Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 1:
Yes. The body is naturally mortal; the soul by its very nature immortal.
That the soul will, and indeed must, survive the death of the body is demonstrable from many points of view.Firstly, its essential structure forbids dissolution by death. Death is the disintegration of parts. Only composite things can die. Yet the soul is not composite. Its power of pure immaterial thought proves its independence of matter. It is endowed with spiritual faculties, and is as spiritual as the faculties it possesses, which will enable it to live and operate when separated from the body. Not being material, it can never be destroyed or fall to pieces like matter. Nor would God endow it with a nature essentially fitted to live on just for an idle freak, and with the intention of annihilating it after all.Secondly, every individual experiences a sense of moral obligation, and every obligation demands a sufficient sanction. If the State said, "This is the law," and I replied, "What if I do not observe it," it would be ludicrous were the State to reply, "Oh, nothing will happen. I say only that it is the law. If you break it, you break it, I suppose." That would be a joke, not a law. I know that I shall have to answer some day for my attitude towards the interior sense of moral obligation. I can go right through this life without encountering anyone capable of judging me concerning it. The real answer must be given at the judgment seat of God, and my soul will have to be there. Consequently it must survive.Thirdly, a more universal view of human life shows us the many inequalities which offend against the sense of justice. We know that justice will be done some day, and as it is not always done in this life, it will be done in the next. This implies our presence, and therefore our living on after death.Fourthly, every soul naturally has an insatiable natural desire for happiness, and for lasting happiness. No earthly or temporal good can satisfy this hunger. Yet this innate natural tendency cannot lack its rightful object. You might as well try to conceive the existence of the human eye, perfectly adapted to sight, yet without the possibility of light anywhere to enable it to see.Reflection, then, upon the simple structure of the soul, upon the future administration of the sanctions attached to the moral law, upon the rectification of worldwide inequalities, and upon the teleological inclinations to a lasting and perfect good, makes it a violation of reason to deny the survival of the soul.
I admit that it has much less influence than it should have, but their not thinking of it does not alter the fact.
Since there is a future life, it has a lot to do with morality. Man is endowed with reason and is bound to exercise foresight. The future as such, whether here or hereafter, is a reasonable motive for present conduct. I refrain from eating certain foods now, because reason tells me that future indigestion will result. That is reasonable conduct. I try to refrain from morally wrong conduct because it is wrong; offends God; is a personal disgrace; and will wreck my whole future existence if I persist in it, dying without repentance. All these motives are good. If the nobler motives fail to impress me in a given temptation, the thought of hell at least will tend to stop me.You will say, "So you are afraid of hell?" I reply, "Of course I am!" Knowing that hell is a reality, any sane man will live so as to avoid going there. It is not cowardice, but ordinary prudence. If a man leaps for his life off a railway line as an express tears past the spot where he was standing, you would not go up to him, tap him on the shoulder, and say, "You coward, you jumped for your life through sheer fear of that train!" God gave us our reason that we might use it for our well-being, and it is quite reasonable to weigh both advantages and penalties attached to moral law.Nor is this influence probably to the bad. The knowledge that retribution will follow violations of the moral law makes that law a real law. Could we say that all the penalties attached to the laws of the State are to the bad? Thousands of temptations to crime are resisted by citizens because of the thought of the future penalties. Nor does it matter much whether the penalty be future by a few weeks and in this life, or by some years, and in the next life. The principle is the same.
That is true. But the difficulty is to make people do right because it is right, and avoid wrong because it is wrong. We have to be trained to right conduct from childhood, and that very training demands commendation or punishment. Spare the rod and spoil the child is a truism. We must take a sound psychological view of man's nature, and realize that right because it is right does not always appeal as the best thing to be done in practice. The advantage to be gained from evil conduct often seems better to many men.
