that are associated with the life of the body are mortal: feelings and thought processes that are inextricably linked with the activity of the brain.
On that day, all his thoughts will perish, that is, the activity of consciousness, for which all the perceptions of the living brain are necessary, will cease.
It is not the soul that will go forth, but the spirit, and it will return to its land, that is, to eternity. The dust will return to the earth, which it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.
And the animal spirit, of course, must be immortal, for it also has its origin in the Spirit of God, the immortal Spirit.
The idea of the immortality of the spirit of animals is clearly contained in the well-known words of the Pavlovs about the hope of all creation (Rom. 8, 20-21); … in the hope that creation itself will be freed from slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
In a few passages of Holy Scripture, death is defined as the departure of the soul (and not the spirit) from the body (Genesis 35, 18; Acts 20, 10; Ps. 15, 10). This is easily explained by the fact that in general in the Bible, especially in the psalms, the word soul is often used in the generally accepted sense, that is, as the totality of all mental and spiritual activity. But we also say that during life, the spirit and soul of a person are united into a single entity, which can be called simply a soul.
In this sense, one must also understand those texts that deal with the soul of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When will His soul offer the sacrifice of propitiation … (Is. 53.10).
His soul was not left in hell (Acts 2:31).
My soul is grieving to death (Matt. 26: 38).
My soul is now troubled (John 12:27).
He will look at the podvig of His soul (Isaiah 53, II).
The Lord suffered and died by His human nature, and therefore these texts are understandable. But the soul of God Himself is also mentioned in the following texts:
And my soul will turn away from them, just as their soul turns away from me (Zech. II, 8).
His soul did not suffer the suffering of Israel (Judg. 10:16).
He who loves violence is hated by His soul (Psalm 10: 5).
But of course this is not just a metaphor. It is impossible to speak of the soul of the Spirit absolutely, as about the soul of a person, a spirit that is limited and embodied. Here we can only talk about an analogy with the human spirit, according to which we ascribe to God the mind, thinking, will and feelings. This is how we understand the image of God in man.
Above we talked about self-awareness. How to understand it? Consciousness of his personality is formed in a person from organic sensations received from his body, from perceptions received by his senses, from the entire totality of memories, from an understanding of his spirit, character, moods.
Where is self-consciousness composed of these elements, who is its subject? Not the mind, as is usually understood, but the spirit. For the mind is only a part of the spirit, not the whole spirit. But the part cannot embrace the whole. This is an important conclusion that we will refer to later when we talk about immortality. And it is not arbitrary, but based on the words of the Apostle Paul: For who among men knows what is in a man, besides the human spirit that lives in him? Likewise, no one knows God, except the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2, 11-12).
We cognize the deepest essence of our being not with the mind, but with the spirit. Self-awareness is a function of the spirit, not the mind. The action of God’s grace given to us from God is known to us not by the spirit of this world, but by our spirit, given to us from God.
The same thought is in the words of the wise Solomon: The Lamp of the Lord is the spirit of a person, experiencing all the depths of the heart (Proverbs 20, 27).
Much can be found in the Holy Scriptures about the spirit, as the highest power of our spiritual activity. Here are some examples:
He who sows to his flesh from the flesh will reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit from the Spirit will reap eternal life (Galatians 6: 8).
But not the spiritual first, but the spiritual, then the spiritual (1 Cor. 15:46).
This means that spirituality is the highest achievement of the human soul.
The fruit of the spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, goodness, mercy, faith, meekness, temperance (Gal. 5, 22-23).
Be on fire with the Spirit (Rom. 12, II). He speaks secrets with the spirit (1 Cor. 14: 2).
The spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty give him understanding (Job 82, 8).
The spirit is cheerful, but the flesh is weak (Matt. 26.41).
Both my word and my sermon are not in convincing words of human wisdom, but in the manifestation of spirit and power (1 Cor. 2: 4).
Cast away from you all your sins with which you have sinned, and create for yourself a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31).
Here is the idea of a close connection between the heart and the spirit, confirming what we said about the primacy of the heart in consciousness.
And my spirit rejoice in the Boz, My Savior (Luke 1.47).
He rejoices about God. God worships, the human spirit strives for God and approaches. And this, of course, is the highest ability of our soul.
Of course, such a perfect manifestation of the spirituality of the human soul can only be a gift of the Holy Spirit. Revelation clearly testifies to this:
I will put My spirit within you (Ezek. 36:27).
