What, if anything, is the difference between a person’s soul and a person’s spirit?
Think about it, then go ahead and leave your answer in the comments below. Here’s what I think.
There Is No Versus
I tend to think “soul” and “spirit” name the same thing. “Soul” feels like it has more pagan or druid roots (it doesn’t; I checked) while “spirit” sounds like it comes from Greek and Latin and is thus more Christian-y (only kind of; I checked). But to me, they both seem like they mean the same thing: an individuated portion of the Divine.
To consider why each person’s essence is an individuated piece of the Divine, I’m going to crib from a post I wrote in 2007, at which time infertility bloggers were talking about the Big Bang and God and creation. I theorized that God is unlimited. God is all. God lacks nothing.
Except for one thing: God lacks the ability to experience limitation.*
Well, God WANTS to experience everything, including limitation. So God breaks Godself into gazillions of separate bits — a Big Bang of soul-bits or spirit-bits.
But the separateness of these bits is an illusion — each bit is still a part of God, but doesn’t necessarily realize it. Each bit has the job of bringing back the experience of limitation back to itself — back to God.
Now, the Divine doesn’t care if the experiences are “good” or “bad.” The unlimited God doesn’t prefer being enormously happy to living under the Khmer Rouge. In Divine Oneness there can be no such Duality. The Divine just wants juicy.
But there’s a catch.
We Forget Our Divinity
As a God-bit incarnates, a veil descends, causing the soul/spirit to forget it is part of God. After all, if it remembered, limitation wouldn’t really be experienced.
As Shakespeare said, all the world is a stage, and we are here playing our parts. Sometimes we are villains, sometimes we are victims, sometimes we are heroes, always the journey is serpentine.
The goal, then, is to find our way back. To remember we are unlimited, that we are Divine. God will have experienced limitation, and we souls/spirits will have found our way home.
* I got this idea years ago from the book, The Game of God.
See also: What Happens After Death?
What do you think is the difference between soul and spirit? Going a step further, what do you think is the point of it all?
Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.