This life is not the only one of which we have knowledge. We can have knowledge in two ways, experimental knowledge, or knowledge based upon reason and authority. I have experimental knowledge of America for I have been in America, but I have no experimental knowledge of Africa. Yet you cannot say that I have no knowledge whatever of Africa. I certainly know that it exists. Now we have experimental knowledge of this earthly life. But we know by principles of reason and by the authority of God that we shall continue to exist when this earthly life shall have come to an end. We cannot expect to have experimental knowledge now of a state which is essentially future. The code of morality, moreover, should regulate your personal character throughout the whole of its existence, building up a moral perfection as a permanent attribute of your character as long as it shall exist. If your code is as extensive as your complete life, it cannot be limited to this brief section of it.
That might seem to you a reason why it would be better if there were no future life and reparation of justice. But we know that there is such a future life, and a priori possibilities cannot avail against fact. Also it is a fact that men who give up their belief in a future life are not consumed with a passion for the rectifying of injustice in this world. On the contrary, those who lead evil lives have every reason to persuade themselves that there is no future life. There are honorable exceptions of naturally good men who have not had all the data necessary for the formation of a right judgment, or who have not adverted to the force of the reasons for immortality. But they are the few. Men do not have to persuade themselves that there is a future life, but try to persuade themselves that there is no future life, just as the Christian Scientist has to persuade herself that pain and suffering do not exist.
You are forgetting your own principles. We must do right always because right is right. If we do not, we shall be punished by God precisely because the right was right and we should have done it. It belongs to God to adjust all seeming inequalities in the next world, but that in no way exempts man from his present duties. Men must acknowledge the benefits they have received from God, and discharge their obligations towards God, even as they discharge their obligations towards fellow men. This is a strict duty. Not all men will fulfill this duty in practice, and God will deal with them sooner or later, compensating those who have suffered from the injustice of their fellow men.
Yes, because you would not advert to the absence of justice unless you had a sense of justice. The relative and inferior sense of justice possessed by men supposes an absolute justice, and that absolute justice will secure the absolute balance it demands - some day. The fact that absolute justice does not prevail in this life is indication enough that it will do so in a future life.
Justice does say that this life cannot be all. But your idea of re-incarnation is a mistaken notion based upon your notion that life is impossible unless on this earth. But there is no need for another life on this earth, which would involve further inequalities. There is a better life than this, afterwards and elsewhere. Reincarnation is a myth.
This fact does not invalidate the reasons given already, and is also easily explained. The soul whilst in a state of union with the body operates by using the faculties of that body. If the sense instruments are incapacitated, the soul can no longer operate adequately whilst united to the body. But once released from the body, its intelligence and will and power to love at once assert themselves. Hydrogen and oxygen unite to form a drop of water. They can operate as water only whilst united. Hydrogen is there, but it cannot operate as hydrogen until released from the union. Soul and body make one human being. And both elements must be fit to co-operate in the activities of a bodily human being. The soul cannot operate separately as a distinct unit whilst still united. But once released, it can operate independently every bit as much as hydrogen when released from its essential union with oxygen to form water.
They are not immortal. Animals are not capable of any operations which transcend the conditions of matter, and do not rise above the sensitive to the intelligible order. Also they are devoid of the moral intuition. Animal souls are therefore dependent upon matter both for their being and their operations, and cease to exist with death.
It is not the mere fact of being born, but of being born with such a nature. The soul is fitted by its very nature to live on forever, for a spiritual entity cannot disintegrate and die. Why should we have been endowed with such a nature? Because He who made us chose to give us such a nature. Since we did not make ourselves we did not give ourselves our rights. They came from the One who is responsible for our being. If an artist painted an image of a girl on canvas, and the image were endowed with the power of speech, the girl might say, "What right have you to give me brown hair?" The artist would rightly reply, "Since I made you, I have the right to give you whatever colored hair I wish." God had the right to create indestructible souls if He wished. He did so. And our right to live on is vested in His will to endow us with an immortal nature.