And as you are sons, God has sent His Son Spirit into your hearts, crying: “Abba, Father!” (Gal. 4: 6).
God gave us the spirit, not fear, but strength and love (2 Tim. 1, 7).
God revealed (this) to us by His Spirit (1 Cor. 2.10).
One is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom … to another is faith by the same Spirit (1 Cor. 12: 8-9).
You settle into the dwelling place of God by the Spirit (Eph. 2:22).
And I will give you a new heart, and I will give you a new spirit; And I will take a stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart that I wear. I will put my spirit within you and will make you walk in my commandments (Ezek. 36,26 27).
The Lord … who formed the spirit of man within him (Zech. 12: 1).
That which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3: 6).
God does not give the spirit by measure (John 3:34). He gave us of His Spirit (1 John 4:13). Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ … (Rom. 8, 9).
But we did not receive the spirit of this world, but the Spirit from God (1 Cor. 2:12).
The descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles really confirmed the truth that is affirmed by all these texts – the human spirit has its origin in the Spirit of God.
Everyone who is familiar with the Holy Scriptures knows how numerous are both in the Old and New Testaments about the devil and unclean spirits and their evil influence on the human spirit. And St. Apostle John the Theologian in his first epistle (4, 2 8) directly speaks about the spirit of antichrist. The influence of this spirit, hostile to the spirit of God, on human hearts is enormous. Determining higher than what acts of consciousness are caused, we talked about perceptions from the higher spiritual world. In this we mean the impact on the human spirit of the Spirit of God and the spirit of Satan.
Where did Satan’s spirit come from?
Pride is the antithesis of humility, anger and hatred is the antithesis of love, blasphemy is the antithesis of love for God, pride and selfishness is the antithesis of love for people. The negative arises when the positive is lost and develops steadily. Darkness occurs with loss of light, cold with loss of heat, immobility and stagnation with loss of movement. Satan’s spirit was born from the loss of love for God.
The spirit of God and the spirit of Satan operate everywhere and on all living things. The living is capable of perceiving what is close to it. Animals take oxygen from the air, and plants take carbon dioxide. There are living beings who do not need light and avoid it. Some bacteria (the so-called anaerobes) can live only in the absence of oxygen, and die in the air. People akin to Satan in spirit perceive his spirit and develop steadily in him. St. Apostle Paul: For some, the smell is deadly for death, and for others, the smell is life-giving. And who is capable of this? (2 Cor. 2.16).
People, in spirit akin to the God of Love, perceive the Holy Spirit and are steadily improving in goodness and love.
Jesus Christ Himself and the prophet Ezekiel testify to the certainty of the spiritual influence from the outside on the human spirit:
The spirit breathes where it wants, and you hear its voice, but you don’t know where it comes from and where it goes (John 3: 8).
The Spirit gives life; the flesh benefits nothing (John 6.63).
The words that I speak to you are spirit and life (John 6.63).
When He spoke to me, a spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard Him speaking to me (Ezek. 2: 2).
In a man who had a soul, the spirit also entered from the outside. The apostles say the same:
Paul was urged to bear witness to the Jews (Acts 18.5).
Now, by the attraction of the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem (Acts 20:22).
By the action of God, it is even possible to transfer the spirit of one person to another.
The spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha (2 Kings 2:15).
I will take of the Spirit that is upon you, and I will lay on them (Num. II, 7).
What about the spirit of animals?
They, like people, are by nature bearers of a certain spirit. Animals of the same breed are brave and cowardly, angry and gloomy, affectionate and cheerful. They are not characterized by the highest properties of spirituality, religiosity, moral feeling, philosophical and scientific thinking, subtle artistic and musical sensitivity. But love and the beginnings of altruism, and the takyaar of aesthetic feeling, are also characteristic of animals.
Not the highest form of love, not Divine love, but only family love; but in this love, swans and doves, perhaps, even surpass people. There are known facts of the suicide of a swan who has lost his girlfriend; he soars high, folds his wings and falls like a stone to the ground.
The level of spirituality in animals is the lower, the lower they stand on the zoological ladder of perfection of forms. The exception to this rule is love in birds. In parallel with this, to some extent, one can put the fact that the highest forms of love and religiosity are often found by people who are simple, uneducated.
Higher animals, bearers of at least limited spirituality, must have self-awareness in a primitive form.
Couldn’t the dog say: I am cold, I am sick, I am mistreated by the owner. The degree of self-awareness of animals is determined by the development of their mind and the degree of spirituality available to them.