Systematic Theology - Vol. 2

By Charles Hodge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II.

NATURE OF MAN.

§ 1. Scripture Doctrine.

THE Scriptures teach that God formed the body of man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed into him the breath of life and he became

, a living soul. According to this account, man consists of two distinct principles, a body and a soul : the one material, the other immaterial; the one corporeal, the other spiritual. It is involved in this statement, first, that the soul of man is a substance ; and, secondly, that it is a substance distinct from the body. So that in the constitution of man two distinct substances are included.

The idea of substance, as has been before remarked, is one of the primary truths of the reason. It is given in the consciousness of every man, and is therefore a part of the universal faith of man. We are conscious of our thoughts, feelings, and volitions. We know that these exercises of phenomena are constantly changing, but that there is something of which they are the exercises and manifestation. That something is the self which remains unchanged, which is the same identical something, yesterday, to-day, and tomorrow. The soul is, therefore, not a mere series of acts ; nor is it a form of the life of God, nor is it a mere unsubstantial force, but a real subsistence. Whatever acts is, and what is is an entity. A nonentity is nothing, and nothing can neither have power nor produce effects. The soul of man, therefore, is an essence or entity or substance, the abiding subject of its varying states and exercises. The second point just mentioned is no less plain. As we can know nothing of substance but from its phenomena, and as we are forced by a law of our nature to believe in the existence of a substance of which the phenomena are the manifestation, so by an equally stringent necessity we are forced to believe that where the phenomena are not only different, but incompatible, there the substances are also different. As, therefore, the phenomena or properties of matter are essentially different from those of mind, we are forced to conclude that matter and mind are two distinct substances; that

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