I’ve always found it interesting that Aristotle believed plants have souls. It’s difficult for me to imagine that there is some part of a plant that is immaterial. On the other hand, if plants don’t have souls, what is it that makes them grow and flower and express such beautiful complexity?
I believe the being of God pervades all parts of existence. This considered, I can see how God animates the world, including everything that grows and everything that breathes. God is an omnipresent, all-powerful, living being, who is in control of all activity in existence. This explains why we see change occurring constantly in all God has created.
But did God create souls? And if so, what are they?
Philosophers talk about the attributes of the soul being things like reason, character, feeling, memory, consciousness, perception, thinking, etc. I can appreciate all of these things are immaterial aspects of human beings, but I find it hard to accept that they have substance. However, the conventional view of the soul is that it is something that lives on after death, aside from the material body. What is the nature of this entity that lives on, that is not physical, but still has a range of attributes of which our minds can conceive?
In my paper entitled The Human Soul in Plato and Christianity I explore the question of the existence of souls in depth. The paper is available as a free PDF download from this blog, on the Essays page.
You are welcome to share thoughts and resources relating to this discussion of the existence of souls in the comments below. Thank you.