August 2019 Newsletter - "The Soul" by Nate Padilla

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The soul plays a crucial role in the transformation and salvation in each believer’s life.  During the past few weeks, Pastor Michael has been speaking on this subject, as the Father has been revealing the process of the transformation of the soul and that the only way to redemption of our bodies (Rom 8.23) is through this process that occurs in our soul first and then in our mortal bodies being transformed (1Co 15:35-49).  The whole hope of the apostles and the church was in this final redemption (2Co 4:16-18) to the point that they gloried in their tribulation (Rom 5:3, 2Co 7:4).

Apostolic fathers play an essential role in this.  Let me start with Tertullian to state the beginning state of our soul and where it needs to go in order to reveal through the divine Scriptures the inevitability of needing a father.

Every soul, then, by reason of its birth, has its nature in Adam until it is born again in Christ; moreover, it is unclean all the while that it remains without this regeneration; (Rom 6:4) and because unclean, it is actively sinful, and suffuses even the flesh (by reason of their conjunction) with its own shame. [1]

The Apostle Paul said, “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you,” (Gal 4:19).  When Adam fell, he fell into the beastly nature, all of mankind did.  God has raised up his apostolic fathers to endue them with the power to impart the image of Christ in each of us.  It is a deposit, as Origen explains it.

And so, let us now see what is "the deposit"10 that each one of the faithful receives. For my part I think that we receive our soul itself and the body as a deposit from God. And do you want to see another greater "deposit" that you received from God? God entrusted "his own image and likeness" 11 to your own soul. That deposit, therefore, must be restored by you just as intact as it was received by you. For if you are merciful, "as your Father in heaven is merciful,"12 the image of God is in you and you preserve the "deposit"13 intact. If you are perfect, "as your Father in heaven is perfect," 14 the deposit of God's image remains in you. In like manner, in all other things, if you are pious, if you are just, if you are holy, if you are "pure in heart,"15 and if all things which are present in God through nature remain in you by imitation, "the deposit" of the divine image is safe within you. But if you do the opposite, and instead of mercy you manifest cruelty; instead of piety, impiety; instead of beneficence, violence; instead of quiet, turbulence; instead of liberality, greed; then since you have cast off the image of God, you have received the image of the devil in you and have refused the good "deposit" commended to you by the Divinity. Or was it not this that under the guise of a mystery the Apostle was commanding Timothy, the chosen disciple, when he said, "Oh, Timothy, protect the good de posit. [2]

The Apostle Paul was laboring to form Christ in the soul.  Origen refers to the image of God as a deposit.  The Greek word for deposit is “tithēmi” (G5087), and it speaks of “laying aside money,” and the ones who give out the money are the stewards.  The Apostle Paul stated, “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” (1Co 4:1).  Steward (G3623) “oikonomos” is defined as “an overseer, the superintendent of the city’s finances, the treasurer of a city (or of treasurers or quaestors of kings); metaphorically the apostles and other Christian teachers and bishops and overseers” [3]  The apostles, or bishops, are the ones who deposit the image of God into the soul of the believer.

It is not just up to the apostles and prophets to preach in power (1Co 2:4, 4:20), but it is also up to the hearer.  The Gospel of Mark states “With many such parables Jesus spoke the Word to them, as they were able to hear and to comprehend and understand” (Mar 4:33).  To be “able” is “dunamai” (G1410) and is defined as “capable, strong and powerful,” and so the other half of the process for the image of God being deposited into our soul is not only dependent on an apostolic father releasing the divine Word/Image in power but also relies on as the hearer being able to hear in power. Finally, I will allow Origen to give the explanation for the hope that all of Christianity rests on, even willing to the point that they viewed tribulation as a light matter compared to the glory that will be revealed in us.

When, therefore, all rational souls shall have been restored to a condition of this kind, then the nature of this body of ours will undergo a change into the glory of a spiritual body. For as we see it not to be the case with rational natures, that some of them have lived in a condition of degradation owing to their sins, while others have been called to a state of happiness on account of their merits; but as we see those same souls who had formerly been sinful, assisted, after their conversion and reconciliation to God, to a state of happiness; so also are we to consider, with respect to the nature of the body, that the one which we now make use of in a state of meanness, and corruption, and weakness, is not a different body from that which we shall possess in incorruption, and in power, and in glory; but that the same body, when it has cast away the infirmities in which it is now entangled, shall be transmuted into a condition of glory, being rendered spiritual, so that what was a vessel of dishonor may, when cleansed, become a vessel unto honor, and an abode of blessedness. [4]

Blessings,
Nathan

References:
1.  Tertullian-Treatise on the Soul Ch. XL, Vol. 3
2.  Origen-Leviticus Homilies H4
3.  Thayer Dictionary
4.  Origen-First Principles Book 4 Ch. VI, Vol. 4

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