As we prepare for the feast of All Souls on November 2, it might help our spiritual life to deepen our understanding of the soul.
In 2nd Corinthians 4:16b-5:1 St. Paul says: “That is why we do not waver, indeed, though this outer human nature of ours may be falling into decay, at the same time our inner human nature is renewed day by day. The temporary, light burden of our hardships is earning us forever an incomparable, eternal weigh of glory, since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal”. How do bible experts explain?
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) here cited refers to the soul as “our inner human nature”. The Christian Community Bible (CCB) renders the soul as “inner self” while the Good News Bible (GNB) uses “our spiritual being”. Others use “the inner person”.
One commentator says, “The inner person here is the one whose life, no matter how miserable and adverse the conditions of its mortal existence”, which is referred to as “the outer human nature” (NJB), “outer being” (CCB) and “physical being” (GNB), “has been transformed by the resurrection of Jesus through which God’s own incomparable power is present and manifest (4:7, 10-12). This inner person is, in short, the “I” of Gal 2:20 who by faith has grasped the reality of the new life in Christ” (II Corinthian, A New Translation with Commentary and Introduction by Victor Paul Furnish, page 289).
And Gal 2:20 often cited by our famous Christian mystics says: “…and yet I am alive; yet it is no longer I, but Christ lives in me. The life that I am now living, subject to the limitation of human nature, I am living in faith, faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”
To experience this “union with God” or “oneness with God” is the result of hard work of personal transformation in contemplative life.