I.B. God, the World and the Church
B. Six Levels of
1. Nature of Non-living Matter
Both living and non-living matter were caused to come into existence by a first cause named God. But there is a marked difference between the two. Non-living matter has no animating life principle called the soul. Non-living matter does not possess the senses as living matter does and therefore cannot increase in knowledge of its surroundings or of itself. As stewards of creation, humans have the obligation to use it wisely, but they have not a moral responsibility to care for a rock for example as they have to care for another human being. We are on a higher level of existence than non-living matter, plants and animals.
2. Nature of Living Matter
Living matter is made of structured building blocks called cells which contain information about their make-up and function. This information is passed on to each new cell at the time of reproduction. All living matter shares a common need for nourishment, self-preservation, reproduction and the universal end for all - death.
a. The Plant and Animal Soul
The soul is the principle which animates all living matter, and is the life-giving principle which animates plants and animals. The universal law of nature is that all faculties of a being exist solely for the development, preservation and propagation of its own species. When the soul of a plant or animal dies, it ceases to exist, and the instincts which animated that plant or animal cease to function.
b. The Human Soul
The Human Soul Animates our Body - The human body receives information through five senses - hearing, touching, smelling, tasting and seeing. But if humans were merely sensing organisms gathering information for the brain to process, their worth and value would be measured by no more than their material productivity and contributions to the society of which they are a part.
The Human Soul Animates a New Person – When the seed of the male fertilizes the egg of the female, the union of these cells is vitalized and new life begins. The activity of the human soul is seen when the mind exercises its power to choose to act or not to act; to understand the spiritual concepts of truth, justice, honor and become conscious of its existence during different stages of its union in the body.
The Human Soul is Free - It makes choices and as such, humans are responsible to God and to society for their actions before courts of justice. The soul's intellect and free will allows it to strive after perfection of the body in material values such as physical beauty, strength, or skills, and spiritual values such as patience, kindness and wisdom.
The Human Soul is a Spiritual Being - The human soul cannot perish or disappear. It comes into being as God blesses the act of creation between husband and wife. Its life is in the realm of thoughts and ideas. It depends upon no other created principle and is the principle of life for our human body. Our body receives its life from the soul and when our body dies, the soul leaves it but still exists. After this, it acts on another level independently of the body knowing, understanding and loving. The human soul retains the spiritual ideas stored up during its earthly life. The object and purpose of the human soul's existence is the perfection of its own faculties in relation to its creator within the context of the choices it made toward its creator while united with the human body which it animated. This is the purpose of human life.
3. Six Levels of Existence
Level Six - God: non-created, non-material, supreme transcendent Being who directs Itself through Its intellect and will.
- Spirit: created, non-material, rational
Angels: God's messengers to man
Demons: Oppose God
Level Four - Human: created, material, rational, movable, sentient
Level Three - Animal: created, material, non-rational, movable, sentient
Level Two - Plant: created, material, non-rational, non-movable, sentient
Level One - Stone: created, material, non-rational, non-movable, non-sentient